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Thread: PC specs for photo processing

  1. #1
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    Default PC specs for photo processing

    I'm thinking of upgrading my PC coz it's taking too slow to process my raw files. Anyone has recommendations on what specs a PC used for processing RAW files should have?

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    ClubSNAP Idol Adam Goi's Avatar
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    Budget?

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    Wait, what RAW files?

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    Quote Originally Posted by espn
    Wait, what RAW files?
    budget... about $800 (without monitor)...
    raw files... from D70 lor... NEF.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nutcracker10
    budget... about $800 (without monitor)...
    raw files... from D70 lor... NEF.
    I got my current setup without sound card/video card/dvdrw drive for about $830.

    - AMD 64 3000+
    - Asus A8V-E Deluxe
    - 1GB DDR-400
    - 200GB HDD (PATA)
    - 350W PSU

    The speed is more than enough for processing D70 NEF and can handle D2X NEFs too

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    Quote Originally Posted by espn
    I got my current setup without sound card/video card/dvdrw drive for about $830.

    - AMD 64 3000+
    - Asus A8V-E Deluxe
    - 1GB DDR-400
    - 200GB HDD (PATA)
    - 350W PSU

    The speed is more than enough for processing D70 NEF and can handle D2X NEFs too
    does the video card specs matter? I'm thinking of getting the Ath64 3000+ and asus mb and 1G DDR RAM too... but if I throw in the video card it'll blow my budget

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nutcracker10
    does the video card specs matter? I'm thinking of getting the Ath64 3000+ and asus mb and 1G DDR RAM too... but if I throw in the video card it'll blow my budget
    yes it does.

    the funny thing abt building ur own PS machine is dat u're essentially building a top-of-the line gaming PC minus the sound card. so far, u're only concerned with the little beige box. the more demanding PS experts will recommend some top-of-the-line LCD/CRT monitors so dat u get the best in colour representation and reproduction on-screen.
    If Life worked on auto mode then manual mode for photography would have never existed. ― Deeksha Mittal

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    $800 is a bit on low side. Graphic Card, High Speed Card Reader, CRT are all important.

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    i think that the video card isnt going to be too important. almost all cards have no problems handling 2D graphics so you should be fine there. If you do want precision colour rendition then you might look into cards by Matrox. Otherwise, any card will do just fine.

    The things to spend money on are the processor, RAM and harddisk. preferrably at least two so you can separate the scratch disk from the boot disk.

  10. #10

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    Acceptable speed on 2.4GHz CPU with 1GB RAM and ATI 9600 Video card for D70 and D100 RAW files.

    The Video Card is not the speed stopper for Photo editing, it is the avaliable memory and CPU. Memory and CPU are more important, but watch out Photoshop CS can only access 2GB RAM (not sure about CS2), so you may get a 4GB RAM PC and set the Photoshop to use 50%. For CPU, doesn't matter intel or AMD, as long as it is above 2GHz should be okay, like ESPN's system- AMD 3000+ (1.8GHz-754 socket, 2GHz-939 sockets)or might be intel 2.8GHz or +

    I would say harddisk is not very important as long as enough for storage or might be a bit more is good.

    Seagate: most expensive because of the 5yrs warrenty, well-known in high end SCSI, aslo very "famous" of high failure rate in very low-end ATA harddisk in the OLD DAY, I did not buy the 3.5" for ages, but I still suffer with my brother's Seagate problem, and he sended it to me, but I could not help and all his photos lost . I recently bought a notebook 2.5" 80GB version because of ONLY ONE REASON "MADE IN Ang Mo Ko"

    Maxtor: no reanson not buying it if it is MADE IN SINGAPORE

    Western Digital: a bit hotter than Maxtor, but cheaper as well.

    Hitachi: I will not consider it personally...

    Others: forget about them

    Hope it helps a bit

  11. #11

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    Apart from all the suggestions given, I would like to add on something:

    1. Harddisk, in my opinion, is as crucial as the ram and others. If you are on a budget, go for IDE/SATA. If you can afford more, go for SCSI, it will really make a significant difference.

    2. Misery commented to add another harddisk for scratch disk alone. This will give a great boast.

    3. Give raid a thought and it can speed things up and/or backup your data on the fly.

    4. Get a good and reliable power supply.

    5. Calibrate your monitor.

  12. #12

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    P4 3Ghz, 1GB ram, lots of HDD space and a calibrated monitor

  13. #13

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    hmmm exactly waht i had in mind when getting a new com..

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    AMD64 overall has a better price/performance ratio compared to Intel's P4 IMHO. My Hitachi 7K250 160GB bloody quiet/fast and avoid Maxtor at all costs. And you defintely want to get a decent/reliable PSU, you don't want to spend $1000+ on a decent setup and risk the whole rig getting fried. I personally recommend Antec/Verudium PSUs. If you need help deciding on which parts to get you can try the dudes at http://forums.hardwarezone.com.

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    1 point to note about RAm on 32 bit memory addressing machine.... if your MB can support up to 4GB of ram, it means that your machine has a 32 bit memory addressing. Even though yout machine can address up to 4 Gb of ram, you will not be able to fully utilize the ram and your OS would only see 3.xxx GB of memory. The reason is cos of a design flaw which uses part of the adressing to store adresses of various stuff like PCI devices, i/o devices......etc..... In short.... dun buy 4GB of ram cos its a waste of money... go for 3GB ram if you really wants a lot of RAM...

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    I use to think graphic is not important. As the machine is for processing 2D picturse. Boy where I wrong. If you do as much as PS like me, you will want a good graphic card. The main thing here is loading time of the pictures. When a loading a big file or a lot of files up on the screen the more MB on your graphic card the less time you have for making coffee

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    eh... hmmmm actually i think harddisk is VERY important. If you intend to do serious work on PS, get at least 2 hdd.
    Use 1 for your operating system, 1 more for your Scratch disk. You WILL see and feel the difference.
    My advise:
    scratch disk: 40gb should be enough. this shouldn't be touched when using PS, cos PS will be using this hdd alot of times. If u can afford SCSI better.
    OS and data disk: suggest partition OS into 1 drive, data into others
    Hitachi is quite good actually, if you get the slower 8mb pata or sata drives. For faster drives (SCSI), Seagate is good. Avoid Maxtor.

    As for RAM wise... i would say 1GB is enough. *shrug* i guess you're gonna use Windows XP, not linux. WinXP will only effectly use about 800mb of ram. When it reaches around 700+ or 800+, then it'll start swapping out to harddisk. it's hard coded into Windows XP, no work around. That's why I think u need 1 for OS and 1 for PS.

    I suggest going for P4 rather than AMP, though I really really like AMD and will only buy AMD from now on. This is because frequency of P4 is higher. PS involves alot of raw calculations, and the higher frequency of P4 speeds up graphics manipulation. That's why Pixar the company that did alot of 3d animations (owned by apple head honcho) doesn't use Macs but thousands of Pentiums in their render farm. The 800FSB helps to speed up data transfer to and from ram. Me, I play games too. That's why I use AMD.

    If you do photo/creative designing, go for viewsonic monitors. They give the best colours and most of the pros use them. but note they're more expensive.

    Graphic cards wise, i think even a GF4 64mb/128mb should do the trick. *shrug* afterall you're using the CPU to calculate the stuff done to your image, and then use the graphics card to display. it's good enough a 2d/3d accelerator. Note: graphics cards now are 3D accelerators, don't do nuts for your 2D apps. your CPU does the work for most of ur 2D stuff.
    the video ram is not important => they are used to load textures for in GPU processing for games and displayed immediately rather than to travel from CPU to RAM to CPU to Graphics card. Normal display of 32bit colour at 1280X1024 takes up less than 6mb => 32bits per pixel * 1280 * 1024 / 8 (coz 8 bits make 1 byte) = 5.12MB of display memory.

    Power Supply get a reliable true power one. dun need to go for super branded ones. and get above 350W if you plan to have 2 or more hdd, 1/2 optical drives, and 1 (simple) graphics card and a 3ghz+ processor. that's enough. Note, P4s use (a lot) more power, generate (a hell lot) more heat.

    for ps time taken by computer is as such:
    60% of the time is used to load your photos, save them (use only HDD, RAM, FSB)
    30% of the time calculating your filters, curves, etc (processor, ram, fsb)
    5% of the time is spent to display your graphic (hdd, ram, fsb, and a bit of display card)
    and of course
    5% of the time loading undo from memory/hdd (ram, fsb, hdd)

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    hmmm of course, if you have $$ and the (lots of) time, can consider Raid0 and Raid1. Then, be prepared to shell out $$ for a 400W to 450W powersupply.

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    You basically need to have
    1. fast CPU
    2. fast & big capacity HDD
    3. LOTS of RAM
    the rest are up to you.

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