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acorean
9th of October 2008 (Thu), 18:41
Hi folks,

Looking for some help. I've come to the realization that my PC with its CRT monitor isn't cutting it for PP. It doesn't have the horsepower to run CS3 very well and Lightroom is impossible.

So, I did a quick look on the Dell website to see what is out there for relatively short bucks but good hp. I want to spend under $1000 (more like $600-750) and I'd love a 22" wide screen monitor.

What should I be using as a benchmark for specs?
GHz's
Ram
Harddrive
Videocard
etc...

Thank you all in advance for your help.

iceman1
9th of October 2008 (Thu), 19:07
With photo work, good monitors are obviously important. I believe all 22" LCDs have TN panels, which lack in color reproduction, viewing angles and contrast ratios. IPS are ideal, but S-PVA/MVA panels will get the job done.

More info on LCDs: http://www.pchardwarehelp.com/guides/lcd-panel-types.php

CPU: Most any Core 2 Duo
RAM: At least 2GB
Hard drive: depends on how much you want to store
Video card: something that can output HDMI or DVI. You don't want to view an LCD over VGA as it degrades the quality.

tim
9th of October 2008 (Thu), 19:15
Best bang for buck at the moment is the Core2 Quad Q6600, 4GB RAM, whatever OS you like, couple of hard drives, video card without too much ram - 128 or 256 is fine. The more video ram you have under XP32/Vista32 the less of your system ram you can access. XP64/Vista64 get around this, and are necessary if you have > 4GB RAM.

SkedAddled
10th of October 2008 (Fri), 07:34
The more video ram you have under XP32/Vista32 the less of your system ram you can access.
I have never heard of this. Can you cite a reference for this claim?

TheHoff
10th of October 2008 (Fri), 07:40
I have never heard of this. Can you cite a reference for this claim?

I'm too lazy to Google it but it has to do with memory addressing. Since the 32-bit OSes only have 4 gigabytes of memory addresses, if you have a graphics card with a lot of memory to address, it will cut down on the RAM available to the OS if you are trying to max it out at 4 gigs. Often you will get 3.3 or 3.4 GB of RAM available even if you have 4GB installed because that is all that is addressable by the system.

Go to Vista-64 anyway; LR2 is very good under it and CS4 will use it now, too.

....

Oh yea, OP advice: get multiple hard drives -- two or more if possible -- so you can split up your system / data / Photoshop scratch drives. That, and the most RAM you can handle, will make the biggest difference in speed.

acorean
10th of October 2008 (Fri), 07:50
get multiple hard drives -- two or more if possible -- so you can split up your system / data / Photoshop scratch drives. That, and the most RAM you can handle, will make the biggest difference in speed.

I already have a FreeAgent drive 500 GB (I think) that I use for all of my photo and music files.

Thanks everyone for the advice, this will get me started on finding a system. Keep it coming if anyone has more info.

SkedAddled
10th of October 2008 (Fri), 08:51
I have never heard of this. Can you cite a reference for this claim?
I'm too lazy to Google it but it has to do with memory addressing. Since the 32-bit OSes only have 4 gigabytes of memory addresses, if you have a graphics card with a lot of memory to address, it will cut down on the RAM available to the OS if you are trying to max it out at 4 gigs. Often you will get 3.3 or 3.4 GB of RAM available even if you have 4GB installed because that is all that is addressable by the system.
I've often heard and read about the addressing limitations of 32-bit systems, but I have never heard of it as being a consequence of increased VRAM. I've Googled the hell out of it, and I haven't yet found any reference to the issue of VRAM. I've always read that the limit is 3.4GB, which is what my system reports, but I've seen nothing that specifically mentions VRAM. Seriously, I'd like to see a definitive reference if anybody has one. I'm just not finding any, so I'd like to read a bit more about this.

0(ʹͦˋ┐ˊͦˋ)0
10th of October 2008 (Fri), 08:58
The more video ram you have under XP32/Vista32 the less of your system ram you can access. XP64/Vista64 get around this, and are necessary if you have > 4GB RAM.

Well I guess that's something that happens on Vista64 too. First I've set my system with Vista64 + 8Gb Mem + VideoCard256Mb. But then I replaced the Video card for an older one just 128Mb and the desktop performance with Windows Aero improved 0.4 points :confused:

In2Photos
10th of October 2008 (Fri), 09:05
I've often heard and read about the addressing limitations of 32-bit systems, but I have never heard of it as being a consequence of increased VRAM. I've Googled the hell out of it, and I haven't yet found any reference to the issue of VRAM. I've always read that the limit is 3.4GB, which is what my system reports, but I've seen nothing that specifically mentions VRAM. Seriously, I'd like to see a definitive reference if anybody has one. I'm just not finding any, so I'd like to read a bit more about this.
CDS talks about it in this thread:

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=441063

Scroll down a bit.

acorean
10th of October 2008 (Fri), 09:06
HIJACK!!!

Can this become a separate thread? You guys are speaking way too advanced for me and doesn't suit the original purpose of the thread.

Thank you to all that stayed on topic and offered advice. I'm doing some research and may have some more detailed questions before I pull the trigger.

In2Photos
10th of October 2008 (Fri), 09:14
HIJACK!!!

Can this become a separate thread? You guys are speaking way too advanced for me and doesn't suit the original purpose of the thread.

Thank you to all that stayed on topic and offered advice. I'm doing some research and may have some more detailed questions before I pull the trigger.
I am not so sure it is a hijack. It is relevant to your new PC. What we are saying is that if you go with a 32-bit OS and you get 4GB of RAM plus a video card with x amount of RAM your OS will not use it all. So in other words you might be wasting money. Hence the reason to go to 64-bit.

SkedAddled
10th of October 2008 (Fri), 09:50
I am not so sure it is a hijack. It is relevant to your new PC. What we are saying is that if you go with a 32-bit OS and you get 4GB of RAM plus a video card with x amount of RAM your OS will not use it all. So in other words you might be wasting money. Hence the reason to go to 64-bit.
I agree with Mike, as this is certainly relevant to your upcoming system. Sorry if it appears out of your league, but it's certainly an issue to consider if you intend on a system with 4GB or more of memory.

Mike: thanks for the link to another thread about this. I have read it before, yet this is the only reference I've seen so far which accuses VRAM of hijacking from total available RAM. I guess I'll go hunting some more on it.

Tony-S
10th of October 2008 (Fri), 10:51
I had posted (http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=563039) about Mac vs. Windows vram usage a while ago - is this the same issue that you're discussing here? The article is a bit over my head, but I would appreciate a clarification...

tim
10th of October 2008 (Fri), 17:09
It's called something like memory mapped IO. I think enough people have posted about it that you should just trust us on this point. A quick google found two pages for you though

http://ask.metafilter.com/62604/How-is-physical-memory-recognized-by-a-32bit-OS-running-on-64bit-hardware
http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/platform/server/PAE/PAEmem.mspx

I would go with a 64 bit OS, there's no downside i'm aware of, and it means you get to use all your RAM, even moreso if you upgrade to 8GB or more later.

BottomBracket
10th of October 2008 (Fri), 17:45
Acorean, I see that you plan on getting an off the shelf PC, but have you considered building one? Dollar for dollar, you will have a better PC with quality components that you pick (with our suggestions of course). It isn't really that hard to do, but that is assuming you have a bit of a tinkerer persona.

That said, great deals on PC's pop up now and then. Last year (summer 2007) I was able to get an Acer desktop with Vista premium 32, AMD Athlon X2 4000+ CPU, 1GB RAM, 250 GB Hard drive for around $220. It was a great deal at the time, and it is no slouch when it came to Photoshop work. Of course I stuck in 2 more GB RAM for a total of 3, added some HD's and a decent PCI-e video card to make it an adequate gaming PC.

Point is, deals are out there, and if you have a time window of 1 to 2 months you will certainly see one, especially with BF coming up. I'll relay any deals when I see one.

MaxxuM
10th of October 2008 (Fri), 23:52
Here is my 2 cents... I think this has gotten too complicated (though very relevant) for the OP. Just go get a geeky friend that can help and buy these parts :p and put them together....

Intel Core2Duo E8500 3.1Ghz (out performs C2Q 6600 in PS and LR)
Intel Media Motherboard (super stable but no real tweaking features)
4Gb DDR2 800MHz RAM
ATI Radeon HD 3650 256Mb (Best Bang for the buck IMO - not for high end gaming though - the HD 4850 is the second choice which is good for gaming but adds $130 to the price)
ViewSonic VX2262wm Monitor (example but still pretty good)
1TB WD Internal SATA Hard Drive
LiteOn Combo DVD Burner SATA OEM
Antec 900 Case
Arctic Freezer 7 Cooler
Antec earthwatts EA430 430W Power Supply
2x SATA Snap-On Wires (so they wont get loose)
Microsoft Windows Vista Premium

All told, comes out to 1039.99 as priced on Newegg before shipping and after $50.00 rebate. The Antec case is really overkill but I just love it. Add a cheap case and remove the 900 and gain $50 deduction.

If you want to future proof for CS4 go with Quad Core 6600 or better, 8Gb RAM and Vista 64bit which will add around $120 to the price.

I know the likelyhood of you building your own computer is slim, but this will give you a good guage at which to compare PCs. Stock Dell's, HP's and simplare computers will not be as nice but they will be chaper. Alien Ware however is more of a direct comparison and will cost you more than this example due to name + warranty.

RenÚ Damkot
11th of October 2008 (Sat), 09:06
ViewSonic VX2262wm Monitor (example but still pretty good)

Looking at the specs (2 ms response time), it would be a TN screen: Nice for gaming, not for color accurate work...

jsteel77
11th of October 2008 (Sat), 09:53
Are there any decent monitors to consider say between $200-300?

BottomBracket
11th of October 2008 (Sat), 10:11
Great deal on an Asus 22 inch LCD Monitor here. (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824236043) Decent specs, it even has a built in webcam and speakers. $180 shipped and after rebate, unless you live in a state where Newegg charges you tax.

RenÚ Damkot
11th of October 2008 (Sat), 12:17
Depending on what CRT the OP has now, better advise might be to stick with it. I looked up the above mentioned screen here (http://www.flatpanels.dk/panels.php):

Asus VK222H (widescreen) has a 22 inch 2 ms (g2g) TN panel.


I'd rather have a good CRT. (keyword is "good" off course)

dave_p
11th of October 2008 (Sat), 12:46
Keep an eye on http://www.techbargains.com. They post some good deals. I picked up a Dell 530 (quad core, 500GB HDD, and 4 GB of memory for around $650).

BottomBracket
11th of October 2008 (Sat), 14:10
Depending on what CRT the OP has now, better advise might be to stick with it. I looked up the above mentioned screen here (http://www.flatpanels.dk/panels.php):



I'd rather have a good CRT. (keyword is "good" off course)

I would actually pick the Asus. I have a friend who just received his last week, and it actually looks great. He is extremely happy with it but then again his last monitor was a 19 inch CRT :)

MaxxuM
12th of October 2008 (Sun), 22:42
Looking at the specs (2 ms response time), it would be a TN screen: Nice for gaming, not for color accurate work...

I know. It was an example of a pretty good monitor overall... Getting an OK 'color accurate' monitor however begins at $350 from what I remember and good ones can range far beyond that.

acorean
14th of October 2008 (Tue), 23:18
Acorean, I see that you plan on getting an off the shelf PC, but have you considered building one? Dollar for dollar, you will have a better PC with quality components that you pick (with our suggestions of course). It isn't really that hard to do, but that is assuming you have a bit of a tinkerer persona.

That said, great deals on PC's pop up now and then. Last year (summer 2007) I was able to get an Acer desktop with Vista premium 32, AMD Athlon X2 4000+ CPU, 1GB RAM, 250 GB Hard drive for around $220. It was a great deal at the time, and it is no slouch when it came to Photoshop work. Of course I stuck in 2 more GB RAM for a total of 3, added some HD's and a decent PCI-e video card to make it an adequate gaming PC.

Point is, deals are out there, and if you have a time window of 1 to 2 months you will certainly see one, especially with BF coming up. I'll relay any deals when I see one.

Thanks. I do have a window. I can deal with what I have for now and continue to work with ACDSee Pro 2.5 for edits until I can get some more horsepower.

mattxmiggz
15th of October 2008 (Wed), 06:15
^ I was going to suggest this too. I recommend building your own computer because you can put the money into the higher end parts, and maybe not put as much money into something smaller you don't need. You can pick parts your self off of NewEgg so you can build it when they are shipped to you, or you can go to a site like www.cyberpowerpc.com or www.ibuypower.com and pick the parts and have them put it together for you.

I highly recommend buying on newegg and doing it yourself, it's a really rewarding experience once you fire it up for the first time. It may seem difficult at first but every step is written down in the instructions and from the instructions it's just like legos for adults! Not only that but you get to tell your friends you BUILT your pc. Sounds cool to me.

mjcmb
27th of October 2008 (Mon), 13:47
I am interested in building my own PC. Where would you recommend going to for a good up to date list of hardware? Tom's guide? Maximum PC?

thanks

OdiN1701
27th of October 2008 (Mon), 14:02
I am interested in building my own PC. Where would you recommend going to for a good up to date list of hardware? Tom's guide? Maximum PC?

thanks

If you want, start up a thread and ask. I'd be happy to help piece a system together for you, but would need to know what components you need - if you have anything existing to use, etc.

I used to manage a computer store and have built tons of systems, and I'm pretty up to date on the hardware now as I built another system for myself last year and have looked for some other people.

acorean
2nd of April 2009 (Thu), 18:14
Thanks everyone. I am reviving this thread for a few reasons.

1. Due to the current economy I decided to wait for my tax refund to buy a new computer.
2. My current computer has some serious issue and I have to boot from the windows CD. It is a pain in the @%& but it works fine once I get it running.
3. My wife just bought a 17" Dell Studio refurb from Buy.com. See specs below. I got a great deal on it but I think it is way more machine than she needs.

http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/laptop_studio_17?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs

Should I buy hers off of her and have her buy a regular 15" laptop? Or do I buy myself a new desktop? All she really does is surf the web and use Microsoft Office. She does NOT run anything that requires real power. She just doesn't want a slow dog. I can save her money and use the Dell Studio w/ a larger external monitor for photo edits.

What do you all think?

As for a desktop. I'm looking at the following:

http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?oc=dddwma4&c=us&l=en&s=dhs&cs=19&kc=productdetails~desktop-studio-mini