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Building a computer for Graphic Design

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May 11, 2006 6:08:23 PM

Hi,
I'm re-building my home computer to begin telecommuting for my job as a graphic artist. As this is my home computer, I have to pay for these upgrades myself. I've done some research, and I think the following set-up will allow me to do my job with the ability to upgrade the hardware if things work out for this venture.

Processor: AMD Athlon 64 3700+ (San Diego) Socket 939 $240
Motherboard: Biostar TForce 6100-939 GeForce 6100 Athlon 64 $75
Memory: Kingston KVR400X64C3AK2/1G 1 GB Kit DDR400 $87
Case: Coolermaster RC-534-SK2 Centurion 534 $90

I'd get all of this through www.zipzoomfly.com. I like the idea of buying it all from the same vendor, and this seems to be a reputable company with good prices. The Motherboard comes with an onboard video card that I'll use until I get an upgrade later. I'm not doing 3D rendering yet - just working with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. This allows me to be flexible, and have a good system, while saving a bit of money in case this isn't what I end up doing. I've been meaning to rebuild my system for a while, and this will do it for me just short of $500.

My key worry now is compatibility. I've used Kingston's memory chooser to find the RAM based on my motherboard, so I'm not so worried about the RAM matching the motherboard. Am I reading the motherboard information correctly when I say it seems to be the right one for my processor? Are there any compatibility issues I should be worried about with the case and power supply?

This is my first time to build something from scratch, but I've got some hardware gurus to help me put it all together, so I'm not worried about the actual process.

So, am I compatible? Or do I need to revamp anything?

http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product...
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product...
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product...
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product...
May 11, 2006 6:37:29 PM

You will need an OS of some kind, XP.

I would bump the ram to 2 gig. Working with Adobe they like lots of ram.

Do you have a HD you are re-using.

As for the MB, never have used that brand. It looks like rain is for the IDE only.

I have used onboard graphic cards for Office builds, no problem. Doing graphic design, most users I know doing that have dual monitors.
May 11, 2006 6:47:53 PM

I'm re-building my home computer. So, I've got 2 HDs with Microsoft XP Pro on one (and the other one's empty), as well as Illustrator and Photoshop (provided by the office). I've also got a nice monitor, keyboard, mouse, sound card, etc.

When I ran the Performance monitor whilst running Illustrator and Photoshop on my work computer, the CPU seems to take the brunt of the work load. Which is why I decided to start with 1 Gig or RAM, which I can upgrade at a later date if I need to. I shan't be running dual monitors or much fancy stuff.

What I'm worried about is compatibility - I want to be sure that these components will play together nicely before I purchase them.
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May 11, 2006 6:58:59 PM

It might be worthwhile to consider a dualcore. The X2 3800+ is only about

$60 more, but i think you'll be glad you went dual core. :wink:

Compatability wise things look ok, but Kingston RAM isn't the greatest.

http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product...

For value RAM, this is very good stuff, and similarly priced. Anandtech

has a good value RAM comparison, and they were pleasantly suprised with

this RAM.

http://www.anandtech.com/memory/showdoc.aspx?i=2392&p=7
May 11, 2006 7:04:36 PM

The Biostar will work, but if you would like a mobo that has integrated DVI as well check out the MSI K8NGM2-FID nForce 430/GeForce 6150 for only a few dollars more, is excellent if you have an LCD to plug into. Also has firewire as another bonus.
May 11, 2006 7:05:12 PM

MS XP will complain greatly. Do a clean install. with hardware being different it will like it. It will require a call to MS because of the differnet hardware. Just tell them the MB failed. If it sees the same drives, they should allow it.

As far as things working together, I see no problem, execpt with the XP.
May 11, 2006 7:17:01 PM

I understand the desire to start small and affordable, but you have designed in three bottlenecks for graphics work: 1mb memory, on board graphics, and single core cpu.

1mb memory is the easiest to defend because you can easily and inexpensively add to it later on.

I would definitely recommend a dual core cpu. Especially if you plan on rendering in the future. Even in the here and now, you will find that you can continue working while photoshop is processing it's layers.

I question your plan to use the onboard video. It works fine for office memos and email, but most graphics artists will put most of their money in the video card and display device. If you are going to spend a significant amount of time doing graphics, you will want it to provide an acceptable resolution for the work you are doing at a high enough refresh rate to prevent eye strain and headaches.

So to answer your question about compatibility, I guess I'm questioning your choice of hardware and whether it's really compatible with your intended usage.
May 11, 2006 7:17:35 PM

I considered the Dual Core....and you're right, its only $60 more. I should be able to squeeze that out of my budget.


As for the alternate motherboard - the problem is, I would like the one with the onboard video card. It saves me money, as I don't have to buy a video card just yet.
May 11, 2006 7:21:47 PM

Quote:
MS XP will complain greatly. Do a clean install. with hardware being different it will like it. It will require a call to MS because of the differnet hardware. Just tell them the MB failed. If it sees the same drives, they should allow it.

As far as things working together, I see no problem, execpt with the XP.


Just an observation about MS XP authentication. I recently used an older XP diskette to do a new build. The machine that had previously used that copy of XP had not been used in about a year. I had no problem with authentication, and there was absolutely no common hardware. I was fully prepared to talk to someone in India (I had to do that when I did a fresh install on a laptop), but it never happened.
May 11, 2006 7:24:39 PM

My current graphics work is for a screenprinting shop, which has no detail work at all. I don't need the higher performance graphics until an as of yet undetermined date almost certainly at least a year in the future - when I'll buy a better one for less money. Hence the onboard graphics and the 1GB of RAM.


So, if I remember correctly, switching to the X2 3800+ dual core shouldn't be an issue with my motherboard. I'll do that.
May 11, 2006 7:30:47 PM

ivoryjohn - That's good to know. I was starting to think about how to save all the gigs of files I've been transferring to my computer in anticipation of the move to telecommuting. Maybe I won't have to after all. I think I'll come prepared, though - and load those files onto my laptop and borrow the installation discs - just in case.
May 11, 2006 7:44:50 PM

Quote:
I question your plan to use the onboard video.


The GeForce Go and Radeon Xpress are not bad performers and look pretty great. Check out the MSI board I linked to above it has DVI integrated for LCD and HDTV interface.

I used a couple already in HPTC/media player/PVR builds. Great quality for integrated device and it negates the need for a video card altogether, less power / less heat is priceless for a quiet, cool pc.
May 11, 2006 7:51:24 PM

Quote:
As for the alternate motherboard - the problem is, I would like the one with the onboard video card. It saves me money, as I don't have to buy a video card just yet.


The 6150-based motherboard has on-board video, similiar to the biostar 6100 you originally chose and has both 15-pin dsub for VGA and DVI port.

here are some newegg pics that show the rear panel a bit better.
May 11, 2006 8:08:34 PM

Thanks! I can see the input now.
!