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Author Topic: Choices, choices...  (Read 2667 times)
Rob C
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« on: August 30, 2013, 12:09:37 PM »
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I'm facing the need to get a new computer to replace my photography/Photoshop one that's in its death throes.

I'n not a computer-interested/savvy person at all, and had the dying one made up from a list of 'requirements' I found on an advertisment almost ten years ago. It worked well enough until now...

The shop where I had the original made up has offered me two 'stock' models that cost about half what I actually paid for the old one, and with a lot more memory etc.

My needs are relatively simple: I use a D700 and have no need to make files larger than I require for A3+ prints. I enclose the two offers I received, and perhaps someone could suggest whether the component brands/power are okay for my photography requirements, are even from reliable makers - I certainly don't have the background to make an informed decision on that for myself.

Any information would be appreciated. Sorry about language, but I think it's fairly clear what the parts are. I hope!

Rob C, with thanks.

Offer 1:
 
Caja               B-MOVE Caja Minitorre mATX Thyra 500w Negra
Placa Base     Asus Placa Base P8H61-MX USB3
CPU               Intel Core i5-3470 3.2 Ghz 6Mb LGA1155 Ivy 22nm
Memoria         Kingston KVR13N9S8/4 4GB DDR3 1333MHz Single Rank
Disco Duro      Western Digital WD10EZEX 1TB SATA3 64MB Blue
T. Gráfica        Asus VGA NVIDIA GTX650-E-1GD5 1GB DDR5
Optico            LG GH24NS95 DVD-RW Interna 24x SATA Negra OEM
S. Operativo    Microsoft Windows 8 64 bits 1pk DSP OEI DVD
 
Su precio es de: 649,28€ IVA Incluido.
 
Offer 2:
 
Caja               B-MOVE Caja Minitorre mATX Thyra 500w Negra
Placa Base     Asus Placa Base B85M-G mATX LGA1150
CPU               Intel Core i5-4570 3.2Ghz 6Mb 22nm LGA1150 BOX
Memoria         Kingston KVR16N11/8 8GB DDR3 1600MHz
Disco Duro      Western Digital WD10EZEX 1TB SATA3 64MB Blue
T. Gráfica        Asus VGA NVIDIA GTX650-E-1GD5 1GB DDR5
Optico            LG GH24NS95 DVD-RW Interna 24x SATA Negra OEM
S. Operativo    Microsoft Windows 8 64 bits 1pk DSP OEI DVD
 
Su Precio es de: 817,46€ IVA Incluido.

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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2013, 12:25:42 PM »
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One word: Mac.
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Craig Lamson
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« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2013, 01:07:12 PM »
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One word: Mac.

+1

Make it a mini....
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Rob C
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« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2013, 01:55:55 PM »
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I was afraid I'd read that!

Mac, on this island of Mallorca, is an almost unknown quantity. The only firm (a photographic dealership based in Barcelona) that I know handled the brand has since closed its local wholesale outlet and I can't go there anymore. Prices for Mac at the time I was buying were also very very elevated, and now I am no longer able to put anything against tax...

PC worked very well for me; it's just that this machine of mine has pretty much worn itself out. I also need to  be able to use Photoshop 6, and that can be done - I'm promised - on Windows 8 by installing another programme that can be opened from within Windows 8. I have no idea if Mac would function with such a dated Photoshop - they aren't blessed with a great rep. for backwards compatibility, I believe.

Really, as both of the suggested models in my OP are far more powerful than I already have, I'm sure either would do; the big question for me is the actual brands of stuff used to make the computer package: I don't know if they are reputable brands or just junk used to keep prices under control and designed for non-photographic needs... I really don't want something that'll break in a year's time.

Ciao -

Rob C
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2013, 03:33:19 PM »
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the big question for me is the actual brands of stuff used to make the computer package:
I've not heard of that particular PSU, but all the rest are reputable parts. The graphics card looks a little over specified for the sort of tasks you're likely to use it for though.
The system with 8gb is probably a better bet, but it's difficult to work out value for money as pricing in Mallorca is likely to be rather different to the UK component prices I'm used to.

I'd avoid Windows 8 myself and buy Windows 7 (you'll find it an easier transition).
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Rob C
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« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2013, 04:13:56 PM »
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I've not heard of that particular PSU, but all the rest are reputable parts. The graphics card looks a little over specified for the sort of tasks you're likely to use it for though.
The system with 8gb is probably a better bet, but it's difficult to work out value for money as pricing in Mallorca is likely to be rather different to the UK component prices I'm used to.

I'd avoid Windows 8 myself and buy Windows 7 (you'll find it an easier transition).



Thanks for your advice - strange thing: there is an option available, in both cases, using Windows 7, and it's more expensive than the Windows 8 offerings. I had been led to believe that 7 was a bit of a dog, and obsolete, but that 8 was better... This moribund machine of mine uses XP.

Any idea why 8 is less expensive than an older model 7 still, apparently, available today?

Ciao -

Rob C
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2013, 04:34:20 PM »
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I had been led to believe that 7 was a bit of a dog,
Absolutely not. It's an great, robust, reliable and easy to use OS with excellent legacy compatibility.
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Any idea why 8 is less expensive than an older model 7 still, apparently, available today?
No, I'd thought that buying W8 allowed you to change(upgrade ?) to W7 for no cost, but that may vary with which exact licence version you buy into and what territory you're in. It might also be worth checking any difference in cost is 'like for like' and not because they can only supply a higher spec W7 licence compared to a base version of W8.
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« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2013, 07:41:50 PM »
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We repair computers, sell new ones, etc. From our experience, Western Digital Blue's are the worst drives out there - we've seen more of them fail than any other drive. I would recommend a Western Digital 1TB Black - WD1002FAEX (more expensive but with a 5 year warranty) or a Toshiba 1TB - DT01ACA100 (about the same price). I would stay away from basic Seagate drives like a Barracuda ST1000DM003, but their "value" enterprise drives like a ST1000NC001 would probably be OK, although we haven't tried them (a little more expensive, but with a 3 year warranty). I would guess that they could substitute one of these options for a few € more.

Tony
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degrub
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« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2013, 12:54:27 AM »
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Rob,

I have used many Asus boards for over a decade without issue. I have mostly seen disk or memory issues over the years. Just like your web hosting company had a good backup to reload from, make sure you have the same.

The cheaper system uses a motherboard that is about 3 years into the product cycle, but it is stll getting minor bios updates. Asus seems to reduce support at about 4-5 years from my experience. All that should mean is that if the builder cannot get a warranty replacement, they may have to replace with a different motherboard that supports the same cpu and memory.

The more expensive system uses a 2 month old motherboard that  is getting bios stability fixes which is normal for this point in the product cycle.

Either system should be fine.  What warranty does the builder offer ?
Usually i stress test a new system by running memtest and  other testing programs for a day or two just to catch any early failures. Does the builder do the same ?

Every hd maker has had issues over the years. Your best protection is a good warranty and more importantly good routine backups. I avoided hds from Thailand for about a year after the factories were flooded while WD and others were getting going again there. Probably didn't make a real difference as the other factories were having to meet the extra demand anyway.

Frank
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John.Murray
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« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2013, 02:21:02 AM »
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No, I'd thought that buying W8 allowed you to change(upgrade ?) to W7 for no cost, but that may vary with which exact licence version you buy into and what territory you're in.

There are *no* downgrade rights with any oem version of win8. Only enterprise and volume licenses with software assurance get downgrade rights.... The sole option is spending $80 w/microsoft to get win7 license keys. Win7 *is* still available, although i've been running the RC of 8.1 for some now, it includes the option of booting to the desktop.

The progression of Vista (NT 6.0) -> Win7 (NT6.1) -> Win8 (NT6.2) -> Win8.1 (NT6.3) has seen noticeable increases in performance and security; I'm well impressed with 8.1 RC1..  

Treat yourself to a 1TB  WD VelociRaptor (10k rpm) - it costs over twice as much as a blue but well worth it.  You might also look at WD Reds, i've had great results with these.

My home machines (Older Mac Pro/Dual Xeon 52355 8 cores, Intel DX79/3930 6 cores) use SSD's for system and WD-VR's for work and WD  Reds for storage....

Be careful on Video - let your application(s) dictate that choice.  You may even want to defer, as Intel's 4000 and 4500 graphics are pretty impressive.

Finally, I have to +1 on the mini...

One of my clients has a mixed mac/windows environment, using Mac Open Directory and running a Mac based LOB application for orthodontics (Tops).  We setup a couple of Nikon cameras sending images via wireless to an FTP share point. Lightroom picks these up, and via a custom Picture Package and Automator, we push these into Tops  We recently upgraded both his servers from Mac Pro's (same vintage as mine, with dual core CPU's) to Mac Mini servers, performance difference in this application was frankly impressive (not to mention the reduction of his power bill).  

Again, let your choice of applications dictate your choice.....
« Last Edit: August 31, 2013, 02:49:44 AM by John.Murray » Logged

Rob C
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« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2013, 12:49:11 PM »
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Thanks, guys, I've taken notes and will have a further chat with the dealer about options.

There's another outlet here that may be able to offer different combinations; hopefully, including some of the suggestions you've given me.

Thank you all very much again.

Ciao-

Rob C
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2013, 01:03:39 PM »
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... Mac, on this island of Mallorca, is an almost unknown quantity. The only firm (a photographic dealership based in Barcelona) that I know handled the brand has since closed its local wholesale outlet and I can't go there anymore...

Ahmmm...

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Sep. 3, 2010 - Apple store in Mallorca

The Apple giant is opening its first store in Mallorca, Spain The store will be located in calle syndicato nr 12 in the center of palma de mallorca.
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Slobodan

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wolfnowl
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« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2013, 01:29:52 PM »
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Rob, if Windows 8 is your only option, my advice is to go to stardock.com, invest $5 and get a copy of Start8.  I must admit I'm not a fan of the Windows 8 'metro' desktop and Start8 basically turns your Windows 8 computer into a Windows 7 interface again.  Once it's set up it's transparent and a quick press on the Windows key will bring you to the Metro screen if you really want it.  Skype for example won't run under the desktop but only from Metro.

Mike.
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2013, 02:28:58 PM »
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Rob, are you running LR?

Anyone care to comment on running LR5 on a Core i5 with 4GB of memory?  Sounds way under-spec'd to me.

FWIW, my W7  LR/PS machine is rock solid.  I don't see any problems running Windows 7 at all. 
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John.Murray
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« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2013, 03:14:04 PM »
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Agreed!  8GB would be a minimum, I'd recommend 16GB (2 8GB sticks) to start
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degrub
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« Reply #15 on: August 31, 2013, 03:25:45 PM »
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Rob,

I looked up the case and power supply being proposed. 30 euros retail. They are economizing on the power supply. For what you need it is likely ok.

One thing to consider is if the motherboard provides USB3 ports for the front case panel, it is more convenient if the case has USB3 ports on the front as well. Otherwise you can add a panel with the connectors to the front in one of the 5.25 inch bays (like where the dvd drive would go) if you want the convenience. If the case is setting where it is easy to access the back, then it really doesn't matter. You can also get a USB3 extension cable and use that to make it convenient to access from the front.

The case they proposed has only USB2 ports on the front.

But it depends on how you use the USB ports. If you are plugging in an external hard disk drive, you can run the cable from one of the USB3 ports in the back since there are only USB2 ports on the front. A USB3 external drive will be faster, but that may not matter to you. For USB memory sicks and camera memory card readers, USB2 would be fine.

Hope my ramble makes sense.

I do agree with the comment about the WD blue drive though.
8GB in a pair of memory sticks would be my minimum. This is the one thing other than a  ssd to replace the hard drive that will help the system feel fast. Pairs are slightly faster than a single stick. If there were 4 memory stick slots, you could add another pair later if you needed to. The P8 h61-mx micro ATX motherboard only has room for two. The B85M-G has 4 slots. either way, you could still just get a single 8GB stick for now and add the other later. Kingston is a solid brand.

On the ssd vs hd decision - if you go with the p8h61 based system, stay with a hd as the motherboard does not have the faster sata controller needed for the benefit. The motherboard needs to have sata 6GB/s support.

If a builder says they are sure that the software you want to run will work under Windows 8, have them put it in writing along with what they will do if it doesn't.

Frank
« Last Edit: August 31, 2013, 03:51:32 PM by degrub » Logged
Rob C
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« Reply #16 on: September 01, 2013, 03:40:16 AM »
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Peter:

No, I'm only using Photoshop 6, which gives me all I have found that I need out of manipulation. I've sometimes wished I had the prespective control available in later PS models, but that's so seldom, and I'd be as well buying a PC lens for that... Anyway, with only a pension coming in now, higher spending doesn't make a lot of sense anymore. ;-(

Mike:

Windows 8 and Windows 7 are on offer for the same two computer packages I was proffered, with 8 being the cheaper! My concern is the ability to use the old PS6, which can be done (the dealer tells me) by putting in another prgramme that opens within both PS7 and PS8. I can't remember the name of the programme, but I would have them install it before I paid!

Slobodan:

Man, Palma is a 60 clicks drive away! You can't find anywhere to park unles you go underground somewhere; a gypsy will attempt to sell you flowers whilst her buddy picks your pocket; your watch is best left at home and the car, should you be unfortunate enough to find street parking close to your destination, will lose its virginity and forever wear the collective mark of careless doors and bull bars. Do you know that two insurance companies I tried will not insure jewellery worn outside the house? And that in the house, only if locked in a safe? Cameras? Forget it: only in the safe - should you have one. They thnik cameras are jewellery - the shadow of Leica? (Down, lads, a weak joke.)

But no, I had no idea Apple was in Mallorca.

Frank:

Thanks for your thoughts; I hadn't thought much about guarantees until now; the many variables in the equipment inside a unit make me think I now have to, very seriously! Buying computers makes buying cameras seem like child's play! I remember writing at least twice that were I starting in photography today, in the totally diigital world, I probably wouldn't have gone ahead. It seems so complex and out of the human element - not a lot of instinct left on which to ride ahead... Not to mention cost: I began with my amateur equipment - a used Rollei T and a new Exakta and a very basic Gnome enlarger. I don't think they would have taken me very far today. They didn't take me very far then, either, but at least far enough to earn enough to go for the real deal.

Ciao -

Rob C
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #17 on: September 01, 2013, 09:37:02 AM »
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Rob, all the Macs I ever bought I did it online, delivered by mail, although I live only a few miles from an Apple store, my downtown is extremely safe and there is plenty of free garage parking.
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Slobodan

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aaronleitz
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« Reply #18 on: September 01, 2013, 10:47:40 AM »
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Hi Rob,

You can get Photoshop CS2 as a free download from Adobe. All you need to do is sign up for an Adobe account (which you may already have). Even though CS2 is more than 7 years old, it's still better than PS6. And then get a copy of Lightroom.

The computers you're looking at will run D700 files no problem. I would get at least 8gb of ram though.
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« Reply #19 on: September 01, 2013, 11:07:39 AM »
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You can get Photoshop CS2 as a free download from Adobe.
No you can't. The download is for people holding existing licences for CS2. Using that download without a licence is simply piracy, something I'm sure Rob won't countenance given his hard core attitudes to copyright theft.
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