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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Maryland, USA
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts

    Decent Desktop Computer for Art/Graphic Design?

    I am pursuing a Graphic Design degree, and am moving into uni dorms after summer. I'd like to get a really nice desktop computer to last me the next 2-3 years. To handle Photoshop and the Adobe Suite, digital painting, lots of multitasking (I like having lots of browsers/documents/etc. open), and I like working on big canvases with 600+ DPI. That kind of stuff.

    I'm clueless about computer-related things, and I've looked through the threads in this forum to try and find some info to help me. But it all means really little to me, so I would appreciate some help? Requirements, recommendations, etc.?

    From what I've read, I've picked up the following things to look for:

    • IPS Display, high resolution (rec: NEC EA232wmi)
    • i5 2500
    • 8GB RAM
    • Dual-core processor

    Other than that... I have no idea? Thank you for any help,
    Last edited by almyki; June 13th, 2011 at 03:23 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Thanked 155 Times in 131 Posts
    How much money are you willing to spend?

    Some things you might look for: USB3.0 and SATA3, SSD scratch disk helps for Photoshop (but is maybe expensive or if you get a smaller one), quad-core (i7 920 or even better i7 2600 sandy bridge)
    IPS monitor - NEC, HP, Dell

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    So Ca
    Thanked 24 Times in 24 Posts
    I'm not sure in the UK but in the US many colleges offer discounts on computers for their students. Might want to check to see if they offer any discounts for you.

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  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    I recommend to buy i5 2500 instead of i7 2600. There isn't pretty much any difference in real life performance but worth mentioning in a price. i5 also beats the crap out of the AMD Phenoms in any point of view, also in a price point. Both (Phenom x6 and i5 2500) cost the same. RAM is cheap so get at least 8 gigs. NEC EA232wmi is a realy nice monitor. It delivers very nice colors and sharp image. Only disadvantage I have noticed are the darkest black tones. But maybe it's only the matter of calibration.

    If it helps, my specs are

    Intel i5 2500
    16GB DDR3 RAM (Yeah crazy, but very useful when making various comics pages at the same time...)
    Asus P8H67
    Radeon 5850 1GB (I do game a little bit but a bugdet graphics card can be enough for Photoshop though)
    OCZ Vertex2 60GB
    1TB Western Digital HDD

    NEC EA232wmi and Eizo S2231W

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  7. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Torrance, CA
    Thanked 4,262 Times in 2,074 Posts
    A lesser cpu will not make or break your drawing, - however it's only to look out for a number of years before upgrading. I do tell people to get quads - but for performance on drawing? Not as big of a deal as you think. Multi-tasking and gaming, yes then your processor makes a bigger deal. And by multi-tasking I mean more than just having your favorite art programs open but other things.

    Ram is one of the biggest factors, the more you have it is better.
    A good graphics card is also another factor.
    Space on your drive

    You already know the monitors and I definitely agree IPS panels are the way to go.

    The reason I tell people that the CPU you can actually skimp a bit on for drawing is because these aren't critical - but your skills are. You're not going to be in the middle of painting and go "well damn should have had that intel/amd/whatever choice cpu" You probably will notice drops if your video card can't handle things, you're using up a lot of ram or out of swap (hard drive) before the cpu.

    So if you're trying to budget keep that in mind.

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  9. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Maryland, USA
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
    I am a bit slow to respond, but I wanted to thank you folks for your help, this was really great info! I really appreciate the time you've taken.

    I have run into a second issue though. I originally wanted a PC computer, but my father and sister have told me to get a Mac instead. They say that learning how to use a Mac would be good for my career choice, because other companies will use Macs and I'd be expected to know how to use them. I spoke to another person today that works within the same industry, and he agrees with this.

    Should I listen to them? I've used a Mac before, for about a year in a graphics class, and disliked it. But if it looks like I might need to use Macs in my future workplace, perhaps it would be best to get more familiar with it?


  10. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Lisbon, I think...
    Thanked 150 Times in 106 Posts
    For graphic design yes, Illustrator and the like, most design companies are all Mac. For digital painting I think Windows has the edge since you can run much more programs and they usually get the 64bit version earlier, it happed with Photoshop CS4 and it happened with Painter 12.

    It doesn't matter much these days from a performance point of view, you can get PC components and hack install OSX as long as you get compatible components, dual boot even on both platforms, you can install Windows with bootcamp.

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