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Upgrade parts for photo editing

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April 3, 2010 11:17:36 AM

Hi,

I'm looking to upgrade parts of my computer and would like some suggestions please! I don't use it for gaming, just work and increasingly photo editing. The current set up is running slowly in Lightroom and Photoshop and has hung a couple of times so I think I need to upgrade parts.

I'm new to all this - first time replacing parts other then RAM - so I'd be grateful for any suggestions!

Many thanks in advance

Andrew

Answers to the template questions below:

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: as soon as possible

BUDGET RANGE: not sure - am open to suggestions. I have been looking more in the budget section of hardware guides on this site rather than the more expensive ones though to put it in context!

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: photo editing in photoshop and lightroom. I don't use it for games. Hopefully this will help keep the cost down (crossing fingers!)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: list below

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: dont mind - I'm UK based so will shop around
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: UK

PARTS PREFERENCES: no preference - don't know enough about the differences between the different companies

OVERCLOCKING: No unless someone spells out in fool proof steps what I need to do...

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: I don't know what this is!

MONITOR RESOLUTION: details below, current monitor does HDMI

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: quiet would be good! As described below, I would like to reuse my DDR2 memory if possible, appropriate and sensible. I have 6GB in DDR2 which should be more than enough so it would obviously save me some cash if I can reuse it. However, if this is a silly idea I'm open to being persuaded otherwise. I'm also intrigued by the USB3 talk as I do lots of USB transfers so (assuming USB3 on a motherboard will speed things up and it doesn't require special USB3 devices) this could be appealing.


This is what I currently have in my PC:

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit

Intel(R) Pentium(R) Dual CPU E2160 @ 1.80GHz

ASUS P5VD2-VM motherboard - http://www.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=2sYAtam7ng8vCngf

2 x DDR 2-5300 2GB. I also have 2 x 1GB DDR2 sticks which I'm not using as there isn't space in the motherboard. One issue here is that the motherboard will only recognise 3GB out of the 4 - nothing to do with 64bit OS, just the motherboard. ASUS forums recognise this as a limitation. http://vip.asus.com/forum/topic.aspx?board_id=1&model=P...

NVIDIA GeForce 9400 GT 512 MB

High Definition Audio Device and SB X-Fi Xtreme Audio

I have two hard drives (Maxtor 6L160M0 152GB and WDC WD5000A 465GB) plus a 1TB Buffalo LinkStation Mini NAS drive so I'm happy with all of this

I have a new BENQ G2222HDL monitor with DVI-D input so I also don't need this replaced

Speakers, mouse, keyboard I'm also fine with what I have

I think there's a 650W power supply and the case is a pretty large one.

Also randomly have a ASUS Silent Knight cooling fan - not quite sure why though!

More about : upgrade parts photo editing

April 3, 2010 12:25:17 PM

Photoshop (and I'm supposing Lightroom is similar as well) is very CPU heavy. The fastest CPU that your motherboard supports is a Core 2 Duo Extreme X6800, which, well, aren't very cheap. The second fastest would be the Core 2 Duo E6700, but really with Photoshop, quad cores are the way to go. As for RAM - I reckon 4GB should be sufficient for Photoshop, AFAIK only video editing requires heavy amounts such as 6GB+.

Photoshop supports video acceleration, but I'm not sure by how much, so I'd just keep the same graphics card. I'm hinting towards a new system. If you really want to keep it cheap, you could just buy a new CPU and motherboard, and keep everything else, however, I suggest you buy a new CPU, motherboard and RAM and keep everything else.
A very good Photoshop system would be an Intel Core i5 750, a Gigabyte P55A-UD3(R) motherboard with SATA III and USB 3.0, and a simple 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 kit. Altogether, that system would cost $194.99 + $134.99 + $119.99 = $449.97USD. I'm not sure how much it would cost in the UK though.

I though you might like to know this, but CrossFireX and SLI is simply using two or more ATI (CFX) or nVidia (SLI) cards at the same time to boost gaming performance. The motherboard I chose for you doesn't fully support those two, but I didn't think you'd mind considering that you're only going to be using this computer for Photoshop and Lightroom work.
April 4, 2010 9:21:16 AM

Thanks very much for that!

If I were to choose a set up which would enable me to keep my DDR2 RAM, what would you recommend? And what level of performance difference do you think this might make?

Or am I just being too cheap and for the sake of $120 should I make an investment which will pay off in the long term?

Thanks!

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April 4, 2010 2:51:31 PM

One thing that I haven't seen mentioned is that you might want to buy a color calibrator. True color reproduction will help in your creative works. Normally I would recommend you buy an IPS panel based monitor. But since your monitor is a new tn panel. Just calibrate it.

As for the rest of your system, I would upgrade for more processing power. I know that the Core i7 is king of performance right now. But you said you are trying to stay to a budget. maybe these;


AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition
http://www.amazon.co.uk/AMD-Phenom-Black-Quad-Core-Proc...

M4N78 PRO
http://www.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=lco8LZWTqWIhdLmv

Buffalo USB 3.0 PCI Express Interface Card
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Buffalo-USB-Express-Interface-C...

Pantone huey™PRO
http://www.pantone.com/pages/products/product.aspx?pid=...


Thats what I would upgrade. Have fun with the photo editing
!