You don't need a monster machine for general graphic design.
I'm using mostly indesign day in and day out, with a bit of Photoshop and Illy thrown in - sometimes Flash all using CS5.5
I don't even use a Mac
Operating System: Windows XP Professional (5.1, Build 2600) Service Pack 3 (2600.xpsp_sp3_gdr.130307-0422)
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 CPU 640 @ 2.13GHz (2 CPUs)
Memory: 3070MB RAM
Unless you're doing large amounts of photoshop then I guess a SSD would help to load and save very large files faster.
I always say 4gb is plenty for RAM
8gb is plenty for photos
16gb for extremely large photo/video/animation
You need processing power well if you're doing a lot of processing! Like video editing or animations - but for general day to day InDesign work having a massive engine in the car won't get you there any faster.
I disagree with some of that, Eugene.
With a 64 bit O/S 8 GB of RAM is a bare minimum. I have 16 and I'm
considering going to 32. With the next version of ID at 64 bit and
having PS, Illy and ID all open at the same time, there's no limit to
how much RAM they'll use with the exception of what's in the machine.
As for SSDs. The real speed there is having the O/S and the apps
installed on one, not the data.
I've been using this machine since 2007 and it's perefectly fine running all the CS5.5 packages that I mentioned, even open at the same time.
64 Bit OS does not require a bare minimum of 8gb RAM - at least I don't think so. It can definitely handle more than 4gb RAM bit it's not necessary. 64 bit systems can handle RAM much more efficiently than a 32 Bit system, 4gb would be plenty for every day use, and a little bit of InDesign, photoshop, Ilustrator.
I upgraded my home computer from 4gb to 8gb and I don't notice a difference (that's a 64 bit computer) - but then again, I don't do an awful lot in terms of really large images, video editing, or animations.
SSDs are great - but they will only really read and write very quickly to the drive. So having a 16gb photogrpah or video editing on the SSD drive would mean it can load and save the file faster than it would on a 5200/7200/10000 rpm hard drive.
SSD will improve boot time to almost instaneously.
But SSD they won't inheritently make applications run faster - just the load and save times of files.
With a 64 bit system 4gb of RAM would be plenty for an InDesign user dealing with magazines (I have several magazines a couple of 100 pages each per year that are all done on the machine spec'd above).
When I use my home laptop with Windows 7 and 64 Bit - even photoshop 64bit - I don't see a massive difference in speed or performance...
But I do side with Bob on this - RAM is so cheap that you can easily upgrade 4gb to 8gb, or 8gb to 16gb etc.
The only drawback on the amount of RAM you can installed is down your processor (CPU) some will not recognise too much RAM. My laptop at home the processor will only work with up to 8gb of RAM and no more.
Some processors allow more RAM some don't.
Be sure to read up on the specs of the computer and what works together and what doesn't. By adding too much RAM you could end up bottlenecking your system.