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Need a new PC For Graphics work and I need opinions

2173 Views 17 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  20vK

I would love some input here.

Basically I am always buying off the shelf pc's and using them for Corel, Fireworks, Photo shop, etc. I seem to be burning up these cheap PC's from HP, Dell, etc. I am also using them for my vinyl cutter, sublimation printer, scale, printers, etc etc. So there is a LOT going on here.

I want to custom build my own PC, which I have done in the past. However, I am out of touch with the latest performance specs.

If you are using heavy graphics programs, and many peripherals, what are the specs to your PC that you are using? I do not think I need the latest and greatest, but a top notch processor from last year to me would be great and cheaper than the current best.

Assuming 16gb DDr3 Ram,
1 GB Graphics card
700 watt power supply.

Any help is appreciate. Before you say it, no, I am not getting a Mac.
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I don't know much about computers but I do know that the biggest factors are

memory = 12 gig minimum, most you can afford
Graphics card = best one you want to pay for with the most memory
CPU = best you will pay for
Hard drive = I believe SSD drives are faster but you'll pay more for them

I would go talk with a custom computer builder and they should tell you you will need.

Everything is related - if you have a fast processor but a slow bus, the Info won't get out or cross over. If ram is low and slow, your processes will take longer.

I would look at reviews of a stable gaming pc and then just buy the hardware yourself, because whatever you buy can probably be bettered, and whatever you buy will probably be considered slow in 5 years...

The two options are go medium spec and update twice as often as a high spec, or go balls out and use a top spec that will last longer.

The medium spec argument is that you'll probably have a faster machine in 3 years than you would if you blew a bunch of cash on a high spec one. Saying that, though - you have to co sided what hardware you will be running. My plotter, for example runs off only older versions of a particular software.

I would say that an SSD is magic. Startup is fast and retrieving files is a dream.

I've always gone for the top spec, maxed out system, but then I work my hardware very hard. Most people would probably benefit from regular hardware replacements.
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You're spot on with the Ram. 16GB DDR 3.

I'd look at the processor before splashing out on an SSD drive. You're looking for multi core. Intel i7 is the best statistically. I use AMD Quad core Phenom IIs because I like AMD and they're a lot cheaper. :)

A 1GB mid range graphics card should do you, you don't need a top notch gaming card.

An SSD card makes startup (if you just put your OS on it) a lot faster but for what you're doing I'd stick with a standard 1TB Sata 7200RPM hard drive.

Get a big case, it's good for airflow if you're working it all day, but it's also really handy for swapping bits in and out of it in a hurry. If your PSU fails you don't want to be breaking your fingers trying to swap it out when you have a job to get to. :)

Don't get a Mac... it will break your heart for what you're doing. You need a workhorse, not a pretty pony. ;) Also, get Win7 NOT 8!
SSD drives have come down so much that there is really no reason not to get one. If your buying a built machine and has a SSD it will have trim support. If you are building make sure the drive has trim support. Also NEVER defrag a SSD. i7 is a great suggestion. I am only running 8 gigs of ddr3 buy a much higher MHz ram then most others are using. The ram I use is much higher quality then 95%+ use. Its almost double you standard ram. Also if running all that ram you Have to have 64-bit operating system or its worthless as 32bit only uses 4 gigs and that includes the video card. Get a separate video card, don't use a on board video. Its a huge bottle neck. If you get a decent Nvidia or ATI some graphics programs you can download a hardware acceleration patch that greatly improves rendering performance.
Appreciate the details
Yes Win 7 over 8 any day of the week... including Tuesdays.
Actually I have Win 8. You can make it act EXACTLY like Win 7. I hate all the Win 8 menus.
I recommend getting a really good monitor, and choosing one that is as large as you can afford. I don't like Win 8 either but 8.1 does let you get back to the look and feel of Win 7.
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I recommend getting a really good monitor, and choosing one that is as large as you can afford. I don't like Win 8 either but 8.1 does let you get back to the look and feel of Win 7.
You can do in win 8 also. Since you bring up the monitor, you can get a spyder and calibrate your monitor. I have the most expensive one they sell. I had a free service from best buy and used it to have my second monitor calibrated. The have some expensive equipment. If I had not makes them and had him name the profile as best buy profile you can't tell the difference. The nice thing here is clients can look at their artwork with correct Pantone colors at your monitor.
I find that there are a lot of driver issues with Win 8 still, when it comes to vinyl cutters and such. Core hardware is not an issue, but pre-Win 8 peripherals kill Win 8 for me.
One word...... MAC!!!
There is always one in the bunch. The OP already said NO MAC.

A Mac's hardware is nothing more then a over priced PC anymore. The run Intel CPU. The only thing basicly that's Mac is the OS and the motherboard. You can do a hackintosh much cheaper that runs 100% as good or better then a macs hardware.
You can get an over clocked intel I5 processor, 16gig of corsair memory, 250gig SSD hard drive for all your software, you can get a cheap water cooled cpu fan that has a radiator installed in it, I believe a graphics card is a must as it will also help with rendering and you can get NVIDIA gtx 680's cheap that will more than do the job. I will put a detailed build up soon :)

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One word...... MAC!!!
Other word OUCH. Get ready for backlash!!!
well... just like with PCs.... you can't get a "regular person" Mac... just like you can't use a "regular person" PC... n what I mean by that is something that's just for playing games n browsing the internet... and maybe watching some movies... if you get a "basic" computer you're always going to fry it out regardless to what brand it is.

The powerhouse versions of each brand that are made to be TOOLS to do massive amounts of work are all pretty good... The thing that makes a Mac more solid to work with is that the OS is on solid thing... PCs always ran on 2 systems.... DOS which is the REAL operating system of a PC and Windows which is the "graphic interface" that turns DOS into pictures.... so there's an extra step in the process of data being processed..... So it's the same thing as if you and your friend were racing one another with 2 different finish lines.... your finish line being 300 yards away while their finish line is only 200 yards away from them... and in order for you to win the race you have to get to 300 yards before they can get to 200 yards... and esentially they could run slower than you and STILL get to the finish line before you get to yours due to the extra 100 yards you have to run...

This is what makes Macs more efficient... not to say they're perfect and can't get viruses or anything... but they don't have to be pushed as hard as a PC has to be pushed in order to get the same speed and efficiency.... maybe Windows 8 is different in terms of weather or not DOS is still the core of its' functionality somehow... I'd have to look into it... But this is why PCs have always fried out faster than Macs... They have to do more to keep up.... n just for the record I'm a PC user...... at the moment.... But from doing a lot of big projects both with graphics and music on both PCs and Macs.... I've always run into less problems with Macs... especially when it comes to mixing and mastering 30 core tracks all routed around to another 20 tracks or so with over 100 plugins running at once.... I know that's music and doesn't have anything to do with graphics... But just the type of load that is shows you a LOT about what one computer is capable of doing vs. another...
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... especially when it comes to mixing and mastering 30 core tracks all routed around to another 20 tracks or so with over 100 plugins running at once.... I know that's music and doesn't have anything to do with graphics... But just the type of load that is shows you a LOT about what one computer is capable of doing vs. another...
Man know you gonna make me go hook up my DAW, reconnect my MOTU 2408 to my mixer and drag me back into the struggle!! LOL!! Not.

Making way better money on this side without the headaches of dealing with broke artists. Some days I do miss it though. Then I snap back to reality. Glad to see I'm not the only converted or semi-converted studio gear slut in here doing tees and what not.
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I recommend getting a really good monitor, and choosing one that is as large as you can afford.
that's along the lines of what i was going to suggest. if you're doing graphics work, a high quality monitor is essential for color accuracy. i'm eventually going to spec my own computer when i start my business and haven't gotten around to processor etc. research, but have been looking into monitors.

for hardware, get the highest rated heat sink! it will really help with longevity. if you really want to go nuts, you could even do expensive liquid cooling, but there are some really good copper heat sinks out there that are much cheaper and nearly as effective. do some keyword searching for "heat sink reviews" a couple years ago, i found a really good site that tested and ranked hardware including how well various heat sinks cooled PCs down. it might be a small part of your set up, but it's a wise investment to keep it running well. DON'T do overclocking either. that's a good way to stress your hardware.

as to monitors, these are the three top choices i've found. some people at least prefer to work with 24" monitors and find larger ones too big. they're also more expensive.

Dell ultrasharp monitors eg. 24" U2413 @ ~ $430 & 27" U2711 @ ~ $720. they're very highly reviewed for color accuracy, though you need to find the right calibration tools and DON'T use dell's own ones. there seems to be some issues with tech support for dell monitors too making their 3 year warranties useless if you buy them through 3rd parties

NEC MultiSync PA241W 24" @ ~ $1,000. rated to have even better greyscale accuracy than the dell monitors and offer a 4 year warranty. the impression i got was that NEC is "the best" unless you geta really expensive monitor, not that $1,000 is cheap

i THOUGHT i saved the info, but probably didn't because $2,500 (24" model) is a huge investment, but if you can afford it, wacom's graphics monitors let you draw directly on their screen and are really loved by the people that use them and i think they make 27" too. i WISH i could afford one, but will likely go the dell route myself.

as to audio... i've always wanted to do the cubase thing myself, but have always been a decade behind in hardware and software on used computers. when i get a graphics PC, i plan on getting audio hardware and software for it and to get a dirt cheap refurb, probably running linux, to connect to the internet and keep my workstation virus free.

macs do tend to be the computers of choice for artists, but they've ALWAYS been so freakin' expensive except for those toy minimacs you can't hotrod with audio and video cards etc. there will never be a "useable mac" under $1,000. the price of that system is never going to be affordable for working professionals despite pretty decent specked custom PCs being available for $500 or so.

UPDATE: i just learned of a much more affordable alternative to wacom on screen graphics monitors, the Huion gt-190 is only $700 and is 4 star rated on amazon. it never showed up in my search results, but you can bet i'm going to research those. on screen is the only way to draw as far as i'm concerned and the huions are the only affordable option i know of.

if you're interested in graphics monitors, here's the thread where i learned about the huion
i also learned about the YINOVA MSP19U alternative there as well as found this really nice link with more pen graphics monitors info & comparisons

in reading some reviews, it looks like yiynova graphic tablet monitors are the best value with even better pressure sensitivity than wacom. $620 for a 19" isn't bad. i don't know if the 22" is worth an extra $380, but that's reasonable too.
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Awesome links - I've been wanting a screen tablet since they came out..... Never EVER could I have justified a Wacom ( I have their intros, btw).

That other option looks awesome. Killer price point, too.

I think it was LG who just introduced a super wide monitor, aimed at designers. Rather than having two, this is meant to have room for your work and the menus.

I have 2 monitors and still not enough (iMac 27" and an older 26" iiyama E2607ws). iiyama have a strong and growing reputation in the UK for producing cheaper quality monitors. Not sure of their price point in the US, but you can check on amazon. I want another monitor.... And even see myself as going for 4 one day (plus that snazzy pad you linked to)!
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