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Dream computer: what would you get? (gEeKs pLeEz)
Old 03-26-2005, 11:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
Kurt_Gearheart
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I'm in the process of having my dream image processing computer built.

It'll be unconnected to the web - on purpose. A virgin she will always be! File transfers from this to web connected machine via rewritable CDs.

What hardware would you get? Feel free to be extremely specific.

Motherboard brand?
Type of and amount of RAM?
CPU?
Amount of HD, type of disks, etc?
DVD burner brands?
What type/brand of monitor?
Video card?
Etc etc etc...

What software?
XP pro?
Latest P.S. obviously.
Color profiling software? (important!)
What thumbnail viewer? (important!)
What other software?
Business management software?
Etc.

Thanks so much in advance.

I have a supergeek buidling it from hand picked cherry primo cutting edge parts, but I want to compare his choices with yours.

Totally custom, only purpose is digital camera image processing.

2005 is the year I go "pro" officially - as in the majority of my income will be derived from photography.

My current system has a 8GB HD and 196MB RAM, Win98... you see why I need to upgrade!

[img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
 
 
Re: Dream computer: what would you get? (gEeKs pLeEz)
Old 03-26-2005, 11:52 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I do PC support 3 days a week, and system building the other two. Having said that, my dream machine honestly would be a dual G5 Mac. I have an older mac running OS X and it rocks, and just works. PC's seem to need to be rebuilt every .5-1.5 years and it's a real pain each time. I've been building PCs since 1998. There's just too many chefs making the soup. Too many hardware manufacterers writing buggy low level drivers. If you do go with a PC I'd recommend a high end hp/compaq, they at least put some thought and engineering into their PCs, others like Dell just buy whatever's cheapest. I've had the most problems with Dell machines as a PC support technician. IBM is good too, but they are pricey. If you got the Mac though, you could plug it into the network, AND not worry about it! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
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Re: Dream computer: what would you get? (gEeKs pLeEz)
Old 03-26-2005, 11:56 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi Kurt,

Here's my $.02 worth... Geek warning...

I love my digitalPersona finger print reader. I use it instead of a password. It's awesome!

If you are like me, CPU will not be your bottleneck. I have a 2.8 Ghz, hyperthreaded Intel processor and although I burst it hard at times, it is usually waiting around on IO. So for CPU I would just look for the current sweet spot for price vs. speed rather than going cutting edge.

Hyperthreaded is wonderful for CPU though. It allows much smoother multi-tasking. So, I can do other things while Photoshop is batch processing in the background. I hardly notice it running...

Photo stuff is where I bottleneck my system. Get as much RAM as possible. 2 GB at least.

Get large, fast harddrives. 10,000 RPM if you can swing them.

For safety, get RAID and mirror the drives, especially if you are storing important work on them. You could also go with mirrored and stripped for speed and safety combined.

For a dream machine, I would look at NAS instead of RAID, but $$$$.

Get a DVD burner - I have no brand preference.

Get more than one DVD reader drive (not burners so they are fast).

Get an internal digital media reader drive.

Two monitors! Get a video card that can do dual monitors. Get two monitors and set your desktop up to use them (it's not hard, especially with Windows XP). This is really helpful for workflow.

For LCD monitors, I like AOC for cost vs. image quality. I have two of them and find them highly reliable, fast enough for any games I've played, and they have great image quality.

Even though you don't want to connect the computer to the internet directly, I would still recommend a network card, perhaps even a wireless job. Network transfer is SO much faster than burning and transporting DVDs. You can always keep the network hooked up but disable the card's drivers when you are not using the connection. So much more convenient.

Also, there are times when you might connect the machine to the internet for expediency sake. Go ahead and protect it with Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware anyways.

One reason you might connect to the internet periodically is to keep the system OS up to date from online updates. Also, any software you get will most likely offer free online updates. It is much easier just to get them off the net rather than burning CD's or DVD's.

I would go with Windows XP PRO and put MS-Office on it. It is widely used and has your basic stuff. If you want to stay away from M$, you can look at OpenOffice and other things.

Get extra USB ports. I have a ton but I keep running out of them. I thought I got enough when I bulit the system, but I was wrong.

Get a computer case and powersupply that will support more harddrives than you put in originally. No matter how much space I get, I am always running out and need to squeeze in another.

Important - get a good UPS system.

Get a laser printer and a color printer. I use the laser for most stuff and leave the color printer (with it's expensive ink) for photos and ads.

Get a video card that can do video capture. I like to get family video on the computer so I don't lose it to bad tapes.

Greg

Now for a picture to cool my brain off [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]


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Re: Dream computer: what would you get? (gEeKs pLeEz)
Old 03-26-2005, 11:59 AM   #4 (permalink)
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If the only purpose for this machine is digital camera image processing, then get your butt over to the Apple store and get yourself a dual 2.5 GHz Power Mac G5 with about 4GB of RAM and a 20" cinema displays. If you want to totally pimp it out, go for 8GB of RAM, a pair of 30" displays and the NVIDIA graphics card.

It can all be yours with Photoshop, starting at about $6K.

-Chip
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Re: Dream computer: what would you get? (gEeKs pLeEz)
Old 03-26-2005, 12:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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[ QUOTE ]
Two monitors! Get a video card that can do dual monitors. Get two monitors and set your desktop up to use them (it's not hard, especially with Windows XP). This is really helpful for workflow.

[/ QUOTE ]

Definitely. I love not having the program I am running (usually PS CS or Quark Xpress) covered up with the tool windows. It's really nice to simply move those all to the other monitor and be working with a clean pallet.

You make some great suggestions here, Greg. My wallet didn't think so, but you know what a pain in the butt it can be ... lol

Dave
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what would i build
Old 03-26-2005, 02:21 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I built a pretty similar machine to this in December.
I would run on the AMD Athlon 64 bit processor, I am running on the 53 fx chip, there is now a fx 55, be prepared to drop 800 bucks. You can then also be able to finally get up to 6.4 gigs/ second of ram.

Asus motherboard with a raid mirror. I am running the asus sk8n nvidea nforce 3 pro 150 mortherboard. Very stable motherboard, upgradeable downloads at the asus website is also easy to get. With a raid, if you have a harddrive crash, like so many of us have had that experience, it helps to safeguard you from that. I run on a raid and love the idea it automatically backs up everything for me.

A video card with 256 mb memory. I am running on the asus fx 5700 and its 128mb and it runs perfectly well. When you get yours, make sure it will working with your platform, 32 bit (pentium 4)or 64 (whats coming out next month finally). Or you can get the video card that will run 4 monitors simutaneously, cost on that 1200.00. They have one at Iowa State University.

I would get at least 2 300 gig 10k rpm sata hard drives. Sata run more efficiently and 10k even better. 300 gig so you got plently of space and room to grow.

Now for opticals, you have to have a floppy drive to get the raid to work. However, I went with one that is a 7 in 1 flash card reader. Hooks up through usb, you dont have to have software etc to download pics from different brands of cameras, and no card readers flopping around on your desk. Cost 35.00 bucks. I bought mine at www.dymincomputer.com.

2 52 cd read writes. Now why on earth would you want that. So you can run a copy of the images on 2 cds at the same time. 1 to keep and 1 to give to the model or client. I pulled my old ones from my previous computer before throwing it off of my apartment balcony. I am waiting until these crash, because they are so darn loud.

Then buy a dvd burner. I went with an asus brand 1408p. I bought it on www.newegg.com for 80 dollars with shipping. 14 speed writing dvds, 8 speed rw. But I went with it so it would be quieter.

Liquid cooled case. No fans running to drive you nuts, if you have any clients around, they can talk to you without YELLING. Some of these cases are down right lound, and make sure you get a case that you can upgrade stuff in without having to pull out power tools to mod the case.
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Re: Dream computer: what would you get? (gEeKs pLeEz)
Old 03-26-2005, 04:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I'd get a dual 2 GHZ G5 with 4GB RAM. No need to keep it isolated from the internet, since the OS is so robust. In fact, lack of an internet connection would just make automatic updates more of a hassle.

I'd shy away fro mthe top-of-the-line 2.5 GHZ models since I'm nervous about the liquid cooling. All the same, Apple's track record is excellant, so I imagine that they know what they're doing.

I'd have 2 relativley small internal drives: one for the OS and software, and another for swap space. All files would be kept on mirrored external firewire drives. This is what I do now and it works well for me.

Whatever you buy, put it on a good UPS, one that can power all your peripherals, too.

Two monitors: one Apple flatscreen and one of the new color-managed LaCie flatscreens. It swivels into a portrait mode, which would be just great for my work.

For software, just OS X and PS. All the other functions you mentioned are in that set. No business mangament software is needed if the machine is for digital image processing only...

If you're going pro, you owe it to yourself to look into Macs. Their performance and reliability is simply superior, although of course you get what you pay for.

My credentials: Network engineer for nearly 20 years I.E. since networks were invented. Windows/Unix/Mac and others. Have built dozens of PCs and servers. The computer described will be on my desk by the end of this year, and will replace my dual G4 which has served me faithfully for two years. Current uptime is 18 days.

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Re: Dream computer: what would you get? (gEeKs pLeEz)
Old 03-26-2005, 05:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
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well, I was in the same position a little while ago. I have to use PC's for business (non photo-related) but used a dual G4 powermac for several years for my image editing needs. 3 weeks ago I went and bought a dual 2.5GHz G5 and the 20" Cinema Display AND ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!!! I am still lacking the RAM I will need when my new camera arrives and the files will be dramatically larger but it's fast and a joy to work with. RAM makes all the difference. If money is not so much an issue I would go for the larger display or better get 2x 20". I switched to Apple 4 years ago and haven't regret it yet. Don't worry about the internet connection, Apple's OS is pretty robust and there are fewer psycho's writing viruses.
just my 2c.
Robert
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Re: Dream computer: what would you get? (gEeKs pLeEz)
Old 03-26-2005, 11:46 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Well, here's another vote for the Apple G5 based machine. I have a G5 dual 2.0 GHz and G4 1.42 GHz machine and love both of them. The G5 is running dual displays (23" and 17" cinema displays), the G4 runs a 23" cinema display and are a joy to work on. The G5 has 4 GB of RAM and the G4 has 2 GB. Both have DVD burners and the usual assortment of ports etc. Since the current line up goes to 2.5 GHz, go for the gold and get it.

As for software, I am a committed user of iView Media pro for catalog/media management, PS CS, Office for Mac (best in the office line up, even MS admits it) and Spyder 2 Pro Studio for doing the color adjustments.

If you have an Apple store near by, head down there and play with their machines, they are very open to in store demo/use. A friend of mine even went to the lengths of doing a video on one of their machines to see the workflow he would actually need to do.

Of course, since you have asked the basic question you are going to get a bunch of pro/con and Mac/Windows debates going. Oh well.....
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I\'m no geek but,...
Old 03-27-2005, 03:15 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Well, I'm not much of a computer geek... I just buy what I need.. and I hope it works well... but here it goes.. I have two needs... a mamajama desk top PowerMac, and a gutsy little thang to take with me on location..

Well,...I guess the first thing I would like to see is an operating system that can run as good as my 5 dollar calculator! That thing never crashes or locks up on me...ever!

For my desk top, I'd like to have a pair of internal 500Gig hard drives, along with a set of external HD's of the same size.. 8 (or more) gigs of RAM,..so that I can work with 400 + MG picture files in Photoshop without having to wait for ever.. The processor ...heck, anything fast enough to speed up things would be welcome however, I have seen computers ..like my old G4 tower kick butt on new G5's with less RAM..so, for me RAM is important.. I guess the top of the line graphics card is always nice to have.......Oh, dual super drives in addition to an external Iomega Rav drive...for backing up 35 gigs of data at a time...I think I would be set there..

And for the road,...a 12 inch Powerbook with a super drive, with a 100 Gig HD, 2 fire wire ports, 2 usb2 ports, airport extreme ready, packed with at least 2 gigs of RAM, it would be splash / rain proof (and soup proof too), have a much longer lasting battery, flat black external colour and backlighted keys, and come with a pop-up hood for viewing outdoors in bright sunlight..

Ok....what I envision hapening with all this wireless stuff...is being able to shoot directly to your computer in RAW mode, your computer will automatically process the image with preset actions, and will upload them to a proof gallery on your website without you having to take your eye away from your camera!

How far off are we from doing that? Can you imagine how that will change event coverage...like weddings, sports, concerts...etc..? What...two or so years?

JP
 
 
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