My new copy of S6 should arrive Tuesday and I am about to buy a new PC and want insights/feedback on the ultimate PC config to get the most out of CS6 and my images.
I am not a professional photographer but an enthusiast and have noticed most PC are geared for gamers and nobody has an optimized photo editing config. I shoot in RAW and to date have done minimal panoramic work but with a speedier machine I plan on doing some panoramic images. Primarily i am editing for production of enlargement prints, canvases and photobooks.
I have read that Nvidia graphics cards are best with CS6 but I am open to feedback/insights.
My thoughts are:
Intel i7 chip 3.4GHz
16 GB RAM
2 TB HDD
120 GB SSD for OS, CS6. LR4
Optical Drive 24x DVDRW
built in CF reader
1GB to potenially 3GB graphics card
looking for feedback on this config - where would you invest more? which grahics card?
Any insights and feedback is greatly appreciated. I imagine there may be others looking to purchase a new system with photo editing as the primary driver so I am hopeful there is some great advice here.
There are quite a few that feel ATI has the upper hand at keeping current with drivers. Nvidia has CUDA but only matters if you are into high end video editing. PS does not use it.
Programs work best on C drive so that might be too small. It is best to have the scratch disk on a seperate internal drive. Plan on a seperate backup drive also or a raid system.
Don't fret too much about built in card reader. The dedicated USB ones are more reliable.
Do yourself a favor and size your SSD MUCH larger. As Curt has mentioned, making a RAID array out of several SSD drives will really kick up performance (I have four SATA3 SSD drives in a RAID 0 as my system drive C:, for a total of 2TB of space - it screams). Traditional advice is to have a physically separate HDD for use by Photoshop for scratch, but with a RAID 0 arrangement and a lot of extra space you get advantages from running everything off the system drive and achieve extremely fast, fluid performance in everything you do. It's really the way to kick a modern system up to the next level of performance. Lastly, you should know that a number of folks have come on this forum complaining of problems running Photoshop in "non-standard" setups, where they have done special things like relocate their Users data area off their too-small SSD drives.
Get even more RAM if you can, especially if you're going to get into making panos. Photoshop uses a lot of RAM for these operations.
You haven't mentioned what Adobe apps you're considering using, but for just Photoshop my own opinion is that ATI video cards are a bit better. As an OpenGL software developer, I find the AMD/ATI display drivers are of higher quality than nVidia's.
Also, I don't see mention of a monitor. Do you have a good one? If you want predictable results, especially if you send your images out for print, you might want to consider a high-end monitor, and a calibrator/profiler to go with it.
I don't know whether you're interested in a "non-standard" approach, but I have had good luck buying off-lease workstations from eBay. You can get just-off-cutting-edge technology that's quite powerful sometimes for a very good price. A high-end multi-processor system from a couple of years ago can still sometimes outperform today's builds for a lower price. If you're interested in investigating this I can make some suggestions.
Best of luck, and most of all have fun!
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