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Old Oct 30, 2004, 9:56 AM   #1
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I'd like to purchase new desktop computer (PC not Apple) that is configured for digital photography and other graphics. Spending a few thousand dollars is fine. I want a powerhouse that can handle anything that gets thrown at me today for the next few years. I could just go to Dell or some other retailer and buy the fastest computer with the fastest graphics board and the most memory, but I'm wondering if there is a company that specializes in this.

I'm also willing to build one. Neve have, but I'm a pretty good techie. Or, there are sites like Aberdeeninc.com that will build a system according to my specifications, which should result in the same thing with less work (and error) on my part.

Ideas?

Thank you!
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Old Oct 30, 2004, 11:36 AM   #2
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You can configure you own system here:
http://www.avadirect.com/product_det....asp?PRID=2603


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Old Oct 30, 2004, 3:53 PM   #3
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I've just built myself a new PC, and it's pretty simple as long as everything works as it should, not much more complex than plugging all the components into the right places.
I went for an Asus IC7G motherboard, Pentium 4 3.4Ghz processor, Radeon 9800pro graphics card, 1GB of ram, 200GB hard drive (for all those photos ), and reused my old DVD-r/CD writer. It can handle anything fine at the moment, and has plenty of spec for upgradability (up to 4GB of RAM, and the case has space for 8 hard drives). It's all just off top spec, in my opinion the best value for money set up I could manage, as you could easily spend 3 times the amount for a relatively minimal performance increase.
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Old Oct 31, 2004, 5:22 AM   #4
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totally agree with MrPogo.

A pc with lots of RAM and HDD space. large photos do take a little more power. and a 19" tft monitor is VERY nice!!

As for recommendations of parts? Tomshardware.com is a good source of info to start to decide what to choose.

Just what is your budget? I can point you in the right direction in building a pc.

the alternative is to the easy route and custom spec it with Dell (or similar) where you're probably get a little more for your money with the customer support when things go wrong......

Personally, If i was to start from scratch, I would go with Dell etc. the offers are pretty good. but do your research to what you want/need.




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Old Oct 31, 2004, 6:21 AM   #5
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I know you already discounted Macs, but my G5 is awesome,
No worries of viruses,
No worries of adware/spyware
Stable
I don't have weekly (daily?) security updates
Pro software(photoshop, golive, etc) works great

Though the breadth and depth of software is not as much as the pc, it has and does everything I need.

As for pc, I'd go the dell route. One thing to keep in mind is tech support, you configure/build one yourself and if you need tech support well...

Good Luck
Mike
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Old Oct 31, 2004, 7:50 AM   #6
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I don't really have a budget. I can spend whatever I need. In buying technology I usually try to stay just under the latest and greatest. For example, a 3.5 Mhz processor might be the fastest I can get, but a 3.3 Mhz may cost 20-30% less (I made up the Mhz numbers as an example).

I own five Dell computers and I've found their "customer support" to have gone way downhill in the last few years. The only time I ever use customer support is when one of the parts goes bad and it needs replacing; I always know what is wrong first and just have to convince them of it. :LOL: I wouldn't have any problem without customer support.


kjeal wrote:
Quote:
totally agree with MrPogo.

A pc with lots of RAM and HDD space. large photos do take a little more power. and a 19" tft monitor is VERY nice!!

As for recommendations of parts? Tomshardware.com is a good source of info to start to decide what to choose.

Just what is your budget? I can point you in the right direction in building a pc.

the alternative is to the easy route and custom spec it with Dell (or similar) where you're probably get a little more for your money with the customer support when things go wrong......

Personally, If i was to start from scratch, I would go with Dell etc. the offers are pretty good. but do your research to what you want/need.



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Old Oct 31, 2004, 8:30 AM   #7
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You can always get more toys in the future, like a pigment printer that uses pigment inks instead of dye inks.

Also, if you get into a lot of serious photo manipulation you may want to get a graphics tablet.

Of course a good optical mouse that feels comfortable in your hand is handy.
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Old Oct 31, 2004, 11:12 AM   #8
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Check out the Dell Outlet (refurbished models). I'd look at the 8400, and the XPS Gaming Series for the fastest ones. You have the same warranty options you have for a new system (one year standard, with optional 2 and 3 year warranties).

They run a lot of specials there. So, you can sometimes get the refurbished boxes for a fraction of their original price after the discounts.

Basically, they refill the online inventory constantly. At around 40 minutes after the hour, a lot of PC's show up in the inventory (from carts being emptied out, etc.).

http://outlet.us.dell.com/Dispatcher...rcDetail=offer

Users then quickly grab the deals (you have to be fast adding one to your cart).The best ones are taken within a few minutes. So, your best bet is to add several systems to your cart quickly, then look at the details later. If your cart remains inactive for 15 minutes, they are automatically removed from it.

When adding to your cart, make sure to press the Add to Cart from the Inventory screen, then press the add to cart from the next screen, too (the screen that shows details of the selected systems). If you don't press add to cart twice, it won't be there!

Also, when they are running weekend specials, etc., you don't see all of the discounts until they are added to your cart (after the second add to cart button)!

If you miss the good deals (other customers grabbed them first); wait another hour and try again (around 40 minutes after is when the most systems are added back into the inventory).

Here's an example of an Dimension 8300 System Irecently bought (uses the Intel 875P Chipset with an 800mhz FSB and integrated SATA, USB 2.0, etc.).

Basically, don't get too picky trying to find the "exact" configuration you want. Just find a system that's close (that you can buy the system for less than you can buy the RAM, CPU, and Software for). Then, you can add to it later after you get it (larger hard drive and/or different graphics card, etc.).

Note that this one was selling for $1,029 in rebufurbished condition. After specials and discounts (including a coupon I found a techbargains.com), I got it for $479.00 delivered with a one year onsite warranty (and I could have bought a 2 or 3 year warranty as an option but I didn't).

Chances are, someone paid a couple of grand for this PC when it was new (especially considering it came with MS Office):

Dimension 8300 Mini-Tower: Pentium 4 Processor with HT Technology at 3.0GHz with 1MB L2 Cache, 800MHz front side bus
Microsoft Windows XP Professional
Unit Price: $1,029.00

Dimension 8300 Mini-Tower: Pentium 4 3.0GHz, Prescott, 1M
Microsoft Windows XP Professional
1 GB DDR 400MHz SDRAM (2 DIMMs)
1.44 MB Floppy Disk Drive
120 GB Internal, Serial ATA,#1 Seagate-Alpine (7200 RPM)
128MB DDR GeForce FX 5200 Graphics Card with TV-Out and DVI
56Kbps Data/Fax Modem
16X DVD ROM Drive
DVD Decoding Software
90-Day Trial Norton Internet Security 2004
Resource CD
Dell Support 2.0
Dell Support 2.0 Software
Software
MOD,KIT,CDSK,AOL9.0,BUDROM,DAO .01
Microsoft Office 2003 Small Business Edition
Software
Logitech PS2 Mouse
QuietKey Keyboard
AOL Sofware Documentation
Shipping Material
Cable

Weekend Special: Additional $75 Off ALL refurbished Dimension Desktops!
- $75.00

Instant Online Savings: $150 off any refurbished Dimension Desktop!
- $150.00

$225 off select refurbished Dimension priced between $1,000 and $1,199
- $225.00

Dimension 8xxx STD: 1 Yr On-Site Service, 1 Yr Pho Qty: 1
Unit Price: $0.00

ADDITIONAL DISCOUNTS AND COUPONS

Dell Outlet Customers: Free 3-5 day ground shipping with the purchase of any refurbished Dimension desktop!
Expires on 2004-10-20 23:59:00
- $99.00

Sub-Total $479.00
Shipping $0.00
Tax $0.00

Total $479.00
--------------------------------------------------------

Basically,the CPU, RAM and Operating System would have cost me as much or more than I paid for this whole refurbished system; not counting the cost of a case, power supply, motherboard, etc. (and this one even included MS Office). So, I'll just add on to this one (hard drive, DVD+-RW, etc.).

If you can find a good deal on one, the newerDimension 8400 is a better box (larger power supply, newer Intel 925X Express chipset, etc.). So, try to find one of those of you can. You can also find deals on their Dimension XPS gaming series computers if you are into games needing super fast graphics (I'm not) -- these already have faster graphics cards, etc., installed.

You can also find them with XP Media Center Edition if you're into this kind of thing (optimized for video, etc.).

I actually had a better deal on an 8400 (for only around $100.00 more after discounts, and it came with dual 160gb SATA hard drives in a RAID config, faster graphics card, etc. But I wasn't fast enough checking out and lost it (darnit).

I settled on an older 8300; since I liked the software it came with (the XP Pro and MS Office Small Business Edition), and the price was "right". :-)

BTW, this system was indistinquishable from a new system (software still shrink wrapped, new keyboard and mouse, etc.). There wasn't a scratch on it anywhere.
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Old Oct 31, 2004, 1:47 PM   #9
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If money is no worry (I'm not going to be crazy), I would consider something along these lines:

- Fastest front side bus you can get. I think that means about 800mhz.
- Something in the 3-4Ghz range for the processor. Go for a big onboard cache as well. At least 1MB. If you can swing it, get a dual processor system, even if you only put one processor in it now. Photoshop takes advantage of 2 CPUs.
- Technically Matrox makes the best graphics card for photo editing (not ATI or Nvidia, which make the best gaming graphics cards.) Personally, I have an NVidia card and I like it... but I've heard people recommend Matrox too many times to not believe them.
- 1G of ram. Unfortunately a bug in photoshop CS means that much more than that can work against you (Adobe has specifically said they will not fix it.)
- 2 hard disks. One partitioned into 2 (a 20G partition and the rest.) The 20G is C drive and boots the OS (XP Pro) the rest holds pictures & software. The second drive is for backup and holds only pictures. 7500RPM or faster disk drives. I like western digital, but I don't know how good their serial ATA drives are (go with serial ATA.)
- I recommend a graphics tablet by walcom (not their low end, go up model up.) And get it slightly bigger than you think you want. The only complaint I hear regularly about their product is that its too small.
- LaCie Blue monitor. Their 19" is reasonably priced for a 19" and its picture quality is amazing. Designed from the ground up for photo editing. You can get better if you spend a lot more, but I'm not sure it's worth it. They also make a good 21" (or is it 22"?) but it's a lot more $$$ so going with an even better brand might be worth it. When my monitor dies (its 8+ years old) I will almost certainly get a LaCie. Unless you spend serious money on a LCD/Plasma, don't get them. The lower end models are not worth it for the price (the really high end have finally matched CRT monitors.) There are reasons other than picture and color quality to get an LCD. I am not considering those, as they are a more personal issue.
- cd-RW or writable DVD. You need something to backup with. I'd recommend some flavor of writable DVD (there are at least 2 competing standards, so you'll have to read and learn to pick one.)
- Something to profile your monitor. I recommend the Optix XR, but there are other good ones. It makes such a HUGE difference. I can add more info if you want.
- Do you print things? I am a huge fan of the Epson line of printers. The 2200 is great, but will be replaced soon. The 4000 is great but twice the price (makes wider prints) and the 7600 is amazing (and makes huge prints), but is really a business class printer.
- I would recommend you get firewire and USB2 because you'll end up adding more disk drives for backup, and FireWire is still noticably faster then USB for hard disks.

After all that, if you really don't want to deal with either making your own or paying for a custom built one, then do consider Dell. Everywhere I've worked has had good success with them (both servers and desktop) and their service is quite good. You won't always get great parts (which might or might not hamper you) but you won't get bad ones either. Personally, I build every machine I've had. Since XP came out, it has become really, really easy on the software side.

Eric
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Old Nov 1, 2004, 1:55 PM   #10
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I agree with maflynn, the G5 is an awesome machine for the reasons he cites - more intuitive for photo/graphic work - I really like my G5. But it will cost about 20% more. However, I had a tech support rep tell me in the 6 years he's been working Apple tech support, he's never seen a virus in an Apple - that's worth something......:shock:
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