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Which is best for photos

1502 Views 12 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Noyb
I'm not sure if this should have been on the Hardware spot or here, but I am trying to decide between 2 computers which would be the best for working with my photos. I spend a lot of time with manipulating photos and want the computer which will do the best job for me. I have my choice, but don't know enough about what does what to make a decision. Here is the information I think is relevant. If I need more, please let me know.

Processor AMD Athlon® 64 X2 3800+, dual core processor with AMD64 technology
• 2.0 GHz
• 200 MHz system bus
• 512KB × L2 cache
• Installed: 1024 MB DDR2 533 MHz (PC4200) (Expandable to 4.0 GB)
• Expandable to: 4 GB

Video Integrated NVIDIA® GeForce® 6150LE graphics
Up to 128MB of Shared Video Memory Audio Integrated 8-Channel (7.1)
High Definition Audio
Hard Drive 250 GB 7200 RPM PATA hard drive

Performance Rotational Speed 7,200 RPM (nominal) Buffer Size 2 MB Average Latency 4.20 ms (nominal) Contact Start/Stop Cycles 50,000 minimum Seek Times
• Read Seek Time 8.9 ms
• Write Seek Time 10.9 ms (average)
• Track-To-Track Seek Time 2.0 ms (average)
• Full Stroke Seek 21.0 ms (average) Transfer Rates
• Buffer To Host (EIDE) 100 MB/s (Max)
• Buffer To Disk 748 MBits/s (Max)


Intel Pentium 4 Processor 2.80 C GHz with Intel Hyper-Threading Technology
Cache Memory 512 KB Integrated On-Die Level 2
Front Side Bus Speed 800 MHz
1024MB PC-2700 333MHz DDR (expandable to 2.0GB)

Hard Drive 120 GB 7200rpm Ultra ATA.100 Hard Drive
Video & Graphics
ATI Radeon 9200
128MB Video Memory (128-bit DDR)
8X AGP 3D Graphics Hardware Acceleration

Thanks for any help
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The Gateway would probably give better photo performance. Photoshop can use both hyperthreading and dual processors, but dual core usually turns in better performance. And the Gateway has a newer and faster processor. Until you run out of RAM the speed of photo processing is mostly dependent on processor speed.

The Sony will give you a little more available RAM because it isn’t sharing the system RAM with the graphics. But the Gateway RAM is faster and a 1 Gb stick of Asus PC4200 RAM will cost you about $120 delivered and is well worth the price for image editing. Ram for the Sony would be cheaper because it is slower.

I am down to a Gig of RAM because one of my RAM sticks failed. I constantly run myself out of RAM working with multiple images and layers in Photoshop even though I have increased my Photoshop RAM allocation. You really move into the slow lane when you run out of RAM. Unless you plan to work on small images I would plan on adding a Gig of RAM to either computer. For working on photos RAM is an important factor. And RAM size is more important than RAM speed.

There isn’t a lot of information about whether the RAM is paralleled. Overall PC 4200 is faster than PC2700 and indicates a higher level computer.

I had Nvida GeForce integrated graphics on my last motherboard and it was fine for photo work. The graphics card in the Sony might be better for games.

You might post your question on the hardware board or ask for it to be moved there. But I would prefer the Gateway.
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My experience has been different from ChuckE's. Every test I have participated in and every benchmark I have integrated when researching a new build indicates the speed at which Photoshop runs a particular filter or action is pretty much proportional to the processor speed.

That is an "all things being equal" statement and they never are. The motherboard, RAM and hard drives can make a big difference in photo editing speed with the same processor, but processor speed is the biggest single factor assuming the components are similar. The Gateway system seems to have a sufficient advantage in processor and RAM speed to make it significantly faster for image editing.

Some processor architecture is better for image editing than others. For my last build Pentium had a slight advantage over Athlons for photo editing, but that varies and might well have changed in the past year.

The video is a wash IMO. They are both budget video and optimized for 3D gaming. The GeForce is a little faster as a separate card but having to use system RAM will slow it down. Neither are optimized for 2D graphics but will do a decent job. Both support dual monitors, which is a real plus for Photoshop. My only video caveat would be that if you plan to get a wide LCD monitor check that they will support it.
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