Getting Photoshop CS4 to perform well on a Dell Optiplex GX620 MT

I've been lurking for a long time, and I would value your advice on this issue. I recently installed PS CS4 and came to the realization that my machine is aging. Specifically, I can't use the new PS openGl goodness. I'm a graphics designer, not a gamer. Not sure how relevant that is. Here are my specs:

Dell Optiplex GX620 Mini tower (305W PSU)
ATI Radeon X600
Catalyst driver ver 8.593-090312a
Windows XP SP3

My options as I see them:
A) Upgrade the PSU and purchase a new video card. The location of the PCIE16x socket leaves me with few options (7" distance from the CPU plastic housing to the rear of the machine). I understand, of course, that CPU and OS play a roll in the upgrade-ability.

B) Keep the 305W and possibly find a replacement card that doesn't melt the PSU, and will still give decent performance. I've been content w/ this machine until I installed CS4.

C) Find some crazy combination of configuration settings for the X600 and the new driver that will please Photoshop (if it's possible).
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  1. If I remember correctly, CS4 used some 1.2 OGL shader specs. right? If that's the case, then your card should do the trick.

    Now, if it uses DX9c shaders (SM3), you'll need something from the Radeon X1800 / GF 7800 era.

    Don't think you can find those cards new these days, but you can find cheap replacements for the specs you need from those cards:

    Ati Radeons: 4650, 4670, 5470, 5670 (in case you want to watch some HD videos or some, from cheaper to more expensive). nVidia cards I can think of: 8400GS, 8500GS, 9500GT, 9600GT. I'm sure there are other cards, but those are the ones I can think of now. All of those are OGL 2.x and DX9c or later.

  2. Thanks, Yuka. I appreciate the info.

    The 9500GT looks like a good candidate for me. Mainly because of its compact size (in addition to the specs). I'm not up to speed with regards to the different manufacturers, but this one apears to be popular:

    EVGA 01G-P3-N959TR GeForce 9500 GT 1GB DDR2 PCI-Express 2.0

    The manufacturer recommends a 350W PSU, so my 305W won't cut it. I had planned on installing a Thermaltake TR2 500W (W0379RU). Overkill. I'll look for a nice 400W.

    Unless I'm overlooking something that just screams "sucker!" to someone else with more knowledge, this will probably be my choice.

    It's a long road from the old days of "Paint Shop Pro v.7".
  3. Along with the PSU/GPU upgrade, bring the machine up to 4gb for a few dollars more...
  4. Yeah, +1 to marcellis22. Since you'll work a lot with large pictures I assume, you'll need more RAM than 2GB; maybe a SSD drive would be a great idea also (expensive though).

    Anyway, the 9500GT ain't gonna use a lot of power, so a regular brand should be enough, but your Dell should have a decent quality one. Try first with it, but if your PC can't start up, get a PSU.

    And yeah, I loved JPSP; I had from v5 to v8. Now I use Paint.NET for pretty much everything, or GIMP.

  5. Yip. A 4G RAM upgrade is in the picture. Great attention to detail, marcellis22. Thanks!

    OK, then. We'll give this a shot and see what happens.

    You know, it's sad, really. I absolutely love Inkscape, and I use it for all kinds of work. Great, great program. Between and GIMP (especially with the upcoming changes to the interface for old fuds like myself), I have all the tools that I really need. They work great on not much horsepower, and I can donate what I think they're worth. Lots of filters and plugins help keep things fresh. The *only* reason I'm feeding the Adobe monster is for insurance in case my current job evaporates. Although I wouldn't want to work in a shop that discouraged me from using my own choice of tools, it still felt like a liability not to have "Photoshop" on my resume. Yeesh.

    You'd think I would've watched enough "After School Specials" not to let peer pressure get the better of me.

    Many muchos grouchos for your input, guys!
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