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recommendations for a graphic design computer??

Old 05-14-02, 02:30 PM
  #1  
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recommendations for a graphic design computer??

I have a co-worker who has offered to pay me to build him a computer.

All of my experience with building computers focused on gaming machines. My current rig has an Epox 8kha+, Athlon 1700+ and a GeForce4 4400 with WinXP Pro. If he wanted me to build him a gaming machine, no problem.

But he is the graphic designer at our company. This computer is for his home studio. He has always purchased pre-built machines, and he usually has lots of problems. I got another co-worker into building computers, and both of us have systems with zero problems now. So he wants in.

This system would be used for Photoshop, Illustrator, Director, Frontpage and Flash extensively. Zero gaming. I've told him my system ran me about $600-700 total, so that's our ballpark. I told him he may have to sacrifice a little processor power since the 2.4's are so pricey.

I can handle the case, power supply, optical drives, all that stuff. I just need to know the best processor/motherboard/graphics card recommendations for a graphic design computer. I'd personally rather stick with AMD but it's not my computer, and if a P4 is the best bet I'll go that way.

Any suggestions?
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Old 05-14-02, 04:51 PM
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Personnally I would go with an AMD processor, they are cheaper and better IMO.

For graphics, you can look for some Matrox cards, they are pretty good.
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Old 05-14-02, 07:40 PM
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Athlon XP 1800 - $100

You might want to consider the 1900 for just about $20 more, but any faster CPU's just aren't worth it. You're better off spending the extra money on a fast HD.

KT266A motherboard - $100

Nothing fancy. I like to stick with Asus or MSI. There's a newer KT333 chipset out, but performance improvements are very marginal and the KT266A has been around for a while so it's fairly well proven.

512 MB Crucial PC2700 DDR-SDRAM - $120 for 2 x 256MB sticks.

Quality memory isn't that much more than the cheapo stuff. The PC2700 (or DDR333 depending on the nomenclature) won't benefit you with a KT266A board, but it'll let your friend use that memory in faster systems in the future (ie Clawhammer boards)

WD1200JB 120 GB HD - $200

Benchmarks as the fastest IDE drive on the planet. I'd assume your friend works with fairly large graphics files. If so, there's no better choice short of going SCSI.

ATi Radeon VE (retail)- $40

Since 3D performance isn't a factor, then this older ATI card should be fine. Be sure to get the retail box because those boards are definitely manufactured by ATi and their video quality can be much better than the ones built for OEMs. The drivers are reasonably solid and this board offers some nice features like dual CRT output, or DVI output, or TV output.
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Old 05-15-02, 08:29 AM
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I've two changes to belboz's recommendations:

1) 512MB minimum. PhotoShop, Director and Flash would all love 512MB and perform fairly well. Illustrator will gobble up 512MB without pause.

2) SCSI devices are much faster than IDE, and in the large-file, disk-instensive world of graphic design it makes a huge, huge difference. Yes, it's much more expensive, and yes, it'll likely send you over the $700 budget, but aside from RAM the disk subsystem is the most important there is for his needs.
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Old 05-15-02, 09:22 AM
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If he is more interested in the intel route, those new P4 1.6a's overclock to 2000+ easy, so that might be an option as well.

Dave
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Old 05-15-02, 12:29 PM
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I second the recommendation for the Western Digital drive. You can check out the review here http://www.storagereview.com/ look on the left for Recent Articles: Western Digital Caviar WD1200JB. They feel it gives you performance close to SCSI without the cost (and greater capacity).
There is now a WD800JB available for about $140.

And yes, at least 512MB of RAM, although I would stay with PC2100 since PC2700 will probably be "old" by the time he wants to replace the system.
Right now Crucial PC2100 256MB is $56.49, while PC2700 256MB is $111.59.

Of course if you really want to blow the budget, you could go the multi-processor route.
Good article here http://www.xbitlabs.com/cpu/photoshop-dual/

Good luck!
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