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Wife wants to buy this PC for her photography business

r.harris1

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Feb 20, 2012
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If it’s to process images, it is fairly underpowered (as spec’d in the link anyway), certainly from a storage, memory and graphics standpoint. My fear would be she’d reasonably quickly end up spending double on more storage and/or expanding RAM, among other things. What does she use today? What is her camera setup (asking more from an image file size perspective)? What applications does she use to work with her images?
 
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deep diver

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I agree that this HP is very anemic for a professional photographer. I don't think anyone should make a business decision based on price rather than value. She will do much better getting a fully loaded iMac. The right tool for the job will always save a lot of money in the long term (or even in the short term.)
 
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nrvna76

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I’m with you guys. Idk how to show her the value. I told her to buy a 27” with at least 16gb Ram and a 512 ssd. After Apple care that comes to around 2300. Shes been using the HP Envy x360 laptop we had when she started the business that we paid $500 for (attached specs). So, in her mind it’s over $2k when a cheap laptop has worked for her so far, but she spends more time than she realizes waiting for the computer to process stuff. She uses a Nikon D610, photoshop, and Lightroom.
 

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robgendreau

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Go to https://www.pugetsystems.com. They are one of the go-to places for still photography computer setups, and have lots of tests on components as well. Probably well beyond the range of her business as they make some serious systems, but it would show the best components for say Lr and Ps.
 
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r.harris1

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The laptop has more storage and possibly better processors (i7 vs i5) so I'm not sure there'd be value in purchasing something with lesser oomph to it. Maybe she should just purchase a separate monitor she can use with her laptop? That way she can get more screen real estate and not lose storage. She can grab a 27 inch monitor at a reasonable price depending on her resolution requirements.

I stay away from trying to convince people to purchase a specific brand because it wastes far too much energy. We're an Apple household, I use Apple gear for photography work (though I'm not running a photography business like your wife) but it's a value decision for me rather than strictly cost. I don't do photography for a living but I do write software. Running a business can mean keeping costs to a minimum, though from experience, I'd be wary again of simply focusing on costs. What's going to help you be more efficient and get what ever product you do out the door in as high quality and efficient way as possible? What's not as likely to break, or if it does, what about customer service?

If I had to choose an HP that would be a good value (again, this is not a cost decision, but a value one) something like this would be decent: https://www.bestbuy.com/site/hp-env...in-ash-silver-sparkle/6221032.p?skuId=6221032.

This has some room for her photography business to grow: 8 core I7, 16 GB of RAM, 2 TB of disk, plus a 500GB SSD, decent graphics and would last quite a while. It's still has touch screen if that's what she's after. But as you see, the cost pushes you closer to iMac territory. On the other hand, I wouldn't have to purchase a machine for a while, I could add additional storage or attach backup devices. I could write it off over a few years, and other business type things. It certainly doesn't have to be an HP, it could be a Dell or whomever, but those specs are certainly an adequate upgrade, certainly storage-wise and screen real estate.
 
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a2jack

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Feb 5, 2013
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All in one machines, be they PC or Mac, are not the way to go for any graphic/photo business.

Monitor upgrades are a must, as the field is changing fast. Consider going with Minis, etc. a2
 
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nrvna76

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Go to https://www.pugetsystems.com. They are one of the go-to places for still photography computer setups, and have lots of tests on components as well. Probably well beyond the range of her business as they make some serious systems, but it would show the best components for say Lr and Ps.

thanks for the reply, I will check this out.
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The laptop has more storage and possibly better processors (i7 vs i5) so I'm not sure there'd be value in purchasing something with lesser oomph to it. Maybe she should just purchase a separate monitor she can use with her laptop? That way she can get more screen real estate and not lose storage. She can grab a 27 inch monitor at a reasonable price depending on her resolution requirements.

I stay away from trying to convince people to purchase a specific brand because it wastes far too much energy. We're an Apple household, I use Apple gear for photography work (though I'm not running a photography business like your wife) but it's a value decision for me rather than strictly cost. I don't do photography for a living but I do write software. Running a business can mean keeping costs to a minimum, though from experience, I'd be wary again of simply focusing on costs. What's going to help you be more efficient and get what ever product you do out the door in as high quality and efficient way as possible? What's not as likely to break, or if it does, what about customer service?

If I had to choose an HP that would be a good value (again, this is not a cost decision, but a value one) something like this would be decent: https://www.bestbuy.com/site/hp-env...in-ash-silver-sparkle/6221032.p?skuId=6221032.

This has some room for her photography business to grow: 8 core I7, 16 GB of RAM, 2 TB of disk, plus a 500GB SSD, decent graphics and would last quite a while. It's still has touch screen if that's what she's after. But as you see, the cost pushes you closer to iMac territory. On the other hand, I wouldn't have to purchase a machine for a while, I could add additional storage or attach backup devices. I could write it off over a few years, and other business type things. It certainly doesn't have to be an HP, it could be a Dell or whomever, but those specs are certainly an adequate upgrade, certainly storage-wise and screen real estate.

I understand your point on costs vs value. When she makes decisions on cameras, lenses, backdrops, etc. I think she focuses on value pretty well, but as she’s used a computer essentially for free for three years I think this feels like any cost is a bad value decision for her.. anyways, thanks a lot for the reply!
 
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Darmok N Jalad

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I wouldn't buy that machine for photography. Limited storage, slow CPU, and the display is a big unknown. You'd be better served to buy a separate PC and monitor, so you know you are getting a good display.

As for the PC, I'm not the best judge unless you are willing to build your own, as that's what I have done.
 
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r.harris1

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@nrvna76 I believe I came across as sounding like your wide didn't focus on value, which wasn't my intention :(. Just rambling on about a subject I have interest in. She's the one in the thick of it here and she'll know best :). I will say though that the machine above is underpowered and that her current laptop is the moderately better machine, at least on paper from a storage standpoint (I misread the specs earlier and thought the laptop had an i7-based CPU). An external monitor might be a great option here.
 
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nrvna76

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@nrvna76 I believe I came across as sounding like your wide didn't focus on value, which wasn't my intention :(. Just rambling on about a subject I have interest in. She's the one in the thick of it here and she'll know best :). I will say though that the machine above is underpowered and that her current laptop is the moderately better machine, at least on paper from a storage standpoint (I misread the specs earlier and thought the laptop had an i7-based CPU). An external monitor might be a great option here.

No worries. Would have been ok if that’s what you were saying, I came here looking for opinions. ?

I know she’s in the thick of it, but she’s not well versed in computers. I’ve tried explaining cpu, Ram, and storage stuff but she isn’t interested in learning that. So she did what a lot of folks do, looked for a cheaper pc alternative. ?‍♂️
 
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vertical smile

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Sep 23, 2014
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I guess I will go against the grain.

If she was okay with the performance of her laptop, and she likes using Windows, other than storage, that HP has better specs than the laptop, maybe she should go with that.

I personally do not like to use Windows, which is why I stick with Macs, but if she doesn't want to drop $2K+ on a Mac when another computer a third of the price can get the job done, I can't blame her.

One thing that might make a huge difference is the display quality. IMO, the iMac displays are gorgeous and tend to look a lot better than other all-in-ones that I see. Also, the HP one is only 1080p.

That stuff a side, the specs of the HP appear better than the base model iMac.
 
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deep diver

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I guess I will go against the grain.

If she was okay with the performance of her laptop, and she likes using Windows, other than storage, that HP has better specs than the laptop, maybe she should go with that.

I personally do not like to use Windows, which is why I stick with Macs, but if she doesn't want to drop $2K+ on a Mac when another computer a third of the price can get the job done, I can't blame her.

One thing that might make a huge difference is the display quality. IMO, the iMac displays are gorgeous and tend to look a lot better than other all-in-ones that I see. Also, the HP one is only 1080p.

That stuff a side, the specs of the HP appear better than the base model iMac.
I agree that she should stay with Windows if moving to Mac will be too disruptive in any way. I disagree regarding your comment about performance. Her being used to lesser performance is a weak argument against going for better performance.
 
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vertical smile

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Her being used to lesser performance is a weak argument against going for better performance.
It isn't just her being used to lesser performance. I am talking about the trade offs of price versus performance.

If her old laptop did a satisfactory job, and she was okay with her productivity with it, the much cheaper HP will still be a performance increase while still being much cheaper than the iMac.

Yeah, she can probably get better performance by spending four times as much, but that is where the trade offs and diminishing returns come in to play.

Let me give an analogy to help illustrate what I mean. I like using cars, because it is an easy thing for most people to understand.

If someone was shopping for a new car for their daily commute to replace their current, once capable, but now aging car. They are looking at some options, one being a new version of a cheap midsize sedan they already have, another being an expensive sports car that they have no experience with.

The sports car would be faster, prettier, saves some time on the commute, but at the cost of a lot more money.

The midsize sedan can also do the commute and is already familiar to the buyer, but it won't have the performance and "gold plating" of the sports car.

From a purely utilitarian point of view, which would be the better choice?

Maybe not a perfect analogy, but I think it might help understanding my point.
 
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cSalmon

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Dec 18, 2016
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Let her make her own decisions. Worse case she learns the aspects of a computer system she needs to pay attention to next time around. I can't imagine anyone serving clients with photography these days isn't somewhat familiar with what they need in regards to a computer system.

I will say this Adobe is imho bloatware and will suck any base model machine to death
 
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thekev

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Aug 5, 2010
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Ram is lower than I would like. CPU is fine. It shows as some hex core model. Displays have gotten a lot better over the years, but the all in one solutions never tend to be the best in that regard. Some of the older imacs were awful for this kind of thing due to the glare, but people still used them. I'm not sure what the HP is like in that regard, but it's likely to be superior to the cheap laptop.

Depending on where her business goes in terms of the volume of images, their resolution, or the type of post processing involved, she might outgrow either of these solutions. I assume she has external storage devices and multiple backups already if this is a business solution. Ignoring that would be a huge risk.
 
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robgendreau

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Jul 13, 2008
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All in one machines, be they PC or Mac, are not the way to go for any graphic/photo business.

Monitor upgrades are a must, as the field is changing fast. Consider going with Minis, etc. a2

I disagree.

Mainly because just about any all-in-one I've seen lately (MBP, iMac, iMac Pro, etc) has the capability to drive at least one if not numerous external monitors.

Not only that, but with both iMacs and MBPs you get excellent monitors built in. Retina, P3 gamut, and well calibrated and accurate right out of the box. Indeed, if we're discussing anything besides reference monitors for high end video the 5k on the iMac is pretty state of the art, unless you need the wider gamut of say an Eizo. And of course in that case just add one.

Don't get me wrong, the mini is excellent, and perhaps the new MP will be too. But value-wise, hard to beat a Mac with a display.
 
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Ledgem

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Jan 18, 2008
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Don't get me wrong, the mini is excellent, and perhaps the new MP will be too. But value-wise, hard to beat a Mac with a display.
I agree with everything that you wrote about the iMac, except for this last bit. As a one-time purchase I'd agree that the iMac represents a good deal compared with the cost of buying the computer and monitor separately. But looking at overall value over time, I'm not so sure.

My experience with my own retina 5k iMac is what led me to think about this (and is also why I'll switch over to the Mac mini line once this system is fully exhausted). I maxed out my system when I bought it, and it's still a very strong performer today, now over four years later. However, the display developed two nuisance problems. First is that a few insects crawled inside and died, leaving me with visible (but thankfully tiny) insect carcasses that can be quite a nuisance depending on what I'm doing. I've never had that problem with any other computer system or display, but apparently it's not terribly uncommon for the iMacs. Second is that my system has developed the pink fringing effect at the edges of the display, which isn't a problem for most things but does impact color balancing on my photos. Again, unfortunately not a horribly uncommon problem, although there are theories as to whether all iMacs are affected or whether the newer panels are free of this issue.

If I were using any computer with the monitor separate I could simply swap out the monitor and be on my way. But because the system and monitor are tied together it becomes more complicated. Apple would want about $600-700 to do any repairs on my iMacs's display, which is a hefty sum that seems a poor proposition when you consider that the new iMacs lack a "target display" mode (meaning that once I retire this system, it can't even be used as a monitor... unless you want to get fancy with remoting, I suppose). Similarly, if I decided that the hardware was becoming a burden then I'd need to junk the display when I upgrade the computer. $600-700 would be better spent on a stand-alone monitor, in preparation for moving off of the iMac product line.

Looking at it that way, buying a nice monitor and a "headless" computer system may cost more up-front compared with an iMac, but those aren't purchases you'd need to make every single time you upgrade your system. Monitors, in particular, can last quite a while. Depending on how you do your upgrades and how fancy you want your monitor to be, your total cost would be less after 2-3 upgrades if you buy the two separately compared with sticking with the iMac line. Money aside, you also become more nimble in your ability to upgrade or deal with problematic components.
 
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fathergll

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Sep 3, 2014
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I’m with you guys. Idk how to show her the value. I told her to buy a 27” with at least 16gb Ram and a 512 ssd. After Apple care that comes to around 2300. Shes been using the HP Envy x360 laptop we had when she started the business that we paid $500 for (attached specs). So, in her mind it’s over $2k when a cheap laptop has worked for her so far, but she spends more time than she realizes waiting for the computer to process stuff. She uses a Nikon D610, photoshop, and Lightroom.


Lets take a step back. Can you list out the exact specs of her current workflow? What are the specs of the HP Envy x360? Where is she storing media?...etc? Is she currently working on the laptop or is it hooked into an external screen?
 
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robgendreau

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I agree with everything that you wrote about the iMac, except for this last bit. As a one-time purchase I'd agree that the iMac represents a good deal compared with the cost of buying the computer and monitor separately. But looking at overall value over time, I'm not so sure.

My experience with my own retina 5k iMac is what led me to think about this (and is also why I'll switch over to the Mac mini line once this system is fully exhausted). I maxed out my system when I bought it, and it's still a very strong performer today, now over four years later. However, the display developed two nuisance problems. First is that a few insects crawled inside and died, leaving me with visible (but thankfully tiny) insect carcasses that can be quite a nuisance depending on what I'm doing. I've never had that problem with any other computer system or display, but apparently it's not terribly uncommon for the iMacs. Second is that my system has developed the pink fringing effect at the edges of the display, which isn't a problem for most things but does impact color balancing on my photos. Again, unfortunately not a horribly uncommon problem, although there are theories as to whether all iMacs are affected or whether the newer panels are free of this issue.

If I were using any computer with the monitor separate I could simply swap out the monitor and be on my way. But because the system and monitor are tied together it becomes more complicated. Apple would want about $600-700 to do any repairs on my iMacs's display, which is a hefty sum that seems a poor proposition when you consider that the new iMacs lack a "target display" mode (meaning that once I retire this system, it can't even be used as a monitor... unless you want to get fancy with remoting, I suppose). Similarly, if I decided that the hardware was becoming a burden then I'd need to junk the display when I upgrade the computer. $600-700 would be better spent on a stand-alone monitor, in preparation for moving off of the iMac product line.

Looking at it that way, buying a nice monitor and a "headless" computer system may cost more up-front compared with an iMac, but those aren't purchases you'd need to make every single time you upgrade your system. Monitors, in particular, can last quite a while. Depending on how you do your upgrades and how fancy you want your monitor to be, your total cost would be less after 2-3 upgrades if you buy the two separately compared with sticking with the iMac line. Money aside, you also become more nimble in your ability to upgrade or deal with problematic components.
Yikes. I can see where you're coming from; one of my pet peeves is how it's impossible to do even simple repair or maintenance tasks on Macs, although to be fair that's a problem with ALL of them. And one reason why I used a hackintosh for a while.

And it's also a reason why I chose an iMac over a mini. Having loved the 5k retina monitor, I wanted another. But the LG 5k has a horrid reputation; even the App Store employee warned me not to buy it since they had so many returns. If Apple made monitors, or at least had a better one than the LG, I'd probably be out of the iMac camp. But just really hard to beat that screen on an iMac...and I don't have any of the biological type bugs in mine.
 
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Darmok N Jalad

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Yikes. I can see where you're coming from; one of my pet peeves is how it's impossible to do even simple repair or maintenance tasks on Macs, although to be fair that's a problem with ALL of them. And one reason why I used a hackintosh for a while.

And it's also a reason why I chose an iMac over a mini. Having loved the 5k retina monitor, I wanted another. But the LG 5k has a horrid reputation; even the App Store employee warned me not to buy it since they had so many returns. If Apple made monitors, or at least had a better one than the LG, I'd probably be out of the iMac camp. But just really hard to beat that screen on an iMac...and I don't have any of the biological type bugs in mine.
I can't speak to the LG 5k, but I have an LG 4K 27" monitor and an LG UHD 48" TV and love them both. My 4k monitor came with an HDMI and Display Port cable, and the manual states to use them over other cables, so I don't know if many of the returns were the result of bad cables or shielding?
 
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||\||

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She needs at least quad core i5 in the 3GHz range, 16GB of RAM, and SSD boot drive. dGPU is optional. Integrated GPU is fine for most photographic uses.
 
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OreoCookie

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It is not a good machine: at 256 GB storage is anemic and unusable — she'd have to get an external hard drive right away. Secondly, and probably more importantly is the screen: Apple's displays are way, way better than what you can buy in the PC world, it has good color calibration out of the box (which I would assume is essential for a professional photographer), has higher pixel density and, at least the 27" iMac, wide color gamut. Of course, 12 GB RAM are too little, too, and you'd need to upgrade that.
 
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Darmok N Jalad

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It is not a good machine: at 256 GB storage is anemic and unusable — she'd have to get an external hard drive right away. Secondly, and probably more importantly is the screen: Apple's displays are way, way better than what you can buy in the PC world, it has good color calibration out of the box (which I would assume is essential for a professional photographer), has higher pixel density and, at least the 27" iMac, wide color gamut. Of course, 12 GB RAM are too little, too, and you'd need to upgrade that.
I believe at least the Surface family are supposed to have really good displays. The newer Surface Book is even much more repairable than the original glue monstrosity.
 
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thekev

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It is not a good machine: at 256 GB storage is anemic and unusable — she'd have to get an external hard drive right away. Secondly, and probably more importantly is the screen: Apple's displays are way, way better than what you can buy in the PC world, it has good color calibration out of the box (which I would assume is essential for a professional photographer), has higher pixel density and, at least the 27" iMac, wide color gamut. Of course, 12 GB RAM are too little, too, and you'd need to upgrade that.

You can buy better than the imac display, just not so much in the realm of all in one machines. People use things like the imac because at some point the display crossed the threshold of good enough and because Macs have been historically popular in this space with a few exceptions, eg printing RIPs like GMG never made OSX versions. Some of the old shiny imacs were absolutely terrible for this stuff, but some people still used them.

Also gamut isn't really what you care about in spite of coming up so frequently. It indicates the boundary points, not how well they line up between input and output.

Also also Apple's stuff about calibration isn't that helpful without some measurements of drift over time and some idea of how they calibrate. I imagine they're testing more than one region. Dell at one point used to test based on the center of the display at their factories, and they would get all kinds of complaints at that time. I imagine Apple was aware of this, because the first time anyone from Apple mentioned calibration in any press event came after the various issues with Dell.
 
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