When it comes to buying a laptop for photo editing there are several specific computer components that need to be considered for a good photo editing experience. Here are 7 tips to use in order to help you purchase the right photo editing laptop to meet your needs.
The first thing that you need to consider when purchasing a laptop for photo editing is the hard drive. For a high performance you need to look for a laptop that offers an SSD of 256 GB. For those who are looking for something that is adequate for your needs a hybrid drive that offers 8 GB or more is preferred. It is important to make sure that the hard drive offers at least 7200 RPM. A laptop that offers only a 5400 RPM hard drive is simply not going to be adequate for your needs.
When it comes down to it, if you are looking at new laptops and it comes down to choosing between a smaller SSD with a larger HDD, even with a 7200 RPM drive, choose the smaller SSD.
2. RAM (Memory)
When a person hears the word memory in discussion of a phone or computer, typically this refers to the amount of data that can be stored on a computer. Most people do not consider the RAM of the computer that they use on a day to day basis, but as a photographer when you are trying to edit photos you will quickly see that it is important, especially if you do not have enough of it.
In order to get the best performance from your photo editing software you will need to have a minimum of 7 GB of RAM. This is just to run those programs and nothing else. This means that if you run another browser you will need more RAM. Typically the choices are going to be either 8 or 16GB of RAM, so you will want to choose 16. If you edit a lot of videos you will want to choose 32 GB of RAM.
If your budget does not allow for you to have both a 256 GB SSD as well as 16GB of RAM, choose 8GB of RAM combined with 256 GB SSD instead of getting HHD. Choosing the larger SSD is typically the better choice. The reason that this is recommended is because Windows will use SSD as extra RAM and SSD is typically fast enough so the penalty is not bad.
When considering the CPU the Intel “Core-i” is recommended. You do not want to try to run Photoshop or Lightroom using Intel Celeron or Intel Pentium CPU’s. The Core-i3, i5, and i7 can all run both programs. If your budget allows choose the i5 or the i7 for better performance.
Where CPU is important is in the use of filters and sliders in Lightroom and when adding layers and making adjustments using Photoshop.
4. Graphic Processing
When it comes to graphics processing you should not even consider a laptop that does not have NVIDIA Geforce graphics. With this being said, you will need to consider how much memory that you want for your graphics card. Typically, 2GB or 4GB of graphics memory will suffice.
This is one of the small features of a laptop that many people overlook. However, the ports are one aspect that can determine how well a Windows PC works for photo editing. When it comes to ports a thunderbolt port is common throughout Apple’s line of computers. However, they are not commonly found in Windows computers. When looking at Windows laptops for photo editing make sure that it has at least one USB 3.0 port. If the computer you are considering only has a VGA port you will need to walk away as this will simply not be good enough.
If you want a high performance display you need to consider a full HD laptop with 1920×1080 IPS. Chances are that you have heard of 4K and may be considering it for your laptop purchase. However, this technology is not necessary for your photo editing needs and currently is simply a waste of money.
When considering the display it is a good idea to look for displays that offer IPS technology. IPS helps keep the display the same no matter what angle that you are looking at the photo from.
7. Other Factors
The above list provides you with the most important factors to consider when choosing a laptop for your photo editing needs. Some of the other things that you may want to consider before purchasing a laptop include:
- A 6 cell battery
- UHS-II SD card readers
- Multi-touch displays (some people find the touch screen helpful for editing photos, while others do not, this is really a personal preference.
- Hard drive and RAM accessibility
Another consideration is Windows 10. If you currently have a computer that has not been upgraded to Windows 10 you may want to hold off on the upgrade for a bit. The reason for this is because upgrading can cause issues for photo editing. However, if you are purchasing a new computer Windows 10 will likely already be installed and is great for your photo editing needs.
Overall, if you consider all of the specs that are listed above when purchasing your new laptop computer for photo editing you are well on your way to making a good purchase to meet your needs. The brand and specs of the laptop that you choose will greatly depend on your budget. If you are on a tight budget make sure that you splurge on getting the best hard drive possible even if it means giving up some of the other features as this is going to make your computer run much smoother and your editing process easier.