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configuring a new laptop PC

Explorer ,
Jul 19, 2022 Jul 19, 2022

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I'm shopping a new laptop and was wondering which do's and don't's are important.

I would start with 16 GB of RAM, an Intel i7 (not sure which one) and at least 1/2 TB of SSL memory.

I'm very unsure about the benefits of a graphics card.  One might assume that being a very graphical (vs. textual) application, more would help here, but I recall reading somewhere that this wasn't necessarily true..

 

Links to published benchmarks would be appreciated as well as personal views based on experience.

 

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Community Expert , Nov 26, 2022 Nov 26, 2022

The dedicated GPU provides a performance benefit for Lightroom, since the algorithms within Lightroom's image handling routines are now optimized to take advantage of the architecture of GPUs, which provide a massively parallel pipeline for image manipulation tasks. The details are very complex, but the bottom line is that Lightroom will take advantage of a GPU's capability to provide significant performance increases in the Develop module and in preview generation. 

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LEGEND ,
Jul 19, 2022 Jul 19, 2022

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Is this a question related to Lightroom Classic? You don't really say.

 

If your new laptop has a 4K monitor, then you need a good graphics card to go with it. If it has <4K monitor, probably a lower end graphics card is all you need. I would in either case go for the fastest CPU you can afford. (Note: these statements apply to Lightroom Classic only, other software may have different requirements)

 

What is "SSL memory"?

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Explorer ,
Jul 19, 2022 Jul 19, 2022

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Thanks. 

I meant to say "SSL storage" - which is solid state storage instead of traditional disc storage.  Loads much, much faster.

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Engaged ,
Jul 19, 2022 Jul 19, 2022

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@Newmarket2 

Much depends on your needs and your budget.

 

For instance I find myself now in need to upgrade but photography is my "job" so I need the best specs possible to do heavy edits, mange thousandths of photos, printing, etc...

You might be happy and satisfied to work with a "lower specs"  machine than the one that I/we could suggest you.

 

.

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Community Expert ,
Jul 19, 2022 Jul 19, 2022

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As others have mentioned, this really depends on your personal needs. For me, because I work on large files, I run a minimum of 64 GB of RAM and a much higher amount of storage.

Perhaps you can share situations, and perhaps we can offer better specifics.

warmly/j

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Explorer ,
Jul 19, 2022 Jul 19, 2022

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More specifics, then....

I am not a professional and I seldom print my images.  I've got around 23k pictures in my catalog.  My largest files are around 33MB (.NEF) but most are under 30MB. 

So, casual amateur mostly working for my own pleasure. 

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Engaged ,
Jul 19, 2022 Jul 19, 2022

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@Newmarket2 

 

Well then I think you would be good with 32gb of Ram it would give you more room for the future (16gb is really the bare minimum to survive IMO)

If you store you photos internally the go for SSD (4TB) but those are expensive.

 

Perhaps chose a smaller internal SSD (1tb) and then for much, much less, buy a good 4tb external HDD.

You don't want to lose your photos so in case buy 2 HDD or but and inexpensive Backblaze cloud storage license (I recommend this one to all Professional and not)

 

Monitor wise 4k to me is still a better choice...in case you can watch good movies on the laptop.

 

GPU you are looking at 6-8Gb with 4k

 

Brand wise Dell allows, in most cases, to customize your Laptop with your desired configuration so it it's a good choice of brand (also check Asus)

 

.

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LEGEND ,
Jul 19, 2022 Jul 19, 2022

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A better number would be to tell us your RAW image sizes in megaPIXELs and not megabytes.

 

For most actions, RAM is not a bottleneck in LrC, 16GB is fine for LrC (exception: panoramas or HDR). However, depending on other software you use on your computer, that 16GB may not be enough.

 

If you are going to store your photos on an external HD, then 1/2 TB SSD as the internal drive is fine; if you are going to need to store your photos on the internal drive (perhaps because you want to use LrC while travelling with your laptop), the 1/2 TB for the internal drive seems kind of tiny.

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Engaged ,
Jul 19, 2022 Jul 19, 2022

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@dj_paige 

 

Lr already saturates my 16gb of RAM: it is absolutely not enough.

 

I have observed Lr using 90% of available memory doing nothing, simply standing idle.

LR is not exactly memory efficient.

 

.

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LEGEND ,
Jul 19, 2022 Jul 19, 2022

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Okay, I have the opposite experience. In theory, LrC is not memory intensive, memory is rarely a bottleneck. Perhaps it isn't working right for you. (Unless you are doing a lot of panoramas or HDRs...)

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Engaged ,
Jul 19, 2022 Jul 19, 2022

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@dj_paige 

 

It's Masking, local edits that are problematic for Lr.

It is still the one area where much needs to be done/improved and where ACR is definitely superior (performance wise).

 

.

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LEGEND ,
Jul 19, 2022 Jul 19, 2022

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It's Masking, local edits that are problematic for Lr.


These should affect CPU or GPU utilization, not memory utilization.

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Community Expert ,
Jul 19, 2022 Jul 19, 2022

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@Newmarket2 wrote:

So, casual amateur mostly working for my own pleasure. 


 

For a Windows PC, a starting point would be a 12th generation Intel Core (or AMD equivalent) CPU, with 16GB RAM, and enough internal SSD storage so that there’s always at least roughly 100GB of free space for caches and such. (Originals can be stored on external USB 3 storage, if you don’t mind having to plug it in when you want to work on photos.) If budget allows, 32GB RAM and then a discrete GPU with at least 4GB VRAM would be the next steps up, but those might not be needed for casual use.

 

The reason for the 12th gen Intel CPU is that it’s a significant jump in mobile CPU+graphics performance and battery efficiency from previous generations. That jump would keep the machine useful for a few more years compared to earlier generations.

 


@Newmarket2 wrote:

I'm very unsure about the benefits of a graphics card.


 

In the past, Lighroom Classic used graphics hardware mostly for the Develop module and a few other features such as interactive zooming. Adobe just added GPU acceleration for exporting in version 11.4; if they keep adding GPU acceleration to more features then the GPU will become more important in the future. But we don’t know what their real plans are.

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Explorer ,
Jul 20, 2022 Jul 20, 2022

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I ran into trouble with Dell and with Asus.  They seem less configurable than I found them to be in the past.

Wondering if anyone might recommend a maker (Windows) that is highly configurable and not off-the-charts expensive?

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LEGEND ,
Nov 26, 2022 Nov 26, 2022

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here's one with a faster CPU than the one you mentioned: https://www.cyberpowerpc.com/system/Tracer-V-GAMING-I17G-200

 

I have ordered and used several desktop computers from CyberpowerPC, I have complete confidence in them. I do add that I have never ordered a laptop from them.

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Explorer ,
Nov 25, 2022 Nov 25, 2022

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well, I still haven't pulled the trigger, but might soon.

I have configured a Dell XPS 13" i-7-1250U; integrated Iris Xe graphics; 1TB SSD; 32 GB Ram - all for $1,200 (claiming a $300 discount)

If I instead go with a NVIDIA graphics card, I'm now looking at an Alienware 14" for $1,500

I do a fair amount of editing and am very, very excited about the new masking capabilities in the latest release.

I have no other special needs (I do not game), other than having a fair number of windows open most of the time and I often stream while I work.

My question at this point is:  will the integrated Intel graphics be enough?

And, if I were to go with a dedicated graphics card, is there anything else in the configuration that I could cut back on to bring the price back to around $1,200-1,300?

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LEGEND ,
Nov 25, 2022 Nov 25, 2022

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I think the biggest mistake you can make is underestimate the importance of the CPU and GPU, and then spending too little on these, getting a relatively slow CPU and relatively slow GPU, and then Lightroom Classic appears to be slow. Whether or not the CPU you mentioned, with integrated Iris Xe graphics, will be sufficient and fast enough, is unknown, but this CPU is ranked near the middle of performers for laptops https://www.cpubenchmark.net/laptop.html. I also think instead of paying for 32GB RAM, you should go with 16GB ram and get faster CPU and GPU.

 

I'm not sure you mentioned what size images in pixels or megapixels, not megabytes, you are working with, and I don't feel like scrolling back through this very long thread ... please inform me.

 

You didn't state how big a monitor in pixels (not inches) you will have.

 

You don't state WHICH Nvidia graphics card you are looking at.

 

All of these are primary drivers of speed in Lightroom Classic.

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Explorer ,
Nov 25, 2022 Nov 25, 2022

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When I look at my RAW images, the largest is 33 MB and pixel size is around 6000x4000

I have 2 monitors

one is 24", the other 27" but both are 1920x1040

I likely will replace one of them with 4k resolution.

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LEGEND ,
Nov 25, 2022 Nov 25, 2022

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Since I asked for pixels, your photos are 24MP (and the number of MB that you provided is irrelevant).

 

Please understand that switching to larger monitors (in pixels) cause the CPU and GPU to have to work harder to make Lightroom Classic perform with all those pixels. At some point, this appears as Lightroom Classic slowness. If you really intend to add a 4K monitor, you will need a GPU that has enough speed and memory to handle it without slowness, and I would urge you to plan for that right now by getting a compatible and relatively powerful GPU.

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Explorer ,
Nov 25, 2022 Nov 25, 2022

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needing a graphics card for 4k is really helpful information. 

But, not today's problem - which is configuring a new laptop and getting the best LR performance I can afford

 

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LEGEND ,
Nov 25, 2022 Nov 25, 2022

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Repeating: "I also think instead of paying for 32GB RAM, you should go with 16GB ram and get faster CPU and GPU."

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Explorer ,
Nov 26, 2022 Nov 26, 2022

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thanks for offering your opinion, but could you say a bit about "why?"

Might there be certain functions/operations in LR that would benefit most from one strategy and others from another strategy?

I also was under the impression that more RAM was beneficial for having multiples windows open (and working) at the same time....

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LEGEND ,
Nov 26, 2022 Nov 26, 2022

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quote

thanks for offering your opinion, but could you say a bit about "why?"

Might there be certain functions/operations in LR that would benefit most from one strategy and others from another strategy?

I also was under the impression that more RAM was beneficial for having multiples windows open (and working) at the same time....


By @Newmarket2

 

Memory is rarely a bottleneck in Lightroom Classic. Most operations are not memory intensive. 32GB RAM will have only very slight benefits compared to performing the same tasks with 16GB RAM. All of that pertains to LrC only. The only exceptions I know of which need lots of memory are panoramas and HDRs.

 

If you really feel like you need to have multiple windows open while you are running LrC, that's your choice, only you can decide if that is worth the cost of additional RAM memory. I have 16GB of RAM, and when I am using LrC and have other windows open (web browser often streaming music, e-mail app, VPN, and sometimes even a remote connection to my computer at work via the internet) I have never yet seen any memory related issues in LrC. But I have a faster CPU than the one you are looking at, and a dedicated GPU, and everything runs smoothly.

 

Again, I fear that skimping on the CPU and GPU while increasing memory to 32GB will be the wrong solution for Lightroom Classic.

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Explorer ,
Nov 26, 2022 Nov 26, 2022

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 This has been very helpful.  But, my next problem is a practical one....I'm finding no laptop configurations (from my regular makers) available in 14" with 1TB and a dedicated graphics card that come with only 16GB of RAM.  HP has one model, under $1,300, which has everything I'm looking for but comes with 32 GB.  I'm assuming that there's nothing WRONG with having more memory - just that I shouldn't pay MORE for it. 

[https://www.hp.com/us-en/shop/pdp/hp-elitebook-845-14-inch-g9-notebook-pc-wolf-pro-security-edition]

See anything wrong with this?

Should I look at other mfg's?  Someone mentioned ASUS, which I'll check again, but the HP seems the best available

 

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Engaged ,
Nov 25, 2022 Nov 25, 2022

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@Newmarket2 

 

I highly recommend to buy a laptop with a dedicated GPU.

 

Intel alone is not enough nor good enough imo.

Yes it will be more expensive BUT always consider you're buying a machine that will serve you for the next years....you dot want to regret it in 12 months.

 

.

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