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Thread: What to buy

  1. #1
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    Hi all,

    I have a relative who is currently living in Germany. She wants to get a new computer and asked me for my input. I have built several dozen computers in the past including my current Win 7 64 bit low end gaming computer (I don't play games but I wanted something to serve me for a number of years).

    Here is what she wrote.

    > " Anyway he and I are both trying to figure out what type of computer I
    > should be looking at for what I am doing with the photos. I use Adobe
    > Photoshop CS2 and am looking to upgrade it to CS4. Additionally I am using
    > Photoshop Elements 7.0 concurrently. Plus I am looking to add Adobe Lightbox or
    > utilize Bridge and Adobe Illustrator (CS4) I am not using that currently
    > though.
    >
    > My files are huge (upwards of 160 mb per file) and I need to manipulate
    > them constantly for digital design. I usually have 3 or 4 of those open at
    > once. The file types I use are PNG, PSD, TIF, JPG and ATN, CSH and ABR
    > (those last 3 may be specific to Adobe but I am unsure - they are for
    > Actions, Shapes and Brushes)
    >
    > I keep my photos (+40,000) on a separate HD and I keep my PSD's
    > (unflattened files) on a separate HD as well. But not always - some are in progress
    > so they are scattered throughout my computer. I think I have 3 HD attached
    > to my desktop currently. I do back up but not nearly as frequently as I
    > need to . I clean my registries once a month and do a disk cleanup and
    > defrag but am still running into processing issues with speed and occasional
    > shut downs for no reason. I also regularly check for updates. OK let me
    > clarify - MIKE does it all for me - I just create digital designs and manipulate
    > photos for scrapbooks and others.
    >
    > From my research I know I need a dual core processor and more RAM and HD
    > space obviously but what type of video card? What other things to do I need
    > to make this run smoothly? Any ideas you have would be great!"

    I don't want to bias her into getting what I would want but more of what she needs for the above conditions. I also would try to sway her to build rather than buy. Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Oh. by the way I'm thinking of a target cost of about $1000 to $1500. Lets assume Windows 7 64 bit Professional or Ultimate. Your Opinions please.

    Thanks

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    I think "low end gaming" platform for an Adobe photo rig is the sweet spot. Good but not the best. You could use the recession-concious dream machine specs at Maximum PC as a guideline http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/dream_machine and update everything up to reach the price range. At that price point I think you'd also have no problem putting in a SSD to handle the OS and apps, and with 3 external drives I would get one of the new motherboards with USB3. The enclosures and connectors will eventually have to be updated also to take advantage of USB3 of course, but its nice to know its there and ready and with that many photos to index and track over USB2 all the time, like Lightbox (Lightroom??) and Bridge would have to, it could be pretty sluggish.

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    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    1000-1500 Dollars is quite a challenge. Many times you get what your pay for.
    Cheap parts usually = a cheap computer. Don't skimp on your core components.

    Probably the best deals right now, as far as processors and chipsets go, are with AMD.
    Good performance for the price, so get a quad core of at least 2.6 GHz.
    AMD Proc & Motherboard combos

    Memory; for a 64 bit os, try not get anything less than 6 GB, @ 1300MHz.
    Very good deals with DDR2

    Get the OEM builder or upgrade premium os for W7 64 bit and save a bit. You don't need professional or Ultimate.

    Hard drives: I'd get one small fast drive for the os and a second large capacity drive for the storage.
    1 10,000 rpm Raptor@150GB, and one 1 TB storage drive. This should be more than sufficient for now. She can always get more later.
    Good SSD's are behond your budget, so don't even think about it, put that extra $$ in a monitor.

    GPU; Plenty to choose from without breaking the bank, in fact too many, but that better for you,
    Go where the deals are, look at 250 MB/128 bit as a starting point.

    PSU: 400-600 Watts, depending on what you can find in terms of deals and your choice of graphics card.
    No need to go higher in wattage, but do try to make it the 80+ standard at least.

    Monitors; Good monitors for decent graphics are gonna cost you, you'll have to decide what it's worth to you.
    I suppose she can always upgrade this later too.


    Consider spending more.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Build your own system; get everything you want and nothing you don't.
    Latest Build:
    ASUS X99 Deluxe, Core i7-5960X, Corsair Hydro H100i, Plextor M6e 256GB M.2 SSD, Corsair DOMINATOR Platinum 32GB DDR4@2666, W8.1 64 bit,
    EVGA GTX980, Seasonic PLATINUM-1000W PSU, MountainMods U2-UFO Case, and 7 other internal drives.

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    Byron, Clint,

    Thanks for the input. We all pretty much agree.

    Byron, your comment about Adobe is gold. I don't use it so I don't know. This is the type of feedback I'm looking for. Also your reference to maximumpc web site is good. Just by coincidence the computer I built is almost a replica of one of those from last year. I'm glade you mentioned it because I forgot about the site. It takes out the search and guess work in building your own machine. Good point about being prepared to utilize USB 3. I wish I could retrofit!

    I take exception with you and agree with Clint concerning SSDs. The key here is what Clint says..."Good SSD's are beyond your budget..." and from what I've read not always as fast or faster than standard HDD.

    I also agree with Clint about the AMD combo. I have always been a hard core Intel fan until I was persuaded to look at AMD for my own build. I'm glad I did, but I'm hesitant to make the same recommendation to others. I think the Intel i5 might be a better choice provided she gets compatible hardware. Of course cost will decide the final choice.

    As Clint mentioned, a high end power supply is important. I bought a 700 watt OZC unit. Sure it might be overkill but no harm done.

    I disagree with Clint about the OS. Anything less than Professional version is or can be a big limiting factor. Remember, I'm trying gain as much longevity and flexibility as possible. She may not think so now but once she gets this computer other family members will use it for other things and most likely become the hub of a home network. I'm going to try to convince her to get at least a 20" - 27" HD monitor. I got a good buy on a 20" Vizio TV/Monitor. Never use the TV part but will never got back to a typical monitor either. Reurb can cut cost.

    Guys thanks for the input. Now I'm looking for the flip side of the coin. How about a prebuilt machine or perhaps a built it at the factory such as HP or Dell? It's not my cup of tea but it is easy. What do others have to say?

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    Many people who build their own machines would never do it any other way. They like to have complete control over everything.

    Others would rather not spend the time. These days I doubt you'll end up saving much money by going with a big OEM over building your own. Look at the prices of what is available on the OEM sites and also what is being advertised. Once in a while you can find a really good deal on a preconfigured system. The other thing to think of is support. Yes, I know that the big OEMs support can be lacking but it is there and you don't have to provide the support. The biggest issue I've had with OEM support is just getting by the basic Q&A before really attacking the problem. Once that happens I've had good luck with Dell support (even when it was all in India).

    Overall, I feel I've got better things to do than assemble hardware.

    Joe
    Joe

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    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    I'm sure she could manage something decent for under 2 grand...and have "MIKE" add components as needed later on.

    Dell or Lenovo
    I don't care for HP computers too much
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Build your own system; get everything you want and nothing you don't.
    Latest Build:
    ASUS X99 Deluxe, Core i7-5960X, Corsair Hydro H100i, Plextor M6e 256GB M.2 SSD, Corsair DOMINATOR Platinum 32GB DDR4@2666, W8.1 64 bit,
    EVGA GTX980, Seasonic PLATINUM-1000W PSU, MountainMods U2-UFO Case, and 7 other internal drives.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CLiNT View Post
    I'm sure she could manage something decent for under 2 grand...and have "MIKE" add components as needed later on.

    Lenovo
    I don't care for HP computers too much
    Clint,

    I whole hardly agree with you there. I've very good experience with HP laptops but I would not even consider a HP desktop. I'm not sure why that is, but it is what it is! I would have to say the Lonovo is a little better quality, but my two son's one of who is very much into computers as a profession, bought Dells and are very pleased.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeP View Post
    Many people who build their own machines would never do it any other way. They like to have complete control over everything.

    Others would rather not spend the time. These days I doubt you'll end up saving much money by going with a big OEM over building your own. Look at the prices of what is available on the OEM sites and also what is being advertised. Once in a while you can find a really good deal on a preconfigured system. The other thing to think of is support. Yes, I know that the big OEMs support can be lacking but it is there and you don't have to provide the support. The biggest issue I've had with OEM support is just getting by the basic Q&A before really attacking the problem. Once that happens I've had good luck with Dell support (even when it was all in India).

    Overall, I feel I've got better things to do than assemble hardware.

    Joe
    Joe,

    Thanks for giving your thoughts. I can't disagree with you. I think the biggest problem with build your own is your last statement. However, in term of cost, I think it's the way you look at it. In my experience I doubt you'll save actual dollars on a build vs a buy, but usually for the same $ you can get a little more quality or "computer" via the build. A lot depends on how hard you shop for a good deal on equipment. For instance in my case I built my low end gamers unit for just under $600 vs about $1200 for component cost or closer to $1500 prebuilt. However, I did a lot of rebating, recycling, coupons and e-baying to get there. Not to mention the time it took.

    As for support I totally disagree with you. I think manufacturers support stinks at best.

    My comments are being cut off as I post. I'm not sure why.

    But to continue where I left off. You of all people, being a forum moderator, knows that you can get better and quicker help from a forum like Windows Secrets than Dell Service or HP Service centers.

    Anyway, I alerted her and her husband Mike that I posting her computer concern on this site so they can see first hand what others think.

    Thanks again for you comments.

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