What should I look for in a Photoshop PC?

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  1. #1
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    Question What should I look for in a Photoshop PC?

    My trusty desktop PC has finally passed away from long-standing motherboard problems. I built that machine in ***2004*** and it was still a Photoshop champ -- which tells you how carefully I spec machines.

    But six years is a long time not paying attention, and I am utterly lost in 2010 technology. I'm buying a barebones processor/motherboard/memory combination for a machine that will be 80% Photoshop, with maybe some video editing and Flash and a little light gaming. I have two main questions:

    This dual/quad core thing...I understand it's multiple processors, but does software have to be rewritten to take advantage of that? Specifically, does Photoshop make use of it? (I think I'm up to CS2 on that machine).

    And memory...does speed of memory make a significant difference for Photoshop? I'm sticking with XP for now, so I'm only getting 4 gigs, but I wondered if it was worth splashing out on the newest and fastest.

    Any other suggestions you might have for an elderly geek would be most welcome.

    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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  3. #2
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    If you want to have a computer that'll last you for a while, go for more than 4 gigs of ram. I'd say 6, and maybe even 8 if you've got the money--memory is so cheap these days that it's kinda worth it. That, a nice quad-core processor and a high-end graphics card and you should be fine.

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  5. #3
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    For a long lasting computer, definitely go with a Quad.

    You can go with the AMD Phenom II quads which with a mobo will run you about $200+ This depends on the board, and if you still run ddr2 ram on your old PC and want to use it, (provided your ram still works of course) make sure you get a board that supports it. AMD will run these or ddr3 fine.

    If you go with an Icore (which are very confusing labels lol) I'd go with an icore5 (750 being the good one) or icore 7 - Please keep in mind if you do go with these processors you will absolutely need ddr3 memory. Corsair is selling some 4gb sticks for about $100.
    Get the 4gb now and upgrade when you feel like.

    If you go with a lower end quad like the core2 intels, q9650 was the best one, but it runs about $329 right now.

    Now for graphics you can go with a card that runs ddr3 it's good - I believe they're running about 90 or so for a decent one.

    Even though you want to stick with XP I'll give you a very good reason to just do the upgrade to Windows 7.

    The next time your computer breaks. Instead of having to reinstall everything (provided your HDD w/o a backup died) it's very easy to do component upgrades. Mobo died? No longer a problem - whereas XP you may have to reinstall the OS.

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    Thank you both for replying, especially since I figured out there's a whole section for hardware discussion and I should have posted there.

    The reason I'm clinging to XP, Arshes Nei, is that I have made a trans-Atlantic move since I built my old machine, and I don't even HAVE most of the software I'd have to reload.

    I'm in a kind of weird spot with that. I worked in the art department of a corporation for 25 years. I had all stand-alone licenses for my software and when I left the company, they didn't replace me or several others like me. I've kept in touch, so I know my software isn't being used by anyone else.

    In other words, my stuff is legal for me to use, but it isn't mine. If and when I have to start buying my own licenses, it's going to be really REALLY painful.

    Anyway, thanks again. Learn stuff brain hurty.

    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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    Don't worry, easily moved.

    You could look for some deals on Ebay (I know, it hurts to figure out which is legit on ebay) to see if you can at least score an older version of PS. Or look on Amazon's stores to see if someone's selling one since you can at least get an A-Z guarantee.

    I'm one of those weirdos that love older versions of software. I was so happy when I bought Painter 6 of all things. So whenever I have old versions I keep them and back them up constantly

    CS4 and above I believe (I know CS5 has listed it does) of multicore processors. Painter 11 takes *some* advantage of it.

    By the way, I almost forgot about PSU. Get one that is 650watts at the least. Depending on the age of your computer, also know that now the Mobos actually have multiple ATX cables (when I was younger I had seen how they worked previously but didn't realize there was more than one when I built my first CPU last year). You'll get the fat and a 4pin one. Some graphics cards also may ask for a cable too.

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  10. #6
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    Thanking you a second time, Arshes Nei. I've posted this question on several appropriate forums, and nobody has come CLOSE to being as helpful.

    Most people are recommending I give up buying components and just pick up a cheap Dell or something. Feh. I've made every computer of mine since 1985. I'm not going to stop now.

    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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    When I built my computer, I asked my friends a few questions (those that knew computers). The rest of it was me googling and watching videos on how to build one.

    Once the CPU was figured out the rest was a bit easier as I kept looking up what was related. Reading reviews on Newegg is very helpful as well as how their site is constructed vs Amazon. Newegg is more specific. The reason I went with Amazon over Newegg when it came to ordering the parts is:

    1. I do not get charged sales tax (though in some states you do for Amazon).
    2. Any item I ordered (or group of items) over $25.00 I got free shipping.

    The difference in dollars between Newegg and Amazon was only a few. If I went with Newegg even with the rebates, I'd only get my "tax dollars" back. Tax in CA is like nearly 10%. Not everything shipped free.

    I snagged the Apevia Warlock 750 for 89 dollars, beautiful and it works.

    http://www.amazon.com/review/R1O4VTD...cm_cr_rdp_perm

    The 2nd ATX cable was a tight fight because it was a bit short. Cables are thick because they're woven, but I managed by tucking them behind the case.

    In terms of good cases, for a good price the Antec 300 is pretty nifty. The Coolermaster Gladiator is also a good buy. They only range about 50 bucks.

    As far as Mobos, Asus, and Gigabyte still rank up top for performance. Gigabyte was my choice and for the price and features, VERY AWESOME mobo.

    Your question was easier to answer than 'what computer I should buy' ...generally I answer "google" when people are extremely vague. You were specific in what your needs were and how long you've been around computers.

    When people ask very vague questions on a PC I tend to tell them to google, because it's like "What car should I buy". Come back when you made a decision when you know what you WANT TO DO WITH YOUR PC XD and "good art pc" is still not specific if you don't tell us what kind of art you want done.

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