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PC rebuild for graphics design

By TorturedChaos
Dec 7, 2009
  1. Well I would like to propose this to my boss at some point in the couple months - I am feeling the computer I use for doing graphic design work with signs needs an upgrade. At first I thought I just doing a ram upgrade (it has a 2x1gb pari of DDR ram) but DDR ram is going outa style fast - and getting expensive.

    So I'm thinking a new Mobo, CPU, RAM and possible graphics card - and if needed a new PSU (it has a 500 watt antec in it right now).

    Now as to my question - what do you look for in a computer when its for graphic design instead of gaming? I have built 2 gaming computers that I'm happy with, but never dealt with one for graphic desing. I run a lot of Illustrator, Photoshop and Indesign, along with all my printing done on a Roland printer via Versa-Works. I do the setup for out shop for signs so I am working with files that are large (3ft x 4ft signs are common,smallest stuff I usually do is 12c18).

    My current system specs are:

    AMD Athlon 64 x2 Dual Core 4200+ @ 2.21 GHz

    2 GB (2x1gb Dual channel) DDR RAM

    ASUS A8N-SLI Premium Mobo

    GeForce PCX 5750 128MB

    3 HDD

    Antec 500watt PSU.

    Running Windows XP pro 32-bit.

    Personally I think its a pretty decent built, if It could take DDR2 ram.

    Anyways, what do I need to emphasize for a graphic design computer? Thanks!
     
  2. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    I think the most important component you need to look at is a good CPU. If you're on a budget, look at the Athlon II X4 620/630 Propus. Else, the Phenom II X4 955 BE maybe.

    How much do you think your organization will be willing to spend on a new machine?
     
  3. TorturedChaos

    TorturedChaos TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 831   +18

    I'm thinking around $400 - $500 I guess. I like the looks of the Phenom II X4 955 BE, if I can fit it into my budget. Anyone know how optimized the Adobe CS2 suite is for dual or quad core CPU's?
     
  4. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    The Phenom II X4 955 BE is a stellar CPU. But when you're considering a full setup at $500 it may become a tad bit expensive. If you're not gaming I would suggest that you stick with the Athlon II X4 series.
     
  5. TorturedChaos

    TorturedChaos TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 831   +18

    Ok this is what I have right now. Just CPU, Mobo & RAM

    AMD Athlon II X4 630 Propus 2.8GHz 4

    GIGABYTE GA-MA785GT-UD3H AM3 AMD 785G HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard

    G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333

    That puts me at about $300. I'm guess I will probably need to upgrade my power supply - running a 450 watt Antec right now. And idk if a graphics card upgrade will help much or not. Right now I'm running a GeForce PCX 5750 128MB @ 1600x1200.

    Any suggestion or feed back are greatly appreciated.
     
  6. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    This motherboard would be cheaper and serve you just as well.

    How much are you thinking of spending on the graphics card + PSU?
     
  7. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,258

    Budget ? Requirements ?


    Get the bet PSU you can afford.

    Have a friend who swears by his FX 3800 - not a budget card tho.
     
  8. TorturedChaos

    TorturedChaos TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 831   +18

    Well if i use the mobo u suggested, I am at about $290, so that leaves me with another $200 or so for graphics card and power supply. Don't know if I will need that much, but that's still inside my $500 budget.
     
  9. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    Look for an HD 4770 / HD 4850 GPU along with the Corsair 550VX / 650TX PSU.
     
  10. TorturedChaos

    TorturedChaos TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 831   +18

    Sweet! Thanks for your help!

    Right Now sitting at about $510 with shipping which I think I can talk my bosses into.

    So there is my build - with much help from Ritwik7 -


    CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V


    XFX HD-477A-YDFC Radeon HD 4770 512MB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0

    GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard

    AMD Athlon II X4 630 Propus 2.8GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Processor

    G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model

    Its all going into the nice Antec case I already have, along with a couple hdd in there already.

    So anyone got any comments, complaints, suggestions??? I think it looks pretty good. Then going to use the older parts outa this machine to rebuild our other computer that's running a Pentium 4, and is slow as molasses.
     
  11. compdata

    compdata TechSpot Paladin Posts: 526

    I concur that Photoshop is CPU bound, not GPU. They are adding moe GPU acceleration in each new release, but it is mainly for previews at this point and not used for actual filters/renders/etc. . .

    CS2 is not really optimized for more then a dual core. But CS4 can take much better advantage of quad core. Take a look at tom's hardware guide cpu chart to see where the processors fit in for CS4 performance:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2009-desktop-cpu-charts/Adobe-Photoshop-CS-4,1387.html
     
  12. compdata

    compdata TechSpot Paladin Posts: 526

    I might also recommend a DX11 GPU. Right now it isn't going to make much of a difference, but photoshop is likely going to be one of the first programs to take advantage of the more general purpose processing abilities of DX11 cards. You could upgrade to an HD5750 for $30

    GIGABYTE GV-R575D5-1GD Radeon HD 5750 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI
     
  13. compdata

    compdata TechSpot Paladin Posts: 526

    Sorry this wasn't consolidated. One other point - you realize you won't be able to take full advantage of the 4GB when running Win XP 32 bit. It depends on the HW reserved space, but you will likely only end up with ~3Gbs available.
     
  14. TorturedChaos

    TorturedChaos TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 831   +18

    Yah I know 32bit XP can only access about 3.6gigs of ram I think, but it beats the 2gigs I have right now....and I'm using 2.12gigs right now between printing via Versa-Works and working in photoshop. yay for virtual memory :p

    And thanks for mentioning the DX11 - I wasn't even thinking about that :p. I will see if I can pitch the better card to them :p.

    Think I like the look of this card for the DX11 cards -

    XFX HD-575X-ZNFC Radeon HD 5750 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card

    Same specs as far as I can tell, lots of positive reviews and its $5.00 cheaper.
     
  15. compdata

    compdata TechSpot Paladin Posts: 526

    The exact amount depends on the reserved address space used by the motherboard chipset. Some people get 3.6Gb, but some get less then 3Gb. YMMV Best of luck though.
     
  16. TorturedChaos

    TorturedChaos TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 831   +18

    Yah I doubt I getting CS4 anytime soon. CS2 is doing the trick so far, and I think I'm stuck with unless the shop gets a stellar year, and with how things have been lately dont think thats going to happen in the near future.....
     
  17. TorturedChaos

    TorturedChaos TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 831   +18

    Ok didn't know that. Thought just the OS determinant that. Wonder how much that gigabyte board can address with a 32bit OS...
     
  18. compdata

    compdata TechSpot Paladin Posts: 526


    More then 2GBs :) I don't have time to look into it now, but you might try determining what chipset the motherboard has and try to do some searches for users with the same chipset to see how much memory they are seeing. Either that or try to wade through the chipset manufacturers documentation. The OS and bios will also reserve some memory as well, but i believe the chipset is the main culprit for IO devices.
     
  19. TorturedChaos

    TorturedChaos TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 831   +18

    Meh its not that big of a deal. It will be an upgrade either way.

    Thanks for the help
     
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