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by Phil Ball

Q. Can you give me some tips for buying a new computer for digital photo work?

A. There are several components to look carefully at when buying for digital photo work.

Processor – Most any of the current processors made will do fine but avoid the budget processors. Dual core, quad core, or newer processors are fine.

Memory (RAM) -- Buy as much as you can get, right up to the limit of your processor. In general, XP and Windows 7 will run fine with two GB of RAM but more is better if you are inclined to do a lot of photo work at once such as after a return from vacation.

Storage - Hard Drive – Today’s cameras are giving us more and more megapixels and that means larger file sizes. Small hard drives can fill up fast. I recommend 500GB but Terabyte-sized hard drives are now becoming more common and thus are less expensive. (1 Terabyte = 1000 GB)

Video Card – If possible, get a discrete video card as opposed to integrated video. It helps keep your images refreshed so there is no delay in showing the results of your photo editing.

Monitor – The larger the screen, the easier it is to see fine detail. If you are using a modern LCD screen (flat screen) watch your angle in viewing the screen. A slight change of angle can skew the appearance and you may make improper brightness adjustments. This is an area where spending a little more may make a large difference. I would also recommend buying a colorimeter to keep the monitor adjusted for proper color.

Published: Courier 5/16/10 - Page 5C