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Thread: Key components for "value" computer?

  1. #1

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    Key components for "value" computer?

    The poster of this thread wanted to build a computer costing $2-$2.5k:

    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...hop+components

    I have only about $1,000 to spend for a PC that runs Photoshop 4 and InDesign 4. What are the key components I should put my money into, and what is the "tipping point," or "best value," for each? For example:

    Key components:
    Processor: Intel dual core or quad-core, and what GHz?
    Memory: how much RAM?
    Hard drive: What size GB for 2-3 years ( I currently have only 160GB, 85% full)
    Graphics card: no idea

    Are there other computer features that also should be considered?
    Mike

  2. #2

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    Re: Key components for "value" computer?

    At this moment with the software you are talking about, the dual core will give you more performance. I would think of about an 8500 or so.

    Ram will depend on your operating system, run 4GB for 32bit OSs, 8GB for 64bit.

    Hard drives are cheap. There is no reason not to get at least a 1TB.

    Your graphics card will not really matter for either of the software packages you mention. The desktop performance of any card such as an Nvidia 8000 series or better will be about the same. I know this sounds counter intuitive but get a card with NO MORE than 256MB of ram if you can, 512MB max, and make sure it does not use system memory to expand the memory of the card.

    Places you do NOT want to skimp are the power supply and motherboard. I use only Asus midrange or higher boards with Japanese caps, midrange or better Antec power supplies (sometimes Cooler Master) and descent cases (Antec mainly). Make sure your case has a 120mm or better exhaust fan to ensure quiet efficient cooling.

    Good luck!

    Allan

  3. #3
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    Re: Key components for "value" computer?

    I second the recommendation to not skimp on PSU. I'm a Seasonic fan but I like my computers like I like my women...quiet, cheap, and stable.

    Big thing with memory is to get a mobo that allows you to add more later. Then whenever there is a sale or something, you can just pop a couple sticks more in there.

    I would get a 1+ TB Western digital green power drive. Quiet, cool.

    I'm an AMD man so listen to others for recommendations on Intel stuff.

  4. #4

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    Re: Key components for "value" computer?


  5. #5
    Youngin Daniel Stone's Avatar
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    Re: Key components for "value" computer?

    you could probably pick up a used MacBook Pro(prev. generation) off of ebay or craigslist that would serve CS4 or InDesign perfectly fine.

    you can run windows too if you want to via parallels or the other apple-released software.

    my main comp is MBP, and with 4gb of ram, it hammers out 700mb drum scan files pretty nicely. layered files(depending on how big of course), it bogs down sometimes, mostly b/c its a "lowly" dual-core 2.8ghz intel processor.

    but if you want to stick with a DIY box, check out newegg, or read up on PC-Gamer magazine, cause many of the things needed to run PS well are the same for gamers.

    i don't think you should have any problem with getting a box up and running for under $1k, even with 4-cores and 6gb of ram or so with a decent mobo and 2 hd's(use one as a scratch disk only, the other for storage)

    I've found these things to be CRUCIAL to running CS4 with ease

    1. Fast CPU(at least dual-core IMO, quad-core even better)
    2. Fast/LOTS of ram(more the better)
    3. A decent graphics card. CS4 puts more load onto the GPU vs. prev. versions of PS, so be aware.
    4. Keep it cool, if your machine isn't well-ventilated, heat is the enemy . keep it cool with nice cross-flow of air in the machine.

    look at the pc-gamer mag, they occasionally have a "build a kick-ass gamer system for under $1k) generally they're under budget

    cheers!

    -Dan

  6. #6

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    Re: Key components for "value" computer?

    Quote Originally Posted by mdd99 View Post
    The poster of this thread wanted to build a computer costing $2-$2.5k:

    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...hop+components

    I have only about $1,000 to spend for a PC that runs Photoshop 4 and InDesign 4. What are the key components I should put my money into, and what is the "tipping point," or "best value," for each? For example:
    Any games?
    Key components:
    Processor: Intel dual core or quad-core, and what GHz?
    Memory: how much RAM?
    Hard drive: What size GB for 2-3 years ( I currently have only 160GB, 85% full)
    Graphics card: no idea

    Are there other computer features that also should be considered?
    How 'bout this?

    Seasonic S12 2 Bronze 520 $70 - $90
    Intel i5-750 @ 2.67 GHz $200
    Asus P7P55D $150
    Kingston DDR3 1333 4 G Kit $150
    WD Caviar Black 1 Terra $100
    Asus Radeon 5750 1G $160
    DVD Burner $35
    Cheap Case $60

    Killer bargain machine. The i5, a quad core, will do a healthy overclock but a good cooler is needed. The Radeon is a good DirectX 11 card and will accelerate Photoshop and games well. The Seasonic is an insane deal for a unit that gets a 9.7 from JonnyGuru, probably the last word on power supplies. The WD is a very good drive and a terrabyte will last a while. 4 G of RAM kit, 2 x 2 G sticks, will do and you can add another 4 G kit if you want later. The platform will support 16 G of RAM but you will need to get more expensive 4 G sticks to do that in the 4 slots available.

    I have something similar but more game oriented. Smokes with a 4 Ghz overclock.

  7. #7
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: Key components for "value" computer?

    I'd also give a good word for the Seasonic power supplies. Get a motherboard that can handle 16gb. Get 8gb ram. Seagate or Western Digital 1tb+ drive. For my uses, the builtin video works well. I do not do gaming or 3d stuff, so a good built in nvidia or radeon video works well. High end video cards are basically meant for gaming and use lots of power. On the low end avoid Intel brand of built in graphics. Low-midrange is the builtin ATI and NVIDIA stuff. As long as it's got DVI out, it's going to be good as ATI and NVIDIA are fierce competitors.

    I generally buy AMD stuff. All the AMD quad core chips are cheap and come with good coolers. They've even got some hex core chips out now that are reasonable. I generally reuse cases, but for new ones, Antec is decent; just don't go for one of the tiny home theater / media PC oriented cases. For DVD burner, it doesn't really matter much. Also figure in a little money for perhaps a new card reader for your dslr stuff, and some money for a new OS. Reinstalling XP is a torturous waste on new hardware like this. I put 64bit windows7 on my home machine. (and I use opensuse 64bit on other machines at home and work)

    You'll probably go over $1000 if you go with 16gb ram, or if you have a solid state (OCZ vertex) boot/OS drive, but otherwise you can likely cobble together something very fast and high quality for <$1k with lots of good choices.

  8. #8

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    Re: Key components for "value" computer?

    Last year I bought a Dell from the clearance area,
    Dell Studio PC
    Intel quad core
    8gb of memory
    2 650gb drives
    64 bit OS (Vista Home Premium 64)
    USB 2 and firewire
    graphic card slots built in
    It has some not critical problems, the graphic card is built in and uses system RAM, but does adjust with my Spider and a CRT screen. It only has one expansion slot and SCSI doesn't configure with the system (2940U adaptec).
    This cost $525.

    Tom

  9. #9

    Re: Key components for "value" computer?

    If you're building a value system, I'd look at AMD; Phenom x6 or maybe x4($150-220). The processors are cheaper than Intel and so are the motherboards(~$80-90). I'm a huge Seasonic fan, but Antec makes a good PS too. Look at the Antec sonata II case. It includes a 500w green power supply(very efficient) and is a very nice case; runs about $100.00. I'd also second the Western digital green drives. The 1TB version is cheap, fast, quiet, and cool. 4-8gb of ram should run $100-200(2-4 sticks). CS4 can use the graphics card, but it won't make or break the experience IMO. I'd try the on-board video first and buy a PCI x16 card only if it leaves you wanting. My $.02

  10. #10

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    Re: Key components for "value" computer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vertex Ninja View Post
    If you're building a value system, I'd look at AMD; Phenom x6 or maybe x4($150-220). The processors are cheaper than Intel and so are the motherboards(~$80-90). I'm a huge Seasonic fan, but Antec makes a good PS too. Look at the Antec sonata II case. It includes a 500w green power supply(very efficient) and is a very nice case; runs about $100.00. I'd also second the Western digital green drives. The 1TB version is cheap, fast, quiet, and cool. 4-8gb of ram should run $100-200(2-4 sticks). CS4 can use the graphics card, but it won't make or break the experience IMO. I'd try the on-board video first and buy a PCI x16 card only if it leaves you wanting. My $.02
    For sure you can build a cheap machine. The OP wanted to spend a grand ... you can do considerably better than a bone stock AMD for that.

    Seasonic makes some fine Antec PSUs but other are made by less fine OEMs. You need to be a bit careful with Antec's cheap stuff.

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