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New system primarily for Photoshop CS3

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May 12, 2008 9:55:54 PM

I would like to put together a PC that will primarily be used for Photoshop CS3. I would like the system to be quiet. I will not be doing any gaming on this system and will most likely not over clock. This will be my 4th system build but the last one was over 4 years ago. I would like to keep the cost (excluding the monitor) to around $1,000 USD.

With regards to the Q9300, I have gone back and forth between the Q6600 and Q9300 and figures that the extra $60 would be worth it in terms of lower energy consumption and lower heat (since I want to keep the case quiet and have as few fans as possible).

Any suggestions, comments, identifying any mistakes would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks in advance.

Here is my list so far.

Corsair VX 550W ATX Power Supply - CMPSU-550VX $69.
http://www.buy.com/retail/product.asp?sku=205852646&ref...

GIGABYTE GA-EP35-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard – Retail $89
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel Q9300 Retail $279
http://www.mwave.com/mwave/Index.hmx?

Antec P182 $139
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

4GB kit (2GBx2), 240-pin DIMM, DDR2 PC2-6400 memory module $106
http://www.mwave.com/mwave/DeepSearch.hmx?scriteria=CRU...

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 32-bit English 1pk DSP OEI DVD - OEM $99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive – OEM 64.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?bop=And&...

ASUS EAH3650 SILENT/HTDI/512M Radeon HD 3650 512MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card – Retail $89

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

May 12, 2008 10:05:14 PM

Well with any editing software you really want to have two hard drives. So you can use the second one for a swap drive. Would also suggest you go with 64 bit Vista
May 12, 2008 10:40:19 PM

^Agreed, Photoshop uses a lot of RAM so get as much as you can.
Related resources
May 12, 2008 10:43:06 PM

Hi Stoner133, I should have mentioned that I will be adding a 2nd hd, 500GB samsung sata drive which I am pulling from my existing system

I currently have a nikon film scanner, a coolscan v, which is not compatible with vista 64. Nikon has indicated that the do not plan to create the necessary drivers which is why I selected the 32 bit version. I could always keep the scanner hooked up to my older pc and then transfer files, but I am not sure it is worth the trouble. However if and when cs3 becomes a 64 bit app, I will be kicking myself for not getting vista 64.
May 12, 2008 10:56:51 PM

First off, 64-bit Vista is NOT a supported OS, from what I have been reading on the Adobe support forums. Second, if you use a 32-bit version of Windows, your OS will not be able to access all 4GB of your memory. 2GB is really plenty.

Further, there are lots of problems with CS3 applications running on Vista, even though the CS3 apps are supposed to run on Vista.

I have a system built on a Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 mobo, and an E6600 (two core) processor OC'd mildly to 3.0 GHz. 2 GB ram, 320GB HD, and an ATI FireGL V3300 video card (the V3500 is certified by Adobe, and the only difference is the amount of video RAM). I use XP Pro, SP2. Absolutely no performance problems.

Your idea of using two hard drives is good, but don't go into overkill on the rest of your system. Really. And I use photoshop CS3 to make money with.

May 12, 2008 11:04:50 PM

^ I have no problems with vista 64 and CS3
May 12, 2008 11:37:28 PM

doomturkey said:
^ I have no problems with vista 64 and CS3


I'm not saying that everyone does. Further, the Adobe forums tend to be sort of Adobe fanboy, rah-rah type things. But, there are a significant number of complaints from users of the 64 bit versions of Windows. Just trying to put all the info that I have in front of the OP so he can make an enlightened decision.

That said, it is my experience and observation that CS3 can be a bit unpredictable. Many, many people have not even been able to get past installation problems with it, some, like doomturkey, have not had any problems using it on unsupported OSs, some have had no problems on supported OSs, and most probably fall in the middle of the range. Like me. No problems on install, where many, many others have all kinds of trouble, (keep in mind, I've got more than just Photoshop, I have the whole Master Collection), no problems with Version Cue/Bridge or anything else, for months on end. Then, late last August the applications would abort launching with a "Licensing for this product has expired" message. Adobe support was useless, and it apparently was equally useless for many others too-check the Adobe forums. A full, down to factory new level, reformat/wipe of my hard drive and full re-build of my system, and everything has been fine now for 8 months. Knock wood.

Check out the user to user forums at Adobe.com for more info straight from the (fan boy, half assed) source.
May 13, 2008 1:30:19 AM

N7SC1 said:
I'm not saying that everyone does. Further, the Adobe forums tend to be sort of Adobe fanboy, rah-rah type things. But, there are a significant number of complaints from users of the 64 bit versions of Windows. Just trying to put all the info that I have in front of the OP so he can make an enlightened decision.

That said, it is my experience and observation that CS3 can be a bit unpredictable. Many, many people have not even been able to get past installation problems with it, some, like doomturkey, have not had any problems using it on unsupported OSs, some have had no problems on supported OSs, and most probably fall in the middle of the range......

Check out the user to user forums at Adobe.com for more info straight from the (fan boy, half assed) source.


Thanks for the info. I have been using CS3 with XP for some time and it has been very stable. It will be interesting to see if CS4 is a 64 bit app or at a minimum that it will take further advantage of Quad core processors. I will check out the Adobe forums.
May 13, 2008 1:51:44 AM

I'd get a larger HDD than 250 GB. You can get some 400-500 GB drives for around $90-95, and those image files can get large...
May 13, 2008 1:53:10 AM

I just thought I should mention that I've been using CS3 (mainly Premiere) on XP Pro 32-bit for over 6 months now, and it's been completely stable...
May 13, 2008 2:25:01 AM

i second the 64-bit vista. I run the entire adobe CS3 creative suite without issue, and you'll want more than 3gb of ram. It's not like support won't catch up.

also, you'd may as well spend an extra $50 on a video card and go up to the next tier. A 9600gt, or 3870
May 13, 2008 12:19:08 PM

Thanks everyone for the thoughts and ideas.


clownbaby said:


also, you'd may as well spend an extra $50 on a video card and go up to the next tier. A 9600gt, or 3870


I plan to use a 24" 1900 X 1200 NEC monitor with this system. What would the next tier of video card get me in terms of performance for CS3, web browsing and video playback? Thanks
May 13, 2008 2:07:04 PM

Opinions on specific parts of the system that you propose in your original post:

Agree with your thinking about the extra $$ for the lower-power Q9300.

For the HD, I too am a Seagate loyalist, but I chose the Barracuda ES 320 gig model because Seagate themselves said that the ES series are designed to be more reliable, for 24/7 operation. There might be slight increase in sound, but unless you are going for a really silent PC, it might not be that much.

For video cards, visit each manufacturer's site, like nVidia and ATI, and look for their workstation cards (for ATI it is the FireGL series, for nVidia it is the Quattro) and somewhere there they will have a list of cards that are certified by the software manufacturers for CAD, DCC (digital content creation, what you do with Adobe stuff), etc. Also read up on what the different cards' differing specs and abilities are supposed to do for you. By shopping well informed and wisely, you can get exactly what you will need and save money by not buying what you won't. For example, if you won't need 3D abilities, why pay for lots of it?

Also, a bit of a diversion showing off what you can do with Adobe's products, especially if you get into 3D stuff. Check out the site of Qbion (AKA 32design) in the Netherlands: http://www.qbion.nl/ This is the site of graphics designers Ludo Timp and Rob Schenkel, and it blew me away back when I first found it. Check out the "Galerie," especially the 3D stuff, mostly animations, in the right pane. For this kind of work you will need all the 3D horse power you can get in a graphics card.

BTW, I found their web site because Ludo was on the Adobe forums wailing about his CS3 Master Collection taking a dive one day and he was frantic to get it back working again! As you can see he really knows how to use it.
May 14, 2008 1:37:42 AM

Imo, workstation cards are overkill for most ppl. unless they are doing some serious CAD/3D rendering etc. Just grab a good card with atleast 512MB RAM and you should be good.
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