Photoshop Users Only

I want to build a new system optimized to run Photoshop 6. So I would really appreciate recommendations (from PS users) as to the best 'PS platform' (CPU, Motherboard, RAM, HDs, and of course, Video). And yes, I did read the recent X-bit article on this subject.

I realize that some new CPUs and mobo chipsets and are supposed to be arriving this Fall, but do you think it's really worth waiting for (while my 3-year old PII system 'limps along')???

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  1. Have a look here, and judge for yourself:

    Consider the filters / actions that you use regulary. If you have money to burn, a dual Athlon MP is the fastest platform for the job. A single Athlon MP 1.2 would be more cost effective. Even more than a regular Atlhon 1.4. The P4 1.7 performs close to the Athlon MP. If cost is no objection a dual P4 would be a nice setup as well (though a waste of money if you ask me).

    If you work on large files, RAID 0 helps a lot to. Get yourself at least 2 (if you can afford it, 4) 7200 rpm drives, and create a RAID stripeset.

    Memory, depends again on the size of your files. IT wont help a lot to have 512+Mb RAM if you work on 1 Mb files. But it wont hurt either (especially with current prices). I find 256 Mb to be more than adequate for my PS use (10-30 Mb files).

    For 2D video, Matrox and ATI have very good reputations. Consider a dual monitor setup; its really nice to have one screen with all the toolbars and stuff, while working on your primary screen. And as you already know.. it cant be big enough.

    ---- Owner of the only Dell computer with a AMD chip
  2. Let me start with your 2nd question first (i.e., is it worth waiting until Fall?). Well, while the desktop Athlon 4's (with 'Photoshop friendly' SSE) are now scheduled for late September, you can actually buy one (under the Athlon 'MP' name) right now. Other than the Athlon 4's faster 1.5GHz clock compared to the MP's 1.2GHz clock, they have the very same core and features. The new Athlon mobos will be those based on the SIS 735 and nForce chipsets and are rumored to arrive in the Aug-Sept time-frame. While they have been hyped quite a bit, so was the KT266 boards, and now we see that they don't provide any better performance than the AMD 761s. As for Intel, Northwood (and its mobos) will be about the only thing really new, and that's not expected until Nov-Dec. So my (long-winded) answer to your first question is 'don't get caught up in the waiting game'.

    Getting to your first question about platform selection, here is an observation and some suggestions. My wife has an AMD-based (1gig TBird) system and I have an Intel-based (1gig P3) system. Besides different mobos, the rest of the two systems are configured identically, including Win2K. We run Photoshop on each of these systems and I have to admit that my wife's T-bird performs most PS operations a little faster than my system (in spight of the expected SSE advantage of my P3)! So, I say get an Athlon-based system with an AMD 761 DDR board (they are very mature at this point) and PC2100 DIMMs.

    As you know, PS loves memory and since I'm scanning 35mm at high res., and manipulating the images before printing out 8 x 10s, I find that 512MB works well (more would probably be better).

    Get 2 fast IDE HD's (SCSI would be better, but I'm not so sure they are worth their additional cost). In either case get 2 drives as PS works faster when it's 'scratch disk' is on another spindle.

    Finally, if this PC will not be used for 3D/games, I highly recommend the Matrox G450 graphics card (unbeatable for 2D) with a high quality monitor (at least 19"). A 2nd monitor would be nice and it could very well be the one you have now.

    Of course, since PS is multi-threaded, a dual CPU (SMP) system would fly - but now you are getting into big $$$ :tongue: (I'm drooling)!

    Hope you made it through all of this!

    <b>Edit</b> I got so long-winded, bbaeyens slipped in ahead of me (and with similar ideas)! I don't know if RAID is worth it, but I otherwise agree completely.
    <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by pvsurfer on 07/10/01 02:10 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
  3. It depends on the work you do, the plug-ins you use, and how much cash you have to spend.

    Most advancements in video cards are for 3D even old video cards with fast memory like VRAM work fine for most things. I currently use a ATI RADEON 64MB DDR.

    A hard drive with fast access time like an IBM would be recommended.

    The Intel P4 has quicker memory speed, so I would recommend that if you have the cash.
    The Athlon has a quicker processing time and cheaper RAM.
    Of course nothing would be faster that a dual Athlon MP if you got the cash.

    I personally went with the Athlon.
    Photoshop 6 runs very well on my Athlon 1.2GHz and 1GB of RAM.

    - I got a board too:
  4. Thanks a lot for your reply and especially for that very appropriate and informative link! I came away from that article with the impression that SSE plays a more important role than dual-processing in PS, and considering the costs, the perfomance/$ ratio is much better with SSE!

    No, I don't have money to burn (as I will also be ugrading my scanner and printer)! So I don't think I'll be getting a dual Athlon MP system, especially considering that the price of the Tyan board is outrageous! For the very same reason, I think a P4 system (with its RIMM requirement) would be a waste of money compared to an Athlon system.

    I do work on large files and I will be getting a new 35mm scanner, so I expect my average image file will be anywhere from 30MB to 70MB, depending on the scanner resolution.

    Many of your other comments are in sync with the other replies, but you did not give an opinion as to whether I should wait for the next 'wave' of cpu's and boards (coming in Sept). What's your feelings on that?
  5. I didn't mind your "long-winded" reply, on the contrary, I appreciate the thought and time that went into it.

    I found all of your comments very interesting and appropriate, especially your first-hand comparison between your wife's system and your own.

    Thanks also for giving me your thoughts about "not playing the waiting game". I guess we are all tempted to do that whenever buying new equipment, but that temptation often leads to waiting forever!

    Thanks again!!!
  6. Chris: Thanks for your reply.

    Glad to read that your comments are pretty much in agreement with the others above.

    Do you agree with pvsurfer about not bothering to wait for the new motherboards, etc., coming this Fall? I kind of believe his point is well taken.
  7. be thankful your not working on 300Mb+ .WAV files :)
    i thought i would never fill up my 512mb when i upgraded...
    untill my sister wanted all her valuable LP's mastered to CD.
    *rolls eyes*
    guess who had to do that

    AMD chips run hot. The world is getting hotter. Therefore, AMD is causing Global Warming!
  8. "300Mb+ .WAV files"? ...really?
    All I can say is "Holy RAM Batman"!
  9. yeah. and its the best way of doing it ive found.
    1. play the record
    2. record the line in input as cd quality wav file.
    3. edit wav file (300mb per recored usually)
    4. remove pops, clicks & as much noise as possible without degrading or muting out the music
    5. cut the big wav down into individual songs and save.
    6. compile tracks & burn!

    AMD chips run hot. The world is getting hotter. Therefore, AMD is causing Global Warming!
  10. buy has more mhz
  11. >but you did not give an opinion as to whether I should
    >wait for the next 'wave' of cpu's and boards (coming in >Sept). What's your feelings on that?

    You can always wait. I mean, even it would be worth waiting for Northwood / A4 / nForce / SiS / .. people will say 'wait for proces to drop'.. and once prices did drop, they'll you to wait for the next generation. Computer components have never been cheaper than today. You really cant go wrong today, however I would also suggest getting a AMD761 board to accomodate your Athlon MP. Its a very nice chipset. What nForce might bring, is especially usefull to gamers, not so much for PS users.

    > considering that the price of the Tyan board is outrageous

    Its actually reasonably priced for what you get (integrated everything, including dual SCSI, NIC, video, 64bit PCI..etc). But its a server oriented MB for sure.

    ---- Owner of the only Dell computer with a AMD chip
  12. Quote:
    buy has more mhz

    Why are you saying that? Do you think a 1 GHz Athlon, a 1GHz P3 and a P4 clocked down to 1GHz would perform exactly the same? Of course not!

    My Athlon can beat your Ferrari off the line.
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