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Looking for laptop that will run Chrome/Illustrator/Photoshop simultaneously, how much RAM do I really need?

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  • Photoshop
  • Illustrator
  • Chrome
  • RAM
  • Laptops
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Last response: in Laptop General Discussion
June 8, 2015 7:02:06 PM

Hi everyone,

Title says it all. Looking for a new laptop that can run Chrome, Illustrator, and Photoshop simultaneously, and can do so for the next 3 years. Preferably I'd like to be able to do some light gaming on the side, but that's not really a primary concern for me.

Currently have a 2010 MacBook Pro with i5, GT 330M 256mB, 8GB of RAM. Yeah.... it's a joke. But I've made it this far.

I'm looking at either the Sager NP7155 or NP8650. Their specs are almost identical except for one thing... RAM.

CPU: i7-4720HQ
GPU: GTX 965M 2GB
RAM: Up to 16GB (NP7155) | Up to 32GB (NP8650)
HDD: 1TB 7200RPM

One things is certain, I will be getting 16GB of RAM, but the real question is, will I really need more? My current setup is sluggish and at this point I can't tell if it's because of my processor, video card, RAM, or a combination of all 3. I'm leaning towards the NP7155 and maxing it out at 16GB and saving the $200 difference as my budget is fairly tight.

What do my fellow designers out there recommend? I know the more RAM the better, if the budget allows, but for now my budget says 16GB is all I can do, I'll shell out the extra $200 if I really need 32GB. I just want to make a decision that won't hurt me 3 years from now.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

Extra info about my workspace:

  • Chrome usually has 5 - 10 tabs open at once
  • Illustrator files are ~250mB - 500mB in size
  • Photoshop files are ~500mB to 1GB in size
  • Minimal 3D rendering work done on Photoshop, however I may be looking to utilize 3DS MAX + vRay in the future, this will not need to be run simultaneously with Illustrator/Photoshop
  • More about : laptop run chrome illustrator photoshop simultaneously ram

    a b D Laptop
    June 8, 2015 7:11:55 PM

    I don't see quite what is wrong with your current macbook pro. It's probably slow because you have a slow hard drive. Have you looked at your memory usage? You probably need 8Gb and could possibly use 16Gb, but I doubt (from your description) that you would really notice the benefit of having more. You will notice, however, the massive jump in performance of moving to an SSD or hybrid storage config.
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    a b D Laptop
    June 8, 2015 7:13:23 PM

    Photoshop and illustrator hardly use any GPU accelleration-even integrated graphics won't slow you down with the tasks you list.
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    Related resources
    June 8, 2015 7:32:33 PM

    Calculagator said:
    I don't see quite what is wrong with your current macbook pro. It's probably slow because you have a slow hard drive. Have you looked at your memory usage? You probably need 8Gb and could possibly use 16Gb, but I doubt (from your description) that you would really notice the benefit of having more. You will notice, however, the massive jump in performance of moving to an SSD or hybrid storage config.


    I have 8GB right now, I'm using all of it at the moment, performance becomes very sluggish with Photoshop and Illustrator open at the same time, I can't move an object without waiting 10 to 20 seconds for it to catch up with me. The HDD may be the issue as it only runs at 5400rpm. Perhaps 8GB + SSD will suffice for now. On that note though, how much space will I need on SSD?

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    June 8, 2015 7:43:04 PM

    SSD's have come down in price so that's a bonus. I'd say a 500GB would do you fine. Double the RAM to 16GB. Wait for
    Mac to make a leap before buying new.
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    June 9, 2015 12:21:18 PM

    fport said:
    SSD's have come down in price so that's a bonus. I'd say a 500GB would do you fine. Double the RAM to 16GB. Wait for
    Mac to make a leap before buying new.


    I've read that SSDs will help with load times, but will not really improve performance within Photoshop and Illustrator. I don't think I'll be going back to a Mac :p 
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    a b D Laptop
    June 9, 2015 12:31:44 PM

    onemars_ said:
    Title says it all.


    No it doesn't. It depends whether you have 1 chrome tab or 20. It depends whether you are editing a 320x240 or 36 MByte film resolution picture.

    But yeah 10-20s wait is pathetic.

    First off, no matter what browser you use, FLASH is a major culprit of using up all your CPU. There is no way around it other than re-starting the browser or turn off Flash completely.

    Now when in PS, if you notice after a change it takes its time to write the changes to HD, look at the progress bar, then you will benefit from more RAM and/or replacing that HD with a SSD.

    But be mindful, no matter how much$ you throw at it, browser+Flash may gobble up everything.
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    a b D Laptop
    June 9, 2015 1:33:30 PM

    onemars_ said:


    I have 8GB right now, I'm using all of it at the moment, performance becomes very sluggish with Photoshop and Illustrator open at the same time, I can't move an object without waiting 10 to 20 seconds for it to catch up with me. The HDD may be the issue as it only runs at 5400rpm. Perhaps 8GB + SSD will suffice for now. On that note though, how much space will I need on SSD?



    What stats does activity monitor give for your memory usage? If you are swapping to disk because you are short on memory, a spinning disk will murder your performance. If this is the case both increasing RAM and upgrading to an SSD will improve performance.
    It's possible that your software doesn't load entire images into memory. Anything reading from the disk (or writing) will be slow and will basically lock up your computer until it finishes.

    A lot of the advice online concerning macs, ssds, RAM ,and photoshop is old. It was written for when SSDs were much more expensive and people would use a small ssd for programs but still store their image files on a spinning disk. I'm pretty sure that's where you found someone saying that SSDs only improve load times. This is only true if don't use the ssd for storing images. SSDs will improve all sorts of performance because the thing that slows your computer the most when working with large images is reading and writing to disk.

    If I were you, I would upgrade to 16gb of RAM and at least a 500GB ssd. If you decide to get a new laptop, I would look for one with the same specs. The GPUs on the ones you list will not help your performance at all. The CPU will help a little, but your current CPU is not causing the long pauses you are experiencing. I would avoid any spinning disk. SSDs are worth the cost for the improved reliability alone, and they are much faster.

    I use both macs and PCs and appreciate both. For what you are doing, I think a mac gives a much better experience. For the same quality of hardware, a PC laptop will cost just as much or more than an equivalent mac. If you want to game, the PCs you are looking at are better.
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    June 12, 2015 10:50:44 AM

    8-16 GB
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