Best PC for Photography

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Best PC for Photography

Postposted on Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:21 am

Please help me to decide on what PC to buy for my photography business? Hardware/software specs
john1327
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Re: Best PC for Photography

Postposted on Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:49 am

Budget and location?

For a system, the TR system guides are a good place to start from. If you're on a budget, the Sweet Spot with the addition of an Intel 310/320/510 or samsung 830 based SSD for a scratch/OS disk is a good option. Since you will be relying on this machine and the data on it to earn your liveliood, I would be wary of recommending you a crucial m4 or sandforce based controller (although both reportedly have fixes out for their BSOD issues).

For software, I use Adobe Lightroom for my hobby-level photography. Photoshop CS5 or 6 might be a good choice for you to do more intensive image editing, although Lightroom is still great for workflow management.
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Voldenuit
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Re: Best PC for Photography

Postposted on Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:31 pm

"Best PC" is awfully nebulous. You can use a five-year-old machine and it will function at a basic level, provided you have enough system memory and disk space. But a new machine will blast through filter operations a whole lot quicker, especially if your source images are running in the 20mp range that's now common on higher-end camera bodies.

As Voldenuit stated, your budget is going to be the meaningful cap. Also, do you already have a suitable monitor to use with this new system? If not, then you need to be figuring at least $300-500 for a good 8-bit IPS model.
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ludi
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Re: Best PC for Photography

Postposted on Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:09 pm

A budget and more specific summary of what you want to actually do on a day-to-day basis may be useful.

1) Unless your post-processing is very time critical, any recent quad core CPU should do the trick. If you are building new, a core-i5 2500(k) based system is probably quite sufficient.
2)You are going to want as fast a data storage system as possible as this will likely be the bottle neck, especially if you deal with a lot of large raw files. The two obvious solutions here are to get an SSD hard drive (such as the Crucial M4). Alternatively, or in addition, given the low price of memory, you could go the route of getting extra ram (ie, 32GB) and setting up a small ram disk for which to dump and process your photos from. You could likely get away with 16GB of ram to do this (ie, 8-12GB system memory and 4-8GB ram disk), it really depends on how many photos you normally process at a time.
3)Photo processing software has supported GPU acceleration for the past couple of years now (ie, Photoshop). So perhaps a mid-range discrete graphics card might also be beneficial (something in the $150 range perhaps).
4) The two most popular photo processing programs for the PC are probably Photoshop and Lightroom (both Adobe products). Lightroom is significantly less expensive, but offers a few limitations. My impression is that Lightroom is sufficient for 99% of a photographers processing needs. You can get a comparison of both software programs here.
5)If you don't have a decent, color-accurate monitor it can make post-processing difficult.


In summary, I would start with something link TR's Sweet Spot build and perhaps increasing the ram to 16 or 32 GB as budget dictates and maybe getting yourself an SSD (doesn't have to be a large expensive one as you can archive your photos on mechanical disks or DVDs, etc). You could also get away with getting a cheaper video card if you won't be doing any gaming. As mentioned, many filters in processing software are now GPU accelerated, but it really depends on how much post processing you do and, specifically, how often you use these filters.
cynan
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Re: Best PC for Photography

Postposted on Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:58 pm

cynan wrote:4) The two most popular photo processing programs for the PC are probably Photoshop and Lightroom (both Adobe products). Lightroom is significantly less expensive, but offers a few limitations. My impression is that Lightroom is sufficient for 99% of a photographers processing needs. You can get a comparison of both software programs here.


I would say that even if the OP wants the editing and retouching tools of Photoshop, the workflow and non-destructive nature of Lightroom are more than worth the $99 it costs. Get both.
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Voldenuit
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Re: Best PC for Photography

Postposted on Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:28 pm

I think we need a few more details from the OP. If they use apps that run on the PC, then we can advise them on appropriate hardware. If they are a fan of Apple's Aperture, then we need to point them at a Mac. If they don't have any software at all that they currently use and are thinking about using software for the first time in their business, then they need a bunch of advice. If they are buying a PC to run apps for their business like Quicken, then we need to know that too.
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