Newby needs opinion on Photoshop build

I am building my first computer to be used primarily for Photoshop editing.
I don't expect to over clock and have been monitoring Tom's forumz for ideas.
I don't always understand some of the more nuanced discussions. I plan to use Vista.

I have priced everything at Newegg.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Antec Performance One P180 Silver cold rolled steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail $130

Antec NeoPower NeoHE 550 ATX12V 550W Power Supply $110

ASUS P5B LGA 775 Intel P965 Express ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $127

Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz 4M shared L2 Cache LGA 775 Processor - Retail $317

2 CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail 4 gig total $552

eVGA 256-P2-N554-AX Geforce 7600GT 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail $140

2 Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3320620AS (Perpendicular Recording Technology) 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM Raid 0 $190

SAMSUNG Black 18X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 18X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2M Cache IDE DVD Burner With LightScribe Technology - OEM $32

I am close to $1600 total and have a few hundred $$ more for things I missed.
What do you recommend for CPU cooling?

What else have I missed?

I plan to address the monitor separately.

19 answers Last reply
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  1. The 800mhz ram is overkill if your not going to oc, even 533mhz value ram will work fine. Stock cooling is also fine for the non oc'er, and if you decide you it'll take you to about 3.0-3.2ghz with your E6600 before you should upgrade.
  2. Thanks for your reply. Should I stick with Corsair?
  3. Just go with a name brand, corsair is usually overpriced, but if your not oc'ing cheap 533 ram will do fine, so its a toss up. You only need to spend about $360 on 4gb of ram. This is one of the cheapest name brand 2gb sets of ram i could find on newegg, it'll work fine for what your doing.
  4. Thanks again. I made the switch on my wish list and added a CPU cooler

    Scythe SCINF-1000 120mm CPU Cooling Fan/Heatsink $58

    Cost is now at $1505
  5. Quote:

    Scythe SCINF-1000 120mm CPU Cooling Fan/Heatsink $58

    The Scythe Infinity is a great hsf, but the Tuniq Tower 120 just came back in stock over at newegg, and its the best of the best when it comes to air coolers.
  6. if it's a primarily photoshop box, it may be worth your while to throw in one of the 10k rpm WD Raptors as a scratch/boot disk.

    Also remember that unless you have the 64 bit version of XP or Vista, you wont be able to use all 4gb of your ram.
  7. Thanks for the advice.

    I was going to do that originally but concluded that 4 GB of ram should minimize my need for a scratch disk.

    I need to take another look at your boot disk idea.

    I plan to match the Vista version to the 4 GB of ram.
  8. If this build is strictly for the use of PhotoShop then I think your build is way too good, but if your also planning to play new games and encoding/editing videos or something then it's fine. Just my opinion.
  9. I've been using Photoshop freelance for years, and I'd suggest not bothering with RAID 0. Photoshop loves RAM and a decently fast processor, and a decently fast hard drive system, preferably multiple drives as it likes to have its own scratch disk not on the same drive as the Windows scratch disk.
    Save some money elsewhere and get as big a graphics tablet as you can afford, unless you already have one. A tablet will save you more time and frustration than a RAID array will ever net you in faster load times, not to mention that RAID 0 introduces the risk of data loss, and artwork tends to be impossible to recreate, not to mention time consuming to create in the first place.
    When I am working on a project, I know for a fact that I am the slowest part of my system - but hey, I'm an artist - the zen of the wait is when I get some of my best ideas. I have an opteron 170 at 2.6 GHz, 2 74 GB Raptors and a 320 GB data drive, 2 GB RAM and a 9x12 wacom tablet. Two monitors also help - put your tools and navigator (as big as you can make it) one one monitor and your work on the other. The navigator becomes the overall view of your work, while your active workpiece can be zoomed in for more precise control.
    Just my preferences, of course. Good luck.
  10. Thanks for the Raid advice.

    So I would run the 2 drives as C: D: with OS and programs on C and use D as the scratch disk. Copying your setup add a 3rd drive for data?

    I have a small tablet I never got the hang of but I will give it another try.

    I have a Viewsonic 20 in wide screen and was considering adding a second or upgrading to a 24in screen.
  11. it all depends on the size of your work. If you're using indesign cs2 also, editing a good amount of photos at the same time in it, and you want to spend more money, I'd say throw another gig of ram.
    Although you may never need the quality of that setup and you're throwing money away.
    You have to tell us what kind of images you are editing, if you plan to edit video and do some gaming. If you're into gaming let us know what kind of games and the size of the screen.
  12. I don't expect to do games but video is a possibility. My photo files with layers easily reach 250 to 300 megs and my current system with 1 GB of ram really bogs down. I have seen a lot of advice to feed PS a lot of ram and use fast HD's. I would like this system to last 4 years before I do it again.
  13. Yes, that's the way I have it set up - OS and programs on c, photoshop swap and drivers, etc. on drive d, and longterm storage on the 320 GB.
    The smaller tablets (4x5) have 512 levels of pressure, the larger ones (6x9, 9x12) have 1024. The larger ones also have the cut, copy, and paste functions right on the tablet so you don't need the keyboard shortcuts. Once you have the pen set up the way you like it, you'll never use a mouse for artwork again. I set the pen tip to be unassigned as a button, so it only works for the pressure sensitivity. I use the rocker switch on the side of the pen as right/left click, so nothing weird happens if I happen to double tap the pen on the pad, for example.
    I'd rather have 2 monitors than 1 large monitor, but once again that's my preference.
  14. All interesting. :) I too am researching a build for photo & movie work.

    First, if YOU don't intend to overclock, don't buy an aftermarket cpu cooler. Intel stock cooler is "free" and just fine, even for some overclocking, just not extreme (which affects many parts selection). If however you want to overclock, you can always get a better cooler later. It's an easy add on. The Tuniq is one of, if not the best, air coolers CURRENTLY on the market. Save your $ for now if your not going to.

    Photo/video work loves cpu & memory speed. Don't get less than 2Gb of RAM, especially if you envision using VISTA later on. Also, if you decide not to overclock, then you can get by with lower rated memory...BUT lower speed rated memory very well MAY limit your ability to overclock in the future. Unfortunately, higher speed rated memory has gone pricey and there's what to do with the old RAM!

    It is my understanding that, at least for WINDOWS XP, it will always create...if not use...a "pagefile." It is also my understanding that for fastest response you can put this pagefile, usually not very big (a few gig) on a separate physical hard drive or "volume" from the OS. (Is this what you mean by "scratch drive?")

    I'm not familiar with what you mean for the ADOBE PhotoShop "scratch drive," and therefore whether or not a separate volume, or a separate partition (C: D: E: etc.) on a single volume, is optimal.

    The concept of RAID, and which version(s), should also be considered closely, and ties into your motherboard selection. Again, if supported by your motherboard, this can be done relatively cheaply (only the cost of add-on or replacement HDs) later.
  15. Thank you for the help.

    I appreciate the amount of detail in your answer regarding the Wacom.

  16. surely if you arnt going to overclock, the scythe infinity is overkill...
  17. You're welcome. Photoshop changed the way I work, although I still like to use real world materials when I can. A good scanner is a fine investment too - good for bringing in natural world elements. I've scanned metal (carefully), wood, leather, leaves etc. to use their textures in my work as well. A good high resolution scan of even the most mundane of materials can provide amazing results, especially when you apply a few filters.
  18. [It is my understanding that, at least for WINDOWS XP, it will always create...if not use...a "pagefile." It is also my understanding that for fastest response you can put this pagefile, usually not very big (a few gig) on a separate physical hard drive or "volume" from the OS. (Is this what you mean by "scratch drive?")

    I'm not familiar with what you mean for the ADOBE PhotoShop "scratch drive," and therefore whether or not a separate volume, or a separate partition (C: D: E: etc.) on a single volume, is optimal. ]

    I was referring to the use of the hard drive by PS to create extra processing space when it runs out of ram. Everything slows to a crawl at that point. I will need to make sure I set PS up optimally once the computer is built. Raid is another subject I have a minimal understanding of. I have a lot of external hard drive space and my workflow is to download photos to the C drive and one external drive. I mirror the external drive to an identical drive. I copy the processed files to the external drive and then delete from C.

    Thanks for your help

  19. Photoshop prefers its own "scratch disk" (swap file) on a drive separate from where it is installed - not another partition, but a separate physical drive. The fact that this is it's preffered setup does not mean it has to be this way. Unfortunately I am at a girlfriend's place and she doesn't have photoshop, but if I remember correctly, you set RAM usage and scratch disk preference under "preferences" in the edit menu. There's a few pages of options for cursors as well as RAM usage and disks, etc. I think it defaults to 50% RAM usage, but I crank it up to 80% or more. Try to increase this value before adding more RAM - some of my files get well over 1GB, but with my 2GB of memory everything happens as fast as I need it to.
    Perhaps it's the Raptors helping here, but as I said before, I'm the slowest thing about my system generally - I keep a guitar next to my computer and that tends to soak up a fair chunk of my time. By the way, a Photoshop box is also a great music creation platform - both uses like RAM, a decent processor, fast drives, and dual monitors.
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