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Killer Photoshop System for under $3000

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August 12, 2009 1:00:45 AM

I have a client who wants me to build him a killer workstation for editing photos and doing graphic design with Photoshop. Total budget is $3000 including monitor and keyboard.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Next Week

BUDGET RANGE: up to $3000

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Photoshop, Illustrator, general productivity/music listening

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg

PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel Corei7

OVERCLOCKING: No

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1200 minimum

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: This is going to be used in an office so I want it to be relatively quiet - I would consider liquid cooled though I have never built one of those before, The quality of the case is really important - it has to look and feel high end quality and not be trashy

More about : killer photoshop system 3000

August 12, 2009 1:09:20 AM

if he is using CS4

17 920
x 58 mb
12 gig of RAM
windows vista or win 7 64 bit

an nice quiet case like the antec P182

as many hard drives as he needs , maybe a RAID 1 mirror

basic quaddro gfx card . Gfx card does not help with image editing so you do not need or want even one gaming gfx card
Related resources
August 12, 2009 1:42:10 AM

505090 said:
Actuary cs4 makes use of the gpu in several ways
http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/405/kb405745.html

And here are the compatible cards
http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/405/kb405745.html

What size files and how many does he plan to have open at the a time?
What are his storage requirements?
- not sure about file size, regular commercial photography though, not posters - right now he has about 800GB of files but I was thinking maybe a couple cheap drives for storage and a faster working drive.... great links by the way, Thanks!
August 12, 2009 1:44:02 AM

505090 said:
Actuary cs4 makes use of the gpu in several ways
http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/405/kb405745.html

And here are the compatible cards
http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/405/kb405745.html

What size files and how many does he plan to have open at the a time?
What are his storage requirements?



both your links are identical
and none of the gpu benefits relate to image processing . They are about image display on a monitor. Some could be useful though and it would be nice to see the support list
August 12, 2009 1:56:08 AM

though i think for 3k he could get dual LGA1366 xeons and 24GB memory
August 12, 2009 4:24:52 AM

I recommend the following monitors for color accuracy:

1. NEC LCD2490WUXiBKSV-BK 24-inch LCD Monitor with SpectraView II Software - roughly $1,200 - $1,300

http://www.provantage.com/nec-display-solutions-lcd2490...

This monitor has a reputation for producing the purest white of any LCD monitor. It is also the only 24" LCD monitor that has standard color gamut which most professional graphics artists prefer. This monitor includes many extra electronic features who's primary purpose is to produce consistent colors throughout the entire monitor. However, it needs to be calibrate, that's what SpectaVision is for.

2. 25.5" inc
h WS LCD 1000:1 1920X1200 LCD2690W2-BK-SV DVI with Sensor & Software - $1,310.

http://www.provantage.com/nec-display-solutions-lcd2690...


This is the successor to the LCD2690WUXi. While this 26" (25.5") monitor shares many of the electronics with it's smaller sibling, the NEC LCD2490WUXiBKSV-BK, this monitor sports wide color gamut which is supposed to allow for more color accurate printed materials. However, wide color gamut generally means colors on screen are more green saturated.

I believe Photoshop is a color-aware program so colors should look fine. However, the problem comes when programs that are not color-aware (cannot adjust colors to sRGB standards) so graphics in a web browser can look a little off.

One major improvement over the older LCD2690WUXi is that in sRGB mode, the color setting can be adjusted in the newer monitor which is helpful for those who want something bigger than the 24" NEC LCD2490WUXi, but still be able to use standard color gamut in sRGB mode.

---------------------------------------------------------------

SpectraView (or SV) is software color-calibration.
August 12, 2009 5:22:54 AM

It may be wise to invest in one of the nice monitors which jaguar suggested.
A monitor doesn't really get outdated, like a computer will, so it can be more of a lasting way to spend money.
August 12, 2009 5:25:38 AM

For a killer setup, I would suggest this...

Mobo - ASUS P6T Deluxe V2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM -
2x OCZ DDR3 1333MHz CAS 7
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CASE - COOLER MASTER ATCS 840 RC - It is one of the best pro looking cases and has pro features too...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU -
Corsair 620HX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Graphics card -
Either of these...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD Setup -
I would suggest this kind of Setup for storage and primary drives...

OS - Intel X25-M Mainstream SSDSA2MH080G2C1 2.5" 80GB Gen2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Scratch disk for CS4
OCZ Vertex 30GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Storage - RAID 10 this drive
Samsung F1 1TB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Display - Dell will be launching the newer 24" ultrasharp display, that boast 100% sRGB coverage and 96% coverage of Adobe RGB...It is an IPS panel, hence better color ...So you might want to check that out too...But it has a 1920X1080 resolution and not 1920X1200...
http://www.gadgetfolder.com/dell-ultrasharp-u2410-lcd-d...
August 12, 2009 5:26:25 AM

Wow! Those are some nice monitors, granted they cost about twice as much as my entire rig did but still. Are there any cheaper ways to get color accuracy? I do a lot of web and graphical design work myself so true color would be nice, but if it has to cost that much i think i will stick to my skewed color scheme.
August 12, 2009 6:44:57 AM

Outlander_04 said:
both your links are identical
and none of the gpu benefits relate to image processing . They are about image display on a monitor. Some could be useful though and it would be nice to see the support list



Well in addition to being much easier to work with and reducing lag in your workspace, the following processing is off loaded to the gpu

Filtered viewing of non square pixel images: Select View > Pixel Aspect Ratio from the Menu to open a selection of non-square viewing filters. Those filters leverage GPU processing power and they do not destroy the pixels on the image.


Move ACE to the GPU: Every color conversion in Photoshop CS4 is faster because the processing is done by the GPU rather than by the CPU.
August 12, 2009 9:41:53 AM

Here is a H-IPS panel 8-bits Monitor that is wide (92%) gamut, and is very good that you should also check out.
PLANAR PX2611W Black 26" 5ms (GTG) Widescreen LCD Monitor w/ Height & Swivel Adjustments
3-year Customer First™ warranty with FREE 2-Day Advance Replacement for three years including prepaid shipping both ways.

Price : $757.60 and $24.95 for shipping.
http://www.provantage.com/planar-systems-997-3497-00~7P...

August 12, 2009 9:50:54 AM

505090 said:
Well in addition to being much easier to work with and reducing lag in your workspace, the following processing is off loaded to the gpu

Filtered viewing of non square pixel images: Select View > Pixel Aspect Ratio from the Menu to open a selection of non-square viewing filters. Those filters leverage GPU processing power and they do not destroy the pixels on the image.


Move ACE to the GPU: Every color conversion in Photoshop CS4 is faster because the processing is done by the GPU rather than by the CPU.



have you checked the card list? Its covers just about every gfx card in production , including the quaddro series I reccomended which will have better more stable drivers and are clocked lower than equivalent gaming gpu's
August 12, 2009 12:54:29 PM

go with nvidia 9600gso or 9800gt to use gpu
August 12, 2009 1:45:45 PM

What are everyone's thoughts on i7 vs. Xeon for photoshop, or the nvidia quadro cards vs. enthusiast or game cards?
August 12, 2009 1:48:40 PM

+1 for a large chunk of that budget going towards the monitor.

If he works purely digitally, then avoid monitors with "wide color gamut". These are the ones with ~90+% Adobe RGB color gamut. Beware companies touting this as a purely bigger-number-is-better marketing strategy. These monitors do not help at all if you work purely in the digital space (no printing), as they wreak havok on non-color-aware programs, and over-saturate colors.

the 2490wuxi is a "standard gamut" monitor, and is thus good for professionals whose final work will be displayed digitally.

However, wide gamut can be very useful for Print designers, as it can match a larger percentage of the color space, and can very accurately reflect what the image will look like on paper.

Regardless, look for a monitor that is easily calibrated, and a good-quality Colorimeter / calibration software.

Photoshop, as far as graphics programs go, is not THAT intensive, and you would be far better suited spending money on a high-quality professional LCD with accurate colors and enough HDD storage than going wild on the graphics card/ram/processor. With a $3000 budget, you should be able to afford a professional quality monitor >24".

If you were strapped for cash and needed accurate colors, you could always go for a CRT.
August 12, 2009 1:53:50 PM

i7 and a gaming card should be more than enough.

Photoshop doesn't suffer from as many gaming-card related bugs as intensive 3D programs like 3dMax and Maya. The Quadro cards are much slower per price-point.

I'd just google up some photoshop forums and see if there is any talk about which cards/drivers have the least issues.

Again, dual-xeon would be overkill. You're not doing massive fluid/particle simulations.
August 12, 2009 6:32:37 PM

As eaclou said, Xeon is mostly for very high end applications that just need brute processing power. This is why they are used generally in servers, because that is simply what they do.

The new X58 Xeons are admittedly nice, but I believe, do not quote me on this one, that they require ECC (error checking) RAM, which will be quite a bit more expensive. The budget is huge, but you can help put that in other areas that are important to an editor, like the monitor, and maybe even a small array of SSDs.

Adobe programs are CPU hungry, but, any Nehalem chip should be more than enough to pull it off. I have a couple of the older Adobe programs on a Pentium Dual Core and they do fine. CS4 is a bit of a different story....but an i7 should be enough.
August 12, 2009 8:14:48 PM

eaclou said:
i7 and a gaming card should be more than enough.

Photoshop doesn't suffer from as many gaming-card related bugs as intensive 3D programs like 3dMax and Maya. The Quadro cards are much slower per price-point.

I'd just google up some photoshop forums and see if there is any talk about which cards/drivers have the least issues.

Again, dual-xeon would be overkill. You're not doing massive fluid/particle simulations.



the quaddro's are slower per price thats true , but they have better drivers for this usage . The OP wont need anything more than the entry level model anyway so cost wont be a huge factor .
August 13, 2009 12:35:50 AM

Yoosty said:
Here is a H-IPS panel 8-bits Monitor that is wide (92%) gamut, and is very good that you should also check out.
PLANAR PX2611W Black 26" 5ms (GTG) Widescreen LCD Monitor w/ Height & Swivel Adjustments
3-year Customer First™ warranty with FREE 2-Day Advance Replacement for three years including prepaid shipping both ways.

Price : $757.60 and $24.95 for shipping.
http://www.provantage.com/planar-systems-997-3497-00~7P...


The Planar PX2611w is a good alternative if your client is going to balk at a $1,200+ monitor. I recommended this monitor to a friend of mine last year who does professional digital graphics. He was not put off about the fact that it is a wide gamut monitor.


I own both NEC LCD2690WUXi and Planar PX2611w (which I just bought about 6 - 7 weeks ago) in a dual monitor setup (Note to self: I must be insane to spend $2,000+ just on monitors). Of the two I prefer to use the NEC on a daily basis while relegating the Planar for use to watch video while surfing the net or doing research on my NEC.

The NEC monitors I recommended are the preferred choice if color accuracy is imperative because of the extra features such as:

- 12-bit LUT => Color Look Up Table which allows the NEC to choose from a color pallet of over 68 billion colors for improved accuracy. Only 16.7m can ever be displayed though since they still use an 8-bit LCD panel.

- Color Comp => Used in conjunction with the 12-bit LUT to digitally correct color imperfections (due to LCD panel imperfections or excessive backlight bleeding) for improved color uniformity.


Below are reviews of the NEC monitor which I suggest your client reads so that he can select the best one for his needs:

NEC LCD2690WUXi:
http://www.prad.de/en/monitore/review/2007/review-nec-l...

NEC LCD2490WUXi-BK:
http://www.prad.de/en/monitore/review/2009/review-nec-2...

There are no reviews of the newer NEC LCD2690W2-BK-SV, however, I believe it has been unofficially reviewed by ToastyX in the display section of the following forum:
www.Hardforum.com


================================

Regarding the suggestion to wait for the Dell UltraSharp U2410 that is coming out in the near future...

Never, absolutely never, buy an unproven monitor for professional graphics application because you will not know of any weakness up coming monitors may have. Finding out about potential make or break issues with a monitor after purchasing it is the worst thing to do. On top of that, telling a client to wait for a new monitor to come out when he needs something very soon is a good way to loose that client.
!