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Thread: Components for a Photoshop Computer

  1. #1

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    Components for a Photoshop Computer

    I want to build a desktop PC that will be used for scanning, graphics editing (Adobe CS4 Premium) and some audio and video editing. I have other computers that can be used for the internet and office applications. This one will be dedicated and kept off-line.

    I'm prepared to spend US$2k - $2.5k not including external storage (where I want to keep anything that I'm not actively working on), monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers and software.

    I've been reading anandtech.com and tomshardware.com in an attempt to figure out what components to purchase, and the net result is that my head is hurting.

    On the off-chance that there are photographers on this site who are on top of this stuff, I thought that I'd ask for suggestions. One specific question. Are any of you using solid state drives? I'm thinking that a small one, either 30 or 60 gigs, might be a good idea to shorten boot/loading time; not a necessity, but a nice convenience.
    Cheers!

  2. #2
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Components for a Photoshop Computer

    Use a 64 bit operating system. Max out your ram. 4 cores is probably the sweet spot. A stripped array for the scratch disk is a good idea. Coolermaster makes some nice cases.
    May tomorrow be a better day.

  3. #3
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    Re: Components for a Photoshop Computer

    How much performance you need is somewhat subjective. Is time money for you? Go all out. Otherwise, you can save a lot by getting hardware that's a generation or two or three old. I'd much prefer an old Mac to a current DIY commodity PC.

    An excellent monitor, however, with all the hardware and software tools for calibration, is essential.

    I use old LaCie CRT monitors, calibrated with eye-one hardware and software; this is a cheap way to get results, with the caveat that the monitors are big and they guzzle electricity and they die after a few years. If money were no object I'd use Eizo.

  4. #4

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    Re: Components for a Photoshop Computer

    I just recently purchased a new computer from Falcon Northwest. I configured my machine with an I-7 quad core liquid cooled processor (3.07 overclocked to 3.95), 12 gigs of ddr3 ram and a GeForce 280 GPU with 1gb of dedicated video memory. Dual optical drives and dual 1TB HDs. I work in HD video and HD slide show productions. I decided against a SS drive because the benefit/cost ratio didn't work for me...your needs may be at variance to mine.

    Donald Miller

  5. #5

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    Re: Components for a Photoshop Computer

    Donald, what is overclocking doing for you in your application? I'm trying to figure out whether this is just a consideration for gaming and general playing around or whether it is useful in graphics and other data intense applications.

    Paulr, I agree about the monitor, calibration, etc. I exlcluded this stuff from my question because I have an Eizo for the laptop computer that I'm currently using and plan to replace.
    Cheers!

  6. #6

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    Re: Components for a Photoshop Computer

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Miller View Post
    I just recently purchased a new computer from Falcon Northwest. I configured my machine with an I-7 quad core liquid cooled processor (3.07 overclocked to 3.95), 12 gigs of ddr3 ram and a GeForce 280 GPU with 1gb of dedicated video memory. Dual optical drives and dual 1TB HDs. I work in HD video and HD slide show productions. I decided against a SS drive because the benefit/cost ratio didn't work for me...your needs may be at variance to mine.

    Donald Miller
    Is that Bloomfield or Lynnfield? The i7 comes in LGA 1366 and LGA 1156.

    Bloomfield will address 3 channel memory with a possible 24G of RAM. Lynnfield has 2 channel controller on board.

    A good working system but I question the GeForce 280. You have no need of that unless you play video games. The sweetest HD I've seen was on the GeForce 6600 with hardware acceleration.

  7. #7

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    Re: Components for a Photoshop Computer

    A much better, though I fear much more expensive, video card for Photoshop might be found here:

    http://www.nvidia.com/object/builtforadobepros.html

    Yes I know a GTX 280 is not cheap but it's nowhere near what they charge for Pro cards.

  8. #8

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    Re: Components for a Photoshop Computer

    PenGun,

    Yes, the PNY Quadro cards are on my consideration list. Some of them are wickedly expensive, but not all. It's not quite clear what they really do for you if you aren't invovled in fairly fancy video editing or 3D. Then there's the new Radeon 5870 card that came out a couple of weeks ago

    I've at least settled on a processor, the i7-950 Bloomfield, probably the Asus PT6 motherboard and either 6 or 12GB of RAM. So much of the discussion of this stuff on the internet is about gaming. If you aren't careful, you'll wind up with a computer that needs to be packed in dry ice.
    Cheers!

  9. #9

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    Re: Components for a Photoshop Computer

    You do not need fancy video cards for still images. Just at least 512 megs of memory, all that fast frame buffer stuff and refresh rates are for gaming. Ram is good, I am not sure there is much difference between dual core and quad core for the money - none of the software is vectorized enough to use the cores well. Ram matters, and get ECC, and a fast drive for swapping and for the system. Use external SATA as much as possible - runs cooler, and its more flexible.

  10. #10

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    Re: Components for a Photoshop Computer

    Actually CS4 will use CUDA on GeForce 8 and up to accelerate many filters etc. With 320M images, that's where I start, some GPU magic can speed things up a lot.

    I just bought a GTX 260 but I bought it for games. Rage is coming. I guess I'll have to acquire CS4 to test this stuff out.

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