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Help on a Photoshop Dedicated System


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#1 vandreadstriker

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 07:10 AM

Hey guys,

So a friend of mine came up to me and asked if I can build him a system dedicated for Photoshop.
Now I've always gone with the principal that 'Any gaming system would be able to handle Photoshop just fine,' but in this case, this system is 100% intended for editing photos (well maybe some browsing, playing music and occasionally watching movies but you get the gist)

The problem is, I can't figure out what GPU to use on this system. Honestly, I've never really understood how much of an impact does GPU have on Photoshop and if I have to look for certain specs (Amount of VRAM? Number of Shader cores?).
Also, he told me that he'd like to bring this system with him when he go overseas for his studies (Don't ask me how he's gonna do it, I have no idea) so I thought it might be of some benefit if we use an 80+ Silver/Gold PSU (?)
It'd also be great if I can fit an IPS screen within the budget but I have my doubts..

Budget is +/- IDR 10 million (~US$1030)
And the parts would be bought from here: http://www.waroengkom.com/ (Preferred but I'll look at other stores if some parts are not available)

Here's what I got so far (Edit 6 Oct 12):

CPU - i5 2500K (IDR 2,012,000)
Board - ASrock Z77 Pro4-M (IDR 1,078,000)
RAM - Patriot Signature Line 2x8GB 1333MHz (IDR 674000)
GPU - Zotac GTX650 1GB (1,225,000)
PSU - Silverstone SST-ST60F-ES 600watt (IDR 645,000)
Case - NZXT Source 210 (IDR 500,000)
Monitor - LG IPS225V (IDR 2,100,000)
SSD - OCZ Vertex 4 128GB (IDR 1,185,000)
HDD - Seagate Barracuda 1TB (IDR 766,000)

Total: IDR 10,185,000

As you can see, I'm about to go over the allocated budget if I keep this longer. It's 10PM and my mind doesn't seem to be in working order to find ways in cutting the cost down..
Any advice on lowering the cost, probably cut corners, and especially suggestions for the GPU would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks :cheers:

Edited by vandreadstriker, 05 October 2012 - 06:41 PM.

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#2 wevsspot

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 07:36 AM

Hi Van. A couple observations (irrelevant of budget considerations - which I know you have).

CPU:
Photoshop can and with many operations does use hyperthreading. A feature that is missing on the i5. Just so you're aware. There isn't anything wrong at all with the 2500K - great processor - just remember that it doesn't have hyperthreading - and that Photoshop is an application that can take advantage of the technology.

Motherboard:
A good board at a solid price - there will be detractors though since there are a handful of users that haven't had great experiences with ASRock motherboards

Memory:
No reason to go DDR3 1600Mhz unless they just happen to be the least expensive. The choice to go with 16Gb is a good one. However, if you can find a 16Gb kit of DDR3 1333Mhz for less money then those would work fine too. You might also compare cost of a 4x4Gb kit versus the 2X8Gb kit. My main point of emphasis here is to get 16Gb total - but you can be flexible with the speed, timings and configuration. Just find the least expensive option.

GPU:
We'll come back to that one............

Power supply:
Personally I don't have any problems recommending FPS power supplies. Have used many of them without issue. Again, there will be a handful of detractors because it isn't Corsair, OCZ, Mushkin, PC Power&Cooling etc.

Case:
Personal choice - whatever trips your trigger

Monitor:
No comment

Hard drive - OS and storage
SSD is a great idea for the OS and some important apps, but Photoshop can really benefit from a stand alone scratch disk and it seems to me that you'll need another storage medium with a lot more capacity.

GPU - Redux:
Do you have a preference AMD or nVidia?
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#3 EuroFight

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 07:44 AM

For Photoshop I would use an nVidia GPU with atleast 1GB of VRAM (Although I would recommend nearer 2GB). AMD GPUs accelerated rendering have only been supported by Adobe from CS6, thus nVidia cards are much more effective in this sense.

Processor AMD FX-6100 Hex-core, 3.3GHz > Intel Core 2 Duo, Dual-core, 1.6GHz

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Motherboard Gigabyte GA-970A-DS3 Socket AM3+ > OEM Latitude XT2 Motherboard Socket P

Storage Seagate Barracuda 2TB SATA 7200.14 > Samsung 64GB SSD SATA 3Gbps

Power Supply Cooler Master Elite ATX 500W > OEM Dell Power Supply 90W

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#4 hornybluecow

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 08:03 AM

I feel like once a week someone asks the same questions lol . Anyways if we knew your workflow it could help on some choices . Are you editing raw? What size are your images? Do you make hdr photos? Are you doing graphic design work?

Generically I suggest for a new computer 16gn of ram ( speed doesn't matter it had zero impact) . I also usually suggest a nvidia card because up until cs6 that was the only support brand. Now AMD is in the mix but I don't like them normally (personally view). I honestly only noticed the gpu acceleration when working on a very large scale ( 5 foot 600 ppi) photos and it comes in handy because without acceleration the mouse will lag and the screen updates slowly . Digital painting is also a big plus . Before anything over 600ppi was out of the question.

Edited by hornybluecow, 03 October 2012 - 04:28 PM.

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#5 Fogel

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 03:47 PM

What everyone above me said. Hornybluecow is probably the best to ask Photoshop questions on so I would totally go with his response.

It wasn't stated above so I will say this, GPU horsepower isn't needed. So you don't need to break the banks on the GPU. I would go with a system geared with RAM and CPU as the main components where as a gaming pc is video card first. I would tend to lean toward nVidia on the GPU as well. The graphics world in general tends to favor nVidia more so than AMD. I like the idea of 2x8GB kit, mostly because it keeps the other two banks available and 2x8GB kits are actually reasonable now. Like Wev and Horny said though, speed doesn't matter.

I don't have time to research the monitor you picked but I see "IPS" so that is already a good start. A monitor is very important for graphic design artists. It is actually probably the most important piece. You can suffer with poor speed, but you need those colors to be accurate. If you haven't already make sure you research that one well. I wouldn't doubt it if some of them still use CRT for that reason alone.

#6 hornybluecow

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 04:27 PM

I guess I also forgot to answer the GPU memory question. That is I don't have a answer. when using video cards for other things they tend to be limited based on the scene size. If your scene is 400mb than 400mb is used in vram for the acceleration. I don't know in photoshop but the amount of system ram is important because it's used as a scratch disk.

Using a IPS monitor is a good start. you typicality get 85% Adobe RGB coverage unless you invest a whole lot more money. I also suggest getting a monitor color calibrator like the color monkey from x-rite. Once again it really depends on what you are doing in Photoshop. Does color accuracy maters? if so you may want to set aside some money to make sure you have a good monitor and a color calibrator.

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#7 vandreadstriker

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 06:51 PM

Thanks for the reply guys! Greatly appreciated. I'll try to reply one by one:

....


Thanks wev! A couple of answers to your question/suggestions:

CPU - Yes I realise that, but I don't think it'd fit the budget as it is now. I'll ask him if he would want to get an i7 instead but even he doesn't, the i5 should be more than enough, especially when overclocked right?
Motherboard - I've no issues with ASRock and here, they're handled by the same company who handles ASUS so it shouldn't be much of a problem.
RAM - Noted. I'll change the OP for a cheaper 1333MHz RAM. These are the cheapest 16GB kit I could find (probably cause of the loose timings but it doesn't really impact performance much, would it?) Those 4x4GB kits from the likes of Corsair & G.Skill cost around IDR 200K more.
PSU - Again, I also have no issue with them.
HDD/SSD - Noted thanks, but with the budget I have, it looks impossible to fit 2 SSDs + 1 HDD unless I cut down on the other parts, not to mention that I've got no GPU in it yet.
GPU - No preference really, but looks like everyone is leaning towards nVidia for the CS5 and below support. For now, either will do fine unless I get a call saying that he is thinking twice of getting CS6.

For Photoshop I would use an nVidia GPU with atleast 1GB of VRAM (Although I would recommend nearer 2GB). AMD GPUs accelerated rendering have only been supported by Adobe from CS6, thus nVidia cards are much more effective in this sense.


Noted, thanks!

I feel like once a week someone asks the same questions lol . Anyways if we knew your workflow it could help on some choices . Are you editing raw? What size are your images? Do you make hdr photos? Are you doing graphic design work?


I'm not 100% sure of what he's gonna do but I'm pretty sure that he'd be editing RAW and probably make use of HDR. No, I don't think he's doing graphic design work.

.....


Noted, thanks!

....


Noted, thank you very much!
So I'm assuming that anything with 2GB should suffice then? The screen is only 22" in size to begin with..
As for the screen itself, he is yet to do any 'real professional' job right now (like wedding photos, etc) so I don't think he'd need a better screen atm. Same goes for the colour calibrator. However he is very interested in pursuing a career in photography so I'll talk with him first for this part.
Just so that I can clearly explain to him, what does the colour calibrator do exactly? And what would be the benefit of getting a better monitor (say a Dell Ultrasharp monitor)?


I still have no idea for the GPU at this stage. I was looking at the 560Ti last night but it wouldn't fit in the budget (and at that price, I might as well go with the GTX660 for IDR 200-300k less. Crazy pricing..) so I really don't know if I should get a cheaper GPU (like a GT640), since Fogel said GPU horsepower doesn't really benefit much, or sacrifice some other items to fit in a better GPU.

What do you guys suggest I do?

Thanks :cheers:

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#8 hornybluecow

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 10:19 PM

the color calibrator make sure the monitor is showing the correct colors. normally you get a monitor that has off colors from the factory and you need to try to match to industry standard Adobe RGB. usually if your workflow involves printing than your monitor is used for "soft proofing" . normal IPS monitors will be about 85% of the total range which is alright for most use. The only monitor i know that is simi affordable that has full coverage is the dell U2410u ($400 on sale).

Also I was doing some reading and the Quadro cards have better LUT which keeps the colors more accurate. I never knew why the quadro looked better on the screen until I read this the other day.

edit: If your friends just starting out using photoshop a lot of these things he won't even notice or need to consider until he wants to make some money being a professional freelancer

Edited by hornybluecow, 03 October 2012 - 10:29 PM.

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#9 wevsspot

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 06:32 AM

Van - another option you might consider.....................

If this is primarily a productivity machine and you wont be doing any overclocking or running sli/crossfire then you might consider going with a H77 chipset board instead of Z77. That will usually save a little bit of cash. Food for thought. Thinking along the same lines, if you chose a m-atx board instead of a full sized atx board that will usually save some more money as well.
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#10 vandreadstriker

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 07:59 AM

the color calibrator make sure the monitor is showing the correct colors. normally you get a monitor that has off colors from the factory and you need to try to match to industry standard Adobe RGB. usually if your workflow involves printing than your monitor is used for "soft proofing" . normal IPS monitors will be about 85% of the total range which is alright for most use. The only monitor i know that is simi affordable that has full coverage is the dell U2410u ($400 on sale).

Also I was doing some reading and the Quadro cards have better LUT which keeps the colors more accurate. I never knew why the quadro looked better on the screen until I read this the other day.

edit: If your friends just starting out using photoshop a lot of these things he won't even notice or need to consider until he wants to make some money being a professional freelancer


Alright, thanks for the explanation :thumbsup:
Unfortunately I don't think he can afford a Quadro card or an U2410u monitor right now..
Yes he is, but I wouldn't say that he 'just' started since he already tried experimenting for a few weeks and realized that his laptop ain't gonna cut it, so I'm guessing that he would find little use of all those for now.

Van - another option you might consider.....................

If this is primarily a productivity machine and you wont be doing any overclocking or running sli/crossfire then you might consider going with a H77 chipset board instead of Z77. That will usually save a little bit of cash. Food for thought. Thinking along the same lines, if you chose a m-atx board instead of a full sized atx board that will usually save some more money as well.


Well, I thought that by using a Z77 and K sku, he'd be able to make his system last for maybe 5+ years (?)
And since HT is missing from the i5s, I also thought that it might be a good idea to overclock the 2500K and match the power of the i7s. But I'd probably have to think twice now if I want to keep the budget as is.
What would be your opinion on getting a vanilla 2600 and an ASRock H77M instead? Might not last him for 5 years but should probably be enough to last him for 2-3 years, no?

Also, what would you guys think of the upcoming GTX650Ti? Would it be worth the money or a cheaper card would do just fine for this system?
Or, if possible, throw me any suggestions for the card and I'll see if I can fit any one in the budget

Thanks
:cheers:

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#11 wevsspot

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 09:20 AM

Looking at the budget constraints I think that a vanilla 2600 paired with a decent H77M board would be a viable alternative. Certainly opens up a little breathing room for the video card purchase.
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#12 hornybluecow

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 03:26 PM

it's always hard to balance what is needed and what is optional.

I think information you can take with you when building a dedicated Photoshop / Graphic design rig is that Ram, Monitor and Video card (questionable) matters, everything else can be replaced by X or Y. for today's photos and editing in RAW and using Bridge / Lightroom / Photoshop 16GB is becoming a standard. For color accuracy half the battle is having a good monitor and the rest is dealing with getting those colors to show correctly which generally involves a color calibrator of some type (I recommend X-Rite products). Last up is the video card and usually the only reason to have a pro card (Quadro or FireGL) is along with the monitor and calibrator is support for higher bit-dept and a more accurate LUT (Look up table). That really is a more professional thing to deal with and honestly most artist i know don't even know how to calibrate a monitor and believe what they see is what everyone else sees.

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