Photoshop rig RAM and other questions


I have been using this site to help me build budget killer gaming rigs for years. I have never needed to post a question until now. I have a friend that needs me to build her a Photoshop rig for professional work. She already is a pro at Photoshop but is looking to learn After Effects.

I am trying to stay under $800 including Win 7 64. (However, can go over it it matters.)

I only lightly use Photoshop for very amateur images my self. All I know about it, is that it is a RAM hog.
I have been trying to research what kind of RAM cost I am looking at and any additional specifications I should get for her system?

Just as a quick preliminary system from newegg I put together:

CPU: Phenom II X4 3.0
MB: ASUS M4A88TD-V EVO (This thing rules for the price. I am sure it is fine.)
VC: GIGABYTE GV-R435OC-512I Radeon HD 4350 512MB 64-bit (I assume even this cheep thing is overkill?)
RAM: CORSAIR 8GB (2x4GB) 1333 9-9-9-24
HD: 7200 16MB cache
Rest of completed comp including Win 7 home 64

All came to $695 after shipping and tax.

So the questions I have:

1. Does RAM latency really matter for these programs?

2. How much RAM should I get her? I know at least 4GB. Will it make that much of a difference to have 8GB or even 16GB? My real main issues is how exactly should I go with RAM for this system.

3. Hard Drive: I see here HD speed is important for Photoshop, should I get a 10,000RPM? If so do I want a 10,000RPM with a 16MB cache? That is going to be costly if so.

4. Does Photoshop and/or After Effects utilize multy core tech? This CPU is just a great price. Is the Hz of the CPU going to matter that much? Thus should I try to find a duel (or single if they even still exist) with higher Hz speed?

Thank you very much for any help you may provide!

8 answers Last reply
More about photoshop questions
  1. 1. CL9 good , CL 7 very good
    2. minimal system photoshop 512MB & more memory much better
    3. HHD not specific for Photoshop
    4. Not exactly! Photoshop still working with P4/Sempron & AE CS4 still work with P4 , i have all this program! but system higher much better

    Important : For Adobe specific to VGA addon not Onboard, NIVIDIA /CUDA better than ATI STREAM , in AE use OpenGL / for rendering & preview, The big VGA more better work, maybe GTX460 or above very very fast !
  2. Thanks henydiah for the quick shorthand.

    That helped a little. For one thing I did not know Photoshop prefers NVIDIA, that makes sense and helps a lot. I found a GIGABITE NVIDIA 8400 that was also dirt cheep. I figure I will skimp on the VGP for this system as a sacrifice in price at the moment for it would be a easy upgrade later if she finds she starts seriously using After Effects.

    I would still love some advice from serious AE and Photoshop users.
  3. Howdy
    I built my computer specifically for Photoshop, Premiere, After Effects and Sony Vegas for photo and video editing. My Gigabyte mobo has been bombproof, as I expected it to be. I prefer Intel CPUs over AMD for my workstations, but have built computers with AMD CPUs without issue. My current system has 8G RAM, it does the job, if I had money to burn, I'd get as much as the mobo could handle. I think my memory is CL9, CL7 would be better, but I'd rather have 16G of CL9 than 8G of CL7 RAM. I use fairly fast hard drives(got lots of them), but I will go for an SSD as a boot drive in the next couple months. I have an nVidia GeForce video card, but I've found that the video card isn't that big.
    My quad core system does a great job most of the time; chokes a little with max quality HD video editing, but that may be because of the happy relationship between HD video(mostly MP4, kinda Apple) and my 64 bit Win 7 system.
    Specs of my rig are in my sig.
  4. ronbo613

    That is very helpful! On this budget I don't know if it is even possible to get her 16GB RAM but that answers that question. I will get her 8GB of CL9. Useful information on where your system chokes.

    I have been running into several people advising a Solid State Drive for After Effects users. I have never touched one, but I get the concept. I think it is a good idea. I can't seem to squeeze one into a rig for less than $800. (Tax in CA) +shrug+ I will see. I may have to go out of box and/or OEM on some stuff. Where exactly will a SSD help?

    I am open to all ideas. I personally like AMD over Intell for price point rigs because you get better MB features for your money. I like GIGABITE, I have one in my comp right now. ASUS just has always ruled for quality budget AMD boards. For at least 14 years outset of a few minor moments (when Mac went Intell was one of them for a few months) you have been able to pay less for more in the budget end of things with AMD over Intell. (Including all factors of a MB, RAM compatibility, newest SATA, USB, how many ports, BUS speed, Firewire yes or no ~ all that jazz.)

    Intell quads start at $150 on the egg. It is a 2.5Ghz
    The egg also has a OEM AMD Phenom II quad 3.0Ghz for $90 (I doubt I will go OEM, I don't like the idea for a CPU.)

    I am even open +cringe+ to Dell +ick+ because of her need to pay for Windows and they have financing. I hope it does not come to that.

    It was also very useful to see your system specifications.
  5. I've worked on a lot of Dell computers, for general use they are OK, but for a workstation, which is what you are building, you need to be able to have some room to grow. Sometimes adding hardware using Dell's proprietary systems can be a problem. As a serious digital photographer, you must consider the need to back up your images, which means more hard drives. I find that when I do a lot of photo and video work, buying hard drives is a regular event.
    To save money, I would start out with a regular hard drive, like a WD Black 1001FALS 1TB 7200rpm or the slightly faster and $10 more 1002FAEX. Either one is plenty fast as a boot drive. The optimal setup for a media workstation is to have your programs on the boot drive and have a second "scratch" or work drive. When the price of SSDs comes down a bit in the beginning of 2011, you might consider adding an SSD at that time, or maybe just another 1TB drive. On hard drives; I used to be a fan of Seagate drives, but recently, their quality has slipped so I've switched over to the WD Blacks with good success. You don't need a super high end video card for photo and video work, so you might be able to save a few bucks there. Make sure you get a video card with two DVI ports because sooner or later, any photo editor is going to want two monitors(I have two 23" Acer wide screen LCDs). Hard to skimp on RAM. I prefer to buy all my memory at the same time so I can be sure the modules all match, which avoids problems if you buy some now and some later. I do think 8G is pretty adequate, if you can afford more, fine.
    My main reason for picking Intel over AMD CPUs is reliability and stability. I believe in spending the money where it counts; motherboard, CPU, RAM and power supply(which is often overlooked, make sure you get a good one with room to grow). I used to use Intel motherboards on my workstations, no frills, but rock solid, now I've drifted mainly to Gigabyte, which are pretty dependable with a lot of features like onboard firewire, lots of USB ports(including USB 3.0) that photographers and videographers use quite a bit, as well as decent onboard sound, which saves you from having to buy a sound card.
    You can get Windows 7 Pro 64bit for $139 at Newegg, if you are not running Linux, you have to bit the bullet sometimes, gotta have a stable OS.
    In the long run, I think you'll be better off building a rig than getting a prebuilt computer.
  6. Redtear,

    Just purchased the following parts to upgrade an exisiting system my son was trying ot use for CS5/After Effects in school. Had to stay with in a budget of less than $1000.

    Intel i7 950 - $200 @ Microcenter on sale
    ASUS Rampage Extreme Formula III - $279 @ Newegg ($20 rebate)
    GSkill F3-12800CL9T-6GBNQ Memory - $99.00 @ Newegg
    Win 7 Pro 64b - $119 @ Newegg (Combo Price with the above memory)
    Noktua NH-D14 - $80
    WD Raptor 300GB HD - $99 @Amazon (On sale from $169)

    Total $876. Will use existing case, PS, HD (now scratch drive) and video card.

    Future upgrades will be better video board and more ram.
  7. Ronbo613,

    I fully agree with your assessment of Dell. I am going to hold my tongue. Yea, I think it would be a stupid move.

    I have been a huge Seagate and WD fan for years. I did not know that Seagate is slipping. Sad news. I have a Seagate from '97 that is still running in my admin.

    I like the advice to make a boot partition and advise her to get a SSD when the prices come down. Very good advice and I will take it.

    I am down to $751.56 after shipping and tax on the egg for

    Phenom II X4 3.4 (black)
    8GB of cheep Corsair
    1TB HD
    512MB cheep dx10 card
    and the rest of complete tower

    I am now going to price compare and see if I can get the components cheaper other places.

    I appreciate the help. It has been big.

    Is there any reason for Win Pro over Home?

    Also thanks chhelo, I will take a look what you put together ;>
  8. i recommend to build but, the Dell is a good option in my opinion becuase with the know-how you can mod them to do about anything, I know.
    plus the financing and warranty is a safety net..
    but i'd build like i said..

    as for nVidia being a better pairing for Photoshop is true but instead of the 8400GS, at least get the 8600GT.
    on eBay the XFX 8600GT (256mb or 512mb) versions are excellent quality and cheap..
    start out with 8GB of RAM 8GB(2x4GB) using only 2 slots for now keeping the other 2 slots open just in case you'll ever need more.
    larger SSD's are better but maybe shoot for a Vertex 2 90GB and still have your unit around the $800 less range.
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