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Ordo Dec 12, 2009 11:54 AM

Advice on a new computer
Iím in the process of upgrading my computer (PC). Considering that most of my picks will be digitized 60 Mb files scanned from 6X7 negatives and transparencies, and including 5-15 minutes videos (image intensive processing), whatís your advice about processors, motherboards, RAM, video cards, etc.
Thanks in advance!

RobertDavis Dec 12, 2009 12:23 PM

If you're doing any kind of significant processing you want to make sure to get at least a dual core processor, or maybe a quad core. It will not only speed up those tasks but let you work on other tasks while the video processes in the background. Your video card doesn't make a huge difference unless you're playing computer games. Obviously if you're running dual monitors (don't know how I could ever go back to one) you'll want a graphics card with dual monitor outputs. As for ram, get at minimum 4gb to start.

Hope that helps!

JimC Dec 12, 2009 12:46 PM

I'd go with an Intel Core i7 920 with 6GB of DDR3; or an Intel Core i7 860 with 8GB of DDR3; using something like an Nvidia GT 220, GT240, or GTS 250 video card (unless you need something even faster for gaming), depending on budget. For video editing, these newer Intel CPUs are much faster than most.

I might consider leaning towards one of the newer Motherboard with USB 3.0 (up to 4.8 Gbps) and 6Gbps SATA support, too (as I'd expect faster SSDs to start using this new standard soon). Also, a few manufacturers have already announced that they're starting to ship new USB 3.0 peripherals now (for example, Buffalo announced that they just started shipping USB 3.0 external hard drives).

I'd probably look at something like this config. I used one of the configs with an Intel Core i7 920 and Nvidia GTS 250, and changed it so that it's using a different PSU, added liquid cooling, and changed the Motherboard to a newer ASUS model with support for USB 3.0 (up to 4.8 Gbps) and 6Gbps SATA. Then, saved the config.

If money permits, you may want to consider getting an Intel SSD for the boot drive, too.

JimC Dec 12, 2009 12:56 PM

In a prebuilt, you may want to look at something like a Dell XPS 9000 if you don't need a lot of internal expandability (and you could go eSATA with external drives if you needed more than a couple of internal hard drives and don't need a lot of PSU horsepower). It looks like they do business in Argentina, as I found a listing for this box there. I'd probably go with one of the Nvidia cards they offer as an option (but, that's mostly personal preference).

JimC Dec 12, 2009 1:07 PM

See this page to get an idea of how much faster the Intel Core i7 CPUs are for editing video. You'll see the Core i7 920 near the bottom of the page (slower CPUs are at the top).,1404.html

Ordo Dec 12, 2009 2:21 PM

Thanks Jim! Very kind to search Dell in Argentina. And wow!, that Dell is really a gorgeous machine. It's about U$1600 all included (heavy import taxes here).
Do you have any clue about the 20" Dell ST2010-Black High Definition Monitor?

Bynx Dec 12, 2009 3:31 PM

I suggest you hold off until you can purchase

JimC Dec 12, 2009 3:54 PM


Do you have any clue about the 20" Dell ST2010-Black High Definition Monitor?
All of the monitor choices in the configuration pages for that system appear to use TN panels (as do most less expensive LCDs). For critical image editing work, you're better off using an IPS type panel. But for most uses like video playback, you'd probably be fine (and TN panels usually have better response times for gaming). I'd probably go with a slightly larger one (they have multiple choices available in the config screens) like the 23" model with 1920x1080 resolution which is better suited for HD video playback if budget permits.

For critical image editing, I'd just get one of the cheaper ones they offer with it, and then replace it with a display using an IPS panel later if you don't like it (or just use two displays with it, including a less expensive one with the system, by adding a second display later).

TCav Dec 12, 2009 5:01 PM

I agree that a dual monitor setup will help what you want to do, but I think a fast video card will help with photo editting and especially with video editting.

For storage, I think you should get an external RAID system. I'd go with a small server with a RAID Controller, 6 drives, and a tape drive for backing up. (Set up the six drives as follows: first two mirrored for the operating system and server applications, next three in a RAID 5 array for network shares, and the last as a hot spare.) (And stay away from Small Business Server.)

peripatetic Dec 12, 2009 5:21 PM

By all means go for the highest spec box you can; load up with RAM and a multicore CPU, and if you are going to be moving a lot of video data around then a RAID setup. What software are you going to use for your video editing?

I would strongly recommend getting a decent monitor with reasonable colour accuracy. I think that pretty much leaves out Dell altogether.

Recommended brands: Eizo, Lacie, NEC.

After years of using poor monitors I recently purchased a low-end Eizo and it blows away anything I've ever seen from the non-specialist manufacturers for colour work. Finally it's possible to make prints that match what I see on screen. To think of all that time and money wasted!

To get an idea of the sorts of monitors you should be thinking about:

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