Photoshop user needs suggestion for new computer

Started Dec 9, 2009 | Discussions thread
glasswave
Veteran MemberPosts: 5,773
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Re:Computers for photshop...
In reply to net1994, Dec 10, 2009

...I don't really think the the best sourse of info will be pShop forums. These forums tend to be mostly visited by Graphic/web/Multimedia designers and their needs are often much different than photogs. I am assuming your main use will be photo post processing.

With that said, I will offer some advice about systems for photoShop and image processing. High end PC's tend to be most needed for gaming, video encoding, and 3d graphics. Most mid range ($700-900 for w/o monitor) modern computers (with a RAM upgrade ) have enough power to make photoshop rip, an I5 w/4 gig boots pShop in about 3 seconds and will run an unsharp mask on a 24 bit 24mp image in about two seconds. OTH, money well spent can make for significant productivity gains.

Listed in my order of importance:

1 -- Monitor(s) and calibration - go big, go wide gammut, and go many. A 30" horizontal monitor with a 24" portrait monitor (and maybe a 1600x1200 3rd monitor for eMail & such) would be my dream set up, but I am currently using dual 24"s. Dual 20"s seem to be preferable to a single 24". Some don't seem to mind rotating their monitor, others never do it. I always rotated my display for portraint images and love having a portrait display. Make sure you get IPS, or at least pva screen technology (not TN) and get a good calibration system designed for wide gammut displays. I understand that profiling two monitors is much easier w/2 video cards.

2 -- Memory and memory management -- While 4gbs is enough for working with most 10-24mp images from todays cameras, if you use many layers or like to have several images open at one time, you want more RAM. With more than 4gb RAM you'll want a modern version of windows (7 or Vista running in 64 bit). 8-12 gb seems to make even power users very happy.

3 -- Processor -- Most mid range processors run pShop surprisingly well, but if you do batch processing on large groups of imagies, then the cpu can make a big difference. I5 would be a good idea considering their attractive price point, but an I7 would help with batch processing.

4 -- Graphics Card -- Many would say that drive systems are more important than graphics cards for pShop and they'd be right, but when trying to solve drive throughput issues costs go up rapidly, so I thought I'd say heare that a solid mid range nVidia or ATI ($100-200) is more than enough to handle all the nifty, though not so important pShop gpu based features.

5 -- Drive system -- This is the main bottle neck on pc's today. At a minimum separate your OS/Program drive from your data drive and put your pShop temp file on a differnt hd from your windows swap file. This is not a problem with gobs of RAM. A SSD (solid state drive) will have a tremendous effect on OS and program boot times, but are too costly (IMHO) for all your data. RAID 0 hard drives are of little help in these areas and mostly are effective for massive video files. An SSD raid would be heaven, but costs quickly rise to $1k plus for this type of drive system.

6 -- Pointing Device -- If you retouch a lot, go for a Cintique and move this bullet up to spot #2. For general image processing get a good (not fancy) mouse and experiment with various pads until you find what works best for your mouse.

7 -- Speakers -- Having your favorite tunes playing in hi fi while you process your images is always a joy.

Suggested strategy -- spend all you can afford on your monitor system and use what's left for a Computer.

Mid Range -- I5, Windows 7, 6gb Ram, ATI 4860 graphics, 500 gb wd black program drive, 1tb eSata 7200 rpm data drive etc $900

High end -- i7 -920, 12gb Ram, nVidia 260gtx, 500 gb wd black program drive, 1tb eSata 7200 rpm data drive etc $1400

Overkill -- but glorious fun - i7 -960, 24gb Ram, 2 nVidia 285gtx, 4 intel SSD program drive, 2tb Sata 10000 rpm Velocraptor raid 0 data drive etc

hope this helps

net1994 wrote:

Building a new computer with Photoshop CS4 driving everything about it. Anyone know of the most popular Photoshop forum out there where I can post my specs wanted/needed for my new system to other Photoshop users. Get a good idea of what others are using.

(Now I know some of you will say, what about dpr forums!! Well I know there is a larger photoshop specific site out there, I think. Please forgive me )
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