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I need a photoshop workstation

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  • Motherboards
  • Photoshop
  • Workstations
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August 29, 2006 2:49:21 AM

I will be using some other photographic software besides Photoshop, but I need a pc that can do a 40mb raw to tiff conversion in less time then it takes to boil an egg. I have an older asus p4g8x board with a 1.7 celeron and 1 gig of ram, ide hd, xp that I thought might do, but raw to tiff conversions are really, really slow. I'm not sure if a p4 would help or more ram or both or what. I will need to use a dvi connection for an lcd, and I have an ATI pci card, but I'm not sure how much memory it had. I need lan, usb and firewire. I don't need sound or onboard graphics, but I guess all boards come with that now. I'm kinda scared to go with a core 2 board right now. they and the memory they use seem ify atm. I've always bought Asus boards starting with a p2b-ds. I really haven't been able to keep up with all this stuff in the last few years, so, I'm pretty much clueless now. Any hardware suggestions for my situation?

Thanks

More about : photoshop workstation

August 29, 2006 6:10:28 PM

I have done lots of photoshop conversion, editing, masking ect. and one thing I notice expecially with large files is RAM is very important as well as multi tasking CPU otherwise you gota pretty much closed down all your apps in the background ie. internet security, anti-virus ect.

Not sure what your budget is but here is something the is relatively cheap.

I would go for:

-Gigabyte GA-965G-DS3 Socket T (LGA 775) Intel G965 Express ATX Intel Motherboard $159

- Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz LGA 775 Processor Model BX80557E6600 $369

- CORSAIR XMS 2GB (2 x 1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Unbuffered Dual Channel Kit System Memory Model TWINX2048-3200 $200

- ASUS EN7600GT SILENT/2DHT/256M Geforce 7600GT 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card $150

-ENERMAX Whisper II EG565P-VE FMA(24P) ATX12V 535W Power Supply - Retail $79

Total = $957

If u need it cheaper I would go with a Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 Conroe and maybe a cheaper v-card.

Matt
August 29, 2006 7:09:43 PM

Heck, any Wallmart special will run faster than your Cleron.

I've got a 3.0Ghz P4, 2 GB RAM, SATA Raptor drives and can convert a file as you mentioned in just a few seconds. I keep my OS clean and pure (W2K) and have no need to upgrade at this point.

So what I'm saying is you COULD save a lot of money and still get a system that does high-end Photoshop work quickly. Drive speed and RAM and biggies. And like I said I have an older P4 now and it does a fine job. You could probably pick one of those up for $50. Or a similarly priced AMD for those fanboys out there.
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August 29, 2006 7:52:43 PM

Ever tought of getting a Mac? These thing can fly on PS, Illustrator and such..and right now you can get a system for not much over what you'd pay PC wise..Just my 2cents.
August 29, 2006 8:11:41 PM

RAM is critical, as much as possible - Photoshop will use everything it can get hold of. 2 or 3GByte+ is good.

Split the system into several hard drives (not partitions on a single drive). Put the OS and software onto one, along with Window's swap file. Place the images on another physical drive. If you can afford a third drive, place the Photoshop swap file onto this drive. For best performance never have the OS swap file and Photoshop swap file on the same physical drive. The data drive and Photoshop swap file could be on a single RAID0 pair - I tried this on one of our studio's PCs, but didn't really notice any improvement. WD Raptors are fine for the OS/software drive albeit expensive, but a waste on the data drives, rather spend the money on bigger drives with bigger caches, or more RAM.

The graphics card need not be anything too special for Photoshop - I haven't heard of any plugins/tool/filters that use GPU power. Any decent entry level card (nVidia 6600/7300GT/6200 or ATI X1300 etc) would be fine as long as they're not Hypermemory/Turbocache models, mainy because they steal RAM from the system, not their speed. Unless your other software requires a better graphics card, spend the extra on RAM.

Dual core is beneficial, most tools/plugins/filters are written to use them. Also the faster the better. Believe it or not, the much maligned Pentium D processors make good image processing CPUs, mainly because much of the software is written an optimised for Intel. But if you can build using Core 2 Duo, do so, I just haven't been able to justify a new machine recently. Before any AMD fanbois take this a flame bait, half the machine I've built for our studio are AMD Athlon X2's.

Hope this all helps.
www.driverheaven.net and www.extremetech.com have some articles on Photoshop optimising IIRC.

Oh, if you have any budget left, buy more RAM (Are you getting the idea....)
August 29, 2006 8:29:11 PM

You don’t need anything special. I can pump them out quickly on my AMD 62 X2 4400+ like nothing. Also, if you run Win XP then 2GB is the max memory it can use, so don’t bother buying anymore than you need.
August 29, 2006 8:29:11 PM

Quote:
Ever tought of getting a Mac? These thing can fly on PS, Illustrator and such..and right now you can get a system for not much over what you'd pay PC wise..Just my 2cents.


Not really, if you buy a macbook pro or mac pro right now, then it's gonna be suck, because Adobe havent published any Universal version for intel macs yet. So the only way is to buy a Powerbook or Powermac, but I dont think it's wise to buy a machine that will be outdated very soon, since no one will make software for PowerPC mac any more.
August 29, 2006 8:31:42 PM

Quote:
You don’t need anything special. I can pump them out quickly on my AMD 62 X2 4400+ like nothing. Also, if you run Win XP then 2GB is the max memory it can use, so don’t bother buying anymore than you need.


Actually with Win XP 64 bit, then it can support nearly 4gb, win 32 bit then it will be like 3.2GB
August 29, 2006 9:09:21 PM

Firstly, you need to understand what does and does **not** make photoshop fast.

1) DVI monitor and/or connector: makes absolutely no difference in performance. You **MAY** get increased visual accuity if **BOTH** your monitor AND graphics card **FULLY** comply with the DVI spec. It's unlikely however that you'll choose a card which actually complies with the spec - i.e. produces the right shape "eye" in atest with an oscilloscope. There's no way of knowing if a particular card will pass the test without testing it.

2) Graphics card memory size. Has ZERO impact on photoshop performance. GFx memory is used only to store textures in 3D mode, and as such is never used by photoshop.

3) Graphics GPU speed: has essentially zero impact on Photoshop performance. In Photoshop, which is 2D only, the graphics card only displays a single image (The desktop) and that is incredibly easy to do. Any card can do it. Even built-in, crappy-ass, utterly poxy Intel onboard.

4) The only criteria for selecting a graphics card will be what the 2D performance is like. For this reason, you may want to consider a cheap dual-head card from Matrox, over a 3D card from nVidia or ATI - as you won't use 90% of those card's functionality.

5) Photoshop benefits greatly from lots of system RAM, very fast CPU and dedicated HDD for the Photoshop swap file (as mentioned above). However, don't for a second start thinking that a RAID array is a worthwhile investment, it most definitely would be a waste of your time and money. By far the best solution is to have 4GB of system memory, and 2 physical Hard Drives. It is NOT necessary to use 3 HDDs, as 4GB of RAM will prevent windows from utilising a swap file to any significant, performance decreasing degree. However, saying that, having a motherboard which supports NCQ (Native Command Queuing) and drives which also support NCQ, as well as SATA 3Gb/s will provide the best possible performance. Please note though, that as you ramp up system RAM, so does the importance of HDD speed decrease. So with 4GB of RAM, the HDDs almost factor out of the equation.

6) Multi Core CPU. Photoshop itself (The application) is NOT multithreaded, and hence it does not open faster, or load images faster with a multi-core CPU. HOWEVER, certain functions DO spawn multiple threads. Gaussian Blur for example. I don't know if this applies to your "Raw to Tiff" conversion. PS cuts an image into "tiles" and each processor core works on one tile at a time. Thus, multi-core CPUs will make that dreaded progress bar move much quicker for SOME functions, but not all.

Good luck!
August 29, 2006 10:03:59 PM

I'm a graphic designer and avid gamer.. Been flamed for a prior post about being a possible AMD fanboy. lol. But as I said in my thread that if i was to buy a computer any time soon it would be a C2D. Apparently at work we're hiring someone new and I get a new pc. So I checked out online a few one being Dell and the other Gateway. If I could have it my way I'd build it but the company likes having someone else to blame if anything goes wrong.

Anyways we went with the Gateway (bleh)
Core 2 Duo E6700
2 gigs of ram (will upgrade later by ourselves)
with 250g hd (was thinking of dropping a raptor in for the programs hd)
19" mon

Went with the C2D cause it cuts almost a full minute off our current system in the benchmarks that tom has for photoshop
August 29, 2006 10:16:52 PM

Quote:
Ever tought of getting a Mac? These thing can fly on PS, Illustrator and such..and right now you can get a system for not much over what you'd pay PC wise..Just my 2cents.


Not really, if you buy a macbook pro or mac pro right now, then it's gonna be suck, because Adobe havent published any Universal version for intel macs yet. So the only way is to buy a Powerbook or Powermac, but I dont think it's wise to buy a machine that will be outdated very soon, since no one will make software for PowerPC mac any more.

If you'd look a bit you would've known that there's something called Rosetta that exists exactly to circumvent that problem, also :
Quote:
Actually with Win XP 64 bit, then it can support nearly 4gb, win 32 bit then it will be like 3.2GB

Again if you did some research you would know that theoretical limit is 16TB using VM but is limited to 128GB of physical memory as per M$ specs and Not 4GB.Link
But then again acquiring WinXP x64 would also introduce compatibility problems regarding the software used, since there's no x64 edition of PS CS2 at the moment. And even if you could get it to run on x64, you would get an emulated 32bit version running on a 64 bit OS hence eliminating any advantages you'd get from it in the first place.
Also since of late you can even run WinXP on an intel based Mac, and get equal performance compared to the same Mac running OS X compared to an equivalent PC...Link.
So i'll let you ponder a bit on this and if you have anything to had please feel free. Also i wanted to add that i suggested a Mac for the only reason that they are now priced to compete with PCs.
August 29, 2006 10:50:22 PM

Without mentioning brands, a dual core processor is a must since Photoshop utilizes it to the max, and secondly 1GB or better of ram, and finally a 7200 RPM SATA II HDD with in excess of 8MB cache, hope that helps
August 31, 2006 6:49:46 AM

Quote:


If you'd look a bit you would've known that there's something called Rosetta that exists exactly to circumvent that problem


Yes at the cost of performance. Power PC chips still perform photoshop tasks nearly twice as fast due to the Translation. Plus the new Mac Pros use FB-DIMM which is more expensive. Move to Mac ain't as great as everyone says.
August 31, 2006 7:43:13 AM

Sorry for hijacking this thread, but i just wanted to know...If all things equal, wouldn't a Mac and Wintel/Winamd (whichever you choose) would perform almost the same esp. since Mac now use Intel's cpu?Alnd also from all that i know, Photoshop has always love as much ram as possible, have yourself (2cats) as much ram as possible/affordable.Ooh....did somebody mention FB-DIMM... what's the diff from normal DDR/DDR2?
August 31, 2006 8:35:50 AM

Quote:
Sorry for hijacking this thread, but i just wanted to know...If all things equal, wouldn't a Mac and Wintel/Winamd (whichever you choose) would perform almost the same esp. since Mac now use Intel's cpu?Alnd also from all that i know, Photoshop has always love as much ram as possible, have yourself (2cats) as much ram as possible/affordable.Ooh....did somebody mention FB-DIMM... what's the diff from normal DDR/DDR2?


The fastest hardware for running Photoshop is the Windows version on a Bootcamp'd Intel Mac, but that's due in part to what the guy said earlier about no universal Photoshop version available yet. Oh, and Rosetta does slow things down/mess things up a little IME - particularly MS Office 2K4!

And now that Macs are (in some cases) actually cheaper than their PC counterparts, that's definitely what I'd go for.
August 31, 2006 2:38:50 PM

Please back that up your claims with some facts with a direct comparison. None of the apples to oranges.
August 31, 2006 3:55:07 PM

Here is a page that talks about the article I think I'm referring to. I know it's hardly conclusive evidence, but it's just what I happen to have read somewhere, you'll have to take my word on that one.

My point was, if you're scared to buy a Macintosh, don't be, as you can run Windows on it as well if you want higher performance until Adobe ports Photoshop to 'universal' status.
August 31, 2006 7:30:03 PM

You were right about one thing that it's not conclusve evidence. Look at the price/performance.

Now I haven't seen any direct comparison benchmarks between the C2D and the CD. However taking a bench from anandtech that has the CD rating the same as an X2 4200+ in CS2 benchmark. Then relaying that to the toms CPU charts. The C2D 6700 beats the CD in photoshop CS2 bench by being a minute faster. Which is a lot in that test. Now thats not the most solid basis however it seems better then "UNSUPPLIED" test info from that mac link.

So if you wanted something faster than a CD in a mac you have to upgrade to the mac pro which is a dual core xeon, starting at $2499, add anothergig of memory for 22 gigs.. thats brings it to $2799. Thats not including the displays at all. Beautiful displays as they are.. they're expensive.. add a 20" mac display for $699... all said and done with tax is $3725. Thats only with the 90day protection plan. If you want the extended.. add another $250. We'll call it an even $4,000.

Maybe the dual xeons smoke the C2D's I dunno i couldn't find the bench.. but the system I put together with 2gigs of ram, C2D e6700, same size hd.. with tax 19" display, and service plan came to $2500 (rounded up as well) thats with tax and shipping.

Now thats a huge difference in price.. and assumed performance difference.

Just my opinion and my numbers may be flawed but the mac info i pulled from their site.. and my desktop was just purchased 2 days ago. I'm missing the exact benchmark comparisons on xeons to c2d's
August 31, 2006 7:39:27 PM

Well, I'm not concerned about proving my point to the stage of scouring the internet trying to find where I saw this article.

Although what you say about comparing 'Apples to Oranges' - you're comparing C2D to Xeon Woodcrest, which is quite different (MacPro is dual-dual-core for a start), you're comparing an Apple 20" cinema display - and we all know how much of a luxury that is - to a smaller, cheaper display.

If you compare the same-spec'd Dell system to the MacPro it is actually cheaper (this is all top-end gear, though, and is never cheap). This week I saw a quote from a Dell sales rep (when talking to a prospective MacPro buyer) that they were 'surprised' at how the MacPro beats the equiv. Dell in price.

Anyway, it's off topic and not really the point, and if you talk about one brand for more than a sentence then you're automatically branded a 'fanboy' so I'd better stop.
August 31, 2006 8:01:30 PM

na not calling anyone a fanboi on this.. just that with the mac you are paying a premium, it has less expandability, and less performance for the buck.

If you wnt to compare apples to apples then.. ok.. you have the OTHER option with the imac on their web site which is a CD processor. That as I stated was smoked by the C2D. However after all is said and done its roughly the same price as the pc desktop but with less performance. Therefor paying for the name not the power once again.

Either way you add it up you're getting less machine for the money with a mac. When a pc can do it just as well if not better by cross referencing benchmarks. Plus not to mention the fact that if you want windows on the mac thats an extra cost.. and the possible performance hit with that as well.

By the way who buys a mac pro and not the cinema screen? Most mac users are users for the "lifestyle" so you gotta get the screens come on.

Macs are great machines but as you stated they are luxury items.. and a pc can do it for much less. Or for the same amount of money they can do much more. take your pick.
August 31, 2006 8:41:13 PM

Quote:
By the way who buys a mac pro and not the cinema screen? Most mac users are users for the "lifestyle" so you gotta get the screens come on.

Macs are great machines but as you stated they are luxury items.. and a pc can do it for much less. Or for the same amount of money they can do much more. take your pick.


That is unquestionably untrue and goes to show how little you know about both Macintosh computers and their users.

You keep comparing Core 2 PCs to Core Macs, and then say something about 'apples to apples' or similar. You are making no sense.

And did you ever consider that for 99% of Macintosh users you aren't paying for the 'name' or the 'designer tag' - you are paying for a better, more stable, more easy to use computer that just so happens to do everything you did on your PC but with half the hassle, and also comes with some killer professional software with which PC counterparts cannot compete. Learn to read past specifications.

Again, not the point here, but please, you are proving yourself to be somewhat ignorant with needless (not to mention b*llocks) Mac-bashing. I made a suggestion that could be taken or left. Let's leave this discussion for another time and actually help the OP.
August 31, 2006 9:52:14 PM

I'm comparing the cores available in the mac.. vesus the c2d cpu's that the original thread was debating on buying. Now if the mac HAD a C2D machine i'd be comparing them now wouldnt I? but since they dont I compare whats available. Now if macs were more like pc's you could put whatever processor your wanted in there now couldnt you instead of their proprietary control which is a negative on macs part.

As far as mac users not buying mac screens I dont know a single mac user that didnt buy the whole package. maybe you do.. but both of us are assuming then arent we. I was pricing out a mac as its offered compared to a pc as its offered.

as far as the garbage as easier to use, cough cough. thats a relative term and a blatant opinion. I've worked with both i find pc's are easier and less restrictive.

More stable? that depends on who built the sytem and whats on it.

Comes with professional software? Is it coming with my adobe suite? No then move on. It comes with the software that I'd use as much as MS paint.

So all in all you're paying more for an opinion, possible stability depending on what YOU the user do to it lol, and crap software touted as professional. (it may be better than the pc counterpart software but I wouldnt use either)


I was helping the original poster when I was stating between whats available on a mac and whats available on the pc.. you get more for your money pc.. and BETTER performance. not to mention more 3rd party support if you are into anything else other than graphic design. And if you mention that pcs get virus' and macs dont.. thats because in 2005 macs accounted for around 2% of the global market. Who would want to attack macs not worth the time. i'm done.. i'm sick of the mac hype thats all its just blatantly not true unless they give you a $1000 rebate =b
August 31, 2006 10:28:41 PM

Learn a better word than 'blatant'. And you're wrong. And your point is argued badly.

On a side note, I don't know a single person with one of the new cinema display screens. And I can think of only two who have the old studio displays.
August 31, 2006 11:03:26 PM

lol now you have a problem with the word "blatant"? dear god you are a mac lifestyle user arent you?

fine here pick one "overtly" or "undeniably", hopefully that appeases you. Do you havea problem witht he word "appease"?

Now let me streamline the argument against your posting then which had no real factual basis at all reading the article.

the OP is looking at getting a Mac or C2D PC

comparing the 2 types you either:

A: paying roughly the same amount if not more for an outdated Mac machine without real upgrade possibilities (Mac vs C2D PC)

or

b:p aying ($1500) more for a possible equal machine on their site setup thats currently available. (Mac Pro vs C2D PC)

Your benifits of the mac were pretty much superficial.. Its easier to use (thats an opinion), its more stable (lol based on what user), and it has more powerful software included (LOL about as useful to me as MS Paint i reused that one hehe), and more powerful (cough cough not with the CD cpu).

When the facts of it being less expandable than a pc (true), less 3rd party options for software (true), less hardware options (true), and it holds a premium for its name only (true). All that sort of out weighs any cool case design in my books or hoaxy included software package. Macs desktop sales are falling (I wonder why). Laptops are growing.. and the best thing they have going for them is Ipod.

So logically speaking for the money and performance a PC would be better. Its less expensive, he/she can upgrade it as needed easier, more software and hardware is readily available, you dont have to go into the pompus Mac store for help (dont get me started on that lol).

Now was this streamlined enough.. or do you want me to put it up with some glossy icons and animations?
August 31, 2006 11:48:45 PM

I can't be bothered to have an ultimately pointless discussion with someone who has a distinct inability to have an unbalanced view of facts. I have no problem using PCs or a problem with PC users, I am one myself and have been for a longer time than I have been a Macintosh user, however I do have a problem with people who needlessly deride a large group of people based on things which, while in their own mind make sense, actually translate to a very loose and opinion-riddled argument.

Please, don't post again. If you really have a problem that is burning within you that much then you can PM me and I'll ignore you there as well.

Apologies to the OP for hijacking this thread somewhat.
!