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Thread: Desktop for Photoshop

  1. #1

    Default Desktop for Photoshop

    shopping for a new desktop... only really looked at the apple imac and dells.

    have done some reading and asking around.

    pretty much narrowed down to the dell xps 420 for $2.3k with the following specs
    Processor: 2.4GHz Core 2 Quad Q6600
    Memory: 4GB DDR2 800MHz
    Storage: 750GB
    Monitor: 22"
    Graphics: ATI 2600 (256MB)

    i've used photoshop on a few desktops (including imac - dun get me wrong, not taking a dig at apple users..) and find that most of them are quite laggy. so will this do for photoshop? is it more enough? anything else (if possible) i can scrimp on? and i'm not a gamer, so photoshop/bridge/camera raw will probably be the most resource-extensive programs i will run.

    thanks!
    Last edited by noelle; 15th May 2008 at 11:47 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Desktop for Photoshop

    The specs you listed are by far enough. I run my PhotoShop CS3 and Lightroom 1.4 post processing on a 1.83GHz Core Duo 2 Thinkpad with just 1GB of memory and 128MB of on-board graphics and it runs fast and well with no lag, even when processing large numbers of large-format RAW files.

    What is really important is HOW you set your computer up. Make sure your scratch disc/SWAP file is on a seperate drive from your OS and re-format your computer after you buy it so you can install everything from scratch with all the latest driver versions. This is especially important for your chipset and graphics card. A new computer invariably comes with a whole load of garbage pre-installed by the company that can make even a fantastic machine run like a mule. Hope this helps!
    Cameras: Rollei 35, Rolleiflex-T, FinePix F700, Nikon D60, D300
    Pics: Churchwolf's Album.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Desktop for Photoshop

    If u not aiming at PC gaming, at $2.3K, u may just go for the Dell Workstation series, like the Dell Precision T3400.

    http://www1.ap.dell.com/content/prod...n&s=bsd&~ck=mn

    For 2D/3D design and processing, workstations will do the best and with a bigger potential of upgrading!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Desktop for Photoshop

    Quote Originally Posted by Churchwolf View Post
    The specs you listed are by far enough. I run my PhotoShop CS3 and Lightroom 1.4 post processing on a 1.83GHz Core Duo 2 Thinkpad with just 1GB of memory and 128MB of on-board graphics and it runs fast and well with no lag, even when processing large numbers of large-format RAW files.

    What is really important is HOW you set your computer up. Make sure your scratch disc/SWAP file is on a seperate drive from your OS and re-format your computer after you buy it so you can install everything from scratch with all the latest driver versions. This is especially important for your chipset and graphics card. A new computer invariably comes with a whole load of garbage pre-installed by the company that can make even a fantastic machine run like a mule. Hope this helps!
    thanks, that helped! i'm pretty computer illiterate so in lay terms, could you explain how i would go about doing what i've bolded? i kind of know how reformat works, you just stick in a disk... but what is scratch disc/SWAP file? and agreed, i used to have a vaio and there were tons of sony crap in my terribly laggy 1.2GHz 1GB (RAM) laptop which at times struggled with Digital Photo Professional, needless to say Photoshop.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Desktop for Photoshop

    Quote Originally Posted by emerald View Post
    If u not aiming at PC gaming, at $2.3K, u may just go for the Dell Workstation series, like the Dell Precision T3400.

    http://www1.ap.dell.com/content/prod...n&s=bsd&~ck=mn

    For 2D/3D design and processing, workstations will do the best and with a bigger potential of upgrading!
    ah yes, i see it starts at sg$2.1k. unfortunately, i'm living overseas... so the T3400 will set me back $2.8k in local currency.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Desktop for Photoshop

    Would this be a better deal for $2.1k?

    Inspiron 530
    Processor: 2.4GHz Core 2 Quad Q6600
    Memory: 3GB (2x1GB/2x512MB) DDR2 667MHz
    Storage: 500GB
    Monitor: 24"
    Graphics: GeForce 8600GT (256MB)
    Warranty:
    Dell Care Premium
    Plan includes 3yrs Night & Weekend Warranty, Plus Phone Support, 3yrs Accident Cover & 1yr Helpdesk
    3 Years Complete Cover Accidental Damage Protection
    3 Yrs Value Night & Weekend Onsite Service (M-F:0800-2100, Sat-Sun:0900-1700)
    3 Years Plus Phone Support: Mon-Fri 0800-2000, Sat 1000-1600 EST
    1 Year - HelpDesk (Software, Virus, Spyware & Peripherals)

    and also with a different and i suppose, lower spec mouse and keyboard than the package in my 1st post. and warranty for 1st package in 1st post will be for 2 years only.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Desktop for Photoshop

    Quote Originally Posted by noelle View Post
    thanks, that helped! i'm pretty computer illiterate so in lay terms, could you explain how i would go about doing what i've bolded? i kind of know how reformat works, you just stick in a disk... but what is scratch disc/SWAP file? and agreed, i used to have a vaio and there were tons of sony crap in my terribly laggy 1.2GHz 1GB (RAM) laptop which at times struggled with Digital Photo Professional, needless to say Photoshop.
    No worries

    Ok, lets start with the Windows virtual memory (it's also called the "Paging File").

    1. Right click on "My computer" and select "Properties"
    2. Select the "Advanced" tab and select the "Settings" button under "Performance"
    3. Select the "Advanced" tab
    4. Under "Virtual Memory" select the "Change" button
    5. On one of your other drives (best if it is a partition on the same drive) select the drive letter up the top and then make sure the "Custom Size" radio button is selected. In here insert a file size of 1524MB for "initial size" (3MB more than the recommended minimum for XP) and 3048MB for "Maximum size" (you can always increase this later if you have loads of space.
    6. Select the "set button"
    7. You can remove the paging file now from C: and it will stop clogging up your OS drive.
    8. Select the "Set" button again and then click "OK" and close everything.
    9. Now you need to restart the computer again.

    What I was saying before about doing a clean install. If you do this, you will be best off keeping your actual system partition as small as possible. I usually install XP and only the essential programs on a 15GB C: partition and keep everything else in a separate DATA drive. Keeping your OS partition small and sleek will make your computer significantly faster. Unfortunately, most factory set computers come with the OS installed on one gigantic partition with a small backup partition for recovery.

    Anyway, now for the PhotoShop Scratch Disc.

    1. Open PhotoShop (for the purposes of this explanation I am referring to PhotoShop CS3).
    2. Select the "Edit" menu and go down to "Preferences" and select "Performance".
    3. Here you should change which drive uses the "Scratch Disk". Make sure you un-check C: and select another drive that doesn't contain your operating system. You can also allocate how much space (in MB) you want to allow PhotoShop to use.
    4. Click "OK" to apply the changes.
    5. Restart PhotoShop.

    That's it! These changes, along with the removal of all the "company applications" from the PC will make the computer significantly faster, particularly if you do a clean install of XP. Hope this helps you!
    Cameras: Rollei 35, Rolleiflex-T, FinePix F700, Nikon D60, D300
    Pics: Churchwolf's Album.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Desktop for Photoshop

    Quote Originally Posted by Churchwolf View Post
    No worries

    Ok, lets start with the Windows virtual memory (it's also called the "Paging File").

    1. Right click on "My computer" and select "Properties"
    2. Select the "Advanced" tab and select the "Settings" button under "Performance"
    3. Select the "Advanced" tab
    4. Under "Virtual Memory" select the "Change" button
    5. On one of your other drives (best if it is a partition on the same drive) select the drive letter up the top and then make sure the "Custom Size" radio button is selected. In here insert a file size of 1524MB for "initial size" (3MB more than the recommended minimum for XP) and 3048MB for "Maximum size" (you can always increase this later if you have loads of space.
    6. Select the "set button"
    7. You can remove the paging file now from C: and it will stop clogging up your OS drive.
    8. Select the "Set" button again and then click "OK" and close everything.
    9. Now you need to restart the computer again.

    What I was saying before about doing a clean install. If you do this, you will be best off keeping your actual system partition as small as possible. I usually install XP and only the essential programs on a 15GB C: partition and keep everything else in a separate DATA drive. Keeping your OS partition small and sleek will make your computer significantly faster. Unfortunately, most factory set computers come with the OS installed on one gigantic partition with a small backup partition for recovery.

    Anyway, now for the PhotoShop Scratch Disc.

    1. Open PhotoShop (for the purposes of this explanation I am referring to PhotoShop CS3).
    2. Select the "Edit" menu and go down to "Preferences" and select "Performance".
    3. Here you should change which drive uses the "Scratch Disk". Make sure you un-check C: and select another drive that doesn't contain your operating system. You can also allocate how much space (in MB) you want to allow PhotoShop to use.
    4. Click "OK" to apply the changes.
    5. Restart PhotoShop.

    That's it! These changes, along with the removal of all the "company applications" from the PC will make the computer significantly faster, particularly if you do a clean install of XP. Hope this helps you!
    wow thanks for the detailed explanation.

    ah, i think i kind of understand what you mean now. when i used to have my vaio, everything on default went to the C: drive and i kept getting that low disk space warning. and then i discovered that there was another drive that was not utilised and transferred my files over.

    for point (5), any idea what figure for initial size to enter since i will be using Vista not XP?
    Last edited by noelle; 15th May 2008 at 04:20 PM.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Desktop for Photoshop

    Quote Originally Posted by Churchwolf View Post
    No worries

    Ok, lets start with the Windows virtual memory (it's also called the "Paging File").

    1. Right click on "My computer" and select "Properties"
    2. Select the "Advanced" tab and select the "Settings" button under "Performance"
    3. Select the "Advanced" tab
    4. Under "Virtual Memory" select the "Change" button
    5. On one of your other drives (best if it is a partition on the same drive) select the drive letter up the top and then make sure the "Custom Size" radio button is selected. In here insert a file size of 1524MB for "initial size" (3MB more than the recommended minimum for XP) and 3048MB for "Maximum size" (you can always increase this later if you have loads of space.
    6. Select the "set button"
    7. You can remove the paging file now from C: and it will stop clogging up your OS drive.
    8. Select the "Set" button again and then click "OK" and close everything.
    9. Now you need to restart the computer again.

    What I was saying before about doing a clean install. If you do this, you will be best off keeping your actual system partition as small as possible. I usually install XP and only the essential programs on a 15GB C: partition and keep everything else in a separate DATA drive. Keeping your OS partition small and sleek will make your computer significantly faster. Unfortunately, most factory set computers come with the OS installed on one gigantic partition with a small backup partition for recovery.

    Anyway, now for the PhotoShop Scratch Disc.

    1. Open PhotoShop (for the purposes of this explanation I am referring to PhotoShop CS3).
    2. Select the "Edit" menu and go down to "Preferences" and select "Performance".
    3. Here you should change which drive uses the "Scratch Disk". Make sure you un-check C: and select another drive that doesn't contain your operating system. You can also allocate how much space (in MB) you want to allow PhotoShop to use.
    4. Click "OK" to apply the changes.
    5. Restart PhotoShop.

    That's it! These changes, along with the removal of all the "company applications" from the PC will make the computer significantly faster, particularly if you do a clean install of XP. Hope this helps you!
    i don't quite get why keeping the OS partition 'small and sleek' is going to make the computer run more efficiently.

    even if the OS partition is on a 200GB partition out of a 250GB HD, it will run just as efficient as a 80GB partition.

    To ensure that the system does not 'become' sluggish, the onset is that the user practice good housekeeping by not installing all kind of funny application and start building up the registry database. A huge registry database with a lot of redundant entries WILL make the computer performance sluggish.

    even if a computer system has one huge partition, if the user practice good housekeeping, the performance of the system will not be affected very much.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Desktop for Photoshop

    Quote Originally Posted by noelle View Post
    wow thanks for the detailed explanation.

    ah, i think i kind of understand what you mean now. when i used to have my vaio, everything on default went to the C: drive and i kept getting that low disk space warning. and then i discovered that there was another drive that was not utilised and transferred my files over.

    for point (5), any idea what figure for initial size to enter since i will be using Vista not XP?
    The system will give you the recommended minimum for each drive when you select it.
    Glad I could help!
    Cameras: Rollei 35, Rolleiflex-T, FinePix F700, Nikon D60, D300
    Pics: Churchwolf's Album.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Desktop for Photoshop

    apple! lol

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Desktop for Photoshop

    Quote Originally Posted by AsPiRiN92 View Post
    apple! lol
    Yes, not bad, but certainly not his cheapest option. Build/get a PC built for you from purchased components and you easily save hundreds over a Mac.
    Cameras: Rollei 35, Rolleiflex-T, FinePix F700, Nikon D60, D300
    Pics: Churchwolf's Album.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Desktop for Photoshop

    Quote Originally Posted by Churchwolf View Post
    The system will give you the recommended minimum for each drive when you select it.
    Glad I could help!
    in order to create the scratch disk, i would need to have 2 hard drives on my pc right?

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Desktop for Photoshop

    Quote Originally Posted by noelle View Post
    in order to create the scratch disk, i would need to have 2 hard drives on my pc right?
    Not necessarily.. i think Churchwolf's explanation was more geared towards partitioning a single hard drive (i.e. splitting a 40GB HDD into a 15GB C: drive and a 25GB E: drive), and then using the larger E: drive as the scratch disk.

    Churchwolf >>> pls correct me if i'm wrong and thanks for the effort in offering the detailed explanation above!

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Desktop for Photoshop

    Quote Originally Posted by cheezycool View Post
    Not necessarily.. i think Churchwolf's explanation was more geared towards partitioning a single hard drive (i.e. splitting a 40GB HDD into a 15GB C: drive and a 25GB E: drive), and then using the larger E: drive as the scratch disk.

    Churchwolf >>> pls correct me if i'm wrong and thanks for the effort in offering the detailed explanation above!
    In terms of performance it doesn't matter if you split a single drive into 3 partitions or if you dumb everything on drive C. For better performance you should keep a separate physical (not partition!) for all scratch and swap activities. Otherwise you will slow down the processing since read/write of data will go to the same disk as all read/write to swap / scratch files.
    So instead of getting a completely oversized graphics card for PCI-E you better keep it at low level and get a second hard disk. (For picture processing any AGP card or even the older PCI card with 32MB RAM would do the trick. Sad you can't get them anymore or the newer main boards don't have the slots.) Most of the new hard disks are SATA now which gives a very fast access.
    For the swap file in Windows (Paging file) I know about the recommendation to set the value fixed, e.g. Minimum 2048, maximum 2048. A good recommendation for size is about 2* the amount of RAM.
    For a desktop I also suggest thinking about topics like:
    - Good monitor (needs to be calibrated!)
    - Redundant hard disks (to avoid data loss when the HDD crashes, some new boards offer already RAID1 on SATA).
    - Backup of data
    - Silence (most standard PCs make a hell of noise)
    And of course as Churchwolf mentioned: select your components wisely and you can safe a lot of money or you get a PC for the same money that fits your needs much better. Most pre-assembled PCs are oversized for normal work.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Desktop for Photoshop

    thanks! so better to have 2 hard drives. i'm planning to either get 320GB SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive with Native Command Queuing for the hard drive and then the additional hard drive 160gb instead of buying just 500gb for 1 hard drive? would that be better?

  17. #17
    Member Parka's Avatar
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    Default Re: Desktop for Photoshop

    Get 2 harddisk.

    Harddisk A format into 2 partitions. One for OS and the other for data.
    If the OS gets corrupted, it can be reformatted easily without losing any data.

    Harddisk B should be set as a scratch disk for Photoshop. (There's no use setting scratch disk on partition 2 of Harddisk A)

    Make sure the monitor is able to produce the gamut of colours you require. You should do research on the monitor included.
    Last edited by Parka; 21st May 2008 at 09:00 PM.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Desktop for Photoshop

    A Mac would do fine. I do fine with a macbook g2.4 with 4gb of ram. It ran rather fine! A imac would ok decent enough to do, but i can get annoying with you cant control the mouse and stuff.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Desktop for Photoshop

    Quote Originally Posted by HelloSeattle View Post
    A Mac would do fine. I do fine with a macbook g2.4 with 4gb of ram. It ran rather fine! A imac would ok decent enough to do, but i can get annoying with you cant control the mouse and stuff.
    I'm planning to get a imac (either the 20 inch or 24 inch) for my photoshop. Pardon me, what's the issues with the mouse control and stuff? Thanks in advance.

    I'm using a macbook now and its screen is too small for me.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Desktop for Photoshop

    thanks parka!


    anyone has any idea whether i can add more gb to my hard drive (dell desktop) in future? not sure whether 480gb combined total of 2 hard drives is enough.

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