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New Windows 17" Laptop for image processing


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Since, in my experience, doing a bit of heavy lifting in Photoshop takes more resources than Lightroom, I'd ask in here...

I have a capable Windows desktop for doing the heavy lifting at home. But, the domestic associate, this morning, indicated that her laptop was getting elderly (it is 10-years-old) and thus, would like to take MY Alienware 17R3, and have me buy a new 17” laptop for doing several things:

  • General computer stuff – browsing, mail, normal stuff
  • Tethered image capture from a Nikon D850 (45 megapixel), displaying the images on-screen for clients as we’re shooting.
  • Image editing in Lightroom – all the normal stuff PLUS exporting large sets of images with a large downscan (the proofs are in the 1800px range, down from 8200). Currently, the Alienware is pretty slow at this.
  • Image editing in Photoshop, including using the Nik software, and tools like Helicon Focus for image stacking. Often, I’ll have BOTH Lightroom and Photoshop open, and in addition be doing HDR, image stacking or some other application.
  • So, in general, “normal” image optimization when working or traveling. When traveling it needs to drive a 30” 2560 monitor, which may get replaced with a 4K unit at some point.

In my mind I don’t need the biggest, fastest graphics card in the world – this isn’t the machine I’d be doing much, if any, gaming on, but I do need a fair chunk of memory (16GB min, 32GB better), as much horsepower as I can reasonably get, and an SSD so everything comes up fast. For image storage I’ve got a 4TB EVO 860, so that’s not a big issue…

And, of course, since this got sprung on me this morning, and tomorrow is Cyber Monday, I’m heading off to the Internet to do some research.

BUT, while staying reasonably cost effective (say somewhere below $2500) I’m looking for the best performance possible while handling image processing (and possibly a little, light video processing). I figure if it can do a killer job on large images, it can do any normal, office type stuff, and anything else I’m likely to throw at it.