Budget Graphic Design Computer

Rad techie friends, hello. I'm a graphic designer (print and web) considering going down the freelance path. My HP tablet (d'oh!) is not up to following me down that path, however, so I'm looking into investing in a reliable desktop. As my own tech-savviness is inconsistent, my build will mainly be put together by my cousins who are computer-building hobbiests. I'm just not sure I trust them completely, so I'd love some external advice.

Purchase Date: Feb-Mar

Budget: 500-800 (lower the better!); rebates if I have to, but I'd rather not

System Usage:
- Ideally I could run 3 Adobe CS4 apps (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, DW & Flash--no video editing), as well as Firefox/etc, without seeing a slowdown.
- I have an HDTV (1080i), but no cable or antenna (I live next to a hill), so I need a setup that's also friendly to HD streaming for Hulu/Netflix as well as playing movies from a Blu-Ray drive (depending on price, the actual drive may be a future add-on).
- Not much of a gamer unless I get really bored, then I'll rock some Sims 3. Other than that it's just web stuff and so forth.

Monitor Resolution: 22" 1680x1050 monitor + HDTV via HDMI

I don't need specific component suggestions just yet, unless you have something great in mind, just your opinions about where I should be putting my money. Specifically, I'm on the fence about the processor, graphics card and whether I need more than 4GB of memory. I don't want to invest money into improvements I won't even notice.

Your help is appreciated!
1 answer Last reply
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  1. Quote:

    My HP tablet (d'oh!) is not up to following me down that path,


    That's a sign that your software is too power hungry. You're running some latest software on the oldest hardware. CS4? In this case, you could just run software that's at least 1-gen older & not upgrade hardware. Like CS3. I've met people who still run XP.

    Here you are:

    --
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    Antec Sonata III 500 Black 0.8mm cold rolled steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 500W Power Supply

    Antec Sonata III 500 Black 0.8mm cold rolled steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 500W Power Supply - Retail
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    Return Policy: Limited Replacement Only Return Policy

    -$50.00 Instant


    $149.99
    $99.99

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    SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5

    SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
    Item #: N82E16822152181
    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

    -$5.00 Instant


    $54.99
    $49.99

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    GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard

    GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
    Item #: N82E16813128392
    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

    -$10.00 Instant
    $10.00 Mail-in Rebate Card13-128-392

    $84.99
    $74.99

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    SAPPHIRE 100296HDMI Radeon HD 4670 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card

    SAPPHIRE 100296HDMI Radeon HD 4670 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - Retail
    Item #: N82E16814102855
    Return Policy: VGA Standard Return Policy

    Protect Your Investment (expand for options14-102-855|hide options14-102-855)

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    The product will be replaced and shipped directly to you at no charge(more info14-102-855.0.18)

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    * 2 year: $16.99

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    OCZ Gold Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3G10664GK

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    AMD Athlon II X3 435 Rana 2.9GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Processor Model ADX435WFGIBOX

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    LG Black 8X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 40X CD-ROM SATA Internal Combo LG Blu-ray Reader & 16X LightScribe DVD±R DVD Burner

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    --
    newegg.com

    Sims 3 is a very flexible game that can run on almost anything. The HD 4670 is more than enough for the game and it has HDMI. Also, will come in handy when you're doing stills in Photoshop & Illustrator.

    If you don't have an OS, get W7 64bit which can support more than 4 gigs of memory.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116754

    If you want bigger storage, this:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152185

    You can get a quad core cpu, but your usage won't make good use of it.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=40000343&Description=am3%20x4&name=Processors%20-%20Desktops&ActiveSearchResult=True
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