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kdenoble
Registered: Feb 15, 2005
Total Posts: 33
Country: United States

Good morning:

This 2005 Windows XP machine is going down hill fast. I'm looking for input as to suggestions for a Windows 7 machine (not confident in Windows 8 yet). Please advise as to processor, memory, storage, graphics, and other recommendations for an amatuer photographer who prefers use of Lightroom, Photoshop Elements (at times), and might upgrade to full Adobe Photoshop at a later date.

Thank you for your input and Merry Christmas.

Kdenoble



Mickey
Registered: Aug 14, 2002
Total Posts: 4670
Country: United States

Go on over to Dell or wherever and shop around. Any 64 bit machine with 8-12 GB of memory will do you fine. At least until you know more about what you need. With computers more is usually better but without you knowing for sure what your needs will be recommending anything high end would not be wise on our part.



Ho1972
Registered: Dec 02, 2007
Total Posts: 1259
Country: United States

kdenoble wrote:
Good morning:

This 2005 Windows XP machine is going down hill fast.


Sounds vaguely familiar. I built my previous computer in 2005 and was actually still very pleased with it. I only had a new one built because of Adobe's lack of support for XP (none for LR and limited for PS).

I can fully recommend AVA Direct. I got a nicely appointed 3770K system for a reasonable amount more than it would have cost me to have bought the parts from Newegg and put it together myself.

The parts list at AVA is a little overwhelming if you've been out of the hardware loop for awhile. Give yourself a chance to do some reading before you make any decisions.





BenV
Registered: Jan 01, 2008
Total Posts: 7966
Country: United States

My personal favorite place to buy electronics from is Newegg.com, however, I normally buy components and do it myself. But occasionally they have very intriguing offers on pre-built pc's



artd
Registered: Mar 01, 2011
Total Posts: 1126
Country: N/A

My suggesetion for a processor would be an Intel i5, probably i5 3550. (Don't bother with any of the "k" processors as their only advantage is having unlocked multipliers for overclocking.)

For memory, 8gb would probably be sufficient for your needs. (Oh, and be sure you are getting the 64bit version of Windows so you can actually use that memory because 32bit OS are limited to 4gb).

For storage, well, you can never have too much storage But, I would suggest an SSD drive for your operating system drive and main applications (it helps speed things up a lot), and then separate hard disk drive(s) for your data storage.

Graphics, well, the i5 3550 has integrated graphics, so you don't really need a separate graphics card unless you are into hardcore 3d gaming (and since you are replacing a 2005 Windows XP machine I will assume you are not )



15Bit
Registered: Jan 27, 2008
Total Posts: 3780
Country: Norway

If you are buying ready built, the Dell Workstations are pretty good at the moment.

If you are building your own:

Motherboard: Z77 chipset (Asus or Gigabyte are safe bets)
CPU: i5-3570K for LR and basic photoshop. i7-3770K for video editing or if you use a lot of the PS filters. Get a decent CPU cooler too.
RAM: 16Gb is cheap, so don't bother to buy less. Get DDR3-1600 for best price/performance ratio.
GFX: Integrated GFX are ok for normal use. Low-mid range card (<$100) from either AMD or Nvidia if you use a lot of filters or encode videos.
Hard disks: 128Gb or 256Gb SSD to boot from - I like Samsung 830, 840 Pro, but all SSD's are pretty good now. For image storage a 2Tb 7200 rpm drive - WD Caviar Black or Seagate Barracuda. Get an external USB3 disk the same size for backups.
Other bits: Get a semi decent case and a good quality PSU around 550W for this build. Don't go cheap on the PSU - cheap ones will blow up and take out half the rest of your system in 15 months or so.

If you really want to splash out an overclocked 6 core i7-3930K will give you the ultimate performance, but it is a very expensive option.

I would recommend the K series processors. On a half decent motherboard overclocking is almost fool proof - on my Asus motherboard you just tick a box and it works. The performance boost (running 4 cores at 4.3Ghz rather than 3.4Ghz) is significant.



artd
Registered: Mar 01, 2011
Total Posts: 1126
Country: N/A

15Bit wrote:
I would recommend the K series processors. On a half decent motherboard overclocking is almost fool proof - on my Asus motherboard you just tick a box and it works. The performance boost (running 4 cores at 4.3Ghz rather than 3.4Ghz) is significant.


Overclocking is great if you know what you're doing and if you're confident that your case is well ventilated and your CPU cooler can handle it. I have seen even mildly overclocked systems fail to remain stable.



15Bit
Registered: Jan 27, 2008
Total Posts: 3780
Country: Norway

artd wrote:
Overclocking is great if you know what you're doing and if you're confident that your case is well ventilated and your CPU cooler can handle it. I have seen even mildly overclocked systems fail to remain stable.


You don't really need to know what you're doing nowadays. I agree a decently ventilated case is needed, but thats about all. The stock intel cooler will see you to 4Ghz or more with these chips and the motherboards have overclocking routines that determine the best stable overclock automatically. You can certainly improve things with a better cooler, but the days of manually balancing voltages and clock multipliers are gone.



Bifurcator
Registered: Oct 22, 2008
Total Posts: 9299
Country: Japan

kdenoble wrote:
Good morning:

This 2005 Windows XP machine is going down hill fast. I'm looking for input as to suggestions for a Windows 7 machine (not confident in Windows 8 yet). Please advise as to processor, memory, storage, graphics, and other recommendations for an amatuer photographer who prefers use of Lightroom, Photoshop Elements (at times), and might upgrade to full Adobe Photoshop at a later date.

Thank you for your input and Merry Christmas.

Kdenoble



Without knowing the specs of your current machine it's almost impossible to offer rational reasoned advice. It could be that all you need is a new GFX card, or a bit more memory and to format your HDDs installing Win7.

If the 2005 machine was high-spec then there's probably not going to be too much real-world performance difference between upgrading it and getting a new consumer-grade i7 or i5 box. BenchMark utilities will show huge differences but that most likely will NOT be realized in LR, CaptureOne, or PS type apps.

Although consumer grade machines like that can be had for (600 to 800) peanuts these days something like a used GFX card and a new PSU to support it may only run $150 total.

It's only in recent times that's I've mostly just used my machines for still image processing. In the past my main gig was 3D CG rendering of complex scenes, scene creation (animation), and also 3D model building. Toward those tasks it's always proven true that pro grade workstations actually end up being cheaper in the long run. Xeon based pre-built "Workstation" grade boxes from Apple, HP, IBM, DELL, SGI, Intergraph, Boxx, or the alike at $2k to $6k last 3 to 5 times longer and don't seem to suffer anywhere near the breakage or ever become "bogged down" like consumer grade boxes do with use over time. They're faster, steadier, can handle volume and extreme use in adverse conditions, and they additionally run much much quieter! They're also more sanely and cleverly designed so that user upgrades and mods are as easy as π (pi).

http://www.boxxtech.com/Media/Default/Spec%20Sheets/W4025_SpecSheet_v5_review.pdf (usually overpriced but (used to be) worth it for the service package)
http://www.dell.com/us/enterprise/p/precision-t5600/pd $1479 Most reasonable and also great service!

and so on...



Danpbphoto
Registered: Jan 03, 2004
Total Posts: 10105
Country: United States

I buy my computers from Puget Systems. Built to order and reasonably priced. No 3rd party software on the machine.
You select the "build" you want and a technical explanation to each part you review and its rating.
http://www.pugetsystems.com/
Dan