Discussion in 'Computer Related Help & Discussion' started by gavin caventer, Jun 12, 2019.
Hello what sort of spec computer do I need for photo editing thanks
That's a "how long is a piece of string" question. In general terms any computer these days should be adequate for basic purposes.
I'd say the same. Whichever software you plan to use will generally have a minimum specification but these days the processors are fast and memory not so expensive. Some computers are sold for gaming, which may or may not be of interest, but the goals are opposite to those of photoediting particularly if you wish later to print. I'd avoid monitors advertised as "best for gaming" which tend to favour high contrast and fast response time over uniform and stable colour and brightness. If looking at laptops beware that some screens (like that in my levono) have such a small viewing angle as to be utterly useless for photo work because the slightest change in viewing angle dramatically changes apparent contrast and saturation, others are not bad - I used a Sony Vaio for some time and that was OK if I was careful. I eventually bought an external photo-monitor for it. If it is your only monitor, a general purpose one may be better than a monitor designed for photo-work if you will mainly use it for office work and reading text. Plus, it will be a lot easier to find in a shop.
Never mind the computer, within reason. You are best off with a decent gpu, and if you are going to work with lots of layers then have plenty of ram. (12 Mbytes is not over the top).
What matters is the monitor. A specialist photo monitor with calibration equipment is good if you are really serious about colour balance. You may also find a Wacom intuos better than a mouse. If you get the touch version of the Wacom then be very careful not to scratch it. Replacing the touch surface is an expensive factory job. The non touch version surface can be changed cheaply as a DIY job. I have the touch version and do not like it; it is too easy to do unintended actions. I use it with touch switched off.
Expect to pay more for your monitor than your computer.
If you are into video then the computer spec matters more, but that is an area in which I have no experience whatsoever.
I seem to recall that photo editing programs don't use the GPU, there are some threads on the subject and it might be worth a look, Nick (Benchista) knows a lot more about this than I do, which isn't difficult. I also hope you mean 12GB of RAM not 12MB.
My copy of Photoshop Elements 7 ran noticeably faster when I moved from 2 GB of RAM to 8 GB of RAM when buying a PC in 2013. When I had to buy a new PC in 2018 I stayed with the same RAM and a similar speed processor, but paid about half the price of the one I got in 2013.
I don't know if more modern versions, or other software, need a faster processor. Also, I work with RAW and JPG files from a 16 megapixel DSLR: if you have a camera body with a 40 or 50 megapixel sensor the amount of RAM might be more important too because the files will be much larger.
The first PC I used in the mid 1980s had 64 KB of RAM: what fun we could have editing images on that...but it had no hard drive, just two floppy disc drives.
The size of your files and what you want to do with them, is an important starting point.
A 12 MP sensor can run perfectly well on even a basic computer with 4 GB memory. and most of us have managed to do it.
However Larger MP cameras become very resource hungry
My current computer has 16GB of memory and a reasonable Cpu four core i5 6400 at 2.7 ghz
the GPU is fairly low spec 1030 but perfectly adequate for the purpose.
I also have all the operating system and programs on a M.2 SSD and all the files on a "TB hard drive.
Some programs that I use like Photoshop and PTAssembler can use all the cores at the same time and as much memory as you can throw at them.
This computer was assembled for me by Pallicomp and serves very well indeed.
I have recently had another one made up, by them, for my daughter
This is a somewhat upgraded version of my own and with two hard disks in raid configuration to automatically back up. for no more than £1000
This would be capable of anything that she is likely to throw at it for the next 5 years or so.
(I find that even top grade computers get to the stage that they need replacing about every five years or so to keep up with new developments.)
RAID is NOT a substitute for a backup. RAID may help prevent data loss following a failure of one or more physical drives, but it is absolutely NOT a backup.
Absolutely. However she never ever backs up. She had her previous computer set to back up to the cloud by the local computer man, and that only worked for a month. So she did not bother.
So a raid is at least some protection from hardware failure at least. But no protection from any thing else.
From my personal experience...RAM RAM and more RAM. I really love pano's and my Mac just gets slower and slower as I process them. I'll have to restart the computer after doing one of two! Then if I go from Lightroom to 'edit in Photoshop' it gets slower still. Really dead slow.
The hard drive failed, so I replaced it with (on a friends recommendation) a SSD and that seemed to help it speed up a little. I think it's because when the RAM was full it can access an SSD faster.
It's RAM per core these days of multiple processors, rather than just RAM on its own. As far as I know the RAM can't be increased on my iMac. It shipped with 8GB back in 2012 and that seems to be it. Google suggests that the i5 processor has 4 cores so that's only 2 GB per core. I don't know why it is so little and why it cannot be upgraded.
If the computer is swapping to disk then an SSD is a lot faster than a HDD.
Because Apple have been pursuing a black box design philosophy for some years now. It comes down to "solder everything to the board and never use slots". If you want upgradeability you pay a fortune for the Mac Pro. For what I do now that doesn't worry me but it seems like an "interesting" marketing decision.
I agree, but I suspect the truth is that very few people actually upgraded their Macs so Apple realised that the demand for upgradeability wasn't there so they saved money by deleting the unused sockets. I have always upgraded, prior to my current Macs to whatever the board would support.
I do know that a 2011 iMac can have additional RAM added but not sure about 2012.
Thank you for all of your advice
Apparently, it can be upgraded https://everymac.com/systems/apple/...aq/how-to-upgrade-imac-ram-aluminum-2012.html
Whether you are prepared to have a go is another matter.
Thanks for getting back to us, Many people do not bother.
If you would like to sum up what you think all of this sometimes conflicting help means then we can confirm or otherwise. The GPU matters for software from some suppliers, such as Adobe, but not others. Ram is very important.
Oops quite right Geoff, GB. On the GPU; some programs do use it to great advantage.
SSD is fast but not ideal for large capacity storage.
I intend changing my now aging desktop. As with my laptop I will specify a modest sized SSD for the C drive and a very large (>4 TB) for main picture storage. I back up to external 4 TB drives already.
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