I need a new computer...mac, windows, laptop, desktop?
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  1. #1
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    I need a new computer...mac, windows, laptop, desktop?

    I thought this would be the best place to ask for such a thing, given that I'll mostly be using my new computer for photoshop (digital painting and such)

    The laptop i'm using now is a 2 gb RAM, 4 year old dell laptop with a processor which....well I'm not sure what it's processing power is as of now, but it's not that good anymore. It's been acting up lately too, gets really slow at time and overhearts pretty quickly.

    By august of next year I'll have about 1,300$ to spend on a new system...the problem being i'm not all that tech savvy so I really don't know what I should get. I won't be doing a lot of gaming on my pc, but I want to know what really affects photoshops performance (I want to be able to work around areas of 8000x8000 without it crashing), the RAM or processing power? Both? Again, sorry for the noobishness but I kinda need to know all this so that I get myself the right tool for working

    And apart from that, what would be better, desktop or laptop?

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    Personally, I have two flat screen monitors high-end as a system that can afford when I upgrade, and I can upgrade my computer every two years. My team is how I make my money, and I'm not willing to skimp on the tool that pays my mortgage.

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  3. #3
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    Nay, I won't skimp on mine either, but it's for financial reasons that 1,300$ is my
    saving for a new system, ill need more cash for my college studies and housing

    I could do what you do, but then again I could purchase the all-in-ones, like mac's been doing for a while. The issue there is that I still don't know what's better for working with this type of media, mac/windows, are they the same?

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    Quote Originally Posted by SandyMan View Post
    Nay, I won't skimp on mine either, but it's for financial reasons that 1,300$ is my
    saving for a new system, ill need more cash for my college studies and housing

    I could do what you do, but then again I could purchase the all-in-ones, like mac's been doing for a while. The issue there is that I still don't know what's better for working with this type of media, mac/windows, are they the same?
    they are both pretty good, mac is a bit better as it has a more advance color system so the image is more crisp, but is more expensive and the new macbooks come with the quad core processor (best processor out there), now i just bought a sony vaio which is very good and i bought it with the following specs:

    ram: 4gb of ram memory (perfect speed for digital design)

    memory: 400 gb (huge memory, but it doesn't matter as you can get a portable hard drive)

    processor: I3 intel multiprocessor (brand new processor from intel, excellent quality and performance, really close to the quad processor, now this is the new I series from intel in range of performance is: I7 high range>I3 medium range>I5 lower range, but they are all multiprocessor of high performance).

    so when you buy a laptop make sure to top all of these specs and which the money you got $1,300 it is more than enough for a kick ass pc laptop, i got mine for $700
    Now if you want a desktop i recommend macpro or the HP Z workstations (you can customized the workstation) also is the most popular workstation used by most digital design studios.
    hope this helps.

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    Be careful if you are planing to buy laptop as your main computer and without using an external screen. You need to know that most laptop at this price range are just able to display poor color space.
    Here are two examples of a Dell Studio with white LED backlight and a MacBook from the same year (2008 ).

    The black triangle show the standard sRGB color space which need to be reach as much as possible to give you good colors.
    Here is how is displayed an sRGB image on the Dell laptop (which has a better color space than the MacBook here)

    Everything is under-saturated...that means user will use too much saturation trying to compensate the limitation of the hardware. The result will be over-saturated image on normal sRGB display (any desktop monitor)...

    Few words also about MacBooks. They are low price Apple Laptops, do not expect high quality hardware because it is Apple. Here is the result after calibrating the two laptops:

    You can observe the deltaE obtained on the two screens. The bars need to be under 3 to display something correct.

    I am showing such information because there is a lot of smoke around Apple products with people using a lot subjective comments. A calibrator makes measure, it doesn't lie because of a brand name or because a display seems beautiful because of a glossy screen.
    The conclusion is not Apple is worst than others (maybe a 2009 MacBook is a bit better than a Dell now), it is just an example showing there is not any magical quality with Apple because quality comes with higher price and MacBook is low price.

    Of course, you can get better display with laptop but it will cost a lot more. I know Dell Precision uses now sRGB display and I suppose MacBook Pro uses the same kind of hardware (poor TN panel).
    Anyway, the best is desktop monitor with wide viewing angle using IPS or VA panel. Here are again color space comparison between iMac 2009 and a Dell U2410 (two color space available, sRGB and Adobe RGB).

    You can see the two screens are displaying something enough close of the sRGB. The Dell monitor is also able to cover ~96% of Adobe RGB which can be useful in some case but the most important is sRGB color space.

    Here two examples of monitor using sRGB display (only) with IPS panel at low price
    Dell U2311
    NEC EA231WMi
    iMac of course is good also.

    About Windows or MacOS, there is a recent thread about that:
    Mac or PC, which should I buy?

    Last words now, some people become weird when talking about Apple or Microsoft so you need to filter who is writing crap. In a previous "Mac or Windows" thread, I learned Mac is superior because that was impossible running two graphic programs at the same time using Windows...lol
    Quote Originally Posted by chil3 View Post
    they are both pretty good, mac is a bit better as it has a more advance color system so the image is more crisp[..]
    What are you talking about?

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    Quote Originally Posted by hecartha View Post
    I learned Mac is superior because that was impossible running two graphic programs at the same time using Windows...lol
    What are you talking about?
    it is just my opinion, but i haven't tried as many laptops or pc, just purely experience talking, but at least we agree that macs are a bit better but more expensive, but in windows you can do a lot too, my new laptop (sony vaio) can perfectly run painter and photoshop and the same time, of course i got it with the specs i mentioned on my previous post.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chil3 View Post
    it is just my opinion, but i haven't tried as many laptops or pc, just purely experience talking
    I understand it was your opinion but if I asked about that, it was because I have no idea what is the color system you were talking about. What kind of color system could produce a crispier image?
    Is that a software thing? I never observed such thing (but I don't know everything) excepted the normal behavior of a color management system and an OS cannot do more about the image once the device profile is loaded.
    So maybe it is hardware? But from the hardware side there is not anything specific to Apple excepted the lack of anti glare coating of the Cinema Display or the iMac since the two screens are glossy. As an AG coating is a thin layer between the screen and us, the image can appear a bit better once removed (here a Dell U2711 once the AG coating has been removed).

    If I am asking again, it is also because as I have said in my previous post, there is lot of smoke around Apple products and saying there is a better color system without explaining exactly what it is makes Apple products better for abstract reasons. People who need to make a decision need to know exactly why things are better.
    Quote Originally Posted by chil3 View Post
    but at least we agree that macs are a bit better but more expensive, but in windows you can do a lot too, my new laptop (sony vaio) can perfectly run painter and photoshop and the same time, of course i got it with the specs i mentioned on my previous post.
    I don't agree about "macs are a bit better but more expensive". What better does it mean? I think it depends of what the user is looking for.
    I compared the screens from a MacBook and a Dell Studio to show a Mac is not better. The Dell studio screen is far better than the MacBook screen. For more or less the same price, the Dell Studio is 17" screen compared to 13" of the MacBook, a bit faster CPU and a true GPU...and memory x2 . Now, is it really better? Well, 17" is bigger than 13" and if you are moving a lot with your laptop, the MacBook is definitively better. A true GPU? Yeaah, but it kills the battery and active cooling system is so noisy compared to the MacBook. No comparison about battery life, the MacBook is much better...etc
    And you can do the same with others macs. That is why I don't agree about "macs are a bit better but more expensive". In the same way, Dell Precision laptops are a lot better than Dell Studio but they are also more expensive. Macs are not just better since they are many Macs with high and low price...and it is the same with HP, Dell, Sony and so on... "Macs are better" is just a marketing shortcut in my opinion.
    I hope you know what I mean.

    About Windows which makes impossible running two graphic programs simultaneously, I was of course ironic. Such comment I read in a previous thread was one of the most idiotic comment I have ever read concerning Windows vs MacOS. In fact, it is possible to run as many program till we have the memory...and graphic programs are just like any other programs, they are using resource (CPU, GPU, memory...) so there is nothing specific to them.

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    Try to get an additional monitor too, it helps alot.

    Don't bother looking at my sketchbook. I haven't updated that thing in years. :/
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    Mac laptop screens are all tn panels...ie crap for colour use.

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    Hecartha: deepest apologies for the late reply, I just realized that I never replied even though I thought I did.

    And btw, thanks for getting out of your way to share that info, it was really helpful(and I mean really), as I took a little trip to the computer market and looked around for a couple of monitors, basing myself on the tips you pointed out.

    One of the sellers is a family friend, he let me test out a couple of screens. I brought my laptop too just to see that ¨under saturated¨ feature you mentioned.....and it's A LOT more visible in my system than in your pics, really, my machine is uber un-saturated

    Because we get discounts from this guy, he gave me a 960$ initial price tag, and a good monitor is going for around 370$ over there, so I think it's feasible with the 1300$ I had in mind, thanks!

    That aside....i'd also like a few pointers on system requirements; my biggest concern being:
    Which factors determine the image size capacity on photoshop/corel? Say, the most I can make out of my image sizes with my current machine(2 gb RAM, old processor) is a file with dimensions such as 5000x5000.
    If I try to make something that's around 7000x6000, my computer will crash and strokes take like a full minute to be processed.
    I suppose its the RAM capacity which determines this but I want to absolutely sure of this.

    Lastly, the laptop I was looking at was a toshiba core i7 qosmio, which is fairly decent from what i can see in reviews

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    Quote Originally Posted by SandyMan View Post
    Hecartha: deepest apologies for the late reply, I just realized that I never replied even though I thought I did.

    And btw, thanks for getting out of your way to share that info, it was really helpful(and I mean really), as I took a little trip to the computer market and looked around for a couple of monitors, basing myself on the tips you pointed out.
    You're welcome
    Quote Originally Posted by SandyMan View Post
    One of the sellers is a family friend, he let me test out a couple of screens. I brought my laptop too just to see that ¨under saturated¨ feature you mentioned.....and it's A LOT more visible in my system than in your pics, really, my machine is uber un-saturated
    Yeah, the Dell measured in my previous post was pretty good for crappy laptop screen but I have seen a review of a more recent one with poor contrast ratio and surely poor color space so there is no rules where a brand name gives quality.
    Most laptop screen have low contrast ratio also, something like 250:1 (this Dell was around 750:1) so the image can look even worst but that is not necessarily obvious if you don't compare side by side.
    Anyway, contrast ratio is not as important as color gamut. I suppose also if color gamut is reduced on laptop screen, that's because of power consumption of lcd technology but that is just a supposition.
    Quote Originally Posted by SandyMan View Post
    Which factors determine the image size capacity on photoshop/corel? Say, the most I can make out of my image sizes with my current machine(2 gb RAM, old processor) is a file with dimensions such as 5000x5000.
    If I try to make something that's around 7000x6000, my computer will crash and strokes take like a full minute to be processed.
    I suppose its the RAM capacity which determines this but I want to absolutely sure of this.

    Lastly, the laptop I was looking at was a toshiba core i7 qosmio, which is fairly decent from what i can see in reviews
    Image size is memory dependent as you supposed. Enough memory allows to avoid using scratch disk which reduces performance especially when you are zooming in and zooming out in a seamless way.
    But image size is just one part of the problem and that's depending also of the use of layers and their complexity -> how much the layers are covered by pixels and how those pixels are scattered on the layers.
    In Photoshop there is also 8-bit or 16-bit image. 16-bit image uses more memory.

    Painter has limitation actually, it cannot use more than 2GB of memory and you will never see it using more than 1,4GB in your task manager so it is not so important if you have at least 3GB and you are not running another programs which uses lot of memory. I mean I am talking about the maximum you can get from Painter, I don't mean you need absolutely 3GB to use it properly.

    About the brush size (well, I will not talk about brush complexity, dual brush, spacing...), it is dependent of the CPU (considering there is enough memory) but the number of core does not change anything if you have at least 2 cores.
    Usually, Adobe uses optimization of latest CPU (and remove surely optimization of oldest one) so frequency is far to be the unique factor. Since you are getting latest CPU it will be of course very good.

    Now I can't say how many memory you will need, it depends of your use. With more memory, you will not care about closing programs. 4GB is good but considering how I am using my computer and the complexity of my files (and how many files are opened) I needed more to avoid annoying slowdown in some case.
    Anyway, more memory you will have and more memory you will waste because as I have said, you don't need to close programs (firefox is opened with lot of tabs and it is using sometime 1GB...635MB actually)...so 4GB can be enough....oh, and of course, you need a 64-bit operating system.

    Last edited by hecartha; October 15th, 2010 at 05:20 AM.
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  14. #12
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    Sandyman, if you going to be doing primarily digital painting on the laptop, I highly suggest in getting a convertible Tablet PC. With Wacom's penabled digitizers, it's almost like having a mini Cintiq.

    If photoshop and Painter is what you'll be mostly spending your time using, you really don't need a powerful rig in the first place. My 1.6 ghz dual core/2 gigs ram Lenovo X-61 tablet PC runs Photoshop just as well as my quad core 2.6 ghz/4gigs ram desktop. Granted I really can't recall ever working on files 8000 by 8000, but layer complexity is really what will tax that. If its just a few layers, it should still run fine.

    The Cheapest new Tablet PC you can get is the HP TM2. For about $1000 you can get it configured with a Core I5 and with a discrete graphics card. The drawback is poor viewing angles and a glossy screen. But given its the most affordable tablet PC on the market, plenty of artists are using them.

    There is also the Fujitsu TH700 with a Core I3 for about $999. No discrete graphics (TM2 is the only current tablet that has that) but its clock speed is higher then the TM2 (which uses lower voltage processors).

    I'd also recommend the Lenovo X201 Tablet...but that may be alittle out of your price range.

    Last edited by darkmagistric; October 18th, 2010 at 03:38 AM.
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    I've got some friends-designers so I can tell you that most of them prefer either Dell displays, cause they're real awsome, or Macs, because they are awsome, too, and some people just luv Macs and that's it) I would choose a Dell monitor.

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    Another thing to keep in mind is that by next August the technology out will be drastically different then what is out now. New AMD processors will be out, new intel processors will be out, RAM will probably have increased in amount and decreased in price, ditto for HDDS.


    Edit: And now I see this thread is from last year >.> whoopsies.

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    i thinl you should go for this Dell Inspiron Laptop Intel Core i5 2410M processor 8 GB memory, 750 GB HD 2.3 Gigahertz Intel HD Graphics 3000 this is the best configuration i am using this for my normal use if you have to use for specific propose then go for it

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