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Looking for a unicorn? Laptop or desktop at <$300 for photo editing

314 178 January 26, 2018 at 09:09 AM
I'd like to see if I could find a laptop or desktop under $300 that would be good for photo editing. That would be the most intense processing I'd use it for, otherwise I'd want it to run the usual web browsing, occasional wp/ss software, and genealogy software (no gaming). Currently use Corel paintshop, but would like to be able to use it for photoshop in the future if I switch. I do have a laptop I can try to muddle through with, it's just old and to be honest I wouldn't be surprised if it died on me sometime in the next year. In a few years I could probably afford better, but for now the $300 would be it (and that's pushing it).

I'm ok with a refurb, and I'm not expecting top of the line. Just something that will work well. I have a basic idea of hardware components but that's about all, I'm by no means an expert (so please be patient if I don't understand or get things wrong, lol). Recommendations I've read suggest a pc w/ a i5 quadcore or better, 8-16GB ram (ok w/ buying something with just 4 and upgrading myself), and SSD if possible. I've read conflicting info about graphics, so I'm not going to even guess at what I need there. It also looks like the best bang for my buck would be a desktop.

My main concern when looking at refurbs is the age of the processors - looks like i5 4th gen is the newest in my budget range, most are 3rd gen (sites such as newegg, dell refurb, etc). Are these too old? Any thoughts on this and anything else would be appreciated it. I don't want to waste my money if it's a bad idea to get something like this.

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#2
Under $300 shipped with taxes is tough for this type of machine. Look at the Dell Outlet and for coupons from there.For your budget realistically your look for a system to build up as your budget and needs allow. So look for a larger tower, not a mini one that limits your upgrades, i5 and maybe 8gb ram. Your going to have to add an SSD yourself later, and more ram if you need it. Make sure your software can actually utilize a GPU. For instance photoshop only uses it for plugins and zooming. GPU's genreally don't make a huge difference. If you can save for a while and increase that budget your most likely going to be more happy in the long run.

Also if you have not checked out Lightrooom I would encourage you to watch some videos or try the demo. The workflow is quite a bit better then the traditional graphics program.
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#3
You don't need state of the art. It'll help make things run faster, but for run-of-the-mill photo editing any functioning machine will work these days. An i5 3rd generation would be fine. A more recent i3 would work too, honestly. Just get the 8GB of RAM (4 will be a pain).

An SSD makes everything about a computer run better, but at your price point it may not be a real option. Fortunately you can manage with a regular drive.

With high-end 3D work or video editing a lot of these performance limits are real, but with photo editing the biggest obstacle you'll likely find is that your computer takes a bit longer to do the operation than the latest machine. As long as it's not something from Grandma's attic it'll get the job done.
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#4
It's over $300, but this is the best I deal I saw on Dell Outlet:

Inspiron 15" 5000 (5570) $510.00 - 15% (15Inspiron57) = $433 + tax and shipping
Certified Refurbished
Processor: Intel Core 8th Generation i5-8250U Processor (Quad Core,1.60GHz,6MB Cache,15W)
Windows 10 Home 64bit English
1TB SATA3 512e 2.5inch 5.4K RPM Hard Drive
8GB DDR4 Non-ECC SDRAM 2400MHz (1x8GB)
15.6 inch FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare LED-Backlit Display
Tray load DVD Drive (Reads and Writes to DVD/CD)
Intel HD Graphics

These aren't bad either:
Inspiron 15" 5000 (5566) $506.00 - 15% (15Inspiron57) = 430 + tax and shipping
Processor: Intel Core 7th Generation i7-7500U Processor (Dual Core, up to 3.50 GHz, 4M Cache, 7.5W)
Windows 10 Pro
1TB SATA3 512e 2.5inch 5.4K RPM Hard Drive
8GB DDR4 Non-ECC SDRAM 2400MHz (1x8GB)
15.6inch HD (1366 x 768) Non - Touch Truelife LED-Backlit Display
Tray load DVD Drive (Reads and Writes to DVD/CD)
Intel HD Graphics

Inspiron 15 - 5559 $412.00 - 15% (15Inspiron57) = 350 + tax and shipping
Certified Refurbished
Processor: Intel Core 6th Generation i5-6200U Processor (Dual Core, up to 2.80 GHz, 3M Cache, 25W)
Windows 10 Home 64bit English
1 TB SATA Hard Drive (5400 RPM)
8 GB Dual Channel DDR3L 1600MHz (4GBx2) Memory
15.6 inch FHD (1920 x 1080) LED Backlit On-cell Touch Display with Truelife
Tray load DVD Drive (Reads and Writes to DVD/CD)
Intel HD Graphics
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Last edited by jkee January 26, 2018 at 03:25 PM.
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#5
Quote from jkee
:
It's over $500, but this is the best I deal I saw on Dell Outlet:

Inspiron 15" 5000 (5570) $510.00 - 15% (15Inspiron57) = $433 + tax and shipping
Certified Refurbished
Processor: Intel Core 8th Generation i5-8250U Processor (Quad Core,1.60GHz,6MB Cache,15W)
Windows 10 Home 64bit English
1TB SATA3 512e 2.5inch 5.4K RPM Hard Drive
8GB DDR4 Non-ECC SDRAM 2400MHz (1x8GB)
15.6 inch FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare LED-Backlit Display
Tray load DVD Drive (Reads and Writes to DVD/CD)
Intel HD Graphics

These aren't bad either:
Inspiron 15" 5000 (5566) $506.00 - 15% (15Inspiron57) = 430 + tax and shipping
Processor: Intel Core 7th Generation i7-7500U Processor (Dual Core, up to 3.50 GHz, 4M Cache, 7.5W)
Windows 10 Pro
1TB SATA3 512e 2.5inch 5.4K RPM Hard Drive
8GB DDR4 Non-ECC SDRAM 2400MHz (1x8GB)
15.6inch HD (1366 x 768) Non - Touch Truelife LED-Backlit Display
Tray load DVD Drive (Reads and Writes to DVD/CD)
Intel HD Graphics

Inspiron 15 - 5559 $412.00 - 15% (15Inspiron57) = 350 + tax and shipping
Certified Refurbished
Processor: Intel Core 6th Generation i5-6200U Processor (Dual Core, up to 2.80 GHz, 3M Cache, 25W)
Windows 10 Home 64bit English
1 TB SATA Hard Drive (5400 RPM)
8 GB Dual Channel DDR3L 1600MHz (4GBx2) Memory
15.6 inch FHD (1920 x 1080) LED Backlit On-cell Touch Display with Truelife
Tray load DVD Drive (Reads and Writes to DVD/CD)
Intel HD Graphics
No desktops?
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#6
Quote from LiquidRetro
:
No desktops?
oops wasn't paying attention to laptop or desktop.

Desktops:
Inspiron 3668 Desktop $471.00 17% -(17InspDAIO) = 390 + tax and shipping
Certified Refurbished
Processor: Intel Core 7th Generation i5-7400 Processor (Quad Core, up to 3.50 GHz, 6M Cache, 65W)
Windows 10 Home 64bit English
1TB SATA Hard Drive (7200 RPM)
8GB DDR4 Non-ECC UDIMM 2400MHz (1x8GB)
Tray load DVD Drive (Reads and Writes to DVD/CD)
Integrated Video Card
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#7
As long as your definition of photo editing doesn't include RAW files or working with PSD - large photoshop files with multiple layers, etc - then almost any modern $300 machine will work with JPGs - of course the more RAM the merrier.
If you're serious about switching to Photoshop then budget for an SSD drive at least for your work drive if this ends up being a desktop. Meaning you can still have a large spinny disk for storage if your budget doesn't run to a large SSD.
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#9
This one is 399 at microcenter
Acer Aspire ATC-780A-UR12 Desktop Computer; Intel Core i5-7400 Processor 3.0GHz; Microsoft Windows 10 Home; 8GB DDR4-2400 RAM; 1TB 7,200RPM Hard Drive

This one is 412 at lenovo outlet
Model Details
IdeaCentre 300-20ISH - New
List Price:$579.99
$412.71
Ships in 1-3 business days
11 in stock
Part number: 90DA004JUS
Processor: Intel® Core™ i5-6400 Processor (6M Cache, up to 3.30 GHz)
Operating System: Windows 10 Home 64 - English
Hard Drive: 1TB, 7200RPM Serial ATA 3.5" Hard Drive
Warranty: 1 Year Warranty
Optical Drive: DVD Recordable
Memory: 12GB (4GB and 8GB) DDR4 2133MHz SDRAM UDIMM Memory
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 530
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#10
I'd suggest an off lease Lenova Thinkpad. (ex: X220/230 w/IPS or T420/430, etc).

Make sure it's A grade. If it doesn't have an SSD then add one.

These are still great machines for everyday tasks. There's a reason most Fortune 100 companies have chosen these as their std. systems for their employees.

<$300 is very do-able.

https://arrowdirect.com/search?q=...0w%2F%20OS
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