News and Views from Dave Wilson

Tag: PC

Moving with the times

by on Jan.16, 2010, under Computer, Photography

I’ve always considered myself an early adopter but, thinking about it, I’m actually rather behind the times these days. We are probably the only house in Austin without an HDTV (which is doubly weird given that I used to work in software development for HD satellite and cable settop boxes) and both my computer monitors are still CRTs. My computer, until this weekend, was a rather clunky and extremely unreliable HP system running Windows XP on a dual-core AMD Athlon 64. Much as I love Adobe Lightroom 2, running it felt very similar to wading through syrup.

Things changed this week, though. In anticipation of my upcoming expedition to Utah and in celebration of the start of a new tax year, I’ve bought my first laptop and fully intend this to become my main digital darkroom machine with the HP relegated to the role of file and print server. The new machine is a Dell Studio XPS 16 with a Core2Duo CPU, 6MB L2 cache, 7200rpm hard disk, upgraded graphics card and 64 bit Windows 7. It’s an absolute screamer (for a Windows machine)!

I’ve installed 64 bit versions of all my software where these versions are available. Lightroom 2, Lightroom 3 Beta, Photoshop CS4 and Photomatix Pro 3.2 all come in “double-wide” versions and the performance difference compared to my old machine is staggering. Lightroom exports happen in a very small number of seconds and, even more impressively, I can view the effects of slider changes in the Develop module in real time! No more “move the slider, wait for the effect”!

Couple this superb performance with the fact that the display is absolutely gorgeous (allegedly having a colour gamut encompassing the whole AdobeRGB space) and I’m definitely enjoying this as my new mobile office.

Oh, I almost forgot – it’s red too.

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