New graphic design computer for work

By TorturedChaos · 21 replies
Aug 12, 2010
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  1. I know I already post a thread much like this 6 months back or so, and I thought about necro'ing it but decided it might be better to just start off from scratch.

    I think I finally have my boss's talked around to upgrading my computer I use for design signs at work. Right now it just not cutting it. (AM Athlon 64 x2 4200+ and 2gigs of DDR 400 ram -_-).

    Right now I have Illustrator CS2 open (with no files loaded), VersaWorks (what I print from) Thunderbrid, Chome, and an FPT site in FIleZilla and I'm at 1.3 GB of RAM outa the 2 gigs I have -_-.

    So my plan is to talk them into probably Win 7 Pro. 64 bit, and 6 gigs of ram. That way I can edit 4 x 8 raster files in Photoshop :p.

    And I'm thinking of taking the PC I'm currently running, reformatting it and just installing the basics like our Carbinite backup and versaworks on it and use it for all the sign printing since VersaWorks RIP's everything on the PC on on the Roland printer -_-. Then use the new PC to do the actual sign editing.

    Here's my issue tho, I have never built anything for graphic design, and I'm kinda out the loop as far as PC building goes in general. I studied up and built my 2 gamin pc's I have about a 1 to 1 1/2 years ago, but after that stopped paying quite as much attention to it.

    So I was hoping I could get some suggestions from ppl more knowable then me :p. I'm going to say I have a rough budget of about $700 for the tower + Win 7 Pro. I think i could talk them into that.

    As far as exactly what I'm looking for I really don't need multi monitor out, or HDMI or any of that. I don't use firewire or eSATA.

    Really the only thing I know is I use ram like its no one business.

    So any help you guys could throw out would be great. Get me started in a direction. I'm not even sure what CPU to pick :p.

  2. JMMD

    JMMD TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 854

    You could get this from Dell for $699:

    Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64Bit, English
    AMD Phenom™ II X6 1035T + ATI Radeon HD 5450 1GB
    6GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz - 4 DIMMS
    640GB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive
    16X DVD+/-RW Drive
  3. TorturedChaos

    TorturedChaos TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 839   +29

    Hmm ok something to keep in mind at least. I have found tho that dell puts pretty crappy Mobo and PSU in their machines. But might look into that CPU atleast thx.

    Although IDK if I need a 6 core CPU. I don't think Adobe CS 2 package will make use of more than 2 CPU's tho :(
  4. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Have you talked to others who do similar work in your profession ?
    I wonder if you will see any real improvement with the software you use, if you change the hardware from what you are using.

    That is a dynamite upgrade, but the software will still work the same way, and that isn't going to change much, and upgrading it will be where the real cost might be..
  5. TorturedChaos

    TorturedChaos TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 839   +29

    Ahhh crap I just read something that says Adobe CS2 package won't install on Win 7 - 32 or 64 bit. Anyone know if this is true??

    Ok maybe it will install just takes some messing with. Will have to test it on my brothers laptop at some point before.
  6. TorturedChaos

    TorturedChaos TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 839   +29

    Well I've used CS2 on computers with quite a bit better hardware and did see a decent improvement. Biggest issue I keep running into is not enough ram. I have no trouble pushing it into 3 1/2 gigs of memory usage, and with only 2 gigs of ram, a lot of that has to be loaded in to swap space and thats slow. But this is when I'm being careful only to work on one thing at a time, have all excess programs shut down. I can't print a large file and work on a large file at the same time. In fact printing a large file makes it hard to work with anything :(
  7. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,036   +2,558

    Well, you still have the option of "XP Mode" if you spring for Win 7 Pro. It might behoove you to do some power Googling to see if you can find other users taking this approach.

    Then there's the possibility of getting it straight from the horse's mouth as it were : You could join the Photoshop "windows" forum, they might be able to help. Although I have to say they're all about PS, and not much on computers and OS issues. Don't look to Adobe itself for any relief or resolution, it's not what they're about. More like, "could I interest you in a copy of PSCS-5", like that.
  8. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    With that budget you'll have to decide whether you're looking for a powerful GPU or CPU. I'm not aware of which component Photoshop taxes the most. So, if you could tell us we'd be able to propose a system. :)
  9. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Posts: 3,486   +45

    wth would you order from dell?
  10. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Posts: 3,486   +45

    CPU, helps out a lot of Photoshop. I can effectively use 80% of all cores in cs4. When I upload and edit more than one photo off my nikon d60 my ram usage jumped to 4gbs used most of the time. With 6gb I hope you dont plan on doing a lot of multitasking. And I dont mean average user multitasking. I meant 5 windows of FF with 10 tabs each, rendering a blue ray, editing 12mp pictures, music playing in the background and running a home network. Doing that I've managed to use 8gb of ram, but other than that you can get buy with 6. So for a workstation its cpu>ram>?vga
  11. TorturedChaos

    TorturedChaos TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 839   +29

    Ok that helps some. I'm still trying to figure out if CS2 will use more than 2 cores. Even if it doesn't the OS and other programs should work off the other cores say if I got a quad core.

    For multitasking its more like having a 24 x 36 color scan open in Photoshop, 10ft x 3ft banner, couple 18 x 24 signs, and a few other small projects open in Illustrator, streaming Pandora, and trying to print a 4 x 6 sign thru VersaWorks (which RIP's on my PC). So thats why I'm thinking of 6 gigs of ram.

    But thanks so much for your input! I don't really know anyone else in the graphics field so yah :p.
  12. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Well, you can probably easily afford CS3, or CS4, and it will work on both of those.
  13. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,036   +2,558

    Adobe will allow you to upgrade directly to PSCS-5 from PSCS-2 @ $199.95 Yeah, it's a lot of money, but it's not $700.00, so it might well be worth it. That's their official limit, the maximum time to upgrade without purchase of a complete new version allowable, is across three issues of a product.
  14. TorturedChaos

    TorturedChaos TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 839   +29

    Except I run the whole CS2 Standard edition package, which is $799 to upgrade to CS5 :(.

    I thought about trying to just upgrade Illustrator and Photoshop to CS5 but thats still $200ea, almost worth it just go for the whole package. But IDK how much money I can talk my boss into spending :p
  15. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,036   +2,558

    Well first, I run Photoshop Elements 7 under Win 7 32 & 64 bit, and the Organizer, to say the least. is "quite idiosyncratic" but most of this has to do with it's ability to import photos from a very large collection. PSE-8 is supposed to be compatible with Win 7, but that's such an abomination, it's like voluntarily installing malware.

    I still think the M$ "Virtual PC" and "XP mode" could ease the transition. Files can obviously be transferred between programs, and you might struggle along slightly crippled, upgrading the programs of CS, piece at a time, spreading the expenses over a period of months.

    This is exactly what M$ was responding to in creating "XP Mode". Well, also to remove inhibiting factors for adopting the new OS. They are, after all, in it for the money,

    XP Mode is 32 bit however, you take a speed hit in the VM, and I don't know how this would jibe with your memory requirements.
  16. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

  17. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,036   +2,558

    We're in the Double Jeopardy Build Round..., Quiet Please....

    What are we doing, playing "Jeopardy" Rit..? Phrase your computer in the form of a question. If he knew he wouldn't have to ask, and if you knew.....Oh, what's the use....:rolleyes: :haha: :wave: ROFL
  18. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    You got me!!!

    My question was directed to some of the more knowledgeable folks replying on this thread (which includes you Cap!) and not the OP :)

    So, does it do or not? :wave:
  19. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,036   +2,558

    Well , I would say, "yes it does". The only thing is, he's asking for way more RAM than that. So that would be another 85 bucks minimum. Gotta fill all 4 slots.

    If 16GB is the goal, to fill it with the memory you suggest would be $440,00, then $390.00 after rebate. (Other brands would also hover around that price).

    I though Newegg had everybody hooked on "GSkill". I'm brainwashed, I always use it.
  20. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

  21. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,036   +2,558

  22. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    YAR!...I dont know what I'm doin....

    NO! I have a fake eye and a patch on my leg.....power gaming ROLF:p:wave:
    They changed your pretty blue G-Skill heat spreaders to 'Ripjaw' red :(

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