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Thread started 10 Feb 2011 (Thursday) 21:00
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a good PC Photoshop system

 
trailguy
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Feb 10, 2011 21:00 |  #1

I'm tired of getting stalled by 3G of RAM while doing Photoshop work, and I could use some advice on components for a strong 62bit PC system for photo work. Would a dual core do the job, if I had good components?
Would a quad core make photo work any faster? A friend is telling me a quad is not necessary for fast photo work.

Thanks




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Gregg.Siam
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Feb 10, 2011 22:15 |  #2

I think you mean 64 bit :p

Most apps like Photoshop are quad core aware. Your friend is wrong to a certain extent. PS is a memory hog, but it's not to say it can't use 4 cores.

The biggest thing you can do is to get a SSD drive. The SSD have a much higher read and write speed than a typical drive. That alone will seem like light years ahead of what you have. Hard drives are always the bottleneck of any PC (well, until fast SSDs arrived)

3GB is also a bit weak for RAM. I guess it could be a tie with the SSD for biggest thing you can do. 8GB would be better.

You are in luck because with the new Intel Sandy Bridge lineup, the processors are really nice for video and picture processing. All SB processors are quad core. I would read the review from Anandtech as he sums it up better than me.

If it were me, I would build a new Sandy Bridge system with a 120GB SSD (Intel SSD or one with a Sandforce controller), 8 GB of RAM, and at least one 2TB 7200 rpm hard drive for storage and applications (you don't want to install all aps or store pics on the SSD).


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Evan ­ Idler
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Feb 10, 2011 22:19 |  #3

Are you buying a new system or just going to upgrade your current PC?

One thing that will help is a good NVidia Graphics Card. Photoshop now included
code in it, that offloads some of the rendering engine into the GPU's on the card
and will improve performance. A GTX-460 can be had for $125 to $160 depending
on rebates or sales. It will improve things a lot.

As for Dual Core/Quad core, the prices are so close, it doesn't seem worth worrying.
Something that will also made more of an improvement in speed is the type of memory
your system has. If your going economy with an older motherboards with 1333MHz CPU bus
make sure it has a 800MHz or 1066MHz DDR2 memory bus.

If your going with something newer, take a look at a Motherboard with a I7-2400, i7-2500
or i7-2600 CPU and 1600MHz DDR3 memory bus.

I'm looking at upgrading to an ASUS P8P67 Deluxe, i7-2600K CPU, 16G of Kingston HyperX 1600 RAM and a GeForce GTX 570 video card.

--Evan


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tonylong
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Feb 10, 2011 22:48 |  #4

Win7 64 is a good robust system. A quad core processor will indeed get used, and I'd say you could benefit with a minimum of 8 GB of RAM. A graphics card with 512 MB or so -- just make sure you don't use an internal graphics card, because they "share" memory with the system.

And, two internal hard drives -- a system drive with plenty of space and then a large second "data" drive for photos, other documents, and non-essential programs, and the Camera Raw Cache (that you configure in your Photoshop Bridge Edit/Camera Raw Preferences for both location and size. The default is small -- set the size to significantly larger. This can make a difference, especially if you install Lightroom, which shared the cache with Camera Raw.

And then, set the data drive up as the place for your Photoshop scratch/Windows pagefile location so that your system drive doesn't get overloaded. Make sure you leave a lot of free drive space on the data drive.

I've never used an SSD card. I gather their fast but limited. I've heard that it's not a good idea to overload them, but I can't give any details or speak with any "know it all-ness". You might want to read up on them if you want to buy into one.

Not knowing what you have presently, I'll just advise that you plan some things ahead of time -- an external drive will give you a place to offload parts of your library that you are no longer actively processing onto to ensure that your data drive does not get overloaded.

And, last but not first, a good size external drive as a backup drive to use regularly!


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Gregg.Siam
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Feb 10, 2011 23:57 as a reply to  @ tonylong's post |  #5

I've never used an SSD card. I gather their fast but limited. I've heard that it's not a good idea to overload them, but I can't give any details or speak with any "know it all-ness". You might want to read up on them if you want to buy into one.

It's not a card, it's a hard drive. (although they do make a SSD PCI card for $1,000 that is GODLIKE)

The reason you don't want to fill them up is because of the way they write. A flash NAND block has a limited amount of writes. Also, it needs the free space to write over blocks, so you need to have spare blocks for this. Confusing at first, but worth it by far.

If you are worried about the limited writes, a normal SSD should last at least 5-10 years. That's longer than most hard drives today. Just imagine writing 300GB of data to your drive 365 days a year for 3 years. That's a LOT!

This article from Anandtech (external link) explains what I'm talking about in great detail, but easy to understand. You might want to start from the beginning of the article too.

oh yeah, I left off that you would want a i5-2500 or an i7-2600 (or i5-2500k/i7-2600k if you over clock).


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trailguy
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Feb 11, 2011 07:39 |  #6

I want to build a new system. I'm currently running an Intel Duo E6850-3.00 GHz , with a GeForce 8400 G5 512MB mem, and it works well, but often slows too much.
I'll read up about the SSD. Sounds like a quad is also the sensible thing. Price is not a problem, for it pays for itself. I want a strong, fast system for photo work, but I'm not a gamer, and overbuying will just create more heat and noise.
Thanks for the info. I'll stay in touch as I put things together.




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tim
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Feb 11, 2011 17:10 |  #7

Lightroom or bridge will use all the cores you throw at it, and it will only ever get better. Photoshop needs ram and a scratch disk. Don't bother upgrading, it's a waste of money.

My picks:
- i5 Sandy Bridge processor (4 digits)
- Any motherboard (there's a bit of a problem with them right now, there's a recall on some)
- 8GB RAM
- no video card to start with (it's built in)
- One disk for OS, 1-2 disks for data/swap/cache. Ideally a smallish spinning disk for OS (beacuse it doesn't really matter how fast things start), an SSD for Lightroom/bridge cache (or at least a spinning disk), and another disk for images. Western Digital Black or Seagate Barracuda. Big disks are fast. Velociraptor are a waste of money. OS and Photoshop swap can go on the OS disk, as once programs are loaded it's otherwise idle. If you want get another disk for that.

Build it yourself, or get a Dell/HP. Either way get a decent sized case that will fit four disks at least, plus optical. My next case will hopefully have space for six disks, including two SSDs. I plan to have an SSD for OS, just because I can :)


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Sp1207
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Feb 11, 2011 21:10 |  #8

tim wrote in post #11824749 (external link)
Lightroom or bridge will use all the cores you throw at it, and it will only ever get better. Photoshop needs ram and a scratch disk. Don't bother upgrading, it's a waste of money.

My picks:
- i5 Sandy Bridge processor (4 digits)
- Any motherboard (there's a bit of a problem with them right now, there's a recall on some)
- 8GB RAM
- no video card to start with (it's built in)
- One disk for OS, 1-2 disks for data/swap/cache. Ideally a smallish spinning disk for OS (beacuse it doesn't really matter how fast things start), an SSD for Lightroom/bridge cache (or at least a spinning disk), and another disk for images. Western Digital Black or Seagate Barracuda. Big disks are fast. Velociraptor are a waste of money. OS and Photoshop swap can go on the OS disk, as once programs are loaded it's otherwise idle. If you want get another disk for that.

Build it yourself, or get a Dell/HP. Either way get a decent sized case that will fit four disks at least, plus optical. My next case will hopefully have space for six disks, including two SSDs. I plan to have an SSD for OS, just because I can :)

I agree with this with the caveat that you should get an H67 motherboard, and not bother with a smallish spinning disk for the OS as an SSD would be just as fast/cheaper servicing both lightroom/cache and OS.


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tim
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Feb 12, 2011 05:30 |  #9

I prefer my OS has its own disk so I can easily take an image for recovery without having to back up the cache as well - DriveImageXML is good free software. You shouldn't partition SSDs.


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trailguy
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Feb 12, 2011 13:42 as a reply to  @ tim's post |  #10

SP1207

I understand what you're saying, but that's more than I want to deal with.
How about an Intel SSD and 1 disk? How would that work, or would it give any advantage?
You mention no video card? That goes against everything I've heard / read about a good photo system (I'm using aGeForce 8400 G5 512MB) . Am I missing something here?
All I want is something up to date and much faster than my 32bit / 3G ram.
Why do you say upgrading is a waste of money?




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"Best wide-angle lens? Two steps backward"
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Sp1207
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Feb 12, 2011 13:50 |  #11

trailguy wrote in post #11829231 (external link)
SP1207

I understand what you're saying, but that's more than I want to deal with.
How about an Intel SSD and 1 disk? How would that work, or would it give any advantage?

That's actually exactly what I'm suggesting. One SSD for your OS/lightroom, and one bulk storage drive for photo storage.

You mention no video card? That goes against everything I've heard / read about a good photo system (I'm using aGeForce 8400 G5 512MB) . Am I missing something here?

Videocard only matters on macs. For PCs it's all about processor, disk speed, and memory.

All I want is something up to date and much faster than my 32bit / 3G ram.
Why do you say upgrading is a waste of money?

I think upgrading makes a whole lot sense. Where did I suggest it would be a waste of money?


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trailguy
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Feb 12, 2011 19:53 |  #12

OOP's,
Sorry, wrong person. Tim make that remark, and I don't know just what he's referring to.




Perfectionism is the highest form of self-abuse
"Best wide-angle lens? Two steps backward"
Ernst Hass 1952

  
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Rhad
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Feb 13, 2011 10:17 |  #13

tonylong wrote in post #11820054 (external link)
Win7 64 is a good robust system. A quad core processor will indeed get used, and I'd say you could benefit with a minimum of 8 GB of RAM. A graphics card with 512 MB or so -- just make sure you don't use an internal graphics card, because they "share" memory with the system.

So you're suggesting an "external" video card?




  
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tim
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Feb 13, 2011 15:45 |  #14

Some video cards use system RAM, which takes away memory available from the system and uses memory bandwidth. You're better off with a video card with its own RAM. Personally I wouldn't buy a card with less than 1GB of RAM now, since my culling too (fast picture viewer) uses video ram heavily.


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ProwlingTiger
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Feb 13, 2011 19:53 |  #15

Sp1207 wrote in post #11829267 (external link)
Videocard only matters on macs. For PCs it's all about processor, disk speed, and memory.

This is completely inaccurate.

Video cards DO matter on PCs and you WILL benefit from having a good one. That's not to say the processor, disk speed, and memory don't matter. Sandy Bridge processors do have good built-in GPUs, but a card like a Radeon 5570 or a 6000 series will do much better, but it's not necessary unless you're running a P67 motherboard. Also note, the K versions of Sandy Bridge have a better GPU than non-K versions.


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