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THE COMPUTER: 10,000 OPTIONS, BUT WHICH ONE SHOULD I BUY?!?!
Someone will always make you regret your latest computer purchase. We are in the era of the disposable computer and we are constantly assaulted by the technological progress offered by the manufacturers! What would be the ideal computer for a photographer among all this? In this article, I will briefly explain the relation between the components of your computer and the actual needs of the amateur photographer. We will take into account that we are talking about a hobby, not a profession, and the stress associated with delivery deadlines are not a concern.
How to Select Computer Components
First, it is important to understand that the acquisition, processing and recording of your images will work its way through the following six components: motherboard, processor, random-access memory, display board, monitor and hard disk or SSD. The performance of each will influence or impact the outcome of the others.
Let's now consider your computer as a work area, like a desk. We will compare the components of your computer to a person working at his desk within a company.
The person is at the core of the work to be done. Therefore, he acts in the same capacity as the processor. The better he performs, the more he compares with the person who can receive, handle and re-send the information effectively. This is even more evident with a multi-core processor that reads and writes data simultaneously.
The bigger you desk, the more documents you will put on it for handling. The random-access memory of your computer works in the same manner. The more memory you have, the greater the information that will be handled simultaneously in a given time.
For example, if the RAM installed on your computer totals 2 GB and you try to open several
images totaling 4 GB at the same time, your operations will be slower and your images will take longer to appear completely. With every action you perform, your images will continue to be only partially visible before they re-appear and your tools will operate in a choppy manner.
It is similar to finding a lack of space on your desk and having to handle one batch of documents at a time in order to free up space to start over with another batch.
Within the company, your department is also part of a network of services such as communications, sales, human resources and manufacturing. In order to be effective, your data must be quickly sent and shared between these various departments.
In its own way, the motherboard of your computer must do the same thing. It moves the information from your memory card via a USB 3 port or WI-FI connection to the processor and RAM and then to the video card and your monitor.
VIDEO DISPLAY CARD
You have completed your work but you need to translate it for your Asian customers. Obviously, you will require the services of a specialist, a Translator, who will be able to transpose your statements as best as possible into a document that will reflect your original version without altering the information.
Here, we will compare with the video card that will translate the digital values of your file into an image that will display on your monitor. The video card works together with the monitor that must also be of excellent quality to allow you to see all the shades of colors, contracts and tones with accuracy and stability.
HARD DISK or ELECTRONIC DISK (SSD)
It is very important to file your documents in such a way that you will be able to use them again or find them easily and quickly while you are working. The hard disk or SSD electronic disk will act as a huge filing cabinet. They allow you to stock up all your images and have access to them in a flash, which is not the case with a DVD disk.
The internal hard disk or main storage memory also contain the software programs and operating system. However, an external hard disk allows you to store your images separately from the main disk and lighten its workload.
For more details, see the article on digital archiving.
TOWER, LAPTAP, ALL-IN-ONE OR TABLET?
The selection appears increasingly more complex. However, certain observations remain.
The tower performs better than a laptop for the same price, but the gap has been closing from year to year. You can easily add components inside, with fewer wires hanging out and at lower costs than a laptop. You can also add a high performance video display card.
The all-in-one is a monitor with a larger housing integrating all the computer components. It is greatly appreciated for its look and the little space it takes up on the desk. Most offer practically the same performance as the tower and no or few external connections. However, avoid those with touch screens. It is really unpleasant to re-touch an image through a monitor full of fingerprints!!
The laptop is more mobile and therefore more flexible for things that have to be done outside the home. The performance of the latest generation of monitors is also very impressive, if you are willing to pay the price to obtain this image quality. Be careful to select a laptop with a monitor that can be calibrated if you wish to obtain stable and consistent results.
The tablet is a great planning and communication tool but does not allow for image touch-ups and handling quickly and efficiently. At present, it does nto support image calibration software and high-performance processing programs. It is perfect, however, to show your masterpieces to friends and clients. You can also link it up to your tv through a WI-FI network and see the big picture!
It is not in fact essential to own a computer monster in order to process and handle your photos. However, an image file is much bigger than a text file and requires more from your computer that will administer this information.
When you purchase a new computer that appears to be a real bargain, beware as the components may not be the latest technology and will therefore have a more limited lifespan. Instead, go for the latest generation of computers that integrate components that will give you more for a longer period of time!
Here is a suggested profile (and it changes rapidly) of the components that will guide you in your purchase of a new computer or upgrade the one you already have.
Intel i5 or i7 or equivalent
8 Gig DDR3 1333 Mhz
Buss 2000 Mhz
1 GB to 2 GB memory
4 USB3 ports and 1 HDMI
Double layer DVD or Blue Ray
21" or 24", minimal contrast 1000:1 and
large viewing scope without variants
Multi-format integrated memory card player
Only professionals really need a Formula 1, expensive to use and maintain. And, at the current price of gas, you are better off keeping your money to travel and take beautiful pictures!
You will go much further with your full tank of photos!