PC hardware--CPU & Motherboard & RAM/Laptop specs for photography


Hi Mike, I have a question about laptop specs for avid photographers.  We currently have a laptop with an i5 processor, 8gb RAM, but just an Intel graphics card.  We often run Photoshop, LightRoom, and other programs at the same time, but things are very slow.  Question is....don't the specs on our current laptop seem adequate to run these programs with no issues?  We're thinking about buying a new laptop with i7, 16gb RAM, and a dedicated graphics card (e.g. Nvidia 4gb), but we dont want to drop 2k unless we're sure that there will be a dramatic improvement in speed of opening files.  We've defragged, run anti-malware, antivirus, etc. with no improvement.  Thanks, Larry

The laptop specs are decent but unfortunately the Intel graphics chipset definitely isn't quite as capable and dedicated NVidia graphics cards.

Something you might want to look into, before you go dropping a ton of cash on new laptops, is Alienware's new Graphics Amplifier.
It's essentially a self contained 'box' that you add your own desktop graphics card(s) into and then connect a laptop to it. Here's a write up on it.


If you're not too concerned about portability, since it's like lugging around a small generator, then that might be a good option for you.

PC hardware--CPU & Motherboard & RAM

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Mike Rigsby


Areas of expertise: PC Hardware, Peripherals, Barcode Scanners, Printers, and Applications, Networking, Microsoft Applications. I am good at researching issues and have a lot of contacts in the IT industry. So, if I can't directly answer a question I can likely find the answer. Areas I won't be much help in: Apple Computers, Linux, older Networking technologies like Token Ring, or Thick/Thinnet.


I'm currently a Network Administrator for a contract circuit board manufacturer in Oregon, USA. I've been working on PCs from a hobby standpoint for better than 25 years. I've been doing it professionally for 4+ years.


A+ Certification, Network + Certification, MCP, MCDST, MCITP

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