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Best hardware specs, Windows PC build for Affinity Designer & Photo

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Forum folks,

I'm looking to use Designer the simplify some stock eps files to use with a cnc machine, that has its own software:

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2018 HP ENVY x360 15.6" FHD Touchscreen 2-in-1 Laptop Computer, AMD Ryzen 5 2500U up to 3.6GHz (Beat i7-7500U), 8GB DDR4 RAM, 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD, USB 3.1, HDMI, 2x2 802.11ac, Bluetooth, Windows 10

will this work?


Thank you.




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Lucy, first of all, I'd check the formats to exchange files with that software. A lot of those only deal with DXF format, yet not supported by Affinity Designer. I'd have no issue in exporting from A. Designer (AD from now on in this text) to Inkscape (an open source vector based software, in my very particular opinion, a great companion for AD : some people need it for a 10% of a project otherwise done almost fully with AD ), and export from there a DXF, but quite some people seems to see that as a problem (but you can actually export a file to Inkscape, and export a DXF from there. People would just love the convenience of a direct export.... ), so, I needed to mention. Indeed, I use Inskcape since always as part of my workflow for my 3D extrusion, 3D printed logos, and etc projects. But it lacks the full power and capability of AD (and for a lot of people, the quite superior AD's user interface, due to many reasons)  , that's why I use inkscape as a companion. I think it is extremely clever to have BOTH installed (and updated always to last version).

The machine itself should be capable of fine work if you don't use very node-heavy designs (surely totally fine for CNC works), I guess. Is in the low end of performance, aimed at low energy usage laptops. A bit kind of comparable to an old sandy bridge i7 in performance... I wouldn't fully agree in it beating the i7 7500U in every possible case. It does beat it largely in multi-core operations. Logically as it counts on 4 cores, 8 threads, while the i7 is a very trimmed down i7, having only 2 cores, and 4 threads. In Cinebench benchmark, in single core testing, the i7 beats clearly though not by enormous difference this Ryzen. That said, in Cinebench multi core, the difference is WAY bigger in favor of this Ryzen. (I keep saying "this", as the incoming 3700x, quite a different price range, yet "main stream", in Cinebench multi core beats even the super mighty i9 9900k. And that's the heck of a lot, as that intel processor is a beast ). I believe it would be complex, even with a firmware update, to make one of the new ryzen cpus work in a laptop like this, but... who knows !  :D (you'd be amazed, if so.... ). The chipset compatibility of current Ryzen mother boards, and the outstanding summer-incoming 3k series (the 7 nm cpus) , is something I don't get solid info about... some say it will be a matter of a firmware download and update, but I guess, even so, a lot of its capability might not get used if not getting a new mother board... Don't quote me on that : I don't know.  But if I'd be a Ryzen current user (planning to be one), I'd be quite excited, lol... :)   

So, probably one of those cases where the switch to Affinity makes TOTAL sense... for this machine. With adobe 2019 CC, this machine would not deal well with the suite (that said, the Adobe suite works very well when the machine is even just a bit over average. And even with a subpar one if you know how to configure things (to the level I mean here, maybe is a 1% of digital population, lol)...  but should, for your purpose, very well (IMO) work with Affinity. Adobe and other apps do favor single core vs multi-core (that might change, tho), while in Affinity the multiple core thing is quite well used. Now, even so, the clock speed is vital, too. And the issue with this low end consumer Ryzen model is it has a very low base clock speed, the base frequency is only 2GHZ, while the i7 2.7 GHZ (yeah, turbo is 3.6 GHz in Ryzen, while is 3.5 in the intel, but turbo in all four cores is 3.5 in intel case, and "only" 3GHz in the Ryzen). Given the fact that yet in the Ryzen 2000s the IPC (a cpu "thing" that makes intel's processors very fast, in that regard, intel's faster than Ryzen, at least till now (dunno what'd happen in June....)) is quite worse than intel's, meaning, single core, 2 GHz would beat 2GHz from Ryzen, this is quite a difference. I would expect the intel be faster in apps that heavily use single core. That said also, the 2500 is more modern model, so, there might be some advantages compensating a bit. Indeed, I find intriguing that in most games, seeing also (not interested in that, but sometimes is a clue) those benchmarks, the Ryzen 2500 seems to give much better results in almost every title.... 

Looking at all, globally... Yep... seems in single core it is a somewhat in between a Sandy bridge i5 and an i7 of that generation (2nd gen). Which is not terrible, as those were capable machines (meaning: the jump from 1st gen (mine) to Sandy (2nd), was huge. Later on changes were more in the range or 5% - 15% between one gen and the next) . But in multi core, it seems gives much better results. I do all sort of graphic work, vectorial and raster, and mine is first gen i7 ! Quite worse than intel's Sandy Bridge. AD and AP work GREAT here. I'm geeky, have the OS optimized and all, know tricks... but still, it tells you that, unless you'd be doing extreme work loads (ie, working with RAWs in Photo or using millions of vector nodes in AD), it should be fine.

The RAM is a bit short, but is the RAM I have (indeed, mine is for sure much slower ram), and you wouldn't imagine the size of the files and project that I handle with this piece of history, lol.... For usual regular vector designs, you should be fine.

I'd install the apps in the SSD disk (I'd have installed the OS as well, maybe setting the temp and cache folders to be in the HDD, just to prolong the SSD lifespan, and for space issues) 

Also, because that way you'd notice great speed benefits. Some people use SSDs for caching and continuous big files write, but IMO they are fine if they find out they have to replace a SSD every 2 or 5 years. As speed for them is more important than other factors. (often related to your income, your investment in the activity, etc)

That said, am speaking only over specs and available benchmarks in a 5 secs google search. If I'd have that laptop I'd knew immediately just by testing it in any other application...

Also, typically the U series are not thought for performance (in intel, and I feel AMD is using that kind of naming standard as well) but portability, low heat, low energy usage, and low price. It's a nice laptop, tho, IMO. I know I would be able to work with it. But YMMV.


AD, AP and APub.  Ryzen 9 3900X, 32 GB RAM, GTX 1650 4GB, 500GB m.2 SSD, 1TB HDD 7200rpm. Wacom Intuos 4 XL.

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