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Old Nov 1, 2004, 2:18 PM   #11
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No virus in an Apple, eh...?

But, what about a worm???

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Old Nov 1, 2004, 3:07 PM   #12
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maflynn wrote:
I know you already discounted Macs, but my G5 is awesome,
No worries of viruses,
No worries of adware/spyware
I don't have weekly (daily?) security updates
Pro software(photoshop, golive, etc) works great

Good Luck
Hoping this long URL works... for those who feel Macs are from Krypton and invunerable..


Pentium 4 at 3 ghz is fine. 1 gig of RAM (more if you can afford it). Two internal hard drives - one for programs, the other for storage. Having an external hard drive isn't a bad idea either. DVD +/- R drive, plenty of USB 2.0 ports and a couple of firewire ports, too.

You'll be using the monitor every day! Your eyes will be staring at it for hours a day so this is the most important part of your system. Put the most you can afford into a GOOD high res display. Though I've not tried them, I've heard from lots of folks who are saying the 19-21" Dell "Ultrasharp" monitors are very very good. Even Mac-heads are leaving the Mac branded monitors to buy them. Look more into that.
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Old Nov 1, 2004, 9:47 PM   #13
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These days it makes no difference Mac or PC for capability. There's more choices though for programs for the PC and it can be cheaper.

One thing though, if all your friends use PCs, don't get a Mac...you won't be able to get help when you have a problem.

I have one friend who owns a Mac who keeps bugging me with Mac problems, and I have to keep telling him that I can't help him because he's using a Mac (the last time I used a Mac was over 10 years ago, long since gave up on them due to the hassles in getting support).
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Old Nov 1, 2004, 9:53 PM   #14
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I think Eric nailed it, especially on; fast FSB, 1 (or 2)GB RAM, dual processors andtwo hard drives. The only thing I can add is dual 19 or 21" monitors. You can use an entire screen for your image and keep all the palettes, browsers, etc on the other one.

I just did some Photoshop work on such a machine yesterday and it was very snappy. Photoshop launches in about 2 seconds on that machine. It cost my friend less just over $2000 to build it (he shopped price on everything). It is dual AMD MP2800s, Tyan MB, 2GB RAM, ATI 9800XLS dual head video card. Very Nice!!


BTW AMD dual processors work differently than Intel dual processors in the way they utilize the second processor, it might be worth some research.

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Old Nov 2, 2004, 9:50 AM   #15
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Take a look here: http://www.alienware.com/main.aspx
They build high end systems to order.
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Old Nov 13, 2004, 2:46 PM   #16
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Thank you all for some great tips.

I thought I'd look again at my current computer and see if I just added memory to it, and maybe a new graphics card, if that would be enough. I'd like to list a few details about it and see if you think 1) going from 512MB memory to 1GB and/or 2) replacing the video card could result in a system that is a decent enough system for PhotoShop and large image files.

Dell 8200
P4 2.53B (533 MHz front side bus)
512 KB L2 cache
512 MB RDRAM PC800 40ns non-ECC memory
Bus speed PCI: 33MHz AGP: 66MHz
80 GB 7200K Hard drive
250 GB (some speed) hard drive.
NVidia GeForce MX 420 Video Card

It would cost me around $200 to double the memory to 1GB. Do you all think that 512MB is why my computer freezes at times with PhotoShop and other things up? I know there is faster memory than what I have, but given it's RDRAM, is it fast enough?

I am pretty clueless on graphics cards. Is mine decent or not? Here are some specs I pulled up on it. 64MB seems kind of small.

1 Billion Texels/Sec.
31 Million
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Old Nov 13, 2004, 3:07 PM   #17
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I'm getting ready to upgrade my system. I'm going to keep the current motherboard, but put it in this: http://www.mountainmods.com/cgi-bin/...item=U2UFOOMBS- Then I'll have room for an 8 drive RAID

If I were getting a new monitor, I'd stick with CRT for the greater color display. Something like this would be nice: http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/p...;page=external

Or, the same model with color calibration: http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/p...;page=external

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Old Nov 13, 2004, 6:05 PM   #18
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mfleming wrote:
It would cost me around $200 to double the memory to 1GB. Do you all think that 512MB is why my computer freezes at times with PhotoShop and other things up? I know there is faster memory than what I have, but given it's RDRAM, is it fast enough?
Well.... even for CS, your system is well above Adobe's stated hardware requirements (192MB of RAM with 256mb Recommended, etc.):


I've never had any problems running most Image Editors on a much slower system than yours, with less RAM.

More RAM can help if you're loading a lot of applications concurrently, so that you're not swapping to disk as much, which can really bog your system down (and you'll want to make sure you have a big enough page file space for swapping).

But, I doubt that system lockups with 512mb of RAM is being caused by lack of RAM. It's more likely due to program conflicts somewhere.

Have you got everything patched on your PC (Windows, etc.), and are you using the latest drivers for your PC from Dell (latest BIOS version, etc.)?

You may also want to make sure you don't have any Spyware or Viruses causing problems. I'd check it for Spyware with Spybot S&D:


I'd also make sure you're virus free. If you don't have Norton, etc., then I'd download the free version of AVG and scan your system. You can get it from here:


Even though therefurbished Dell I just bought shipped with a number of months of Norton, I disabled it and installed AVG. I've got it setup to download updates every morningat 3:00AM, and perform a full system scan at 4:00AM. I didn't want to bother with having to pay for the updates later, and AVG has always worked fine for me.

I also use the free version of Zone Alarm as my firewall. You can get it from here:


These all integrate fine with Windows XP and SP2 now (so that the Security Center knows about them).
I am pretty clueless on graphics cards. Is mine decent or not?
Well, I'm sure that others here probably know a lot more about it than I do. However, it is my understanding that a faster graphics card isn't really going to give you anything for image editing.

If you were working with video, that would be a different story.

Here is a quote from a new article at Tom's Hardware Guide:

There are measurable 2D performance differences between individual cards and the various chip generations. However, the 2D performance of current graphics processors has reached such a high level overall that these differences won't make a tangible difference in everyday use, for example in a Windows XP environment. Applications such as Word, PowerPoint, Photoshop or Acrobat won't run any faster on a bleeding-edge high-end card than on a mainstream offering. This means that these days, a graphics card's performance is determined nearly entirely by its 3D performance.

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Old Nov 13, 2004, 8:22 PM   #19
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I'm a freak about spywqre and viruses, so it's definitely clean. I have a feeling it's becuase I just run too many things at once. It's happens on my other computer in my office as well. It never hurts to have too much memory, so maybe i'll just go to 1GB.
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Old Nov 13, 2004, 10:26 PM   #20
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But I will warn you again. I do not recommend getting over 1G if you are going to use photoshop. I read on a different forum that there is a serious bug deep within the memory management of PS CS which causes serious trouble with over 1G of RAM.

I have 1G and it works great. I open several RAW images at once (using an action) and compare them.. switching back and forth looking to see which is the better shot (that is, when they are in a burst the positions can be very similar but subtle sharpness and detail differences need close examination.) I was unable to do it without paging to disk with 512, but I run about 300MB free when I open 4 10D RAW images at once... and some times I open more than that.

I hope you enjoy your new DELL. If cost were no object, I would probably have commended the 800MHZ front side bus, but the one you got will still work really well.

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