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Thread: Computer Requirements for Image Editing

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    Computer Requirements for Image Editing

    Hello Everyone. Hope I've posted this in the right spot.

    My computer is dying and I am looking to upgrade. Before I do so, I would like to know if there is anything in particular that I should look for in a computer and monitor, that will be used mostly for Digital Photography. I have not settled on a PP software program yet, but would want something that would be capable of using the latest version of Photoshop, if I ever get to that point.

    Right now I am looking at a package with a Dual Core 2.33 Ghz processor, 6 Gb Ram and a nVidia GeForce G210 graphics card with 512MB dedicated memory, DVI and HDMI ports. I'm hoping this should keep me going, but please let me know if there is something else I should be focusing on.

    I have not decided on a monitor. Does anyone have any suggestions as to types, brands, features that I should be watching for in a monitor. I am looking for minium 20" max 25" and do not want to spend more than $500.

    I've also been considering hooking the computer up to an LCD TV (same sizes and price range). This would be a nice space saver, but I'm not sure if it would give me the best quality for computing.

    Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated. I'm still researching, and hoping what I have now holds up until I find the perfect solution.

    ScoutR

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    Re: Computer Requirements for PP

    Hi Scout,

    From a Photoshop point of view what's needed most (for speed) is RAM. RAM, RAM, and more RAM - but - if you're going over 4GB then you need to use a 64 bit operating system to take full advantage of it, which means you need to be sure that there are drivers for the likes of printers etc available.

    For what it's worth, I use an i7 extreme edition PC with 12 GB RAM under Windows 7, and it runs very nicely. A fancy graphics card isn't important - although Photoshop CS4 can offload rendering to the card, it doesn't make that much of a difference to justify spending mega-dollers on a high-end card.

    Other than that, storage is the next thing - obviously the bigger the drive the more you can store; also, the more you can lose if you don't back it up - so make sure you have a DVD writer AND allow a little in the budget for a USB external HDD as well.

    Does this help?

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    Re: Computer Requirements for PP

    On the TV viewing front, is a dual DVB tuner worth looking at?
    To display on the computer monitor I mean, rather than have a TV acting as a PC monitor.

    I know it gives the PC more to do.

    Or was the TV to be a part-time second screen for PC?

    Cheers,

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    Re: Computer Requirements for PP

    From a Photoshop point of view what's needed most (for speed) is RAM. RAM, RAM, and more RAM - but - if you're going over 4GB then you need to use a 64 bit operating system to take full advantage of it, which means you need to be sure that there are drivers for the likes of printers etc available.
    I've decided on a Windows system.The computer I'm looking at has Vista Home Premium which I believe is 64 bit. From what I understand I will have the option to upgrade to Windows 7.
    I've been to the Windows compatibility page, and from what I've seen I will be able to download the drivers for my printer and an external DVD drive that I have, if I decide to use it. Most of my old software is not going to work on this system, but the only thing I will really miss is Adobe Auditon. If I get back into the music thing, I'll have to purchase the new version.
    I'm really not looking forward to going from Windows XP to Vista, and have even been considering having a system built around XP. I would assume that the 64 bit OS should be better, faster..... and so on. In reality though, do you think it is worth the trouble of changing. (I used to love upgrading, now it's getting to be a pain in the butt) Is this a difficult transition.

    For what it's worth, I use an i7 extreme edition PC with 12 GB RAM under Windows 7, and it runs very nicely. A fancy graphics card isn't important - although Photoshop CS4 can offload rendering to the card, it doesn't make that much of a difference to justify spending mega-dollers on a high-end card.
    Whoa.... 12 GB RAM that's crazy. Explains how you do those incredible 30 sec makeovers. I thought I was going over the top with 6. LOL when I started looking I was considering 2. Right now I have 1.5 on a Pentium 4. It crashes a lot. I will check into the package that I am considering. I think it can only be upgraded to 8 GB and if I remember correctly, it's a lot of fussing around to change it out. It's a small form factor computer, and everything is jammed in pretty tight.

    Good to know that the Graphics card is not that important. I was really having trouble knowing what to do in that department, and I figured it would be one of the most important things to look for.

    Other than that, storage is the next thing - obviously the bigger the drive the more you can store; also, the more you can lose if you don't back it up - so make sure you have a DVD writer AND allow a little in the budget for a USB external HDD as well.
    Glad to hear you recommend USB for the external hard drive. One of the Kids at work said I should make sure there is a Firewall??? connection, that it would be much faster. I'm not really worried that much about speed for backing up. I'll do the processing on the hard drive in the computer. If the backups take awhile I think I can wait. I will probably store a lot on DVDs anyway.

    Does this help?
    Yes, very helpful, especially not having to fret about the Graphics card, and making sure I have good upgrade options for the RAM.

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    Re: Computer Requirements for PP

    TVs and computer monitors are not equal. Although you can usually use one for the other, there are trade offs.

    Computer montors:
    - Typically have a higher dynamic range
    - More often than not have higher refresh rates
    - Have a much smaller pixel pitch (This means pixels are closer together - this is very good for text - bad for video. This is the main defining factor between a monitor vs tv)
    - Typically have greater (better) viewing angles
    - Don't mess with your color (as much... TVs are plagued with "features" that play with colors)
    - Typically have lower response times (Reduces "ghosting" -- this is much less noticable with video, infact it can almost be considered motion blur)
    - Smaller displays have a more consistant backlight (good thing) -- (note: Screens with LED backlights are the best). If you look close at a screen, especially when its showing pure black, notice the edges are usually brighter than the center.

    Things to look for when picking a monitor:
    - Aspect ratio - This is personal preference. Most applications like to have bars on the left and/or right sides, so if you choose a 16:9 it leaves you with roughly a 4:3 work area. Also great for movies.
    - Viewing angle - This is how much colors shift when your head moves around. The larger the angles the better. To see a sample of this look at a laptop screen and move you head all around it (even from the side)
    - Refresh rate - This is the frame rate of the monitor. Higher is better.
    - Resolution - You most likely want to get a 1920x1280 or 1920x1200 monitor. This is harder to achive on a smaller screen. A higher resolution gives you more room to have windows open, and allows you to see more of your pictures when at a 1:1 (100%) zoom ratio. Higher is better.
    - Response time - This is how long it takes a pixel to change colors/brightness. They are measured in one or both of G2G (Gray to Gray) or B2W (Black to White). Lower times are better. For example my monitor has a 2ms G2G and 3ms B2W response time. Avoid anything higher than 3ms. You will have ghosting effects (Move the cursor rapidly and you'll see it smear across the screen).
    - Brightness - This largely depends on your environment you will be using it in. If you are in a very bright room - you need a brighter monitor. A 500cd/m2 screen will be nearly bright enough to use outside in daylight.
    - OSD Controls (On Screen Display) - Try to find out what can configure with the display. The more it lets you configure (other that the basic brightness/contrast/saturation) the better. Make sure whatever you get you go into the OSD and turn off any "Special" features or color modes (such as Vidid color).
    - Inputs - You need it to be compatible with your video card. Additional inputs are personal preference. You can get monitors that will accept component video connectors. Also check if the monitor is HDCP compliant (Allows playback of blu-ray videos, and connection to external devices such as a digital tv tuner).
    - Brands - Personally I love Viewsonic. They even have series specially for graphics/photos that have better color reproduction. Any major-brand will do though - stay away from off-brand.
    - Color calibrator - As an add-on, you may want to consider a monitor calibrator that helps match the colors between your screen and prints (Ever seen two monitors side by side and notice how different they look? -- They arn't calibrated, and no two displays show the same image the same way).

    Now for the rest of your setup. Sounds good. Colin and Dave are correct that the biggest factor is your RAM. Video cards have little to do with photoshop (Dosn't mean get a $20 card though). Processor speed is important -- most applications are only single-threaded (meaning that they will only use one core of your dual-core cpu). Some parts of Photoshop are multithreaded - but lots arn't. This is why I chose a dual dual-core 3.2ghz opteron setup for my workstation instead of dual quad-core 2.0ghz opterons.

    Storage -- well we never have enough of it. Good thing about storage is it is always easy to add more.

    I strongly recommend you go stright to Photoshop and don't waste time with other applications. You won't regret it. Photoshop will run on a very slow machine (1ghz/512mb ram, etc.) -- the thing that makes it require a more powerful system is that images are much larger today - so the same can be said about any photo application.

    Hope this helps

    Edit: I can post more on other components if you'd like, let me know.

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    Re: Computer Requirements for PP

    On the TV viewing front, is a dual DVB tuner worth looking at?
    To display on the computer monitor I mean, rather than have a TV acting as a PC monitor.
    Hi Dave: I'm not sure what a dual DVB tuner is. I think in Canada it might be referred to as NTSC/ATSC. There is a tuner of this type built into the computer that I am looking at, so I do have the double duty option using a computer monitor. I just don't expect the built in tuner to work (nothing seems to these days) so I thought getting a small LCD TV and using it for double duty might be the better option.

    I'm just not sure about the computing quality on a TV as opposed to a computer monitor. I like the idea of saving space, but the quality for computing is FAR more important to me than the quality of the TV signal. As long as I get a picture and sound is all I'm worried about.

    The question then is: Which would give me the best computing quality. Monitor or TV.

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    Re: Computer Requirements for PP

    I must say this forum is fast and extremely helpful. My replies are outdated by the time I have them written.

    Kent: I have copied and pasted your reply into Word and will use it when I start looking at Monitors. Yes I will be looking for a Monitor. I want sharp text too.

    The system I am thinking of purchasing is the HP Pavillion Slimline s5160. The other option I am considering is gutting my old case and hand picking components and having someone custom build it for me.

    If you have time, let me know what you think of the HP. I'm really too far behind on all the technology to want to do a custom build, but my old computer case is a flat (fits in a stereo rack) type case that would work much better than the tower type case when it comes to space considerations.
    If I go the custom build route I would be able to pick out a better CPU. From what you said, it sounds like the CPU speed is much more important than the Dual Core business. The processor in the HP is only 2.33 GHz. If this is going to be too slow, then perhaps I should find a trusworthy shop to do a custom build. Let me know what you think.

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    Re: Computer Requirements for PP

    Quote Originally Posted by ScoutR View Post
    I've decided on a Windows system.The computer I'm looking at has Vista Home Premium which I believe is 64 bit. From what I understand I will have the option to upgrade to Windows 7.
    Vista had a lot of bad press when it first came out and I think that I personally lead at least 24% of the posse's that rode out on our shiny white L-Series horses looking for blood (or at least a nice sharp photo of it's authors hanging from a tree), but things changed; We discovered that a large part of the problem was lack of RAM (and to a lesser degree lack of CPU power) (trying to run it in 1 or 2 GB of RAM is like a goldfish in an asprin bottle), and Service Pack 1 also addressed many concerns. Bottom line is give it enough RAM (4GB for a 32 bit system, and as much as you can afford for a 64 bit system) - give it a fast CPU (preferably a quad-core CPU with 8MB cache) (12MB cache even better) - and load up the service packs and updates and it runs just fine. Never thought I'd catch myself saying that, but it's true. Try to run it on Pentium class hardware with 1GB RAM and it'll run like a snail (whereas XP ran quite well) - bottom line is that each new OS is bigger and requires more resources than it's predecessor; if you try to run the current generation of OS on a previous generation of hardware, it just doesn't work. So give it what it needs, and enjoy

    I would assume that the 64 bit OS should be better, faster..... and so on. In reality though, do you think it is worth the trouble of changing. (I used to love upgrading, now it's getting to be a pain in the butt) Is this a difficult transition.
    64 Bit isn't faster per sec - but - it gives you the ability to run a lot more RAM and THAT can give massive performance increases (depends on what you're doing). With Vista 32 bit the system was limited to 4GB address ranges - but - that didn't equate to 4GB RAM because other parts of the system requiredsome of that 4GB space - so the most the OS ever saw was around 3.3GB (even though system properties reported 4GB) - and to make things worse, with Vista being a bigger OS with more background processes and services, it required more of the RAM that was available just for itself, leaving less for applications, so as far as RAM available to applications went it was very much a case of the sky being "capped at 3.3GB", but the ground rising up to meet it. It would have been nice is Microsoft had made Vista 64 Bit only with a recommendation that it be run in 8GB RAM, but that would have made the marketing department a bit too nervous (would have done wonders for Vista's reputation though).

    So bottom line is ENJOY VISTA (or Windows 7) - but give it enough room to move. RAM is cheap - don't skimp on it.

    Whoa.... 12 GB RAM that's crazy. Explains how you do those incredible 30 sec makeovers.
    Having 8 cores helps too

    Good to know that the Graphics card is not that important. I was really having trouble knowing what to do in that department, and I figured it would be one of the most important things to look for.
    No - the power is only needed for games and anything else that requires high frame rates. Even basic cards are pretty fast these days so with Photoshop it'll refresh the screen in the blink of an eye or in 1/4 of a blink of an eye - either way, fast enough!

    Glad to hear you recommend USB for the external hard drive. One of the Kids at work said I should make sure there is a Firewall??? connection, that it would be much faster. I'm not really worried that much about speed for backing up. I'll do the processing on the hard drive in the computer. If the backups take awhile I think I can wait. I will probably store a lot on DVDs anyway.
    They're meaning Firewire. It was certainly a lot faster than the original USB, but now that USB II is out (and has been for many years) I doubt you'll see any difference between a Firewire and USB II connection because the drive is slower than either of them and thus becomes the limiting factor.

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    Re: Computer Requirements for PP

    Thanks Colin: Lots to think about. Based on what you said it sounds like the HP I've been considering might barley muddle through with Vista and there's not much room for upgrading sooo I guess I'll look around a bit more.

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    Re: Computer Requirements for PP

    Basically, the higher the spec you get now, the longer the useful life of the PC will be. If you were one of my clients you'd be getting ...

    - Quad-core CPU with 12MB Cache (or i5 CPU with 8MB Cache)

    - 8 to 12GB RAM

    - HDD Size to suit

    - Entryl-level to Medium level Video card

    - DVD Writer

    - Windows 7 x64

    - 24" Monitor

    I don't know if you can get off the shelf PCs with those specs - I have mine built to spec and I load them up myself so as to avoid the "compulsory 5 ton trailer" (in the form of a gazillion extra bits of software that I don't need).

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    Re: Computer Requirements for PP

    I have mine built to spec and I load them up myself so as to avoid the "compulsory 5 ton trailer" (in the form of a gazillion extra bits of software that I don't need)
    LOL - I hear you, that's exactly the dilema I find myself in. Too many bells and whistles, both software and hardware. All the packages that I've looked at seem to be missing something that I want, but have lots of extras that I don't really care about. The HP was right on with what I thought I wanted, but it sounds like it really won't have enough power over the long run.

    Custom seems to be the way to go. Could you tell me what I need to look for in a Motherboard? Is it better to get everything built into the Motherboard or to get seperate cards for video and sound?

    With the tips I've gotten so far from you and Kent, I think I'm on the right track as far as the CPU, RAM, Video card and Monitor are concerned.

    Now I will start researching Motherboards. Any advice in that area would be appreciated. Don't get me wrong, I don't expect you to do all the work for me and I appreciate all the help so far from everyone, but there is so much out there, when I go into a store, or read reviews online, I usually end up being pretty confused and feeling a little bit cynical about the whole process.

    I'm a little curious about something else. About a week ago I almost purchased a Mac with the latest OS which is also 64 bit. I was told it would function quite well with the 2 Ghz RAM that came with it. Now I am wondering if that was B.S. or if the Mac OS is just more efficient. Hmmmm....

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    Re: Computer Requirements for PP

    Quote Originally Posted by ScoutR View Post
    Custom seems to be the way to go. Could you tell me what I need to look for in a Motherboard? Is it better to get everything built into the Motherboard or to get seperate cards for video and sound?
    Brand wise I use either Intel or Gigabyte. Onboard sound should be fine (actual quality depends on motherboard model though of course). Personally, I'd try one with an onboard video card but with the ability to add a seperate one if required. On a side note - personally - I avoid ultra compact cases - they don't dissipate the heat as easily and after 9 months when the dust starts to build up they start running hotter, and that's not a good thing.

    I'm a little curious about something else. About a week ago I almost purchased a Mac with the latest OS which is also 64 bit. I was told it would function quite well with the 2 Ghz RAM that came with it. Now I am wondering if that was B.S. or if the Mac OS is just more efficient. Hmmmm....
    Let me choose my words carefully here ...

    With Mac - it's my observation - that it's not "just" a computing platform; it's practically a "religion". Many Photoshop authors will say in their books that apart from the Option & Command keys needing to be substituted for the Alt and Control keys, THERE ARE NO DIFFERENCES -- and yet I've heard Mac people swear that "it just runs better on a Mac". The reality is that it doesn't - it runs just the same. With regards to "A Mac running great on 2GB RAM" we have a saying; "Prescription without diagnosis is malpractice". One could argue that Vista runs great on 2GB too - but the problem is you don't want to "run an operating system" - you don't even want to "run a program" - what you DO want to do is achieve a result USING a program - and that program requires an operating system to run ...

    At the end of the day, my philosophy is that the PC is there to work for me, not the other way around - and I can assure you that if you run Photoshop & Bridge on ANY platform with 2GB RAM and start opening up several images and adding several layers then you'll be spending a lot more time waiting for the PC than it'll be spending waiting for you.

    Many years ago I got an invoice from a supplier for 8MB (MB, not GB) of SD RAM - the price was $850 + GST. And the first PC that I bought (a genuine IMB PC) including interest over 5 years cost me $28,000. Guess what? RAM doesn't cost $850 for 8MB anymore and a PC with 64KB (KB, not MB or GB) doesn't cost $28,000 either! These days RAM is CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP - so fill the PC up with as much of it as you can, and use an OS that makes the most of it because if you don't then it'll page data from RAM to the hard drives, and that's about 1000 times slower. RAM is your friend - I wouldn't even get out of bed in the morning to use Photoshop on a PC with only 2GB!

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    Re: Computer Requirements for PP

    On a side note - personally - I avoid ultra compact cases - they don't dissipate the heat as easily and after 9 months when the dust starts to build up they start running hotter, and that's not a good thing.
    Good point. With all the other things to consider I had not even thought of that. Thanks

    I can assure you that if you run Photoshop & Bridge on ANY platform with 2GB RAM and start opening up several images and adding several layers then you'll be spending a lot more time waiting for the PC than it'll be spending waiting for you.
    It will be awhile before I'm doing any of that, but I do want to be prepared. I'll be very happy when this computer business is settled. Of course then I have to go out and get some pictures to play around with.

    RAM is your friend - I wouldn't even get out of bed in the morning to use Photoshop on a PC with only 2GB!
    LOL OK, Lots of RAM, I can do that! I was looking at your i7 extreme. Ummmm - Holy Cow. That's way out of my league. What do you think of the 3 I have listed below. I can actually afford either one. They are all in the same price range. The i7 860 does not look too bad. What do you think. Can I get by with any of these.

    Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Processor BX80570E8400 - 3.0GHz, 6MB Cache, 1333MHz FSB $239 Cdn
    Intel Core i5 750 Processor - 2.66GHz, LGA 1156, 8MB L3 Cache, Quad-Core $219 Cdn
    Intel Core i7 860 Processor - 2.80GHz, LGA 1156, 8MB L3 Cache, Quad-Core $329 Cdn

    Thanks Colin for all your help. It's getting late here in Canada , so you won't here from me anymore tonight.
    Take Care. I'll check in again tomorrow.

    ScoutR

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    Re: Computer Requirements for PP

    Quote Originally Posted by ScoutR View Post
    I was looking at your i7 extreme. Ummmm - Holy Cow.
    I'm a bit of an extreme person I've heard of it being over-clocked to 4GHz ... with the standard cooler!

    What do you think of the 3 I have listed below. I can actually afford either one. They are all in the same price range. The i7 860 does not look too bad. What do you think. Can I get by with any of these.
    In terms of CPU the i7 is the V8 compared to the i5 (V6) and Core II (Flat 4). If all other things are equal personally, I'd go for the i7 (some will say "over-kill", to which I would say "longer useful life") - just so long as it's not at the expense of RAM (a Core II with 8GB would probably be faster overall than a i7 with 3GB RAM) - so an i7 with 8GB RAM and you'll be smiling (with a 64 bit OS).

    By the way, if you install Photoshop CS4 it actually installs both 64 bit and 32 bit editions if you have a 64 bit OS, so you can take your pick. If your NOT going to be using CS4 (sorry if you've already mentioned this) then it's 32 bit regardless (but all is not lost - it'll still run on a 64 Bit PC - AND - it'll think that it has the entire 3GB all to itself).

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    Re: Computer Requirements for PP

    Hi ScoutR,

    Glad you found my reply useful. I will try not to reiterate what everyone else is saying - they are all generally correct.

    A few things to comment on:

    64-bit : Even since your initial post you were talking about more than 4gb of ram, so (without technical exceptions) this foces you to use a 64-bit operating system. This is a good thing. It used to be devices had low compatibility with 64-bit operating systems - this is not the case anymore. Benchmarks also show that most 32-bit programs run faster on a 64-bit operating system (even though they arn't 64-bit!)

    Prebuilt or Custom Built : I highly recommend either you, or a local shop build the system for you. If you build it yourself you'll end up with roughly 30% more PC for the same price. Colin is right building for the furture. My system is two years old and still beats the "Dream PC" you see in magazines (My system before that was holding that title for four years). In the end, it makes it cheaper.

    If you decide to build your own system, here are some hard-learned tips:
    - Only purchase RAM (check EXACT model numbers) that is certified for your motherboard. Also read the motherboard manual - for example, my computer with 4 sticks of ram run at 800mhz, but if I populate all 8 sticks, it drops to 667 -- with this argument fewer sticks are better). Here are some other "gotchyas" - Do not mix/match ram sticks. They all need to be from the same manufacturer and same model. For further system stability some people argue (me included) that they should be from the same "batch" -- in otherwords, all purchased at the same time. This is something you may want to max out from the gate (probebly 16gb on a consumer motherboard) and not fall into the "I'll upgrade it later". No one wants a great computer that has "issues".
    - Purchase a quality power supply! This is the most overlooked component in a computer. My roommate right now - has just returned his 4th power supply because he didn't get a good one to begin with. Quality does not mean 400 watts more than you need. Often times, better power supplies weigh more than lesser quality ones of the same wattage. Going one or two hundred watts above what you need probebly is a good idea, as its never a good idea to run things maxed-out.
    - Purchase as large of a case as your environment permits. Cooling reasons aside - small cases are a pain in the a** to work with. Do yourself a favor and get a decent sized case. Side note: Get yourself a quiet case! The closer to 20dBa (or lower even!) you can get the better. Note that CPU fan noise, GPU fan noise, and power supply fans will typically be higher, but the more you can bring them down the better. (My system sounds like a lawn mower.... Messed up thing is it's my first "passivly' cooled system! Damn power supplys!)
    - Integrated components. Sound is OK to be "onboard" -- integrated with the motherboard, infact its hard to find motherboards without sound. Do not buy a motherboard with onboard video - it is either super cheap or is made for a server. Onboard RAID some consider a plus, and is a good entry-level start into creating advanced storage (Far cheaper than buying a RAID card). RAID is a whole subject on its own so I won't go into it here.

    Even if you get a pre-built computer - these are the three components you will never regret spending quality money on: Keyboard, Monitor, and Mouse. They are your entire input and output of the computer. Of the $12,000 I've spent on my system, the $100 for my keyboard and mouse is by far the biggest bang for the buck. Put a crappy monitor on a great system -- guess what? It still looks like crap. Put a great huge monitor on a crappy system -- guess what? It looks beautiful, it's just a bit slow.

    Firewire vs USB -- I personally can not stand firewire. I've had professional video camera get fried because a firewire cable managed to be inserted backwards (Also happened to one of my professional sound cards). The connectors are junk. There is no speed difference - anyone who tells you otherwise is not looking at the whole picture. USB/1 vs USB/2 is a difference - hower nearly everything these days is USB/2 so no need to worry. Firewire/USB2 are rated at 400mbps, whereas a typical external hard drive may be able to transfer at 20mb/sec (160mbps). The devices are the limiting factor, not the connector, in terms of speed. On the flip side -- All computers have USB -- but not all computers have firewire. If you're looking for portability and want to plug a drive into a buddys computer - your better off with USB.

    . About a week ago I almost purchased a Mac with the latest OS which is also 64 bit. I was told it would function quite well with the 2 Ghz RAM that came with it. Now I am wondering if that was B.S. or if the Mac OS is just more efficient.
    Don't play with my emotions! If you havn't owned a mac before do not switch. Simply put, macs favor quality control over freedom of choice, in both software and hardware. Their systems are so limiting that they had to create a technology that allows you to run Windows on a mac. If macs are so great -- why would anyone do that (lol!). Stay away from them, and get Windows 7 x64 (It's amazing, I've been using it for the last couple months... You won't be disaspointed).

    Alright well thats my 40 minutes of typing... GL and let me know if you have any more questions.

  16. #16

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    Re: Computer Requirements for PP

    Glad you found my reply useful.
    Useful is an understatment. You and Colin have given me so much help I can't thank you enough.

    64-bit : Even since your initial post you were talking about more than 4gb of ram, so (without technical exceptions) this foces you to use a 64-bit operating system.
    Yes, this 64 bit thing really messed me up. I found out about the change inadvertently, and one thing led to another and I was very tempted to try to find out what was causing all the problems with my present computer and just fix it up so I could run XP and avoid all the hassles. Thanks to you and Colin I think I understand enough now to switch over and get the most out of the new OS.

    I highly recommend either you, or a local shop build the system for you. If you build it yourself you'll end up with roughly 30% more PC for the same price.
    I think I have enough information now that I will be more comfortable checking out the local shops and finding someone who will build this to my specifications. Before tonights exchanges, I was very worried about having someone else look after things, because they could have told me anything, and I would probably have gone along with what they said.

    I've copied all your tips on RAM and added it to the document with the Monitor information. This will be very helpful as I research Motherboards, RAM and Monitors.

    Purchase a quality power supply! This is the most overlooked component in a computer.
    Good to know. I noticed in the reviews of the system I was going to purchase, they said the power supply had just enough to run what was there, but not to add to much because the power supply would not handle it.

    Purchase as large of a case as your environment permits. Cooling reasons aside - small cases are a pain in the a** to work with. Do yourself a favor and get a decent sized case. Get yourself a quiet case! The closer to 20dBa (or lower even!) you can get the better. Note that CPU fan noise, GPU fan noise, and power supply fans will typically be higher, but the more you can bring them down the better. (My system sounds like a lawn mower.... Messed up thing is it's my first "passivly' cooled system! Damn power supplys!)
    This is high on my list of priorities. I have the lawnmower thing going on too and I can't stand it. I'm really hoping that I will be able to use my old case. It's quite spacious, and I won't have as much crammed into it when this system is complete. I'm hoping that I can find someone that will work with me on how to get it quieter. I've already checked and seen that there are some power supplies and CPU fans that specifiy noise ratings in their specs. I'll be looking closely at this.

    Sound is OK to be "onboard" -- integrated with the motherboard, infact its hard to find motherboards without sound. Do not buy a motherboard with onboard video - it is either super cheap or is made for a server. Onboard RAID some consider a plus, and is a good entry-level start into creating advanced storage (Far cheaper than buying a RAID card). RAID is a whole subject on its own so I won't go into it here.
    I'll be researching Motherboards this week, and keep the above in mind. RAID??? LOL I don't want to go there either.

    Of the $12,000 I've spent on my system
    Again with the "Holy Cow" Way out of my leauge. I think I'm going to be in pretty good shape though by the time I'm through.

    All computers have USB -- but not all computers have firewire. If you're looking for portability and want to plug a drive into a buddys computer - your better off with USB.
    OK, I won't fret about the Firewire. I've been fine so far with USB, but someone got it in my head that if I didn't have Firewire for an external Hard Drive, I would be able to go on vacation while backups were being made.

    If you havn't owned a mac before do not switch. Simply put, macs favor quality control over freedom of choice, in both software and hardware.
    Quality control is Good, and I could do with a few less choices , but when push comes to shove I'd rather have the choices, even if it means I have to weed through a lot of junk.

    I'm thinking maybe it's that lack of choice that is so appealing at first. Everything seems so simple until you start checking into it and find out what you can't do or all the little things that have to be compromised, changed or left behind when making the switch. There were 3 or 4 things that I settled on but when I started doing my backups for the switch and found out that all my wav files would have to be converted to AIFF (or whatever the Mac equivalent is) that was the final straw. I'm not messing with my wav files!

    Having never used a Mac I really don't know if I would like it or not. I might love it and not miss any of the differences once I got used to it. I don't know, but right now, I've decided that switching OS on the Windows platform is all I can deal with.

    Windows 7 x64 (It's amazing, I've been using it for the last couple months... You won't be disaspointed).
    That's the plan. All the Vista Horror stories were holding me back, but Colin's explaination makes sense, and I will make sure I put together a system that goes with the OS

    Alright well thats my 40 minutes of typing... GL and let me know if you have any more questions
    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! both you and Colin for taking so much time to help out. I feel 100% more confident now in putting something together than I did 24 hours ago.
    I'll be hitting the books for awhile and then try to find a shop that will do things my way. Hope to have something in the works by next week.

    ScoutR

  17. #17

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    Have a guess :)

    Re: Computer Requirements for PP

    Quote Originally Posted by KentDub View Post
    my computer with 4 sticks of ram run at 800mhz, but if I populate all 8 sticks, it drops to 667
    I had exactly the same issue - using top-of-the-line Corsair RAM too. As I understand it it's caused by the MCH (Memory Controller Hub) getting overloaded. Wasn't very happy about it, but wasn't a lot I could do about it either.

    Simply put, macs favor quality control over freedom of choice, in both software and hardware.
    Interestingly, I used to share office space with a local Apple agent (both sales and repair) - Apple may "control the hardware" but that certainly didn't translate into increased hardware reliability - and out-of-warranty parts were VERY expensive (motherboards in the region of 3x the cost of a quality PC equivalent).

  18. #18

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    Re: Computer Requirements for PP

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    I had exactly the same issue - using top-of-the-line Corsair RAM too. As I understand it it's caused by the MCH (Memory Controller Hub) getting overloaded. Wasn't very happy about it, but wasn't a lot I could do about it either.
    I was just going over this with a buddy of mine. We both run server-class workstations, which take 4 sticks of ram per CPU. In our case, since our motherboards provide NUMA (Non-Uniform Memory Architecture) support, we're still better off with populating all slots. I don't follow consumer hardware that much, but I doubt consumer boards have NUMA support (especially since they are all single-CPU), so in which case less sticks of higher density is preferable. I'm running an AMD system, which dosn't have a seperate memory controller (RAM is directly connected to the CPU) - but I think you are right, adding the additional chips increases the bandwidth requirements, therefore higher latency.

    @ScoutR:
    Also -- since I got sent home from work early today (Storm is causing massive power outages). I STRONGLY recommend (Especially for Vista/Windows7) you get at a minimum a small UPS (Uninteruptable Power Supply -- a battery with a wall outlet). You only need one that can keep your computer running long enough for it to do a safe shutdown or hibernation (5 minutes or so). Don't plug anything into the UPS except your monitor and computer and internet router.

    Why do I need a UPS?
    To increase performance, operating systems cache files in memory - so when a program thinks its written to a hard drive it may not actually be on the hard drive. If a computer suddenly loses power that data is gone forever - sometimes corrupting files (This could be your data (photos) or parts of the operating system even). I've seen many a computer not turn back on or won't boot after a bad shutdown. A small consumer-sized UPS won't cost you very much, and can prevent major software/hardware issues. External hard drives usually have controllable options for the cache -- this is because people have a tendency to just unplug a drive without using "Safely remove hardware". Hard drives are the slowest component of a computer - so caching is a good thing, as long as the computer/device dosn't lose power.

  19. #19

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    Re: Computer Requirements for PP

    Quote Originally Posted by KentDub View Post
    so in which case less sticks of higher density is preferable.
    Doesn't work in practice for me ...

    ... I'd be lying awake in bed at night knowing that there were empty sockets that I could put MORE RAM in to

  20. #20

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    Oct 2009
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    Re: Computer Requirements for PP

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Doesn't work in practice for me ...

    ... I'd be lying awake in bed at night knowing that there were empty sockets that I could put MORE RAM in to
    Lol! I know the feeling!

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