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Old Nov 29, 2005, 6:33 PM   #1
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I use a 20D and shoot hundreds of photos a week (I do surfing photography) which leaves me with a lot of Photoshopping to do. I've been using afairly old computer with an Athlon 1100 mhz processor. Yep, pretty slow. I'm finallyready to upgrade to a new system but don't know what I should get.

First question,PC or Mac?

Second question, if PC, what type of processor? I would like to start shooting RAW and using the RAW editing software. Your opinions/experiences would be very helpful.



Rob K

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Old Nov 29, 2005, 10:59 PM   #2
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You can buy more horsepower for your dollar with a PC than a MAC.

Obviously an Athlon 1100 mhz is a pretty slow machine.

You should be able to get a 3 gigahertzPC relatively cheaply these days.

Also memory is a consideration so you want at least 1 gigabyte of memory or maybe more.

Check with some serious photoshop types to find out how much memory makes sense.

I don't know which processor is better.

Keep in mind that the 64 bit machines will be coming out soon, and eventually software will be upgraded to make use of the 64 bit processing.

Your probably looking at a PC that might last you four years before your tempted to upgrade again, so maybe don't break the bank on this one.

Consider also a 7200 rpm 250gb or 300gb second drive to hold your photos.

-- Terry


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Old Nov 30, 2005, 1:43 AM   #3
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I'll try to extend on terry's suggestions...

Processor: Pentium 4 with Hyperthreading (dual core even better) with WinXP, or AMD64 processor (again dual core even better) with WinXP Pro 64-bit. The only thing you'll be lacking by going 64 is that not all the drivers have caught up (HP being the big one, very limited 64 bit printing support), but for most apps 64 is fine (windows will convert 64 to 32 at run-time if the application is not native 64bit, but the performance will be that of a 32 bit machine).

Memory: AT LEAST 1GB, 2GB even better. These days 2 gigs cost less than $150 (Newegg). Photoshop hits up memory pretty hard, and it will save your hard drive from extra read/writes (which are slow compared to memory access).

Hard Drive: 7200 RPM Minimum. I recommend a SATA drive with a 16MB cache. The newer SATA II or 3Gb/s transfer rate. Get two and set them up in a striped RAID array and get even better speeds out of it (or set up the second as a mirror for a backup!).

I just built a similiar machine not too long ago for under $1200 (including dual DVD burners, two 250Gb striped Hard drives, wireless mouse/keyboard, etc), although the parts I used were more for video editing, so you could probably do it for under $1000 (maybe even $800) if you build it yourself. Similiar specs would cost $1500+ from a store. Let me know if you want my parts list for reference. Most of my parts were bought from Newegg.com. I apologize if I get a little technical (or use abbreviations), that's the Software/Computer Engineering student talking.

A system like that should EASILY last you 4-5 years for photo editing. And those 8MB raw files don't seem so bad anymore...lol
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Old Nov 30, 2005, 3:34 AM   #4
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Wow, a lot to digest here already but HUGELY helpful.....thank you and keep it coming please.

Brian, I will contact you if I need more help, thanks for the invitation to do so.

Rob
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Old Nov 30, 2005, 4:09 AM   #5
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I think just about everyone on this forum works in IT, and curiously most seem to be programmers.

Anyway - my 2c is that you get as big a hard disk as you can - preferably 2 or 3 large ones. You will be amazed how much room photos can take up if you are shooting RAW and working in PS.

Also make sure you have some method of archiving/backing up. A dual-layer DVD writer is a pretty cost-effective method - I find I use 1-2 single layer DVD's a month. And I don't even think I shoot that much. If you're shooting 200 photos a month and doing RAW conversions and photoshop work that will easily use 4-8GB a month.


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Old Nov 30, 2005, 8:07 AM   #6
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I used to be an IT technical person but now I'm a requirements engineer, if you can imagine that.

I use an external DVD burner to back up my photos but I'm too cheap to buy the dual 8gb DVD's as yet!

I have a second internal drive and two external drives.

The other day I built a PC for a guy and put in a second drive on it's own controller.

Man does it fly!

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Old Nov 30, 2005, 12:36 PM   #7
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I generally agree with BrianSkibinski's analysis except a striped RAID array is a little chancy IMO unless you have very frequent and good backup system. That would include an updated ghost of your boot drive. It is definitely faster but if either drive fails you have lost your data on both. You effectively double your failure probability. I wouldn't recommend that approach for most people.

Graphics pros still primarily use Macs. Photoshop is a lot less optimized for Macs lately and the advantages are very small. You will pay big bucks for a state of the art dual processor Mac and I don't think the cost justifies the advantages. You also have to pay for everything you put on it. There are some very good free programs for Windows and the selection is better for programs you buy. Macs do have some advantage for video still, but for photos you are better off with a PC. They will both be obsolete in 4 years and it is a lot less painful to dump a $1200 machine than one that costs over 3 grand.

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Old Nov 30, 2005, 3:12 PM   #8
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I agree with SLIPE.

You can get some pretty fast 3Ghz machines with 1gig of memory for under a grand (excluding monitor of course).

Get yourself a massive 7200rpm second hard drive and a DVD writer for backups and you should be laughing.

Terry


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Old Nov 30, 2005, 6:07 PM   #9
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I recently purchased a new DELL Dimesion 9100. I configured it with 3 Ghz processor, 800mhz front side bus, 2gb DDR 533mhz memory, 250 gb SATA 7200 rpm hard drive and DVD dual layer DVD writer. The unit priced at $900.
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Old Nov 30, 2005, 6:12 PM   #10
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Went to DELL small business link and configured the DELL Dimension 9150 with the following:

3.2 GHz processor, 800 mhz front side bus
2gb DDR, 533 mhz memory
160GB SATA 7200 rpm hard drive
DVD dual layer writer

Price $869
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