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New Work Station Help and Suggestions Please?

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August 23, 2012 2:06:10 AM

Hi Guys,

I'm having some troubles getting work done at my work and i was wondering what would be the best steps to take?

First i'll explain my position/occupation:
Marketing Administrator/Professional Graphic Designer for a large farming company. my job is to make advertisments for my local branch and surrounding branches in my state. I have to do things like design vertical pull up banners, newspaper ad's, sinage designs, moderate web content and adverts and occasional IT jobs. even things like animations, radio commercials and flyers.

Second i'll explain my programs and problems.
Programs:
Adobe Photoshop CS5.5
Adobe Illustrator CS5.5
Adobe InDesign CS5.5
Adobe Flash Professional CS5.5
Microsoft Outlook

Our Browsers at work are set default to IE so i cant change that.
Ok what im experiencing is pretty much your standard "Comp is too slow" deal.

I'd prefer to be able to at least have Illustrator and photoshop running at once with of course Outlook and IE, maybe a few folders here and there.
Im thinking what i could do is request a new computer but build it myself with some better gear such as an SSD for my Adobe programs, at least 8GB of ram and a low end GPU that could support 2 x 24" monitors set to 1920x1080 one of them being a Wacom Cintiq 24HD.

A big problem with this lies in the fact that we are still running Windows XP that will only allow i think up to 3.5Gb of Ram? However, I was wondering if i got windows 7 professional i could run the programs that need windows xp on the xp mode? also, what problems would I encounter with things like networking?

Any other ideas would be greatly appreciated. I just dont want to have to get the boss to pay $1000 for a rig from the IT professionals that in reality would only cost $600

Keep in mind that i am a really patient person so slight lag wouldnt usually phase me but when you have enough time to press print on a document, walk to the printer maybe 50 meters away, put the desired amount of paper in the tray then walk back and check an email before it has even been sent to the printer it starts to interrupt workflow. even with just illustrator open doing a big banner job about the size of a door it becomes unresponsive and terribly laggy. i have even tried changing the view to just skeleton so all i can see is black outlines and it doesnt make much of a difference.

I think most of my problem will be with my CPU for multitasking, but at the same time having illustrator and photoshop open at once does sap a great deal of ram so its really a bit of everything.

Quick Responses will be greatly appreciated as always.

Cheers everyone.
August 23, 2012 6:13:27 AM

or could anyone suggest a website where i could ask this question? maybe this isnt an appropriate question for this forum?
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August 30, 2012 12:09:27 AM

*Bump* sorry guys i thought i'd bump this thread once and try get an answer.
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September 10, 2012 12:52:04 AM

I guess we have been a bit short handed lately. I'll answer your questions if you like.
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September 10, 2012 1:12:21 AM

That would be great :)  I wouldnt say no to any advice you might have.
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September 10, 2012 4:22:23 AM

Well, obviously if your current hardware is from the XP era, then you would see a nice improvement.

As far as Win 7 Professional and XP mode go, yes you can do that... but NOT with any programs that need a lot of GPU support. It's a virtual machine, or VM, and so hardware integration is limited.

Generally speaking, a workstation for that sort of thing runs more like $2-3000. Not that you won't see big gains, but professional WS builds tend to run more.

While a dedicated graphics card might help, I think given your budget you can avoid one for now.

Bare hardware would be an i7 CPU... maybe a 3770. H77 motherboard. 16GB of memory, 2x8GB 1600Mhz 1.5V CL 11 or better. Intel 520 SSD, 128 GB... or Samsung 830.

Seasonic S12II PSU, 520W in case you end up getting a big GPU at some point.

Whatever storage drives you need... I'm guessing your office has adequate server/backup hardware available.

I don't think you will have any networking problems. Unless you have some old server software running backups. You might want to confirm modern printer drivers :p 

And sorry it took a while... you may have noticed a pretty good space of downtime with the forum just now. Not sure what happened yet.
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September 10, 2012 5:07:21 AM

Cheers for that man. well the programs im using for xp are just maintainance programs, for doing things like checking customer contact details and whatnot. they would really only require CPU and ram power right? i am able to run all of my adobe suite on windows 7 so i wouldnt have to emulate them. as for a GPU i was thinking maybe something not too high end but maybe a 660ti or even just a GT640.

im thinking the major upgrades would have to be CPU, RAM and an SSD but i guess everything else will have to be upgraded along with it to accommodate the new hardware?
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September 10, 2012 5:24:39 AM

Sure on the GPU, if you want to have the boost from CUDA. Most of your work does not require a big GPU to draw to the screen. It's the computational boost the GPUs bring to certain programs that make them popular with video editors.

GTX 550ti gets some nods for a good inexpensive CUDA card. You have no need to get the latest thing.

Check your CRM program for virtual XP comppatibility, since it has to access the database from inside that VM. Should be fine, but it's a detail.

Or just keep the old desktop and get a KVM switch.
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September 10, 2012 5:43:23 AM

KVM switch? sorry i wont waste your time getting you to answer that, i'll just research it.

ah so im looking at ordering all my gear from pccasegear.com in Aus. They offer a fairly large range of choices in terms of popular/commercial brands and enthusiast brands. i was looking at getting a coolermaster elite 431 plus case which includes a 500w PSU, but seeing as you suggested buying a seasonic is there a good reason to get it apart from the obvious fact of increased quality and efficiency?

Also, my current case is too slim for my liking and would only accommodate a low profile card, so a bigger case like this would also benefit me.

(edit)
quickly looked up KVM switch, i hadn't even heard of one before today, but ill definitely keep that in mind!
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September 10, 2012 6:23:20 AM

Aha I see where I went wrong "branch and surrounding branches in my state". :)  You say state, I think US.

Yep they are usually the go to store for folks down your way. MSY has better prices but I hear the customer support is REALLY bad.

There are almost no PSUs that come with cases that are acceptable. You would be surprised how carefully the big computer brands choose power supplies... they may look like generic units, but they are all made by serious manufacturers like Delta, Seasonic, or at least FSP. See the PSU guide linked in my sig to learn more.

If you must you can get the Corsair CX500
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
But really you should aim a bit higher.... not much available though. Perhaps the Antec 520, very similar internally to the one I recommended
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

You could get the 371 case.
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

But I recommend another fan in the front
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

CPU
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Board ASRock B75
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

G.skill RAM
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

SSD Samsung 830
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
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September 10, 2012 6:31:16 AM

What do you think out of the H77 PRO4 MVP over the B75?
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September 10, 2012 6:52:08 AM

Yep looks like that B75 doesn't have the internal USB 3 header. The H77 does.
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September 10, 2012 7:15:02 AM

Ok this is what i have put together so far.

Samsung 830 Series 128GB SSD Retail Box $110.00
G.Skill F3-10600CL9D-16GBNT 16GB (2x8GB) DDR3 $85.00
GELID Silent 12 120mm Silent Fan $7.00
CoolerMaster Elite 371 USB3 Window $49.00
Antec High Current Gamer 520W Power Supply HCG-520 $85.00
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64bit with SP1 OEM $139.00
LG GH24NS90 24x SATA DVD-RW Drive OEM $22.00
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 550 Ti 1GB $125.00
Intel Core i7 3770 $305.00
ASRock H77-PRO4-MVP Motherboard $99.00
Sub-total = $1,026
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September 10, 2012 8:17:16 AM

It's a strong system given your prices. Are you going to need further storage drives? The SSD will hold your programs, but video files will use it up fast.
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September 10, 2012 8:37:17 AM

video files arent a problem as I dont do any video editing.
I might consider getting a seagate 1tb for storage as my files do pool very quickly. and i'd rather have backups of all of my files, or at least the big ones. a big part of getting this system is that it will allow me to have more programs open at once. having to save a file, close illustrator, open it in photoshop to make an adjustment then back to illustrator really limits my work time. especially now that i am being trained to take care of my branches IT troubles, its just too hard to take care of my primary job and help with IT when your workstation is unresponsive and slow :/ 

Edit:
maybe small chopped video files to incorperate in flash animations but apart from that there should be next to none.
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September 10, 2012 9:21:08 AM

With an SSD and a modern processor you are going to find out that there are no wait times :)  Open and close programs as you like. 15 second boot times, or less.

Just now I opened a Word document. Under 4 seconds to fire up Office and open the doc. And that's with a slightly slower CPU and a slower Intel SSD.

Starting Open Office and getting to a fresh doc was about 2 seconds.
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September 11, 2012 12:07:00 AM

Very nice! theyre the kind of times that i'm looking for :)  at home i have built my own fairly high end rig, well it was mid-high end early last year haha and i included an SSD, its amazing the small amount of load times an SSD can crank out, especially with your OS installed on one. Cheers for the help Proximon, i may keep this thread open for maybe the next two weeks if thats ok? i should be ordering the workstation then and i might need someone to help troubleshoot any problems if needed if thats ok with you?

Thanks a ton!

(edit)
Ah sorry, just another question as to why you prefer intel and samsung SSD's?
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September 11, 2012 1:03:18 AM

Reliability. Intel, Samsung, and Crucial have an excellent SSD track record. They put quite a bit of work into those products as well and they always stand out in various ways from the pack.
The newest offerings from OCZ are promising, but the company has a philosophy that permits a higher percentage of failures for new hardware. So the possibility of receiving a bad SSD jumps a few percentage points when you buy from them... that is also true for their PSUs and used to be true for their RAM before they got out of the business. There is nothing sinister about that, it's just a business model I choose not to encourage.

Yes, as long as you don't select a best answer the thread stays open. Or, you can just start a new thread and send me a PM.
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September 19, 2012 12:16:34 AM

Apparentrly getting funds for a new computer takes quite a lot longer than initially expected haha might be two or so weeks from now hopefully.
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!