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Photoshop CS2 Computer

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December 3, 2005 3:34:57 AM

Hello,
I am a semi pro photographer, who has just made the jump to digital, and purchased Photoshop CS2. I tried the demo out on my pentium m 1.5ghz, with 512mb of ram. While it ran, and convinced me to buy CS2...it was VERY sluggish. So, recently I have been researching buildinig a new PC. I built an Athalon 1ghz T-Bird about 5yrs ago that still works, so i have some experience. However with all the new stuff out, Id like to get some opinions from people 'more in the know'.

A few facts that I have gathered.

1. PS CS2, will benefit from multi processors
2. You can never have enough ram for PS
3. High end 3d graphics cards will not add to PS performance
4. Id like to use dual monitors. One for the PS tools, and the other for the image im editing.

So with that preamble i have decided to go either dual core athalon, or 2 opteron singles, with the upgrade path to 2 opteron duals.

With that out of the way, i have no clue about dual monitors, and graphic card performance.

What should i look for in a dual monitor set up? Will i need 2 identical cards to make it work?
What measure should i look at to judge 2d performance of a graphics card?
What 3d card has the best 2d specs? (i will occasionally play an FPS game)

I have a VERY old AGP nVidia Geforce in my old machine. What would be interesting would be if a mobo had a pcie slot for a new tech 3d card for the main monitor, but also had an agp for me to use my old card for my tools. i doubt thats possible though.

anyway, now im rambling, feel free to editorialize at will, and chime in with any expereince you have with photoshop.

thanks in advance

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December 3, 2005 5:44:46 PM

Good idea on the dual core options. Let your budget decide which. The 2 dual socket, single core opterons will cost more than an X2, but there's that upgrade possibility...

Most mid-level graphics cards have 2 outputs to drive 2 monitors, so you'll only need 1 card as long as you get a dual output one. Say a GeForce 6600 for under $100. If you want a card that will play games today and still be economical, get a 6600GT - it's under 150. Of course, you can go up from there, but there's no point except for games.

2D performance is going to be good enough on any card you get.

Definitely get 2 gig of RAM for photoshop. If you think you need more, you can try 64 bit Windows so you can use all 4 gig but make sure there are 64 bit drivers for all your hardware first.

If you need firewire, even if the board doesn't have it, you can get a firewire card cheap.

Use the stock CPU fan, its fine for stock speeds.

Mike.
December 3, 2005 6:05:10 PM

Yes, PS:CS will like multi-cpus....personally i would go with a 3800+ X2 and save money. Yeah a dual DC opty setup would be nice....but it will also be UBERexpensive.

the people who say "you can never have too much RAM for PS" are idiots. The reason you need more RAM is because, as you know, a lot of the files and textures you have open at one time can easily exceed 1GB and 2GB.....unless you do some insane stuff and have 6-10 1GB files open and you are doing a blend to acess all of them at once you should be fine with 2GB....PS knows it uses alot of memory so its coded to be able to handle having a less then it wants. Hell i have used PS:CS on my ex's computer which is a 2.8Celly with 128MB of ram....it wasn't fast for certasin tasks....but it worked.

use a 6600 256MB...its cheaper then the 6600GT and comes with two portsfor your monitors.



about your upgrade path, you need to decide how much money you want to spend. If you can afford two dual core opterons ($500+ each) dual socket mobo, 4-8GB of RAM(4GB $500---8GB $1000) go for it....it would be a crazy fast PS:CS computer for $3000-$3500....
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December 4, 2005 1:56:54 AM

thanks for the replies, and info.

in my mind the dual core will be nice for keeping bridge, and ps open at the same time with reasonable response time for both. bridge can be rendering an entire directory of 11megapix raw files in the back ground of one directory, while i can be making raw adjustments on other files. that would rock.

at the same time though, im looking at the prices, and the cheapest x2 on newegg is $322. then i compare that to a socket 939-64 3200 venice for $166. from what ive read this is a VERY overclockable chip.

so tell me if this may make sense. i buy a 939 mobo, with the 3200 chip now. wait a year or a year and a half, and pick up a 939 X2 for a couple hundred bucks, and just swap the cpus.

so now i wonder if the 64 3200 Venice, with 2GB ram will run ps a LOT better than my pentium m 1.5ghz with 512ram laptop does, and will likely be a big enough improvement to get me thru a year of learning the complexities of ps? damn thats a long sentance.

with the extra dough i save, i could 'almost get' a pair of 36g raptors and set them to raid 0 for the PS scratch file.

here is a really dumb question. is it possible to run 2 individual video cards as a dual monitor set up?

the reason i ask, is that i have an old agp geforce 2 mx that im not using. are there mobos that would have both an agp, and a pci express so i could get the 6600 in a pci express?

thanks again for the comments.
December 4, 2005 3:31:00 AM

Here is the problem.....YOu can get a 3200+ and OC it....but it wont OC as high with 2GB kits...lol, so you wont hve SUPER DUPER speed you will only have SUPER speed. The 3800+ X2 will OC like a beast as well....

The dual core for PS will make difference
Oc'd 3200+ will do soemthing in 3min
OC'd 3800+ will do it in 45sec.

TH 3800+ will OC to higher speeds and is dual core....

You could get a skt 939 boad, rock a 3200+ while you are learning and then upgrade to a 3800+ X2 later....yup thats an option.



A 3200+, 2GB of ram would be AMAZINGLY faster then your laptop....but not as fast as the X2.......get a 8socket operton board and 8 dual cores....lol.....16cores? you could do anything in PS...lol at a cost of $25K
December 6, 2005 12:36:44 AM

With your video card decision, like someone else mentioned, there are cards out there that handle dual video, but your best bet is to get a DUAL HEAD card, those have a processor for each video out. One version of Windows has an issue with cards that aren't dual head, I just can't remember if it's XP or 2000. It won't set them up correctly. I have a radeon 9600, and it has dual head, and everything works great. You also need to look into multi-monitor software to manage the monitors. Radeon cards come with a program called Hydravision that used to really suck, so I looked elsewhere. I found a program called UltraMon that works really well, it even modifies your application shortcuts so that when you launch a program, it will turn on the second monitor, and automatically turn it off when you close it. My card was about $100 2 years ago, so you can still get a pretty good card on a medium/low budget.
December 9, 2005 12:18:43 AM

or i could hold off for the intel 8 core chips coming in a few years....with an 8 socket board (assuming such things exist) that would be a 64 core system. i wonder what kind of power supply i would need? perhaps i would also need a 10,000 btu window unit ac as part of my case just to keep the case from melting. of course i could always tie the case into my water heater as well..hahaha.
December 9, 2005 12:21:04 AM

mike,

i have been trying to find info on the dual head type cards you mention. but i have not been able to find out what performance gain you achieve with a dual head card vs two separate cards, vs a siingle head card with dual outputs...any suggested reading?

regarding ultramon, i did read up on that and it sounds way good. ill look into it.

thanks for the info!
December 9, 2005 12:21:17 AM

10k room air wouldn't touch it, maybe a 4 ton central.
December 9, 2005 12:33:24 AM

Quote:
or i could hold off for the intel 8 core chips coming in a few years....with an 8 socket board (assuming such things exist) that would be a 64 core system. i wonder what kind of power supply i would need? perhaps i would also need a 10,000 btu window unit ac as part of my case just to keep the case from melting. of course i could always tie the case into my water heater as well..hahaha.


i listed things that exist now.....why nto wait till we get a 64core chip at 10.5Ghz speeds?
December 9, 2005 12:34:47 AM

A half ton central would be alright...it would run all the time but you wouldbe fine.....a half ton room would keep that bitch COLD!!
December 9, 2005 12:35:47 AM

Quote:
mike,

i have been trying to find info on the dual head type cards you mention. but i have not been able to find out what performance gain you achieve with a dual head card vs two separate cards, vs a siingle head card with dual outputs...any suggested reading?

regarding ultramon, i did read up on that and it sounds way good. ill look into it.

thanks for the info!



if you get dual DVI out cards you have no performance lost for 2 monitrs doing 2d stuff..... and its cheaper.

Also ultra mon is CRAZY GOOD!! me love it. i am using it right now.
December 9, 2005 4:50:38 AM

Sorry, didn't see a reply. Didn't mean to leave you hanging. As for my Dual Head card and the performance, I believe it divides the video RAM between the heads, dedicating half the RAM to each monitor. I see this as a boost because there aren't any issues with one display taking too much memory at once and causing the other to slow down. The only thing I've never found out is if when I only have one monitor active, do I get the full RAM of the card... A good place to ask the graphics questions is the Adobe User Forums. USUALLY the people are nice, friendly and helpful. You only get the occasional cocky jerk, and you even get some industry professional who earn the big bucks doing these things.

Like I said, the single cards with two outs don't work right on one version of Windows, but I can't remember if it was 2k or XP, and as for running two cards, I have seen people with nothing but problems getting everything to work correctly.

Hope i was able to help...
December 9, 2005 11:20:38 AM

I have had no problems running dual mon's for past 2 years on XP
December 9, 2005 11:58:11 AM

Quote:
I have had no problems running dual mon's for past 2 years on XP


I second that

No problems running two monitors with windows XP for 2yrs+
!