System Advice - Photoshop rig

My wife is a freelance designer and photographer and I'm her under-qualified IT support. I've been planning to leap into Core i7 with the 940, but looking at the benchmarks I'm getting cost/benefit cold feet. Basically I need a stable system to run Photoshop CS3.

I've got:
Cooler Master Cosmos
Asus 4850 TOP
3 drives (scratch a 75GB raptor, 500GB Samsung for storage and 320 for apps)

I need advice on CPU:
Core i7 940
Quad 9xxx or 6600
Dual 8400

And memory match

Basically I buy a new computer ~ every 3 years and want something that can keep up with CS4 whatever that ends up being (likely multithread support).

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  1. I think a Q6600/P5Q Pro/2x2GB DDR2-800 combination is already overkill, and it's under $400 total. With the i7/X58/DDR3 combo I believe you'll end up paying about $1000 instead without actually seeing any advantages.

    Maybe a Q9550, if you don't mind paying more. Still, I doubt that it's worth it.
  2. Agreed - and spend some of what you have left on more resilient storage if this is her work - get another raptor and another 500gb (a different brand too) and mirror both drives.
  3. I would go with the q6600. And a q6600 is not overkill for a photo editing rig. Then there is entire photoshop usage of GPU's. I believe its called cuda. I havent payed much attention to it since I dont use the app/do that type of work.
  4. +1 for extra Raptor-age

    6-8 Gb of RAMs, 64-bit OS

    a single e8400 is 20%+ faster than a q6600 - an e8500 a bit more (don't think the e8600 would be worth it). It's all about clock speed, RAMs and disk I/O - extra cores don't offer much (except in Premiere).

    IIRC PS will eat about 55% of RAMs with a Win OS. Extra 'capacity' will handle background services and your multitasking just 'dandy'.

    And I'm not certain where PS stands with 'GPU' processing ATM ...

    edit: I fergit ... the HD4850 is very much overkill unless you will be doing a little gaming on the side.
  5. Thanks for all the feedback.

    I lucked into the GPU tip. Looks like I missed the launch of CS4 a few weeks ago. It does support GPU and it looks like the 4850 in on the Adobe white list...

    Is the RAM worth it on 64 bit Vista?

    Help with IIRC PS

    If I go Q6600 I'd overclock. So price performance and the promise of more cores looks appealing.

  6. I used to work as a professional digital imaging editor. I edited images that appeared in high end fashion magazines. Photoshop was one of many digital imaging programs we used. I have to agree with aevm and gagaga, you are entering the realm of expensive overkill. For Photoshop a dual core processor is sufficient.
  7. Ram is very worth it on Vista 64. I have 8GB and my system is 100% stable . I had 3GB in before I got the 8, I did notice a difference. Doing video editing and such is a hell of a lot faster now.
  8. Here's my proposal for feedback:

    E8500 with some OC
    Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P
    OCZ DDR2 10664GK 2GB x 4
    Arctic cooling Freezer 7

    This prices out today at ~470.
  9. DDR2-1066 makes sense if you want to overclock a lot. But then the Freezer is a bad choice, and you should get a HDT-S1283 instead, or something more powerful anyway.

    If you don't want to overclock a lot , downgrade to DDR2-800 and just use the stock cooler, don't buy the Freezer.
  10. It's $16 bucks difference between the 800 and the 1066 and I've dropped the freezer in place of the Xigmatek

    Current price is $415 after mail ins...
  11. I guess you're all set then.

    If you want to upgrade the hard drives check out the 640GB versions from WD and Seagate. That's where the sweet spot for price/size/speed is these days. Those drives will even beat your Raptor when working with large files.

    Good luck with the build!
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