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Okay, my apologies if this question has been asked to death, is in the wrong section, etc. But now that I actually have some income now, I'm wanting to pretty much rebuild my computer. I don't need much more than a new case, motherboard, and processor.
The thing I'm worried about is the processor, and seeing how I don't really know all of the technical things about it, I have no idea what I should be looking for when it comes to performance in digital graphics. If it helps to set a bit of a budget here, I'm not willing to spend more than $300 for new parts at the moment.
Could anyone give me some advice of what to at least be on the lookout for?
Hard to say without knowing what your doing.
If your rendering an animation of a 2 million poly figure in Maya with raytracing and fiftybillion paint effects your going to want more processing power than, say, running Painter or Photoshop.
But what I can say for sure:
Newegg has some great deals on computer hardware.
Right, I knew I'd forget to specify something, but I am aware of newegg (s'where I was actually planning to buy from.)
What I'm wanting to do is upgrade to a good enough processor that I can work in higher-resolution pictures. As of right now, I can't really even draw/color very well with it, due to the fact that this computer isn't all that great.
RAM is one of the most important things. It has to be big, fast and compatible enough, or everything will go wrong
If you're computer is 7+ yrs old, I think you better off save some more and build a new computer instead of only upgrade MB and CPU. You won't be able to re-use your old 1 GB Ram with the new MB and CPU. And most new MB only come with one IDE connector, which mean you only able to connect one DVD-rom and one harddrive. Save some more and get a new SATA Hard drive too.
And don't forget a nice video card could affect the performance as well.
You won't need anything fancy for 2D work.
A Pentium4 3.0ghz will do you fine, and those things are cheap as chips these days.
As for RAM, one gig is good, but it wouldn't hurt to have two.
The big RAM manufacturers all make cheaper versions of their high end gaming grade RAM, so your budget of $300 should be enough.
I would recommend saving more and getting a new rig, though, as ouch already mentioned.
Decent PCs are dirty cheap to build these days, as long as you're not a gamer.