I have no specific recommendations, but given your 2 grand budget you can probably do very well. Some things to consider.
- 16 GB RAM is good, get more if you can. I recommend opting for ECC RAM if possible for increased reliability. Pay the extra for the error correction; it will pay for itself the first time you don't have a crash or corrupted document.
- Opt for big SSD storage, maybe even two in a RAID array, to run everything. Avoid spinning disk drives entirely, especially if you're transporting it. To get an idea of the premium price they should demand, right now if you watch for sales you can get, e.g., 256 GB SSDs for as little as $160. A few weeks ago I bought someone an OCZ Vertex 4 256GB drive as a Christmas Present from Amazon at that price.
- Consider a motherboard based on the Intel i7-3xxx series processor which has both lots of cores and fast core speed. These are ranking high on the performance charts for single processor systems and they run Photoshop extremely well.
- All you need for Photoshop is a decent but not exorbitant "desktop/gamer" video card for $100 to $200. Get one with at least 1 GB of VRAM.
- You're probably going to want an optical drive in it - keep in mind a blu-ray writer can put 25 GB on a disc. Having the occasional ability to write a disc with a fairly large amount of data on it can be handy, and they're not hugely expensive any more.
Good luck. Let us know what you find.
Thanks for the response, Noel. I was thinking of getting the operating system on a larger SSD and the second drive a larger mechanical drive for storage. But if it is for scratch, wouldn't an SSD get a lot of use? On the other hand, if I have enough memory, maybe the scratch space won't be used. I have way too many image files for an SSD. Over a TB because I save first in Raw and then Tiff after I edit. I'm concerned that an external drive would be slower than internal. Is that incorrect?
Can anyone recommend a compact or slim or smaller/lighter cpu that will hold two drives at least? My current desktop holds four with two optical disks but is a work station that is a monstor in size and weight. So far I've checked Lenova and Dell but have gotten confused because none as customized seem to have all that I want.
I have a blue ray player on my current desktop and haven't used it. 25 GB looks pretty small considering all my image files.
As for the video card, I have tried reading and understanding the new features on CS6 and want to be sure to get a card that supports them, even though my non tech mind hasn't grasped it all yet.