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Help with a new build

By elazarus · 19 replies
Oct 20, 2010
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  1. Hi,

    Right now I am having issues with my computer:
    MB...Asus P5B
    Intel 6600 Core 2 Duo 2.4ghz
    WDC 250gb HD
    EVGA Nvidea GT 7500 Video card
    4 x 1gb OCZ Gold Ram
    Windows XP Pro SP3

    I have had USB problems, Microphone problems and Re-starting issues so it is time to get a new build. I use it for business....Browser, Excel, Quickbooks and I process Digital Pictures for my online store with ACDSee or Photoshop Elements....no gaming.

    I feel that an i7 Intel is probably more than I need. I don't mind paying $1000-$1500 but I want to get what I need and not go for the moon as far as specs go.

    Originally, I bought 2 of the machines with the specs above and have always had trouble with USB's and Windows etc.....I am going to keep 1 machine as a backup but my main machine needs to work all day everyday.

    I would appreciate what you think would be a workhorse. If I guess if I get Windows 7 Pro I will not be able to share files with my laptop (Windows XP Pro)...unless I am wrong.

    Thank you

  2. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    Thats no tough task.
    What size harddrive do you need? Do you want a backup? Do you want an SSD?

    OCZ Reaper HPC Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Voltage Desktop Memory Model OCZ3RPR1600C8LV4GK
    Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W Continuous power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply
    AMD Athlon II X3 445 Rana 3.1GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Desktop Processor ADX445WFGMBOX
    GIGABYTE GA-880GMA-UD2H AM3 AMD 880G HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
    ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM

    Total: $300.
    Just throw in a case, an OS, and a harddrive; then you're good.
    If i'm not wrong, you shouldn't have any problems sharing files between XP and windows 7.
  3. elazarus

    elazarus TS Member Topic Starter

    Thank you for responding.

    For a hard drive 250/500/1gig is OK. Right now I have 3 External HD's but my computer only see's 1 or 2 of them when it wants.

    With the system that you suggested, are you saying that anything further up the 'speed' chain would be a waste of $$$ as I would not notice the difference?

  4. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    So, no SSD?
    Western Digital Caviar Black WD5001AALS 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
    It should be noted that for $10 USD, WD has an equivalent 750GB drive, which is a good deal IMO.

    Since you'll do no gaming, theres no need for a graphics card.
    The triple core is plenty enough for office applications, and will be fine for photo's as long as you're not going balls to the wall with photoshop editing or similar; it sounds like you're not doing anything too big. You could save a bit of money by just going with a dual core and you probably won't really be sacrificing performance. I just put the triple core because I'm not entirely sure what you mean by "processing Digital Pictures". The RAM is actually pretty quick, you could shave of a bit of money by going with a bit slower RAM.
    IMO, you'll see no real improvements unless you added an SSD, but those are costly and unnecessary.
  5. elazarus

    elazarus TS Member Topic Starter

    Thank you.

    I edit a lot of Raw digital pictures almost everyday. A Raw image is 18 megs and when I convert them to a .TIF that is 88megs each. So, those pictures are big but I am usually working with only 10 of them to convert at one time.

    Right now my computer slows down...Core 2 Duo 6600, 4 gigs OCZ Ram, Nvidea 7500 GTS......so I want to be a bit "over" rather than have any doubt.....it is for business and a couple of $100's is OK.

  6. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,522   +2,312

    First, believe it or not, later versions of PSE seems to be able to light up 4 cores. However, I doubt that it would be able to utilize the 8 virtual cores of a hyper-threaded quad, but, PSCS-5 might!

    That said, the organizer of any version of PSE from 6 on is an abomination. It won't generate thumbs in real time, and the CPU I've had the best results with is an i3-530 (dual core, but hyper-threading). With a standard dual core CPU it can take 5 or 10 minutes to generate a hundred thumbs. PSE-8, is an even bigger piece of s***, but Adobe claims compatibility with Win 7 for it. In my personal experience, PSE-7, (or lower) will run under Win 7 (32 or 64 bit), but it is fairly idiosyncratic.

    Please have a look at this CPU comparison article; http://techreport.com/articles.x/18448 This represents testing on current CPUs under different testing paradigms, and perhaps what you should be looking at most carefully, is CPU throughput, in photo and video benchmarks.

    With that out of the way, have you tweaked the PC you have, with respect to startup programs, running processes, and a thorough check for malware, along with a frequent cleaning with a program such as "CCleaner".

    BTW, I don't know how you're coming up with a figure of 88 meg from a 18 meg RAW file, I thought conversion to .PSD format was about 1:1. You must have some additional layers happening.

    Epson printer drivers will spool just about any format to print.

    If these photos are being used for the web, at what is normally 72 DPI, how the heck big are the files you're trying to upload?
  7. elazarus

    elazarus TS Member Topic Starter

    Thank you, Captain.

    Very interesting. Yes, PSE Organizer makes my CPU seem like a snail at work....I will check through the CPU comparison guide.

    Startup programs through the msconfig are really kept to a minimum.....the only large process running is Firefox....especially with the Google toolbar which I have uninstalled.

    CCleaner, AShampoo, Malwarebytes, adaware etc are run a couple of times a week......there are no clutter files (or whatever you call them) more than a couple of days old.

  8. EDO219

    EDO219 TS Rookie Posts: 212

    Personally, I like Intel's i7 950 especially since it sells for $295. AMD's X3 Athlon 445 is a far better choice for the money, but it wouldn't be suitable for Adobe CS5 if you ever upgrade to that version of the suite. HTML 5 is going to really raise the bar on required system specs for those in web development.

    Also, for another 40 bucks you could go with 6 GB of extremely stable G.SKILL RAM. Next time you're on your current work machine, you might check your total RAM usage while doing a lot of editing. 6 GB probably isn't necessary, but I would bet that you are already close to using 4 GB of RAM.

    Yeah, you're right. It really depends on what you're doing with Photoshop. My graphics design pal constantly uses a drawing tablet in conjunction with PS CS4 and his SLi'd GPUs really shine through when rotating the entire canvas. Of course, a typical Photoshop file for him contains literally thousands of hand-drawn lines. So unless you plan on drawing images from scratch like that, then a dedicated GPU probably isn't necessary.
  9. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,522   +2,312

    The PSE Organizer has become a bloated pig of a program. That said, it is usable, but it also isn't the $300.00 copy of "Lightroom" that Adobe is trying to piss you off into buying.
  10. elazarus

    elazarus TS Member Topic Starter

    P.S. Thought.....

    The BIOS on my system is the original from 2006........

    Although I do not know how to update the BIOS, would an updated version help everything run better/smoother?

  11. EDO219

    EDO219 TS Rookie Posts: 212

    An updated BIOS might correct some of your USB and *maybe* your microphone issues if your audio is integrated.
  12. elazarus

    elazarus TS Member Topic Starter

    Thank you...is there a simple way to update the bios? I know the file is on the Asus Support site...but it requires a little something which I have never done before.

  13. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    Not really, and there's always some risk.
  14. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,446   +349

    I like Lightroom, it is fantastic for what its designed for and has sped up my workflow substantially (I still mostly use CS2 personally, though I can use CS4 elsewhere on occasion). :(

    I also did not pay $300 for it (thank you "in the industry" friend), so maybe I don't understand the same pain.
  15. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,522   +2,312

    With that said, there are many who have paid full pop for "Lightroom". That fact doesn't make PSE a better program, or Lightroom any less of a better alternative for many purposes. Adobe now has turned over development of PSE to "overseas sources". The organizer is a pig that is turning into a prize sow, even as we speak. Adobe also dumped "M$ Access" as tha data base enginefor the open source, "SQLite", which has absolutely not served to better the program.

    PSE is a "cash cow" for Adobe, and they're milking it for all it's worth, without spending a penny more than they have to. It's starting to show, big time! Every issue has some "whiz bang" new feature, and fo the most part includes all the old bugs.

    With all that being said, last year I was able to purchase a legitimate copy of PSCS-4, for $300.00 dollars, by virtue of being a registered user of several copies of PSE.

    I figure that's about the best an average person is going to do, without being an insider, or stealing it.
  16. elazarus

    elazarus TS Member Topic Starter

    It was easier than I thought to update the BIOS.....Asus made it simple for me.

    Unfortunately the microphone and reader problems still exist....so I am updated, cleaned, Defragged but the same problems remain...bummer.

    For post production photos I have, PSE, ACDSee Pro, Corel Photo Paint, Bibble, GIMP all installed....and I find that converting the raw images in DPP from Canon and then editing in ACDSee Pro is the fastest and IMHO gives the best finished products. I do not print the pics as they are online at 96DPI but the Zoom feature on my websites does take a 3000 x 3000 pixel image...so it has to be as close to 100% perfect as possible.

    So, I guess now we are saying that if I am going to work images I better go for a faster processor and probably 6 gigs RAM?

    Thank you

  17. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    Maybe not 6GB of RAM, the person above probably only stated 6GB of RAM because X58's support triple channel, ie three 2GB sticks.

    AMD Athlon II X4 630 Propus 2.8GHz Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Processor ADX630WFGIBOX
    is a really cheap quad-core; pretty quick too. You could also get your hands on a Hex-core for $200. Whatever you think is a good price.

    Everything else I mentioned above is still good.
    EDIT: You get by photo editing with 250GB?
  18. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,522   +2,312

    Well, have you tried an un/reinstall of the sound driver?. I missed this, is this Adobe Reader?
    Unless you go for the X58 3 channel RAM board, 6 GBs of RAM, makes no sense whatsoever. For boards with 2 channel RAM, you might as well just buy an additional 4GB kit. (For a total of 8GB). Photoshop has typically stated that you need 3 times the RAM of the max file size you're going to use. I think good sense should prevail, and you should punch up the task manager while you work, and find out which program is using what resources.

    At the end of the day, 88MB isn't all that big a file, and when bringing 18MB files into the computer, the limiting factor is the offload speed of the cards, not the machine.

    You can buy the biggest, baddest, fastest machine that money can buy, and it won't do some of these tasks any faster than the box you have now.
  19. elazarus

    elazarus TS Member Topic Starter

    Thank you all for your input.

    On the image files...once I get the pic that I want to use the 3000 x 3000 gets uploaded to the server for the URL's. The smaller files get uploaded to Zenfolio and Smugmug for hosting. Then I save the .jpg to my External HD and wind up deleting the other files from my drive.

    One thing that Captain said and it is so true, and scary,:

    You can buy the biggest, baddest, fastest machine that money can buy, and it won't do some of these tasks any faster than the box you have now.

    I'll wind up with a new card reader, microphone jack, new usb ports....and everything will handle the internet and ACDSee Pro/PSE the same as I have now.......

  20. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    Well, it'll actually do the Pro/PSE a bit quicker.
    IMO it wouldn't be a poor deal to spend ≈$500, but that'd be great if you could fix up your system instead.

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