A Passion For Pelicans - Nature Photography Top Tips

Need Advice choosing

StrayCat 19 19.1k 3 Canada
23 Jul 2010 9:32PM
Hi, as I am a dunce when it comes to IT, I need advice choosing between these 2 PCs. I would like to point out that I will be getting one of these, and would like advice on which to choose.

I'm in a bit of a quandry concerning two PC's, same brand, same price, but a few differences that I can't evaluate with my very limited knowledge. Here's a list of the differences;

Computer #1 - New model release; quad 4 3.1 Ghz processor; 4GB Ram/2slots available; ATI Radeon 4250 graphics; Sound card AMD 880G; USB ports 4 front 8 back + firewire; available hard drive bays 3 internal, 2 available; 1 PCI slot available; 1 PCI E x16 1 slot available, 2 PCI E x1 available; 2MB processor Cache.

Computer #2 - Release date unknown; quad 4 2.6 Ghz processor; 6GB Ram/0 slots available; ATI Radeon HD3200 Graphics; Sound Card AMD 780G chipset; USB ports 4 front 4 back + firewire; Hard drive bays 3 internal, 2 available; 1 PCI slot available; 1 PCI E x16 available; 1 PCI E x1 Available; 6MB L2 Processor cache available.

Everything else is identical; which would you get?

For the mods: I realise I posted this in another thread, but take a look, I didn't get a response to my question. I am not interested in the latest and greatest.
BigRick 17 2.1k 3 United Kingdom
23 Jul 2010 9:38PM
i would go for comp 1 and then buy upgrade for memory when you have it in the home.
StrayCat 19 19.1k 3 Canada
23 Jul 2010 11:23PM
Thanks Rick, that's where I'm leaning. There are no reviews that I can find of #1, but #2 gets an average 4.8 out of 5.
cameracat 19 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
23 Jul 2010 11:44PM

Quote:i would go for comp 1 and then buy upgrade for memory when you have it in the home.

I would go with that option too.

Reasons, Computer one has a faster CPU, Better Mainboard chipset, Better graphics, More USB ports.

Goodies like the Chipset & USB ports are not upgradeable, Upgrading the CPU at a later date is a pain you wanna avoid, The better graphic option will probably be more than enough for most things, Unless you get into some intensive gaming.......Nah! Did not think that was your thing.....Smile

As Rick pointed out, Adding some extra RAM, If you feel you need it, Is a fairly cheap & painless option, Some time in the future.

THE one question I would ask of the suppliers is this, What " Bit " version of the operating system are they including.....Grin

Often when only 3Gb of ram is on offer, They plan to install a 32bit version OS, Because a 32bit will not see much more than 3.25Gb of RAM at best.

Whilst the computer offering 4Gb of ram, is more likely to be targeted for a 64bit OS version.......Smile

Price wise on the OS ( Presume that to be Windows 7 ) There is little or no difference between the price of the 32bit & 64bit versions.

If the suppliers are negotiable on the OS, I'd opt for the 64bit version, But that might depend on what other softwares & hardwares you plan installing, As some might not be 64bit compatible, Though many 32bit applications & hardware can/will run on a 64bit OS, 64bit stuff will not run on a 32bit.

Just a little more to consider.......Wink
StrayCat 19 19.1k 3 Canada
24 Jul 2010 3:39AM
Thanks cameracat, appreciate that. Yes, it is 64 bit, and Windows 7 Home Premium. I just called the shop and confirmed that.
24 Jul 2010 10:51AM
I was recently helped with a similar purchase - here's a few other factors to think about.

What kind of RAM?
DDR2 or DDR3 - DDR3 is quite a bit better.
And what clock speed the memory is - this controls how fast it can be read - it's usually 800Mhz or 1333Mhz - faster is better.
Both of these need to be got right at purchase.

What processor architecture?
It's a bit like the camera megapixel wars - more Mhz is not necessarily better; the architecture is very important.
Here's an eye opening comparison chart for Photoshop rendering performance.,1387.html

It's worth the wait - my new system is lush Smile
cameracat 19 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
24 Jul 2010 11:36AM
Duncans link is quite interesting.....Smile

Note the 6 core Intel i7 ( Gulftown ) is the fastest chip on the planet at the moment.

Whilst the AMD 6 core Phenom II ( Thuban ) is a little way down the list......!!!

However.....Grin Take a look at how much your going to pay for the Intel CPU.....Sad """ Thud """/////// " How Much " ......Sad

Yes thats right folks, The supa duppa Intel chip will make a very big hole in £1000 smackers......Grin

Whilst the AMD 6 core chip can be found for under £250 quid.....Smile Smile Smile Smile

NOW I don't know about anyone else, But when I'm configuring a digital photo editing rig, Then working out the cost of parts etc etc, I tend to advise spending a larger proportion of the overall budget on a " DECENT Display monitor " ......Tongue Plenty of RAM, Lots of storage.......!!!

Lets face it for most people waiting a few seconds for a dozen or so plugins to be applied, Is no big deal....Smile But unless you have a decent calibrated display, Your never going to see what sort of mess the plugins are making, Let alone a decent percentage of the " Adobe RGB " colour space, You should be working in.....Smile

However most normal people will only be applying 1 plugin ( or whatever ) at a time, In these circumstances the time differencies taken will hardly be an issue.

Bottom line, For what Intel are charging for that monster chip, You could build a whole machine, That most sane users would be well happy with.....!!!!!

In the real world you can build a very respectable computer for digital photo work for under £700 GBP, If you shop carefuly you can now find some very respectable display monitors ( With variants of the " IPS " panel technology ) for under £400 GBP, So all in all if your buying a whole new system from scratch, Including display and all accesories, You can easily get away with spending under £1200 quid.

The only people who split hairs about shaving a few milliseconds of this, Or that, Are the " Geeks " & " Gamers " ...Grin Rarely do either of these computing animals worry/care about such things as colour profiles, Colour accuracy, Gamuts etc etc, So buying a gaming rig for photoshop work, Is really a waste of money.

24 Jul 2010 4:54PM
Good words Cameracat Smile
Already got myself a wide gamut monitor and a Munki to calibrate it - the colours are so vivid compared to my old monitor that I run next to it in dual-view.

I went for an Intel i5 750 2.66Ghz as it seemed a good compromise between price and performance.
Googling I see it is available for well under £150 and it's only a fraction slower than the AMD you seem so taken with... Wink

I also went for 8Mb of 1333Mhz DDR3 - as good as it gets.
Lightroom 3 leaks like a sieve and often uses more than half the 8Gb before it dies in a steaming heap.
I keep the process monitor running on the 2nd screen and restart Lightroom when it has chewed too much memory.
Having 8Gb means I can open CS5 directly from Lightroom and the PC doesn't need to page anything to disc - sweet.

On the graphics card front I found that the card in my old PC couldn't cope with the Direct X demands that CS5 makes for content aware fill and puppet warp. If I selected too big an area it simply reported running out of graphics memory - memory wasn't the problem - the card wasn't man enough for the job. Hence I specced a Radeon 5700 which is regarded as either high end workstation or medium spec gaming - and it handles loads of monitors! No problems with CS5 and the Munki seems able to separately profile each screen - often a problem with budget cards.

Everything I read indicated that for photography the key to performance is getting decent memory and lots of it - nothing else matters (as much).
StrayCat 19 19.1k 3 Canada
24 Jul 2010 7:25PM
I'll put 4 GB in to double the ram, and I'll see how the graphics card does. I don't think I'll have a problem there, even though I'm a big time gamer, Backgammon.Wink I use Elements and have no intention of getting Lightroom or CS5. One thing I may do later is install a top level sound card for my music, I'll see. At least in that case, I can transfer a sound card to another PC in a few years if need be. All of your advice is very helpful.

I bought a new monitor about 2 months ago, so I don't need that.

Thanks again.
StrayCat 19 19.1k 3 Canada
30 Jul 2010 8:41PM
Thankyou very much to those who gave advice re my request. I got Computer no. 1, and it greatly exceeds my expectations. With 11 years between PCs I guess it would.Tongue I'm drinking far less tea with things happening so fast.Wink
BigRick 17 2.1k 3 United Kingdom
30 Jul 2010 11:31PM
nice to hear it is ok.... makes a nice change when the computer runs nice and fast Smile
BigRick 17 2.1k 3 United Kingdom
30 Jul 2010 11:31PM
not really sure why there are so many 'nice's in there.... Grin
3 Sep 2010 3:18PM
What make are these machines Straycat?

Many thanks
StrayCat 19 19.1k 3 Canada
3 Sep 2010 4:27PM
They're both ACER; the one I got is the latest they released here at 600.00 Canadian. First time I've dealt with the brand, and everything seems fine so far. Lightroom ran fast on it, but I decided I wouldn't get it. I have a 100gb music editing program that runs very smooth and no delays. The 12 usb ports really come in handy also. I couldn't come close with a Dell machine for a similar price, and I was looking at sale prices. The price on the ACERs is regular everyday. One thing I think will be useful, is the hard drive sits in a slide out tray with slots for 2 more.

Here it is.
3 Sep 2010 4:35PM
Thank you StrayCat!

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