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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Computers for Photographers

(Nikon D3s, 24mm f/1.4, processed with Lightroom, Photoshop, Nik Software, Topaz and Photomatix for realistic look)

While I get numerous questions about camera gear and software, hardly anyone asks me about computer hardware. In the world of digital photography the computer is "essential gear". To facilitate digital work-flow photographers need good computer hardware along with software. Please note: I said need not want :)

I just replaced my old Dell computer with a custom build thanks to my friend Rob Engels. I was very close to purchasing a Mac but being able to build a PC (with Windows 7) for one third the cost was hard to ignore.

The computer configuration:
  • i7 (930) processor - All i7 processors are quad core and really fast.
  • 16GB RAM - This might seem like a lot but Adobe products tend to use a lot of RAM. More is better in the long run. With every new version of software more processing power and RAM is required.
  • 2TB hard drive - Plenty of space since I store my photos on external hard drives.
  • GeForce GTX 275 video card (896MB on board RAM) - Excellent video card. Good for 3D gaming and video.
  • USB 3.0 enabled motherboard - While I currently don't have any USB 3.0 devices, USB 3.0 is going to become commonplace in no time. From what I have read it is supposed to be 10 times faster than USB 2.0.

I upgrade my computer every 3 years or so. That is the reason I chose this configuration. It took me a couple of weeks to get everything setup. Now that I do, I am really enjoying it. Windows 7 is a lot nicer than XP (I skipped Vista). It's a little Mac like. The 64 bit OS and software are noticeably faster. Processing photos is a pleasure compared to what I was dealing with before. In fact, that's what I will do now.