Laptop for: photo editing and 2D graphics

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by Bigg.I, Jun 5, 2016.

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  1. Bigg.I

    Bigg.I Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hello, it's time to replace my 6 years old 17" Asus K73SV. I am looking for a laptop suitable for photo editing and creating 2D graphics. I am a Creative Digital Media student (finished 2nd year) and my laptop is basically crap. Heavy, poor screen specs, lack of RAM, poor built quality, no battery life.
    I am studying abroad, but I am visiting my home regularly, that's the reason, why I am looking for a laptop. It should survive several journeys by a plane. (the current ASUS did and it's really poor quality).

    When I finish my studies (1 year time), the desired laptop will be used for beginings in my professional career as well. After another 1 year, I am planning to get a decent desktop build and the laptop will be used less.

    The new laptop should have at least 16 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, weight about 2kg (I can live with slightly heavier device, but no more than 2.3 kg please).

    1) Budget - 2000 $


    2) What size notebook would you prefer?
    Not really sure. 13.3 - 15.6"
    3) Where will you buying this notebook? You can select the flag of your country as an indicator.
    Czech Republic or United Kingdom

    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?
    Like: Dell, Toshiba, Asus, Lenovo
    Dislike: Acer, Fujitsu Siemens, Apple
    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?
    No

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?

    Photo editing (Photoshop, Zoner Photo Studio), little bit of After Effects, Premiere and Illustrator. Webdesign.
    Internet browsing, movies.

    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?
    It will be mainly in my room, but twice a week I will need to take it to my class.

    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? If so, please state which games or types of games?
    Ocassional gaming of not demanding games (Banished, War Thunder).

    9) How many hours of battery life do you need?
    5 hours of internet browsing will be nice

    10) Would you prefer to see the notebooks you're considering before purchasing it or buying a notebook on-line without seeing it is OK?

    I don't mind

    What OS do you prefer? Windows (Windows 7 / 8), Mac OS, Linux, etc.
    I love linux, but I have to use Windows.

    Screen Specifics
    I am not really sure. This is one of the biggest struggles. Is 4K resolution worth the money? Is software optimized for this resolution? Will be FullHD enough for photo editing?
    Help me answer these questions please :).

    FullHD or 4K

    Glossy screen

    Build Quality and Design

    Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?
    The laptop should have a premium look, not a gaming laptop look.

    When are you buying this laptop?
    In a month time period.

    How long do you want this laptop to last?

    2 years will be used as a main device, next 3 years as a side device together with powerful desktop

    Notebook Components

    How much hard drive space do you need? Do you want a SSD drive?
    256GB SSD at least, 512 GB SSD preferably, I don't need a SATA drive.

    Do you need an optical drive? If yes, a DVD Burner, Blu-ray Reader or Blu-Ray Burner?
    No, I will buy an external one if needed.

    --------------------

    I did have a look on some laptops and I have some questions:

    Do I need the HQ CPU? Or Will have the U CPU enough power?
    (for example: Intel Core i7-6700HQ vs. Intel Core i7-6500U)

    Will have integrated graphics card enough power or is the dedicated graphics card needed for my needs?

    I really like some laptops:

    Dell XPS 15
    Dell XPS 13
    Asus UX501VW

    Thank you very much for any tips

    Ps: sorry for my English
     
  2. Kent T

    Kent T Notebook Virtuoso

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    Premiere Pro will be the most demanding application you use, and Photoshop can be if you are a power user who uses many layers of image processing and effects. You really need a decent GPU for Premiere Pro, otherwise you could make do with less expensive hardware. Dell's XPS 13 and 15 or the Asus Zenbooks would be worth considering here.
     
  3. Bigg.I

    Bigg.I Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thank you for your reply. Yes, I am using premiere, but not very often, it covers like 5-10% of my work, 20 % of my work is after effects, the rest is just a Photoshop and Zoner. In Photoshop I am working on advanced images, but they are more about big resolution when I am doing photography. For webdesign I am working with many layers, but lower resolution.
     
  4. Kent T

    Kent T Notebook Virtuoso

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    You might do OK with integrated graphics, but I'd still get the discrete GPU, it will speed up workflow and make the machine nicer to use.
     
  5. Bigg.I

    Bigg.I Notebook Enthusiast

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    sounds good, still need more answers for my questions, which will help me to decide which device to select :)

    Does anyone else have an idea which laptop will suit me the best?
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2016
  6. Bigg.I

    Bigg.I Notebook Enthusiast

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    Is there any fellow photographer with experience with one of these laptops?
     
  7. IAMdiscerning

    IAMdiscerning Notebook Guru

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    As @Kent T mentioned, the most demanding programs you're using are After Effect and Premiere, which both would benefit significantly from a dedicated GPU (greatly improved preview rendering). Since you may not often use both programs, you should ask yourself does the money spent justify the mere 5-10% of your laptop usage? GPU in Photoshop is very niche, you should check out for yourself if you uses these functions a lot: https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/kb/photoshop-cc-gpu-card-faq.html

    Okay, screen. The most important thing in a screen is not the resolution but the color gamut and accuracy. Personally, I think 1080 for display is good enough though 2560 QHD would be even better but definitely not 4K. Windows scaling still doesn't work great, plus not much software support high res screen (including Photoshop), and the battery consumption is crazy as well. Regarding whether if it is "enough" for photo editing, it really depends on you. Some of the most famous photographs are captured through films not laptop screens. The smallest density of a screen that human eyes can distinguish is called the retina ppi, which changes at different distances. How do you calculate how much resolution is needed? Through (3438/ viewing distance), you will get the required ppi, then work your math to calculate the resolution you want.

    And then we have the SSD. SATA is a standard port which can connect both SSD (the type of SSD we use here is called SATA III SSD) and traditional hard drive. There's another type of SSD called the pcie SSD, albeit more expensive, can provide up to 2x performance of SATA III SSD but they use different port called the m.2 pcie port. So, for your usage, pcie ssd would be better. If you can have 2 storage system in your device, it can help rendering previews and video processing through different storage system which will provide a smoother workflow.

    Video editing and photo editing are both CPU intensive stuffs, though many would think that GPU plays a more significant role, which is wrong. Getting a quad-core cpu helps way more than a dual-core cpu.

    Recommendations:
    Dell E5570 (gets hot)
    Thinkpad T460p (gets hot, weak battery)

    XPS 15
    Asus UX501 (watch out for screen color accuracy, heard some bad reviews)

    Gigabyte Aero 14
    Razer Blade


    Clevo based laptops (not familiar with your country's custom laptops, you gotta ask someone else)
     
  8. z31fanatic

    z31fanatic Notebook Consultant

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    Dell XPS 15 has the GTX 960M or the Dell Precision M5510 which has the Quadro M1000M. They are basically the same computer but with different video cards. 960M is more suitable for games while the M1000M is good for CAD. The M5510 also has a slightly faster preocessor, i7-6820HQ vs i7-6700HQ. Both should be around $2000 with the specs that you want.
     
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  9. Bigg.I

    Bigg.I Notebook Enthusiast

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    Guys, thank you very much ! :)
    Okay, I wasn't originally aiming to get a 4K laptop, unfortunately, the Dell XPS 15 comes with HW specs I want (SSD, 16 GB RAM) only with 4K in my country. The FullHD comes only with lower specs. I firstly wanted the XPS, because it's really sexy and specs are pretty good. The applications are not really optimized now, but in 2 years time.. could be. I know the colour accuracy matters much more than a resolution.

    So, are there any FullHD or 2560 QHD laptops with really good colour accuracy?


    <off topic>
    You are right, the HW is not that important. The best pictures I have ever taken were captured by my mobile phone Nokia 808 PureView.
    </off topic>

    You know, I set my budget for the price of the XPS 15, because it's the machine, which really caught my eye and I think it will be a good laptop in a few years time. But I am happy to save some money.

    I am getting definitely a quad core machine, I think I want a dedicated graphics card. Ocassional gaming and the GPU acceleration is nice in some SW as well.

    I will check the Thinkpad T460p and the Gigabyte Aero 14.
    Dell Precision M5510 didn't catch my interest.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2016
  10. tijo

    tijo Sacred Blame Super Moderator

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    The 5510 is basically the XPS with a different video card, the rest is pretty much the same.

    Regarding the 4K display in the XPS, it is roughly 100% aRGB, but still 8-bit per primary color rather than the 10-bit per primary you'll find HP offering in their ZBook series, that said, color accuracy is still going to be better than most other displays out there.
     
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