Need advice on where to put the money on a new pc for DXO

Hello from a newbie here.
My old 4.gen i5 spends over 3min to do the Deep prime, so I plan to upgrade to a mid-range laptop more suitable for that. A laptop this time.
As there is acceleration from graphics acc., I assume the right thing to buy is a gaming PC.
Then comes the question where to put the money. I don’t need the gamers fast screen update. For a reasonable amount of money I can get a RTX3060 over a RTX1050 graphics, with over double the calculation power. Does that translate into double deepprime speed? Is my assumption correct that the graphics power x2 is more important than getting this years processor over last years?
Is the a comprehensive benchmark somewhere?

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I just bought the MSI Creator z16 with the RTX3060 GPU and have found it to be very good for DeepPrime. What I really liked about the model I got was the QHD screen in the golden ratio which gives you a taller screen ratio which works really well for photo editing.

This machine is slim and I will be using it for traveling.

This machine is designed for creators (photo and video editing). This machine is actually also very good for video editing.

I got a very good deal on the i9 version but I would have been very happy with the i7 version too. Do get 32Gb RAM and at least 512Gb disk. I use an external USB-C SSD disk for my photos with no performance issues.

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MSI Creator Z16 vs. Dell XPS 17 | Digital Trends

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Thanks Keith!
I asked the question a week ago, but it got through moderator approval now.
Since then I have bought a Lenovo legion5 15" gaming PC for photo editing and non-critical not-work use. It is 1/3 the price of the really nice PC you 've bought.
The PC has Ryzen5 5xxx, RTX3060 6Gb, 16Gb, 512Gb, important to pick the 165Hz screen as it is full sRGB. Unfortunately only 1080 resolution, but I’m normally using an external screen.
On my old i5 4.gen, it took 3½minute to do one 16Mpix picture. This PC does it in 10s, so a full factor 20 faster!

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Yes, It’s strange, I reckon, that the industry seems to have moved, almost exclusively, to 16:9 ratio. It’s not easy to find a stand-alone 16:10 ratio screen … I’m very happy with my Dell U2412M monitor.

If you also process video that would be a good recommendation - but I’ve never seen PL struggle with 16Gb (if you want to save a bit of money).

John M

Hi @John-M, I agree with both your comments but have noticed recently that QHD screens are becoming more common but a 16:10 ratio not so much. Microsoft and Apple seem to be using more squarer aspect ratios which are much better for photo and video editing. I am hunting for a reasonably priced 16:10 QHD monitor but not found one yet!


And about time too. Editing portrait orientation images is a right PITA on a wide screen.

I found the BenQ SW240 at a good price. Its 16:10 and nearly Adobe RGB. The hardware calibration program is temperamental and I gave up and use my existing SyderXPro program in Windows. Its used with an old Dell U213 which when both are calibrated look identical colour. My wife has a BenQ SW240 and even though going through a usb Docker calibrates (very useful as the usb Dockers video don’t calibrate which is why we got the BebQ).

Thanks John, I will take a look at this monitor.

BenQ SW240 is not QHD :frowning:

Whoops sorry

Welcome to going down the rabbit hole.

Start with "if the screen’s lying to you, why bother?’ If the colors are wrong, wicked fast is nice for gaming, but a dead loss for working with photo work. The keys’ color truth - how close do the colors come to the Adobe and RGB standards - higher percentage = more faithful color rendition. Brightness matters. If there’s not a lot of dynamic range to work with, it’s harder to work with changes in overall or local brightness and contrast changes. There are monitors that can be color calibrated by the user - expect “made with unobtanium” prices. OTOH, keep the monitor, change the source (new laptop, use a PC sometimes, laptop other times).

Unless gaming is a must-have, skip over sound. All laptops make noises, some better than others. That’s why they make headphones, buds, and external speakers.

AMD vs Intel? Families have broken up because of fighting over this question. Be brand-agnostic. Which CPU? “Speed costs money - how fast do you want to go?” There is no sure answer here. The best you can do is build up a consensus picture - at a given price point most reviews lean toward an AMD Mk12 XhC CPU. At another price point an Intel i123 4566- zap gets the nod. The best you can hope for is finding “most reviews like”… The same for GPU’s, although, depending on the circumstance, NVIDIA is a little less loved because their drivers are so proprietary, and they defend that to the point some developers have little hope of using them as they, the developer prefers. In some cases that’s a so-what. If you lean towards open-source tools (DigiKam or Darktable, for example, or want Linux instead of Windows), NVIDIA isn’t likely to be anybody’s best friend.

Here comes some hope… RAM. If some’s good, more’s better. It’s that simple. Get as much as you can stand. Anything less than 8 Gb is unacceptable, unless you can bulk up on your own for less than you can get with the OEM’s installation. And you’re willing, and able, to do the swap on your own. 16 Gb is very comfortable, 32 Gb will show up at the higher prices. But if you can add another 16 Gb on your own, end of problem. Ditto for the GPU. The more RAM you can get, overall, the quicker the GPU. Adding RAM to a laptop GPU is likely to be not possible. In case of CPU vs. GPU RAM, CPU RAM will help your overall work rate. If the image (GPU) takes a little longer to draw - life’s like that.

Storage… things get a little messier here. To begin, more is better, no surprise. All hard drives (spinning platters) or HDD’s use the same technology - platter(s) spin, arm(s) swing back and forth to read/write data. Faster spins (RPM) mean moving data is quicker (don’t have to wait as long for a head to find what’s wanted). How the data is handled, before it hits the rest of the system, is a non-trivial detail, but still a detail. HDD’s? Very loosely, seen one, seen 'em all. Oh, and speed costs money…

Generally, and I mean generally, solid state drives (no moving parts, it’s nothing but electronics) are faster than HDD’s. But! Some SSD’s are painfully slower than other SSD’s. The electronics, specifically how the data is stored, can handle a finite number of read/write cycles. After that… pffft - all done. Some SSD designs have longer potential lifespans. Somewhere between “many” and “most” SSD’s will be replaced by newer, better, bigger SSD’s before they die. But not all. How fast the data is read/written (BTW some reads involve reading and re-writing what was read) varies widely. A slow SSD can be a nightmare. Ask questions. Hope you got the right answer. Often SSD’s can be swapped, but not always, and expect to have a competent shop do the job (your uncle’s twelve year-old may claim he can do it - want to trust your laptop, and work, to Cousin Neddy?).

Most sanely priced laptops come with, IMHO, a pitifully small HDD/SSD capacity. Again IMHO, anything under 1 Tb is “why bother?” That said, if you’re going to carry all of your photo work, and a very healthy music library, and, oh, say, more than just one or two large program packages, 1 Tb will fill up faster than your favorite watering hole on “Free Beer Night”. My personal laptop has 5 Tb HDD set up to support C: (Windows home - Win10 caps how big C: can be), D: (used to store almost not used but still needed files), E: (photo, music, and other programs, and lots of documentation) and F: (mostly downloads). get the rest IIRC I set E: to 3 Tb (for lots of big files) and F: to 1 Tb (lots of small, less space demanded, files). So far, so good. Regrettably, at the moment, 5 Tb seems to be the largest drive size for most, notably thin, laptops. PC’s? Will 10 Tb keep you happy? No? Add another HDD. Or two. Or more.

One (sort of) fix, is to use an external drive to get the needed space. Unfortunately, there’s only really interface worth talking about. USB-A (big, rectangular connector) is molasses in January. USB-C (smaller, oval shape) is molasses in mid-late March. You can, of course move in-progress work in and out of your 1 Tb internal drive. Thunderbolt (sort of USB-C on tons of steroids - and not a made-up name) is your only real hope. But not every external drive or laptop supports it. Once again, speed costs money… Do your magic, and return it to the external drive. It works. But you a) have to remember which files are where, b) move them into the laptop, c) send them back at the end, and d) keep version numbers, etc. straight while back-ing and forth-ing. And it’s one more thing to carry, and possibly one more thing needed to be plugged in for power. IMHO, it’s all a PITA.

Coming to the end… Power. If you work in a Starbucks, McDonalds, or library, and plugging in may be a challenge - surprise, the bigger the battery, the better. The odds of being able to change battery size is almost zero. Forget it. The other half of the issue is how much does the laptop dig into the battery for any given task. If it’s an energy waster (lots of high speed fans, poor system design), and you know plugging in will be a for-sure issue, expect to compromise on specs to have a laptop you can use. If plugging in is an option, and the odds of not relying on the battery’s good, there you are.

The rest of it, the keyboard, touch pad, case type, weight, are pretty much “buy to taste”. Obviously, having a keyboard that’s easy to live with varies. Silent (folks in the library like that), short stroke keys make my day. Tall clacking keys may make your day. Some touchpads are smoother, more responsive that others - try it before you buy it. At least you can buy after-market keyboards, mice, etc. 'Course, that’s more stuff to lug around. If you commute by public trans, dash through airports, hike to wherever, lighter is better. If mobility doesn’t matter as much, heavy’s OK. Generally, thin, flimsy cases don’t hold up well, feel sloppy compared to a solid case of heavier materials, whether metal or not. Guess what, price varies here, too.

At long, freakin’ last… believe everything you read on the Internet, believe all the comments in all forums, and particularly believe what I just wrote. Know that no commenters are going to gladly want to empty your bank account to buy a Zeus Lightningbolt 10000 with the Thor’s Hammer mods. Billy-Bob’s PC Sales’ highly trained, with none under PhD-level education, staff will help you save money rather than keep the P&L sheets awash in black ink. Do that, and I’d like to sell you some lovely Florida ocean-side property, usually visible at low tide. Or maybe some charming ocean-side property, complete with large beach, in Arizona is more to your liking?

Good luck, sport. You’re gonna need it.

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Quick “life in the trenchs” story about SSD’s: My machine came with a 1 Tb SSD, and an HDD. I swapped the HDD for a 5 Tb SSD, and pulled the card with the SSD on it. With the original 1 Tb SSD gone, my laptop is usually wicked, wicked faster than using the inadequate 1 Tb for C:. As I said, not all SSD’s are super fast.

Dear Richard
Thanks for your very well thought-through advice, and all of your time writing it!

You’re quite welcome. I sincerely hope I helped you with buying or updating your laptop or PC.

(Aside from when does a PC use batteries, everything applies except 1) PC GPU RAM can often be increased, and 2) PC cooling can be improved to almost not knowing it’s running - not much hope for laptops, except sucking out the dust in the fans and vents. Cool laptops are usually much quieter.)

We’re in a circle of better apps need better machines that allow better apps needing better machines that allow better apps… you get the idea.

On a particularly grumpy day, it’s not hard to imagine developers and hardware people work together to boost sales to pay for their new houses on Maui, Tahiti, or a new ranch in Montana. On a really nasty, really grumpy day, I’m sure of it.

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23 listed here, without knowing your budget I’ve not shortlisted any.

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Thanks @steveb but none of these are QHD monitors, they are all variations of HD.

Hi KeithRJ, I have a Dell P2418D and a Dell P2421D (those are QHD 2560 x 1440 px), the latter is just a more recent iteration of the former (they are almost identical). I am quite happy with both of them, they are sharp, give a lot of real estate when using apps and are affordable. I also use an old Spyder4Pro colorimeter to calibrate both.

Thanks @NoisyBird , I will take a look at these monitors :grinning::+1:t2:

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I ONLY use a gaming laptop (Asus ROG) for my photo editing. I shoot Raw images from a 45 mpxl Canon R5. So my images are massive. I also keep 4-5 programs and a number of huge TIFF files open at the same time. My Asus laptops never fail for my needs.
If you want additional details, just let me know.