A little computer help?
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    A little computer help?

    Hey guys~!

    So with my current computer on it's last legs, I'm looking to purchase a new machine-- but I could use some help! The last time I got a computer (5 years ago) I really wasn't happy with what I ended up with because I feel like it didn't live up to my needs then, despite what knowledgeable friends said, let alone now. Basically I want something snappy that, hopefully, will age well, or at least will be receptive to upgrades... but I just don't know enough about computers in terms of their hardware. Here are my regular use programs:

    On a daily basis, I'm using Photoshop/Illustrator, Poser/Daz 3D, Painter and Sketch up. I also watch a ton of videos and play a few computer games like Sims and Civilization. Any ideas where I should start? I'm doing more and more 3D modelling as time goes on...

    Anyway, hope this isn't too broad a request-- any help or any reading would be much appreciated!

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    Quote Originally Posted by sanya View Post
    Hey guys~!

    So with my current computer on it's last legs, I'm looking to purchase a new machine-- but I could use some help! The last time I got a computer (5 years ago) I really wasn't happy with what I ended up with because I feel like it didn't live up to my needs then, despite what knowledgeable friends said, let alone now. Basically I want something snappy that, hopefully, will age well, or at least will be receptive to upgrades... but I just don't know enough about computers in terms of their hardware. Here are my regular use programs:

    On a daily basis, I'm using Photoshop/Illustrator, Poser/Daz 3D, Painter and Sketch up. I also watch a ton of videos and play a few computer games like Sims and Civilization. Any ideas where I should start? I'm doing more and more 3D modelling as time goes on...

    Anyway, hope this isn't too broad a request-- any help or any reading would be much appreciated!
    My general thing is to tell people to build their own systems. You get the parts you want, and they have different warranties, instead of sitting there with tech support all day with pre-built overpriced rigs.

    I generally recommend intel to most people who want to fiddle with 3d, but if you want AMD that's also fine and you can save quite a bit of money. As an illustrator either chip will do quite well.

    If you're looking for mostly illustration an icore5 will fit the bill. You can get an icore7 (I got the 3770k) but I think most illustrators will be happy with an i5
    So..motherboard you want to look for the LGA 1155, you can get the 2011 ones, but I don't think the performance for the price is all that much, and as a fellow Civ player, you will be fine with an LGA 1155 board.

    Best boards are Asus, Intel and Gigabyte. The others are a bit questionable, but if a board works you'll have few problems if you're not overclocking.

    For PSU (aka Power supply) go with at least 650 Watts depending on your graphics card, they usually recommend 750 but I think most 2d illustrators and entry level Quadro (like the 600) manages power just fine. Corsair and Antec seem to be well touted brands.

    You could also buy some DIY kits as a jumping point if you're willing to build.
    For example:
    http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applicatio...1&Sku=B69-1440
    That's a great starting point, and most of what you'll need is 2 HDDs at least

    I recommend a SSD as your operating system, and secondary drive for your storage. I say about 128 gb SSD s pretty good and the prices are going down if you know where to shop.

    http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applicatio...1&Sku=B69-1412 Another good starting point and if you don't care about SSD all you need is a video card of your choice. Get more RAM (since it's only 4gb)

    http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applicatio...ts-_-Spot%2002 Gives you some options to look at and play with.

    I am just using Tigerdirect as an example - cross shop when getting computer parts.

    I highly recommend SSD as part of the new configuration, since as traditional drives get older they die, slow down and people don't defrag them. With an SSD as your operating system, you'll be happy with the startup times and you don't need to defrag. In fact, DON'T defrag as it is bad for your system.

    If you want to get into more complex things like caching hdds or configuring multiple vids, I can be of some help for the former (since that is what I do on my current setup) than the latter

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    Thanks so much for the response Arshes! I thought maybe i7 would be a better choice? It was so frustrating with my last set up to have the processor/video card be the bottle neck for pretty much everything-- I wanted to try getting something heavy duty. Like, from my perspective, it seems like with Civ and Windows 7, I was constantly being left behind in terms of my machine's ability to handle these newer programs, OS, etc... so I worry that if I don't go high end with everything this time, I'm going to regret it down the road when for some reason Adobe Photoshop, I don't know, CS9, decides it won't run without 10gigs of ram for some reason? Sorry, I know I might not be making sense-- I only have a barebones understanding about this stuff, but I just really don't want to make the same mistake again, you know?

    Also, do you feel strongly about the two seperate drives? Not just partitioning the one?

    Anyway, all help is appreciated-- these Tigerdirect links really help!

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    Quote Originally Posted by sanya View Post
    Thanks so much for the response Arshes! I thought maybe i7 would be a better choice? It was so frustrating with my last set up to have the processor/video card be the bottle neck for pretty much everything-- I wanted to try getting something heavy duty. Like, from my perspective, it seems like with Civ and Windows 7, I was constantly being left behind in terms of my machine's ability to handle these newer programs, OS, etc... so I worry that if I don't go high end with everything this time, I'm going to regret it down the road when for some reason Adobe Photoshop, I don't know, CS9, decides it won't run without 10gigs of ram for some reason? Sorry, I know I might not be making sense-- I only have a barebones understanding about this stuff, but I just really don't want to make the same mistake again, you know?

    Also, do you feel strongly about the two seperate drives? Not just partitioning the one?

    Anyway, all help is appreciated-- these Tigerdirect links really help!

    The SSD drive can be partitioned but remember SSD is more expensive per gb than a traditional HDD. They actually don't even need to be partitioned because of how they access memory. In fact, if people are limited on upgrades, the best thing they can do is get an SSD drive for their system.
    http://lifehacker.com/5932009/the-co...d+state-drives

    (Though even though I own an OCZ - I bought them through rebates, I disagree about OCZ and Corsair being more reliable - Samsung, Intel and a couple of others have been more reliable looking at the reviews on various drives).

    Because SSDs tend to be more on the expensive side (256gb is running about $200) I feel that you can get a good 120/128gb drive for Under $100.

    http://amzn.com/B0077CR60Q -- Here's a Samsung for $90.
    Now if your drive doesn't have a kit, it will need an enclosure/converter sled so it can sit in your desktop - because they're the size of laptop/notebook drives.

    Now because they're so small, what are you going to do about your files, music, movies and well programs like Steam where they're not as important (I hope) as Photoshop and art apps?
    That's where a traditional HDD comes in. Now yes, traditional HDDs, are better when partitioned, defragged, etc and expect to die in about 5 years from your purchase.

    SSD although can have failure, they don't have moving parts like platter (traditional HDD) so mechanical failure is far less likely. When an SSD "dies" it just means it can't write data to the drive anymore and you can extract that to a new SSD, vs having to get expensive recovery tools - (if it's a physical platter hdd failure).
    SSDs tend to run a lot cooler as well.

    You'll get definite speed increases. My desktop takes about 30 seconds from the time I hit the power button, to get into Windows and start using apps.

    That's why I said a two drive minimum. You'll need an SSD AND a platter HDD for your other files. I also do things like move my TEMP files to the HDD for space saving.

    Now there is drive caching but this gets a little more complex so let's stick with a 2 HDD setup for now (though if you buy a board that has an mSATA connector - let me know and I will go into more detail about drive caching).


    http://conceptart.org/forums/showthr...09#post3550909 is a post talking about my specs, how much the parts cost (some I reused because I gutted out my PC from an old build)

    If you want to spec from mine go ahead - not like there's a copyright on it lol. But you'd have to swap out a couple parts like the Warlock PSU - (Get a Corsair)
    The other thing I spent on that I didn't mention were Fans. All my fans have LED...I just come home to a very calming blue. I am sitting next to it right now and feel like I'm next to an ice box.

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    I wanted to add on, the i7 (3770k is what I have) has hyperthreading while the icore 5 does not. So the former shows up as 8 cores, the i5 shows up as 4.

    The thing about "faster and better" isn't really that big of a deal to the general consumer when you see benchmarks. It's one thing if your deadlines are highly dependent upon it. But a new computer is just going to be faster than your old one.

    If you can afford it, sure go with a newer CPU but for the most part you're only talking maybe a few seconds. http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu...k_5.html#sect0

    One of the reasons I'm not about to encourage the fastest specs to people who don't do this as a career and do tax writeoffs on their machines is that they cut corners in other areas. Like say...a decent drawing tablet. For an illustration machine - you can do savings on the cpu and to some degrees a graphics card vs spending $100's on stuff that isn't going to make you a better artist and not have a tablet that can work better. (Although there's another animal on what kind of tablet one needs).

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