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PC Desktop suggestions

Discussion in 'General Software & Hardware Forum:' started by fresh-off, Apr 13, 2010.

  1. fresh-off

    fresh-off Junior Member

    I'm planning on purchasing or building a new desktop next month, and curious to hear from other designers what sort of specs I should currently be on the lookout for.

    A little bit of information on my usage:

    • Heavy Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign user (all CS4)
    • Light Flash CS4 user.
    • Heavy browser testing - (FF, Opera, Safari, IE7 & IE8, and Chrome all up and running at the same time along with Photoshop and Dreamweaver.)
    • Buying a new Wacom tablet for complex illustration / painting work.
    • Will be adding a blog to my site and considering recording podcasts, video casts, or screencasts to it. No experience with any of those - but want to make sure the desktop is ready.

    In summary, I have the entire CS4 Master Suite - but pretty much only use PS, ID, Illustrator, DW and a little Flash. Never had a tablet before so I want to make sure I'm ready to paint and draw to my hearts content. Any general suggestions on what i should be on the lookout for in a new desktop? - how much Ram, graphics cards, processors, monitors, etc.

    I'd also be curious about monitors. I've seen a few people with HUGE monitors - that look like flat-screen TVs. I've also seen others using 2 or more large - but more standard size monitors in their workspace. Obviously at some point how much screen realestate i get comes down to what i can afford - but i'm curious to hear what others like, or dislike.

    THANKS for ANY input!! :up:
  2. Jimlad

    Jimlad Well-Known Member

    Well... so far my brain is going for RAM, RAM, and some more RAM (Ideally around 4GB? More if you want to go crazy and your machine can recognise more - you can test that at But essentially I'd say you want to get as much or as high quality as you can afford in all departments, just because.

    Visual work OBVIOUSLY needs a decent monitor. Best ones I've seen are Apple ones, but they're stupidly expensive, you can probably get a decent one from a well known brand for a lot less. I'd also aim for no less than 20". Extra screens are nice, but I'd invest in one decent one first and add more later, depending on your funds.
  3. fresh-off

    fresh-off Junior Member

    my laptop (a little over a year old) has 4GB of RAM. Recently I've seen noticeable slowness in rendering when using the paintbrush in Photoshop. I've heard of desktops with 16GB of RAM! But I'm not sure if CS4 programs can even make use of that much RAM. :confused:

    Granted, the slowness in my 4GB laptop I beleive is a software updating issue from the manufacturer (HP). After spending 1 hour+ on the phone with HP support desk, looks like i'll be reinstalling Vista and hopefully my rendering issues go away. But part of me has been thinking that if I even have a HINT of rendering issues with 4GB of RAM and no tablet - I'd better make sure the new Windows 7 Desktop + Tablet is powerful enough from Day 1.

    and thanks Jim for the advice on screens and the link!!
  4. Jimlad

    Jimlad Well-Known Member

    Really? I've got 3GB RAM, that happily does whatever needed in Potatoshop pretty swiftly on mine. With several other programs open too. Maybe it is a software issue as you say...
    As the mechanic would say, "there's yer problem right there". I've heard nothing but good things about Windows 7 mind.
    And as far as I know, I don't think using a tablet instead of a mouse causes any massive drain on resources.
  5. Thewholehogg

    Thewholehogg Active Member

    Spot on on.

    Vista+PC= Headache.

    ....and off we go on the Mac v PC debate.
    Oh, and just to be on the safe side don't use your computer next to the swimming pool.
    Health and Safety and all that me boy.
  6. openmind

    openmind Senior Member

    Remember if you go for more than 3GB of RAM then you will need a motherboard and OS that supports it.

    I would suggest a 64 bit platform with at least 4GB RAM but chuck in as much as the board can support. Then slap Windows 7 Pro on top and you will have a very fast, stable platform.

    I have a 64 bit system running 8GB RAM and it flies along even though I use it very heavily for web development...
  7. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    Basically any new hardware is more than enough for your needs to be honest.

    Personally I would be looking at an i5/i7 cpu (or possibly an amd x6 depending on cost), 4GB of ram, windows 7 x64 (personally I use pro), maybe 2 ssd's (pick wisely here :)) one for the os and programs (80GB should cover you) , the other for a scratch disk (30-40GB, non budget ones and yes I know you lot are going to come at me on this one) and a couple of decent sized hard drives in raid 1 (mirrored) for storing files - this offers fast access via the ssds while working and redundancy on the raid array where you store you finished work etc. Graphics card I would go for a mid to high end ati hd5xxx at the moment unless you want to get ripped off by buying an nvidia quadro cx or similar.

    Wacom is a widescreen arrangement so you want a widescreen display(s) for best results, the choice of how many and which screen is purely a personal thing really.
    I'd go for an ips panel display if you can afford them they are better quality than the tn panel and I'd also highly recommend a screen calibrator :)

    Of course you have the option of getting a mac and then running bootcamp but cost to cost the above is likely cheaper.

    OH yeah - DO NOT BUY VISTA, get windows 7, even though I have no issue with windows vista it does have slower file/network transfers and this does impact on certain actions :)
  8. Renniks

    Renniks Senior Member

    Living in the US seems to help too, they sell models we can't get over here on quite a few sites :(
  9. Renniks

    Renniks Senior Member

    Any suggestions of where to buy pre-mades for good value anyone?

    Other than mesh, PCworld & Dell I'm stuck for places to look

  10. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    boxx, scan and off the top of my head although more gamer orientated perhaps on the last 2

    Building your own really isn't that hard though
  11. Renniks

    Renniks Senior Member

    My only issue with building my own is my knowledge of everything is sketchy at best, making sure it all functions together properly and having the spare time to complete a build mean I'd prefer to just order a built machine.

    My other issue comes with the specs not being quite good enough for the cost they offer it at and hence maybe needing to look at a home build. sigh
  12. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    seriously it's as easy as lego now a days

    The first machine I built from scratch I just took slowly, the only bit I was nervous over was the cpu as it was over £300 at the time lol. The rest was just following the manual and common sense :)

    If you find something interesting post it up and I'll tell you what I think would be the issue part type affair :)
  13. Renniks

    Renniks Senior Member

    How about selecting the correct pieces that work together? Peruse / Ask at overclockers?
  14. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    yeah or here lol :)

    I'm pretty well versed on pc side of things (Jaz can vouch for that lol)

    What sort of budget are you looking at :)
  15. Renniks

    Renniks Senior Member

    Around £850 for everything, including a monitor.

    Gaming (games already released at least)
    Developing (C++ / Web Dev)
    Designing (No 3d rendering / music / video compiling or anything though)
    Virtual Machines (testing and just in general I've grown to like having the versatility)
    ermm probably forgetting stuff but yeh

    would stretch to closer to 1000 if really worth while.
  16. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    screen, os, anything like that?
  17. Renniks

    Renniks Senior Member

    No need for an OS, got a spare windows 7, would need the monitor, case, components etc.
    no real need for a sound card (intergrated would suffice to begin with)
    No need for mouse / keyboard...
  18. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    got a screen size preference
  19. Renniks

    Renniks Senior Member

    Not really, I plan on getting more than one in the end, so size isn't that important. Widescreen preferred though
  20. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    ok this is what I would do and yes it is top end of your budget when you add a fairly decent monitor such as the samsung f2380 for 240 quid (amazon) :(

    [​IMG]Asus P7P55D-E LX Intel P55 (Socket 1156) DDR3 Motherboard £116.98
    (£99.56) £116.98
    (£99.56) [​IMG]Club 3D ATI Radeon HD 5770 512MB GDDR5 PCI-Express Graphics Card £112.99
    (£96.16) £112.99
    (£96.16) [​IMG]OCZ Platinum 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 PC3-10666C7 1333MHz Dual Channel Kit (OCZ3P1333LV4GK) £109.99
    (£93.61) £109.99
    (£93.61) [​IMG]Corsair HX 650W ATX Modular SLI Compliant Power Supply (CMPSU-650HXUK) £102.99
    (£87.65) £102.99
    (£87.65) [​IMG]Intel Core i3 530 2.93GHz (Clarkdale) (Socket LGA1156) - OEM £93.99
    (£79.99) £93.99
    (£79.99) [​IMG]Fractal Design Define R2 Midi Tower Case - Black Pearl £79.99
    (£68.08) £79.99
    (£68.08) [​IMG]Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 750GB SATA-II 32MB Cache - OEM (ST3750528AS) £60.98
    (£51.90) £121.96
    (£103.80) [​IMG]CoolIT Eco A.L.C. High-Performance CPU Watercooler (Socket AM2/AM2+/AM3/LGA775/LGA1156/LGA1366) £51.98
    (£44.24) £51.98
    (£44.24) [​IMG]Samsung TS-H353B 16x DVD-ROM SATA (Black) - OEM £12.26
    (£10.43) £12.26
    (£10.43) Sub Total : £683.52 Shipping cost assumes delivery to UK Mainland with:
    DPD Next Day Parcel
    (This can be changed during checkout) Shipping : £10.50 VAT is being charged at 17.50% VAT : £121.45 Total : £815.47

    I'll look at doing a decent amd rig in a minute :)

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