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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Please Suggest PC Configuration
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01/03/2009 05:26:20 AM · #1
Hi I am buying PC after 8 years. I am very slow towards change in life so my next buy will be part of my life for long time.

My need-:
Photoshop CS2
Normal work what one does with PC.

My confusion

Any need for Video card since i don't play games or do anything else.

Should i go for like 4-6GB ( incase processor core2 duo supports or go for Quad with with lesser GB i am about to

Budget

US dollars 500-600

Will stick to 17inch CRT.

incase some one wants to ask question before suggesting me can ask me.

OS, will stick with window XP, have not used VISTA and dont feel like any need to change my OS

Message edited by author 2009-01-03 05:27:35.
01/03/2009 06:11:49 AM · #2
Others correct me if I'm wrong, but as I understood it, XP is only capable of utilizing 3.5gb, so anything beyond that is superfluous.
01/03/2009 06:54:09 AM · #3
can we use LCD for Photo editing ?
01/03/2009 08:13:00 AM · #4
Originally posted by General:

can we use LCD for Photo editing ?


Lots people do their editing on a laptop with LCD screens, so you are probably fine.

01/03/2009 08:33:55 AM · #5
Just wanted to know ideally 17inch CRT or LCD, i don't have much knowledge, i mean is LCD not good for editing Photoshop
01/03/2009 08:40:24 AM · #6
The only problem with LCD that I know of is viewing angle having an effect upon colors, which shouldn't really be an issue on a desktop since your viewing angle won't really change drastically once you get it set up. Calibration is an issue that would need addressing, but that's universal. Cost, of course, will be higher.
Question: are you planning on assembling your own or going for a pre-assembled?

Message edited by author 2009-01-03 08:41:15.
01/03/2009 08:44:03 AM · #7
Check out this latest thread on monitors here:
01/03/2009 09:20:53 AM · #8
I am going to assemble my own. I think for just Photo shop we don't need any Video card. It seems like i have just woken from a long slumber and everything PC world has changed from a time i bought P3 , running with 256 MB RAM. I will stick with XP and not have so much excess ram that is useless.Where can i find info on on how much RAM can be supported . Does running XP on core 2 duo machine make sense i mean , will it be worth money spending on core 2 duo chip and still have an XP. I like XP and have no complains and never used VISTA
01/03/2009 09:49:14 AM · #9
I changed to Vista last year...I have no complaints....as I got all new software with my laptop (Toshiba...Qosmio) I love my computer...it hums...we paid extra for the larger storage (so it would last a bit longer...hmmm) (I also have a external hard drive) I was planning on working on photo's so we upgraded the screen resolution...and people really notice the difference!!! But...I paid $1,800 for my "investment" (again...1 year ago)...I can hook up to my TV, watch DVD's, listen to CD's (or internet XM) while I am working....I love my computer!!! Don't be afraid of the Vista...it will get to a point (and soon) where XP will be very outdated...But, I will say that I have replaced all my programs (as they to were very outdated) with new versions...so I wouldn't contaminate my system....Any new programs you purchase today will run on Vista's just fine...and I love the portability of my laptop...it goes everywhere with me...camping, classes, travel...etc. I don't have to wait until I get home....won't ever own a desktop again...this is my 2nd laptop...one footnote...Toshiba was a pain in the butt in regards to sending the rebates...but...after 6 months they finally did come through...keep your paperwork, shipping labels etc all together until it is finalized...
01/03/2009 10:24:11 AM · #10
Photoshop CS4 makes use of the video card GPU for certain functions. I know you mention that you are going to use CS2 but just worth considering in case you ever decide to upgrade. I'm not sure to quite what extent it uses it or what the requirements are though.

If you are planning on using more than 4G RAM in the system, you will need to get the X64 version of Windows (XP or Vista), as despite the fact that the /PAE switch will allow the computer to see the extra RAM, most applications wont actually address it properly so I think there's something in Windows that just stops it being used (not 100% sure about this, remember reading it somewhere so you may want to confirm).

If you do go for the X64 version, make sure any applications you are planning on running on it (Photoshop) are X64 compatible or have an X64 version.

For CPU core2 duo should be fine.

I would definitely consider putting in a half decent vid card though, it doesn't have to be top of the line by any means, or even gaming standard, but a low end NVIDIA or ATI with 256MB RAM will make a real difference, even for the things you are planning on using it for.
01/03/2009 11:17:31 AM · #11
I did the same thing. First, stay away from Intel chips, they are just not worth the money. AMD has come a LONG way, and you get a lot more processing power out per buck out of their chips.

This is what I built 3 years ago (Feb 6, 2006). At that time, I was building a PC for photo and video editing capabilites. If you are building a system for gaming....then what I'm about to suggest is not for you.

Keep in mind, this is from 3 years ago and represents what I thought was the best overall for my needs at that time. Things have changed. It took me 3 months of research to learn everything. For example, at that time, AMD Opteron chips were exactly the same as another one of theirs, just from a better bin of chips (you have to really dig for this information).

AMD Opteron 165 Denmark 1.8GHz Socket 939 110W Dual-Core Processor Model OSA165CDBOX - Retail I definately wanted to go with the dual core, and it has certainly paid off in performance. Quad cores are out now too. Do NOT compare clock speeds of AMD chips with clock speeds of Intel chips. They ARE NOT equivalent. AMD processes information differently (and more efficiently) than intel. You need to read reviews and benchmark tests for a proper comparison.

ASUS A8N-SLI Premium 939 NVIDIA nForce4 SLI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail I got the SLI for expansion reasons. I wanted something I could build on, not upgrade, in the future. The MB, as do most, offer an on board RAID. See comments about HDs below.

CORSAIR XMS 2GB (2 x 1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model Twinx2048-3200c2 - Retail 2 GB was enough. I have not really had any issues with needing more, even with multiple large psd files open. Certianly, PS is using the swap drive, but, I got fast HDs anyway.

HITACHI Deskstar T7K250 HDT722525DLA380 (0A31636) 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM Speed is important. I got TWO of these and put them in a RAID 1 configuration (mirror). That way, if a drive crashes, I can swap out the bad one without loss of data. Some people say its slower...bah...as long as you are using the onboard controller, the performance drop is minimal (get fast drives) and worth it! Of course, I'm a panic freak when it comes to photo backups (RAID 1 + copy on another drive + backup on 2 DVDs from different manufacturers, all verified through an MD5 checksum).

ASUS EAX300SE-X/TD/128 Radeon X300SE 128MB 64-bit DDR PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail Just a standard, simple video card. I would go no less than 128 MB. Unless you are a gaming freak, this should be enough. Most software packages out there don't utilize the video card RAM that much.

FSP Group FX600-GLN 600W V2.2/EPS12V SLI Support Dual GeForce 7900 GTX or Dual GeForce 7800GTX 512 MB CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply - Retail I'd stick with FSP for power supplies. My last one lasted (and is STILL good) 10 years! Get a powerful supply for expansion reasons. FSP is one of the few that offer 600W supplies. But, make SURE that you have the extra pins for the motherboard!! Not all do.

APEVIA X-Alien ATXA1A/420 Beige Steel Server Computer Case 420W Power Supply - Retail This was the biggest pain in the neck to find. Most cases are geared for the gamers with lights, and funky shapes. I wanted something simple. This was the closest. Obviously, I took the power supply out and put the 600W in.

The only additional piece of equipment I got was a new sound blaster X-Fi sound card, since I wanted my Yamaha Clavinova hooked up and I wanted good sound capabilities that the onboard card doesn't provide.

Ok...total cost for the above: $1265 (three years ago).

Spend some time on the forums for the chip and board manufacturers. You'll learn a lot there.

Originally posted by General:

I am going to assemble my own. I think for just Photo shop we don't need any Video card. It seems like i have just woken from a long slumber and everything PC world has changed from a time i bought P3 , running with 256 MB RAM. I will stick with XP and not have so much excess ram that is useless.Where can i find info on on how much RAM can be supported . Does running XP on core 2 duo machine make sense i mean , will it be worth money spending on core 2 duo chip and still have an XP. I like XP and have no complains and never used VISTA
01/03/2009 11:24:30 AM · #12
It is possible to build a really high performance machine on your budget, especially if you watch for sales. Check out newegg.com and tigerdirect.com. Watch for their daily deals, and you can sign up for their email notifications (I created a 'junk' hotmail account to send stuff like that to).
I often am able to get performance components for 50-75% off normal price. I watch the deals, buy when something great comes along, and put it in a box. It might take several months to get all you need, but to build a $1000-$1250 computer with $500 makes the wait worthwhile.
Another way to save a little money is to go with a dual core AMD chip instead of an Intel chip. I have built both Intel and AMD systems depending on what deals were available and both perform great for Photoshop.

Here is a 19" widescreen Samsung LCD monitor $289 (list) on sale for $129.97 at Tiger Direct:
Samsung 19" Widescreen LCD monitor

There have been lots of deals on RAM as well. You can get 2 GB of RAM for about $30. Keep an eye on sites like //www.slickdeals.net for things like this...

When you pick out a motherboard, be sure to get everything you want on it. Make sure there is enough USB ports, decent on board audio (pretty much standard with MB these days), quantity of PCI expansion slots, Firewire, e-Sata. If you are going to re-use older mouse and keyboard, make sure it has PS-2 connections (round purple and green connection points) instead of just USB ports.

You can get a great non-gaming video card for $30-$40 if you watch the deals... Make sure it has compatible connections for you 17" monitor, or for your new one if you pruchase a monitor. (VGA, D-Sub, DVI, etc).

Your system will perform better if you buy a separate hard drive for you software. I have a smaller, fast hard drive for Windows and Photoshop. No data storage there... Use a larger separate hard drive for storage. I've seen deals recently for 1TB drives (1000GB) for around $100.

You can save money on anti-virus by going with free software. A good free one is AVG. You can also have MS Office compatible suite for free by using Open Office.

Oh yeah, I put a multi format card reader in my Photoshop computer. It fits in the front of the case where a 3.5" floppy drive would go. I always have a card reader right where I need it, and don't have to use a USB port for a card reader. They are about $20.
Here is one at Newegg.com with good customer ratings (4 our of 5 starts, 291 reviews) for a good price:

Internal Card Reader for $13.99

Oh yeah, pick up an extra case fan. Cheap cases come with cheap, noisy fans that die. You can get a decent case fan that won't squeak for less than $10.
There are lots of inexpensive cases available. I have built computers for customers that wanted them. I hate cheap cases! If you buy a case for $20-$30, be sure to have lots of bandaids. You will get cut.
For decent cases (solid quality, rolled sheetmetal edges (no cuts), vibration isolation mounts for hard drives, etc look at Antec and Cooler Master. Watch for sales on cases, pick up a good one and you will never regret it.

DVD burner - you can find good ones just over $20. I have two installed in my Photoshop machine. I also do video editing, and it is nice to be able to burn two at once, especially if you have a project to make 40-50 DVD's. More practical for me, though, is to be able to listen to a CD in one drive while burning in the other... I have had good performance from Samsung, Sony, LG, and LiteOn. IF you buy an OEM version (not retail) you will need to have cables for it. Cables are cheap. GO with SATA.

Hope some of this helps...
Have fund building your new computer!
JD

EDIT: also check frys.com

Message edited by author 2009-01-03 13:38:40.
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