8 Replies Latest reply on Oct 18, 2010 5:37 PM by jpodlesnik1

    I need help choosing a new desktop computer

    SalCanz

      Hello A

       

      Looking through this forum, I can see that people are both helpful & knowledgeable; so I’m hoping that you can help me. I am way behind all of you both in expertise and computing needs, so please forgive me if I sound a bit stupid. I last shopped for a computer several years ago and am finding that I have to work to even understand the specs now.  But my current desktop is seriously unwell, so I am shopping for a replacement. I’ve used PCs for years and don’t think it makes sense for me to switch to Apple at this point. My notebook runs on Windows 7 which, in general, I like. I have a new monitor. I’d like to spend  aaround $1000 but can go higher.

       

      The Adobe programs I’m using are CS2 (mainly for InDesign as I am a book artist) and Photoshop Lightroom 1.1 . I probably will upgrade eventually, but I’m not in a hurry to do so. Also, I use Lightroom the most, so will probably upgrade that sooner than CS. I do a lot of still photo editing but am not particularly into video editing. My scanner is an Epson 4490 – not new but still working well. I want to be able to print photos without having the printer spooler paralyze my computer. (Sometimes I use Quimage to print and it grabs quite a lot of memory to do so which makes my current desktop miserable.) My word processing favorite is WordPerfect; my web browser is Firefox; and I use Quicken for financial stuff. I am a "fontaholic" and tend to have a lot of fonts installed. I’d like to keep many of my photos (which I shoot at high resolution) on my desktop hard drive, even though I do have several portable hard drives. I want to be able to play CDs or iTunes while I’m working.

       

      I’d been leaning toward one of the HP customizable models, but reading this forum think I can probably do better, even though HP has free shipping and a promotion giving free upgrades right now. The customer reviews have been excellent on the models I’m considering. These are: the Pavilion p6680t, <http://www.shopping.hp.com/series/category/desktops/p6680t_series/3/computer_store?jumpid= in_r329_personalization/browse2/home_SDP
      The Pavilion Elite HPE 400z – <http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/shopping/computer_can_series.do?storeName=computer_store &category=desktops&a1=See+all&v1=series&a2=Top+rated&v2=4.1-5.0&series_name=HPE400z_series &jumpid=in_R329_prodexp/hhoslp/psg/desktops/All_desktop_series/HPE400z_series>   And the Pavilion Elite HPE 410t –  <http://www.shopping.hp.com/series/category/desktops/HPE410t_series/3/computer_store?jumpid =in_r329_personalization/browse3/SDP_SDP

       

      I did look at ADK as someone suggested in this forum, but they seem to be marketing mainly to people who want to do video editing. I’m also checking out BOXX per another suggestion in the forum.

       

      Having heard more than you probably want to about my needs (sorry) could you give me advice on the following: What CPU should I get? What graphics card?  How much RAM – and what type of RAM – do I need to keep using the computer for some time (like several years hopefully)? Any other advice would be much appreciated.

       

      Thanks very much.

        • 1. Re: I need help choosing a new desktop computer
          Harm Millaard Level 7

          Lightroom and Photoshop are far less demanding of a computer system than video editing and most of the hardware information here is very much oriented to video machines. So you can lower the general demands for your specific purpose. Nevertheless, if you intend to use that system for a couple of years, as you said, none of the systems you linked to would have my preference.

           

          Generally, brand names like HP, Dell, Boxx etcetera have a couple of drawbacks:

           

          1. If you deviate from their standard configuration, like adding a disk, more memory or another video card, they steal you blind.

           

          2. They all come with crippled BIOS, preventing overclocking.

           

          3. They often come with limited and custom PSU that can not be upgraded.

           

          That being said, the general consensus is to stay away from AMD and only consider Intel, because of the lacking SSE 4.1+ support with AMD.

           

          For your purpose I would look at an i7-950 CPU on a X58 mobo with 12 GB RAM and several disks plus a nVidia GTX 460+ video card. If you look around here, you will find many posts showing you what others have looked at/decided on/built. With these basic ingredients you will be safe for the future and you can easily try some video editing.

           

          If you click the overview tab at the top of the page, you will find a drop down box with some articles that may be interesting.

          • 2. Re: I need help choosing a new desktop computer
            jpodlesnik1 Level 1

            Harm Millaard wrote:

             

            For your purpose I would look at an i7-950 CPU on a X58 mobo with 12 GB RAM and several disks plus a nVidia GTX 460+ video card.

            HEY! When I mentioned I was ordering the i7 950, you recommended the 930 ...of course, I think that was back in May.  ;-D   Anyway, I couldn't be happier with my current machine (i7930, X58 mobo, 12 GB RAM, GTX 480, RAID 5 array with Areca controller, etc) - am able to get 4 layers of native AVCHD in PPro CS5 in real-time. No complaints here.  :-)

            • 3. Re: I need help choosing a new desktop computer
              Harm Millaard Level 7

              Since May Intel dropped the price of the 950 to around the level of the 930, so that is why...

              • 4. Re: I need help choosing a new desktop computer
                PaulieDC Level 2

                Hey Harm, I saw that, the 950 is 285 bucks on Amazon now. I can sell my 920 for $240, so is it worth 45 extra bucks to move to the 950? I'm not having performance problems, so if it's just a matter of a .4 gHz improvement, is it worth the bother? Or did Intel add in some spiffy new feature to make it worth the jump while I can still move the 920 for a decent price?

                • 5. Re: I need help choosing a new desktop computer
                  Harm Millaard Level 7

                  As you know I have the 920, which is pretty outdated now. I have seen what Baz and Bill get from their 980's and I must say it is tempting to upgrade the CPU, but in a couple of months (maybe Q3/4 of 2011) the new Intel octa- or even deca-cores (code named Patsburg or Sandy Bridge-E or even Westmere-EX), the new X68 chipset and the new DDR4 memory will probably be introduced. It will probably carry a hefty price tag, apart from significant performance gains, but it will also bring down current prices, so I'll await those new architectures. The most significant aspect of these CPU's is, apart from octa or deca cores, the increase of L3 cache to 15 - 20 MB.

                   

                  If you currently have a 920 it may not be worth the trouble to try to sell it and install a 950, at least not for me. Likely I will drop out of the Top 20 in the PPBM but so what? The marginal increase in performance is not worth it yet. I consider anything less than a threefold performance increase as marginal and I may get a twofold increase for a relatively large investment, so I will wait some time. The possible move from DDR3 to DDR4 also keeps me from investing in new memory at this time, since - as rumors go - the new X68 mobo's will have up to 8 DIMM slots instead of 6. So the new standard would be 32 GB memory as I understand it.

                  • 6. Re: I need help choosing a new desktop computer
                    PaulieDC Level 2

                    I knew you'd have the right perspective! You're right, and incremental upgrade isn't worth the effort. I didn't know about X68 and DDR4, that's worth the wait. I can just pull mobo/ram/processor from my rig, install the new set and reinstall Win7 and PPCS5 and be on my way. I'll pop the X58 set into a cheap case for a dedicated flight sim box when that time comes.

                     

                    Thanks Harm!

                     

                    -Paulie

                     

                    PS: Just curious, if you just change out a processor, does Windows need to be reinstalled?

                    • 7. Re: I need help choosing a new desktop computer
                      Harm Millaard Level 7

                      I assume that you only need to re-activate, since one of the core components of your system changed. But it is only an assumption, I have not tried it.

                      • 8. Re: I need help choosing a new desktop computer
                        jpodlesnik1 Level 1

                        With getting 4 layers of real-time performance with one of the mostly clunky, resource-intensive formats out there (AVCHD), I don't think I'll need to upgrade for a while, say, until the RED Scarlet (8x fixed) canera is shipping to the general public, which may be a year or so or? ...    :-)