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Best Laptop for Photoshop

Charles Angelis , Feb 13, 2005; 07:28 p.m.

I realise LCD displays me not be the most accurate for using Photoshop with, but the portability of a laptop seems very attractive to me at this time. I have been thinking of getting a new computer with higher performance to handle large files in Photoshop. Right now it is pretty slugish when I have a 60MB file open. I'm not super picky about calibration and getting everything just right and fine tuned. I do want some level of accuracy. At the moment I use a 15" CRT display with calibration by Adobe Gamma.

If I were to decide to purchase a laptop computer for use with Photoshop as well as other traditional PC applications, which laptop would be my best bet? Which laptop would provide the best/most accurate LCD display?


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Charles Angelis , Feb 13, 2005; 08:13 p.m.

Pierre Caillaud , Feb 13, 2005; 08:31 p.m.

You can always plug your laptop in a Sony Artisan monitor if you need colour accuracy.

For Photoshop, it's really simple :

1- It all fits into RAM. Then the CPU speed and RAM speed count. 2- It does not fit in RAM and the disk has to be used as temporary space. Then it crawls. Your modern CPU is useless. Only disk speed counts then.

As laptop disks are slow, you really don't want to be in case 2.

So, get RAM ! If you have two machines, for the same price, say a machine A with 256 MB RAM and a 3 GHz CPU, and a machine B with 1 GB RAM with a 2 GHz CPU, roughly A will be 50% faster than B on small files, and A will be at least 10 times slower than B on large files.

To know what 'large' is, display the Status Bar in Photoshop and look at the Temporary Space used numbers.

Ellis Vener , Feb 13, 2005; 08:47 p.m.

Without regard to the PC vs. Apple question or price, the 17" Apple Powerbook. But to answer your root question: one with an accurately profiled and calibrated screen.

Profiling should be done on a regular basis: every month and possibly at the beginning on everey new assignment processing session if you are really, really picky. The X-Rite PULSE system seem to be the new leading player in this field.

Adobe gamma might be slightly better nothing but it is a long way from being good. It is just too subjective.

Carl Smith , Feb 13, 2005; 09:08 p.m.

Getting a laptop that actually has a good screen can be tricky. Some of the best are I think the Ultrasharp monitors. I know Dell has these and other companies might offer something similar. No laptop display can hold a candle to even a good desktop LCD, but some are obviously still better than others.

Obviously your preference in OS may override what I am about to say, but the fastest laptop with good battery performance you can get would be something running on a Pentium M with one of those Ultrasharp type displays. I think Sony has a comparable display to what Dell calls Ultrasharp.

A desktop will still trounce a laptop in overal performance, but you can get some pretty capable laptops these days without spending a fortune.

Dave Nelson - Atlanta, GA , Feb 13, 2005; 09:20 p.m.

It is very dependent upon how much money you have to spend and what you consider portable. The Alienware laptops really are portable desktops and have more than enough power to run anything. But expect to pay more than $4000 for one fully kitted out. A Dell Lattitude will do the job and have very nice screens for around $3000.

A mac G4 laptop is also a good choice, not real fast but very stable.

Joey Sandoval , Feb 14, 2005; 02:51 a.m.

LIES! ever use a g4 mac? my ibook with 1.33ghz compares to a 3ghz on a PC the pipelines are broader, more information can go through..... look into it

Chris Leck , Feb 14, 2005; 04:41 a.m.

Both Dell and Apple are at the top of the game. You could decide politically -- Dell if you support the Republican agenda, Mac if you're a progressive. (This suggestion is based upon the political contributions of the two companies.)

Beyond that, if you aren't "super picky about calibration and getting everything just right," anything should do -- especially if you are happy with Adobe Gamma.

If you really need compatibility with "traditional PC applications," you probably need a PC, not a Mac. This may depend on what is in your mix of "traditional PC applications." Traditionally, Macs or Mac software suppliers (such as Microsoft) have lagged in this area, current advertising notwithstanding.

Jerry Stillwell , Feb 14, 2005; 06:11 a.m.

I recently upgraded, and was looking for a balance of overall power, LCD quality and price. I looked at several (dozens at least), and ended up buying a Sony Vaio. The overall specifications are similar to other vendors' offerings, but the lid seemed a bit more durable (I've cracked two screens in the past - not something I want to do again!). X-Brite and Ultra-brite (depending on the manufacturer) will help you see detail that is all but lost on traditional LCDs.

Nikos P , Feb 14, 2005; 09:35 a.m.

I have an Aspire 1700 with 80Gb Hard Disk / 7200 rpm 2,6Ghz CPU and 17" LCD (very very bright), and now 1 Gbyte RAM. The weight is about 7,0 Kg but you can easy (and with little money) upgrade the RAM the Hard Disk and also the CPU because in this model (series 1700) all those parts came from Desktops!

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