It's pretty clear we're going to amicably disagree on what the future holds, and that's ok. I still use Topaz Studio on my own laptop with Intel Iris Pro 6100 Graphics (2015 MacBook Pro, low end i5 CPU, macOS 10.13/Windows 10 Bootcamp setup), and it works quite well for me. For what it's worth, the Iris 6100 exceeds our recommendation of the HD Graphics 530 (mobile)/540(desktop) GPU, listed for Intel, and my experience has been great, apart from the issues that everyone faces regardless of hardware, like bugs or crashes that we cause.
The thing is, your laptop/desktop won't work forever. You will eventually be forced to upgrade your hardware, if not by your desire to use our products at a higher rate of speed, then by simple entropy.
I decided to take an "average user" tour of buying a laptop. Here's what I did:
- Went to bestbuy.com
- Selected the Laptops section
- In the price sorting options, I went for the category with the most models, presumably where the "average" consumer ends up. This was the $250-500 price category.
- I selected the first laptop in the list, which was the Dell Inspiron I3566-3636BLK-PUS, and was priced at $329.99. I'd say this is well within the price range of an "average" consumer, which I'm going to assume doesn't want to spend more than $400-500 on a machine. Here's the link, for your review: https://www.bestbuy.com/site/dell-inspiron-15-6-touch-screen-laptop-intel-core-i3-8gb-memory-1tb-hard-drive-black/5835852.p?skuId=5835852
Now that we have a potential machine to buy, being an average consumer, let's see what $350 will get us:
- CPU: Intel Core i3 7100U (7th gen) @2.4 GHz
- RAM: 8GB DDR4-2133 MHz
- Storage: 1TB HDD
- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620
Alright, the GPU is the HD Graphics 620. Here's how the HD 620 stacks up against the HD 530:
The HD 530 is 8% faster - so it's basically even. This is the performance level that our Recommended level sets, to provide realistic expectations. It looks like the "average consumer" can and should absolutely be able to reach decent processing speeds, if their computer died today, and they had to get another one without dropping $1000 for a MacBook Pro that has the same specs as mine.
Your argument that Recommended hardware levels are out of reach for the average user is eroding, the more I look into it. I am actually quite impressed that I can get that kind of hardware under $400. The first laptop I ever purchased for myself was right at $380, and was the Samsung NP305V5A-A0CUS, and netted me these specs back in 2012, 5 years ago:
- CPU: AMD A6-3410MX (4-core) @2.3GHz
- RAM: 6GB DDR3 1600MHz
- Storage: 640GB HDD
- Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 6520G Graphics (no dedicated VRAM, unsupported)
So, 5 years ago, you would have been correct. This price point could have easily yielded a machine I could not use with Topaz Studio. Today, that isn't true.