Dual processors with CS

LL
Posted By
larry_Letzer
Aug 28, 2004
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257
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11
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I know this has probably been asked before, but I could not find definitive guidance.

We are going to have a new computer specifically for image processing built.

Are dual processors helpful with CS? Are they necessary?

If they are helpful, what is the optimum CPU speed while not trying to go broke. We are a medium volume photo studio with a very capable Photoshop user. I, however, am the one paying the bills and want the best for him at a sensible price.
PH
Photo_Help
Aug 28, 2004
larry,

Are dual processors helpful with CS?

They can be.

Are they necessary?

No.

Could you maybe be a little more specific on the volume of work, Output sizes and the file sizes you will be dealing with. Also will you be using a lot of filters or doing large batch jobs that might take a while to run.

For a Photo studio an expensive dual processor system may be overkill. Buying the biggest and best isn’t always the best way to go. Most of the time if you can get buy with a medium range system you can buy 1 every year for the nest 3 years and be well ahead of where you would be buying what is todays "hottest" system.

In other words… Why spend $3,000 up front when you can buy a very good $1000 computer now. That way if you need to upgrade a year or two from now for whatever version of Photoshop comes out next you can buy another computer for $1000 that is faster than the one that would cost $3,000 now and still have the other computer as an additional workstation.

With that said planning for the future is important. You don’t want to get stuck on a big job and wish you had more power. Saving a few hundred dollars up front could cost you much more in overtime and lost production time.
LL
larry_Letzer
Aug 28, 2004
Thank you so much for answering. 65 or so % of our work is simple high school seniors where we have two or three layers on each image. Nothing too extensive. Largest size is 16×20.

Then we have our family portraiture. Largest size we sell is a 30×40 and thats unusual. Most of the time its a 24×30 or 20×24. Lots of 11×14 and smaller prints.

Finally, we do a lot of event type work usually in JPEGS where we do minimal sizing, no retouching and maybe a title and upload to our laboratory.

I like your thinking about keeping the computer medium scale and buying one every 18 months or so instead of getting the biggest and baddest and having $3000.00 invested. Thanks for that scope.
PH
Photo_Help
Aug 28, 2004
Larry,

I would say buy at the price break 2.8 or 3 Ghz, I would go with 1 GB of RAM. At least a 7200 RPM drive (Your files won’t be extremely large so you don’t need the more expensive 10k RPM drives, but this will be your only real bottleneck so if you want to splurge go for it). If you don’t do any 3D work go with a good 2D card 64-128 MB will be more than enough. Decide on a backup device, DVD recorders are cheap now and scaleable so you can use CD’s for small projects and DVD’s for larger backups. Most would recommend at least a 19" CRT monitor over a flat panel, the price is cheaper and the quality is better (obvious down sides are that it is bulky and uses more power).

You can’t really go wrong. I know photographers doing the same type of work you will be doing that are only using $400 Dell 2400’s.

look to spend about $1000 plus or minus a few hundred depending on options and accessories.
KD
Kirk_Dickinson
Aug 31, 2004
Sounds like sound advice.

I have one additional recomendation.

DON’T SKIMP ON YOUR MONITOR! Good monitors last a long time. If you are doing upscale photo work, you will definately want to consider a high quality monitor, maybe even one with built in color profiling. Like this one:
< http://www.necmitsubishi.com/products/ProductDetail.cfm?Prod uct=254&ClassificationFamily=1&Classification=1>

My monitor for my work at home is nearly a 10 year old NEC. Still going strong and has been through at least 7 new computers. The prices on CRT monitors are not decreasing rapidly and getting better and faster like the computers are. This old NEC monitor was expensive at the time, but I have enjoyed it for years.

I guess what I am trying to say is that a state of the art computer today will be a dog in a year or two. A state of the art monitor will still be a good monitor 5 or even 10 years from now.

Kirk
AW
Allen_Wicks
Aug 31, 2004
I agree, do not skimp on the essential monitor someone must stare at for hours at a time.

Although the high end CRT monitors like the NEC referenced are capable of the very best color synch to output, I really doubt that you will ever take advantage of that small additional potential if you have not been carefully hardware-calibrating your monitors and precisely color managing in the past.

CRTs give me a headache after just 6 hours or so, fit poorly in most workstation setups, and are butt ugly to boot. Modern LCD displays are my choice. They look better, feel better and last longer (meaning in-spec performance).
PH
Photo_Help
Aug 31, 2004
Kirk,

I agreed with you till you said A state of the art monitor will still be a good monitor 5 or even 10 years from now. It will still be as good as it was when you bought it but times are changing. Digital monitors are just now breaking into the market. Unlike TV that has to bend over backwards to get HDTV into the market computers cycle every 6-12 months and it isn’t unusual for people to give away or sell their old system in it’s entirety and just buy a new monitor. This makes it very easy to sell people on new technology. Over the next 5 years I would expect to see some amazing things with monitors.

The good monitors of today will seem like EGA did when SVGA came out. After all everything is relative.
PC
Pierre_Courtejoie
Aug 31, 2004
I’ve read that you can MAYBE still have reliable colors on a three-years old CTR. If color managed.
KD
Kirk_Dickinson
Aug 31, 2004
I didn’t say that a State of the art monitor will be a state of the art monitor in 5 years, but it will still be a good one. I have my old NEC and it is weakening, but I have used it for nearly ten years. I bought it when Windows 3.1 was state of the art.

My Color Managed monitor at work is a Mitsubishi Diamond Pro 2060u which is comming on three years old. It is on its’ second computer now and going as strong as it was new. It may be large and boxy and it weighs 70 lbs, but the screen is awesome. I intend to use it for 5-6 more years. Can’t imagine any technical breakthrough that would cause me to *GIVE* it away.

If they get that holographic 3D projection Monitor perfected at a reasonable cost, then I will have to have one of those. Until then, I will happily plug away on my Mitsubishi 22.

Kirk
PH
Photo_Help
Aug 31, 2004
Kirk,

Sounds like a plan. I look at it this way… Photoshop 5.5 is still a good program, but I would much rather use CS. That being said I hate wasting money on new monitors when the 5 year old one I have works just fine. I do keep the old computers though (KVM switches are much cheaper and take up far less space then extra monitors anyway). Old computers are great for the internet and testing new software on a system that isn’t as critical to keep clean.
LL
larry_Letzer
Aug 31, 2004
Guys thanks much. We have a Mitsubishi Diamond Pro 22" monitor we bought new last year so this will be with us for a few more years. We run Optical on it every couple weeks or so that we are able to get thrift prints from our lab that are as good as color corrected prints.

After all your great advice, we decided on a Achlon XP 3000+ CPU with 1.5 Gig of DDR 400 RAM 2 80 Gig SATA 8M harddrives with a 64 meg video card OS is WIN XP Pro. $1359.00.
H
Ho
Sep 1, 2004
Support costs are much, much lower

An oft repeated mantra which should be subject to ridicule. When one builds and maintains his own machine, this statement is just pure BS.

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