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Photoshop CS5 Questions - Upgrade possible?

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May 19, 2010 9:26:33 PM

My current system is:
INTEL CORE 2 DUO E8400
ASUS P5N-MX DDR2-800 SATA2 PCIe 1333FSB
4gigs of RAM
NVIDIA GEFORCE 7100 256MB VIDEO CARD
Windows XP 32bit

I am a serious amateur photographer and will be primarily using Photoshop. Essentially no games, and some light home movie editing (standard definition, OK to wait for rendering). I've actually be pleased with my system for my work, until upgrading to CS5. I work with large, multiple stiched images for personal use, which end up being several hundred megabytes in size. CS5 is amazing, but some of the new features, content-aware delete, refine edge mask, continually give me the error of "not enough RAM to complete". A longwinded explaination of my uses and problem.

I've read through every thread I could find talking about new system builds for photoshop, but here is my specific question. Is there anything that I can do, short of spending around $1,000 (what most other posters are spending), to get a system that will work for me. I have plenty of hard drives, a nice monitor. I can upgrade to Windows 7 (work can provide license for home use). I have never built my own system before, but have tinkered with enough of the components, that I think it's within my abilities. If I need to buy a new system, I would probably want to spend enough to have it last for the next 3 years, as spending $600 for something for a year doesn't make much sense.

Any thoughts would be very appreciated!
a b B Homebuilt system
May 19, 2010 9:32:57 PM

You can build a PC for ~$800-900 than will handle CS5 quite well.

OR:
You can get Win 7 + may be another set of RAM (total of 8GB) a Quad Core and a 9xxx (ie 9600GT, ~$60-80) graphics card.

Download the CS5 trial and see how that runs and tell us the results.
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May 19, 2010 9:38:31 PM

Unless I'm mistaken, I don't think that my motherboard can accept more than 4 gigs of RAM.
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 19, 2010 10:30:01 PM

^ Ok, I looked at the specs on the board and holy $hit! It's an ancient board (chip set wise) and you, you are correct, no 8GB for you. What's your budget for CPU + RAM + GPU? Btw, what PSU & case?
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May 20, 2010 3:02:38 PM

I ordered the system through ascendtech.us, so I got their generic case and a 650W PSU. From I've now learned from this site, the PSU might have to be replaced for a reputable one.

Budgets are funny things. I would happily spent $200-400 to upgrade my system to make it work for my current needs. Beyond that, I think I'd rather save up and just get a new system which will be better, and last longer. It sounds like I'd need a new motherboard, maybe a new CPU (not sure if I could put my dual core on a new motherboard and upgrade later), RAM, maybe a new PSU (I suspect I will be told that a new one is necessary). I've been using a crappy GPU for several years and haven't noticed any problems. CS5 only uses GPU acceleration for a few things (like zooming). Do I need a new one?

Thanks for your help!
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 20, 2010 3:20:03 PM

You might receive some marginal benefit by upgrading your GPU, but it's unlikely to improve your experience much.

If you went for a new build, you might consider an ATI 5450 or 5670 in order to use Eyefinity or HDMI/DisplayPort outputs, or for DX11 at some point, but it's not really necessary if you're trying to save money. If you watch movies on your computer at all, the newer cards could do full audio bitstreaming over HDMI to your sound system, though that's really not much of a concern for most people.

EDIT: Shadow correctly pointed out that nVidia cards with CUDA can provide additional processing power. Not being a power Photoshop user, I've never needed it. :) 
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 20, 2010 4:11:50 PM

^ You can benefit quite a bit by getting a CUDA enabled card (aka 8xxx and up) when it comes to zooming,etc. This will be mainly helpful if the OP's working with very big images, the smootheness really helps when zooming,etc imo. Also note, if you are using Premere, you can benefit from the GPU acceleration of the Mercury playback engine.

Also, what LCD do you have? You may want to invest is a good LCD and if you don't already have a dual display set up, consider that too.

What you truly need depends on what you are doing. If you are working on very large images at the same time, more RAM and a new board (due to current limitation of 4GB on OPs board) would help out a lot. You should be able to find a good Gigabyte/ASUS P35/P45 board for ~$60-70 which should support 8GB+.
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 20, 2010 4:22:19 PM

The only problem I see with moving to a new board + RAM is that at that point, you might as well just build a new computer...especially if you have to buy a new copy of your OS (which is likely, switching to 64-bit). There's not a lot of point in buying an LGA 775 mobo, even though it's under $100, when you're probably going to be spending another $100 on RAM and another $100 on an OS. Total upgrade cost is then between $250-300, which is approaching the point where you might as well just save up for a new build, though obviously it's up to your individual situation, finances, and whether or not you can stay sane until a new build. :) 

Other than that caveat, I completely agree with Shadow.
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 20, 2010 11:19:04 PM

^ Good point. Considering DDR2 and DDR3 prices are about the same now. Only about a $10-20 difference at best between DDR2 and DDR3 (for 2*2GB kits). Given the fact that a good AM3 board (ie EVO 785G) is about the same price as a P45 it adds more to the fact of doing a full upgrade, perhaps sans HDD, DVD RW, case,etc.
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May 21, 2010 6:16:23 PM

Sorry if this is a stupid question, but I wanted to clarify. If I wanted to keep my current CPU but increase the RAM, I'd have to buy a new motherboard. Is it possible to buy a motherboard that would fit my current CPU but allow for an upgrade to a current i5 or i7? It looks like I need a motherboard that would support LGA 775 socket for my current CPU.

If I'm going to have to upgrade my motherboard, I do think it makes more sense to upgrade my CPU at the same time (unless I can upgrade it later). I have a full sized case, which I don't think I'd need to replace. PSU might need to be replaced. Obviously need more RAM (whole reason this got started). I have hard drives, a 24 inch LCD monitor, DVD drive and burner.

Any specific recommendations for a good EVO 785G motherboard? What type of RAM would it need? Thanks!
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 21, 2010 6:24:10 PM

lysdexic said:
Sorry if this is a stupid question, but I wanted to clarify. If I wanted to keep my current CPU but increase the RAM, I'd have to buy a new motherboard. Is it possible to buy a motherboard that would fit my current CPU but allow for an upgrade to a current i5 or i7? It looks like I need a motherboard that would support LGA 775 socket for my current CPU.


Unfortunately, no. Your current processor is socket 775, as you know. The i5 and the i7-860 are on socket 1156. The other i7s are on socket 1366.


Any specific recommendations for a good EVO 785G motherboard? What type of RAM would it need? Thanks! said:

Any specific recommendations for a good EVO 785G motherboard? What type of RAM would it need? Thanks!


I think you mean AM3 motherboard. EVO 785G is a specific AMD chipset. There are a lot of options out there (unfortunately I don't have the time to dig at the moment, but I'd look at Gigabyte/Asus/?? for anything with USB3 & SATA III), and they all run DDR3.
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