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Need New System


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#1
Kathyf

Kathyf

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I am in need of a new computer and would love some advice on what is best for me to get for what I use it for. I do ALOT of photo editing as well as digital scrapbooking so DVD/CD burner rewritable is probably a must, I use Adobe Photoshop CS alot and am finding it goes pretty slow with what I currently have, would love to start working with video files and movies. I do alot of LARGE database work also with mail merging documents. Those are the two biggies I think, other uses are normal word processing, spreadsheet files, email, etc. Any suggestions as to Processor needed, Ram quanity, video and graphic cards, and backup options... I think I would like to stay with Windows XP and not go to Vista yet, any suggestions on that? Any and all comments are welcome so I can put something together to get a price quote from my IT guys.
THANKS in advice for your help.
KathyF
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#2
Pi rules

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Processor: I would recommend Intel over AMD these days with the Core 2 Duo, although the Athlon 64 X2s aren't bad. This is the main decision, IMO, in building a computer. You might not need a dual core CPU now, but I'd recommend it just to help your computer stay somewhat recent and up-to-date in the future. You are in the US, so you can purchase components right from Newegg.com. You can look at a few Intel Core 2 Duo CPUs here arranged from cheapest to most expensive. The Core 2 Duo is currently the best performance CPU in the mainstream market. Core 2 Extremes are better, but are overkill for what you will be doing. For video work, I would strongly recommend a Core 2 Duo if it is in your budget.
Here are Newegg's AMD Athlon 64 X2s.
You can compare CPUs here.
One thing you didn't mention is a budget. If you cannot afford the somewhat expensive dual cores, there are cheaper options that will do pretty well, such as AMD's Athlon 64 CPUs.

RAM Quantity - for Photoshop CS I would recommend a minimum of 1 GB and would recommend at least 2 GB if you can afford it. The type and speed will depend on the motherboard.

Graphics - you probably don't need the latest graphics card, but I would recommend getting one with 256 MB or more of RAM onboard. What type of monitor are you using? Some cards today only have DVI out, although there are adapters. For the interface, you will almost definitely want to go with PCI Express 16 since that is the most recent. The motherboards for the modern CPUs should have at least one or two buses/slots. This might be hard to pick an exact one until you know a few more components and have a price range. But, you can see Newegg's cards here and another useful comparison here of models.

Hard drive and Backup options - I know from experience that photo and video editing take a lot of storage, so I would recommend at least 320 GB of storage if it is in your price range. You'll probably have a better estimate of what you will need based on what you currently have. You may want to consider an external hard drive for nightly backups. There are now cheaper network attached storage (NAS) devices that backup over your network and can backup multiple PCs, although they are still expensive.

Motherboard - this really depends on the processor you pick and the budget.

Edited by Pi rules, 14 June 2007 - 03:01 PM.

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#3
Kathyf

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Thanks for the info.. I am looking at a budget of $500 - $750.. and that is just the box... I currently have a good monitor, keyboard, mouse and speakers... I would love about 3-4 USB ports for camera, printer and satelitte modem... I would love the dual core and have been looking at them. You pretty much confirmed what I was thinking on the ram and storage space. Think I can get what I need in my budget range?
Thanks
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#4
Titan8990

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I think you can hit right around $750 including a video card. Shipping is usually around $40 on a full set up for me.

It is also important that you get a quality PSU. You should be looking at about 500-550w PSU. Also the allendale core CPUs (e4300, e4400) will probably be best for your budget.
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#5
Pi rules

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If you figure (all very rough estimates) < $180 for a decent CPU, ~$150 for a motherboard, somewhere around $120 for 2 GB RAM, $70 for a case, plus a psu (see edit note), plus about $100 for a hard drive that leaves you with maybe about $100 for graphics. You should be able to get in budget with a decent system that is much more than enough for what you are planning.

Lol, forgot to add power supply

Edited by Pi rules, 14 June 2007 - 03:02 PM.

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#6
Titan8990

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Also I believe that we both forgot to factor in a copy of Windows. You will be looking at $110 for an OEM copy of Windows Vista Home Premium.

Edit: I just had a look at RAM prices and they were surprisingly cheap. They had quality 2gb sets for $70: http://www.newegg.co...N82E16820145015.

Edited by Titan8990, 14 June 2007 - 03:17 PM.

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#7
Pi rules

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That too, sorry.
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#8
Kathyf

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Any choice on brand for Hard Drive... Seagate or Western?

Motherboard - Intel?

Good name for memory

and what name for power supply?

Intel Core 2 duo 36600 2.4 ghz, LGA 775 Processor- 1066 MHz FSB, 65nm conroe, 4m shared L2cache... is that good?

You guys are great.. I appreciate all the input...

Kathy
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#9
Pi rules

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That CPU is great, but it might be expensive.

Hard drive - I've had good hard drives from both, so I would recommend either. Just look around for specials and see if one is on sale or something.

Motherboard - Intel is good, Gigabyte (the kind I have now), Asus, etc. There are plenty of good manufacturer's out there, my personal favorite is Gigabyte, but that's just me.

Memory - Crucial, Kingston, Corsair are the 3 I've had experience with and are known for being high quality.

Power Supply - Antec is the best, but they cost the most. I have a Thermaltake that I have not had problems with.

Keep in mind that Newegg.com has reviews for each one, and I would use that over maybe even manufacturer, or at least to pick between a few choices. I wouldn't get anything under 4 stars, and try to get 5 star items if possible and within my budget.
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#10
Kathyf

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what do you suggest on the DVD/CD burner? What is the double layer, multi format type I am seeing?
And any choice on video cards?

The IT guys at my office are going to build this for me, I just want to make sure I have them get what will be good for me in my budget range.
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#11
Pi rules

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The double layer you see allows for more data - about 8.5 GBs - to fit on a DVD instead of the usual 4.7 GB that single-layer DVDs allow.
You may also see Lightscribe, which allows you to burn titles and designs onto the label side of a CD or DVD.
Multi-type format I think just refers to the fact that the burner can burn many different types of CDs and DVDs.

Video cards - there are a ton to choose from. Again, I'd recommend at least 256 MB of memory, and it should be GDDR2 or preferably GDDR3 for best performance.
This one looks decent, but might be too expensive. I would wait until you narrow down the other choices first since you might not need a graphics card with these specs. Are you going to be gaming much on this PC?
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