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Author Topic: Advice on new computer build for Photoshop, please!  (Read 14709 times)
Alan Klein
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« Reply #100 on: February 14, 2014, 06:56:47 PM »
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Alan:

I am close to ordering a new computer (will go with Dell also) and am curious as to how much your configuration cost. Your needs seem to be pretty similar to mine and your setup is essentially what I had in mind. Thanks.

Peter

I got the XPS 8700 Special Edition with 2tb hard drive +256SSD and 24gb memory for 1,717.50 including shipping but before taxes but that was  a few days ago with a lesser price for President's day and a 4% discount because my wife's was a teacher.  That's why the upgrade would cost me $300 because I wouldn't get the sale price.  Note that this price includes Microsoft® Office Home and Student 2013 which runs aboiut $120. in the $1717.50.  Here's the web page for the different configutations at today's prices.  You can see there all the equipment that is standard in the package I bought
http://www.dell.com/us/p/xps-8700-se/pd
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Alan Klein
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« Reply #101 on: February 14, 2014, 07:02:01 PM »
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Oh. that doesn't include a NEC monitor which I'm buying separately.
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Alan Klein
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« Reply #102 on: February 14, 2014, 07:07:31 PM »
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It's just not for 8gb.  It's for a larger hard drive, a different motherboard and probably a higher capacity power supply and maybe a better case as well.  Are the video cards the same?  I'm guessing because you haven't posted links to the models you're considering, but usually there's a lot more to a different system then just memory.   You need to critically examine each one and decide what it's worth to you.

Is 24gb enough?  Well.. you can get buy with 4gb.  Or 8gb.  Or 16gb.   Each additional gigabyte of memory, up to a certain point specified by your work flow, will increase performance.   Only you can answer the question you asked.  And I know it's impossible for you to answer without a side by side comparison.   If it's any help I just replaced a 5 year old machine with 12gb and it worked fine.  But performance sure increased with 32gb.. a lot.

Steve: That's why I originally stopped at 24gb.  In reading a lot beforehand from people who do a lot more post processing than I do, no one suggested anything above 16gb.  But I figured I'd add another 8gb to make it 24 to leave a little slop for future unknown requirements.  If the dimms can handle 8gb each, can I swap them out in the future (at a lot less cost since prices will go down) if and when I need them?  Thanks.
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BrianWJH
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« Reply #103 on: February 14, 2014, 07:09:42 PM »
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OK so if I got this right, I can remove the two 4gb memories and replace with two 8gb memories if the 24gb is not enough.  No change to the motherboard or anything else.  Th existing dimms will handle the two 8gb.   Is that right?

According to Mr DELL-Munawar P who appears to be a Dell employee in the link I posted above.

Brian.
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Alan Klein
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« Reply #104 on: February 14, 2014, 07:12:54 PM »
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why not w/ custom builders like xoticpc (for notebooks) or similar - Dell is barely configurable nowdays, is it not ?

I consuidered it but I;ve had good experience with Dell and wanted a package that had a one year warranty with heavy backup support.    With buying it on my American Express card, I also extend the warranty a second year with no cost to me.  Also, I really didn't want to deal with different vendors, doing the research, etc for a custom unit.  

My current computer hard disk seems to be failing and I wanted to get it done.  So now it's on order due early March.  I hope the price I paid is fair as compared to a custom made unit.  Is it?
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Alan Klein
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« Reply #105 on: February 14, 2014, 07:14:13 PM »
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According to Mr DELL-Munawar P who appears to be a Dell employee in the link I posted above.

Brian.

I hope he knows what he's talking about.  I'll send him the bill if he's wrong.  Smiley
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BrianWJH
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« Reply #106 on: February 14, 2014, 07:24:18 PM »
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Alan, it would be very unusual to nobble the motherboard memory capacity with 2x8gb slots and 2x4gb slots and wouldn't make sense in a engineering/production environment.

Using a mix of capacities is normally an option however most builders play it safe by using matched memory to reduce any incompatibilities or performance problems.

Brian.
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Steve Weldon
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« Reply #107 on: February 14, 2014, 09:14:24 PM »
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Steve: That's why I originally stopped at 24gb.  In reading a lot beforehand from people who do a lot more post processing than I do, no one suggested anything above 16gb.  But I figured I'd add another 8gb to make it 24 to leave a little slop for future unknown requirements.  If the dimms can handle 8gb each, can I swap them out in the future (at a lot less cost since prices will go down) if and when I need them?  Thanks.

Sure, a slot that holds 4gb DIMM's will hold 8gb DIMM's.  But this is only a physical slot.  As I wrote earlier the BIOS needs to be able to handle it.  BIOS's are nothing more than EEPROM's, a form of memory.  It takes more of this very fast expensive memory to hold instructors for more RAM. 

Anyone have a early Core 2 Duo machine when the x64 version of Vista came out?  BIOS companies started rewriting BIOS's to handle RAM in excess of 3gb and more than a few Dell machines (I owned 3 of them) couldn't be upgraded without removing other capabilities.. so in some cases they did, others they didn't.. no rhyme of reason.

Anyway, since I've heard of Dell selling configurations just like this one.. for some odd reason that makes no sense at all they won't sell it with 32gb (other examples were 10gb in a 12 machine, 12 in a 16, etc).. and later buyers learn they can't upgrade.   Will this be such a case?  I don't know.

But you started out telling us you wanted this computer to last a good long time, you didn't want to run out of resources in the future.  You'll have to make the choice.  I looked at your two choices, 24gb model for $1699 and the 32gb model for $1899.. ($200 difference) and for another 8gb of RAM and a third bigger hard drive.. it's not a bad deal.  But it's your wallet and you'll be the one living with the machine for the next 5-6 years.   Or maybe less.
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Alan Klein
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« Reply #108 on: February 14, 2014, 09:40:58 PM »
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Steve:  I appreciate the warning.  The upgrade will cost me $300, not $200,  plus sales tax because the discount I received on the order I placed would not apply for an upgrade.  Also, I just don't want to add on the additional expense especially since I'm spending over $1200 for the new NEC monitor and Spectraview calibrator you recommended.  My wife's going to kill me as it is.  Smiley

In any case, why is 32gb the magic number?  I didn't think I needed more than 16gb when zI started shopping but went with 24gb as a cushion.  Is there anyone here who's having problems with 16gb ? 
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Steve Weldon
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« Reply #109 on: February 15, 2014, 02:29:38 AM »
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Steve:  I appreciate the warning.  The upgrade will cost me $300, not $200,  plus sales tax because the discount I received on the order I placed would not apply for an upgrade.  Also, I just don't want to add on the additional expense especially since I'm spending over $1200 for the new NEC monitor and Spectraview calibrator you recommended.  My wife's going to kill me as it is.  Smiley

In any case, why is 32gb the magic number?
  I didn't think I needed more than 16gb when zI started shopping but went with 24gb as a cushion.  Is there anyone here who's having problems with 16gb ? 

1.  Dell salespeople generally will price match, bargain, carry over discounts.. talk to them.  Often, asking to talk to their manager will yield results. 

2.There is no magic number for RAM.. but there is what's considered the point of marginal returns from an economic sense.. and the way RAM is priced and utilized, 16, 32, 64 are the numbers most often used.   This doesn't mean you can't use less.. but the moment you wrote that Dell wouldn't increase that machine to 32gb.. that put me off on it.  It doesn't make sense.  When something doesn't make sense I stay away from it.

This doesn't mean you won't find it a great machine, in fact I'm sure you'll try it out and report back it's the computer of your dreams and you can't imagine needing more power.     But what I'm concerned with is your report 12-24 months from now.   


CURVE BALL -  So for fun I went to Newegg and compiled a total build list that meets or exceeds your Dell system in al respects.  Dell doesn't tell you what power supply, what chip set, what motherboard, what SSD, what HDD, what wifi..  the only thing you know for sure is the video card and CPU..  The list I made up is all top grade components..  AND you've got your 32gb of RAM and 3tb drive (a 3tb BLACK, the best), a Samsung 250gb EVO (top tier but not the absolute best), Seasonic Gold 650watt PS (room for expansion and absolutely silent), a CPU cooler that makes very little noise, way ahead of what Dell was giving you, same video GPU but over clocked with bigger more quiet fans, blue-ray, card reader, Windows 8.1 (I'd get Win7) etc, etc..   It's all there.  All great stuff.  A few bucks less than your Dell setup..

In short, if you want the better system, which BTW is ready to ship as we speak, all you need to do is order and put it together.   And yes, we'll help..

Others, feel free to recommend changes.. maybe we can narrow down the ultimate system at this level of performance.

PDF parts list attached.
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Alan Klein
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« Reply #110 on: February 15, 2014, 08:05:02 AM »
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Steve  That's attractive.  Does Newegg assemble? What about warranty?  How long?  Who do you talk to if there are problems and you need service for hardware?  For software?
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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #111 on: February 15, 2014, 09:37:34 AM »
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CURVE BALL -  So for fun I went to Newegg and compiled a total build list that meets or exceeds your Dell system in al respects.  Dell doesn't tell you what power supply, what chip set, what motherboard, what SSD, what HDD, what wifi..  the only thing you know for sure is the video card and CPU..  The list I made up is all top grade components..  AND you've got your 32gb of RAM and 3tb drive (a 3tb BLACK, the best), a Samsung 250gb EVO (top tier but not the absolute best), Seasonic Gold 650watt PS (room for expansion and absolutely silent), a CPU cooler that makes very little noise, way ahead of what Dell was giving you, same video GPU but over clocked with bigger more quiet fans, blue-ray, card reader, Windows 8.1 (I'd get Win7) etc, etc..   It's all there.  All great stuff.  A few bucks less than your Dell setup..

In short, if you want the better system, which BTW is ready to ship as we speak, all you need to do is order and put it together.   And yes, we'll help..

Others, feel free to recommend changes.. maybe we can narrow down the ultimate system at this level of performance.

PDF parts list attached.
A couple of suggestions.  I would go for an external USB 3.0 card reader.  If you ever bend a pin (and it does happen) it's easy enough to replace.  I don't know anything about the case you suggest and I would opt for the Fractal Designs Arc Midi R2 case.  I have it and it's very quiet and runs cool because of the design.  It's a little more expensive.  Unless Alan is going to watch movies on the PC, why not just dump the Blu Ray drive for a regular DVD drive and save some money there.  I would not install McAfee AV software but install Bitdefender after the build is complete.  I run it and it has a very low footprint and works exceedingly well.  I didn't check the Newegg site, but wouldn't a non-K CPU be a little cheaper?  I doubt Alan is going to Overclock this PC.

I don't know where Alan lives but he might want to look and see if there are some small independent companies that could put this system together for a small price.  If he lives in my area, I would do it in a heartbeat!!   Grin
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Alan Klein
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« Reply #112 on: February 15, 2014, 10:21:06 AM »
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Alan G:  My main concern about putting together my own system is support and service.  I had a very bad first experience years ago with Windows 95 and an Acer system I bought from a local fabricator/assembler in Manhattan.  I know things have changed a lot with reliability, but support is still very important to me. As they say, once burned, twice shy.   I'm sure some of the suggestions you make are good.  But since I'm buying a pre-fabbed system, my choices for subsitutions are limited.  Thanks for the suggestions.

One question I do have is why would I overclock?  What does that mean anyway? 
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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #113 on: February 15, 2014, 11:10:41 AM »
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One question I do have is why would I overclock?  What does that mean anyway? 
You really don't have to overclock at all.  It's a sophisticated way of increasing computer performance by upping the speed of components.  A lot of those who play games on their PCs do this to squeeze every last bit of performance out of the unit.  It's not for the faint of heart and requires a lot of effort to get things right.

I'm sure the Dell system you are looking at will do just fine.  I think what Steve and I find curious is the whole memory issue that Dell is telling you cannot be changed without a lot of money.
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Alan Klein
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« Reply #114 on: February 15, 2014, 11:20:26 AM »
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It would seem that all it would take would be to chnage 24gb to 32gb.  Simple.  But if you look at their systems selections, they apparently want you to upgrade to the whole pre-fabbed upgrade that also include another 1TB on the hard drive for a total add of $200.  In previous systems I've bought from them, you would just go to the section called memory for a specific computer model, and check off how much memory you wanted.  They've changed the way they sell these things.

The big question will be can you can upgrade memory afterwards on your own or will the motherboard and BIOS stuff limit that option.  Who knows?    
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Steve Weldon
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« Reply #115 on: February 15, 2014, 11:49:35 AM »
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Steve  That's attractive.  Does Newegg assemble? What about warranty?  How long?  Who do you talk to if there are problems and you need service for hardware?  For software?

1.  Newegg will assemble the CPU and RAM onto the motherboard and test it I think for $20.. The rest you do yourself.   It's not hard.  And there are a million youtube videos showing how.  Check them out.

2.  Each component is warrantied separately thought the manufacturer.  You determine it's bad, call for an RMA, and send it in and they'll send you a new one.

3.  Most of the components I selected are warrantied for 3 to 5 years.  Go to newegg, look up the part, and note the length of warranty.

4.  This is the best part.  The service professional is always available when you are, because you are him.  Troubleshooting a PC iis very straightforward..

5.   Once again, you are him.  The only software you're buying is Windows and I priced the OEM version of Windows which means there is no support.  You can pay more an get the version that provides three repair instances, but most think it a waste of money.  If you own Lightroom, then they answer lightroom questions.  If you own photoshop then adobe helps your questions there.

It's a brave new world Alan.. this is what most of us here are doing.
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« Reply #116 on: February 15, 2014, 11:55:13 AM »
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I'm not that brave!
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Steve Weldon
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« Reply #117 on: February 15, 2014, 12:02:50 PM »
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A couple of suggestions.  I would go for an external USB 3.0 card reader.  If you ever bend a pin (and it does happen) it's easy enough to replace.  I don't know anything about the case you suggest and I would opt for the Fractal Designs Arc Midi R2 case.  I have it and it's very quiet and runs cool because of the design.  It's a little more expensive.  Unless Alan is going to watch movies on the PC, why not just dump the Blu Ray drive for a regular DVD drive and save some money there.  I would not install McAfee AV software but install Bitdefender after the build is complete.  I run it and it has a very low footprint and works exceedingly well.  I didn't check the Newegg site, but wouldn't a non-K CPU be a little cheaper?  I doubt Alan is going to Overclock this PC.

I don't know where Alan lives but he might want to look and see if there are some small independent companies that could put this system together for a small price.  If he lives in my area, I would do it in a heartbeat!!   Grin

1.  If he put together his own system he can change his card reader in the rare event he bends a pin.  Internals are much cleaner and you have less clutter than external devices..

2.  Alan is not a good candidate to start suggesting favourite components.  I really don't care, I sourced it directly from specs and user feedback because getting a case I'd recommend would at another $70 to the build.. and he';s already stuck at that $1700 price.

3.  I toyed with dropping the blu-ray.. but it's what was on the original Dell build so I went with it.  But sure, he can save $30 by going to a straight DVD-RW.

4.  Mcafee is a freebie from Newegg.. I wouldn;t use it either, nor would I use what you're using,.  People tend to use what they're familiar with and Alan probably should too.. makes life easier when it comes too virus protection.  Besides, all the top software  virus protection software is equally effective.  The differences are in the UI..   But Mcafee is free..

5.  Yes, he could save $30 by going to a 4771 CPU..  But not sure it was worth the confusion factor for Alan.. Smiley
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« Reply #118 on: February 15, 2014, 12:06:16 PM »
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I'm not that brave!

It was a curve ball.. just an example.  Most of us do this because its' really not that hard.. kinda like sex, you really sweat it the first time but it gets easier and you actually look forward to building another one.  And like sex, most of us prefer to spec our own mate rather than have an uncle set us up..  Grin

Really, watch a few youtube videos.. you'll be a pro by the time you're done.  Then do what you're comfortable with.  And remember, we're here to help.
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Alan Klein
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« Reply #119 on: February 15, 2014, 12:53:45 PM »
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At my age, any sex is special!  All kidding aside, I could handle the build and the downstream service.  I spent 50 years as a technician and designer and installer and servicer of building automation systems, computer based fire alarem systems for high rise office buildings etc.   It's just that I just don't want to do it anymore just like I'd rather let someone else develope my film. 
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