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Old May 4, 2009, 9:13 AM   #1
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Hi Guys/Gals

Just wondering what computers and displays your using these days ? Me, I;ve got a macbook (work machine) and an old Shuttle XPC + Mitsubushi 21" trintron (need to replace these as there no longer up to the job). I'd like to get another mac but there just way to spendy atm so I might look at a 24" LCD and build a box.

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Harj

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Old May 4, 2009, 9:44 AM   #2
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I wanted to get a 24" iMac, but they are so darn expensive for what you get compared to a PC. They do come with a lot of software on them, but to be honest, I've had a chance to play with my girlfriend's 20' iMac andalot of what's on there is not anything I'd be interested in.

I wound up getting a Dell Studio XPS with the latest Corei7 Intel processor with 6GB of RAM and a750GB hard drive for half what an iMac would have cost (I already had a very nice 20 inch Dellwide panel monitor, so I stayed with that). I'll also soon be upgrading the RAM to 12GB of DDR3 Tri-Channel RAMto stay ahead of the curve this time.
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Old May 4, 2009, 10:22 AM   #3
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I'm using an inexpensive Dell with a Q6600 CPU (2.4Ghz Core 2 Quad) as my primary desktop right now (but, I've got other PCs running in my office, too). I got it in refurbished condition for under $500 last year from Dell Outlet after coupon codes for more off (you find these relatively often for Dell computers here in the U.S.). I'm using an inexpensive Acer 22" LCD with it right now, bought mostly because it's uncalibrated color accuracy is better than most cheap panels based on a review with tests I found for it. Dell has some good deals on their better panels from time to time. So, I'd probably look at some of their better 24" if I were buying a new one right now.

My primary desktop is setup with multiple operating systems on it (Vista, 32 bit and 64 bit versions of SimplyMEPIS 8.0, as well as a partition with a community remaster of MEPIS 8.0 by Danum using a KDE 4.2.2 Desktop (that I've upgraded to use a Debian Sid/Unstable base versus a Debian Stable/Lenny base to get more "bleeding edge" applications like newer versions of digiKam) and two different versions of DreamLinux using a Debian Lenny base. I've been running the KDE 4.2.2 remaster of Mepis by Danum more often than the others lately to get a better feel for the latest KDE 4.2 desktop features.

If I were buying a new machine now, I'd probably look at the Dell XPS Studio models using the Intel Core i7 CPUs. These have pretty good "bang for the buck" for PCs using an Intel x58 chipset with these CPUs. Then, go external for anything else needed (drives, etc.) if they don't have enough expandability for you. Here is the page for them in the U.K.

Dell Studio XPS Configuration at Dell U.K.

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Old May 4, 2009, 11:55 AM   #4
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hi Harj,

...........I agree with Greg and Jim regarding the 'Dell XPS Studio models using the Intel Core i7 CPUs' and always of course as much RAM as will fit. HDD is a matter of choice, they are cheap so whatever there.

For monitors it is really close today, brand to brand labels, for my main (network host) machine I have a HP w2207 working off a GForce NVIDIA controller at 128MB vidRAM. I run it @
1680 x 1050 pixels @ 32-bit color with the refresh rate at 60 cycles.

The HP w series 2207 and 2407 monitors are very good and reasonably priced. I've had two 19" Sony trinitrons in the past and these are as good, or better, as those for both graphics and text when behind a high quality controller.

I built all my computers for several years but it finally came time to just not worry about what it took to match components....... today I would not attempt to build my own for what can be bought for less.

For operating systems, I like but don't-like VISTA, XP pro is still the better of Microsoft (IMO), I have two machines with that and one with VISTA. I still play a bit with some of the LINUX laydowns but in the end Microsoft with OpenOffice.org and some really good shareware applications coupled with my favorite Windows based photo handling apps and I am happy.

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Old May 4, 2009, 12:07 PM   #5
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I moved this topic to our General Q&A Forum, where it will probably be noticed by more members.
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Old May 4, 2009, 12:32 PM   #6
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pgmCoder wrote:
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...........I agree with Greg and Jim regarding the 'Dell XPS Studio models using the Intel Core i7 CPUs' and always of course as much RAM as will fit.
Dell U.K. only advertises this model (which appears to be known as the Dell Studio XPS 435MT in most regions) as supporting up to 12GB of RAM.

But, in the U.S., they show it's specs as supporting up to 24GB of DDR3 memory (which means that you'll probably be able to use more sticks at higher capacity as it becomes available.

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Old May 4, 2009, 12:41 PM   #7
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Good to know what you guys are using. I had not used my shuttle and 21" CRt for a while, well since it kind of died and then work gave me a new Macbook (you know us system admins always end up with the low end gear!) .

I'm in two minds about whether to go and buy a Dell/Hp etc box or go and make one myself - I know I can put together a very good machine which will last me for years but when you price things up Dell's XPS rigs offer a lot of bang for the buck. An XPS rig configured how I'd like it - AMD or Intel Quad core (non iCore7) , 6GB RAM, Vista 64bit, 650GB SATAscomes in at around the £850.00 mark so in total I;d be looking at approx £1200.00 on a new setup . The same price as a 24" iMac.

Jim thanks for the monitor recommendation and I'll take a look to see if its available in the UK. At work I ended up with a cheap 24" Dell SW2409SW as the design dept felt that it wasn;t good enough for the colour work that they do but so far I;ve been pretty happy with it, esp with LR. However, for my own $$$ I'll be seriously looking at that monitor you recommended.

Cheers

Harj

:O :?


PS.. forgot to mention operating systems. I love working with OSX _ I know Windows extermely well and have been working with Windows7 beta (much better than Vista) but there's just something about the fit and finish of OSX that even Windows7 has yet to beat. I might on the other hand have another good look at running Linux as the primary OS and if so what RAW/Image editing apps are out there (I used to use Lightzone and there's also Bibble) that'll be the equivalents to ACR/LR etc ?


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Old May 4, 2009, 8:22 PM   #8
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........Bibble v5 is a bit late in releasing but as you know I use Bibble Pro (current v4...) and on VISTA. I suspect it to be pretty near the head of the class in the LINUX version although I have not used a LINUX version.
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Old May 5, 2009, 9:49 AM   #9
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HarjTT wrote:
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I'm in two minds about whether to go and buy a Dell/Hp etc box or go and make one myself - I know I can put together a very good machine which will last me for years but when you price things up Dell's XPS rigs offer a lot of bang for the buck. An XPS rig configured how I'd like it - AMD or Intel Quad core (non iCore7) , 6GB RAM, Vista 64bit, 650GB SATAscomes in at around the £850.00 mark so in total I;d be looking at approx £1200.00 on a new setup . The same price as a 24" iMac.
The iMac looks like it's using Core 2 Duo CPUs now from what I can tell from their site, and it looks like you'd spend a lot more to get more for a better equipped box with more RAM (although you could add your own extras).

I'd go Core i7 for a new box. These CPUs will "run circles" around the Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad CPUs for many tasks, with much better bandwidth using tri-channel memory and more. You can see some benchmarks here.

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/d...hmarks,31.html

Another list:

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html

As time passes, I'd also expect more applications to make better use of multiple cores by splitting tasks into more threads when possible, even if your current apps don't take full advantage of newer CPUs. The price difference is too small not to go with a Core i7 CPU now from my perspective.

In the U.K., it looks like you can get a nicely equipped box for under £900.00 including VAT and Shipping with a Core i7 920, 6GB of tri-channel DDR3, a 1GB SATA drive, fast Radeon HD4850 graphics card and more, just by selecting the third config option over and adding more RAM. You'd need to go with a new Mac Pro box to get similar performance, costing you a *lot* more.

http://www.dell.co.uk/content/produc...dthp&s=dhs

Another consideration is that Adobe doesn't offer a 64 bit version of PS4 for the Mac platform yet. I've yet to see any user tests of Photoshop benchmarks on a Mac platform that come anywhere near the performance you can get with 64 Bit versions on Vista with a Core i7 CPU.

Quote:
PS.. forgot to mention operating systems. I love working with OSX _ I know Windows extermely well and have been working with Windows7 beta (much better than Vista) but there's just something about the fit and finish of OSX that even Windows7 has yet to beat. I might on the other hand have another good look at running Linux as the primary OS and if so what RAW/Image editing apps are out there (I used to use Lightzone and there's also Bibble) that'll be the equivalents to ACR/LR etc ?
You've got a number of choices (in both linux distributions and applications for raw conversion), and you could always use dual boot with Vista or Win 7 (or run one of them in a VM under Linux if you have a Windows app you can't live without that doesn't run under Wine). Bibble would be a good choice in a commercial application and it's very fast. I haven't tried the v5 betas. But, from the info I see at http://www.bibblelabs.com/products/bibble5/index.html, it should be a speed demon.

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Old May 5, 2009, 6:08 PM   #10
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I'm using a 15" Macbook Pro and the 24" Apple LED Cinema Monitor as a primary monitor. I wouldn't go back to a PC again - I like the Apple interface much more than XP. I guess I just work at a somewhat leasurely pace - I use Lightroom 2, CS4, DXO and Photomatix (though not all 4 at the same time) and it moves along fast enough for me. I do wish that DXO would process faster, but other than that, LR and CS4 seem fine for what I do.
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