The Computer: Domestic Model or Formula 1?
There will always be someone to point out that he has “THE machine, THE latest, supersonic model of computers available on the market!” But, do you really need to be surfing on a Formula 1 model? In this article, I will briefly explain the relationship between the various components of your computer and the actual needs of the amateur photographer. This article, however, will take into consideration that we are dealing with a hobby and not a profession and that the stress associated with rapid delivery is not an issue to contend with.
How does it work?
First, let’s list the main components that allow you to configure your computer. The acquisition, processing and recording of your pictures will pass through the following six components:
We will now picture your computer like a work area, such as an office. We will run a parallel between the various components of your computer and a person working in an office within a company.
The person is at the centre of the job, thus sharing the same responsibility as the computer processor. The better the processor performs, the more it compares with a highly-efficient worker who is able to quickly receive, handle and re-send information. The work is demanding so the worker must be competent, just as the processor must be of the highest quality. The work of the other team members (other components) depends on it.
Random Access Memory (RAM)
The bigger your desk, the more documents you will place on it for processing. The RAM on your computer operates the same way. The greater the capacity of your computer memory, the greater the volume of information you will be able to process within a given time.
For example, if the RAM installed is equal to 1 GB and you try to open a number of images totaling 2 GB all at the same time, your operation will be slow and your images will take time to completely appear. Every action that you will try will cause your images to be only partially visible before they slowly reappear and your operations will be jerky and unsynchronized.
It’s like running out of space on top of your desk and having to process one pile of files at a time in order to free up space for another pile of files.
Within the company, your office is also part of a network of services such as Communications, Sales, Human Resources and Production. To be fully efficient, your data must be sent and exchanged quickly with all these other departments.
The computer’s motherboard must, in its own way, do the same thing. It carries the information from your memory card, linked through a USB 2 or firewire to the processor and RAM and then to the video board and your monitor. The motherboard is like a train switching station whose efficiency depends on the speed at which the information is distributed, redirected or resent to the various computer components.
In brief, no matter how quickly and hard you work, if your messenger service is too slow, it will slow down the entire production process!
You have finished your work but have to translate it for your Asian customers. Obviously, you will turn to the specialized services of a Translator who will transpose your work as best as possible into a document that will do justice to your original version without altering your ideas.
This is the comparison we make with the video board. It translates the numeric values of your file into images that will display on your monitor. The video board works together with the monitor that must also be of excellent quality to provide you with all the nuances of colors, shades, contrasts and tone to do justice and provide stability to your pictures.
The Hard Drive
It is essential that you file your documents in such a way that they will be easily and quickly located when needed. The hard drive will be used as a giant filing cabinet.
It allows you to store all your images and to access them in no time, which is not the case with a DVD disk. The main internal disk also includes the computer programs and operating system. However, an external hard drive would allow you to store your images in a separate location from your internal hard drive, freeing up space to allow it to function more rapidly.
For additional details on this subject, consult the article on digital archiving.
It really is not necessary to have a Formula 1 computer to process and handle your photos. However, an image folder is much bigger than a text folder and requires many more components to handle the information it contains.
So, instead of “making do” with the small family vehicle, why not at least treat yourself to the little sports model? That spiffy little charger will provide you with all the acceleration you’ll need to easily process your photos.
The following is a suggested profile (and it changes very rapidly!) of the system requirements to guide you in the purchase of a new computer or the updating of the one you already have:
Processor Core Duo 2.46 Hz
RAM 2 Gig DDR2 667 MHz
Motherboard Bus 800 MHz
Video board 256 MB memory
Hard Drive 160 GB
Connections 6 ports USB2 and 1 Firewire
Burner/Player DVD double layer or Blue Ray
Monitor Contrast 1000:1 High resolution 1280 x 1024
Drive Integrated multi-functional memory card
"Only professionals really need a Formula 1 model; they are expensive to use and to maintain. Given the current price of gas, you’re better off saving your money to travel and take beautiful photos! You’ll go much further with the same full tank!!."
Go for it, and Happy Shooting!
With the cooperation of Jacques Bourdage, PFE.