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Old 2nd Jun 2013, 08:06   #1
SAM81
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Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,193
New Photo Editing Laptop: Buy now or wait for Haswell

So I need to get a new laptop, the main purpose will be photo editing.

I have an old c2d desktop at the moment and although it runs lightroom, struggles with some of the more complex stuff. It also takes up a good chunk of the spare room which the missus isn't pleased about.

With that in mind I have started to look for a laptop replacement, budget of no more than £600.

First I was going to ask what people would recommend, like I say the purpose is really to have a decent and (fairly) future proofed photo editing machine. I am not interested in gaming so should i be looking for a better chip and more RAM or will the likes of photoshop and lightroom make use of a (half) decent gfx card?

Secondly, would I be stupid to buy now given Haswell chips have just come out? Its not imperative that I buy the laptop now; I can wait till the new chips arrive in laptops and see if it allows me to get a better specced last generation laptop for my budget?

Thanks for any advice offered!


Edit....

So just looking at an outlet place (not sure if i can say the name as they are a competitor but it rhymes with Well) I have found the following spec for £391 delivered

Base Inspiron 17 - 3721
Processor Processor: Intel® Core™ i5-3337U (3M Cache, up to 2.70 GHz) with 1 GB AMD HD 7670M Graphics
Operating System Windows® 8 Pro
Memory 8 GB Dual Channel DDR3 1600MHz Memory (2 DIMMs)
Hard Disk Drive 1 TB SATA Hard Drive (5400 RPM)
NoteBook Screen 17.3 inch High Definition+ (1600 x 900) LED Display with TrueLife
Windows 8 Professional (64 Bit OS)

Is this any good?
Last edited by SAM81; 2nd Jun 2013 at 08:32.
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Old 2nd Jun 2013, 12:16   #2
SAM81
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Well, I have had a look around this morning and the above seems like very good value.

Before I pull the trigger does anyone have any thoughts on waiting for Haswell?
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Old 2nd Jun 2013, 21:42   #3
K@rl
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For photo editing it might be worth going for something with a 1080 screen imo

i5 2500K | 780 3GB | 16GB DDR3 | Samsung 840 Pro
2 x NL54 Esxi - 16GB Ram
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Old 3rd Jun 2013, 18:04   #4
SAM81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K@rl View Post
For photo editing it might be worth going for something with a 1080 screen imo

Thanks

Today they have a new laptop on, the following spec for £470. Slightly more, but its smaller and has a better spec. It also has a full hd screen. Thoughts on this? Is it worth the cash?

Base Inspiron 15R - 5521
Processor Processor: Intel® Core™ i7-3517U (1.9GHz, 4M Cache) with 2 GB AMD HD 8730M Graphics
Memory 8 GB Dual Channel DDR3 1600MHz Memory (2 DIMMs)
Hard Disk Drive 1 TB SATA Hard Drive (5400 RPM)
Media Bay 8X DVD+/- RW Drive
NoteBook Screen Display : 15.6in Full High Definition (1920X1080) AntiGlare WLED LCD Panel
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Old 4th Jun 2013, 05:39   #5
SAM81
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Well I decided to pull the trigger and ordered this last night.

For the price, I couldn't find anything comparable, 1080 screen, i7 processor, 8GB Ram... and although Haswell will bring some gains in battery life, the intention is for this to mostly be near a powerpoint anyways.

Should be with me a week today. Will update this thread when it arrives...
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Old 22nd Jun 2013, 18:53   #6
SAM81
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Well I have had the laptop for a couple of weeks now so thought I would provide a an update on my thoughts...

I went with the spec above and all in (including delivery and vat) I paid £450. For the price, I couldn't find a spec that came close.

The laptop arrived on time despite reading numerous horror stories about the courier Dell uses. Coming from the outlet I was wondering what condition of the laptop would be like. Cosmetically, as far as I can tell, its in brand new condition. I honestly cannot see anything physically or cosmetically wrong with it.

The keyboard definitely feels a little shallow. In comparison to my work Lenovo think pad, its nowhere near as nice to type on. Its not terrible but not great either. It has a number pad which I prefer having than not.

The screen is lovely. I opted for the 1920 x 1080 and it looks excellent. I don't have a lot to compare it too (my old hp 1680 20" isnt up to much these days) but everything looks very crisp and clear. Viewing angles are excellent and it has a matte finish which seems to help it keep reflections and glare down.

The trackpad is actually surprisingly good; nowhere near as nice as an Apple pad but it feels good and is very responsive. The gestures are a nice extra; enabling them allows various two, three and four finger movements which results in various actions (opening the start screen, opening search, moving between tabs in the browser and moving back and forward though web pages). It certainly makes the laptop a lot easier to navigate.

Overall however this is still a dell laptop, the build quality is functional but not stellar. But then even brand new this model was always mid range so I wouldn't have expected mac book levels of fit and finish.

Performance feels nippy, its obviously fine in day to day tasks such as web browsing, document editing etc... but then you would expect that wouldn't you. I have tested Battlefield 3 and although I don't know for sure what the frame rate was, on medium settings at 1920x1080, it certainly produces playable results. I would hazard a guess and say its somewhere in the 40fps mark.

Applying filters and adjustments in lightroom is instantaneous, but it still takes a second or so to render the preview. This highlights the fact that this laptop uses a slow mechanical drive, which performance wise, is the only down side. I will be looking at removing the DVD drive and installing an ssd in there to boot from in the near future.

Speaking of which, does anyone have a guid on how to do this? I think I can find an ssd caddy that fits in the dvd drive no problem, but how to i go about transfering my Dell install of Windows 8 off the mechanical drive and onto an SSD?

I'll post some pics sometime tomorrow.

Overall, for the price I am more than happy with the laptop. I would be hard pressed to see why anyone would NOT buy from the outlet if they were considering a Dell.

Hope this is of use!
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