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Thread: Help Needed With Building PC for Editing

  1. #1
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    Talking Help Needed With Building PC for Editing

    hi tech experts,

    need some advice in building a PC(not used to mac lah )

    Needs/Uses
    1. Mainly for editing and graphic programs(Photoshop CS2). maybe simple video editing
    2. Basic microsoft office stuff(cos still schooling)
    3. Watch videos(mpeg movies etc)
    4. No need for excellent sound cos i dun game and i have a dedicated tv to watch my dvds etc
    5. budget abt $2k without the display. (planning to spend abt $1k on display)

    do help on the specific parts, thanks

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    Default Re: Help Needed With Building PC for Editing

    CPU :
    AMD or Pentium?

    MotherBoard :
    ?

    VideoCard :
    minimum of 128mb is required? is there a need for 256mb?

    Storage :
    I have 2x160gb Seagate 7200 already

    Soundcard :
    do i need one? or shd i use the main board's?

    RAM :
    minimum 1gb.
    considering 2gb though, cos CS2 seems to take up alot of ram

    DVD Writer :
    how stable is a light scribe writer?

    Display :
    its between ACD 20" and the DELL 20" widescreen
    or shd i get a 19" Samsung?

    pls feel free to add any comments k?
    thanks!

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    Default Re: Help Needed With Building PC for Editing

    anyone can advise/

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    Senior Member jOhO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help Needed With Building PC for Editing

    i'm no IT expert, but after upgrading to 2gb from 1gb ram, i'm smiling all the way, and i'm not even using CS2 yet.. still on CS. heard CS2 really power hungry and i dun need cs2 so i'm not upgrading becos of this.

    as for processor, get the best ur budget can, i'm using intel (p4 2.8). now should be 3.4 at least?

    i've heard graphics card doesn't matter with photo editing, but for video, yes it matters ALOT. for photo (static and "2D") the best bet is to throw everything into processor and ram.

    then u need to consider hdd space. for me i shoot for a living so that's gotta be a huge factor, each wedding i come back with 4-8 GB of RAW files even on an 4mp cam.... at present the best "dollar per gb" is 250gb hdd (IDE).

    and yes, putting 1k on ur display is VERY wise! i'm using a 21" dell p1110 (i think) which uses a trinitron tube. dunno if they still make trinitrons. actually i'll be stumped too if i had to get a new display. i really love the one i'm using now, it's coming 6 years old liow (bought it second hand when it was 4yo at $400).

    dvd writer i'm just using the "standard" sony one, i dunno how many different models there are, but it's only a max write speed of 4x, but i haven't had probs with any "coasters" made from this burner.

    as for m/b i lagi blur. i suppose for faster disc access u might wanna get a board that is RAID capable, should u wanna use those type of HDDs.. i think my mb is a RAID one, but i still stick to IDEs becos they are cheaper. and u mentioned u already have IDE hdds, but will u need/want to upgrade to using RAID? anyway, can anyone confirm RAID is faster? let's not talk about SCSI, i dun think u need it, too ex for the gain in speed.

    hope this helps, not much i dun think.

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    Default Re: Help Needed With Building PC for Editing

    thanks jon!

    so its true that cs2 is eats ur ram like mad. i m using a 2x512 now. was working fine with my cs but when i upgraded to cs2, my ram speed kinda "downgraded"

    hope guys who build any pcs recently can tell me abt the parts u guys used, so i can go read up on it, cos the last pc i built was in 2003, kinda lost touch liao.

    but will it be better to build an AMD system? heard AMDs are cooler and quieter than pentiums, though i must say that my pentium is not making a hell lot of noise lah

    hope to hear from u guys!

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    Senior Member jOhO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help Needed With Building PC for Editing

    actually.. i'm thinking of upgrading, or rather, get a pure work machine.. which will be TOTALLY firewalled from the net, only need to transfer files to and fro the network, to keep the work machine clean. basically it'll have the OS, PS, and maybe freehand and acdsee and minimal utilities and THAT'S it, and of course for storage, then this present computer i can have it hacked or watever i dun care..

    yeah i've heard that AMD nowadays run cooler too? but it used to be the other way around, AMD super hot, best to have 50 fans inside... dunno leh...

    prob with this is that, all the experts have totally differing views. how do us PC newbies know how to believe?

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    Default Re: Help Needed With Building PC for Editing

    any designers willing to share ur set up?

    or ur views on what an affordable set up shd be like?

    thanks

  8. #8

    Default Re: Help Needed With Building PC for Editing

    I think you need for CPU a minimum of P4 /640 chip something in the 3 gig speed range or a twin core if Pentium then at least the 830 not the 820 which has certain twin core function turned off. Dell, Ace and Fujitsu have twin core systems - also you could look at the AMD twin cores.Video of CS2 - I advise be conservative - for computer ram - min 2 gig, for video min 256mbHard disk - twin drives of 160/160 sata. or 160/250 if you are going to do video editing - some one help me out here the thumb of rule was 10gig for 10 minutes - which simply put mean video editing will need a seriously fast hard disk. I am not sure if the USB/v2 can cope with the hard disk access thruput.I suspect that the 2K for the system if you want to do video editing may be too low. My own 4 month old system was at the time a special package was already just under 2K and its non twin core.
    Quote Originally Posted by wainism
    hi tech experts,

    need some advice in building a PC(not used to mac lah )

    Needs/Uses
    1. Mainly for editing and graphic programs(Photoshop CS2). maybe simple video editing
    2. Basic microsoft office stuff(cos still schooling)
    3. Watch videos(mpeg movies etc)
    4. No need for excellent sound cos i dun game and i have a dedicated tv to watch my dvds etc
    5. budget abt $2k without the display. (planning to spend abt $1k on display)

    do help on the specific parts, thanks

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Help Needed With Building PC for Editing

    Quote Originally Posted by wainism
    CPU :
    AMD or Pentium?
    MotherBoard :?
    Can consider a P4 3.2ghz and Asus P5GL-MX ($513)
    or
    AMD Athlon 64 3200+ and Abit A8N Ultra ($539)
    Quote Originally Posted by wainism
    VideoCard :
    minimum of 128mb is required? is there a need for 256mb?
    Sapphire X700 Pro Hybrid 256mb DDR3 ($317)
    else cheaper one
    Powercolor Radeon X700 256MB DVI $229

    Quote Originally Posted by wainism
    Storage :
    I have 2x160gb Seagate 7200 already
    Sell off both PATA harddisk, get a SATA Seagate 300gb 5yrs warranty ($260)

    Quote Originally Posted by wainism
    Soundcard :
    do i need one? or shd i use the main board's?
    Both recommended already have onboard sound, good enough.

    Quote Originally Posted by wainism
    RAM :
    minimum 1gb.
    considering 2gb though, cos CS2 seems to take up alot of ram
    2GB Memory pretty cheap for DDR.
    GEIL DDR 400 CL2.5 (Kit 1GB x 2 pcs) = $395

    Quote Originally Posted by wainism
    DVD Writer :
    how stable is a light scribe writer?
    Stable, but you cannot buy cheapo disc for light scribe to 'print', have to buy
    light scribe 'capable' disc.

    Quote Originally Posted by wainism
    Display :
    its between ACD 20" and the DELL 20" widescreen
    or shd i get a 19" Samsung?
    If really want 24bit color LCD for photo editing, can go for Samsung, else if want big screen
    Dell 20" widescreen is pretty value for $ (but 20bit color I think).
    Last edited by flash77; 14th November 2005 at 10:24 AM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Help Needed With Building PC for Editing

    Quote Originally Posted by flash77
    Can consider a P4 3.2ghz and Asus P5GL-MX ($513)
    or
    AMD Athlon 64 3200+ and Abit A8N Ultra ($539)

    Sapphire X700 Pro Hybrid 256mb DDR3 ($317)
    else cheaper one
    Powercolor Radeon X700 256MB DVI $229


    Sell off both PATA harddisk, get a SATA Seagate 300gb 5yrs warranty ($260)


    Both recommended already have onboard sound, good enough.


    2GB Memory pretty cheap for DDR.
    GEIL DDR 400 CL2.5 (Kit 1GB x 2 pcs) = $395


    Stable, but you cannot buy cheapo disc for light scribe to 'print', have to buy
    light scribe 'capable' disc.


    If really want 24bit color LCD for photo editing, can go for Samsung, else if want big screen
    Dell 20" widescreen is pretty value for $ (but 20bit color I think).
    I'd skip the recommendation for a P4 3.2 frankly. It isn't adequate to run CS2 smoothly in my experience.

    CS2 is extremely resource hungry (who knows, CS3 might even be more demanding). You'd really want to use a dual core processor (or dual processors) and about 4 gigs of RAM. I'd suggest the AMD 3800 X2 and a suitable NForce board. If you can't afford 4 gigs of RAM upfront, install 2 gigs first and then add 2 more later.

    I'd also suggest a Matrox card for 2D if you're not into gaming. Yes you want at least 128mbs of video ram because that's what Adobe suggests for CS2.

    $2k without the monitor is quite doable.

    Don't be scungy with the PSU. Get a Tagan - there are better brands than this but it's awfully good value. Anything 430W and above should suffice if you don't game and don't have more than 3 drives.

    The best value 19" LCD for picture editing in my opinion is the Viewsonic VP series. I prefer this over the Samsungs. I prefer this over the DELL 20". Still won't beat a quality 19" CRT, but if you can't spare the space, you can't spare the space.

    BTW, I'd keep both your PATA drives (how much can you get for them anyway if you sell them) AND buy a fast SATA one. Install XP and applications on the one PATA drive and use the SATA for picture files you're working on. I'd then dedicate the other PATA drive for Camera Raw thumbnails. It's better to use another SATA for this but it should be adequate. Checkout http://www.storagereview.com for the latest on the latest harddrives. On the applications PATA drive where your CS2 is installed in, partition about 500mb for the CS2 scratch drive (more if you find it necessary). Adobe will tell you that you don't want your scratch disk to be on your primary partition but since the picture files would be on the other HD, it shouldn't matter.
    Last edited by kahheng; 14th November 2005 at 05:16 PM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Help Needed With Building PC for Editing

    my suggestion is very simple...maybe I can share what I'm using

    a 1.8GHz Centrino with 1.5GB ram, 4200rpm HDD and integrated Intel graphic card. And I'm running super fine with CS2.

    Yes...I'm running on a notebook. It doesn't really matter how BEST your hardware. But rather HOW you utilize them.

    CS2 is resource hungry. But you need to know what it uses more. For my understanding, CPU is the most important. You might want to get the highest, but dual core won't help that much. Dual CPU work better on 3D, but not much on CS2.

    RAM wise. 1.5GB is way enough. How I know? I have a ram freeing utility with me running in my system tray and it reports what is my current ram usage. I have my pagefile disabled, so no harddisk space will be used as ram. With my normal running without CS2, I have around 900+ MB free...when CS2 just started, I still have 900+ free. And after 20 photos edited, I left 500+. But strangely even I close the photos, the ram don't recover. So far I don't have any out of memory problem though.

    The only draw back here is the harddisk. Running on 4200 rpm my CS2 start up very slow. However, the desktop HDD are all at least 7200 now. Shouldn't have any problem with it.

    Graphic card doesn't help much on CS2. It merely use for colour reproduction. GPU is best for gaming and video editing (as codecs are using GPU to process instead of CPU). So with your simple video editing, any graphics card in the market with 128MB vram should be just fine. (I've mentioned...I'm just using intel integrated and still doing video processing).

    What flash77 has suggested is already way too good to be used for what you need. Happy configuring.

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    Default Re: Help Needed With Building PC for Editing

    thanks guys...

    is it possible to check if my hdisk is PATA or SATA? also, i read somewhere that installing CS2 in the same directory as the one that u keep your pics will make it run faster.

    also, anyone can explain to me how the scratch disc thing work on CS2? i understand it uses ur hdisk as virtual ram? so does that mean, the larger ur hdisk the better it is?

    i have 2x160gb because i use 1 of it primarily as storage. these r from my old comp. didnt want to use a single hdisk incase it crashes. but it seems most of u guys are suggesting one hdisk?

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    Default Re: Help Needed With Building PC for Editing

    Quote Originally Posted by wainism
    thanks jon!

    so its true that cs2 is eats ur ram like mad. i m using a 2x512 now. was working fine with my cs but when i upgraded to cs2, my ram speed kinda "downgraded"

    hope guys who build any pcs recently can tell me abt the parts u guys used, so i can go read up on it, cos the last pc i built was in 2003, kinda lost touch liao.

    but will it be better to build an AMD system? heard AMDs are cooler and quieter than pentiums, though i must say that my pentium is not making a hell lot of noise lah

    hope to hear from u guys!

    Right... built up a new PC the other time when it died on me right after I finished shooting an event... so here goes.

    AMD XP 3000+ (New)
    Asus A8V-E Deluxe Mainboard (Firewire for card reader, USB 2.0 6 ports for other devices) (New)
    1GB Dual Channel DDR (512 x 2) (New)
    200GB HDD (New)
    Plextor 708A DVD-RW
    GeForce4 MX440 64MB DDR VGA AGP
    Samsung 910T 19" LCD


    I can run NC 4.0 and CS2 easily with the setup, no issues on RAM, I edit NEF files easily also with the setup, tho' I think 1GB-2GB more RAM would be better.

    Why AMD? Cos I hate Intel.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Help Needed With Building PC for Editing

    Quote Originally Posted by tunster
    CS2 is resource hungry. But you need to know what it uses more. For my understanding, CPU is the most important. You might want to get the highest, but dual core won't help that much. Dual CPU work better on 3D, but not much on CS2.
    Oh really......... Not. Else Adobe wouldn't have written the application to make use of more than one processor if available. Even Premiere would put a duallie to good use.

    Certainly it would make an impact.

    Furthermore, if you really like to multitask (and most people would I'd imagine) - e.g., scan whilst you're editing, burn a disc whilst editing a picture at the same time, watch a movie whilst you batch process loads of pictures in the background, a double or quad cpu machine is the way to go. It will save heaps of time to have more than one processor do the work.

    If you want to run Bridge in the background and edit smoothly at the same time, two processors are necessary.

    Quote Originally Posted by tunster
    RAM wise. 1.5GB is way enough. How I know? I have a ram freeing utility with me running in my system tray and it reports what is my current ram usage. I have my pagefile disabled, so no harddisk space will be used as ram. With my normal running without CS2, I have around 900+ MB free...when CS2 just started, I still have 900+ free. And after 20 photos edited, I left 500+. But strangely even I close the photos, the ram don't recover. So far I don't have any out of memory problem though.
    That may well be true. It depends on how large your files are. If you're just doing simple editing, that could be adequate. If you're planning on editing very large files with loads of layers and you do not want to have to constantly purge, more than 2 gigs is necessary.

    Quote Originally Posted by tunster
    Graphic card doesn't help much on CS2. It merely use for colour reproduction. GPU is best for gaming and video editing (as codecs are using GPU to process instead of CPU). So with your simple video editing, any graphics card in the market with 128MB vram should be just fine. (I've mentioned...I'm just using intel integrated and still doing video processing).
    It's the quality of the graphics that's relevant.

    I suppose "way too good to be used for what you need" is a relative concept, but if there's 2K to spend, I suggest maxing it out and a duallie is the way to go IMO.
    Last edited by kahheng; 14th November 2005 at 04:16 PM.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Help Needed With Building PC for Editing

    Quote Originally Posted by wainism
    i read somewhere that installing CS2 in the same directory as the one that u keep your pics will make it run faster.
    That's not true. Keep your pics in the fastest drive, keep your Camera Raw previews/other image caches in another separate fast drive.

    Quote Originally Posted by wainism
    also, anyone can explain to me how the scratch disc thing work on CS2? i understand it uses ur hdisk as virtual ram? so does that mean, the larger ur hdisk the better it is?
    Better yet, hear it from the people who wrote the program:

    http://www.adobe.com/support/techdocs/320005.html

    Quote Originally Posted by wainism
    i have 2x160gb because i use 1 of it primarily as storage. these r from my old comp. didnt want to use a single hdisk incase it crashes. but it seems most of u guys are suggesting one hdisk?
    I'd use an external HD for this purpose. You should backup your things. Ideally you would want to implement a level of RAID that will automatically do a mirror of your current working files for you, and still have an external storage as archive or for further backups.
    Last edited by kahheng; 15th November 2005 at 01:13 AM.

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    Default Re: Help Needed With Building PC for Editing

    heheh...this is getting interesting. Let the mud slinging ...opps..I mean GAMES begin! tsk tsk tsk...

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    Default Re: Help Needed With Building PC for Editing

    Quote Originally Posted by sammy888
    heheh...this is getting interesting. Let the mud slinging ...opps..I mean GAMES begin! tsk tsk tsk...


    dun wanna start wars here. just wanna consolidate a list so that ppl can find views on the set up for an editing PC.

    but thanks to all who have replied. will go check out stuff u guys said and post again if i need help again.

    thank u!!!

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    Default Re: Help Needed With Building PC for Editing

    wainism, do keep us updated on what your final PC components would be. I'm also thinking of upgrading my (ancient) PC around end of year or early next year. So this thread would come in very useful too. My budget is less than 2k (excl. display.)

    So, upz for this thread!

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Help Needed With Building PC for Editing

    Quote Originally Posted by wainism


    dun wanna start wars here. just wanna consolidate a list so that ppl can find views on the set up for an editing PC.

    but thanks to all who have replied. will go check out stuff u guys said and post again if i need help again.

    thank u!!!
    Wainism,

    Sit down and think over what your needs "really" are. Don't go over board just "because" everyone say should buy this or that or should get the lastest or you will lost out due to technology being outdated so fast. The truth of the matter is even before you buy them, it is already outdated or it might be so new there is not enought software and product to support it. What rings true is what works for you.

    Just remember this much...how many Ad agencies or Design firm are using the lastest and best..how often do you think they are upgrading. If they all upgrade at the rate some of the stuff I have seen in numerous techno forums that I go to ( and here) ...you will be upgrading every other month! And this are design companies who really need power for crunchng out alot of production work everyday!...Not your typical amatuer hobby photographer who dabble in some editing when he feels the "mood". Many are award winning calibre designers who does some really incredibal design and touch up work and still using Photoshop 5,6 or 7 !!!!. They know their tool well...they are comfortable using them that what CS has...is not really a big deal. I myself am a full time designer and I use Photoshop 7 and CS. I use version 7 more often. Reqarding multitasking..that is still a big myth in the whole PC industry you barely can play that many computation intensive programs at one time without a hidcup doing in at least one of the application. And then again, why would you want to open that many at one time? Just because someone say you can does not mean you should! I have many a nightmare when I am working on Photoshop, Dreamweaver and cutting a CD at the same time. Open a plugin that demands heavy computation for preview and everything freezes for a second and then..I see the CDR light go blinky...I already know I got another free drink coaster. Alot of stuff here are overkill....yes it work but might not be neccesary...save what you can to get what you really need and save the rest for a small celebration this coming festive season....if there is any that is. Even the most basic PC setup might just tap you out...all $2k of it!

    People have been designing cutting edged design with photgraphic materials on Photoshop for years before all this Pentium 4, AMD opetron, DDR ram, 32bit, 64bit, dual core and quad stuff. Yes, they are great stuff but some actually required more advance stuff to work like 64bit Window XP professional or the next generation Longhorn( Window Vista ) to run. And with others..well..it will be a white elephant that's overkill if you don't make use of it much. It is your money. Easy for me or anyone to tell you to BUY BUY BUY. You got to look at it everyday. It's either something you will spend many a productive hours at it or it will just simply be an expensive media player for your mp3 and AVIs, homework and yes.....a glorified 20 inches picture viewer/album for photos that you have shots.

    Ask yourself, so far, how often do you edit your photos with what you have presently? Maybe you just started so you are all pumped up about photography and trying to get all the stuff to chase this hobby? How long have you been using digital SLRs and how badly are you shooting that it needs editing? How often you make big prints? How well are you at using the functions of Photoshop? Do you really use all the functions of CS? Do you know why others need so much memory for their photoshop? How elaborate are your design and editing skills that it needs so much ram? oh and yes....do you really need CS2? Well if it is a pirated version or you can get a student price version maybe it "might" be "worth" it. But remember you are basically building your PC around "CS2" it would seem. CS2 no doubt is memory hungry (bloatware actually in the last few years..there are more designer complaining about it) but CS2 can run with lower specs and you can use less powerful stuffs on your PC. More ram, less ram..again...people have been doing video editing long before PC were able to take even 1 gig of ram. Yes you can do it faster now..blah blah. Again..how often. If you are doing video then you might need firewire over USB because with some MBs..there are still problem with USB 2.0. ( also mixing old USB devices with newer one can cause problem with some MBs including better brand ones) Have you done video editing before or just thought you might as well throw that in since you are builing a new PC? We are talking more money here bro. $2k seem alot but as you start to buy parts for this function and that, it will not last if you just follow blindly. Ask youself some very frank important questions first, logically visualise them and then see what you really need.

    My best advice to you is this, before you buy the parts...better to list out your items here to see if everything you have will fit, are compatible and whether any parts you miss out. You want 64 bit hardware? or Dual or Quad....first find out if any of your present software support it? Yes CS2 will support it but alot of other Window programs don't! We have been hearing about 64 bit sh*t for years!!!! We hear the same about dual and quad BS too! Find out what will and what will take full advantage of them. If not don't waste your money on those cutting edge hi-tech boards and stuff. ANd how computer savvy are you when things go south? Also...new stuff are buggy and worst if you are not buying the better brands but cheaper copies. If you do..make sure those that adviced you strongly to buy, pay you back for it if you find yourself stuck with the white elephant. Take note and take names!!! I could offer you techno blabber but I rather give you an alternative thing to think about....before you start your road to builing your new PC.

    Damn..I wrote another long winded grandfather story...sorry...just turn 43. I think I am getting too naggy again....heheh...
    Last edited by sammy888; 14th November 2005 at 10:42 PM.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Help Needed With Building PC for Editing

    Quote Originally Posted by sammy888
    Reqarding multitasking..that is still a big myth in the whole PC industry you barely can play that many computation intensive programs at one time without a hidcup doing in at least one of the application. And then again, why would you want to open that many at one time? Just because someone say you can does not mean you should! I have many a nightmare when I am working on Photoshop, Dreamweaver and cutting a CD at the same time. Open a plugin that demands heavy computation for preview and everything freezes for a second and then..I see the CDR light go blinky...I already know I got another free drink coaster.
    Well perhaps you're saying this because you are not running at least a duallie to multitask....... multitasking with a single processor is always more hazardous. That or you might be a little optimistic with the capabilities of your machine, because you've been misled.....

    One may HAVE to open Bridge and CS2 at the same time out of necessity - with Bridge running in the background, creating your thumbnails and ACR previews, and you using CS2 to do some editing at the same time.

    BTW, he *IS* asking for suggestions on how he can max out his two grand to get a mean PC to run CS2 smoothly, and not because we simply want to tell him to buy the latest and greatest.

    Hell, the myriad suggestions here *don't even come close* to suggesting the latest and greatest. That would be well over two grand............ The suggestions have been focused on getting him maximum value for the money he is willing to spend.
    Last edited by kahheng; 14th November 2005 at 10:27 PM.

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