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Old 09-29-2006, 09:00 AM
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Ali the Cat Ali the Cat is offline
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laptop for art

hi,

i'm thinking of getting a laptop for the purposes of doing digital manipulations, storing photos, art work etc. and also like the idea of a laptop cos i can carry it around with me. does anyone have any suggestions on what type of laptop to get? someone said don't get one with shared ram as i wont be able to upgrade,i'm a bit green in these areas, i haven't got that much to spend but i thought if there wasn't much ram etc. maybe i could get an external hard drive as well. if anyone has any advice or suggetions i would really appreciate it...
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Old 10-10-2006, 08:44 AM
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Re: laptop for art

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ali the Cat
i haven't got that much to spend . . .
I'm afraid there isn't much to go on in your post. The first question I would have is, what does this mean in terms of dollars? A decent laptop for your purposes isn't going to be pocket change.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ali the Cat
. . . i thought if there wasn't much ram etc. maybe i could get an external hard drive as well.
I'm not quite sure what you are saying here, though I think perhaps you are confusing RAM with hard drive memory. To do the kind of work you want to do, you need as much RAM as you can get, certainly no less than 500MB, with 1GB recommended. This is important when doing things like digital manipulations or any kind of image editing.

Some computers share the system RAM for video, which makes that part of your RAM unavailable for processing use. It is best to get a laptop with a dedicated video card, which does not use shared RAM, which will offer better performance all around. You also want to get a good screen so that you can actually see what you are doing.

All laptops come with an internal hard drive. It has nothing to do with RAM (disregarding RAM swapping - don't ask ) - it provides storage for your programs and files. If you don't have a big enough hard drive, you can indeed attach an external hard drive.

Ray
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Old 10-10-2006, 09:01 AM
asciifish asciifish is offline
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Re: laptop for art

While I can't advise on the specifics of an art laptop, I can offer some advice. First: make sure you really want a laptop. Compared to desktops they're much more expensive in the first place, upgrading and repairing can also be tricky and more costly. Furthermore, alot of the well performing laptops these days are really too big and heavy to carry around a lot and a lot of the lighter ones are pretty flimsy.

An external hardrive won't make up for less RAM. Ram and harddrives are different types of memory. Ram is the space the computer uses to work in, much like a desk surface. Harddrive space is used for data storage, much like a book shelf. You'll want a lot of RAM for imaging, unless you like staring at the hourglass cursor. Avoid shared RAM if you can. I'm fairly certain it's possible to upgrade the amount these days, but the real danger is that it reduces graphic performance.

Also, I would reccommend buying a seperate pointing device (mouse, trackball, tablet, etc). Incase you've never tried, the built in ones are very, very difficult to use for anything requiring precision.

There's also the whole PC/Apple debate. PC's are usually cheaper and more varied, but Apple seems to build some pretty nice models these days and alot of graphics people prefer them.
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Old 10-26-2006, 01:25 AM
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Steve Collins Steve Collins is offline
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Re: laptop for art

I would think twice. A laptop is great if you need the mobility, but if you don't have a felt need to carry the thing from place to place, I'd go with a desktop. You get a lot more power, flexibility and usability for the money.

So I would say the big question to answer is: Do you need to take your computer anywhere on a regular basis? Note that in answering this, you can get a number of cheap ways of storing data portably (compact flash. CDs or DVDs, memory sticks, etc.), so having a desktop wouldn't keep you from taking what's on your computer with you.

You mentioned that you're not that knowledgable, so you might consider an Apple for that reason. Their machines tend to be very easy to setup and use. They cost more than comparably equipped PCs but you'd likely save a lot of grief.

Steve
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Old 10-26-2006, 06:31 AM
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Susan Borgas Susan Borgas is offline
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Re: laptop for art

G'day Ali the Cat,

I have a desktop computer as well as a laptop. I love my laptop when away from home to load up my digital photos from my camera as well as any away from home jobs that require a computer.

Also I use my laptop as my source to paint from in the studio. I rarely print a photo off when painting studio work. In saying this the best monitor to paint from or digital manipulations is a CRT monitor as the LCD monitors are very different for graphics and I personally believe "warp" what is true in the photo when it comes to color or judging contrast. This is more evident when the photo is printed off. The more expensive LCD monitors may have overcome this. I use a graphics monitor on my PC, which helps me to view my photos in all their glory on the monitor or with prints that I am happy with.

Ray has give you good advice. I have found the more RAM the better for software like Paint Shop Pro and many of the Adobe software programs that you may want to use or your computer will be very slowwww or even freeze up on you that you have to re-boot and start all over again.

Keep researching and you may find what is best for you

Cheers
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Old 10-26-2006, 10:13 AM
Enchanted Enchanted is offline
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Re: laptop for art

Quote:
Originally Posted by Susanpotfr
G'day Ali the Cat,

I have a desktop computer as well as a laptop. I love my laptop when away from home to load up my digital photos from my camera as well as any away from home jobs that require a computer.
With portable storage devices such as "memory sticks" that take GIGs of data, and the availability of computers for public use in libraries, coffee houses, and schools, there really isn't much need to carry around a notebook/laptop. Unless you have a real need to be able to carry on business anywhere there is a wifi or internet connection (motel room, for instance).

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Old 10-26-2006, 06:42 PM
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Susan Borgas Susan Borgas is offline
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Re: laptop for art

Quote:
availability of computers for public use in libraries, coffee houses, and schools, there really isn't much need to carry around a notebook/laptop

How I wish that was the case for me while away for my last trip as artist in residence for nearly six weeks. There was an internet cafe but VERY expensive to use by the time I got to first base to look at my email, hence in the end didn't use it at all for email or updating my blog. In no way could the computer be used for anything else other than the internet. I guess in the end it depends on where you live and what facilities a country provides when you are traveling. Australia isn’t good at offering computers for visitors to load up there photos or any other work that they may want to do, especially out in the country and worse still in the vast outback. In the cities appointments have to be made ahead of time for the use of library computers. For me this isn’t workable as it encroaches on my time when I am away from home.

Internet Cafes are peppered all over Australia; depending on the internet connection they can be expensive though technology is improving with a better service in some cities with the introduction of connections via wireless to the visitor’s laptop.

In saying this, Enchanted has come up with some ideas that maybe in the UK you can adapt them to your own working habits.

All the best
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Old 10-26-2006, 11:38 PM
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LightDancer LightDancer is offline
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Re: laptop for art

I travel fulltime in my RV, so use a laptop as my primary/only computer. I just bought a new laptop to replace my old one, and here is how I shop. First, I look at ads from a few computer places such as Best Buy, CompUSA, and so on, to get an idea what I can get for what price. I look at how large the memory and disks are, looking for large ones. Then, if I'm still not sure, I go into a few stores and ask the store guys lots of questions.

Here, in my opinion, are the important things for an art laptop ...

Large memory. My new laptop has 2 gb.

Large disk. My new laptop has something just over 120 gb.

Fast processor. Ask around to find out which ones are fastest. Technology changes so fast that the fastest now is different than when I bought my last laptop 2.5 years ago.

Wide screen.

Then spring for good software. I use Photoshop CS2, which is what most professional photographers use. It costs a lot. It's worth it. I've been able to develop some really cool techniques that enable me to "paint" with my computer. Since I'm a painter at heart, but a fulltime traveler, there are times when it simply isn't practical to pull out my easels and paints. If you're not familiar with it, though, it can be very confusing to learn. I experimented with it for awhile and then sprung for a workshop from a nature photographer in Arizona.

Good luck!!!
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Old 10-27-2006, 12:43 AM
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Re: laptop for art

I'd get a mac but then I know macs, use macs, and love macs. I'd love one of the new mac book pros, it can run mac os, windows and linux so you wouldn't have to be stuck with just one platform.
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Old 10-27-2006, 04:49 AM
asciifish asciifish is offline
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Re: laptop for art

Quote:
Originally Posted by beautifulfreak
I'd get a mac but then I know macs, use macs, and love macs. I'd love one of the new mac book pros, it can run mac os, windows and linux so you wouldn't have to be stuck with just one platform.

If I had a mac, I wouldn't want to run windows or linux on it. The big deal with an apple system is their operating system. Windows (Linux more so) would just turn it into an extra expensive PC with no real advantages. Most of the 'macs are easy' stuff, which is what you pay for, is from their operating system, not anything special with the hardware.
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Old 10-27-2006, 08:27 AM
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Re: laptop for art

As far as a laptop would go, I would say in order to get one that will do graphics work very well, you are going to have to spend some dollars, I would also recommend that you make sure you purchase one that doesn't share your RAM for purposes of graphics but has its only built-in graphics processor as well. I have a Dell, and it gets by as far as graphics, but I wish I had a better one. Dell makes some great higher end laptops that run graphics apps great, and also there is the MAC option.
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Old 11-01-2006, 10:12 AM
jonshipman jonshipman is offline
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Re: laptop for art

Quote:
Originally Posted by asciifish
If I had a mac, I wouldn't want to run windows or linux on it. The big deal with an apple system is their operating system. Windows (Linux more so) would just turn it into an extra expensive PC with no real advantages. Most of the 'macs are easy' stuff, which is what you pay for, is from their operating system, not anything special with the hardware.

If she did go with the MacBook she's get things like magnetic latches, power cable and builtin webcam. I always hated laptops because of the latch prematurely opening in the bag or something - the magnetic latch is a godsend.

I spent around $1500, 100GB harddrive, 1GB RAM, 2Ghz DC, DVD burner
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Old 11-01-2006, 12:07 PM
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Ali the Cat Ali the Cat is offline
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Re: laptop for art

thankyou so much everyone for all the information i have read some replies. and will read the rest when i have more time, this looks like an invaluable source of info...thanks
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Old 11-01-2006, 06:00 PM
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Re: laptop for art

Quote:
If I had a mac, I wouldn't want to run windows or linux on it. The big deal with an apple system is their operating system. Windows (Linux more so) would just turn it into an extra expensive PC with no real advantages.

You don't see the advantage of being able to run 3 different platforms on the same machine?

You don't have to give up the mac os to run windows or linux, you can have all three if you needed on the drive and be able to switch between them. Your software possibilities are endless, no compatability problems with files, no snarky isps telling you they don't do macs.

Being easy out of the box is great but since macs abandoned os 9 they really aren't as easy to diagnois a problem and fix it as they used to be.
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Old 11-08-2006, 09:29 AM
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Sandiclaus Sandiclaus is offline
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Re: laptop for art

I work in IT for a living and have worked with lots of computers for lots of diferent tasks.

You want a MAC laptop! With my Windows laptop, I was spending all my time updating virus, spyware, and security software. Photo manipulation took forever.

Although I am very technically competent, I want to spend my time on my laptop doing art stuff, NOT computer stuff! I bought the current $1099 low-end model and it does everything. I have had it for almost 3 mos now and not one single problem. Wish I could say that about my Windows PC's!

If you have the extra money, the higher end models (ie MacBook Pro) are great because of the bigger screen.

Sandi

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