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Thread: New Windows PC

  1. #1
    Senior Member Peter Klein's Avatar
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    New Windows PC

    I'm going to get a new desktop computer soon. Things have changed a lot since I last bought a computer (uhmm, 7 years ago!!). So I find myself drowning in specs without really knowing how much practical effect they will have on my two principal activities: Photo editing and music composition. Any advice would be appreciated.

    Whatever I get, I will have Windows 7 64-bit, at least 4 gigs RAM and a current SATA hard drive. Sorry, no Macs--I work in a Windows company, so I want to stay with what I'm good at.

    The good news: I don't use Photoshop, I use Picture Window Pro, which has a much lower resource footprint.
    The bad news: I use Capture One Pro, and Sibelius (music writing and playback). These do benefit from faster processors and more cores--up to a point.

    I'm trying to find the "sweet spot" in processor power. I'm happy to pay for something that will give me a true, real world benefit, but I don't want to pay nearly twice as much for a 5-10% bump in performance. I'm more interested in reliability than bleeding-edge gamer-class performance. At the same time, I don't want to have to wait 2 minutes to run unsharp mask on a 16-bit TIFF.

    Would I gain any real, practical increase in photo editing performance if I spent the extra money for a quad core processor as opposed to a dual core?

    I looked at two Intel-based machines at the local clone shop, which I know uses good parts:

    * i3-550 Dual Core CPU, 3.2GHz 4MB L2 Cache / 733MHz, INTEL BOXDQ57TM motherboard, Intel Q57 chipset.
    <http://shop.hdnw.com/product.aspx?n=SY-SU012>
    * i5 760 Quad Core CPU. 2.8GHz / 8MB L3 Cache, ASUS P7P55D-E PRO motherboard, Intel P55 Express Chipset
    <http://shop.hdnw.com/product.aspx?n=SY-PE012>

    Then there's that tempting deal from Costco for a screamer "ZT Affinity" with an Intel i7-950. But I wonder how they can sell that much horsepower so cheaply...
    <http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product...6671&N=4047237 4294908621&Mo=9&No=1&Nr=P_CatalogName:BC&Ns=P_Pric e|1||P_SignDesc1&lang=en-US&Sp=C&topnav=>

    A relative who owns an IT business says he never trusts "clones," and I should buy a new or recent refurb Dell Optiplex (we've had very good reliability with Optiplexes at my workplace). Another colleague says that the clones and the name brands are all made in the same factory, so if Costco offers a great deal, go for it.

    Decisions, decisions.

    --Peter

  2. #2
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    Re: New Windows PC

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Klein View Post
    Whatever I get, I will have Windows 7 64-bit, at least 4 gigs RAM and a current SATA hard drive. Sorry, no Macs--I work in a Windows company, so I want to stay with what I'm good at.
    Hi Peter
    We develop software for Windows 7 - and we only use macs (there is one PC in a barn, but it's as old as yours), VM Fusion makes a wonderful Windows client, and you can convert your current Windows setup to a virtual machine.

    That way you get the best of both worlds, added to which backup and almost everything else is easier and better.

    Just throwing a penny under your wheel

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: New Windows PC

    Peter I have the ASUS P7P55D-E Pro and I use the i7Quad core with 8 Gb of RAM and though I am using CS-5 I too process fairly large files I know that CS5 was designed for Quad core, but you know that any part of the chain if it doesn't all "fit" together can slow your processing down, including your video card. Unsharp mask on my 14 bit TIFF is instantaneous. You have gotten 7 years use out of your previous machine, don't scrimp on this tool. Joe

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    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Re: New Windows PC

    I agree with Jono. But then I'm biased toward Apple. However, my wife isn't and insisted we replace her aging PC with another PC. We bought from a smaller company that builds their own and consistently reviews very well. Often beating Dell, HP and other name brands. Very nice to deal with, great warranty, everything delivered as promised. I'm very pleased with the machine and feel very comfortable recommending the company to others.

    Their website is not as polished as the heavy hitters, but worth a look here: http://www.microexpress.net/default.asp

    Good luck with your decision,
    Tim

  5. #5
    Senior Member Peter Klein's Avatar
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    Re: New Windows PC

    Thanks, all. I ended up going with a recent Dell refurb with i7. Now we'll see...

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    Re: New Windows PC

    I've had great luck with product from the Dell Outlet; I hope you have the same!
    -- M.

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