Buying new you think these specs sound okay?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by christal|1, Dec 16, 2010.

  1. Hi everyone,
    I'm finally proceeding with the purchase of a new computer, after posting some time ago and getting a lot of advice from members here. Based on my budget, here is what the computer guy says he can make for me. He's built several of these computers (a couple for great photographers I know who are pleased with their systems), and he thinks this should serve me well.
    I thought I'd run the specs by the very knowledgeable members here. Do you see any glaring omissions or anything that is overkill? Please also note the monitor he has priced for me.....(24" HD 1080p WideScreen Monitor with built in speakers). And please look at the extra things at the bottom he's priced for me.....I know it's largely subjective, but which of those would you add to the system? I'd really appreciate your input.....thanks so much! Here is the email he sent me with the specs.

    OK, based on our discussion earlier... If I base this on what you need, there are two different options.

    We can Go Quad Core AMD 2.4ghz. Or we can go with an Intel i3 Dual Core. However the price goes up $249 for the dual vs. the quad.
    AMD Quads are much cheaper. Intel quads are not being made now unless they are on the i7 system.
    i7 Systems are starting at $1,600+.

    We can build you an AMD Quad Core, and still deliver the performance you need, and do it for much cheaper.
    This system we spoke about will have:
    64bit AMD Quad Core 2.4ghz x4.
    4gig of Ram.
    1 Terabyte Hard Drive.
    Nvidia Geforce 240 HD graphics Card with onboard 1gig of DDR3 Ram.
    Memory Card Reader with extra USB port.
    DVD/CD multi Drive.
    4 Rear USB and Two Front USB. (7) total with MemCard Reader.
    550 watt Power Supply.
    Blue LED Fans.

    Windows 7 x64bit Ultimate Edition.
    Microsoft Office.
    NOD Antivirus. (Lifetime)
    Spyware Remover.
    Google Picassa.
    Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash, Adobe Shockwave, Java Runtime.
    All Codec Packs for all current formats of Video, and Audio.
    Firefox with ad block and popup blockers.
    Games and more!

    I also customize the theme so that the computer has a different look than any other.
    I will optimize all the settings to run at optimum speeds for best performance without heat issues.
    I'll also make sure you have the correct amount of airflow for cooling.
    This computer will be solid, and fast, and perform how a computer should.
    It will be very quick at editing pictures, and very clear and HD.
    Your graphics card will support Dual Monitors, HD, and have an HDMI slot for a big screen or HD tv.

    Total cost for:
    Tower, keyboard and Mouse, and a 24" HD 1080p WideScreen Monitor with built in speakers is $1,276.

    Couple options I should let you know about!
    These are things my vendors offer me for buying all the time. When I put in a big order, they offer me bonus stuff.
    OK, so here are the things you can get cheap since you're buying a full PC.
    They offer:
    Upgrade to a Microsoft Wireless Keyboard and Mouse, only $39.
    1.5 Terabyte external Hard Drive, regularly $199, for $129.
    Add a second Terabyte inside the PC for only $89.
    Add Wireless (N) Internet adapter for only $35.
    Add 4 more USB ports in the rear for only $35.
    Add a second DVD/CD multi Drive for only $39.
    Add a DVD/CD/Blu-Ray Reader Drive for only $89.
    Upgrade to 8gig of Ram for only $89.
    Get a 25 watt 2.1 Audio Speaker set with Bass Cube and control knob for only $79. ((big sound))

    I cant wait to build this! I have built 9 of these, that are very similar for x-mas presents this year.
    4 others just for clients for themselves.
    They love them! They are very quick, very good at handling multiple tasks at a time, and they run cool and quiet.
    Projected life is 5 - 6 yrs, or until technology changes and you want something new. :)

    Please let me know your thoughts soon. This quote is from my vendors, and the prices vary as supplies are limited.
    Once sold out, we have to re-quote it again on other parts.

    Let me know your thoughts... I may still be able to get this done by Christmas!

  2. You could put a machine like that together for far less buying from Newegg, fair enough the guy is in business but $1276 is way too steep.
    You could buy an i7 box from Dell/HP etc for $1k...
    Alternatively get an i5 Quad core box from Dell/HP etc for around $800, and put the remaining budget towards a nice IPS monitor.
  3. I agree with have better options.
    and a 24" HD 1080p WideScreen Monitor
    Which monitor? This is a very important part for a photographer.
    Remember...all computers and peripherals have a limited life span.
  4. I agree that this not a great deal. Some additional thoughts:
    - Know which version of Office are you getting? Make sure that it is the 2010 version and you know which package it is. If you are a student (or if you have a kid in school), you can purchase the student edition pretty cheap
    - Others may disagree but I only go with Intel. Had too many issues with AMD in the past
    - Recommend maximizing the RAM
    - I'm not a big fan of speakers integrated into monitors.If you want to upgrade one, or if one of them breaks, then you end up replacing both
    - I'm a big fan of laptops as you get to be portable for just about the same price
    - Recommend going with Newegg or Dell (I personally like Dell)
    - Also what kind of warranty is he giving you?
  5. Martin and Kevin,
    Thanks for your response. My first post was so long, so I didn't mention that I expect to pay more going through a guy like this. My last 3 computers have been Dells, and I have become increasingly disillusioned with them as a company.....quality and tech support. I'm gambling on going this route, but I wanted to find someone who can also service my computer when I need help.
    Yes, I got some previous suggestions about Newegg, and it sounds great. But I simply don't know enough to build a computer.....and if I did and I needed help, who would I turn to? So it's worth it to me to go with a guy like this who lives nearby, offers tech support, and can even fix my computer remotely if I want.
    So expense aside.......just from a performance standpoint, do these specs sound reasonable? Keep in mind that I'm not a professional photographer, and as this guy said, I would probably not really need an i7 box......and they're more expensive. All I need is 'good'.....I don't need the 'best'. :) (er....I should say, I WANT the best, but I don't want to PAY for the best). :)
    You both mentioned monitors......what monitor would you recommend? I don't even know what you mean by 'IPS monitor'.....what does the IPS stand for? He simply told me that this monitor he was recommending was an upgrade from the monitors he usually puts with a system, and it would be sharp and clear for photographs and/or movies (which we don't watch on computer anyway). He said he uses either Asus or Acer monitors. I'll confirm with him which specific models he's suggesting.
    Thanks for your input.
  6. Barry,
    Some good points you made. First, I've sent him an email asking about the version of Office and Intel vs. AMD. He did say that 'Intel quads are not being made now unless they are on the i7 system. i7 Systems are starting at $1,600+. I don't have access to the student version of Office.
    I'm also not a fan of internal speakers.....I'm a musician and have a very discerning ear, and most of those speakers have a quality that is not pleasing to me. I guess I could also get external speakers to supplement them though. Would you recommend that? I'll check with him about this.
    I had asked him about laptops. I really wanted one because that way I could take the computer with me to photo club and get help with CS4 and editing problems. But he said I could only get a dual-core? Does that sound right? I was also afraid that a laptop would not be powerful enough to last me for the long haul. Without spending a fortune, do you think I could get a laptop to adequately service my needs for photography? I don't use the computer for much else except communications and word processing.
    I can upgrade to 8 G of RAM for $89, which I'll probably do.
    As as for the warranty, it's a full 1 year warranty, plus some tech support as well. I have to confirm this with him. He also offers extended warranties, but I didn't ask him about those.
    Thanks for your input. See my post above regarding the Newegg/Dell issue. I'm done with Dell, personally! :) (Just my experience)
  7. "The Best" depends on your needs and point of view. Most individuals who build computers are dedicated gamers, so "best" means video speed and sound at the expense of other things.
    An IPS monitor gives more subtle gradations of color, particularly if it has an 8 bit or greater processor. This is at the expense of speed. The monitor you are considering is probably designed for gaming and movies (speakers, 1080p). What you need is color accuracy (with calibration). I have an NEC221, which is a reasonably priced IPS monitor with a 10 bit processor. It is fast enough for movies, 1680x1050 resolution (HD looks just fine). I wouldn't know about games - haven't played a video game in over twenty years, and removed the built-in games. (It's a reaction to colleagues who played games instead of working.)
    A quad-core 2.4GHz is fast enough, but I'd go for a 3.5GHz or greater for a Core Duo. Max out the memory (at least 8 GB) in a 64-bit system, and install at least two 1TB or greater internal drives for booting, programs and data. You don't need a super video card, but at least 512MB of video ram and 3D rendering (if you move on to Photoshop).
    You should get a Firewire (400) card with a front-panel port. That's very handy for use with a fast card reader. With photos, you will eventually run out of internal disk space, so plan on using external drives. For that, get an eSATA card with multi-port compatibility - e,g, Star-Tech ($40). That gives you speed equal to internal SATA drives (160 MB/sec), compared to 30 MB/sec for FW400 (FW800 is still not implemented correctly in Win7). The "multiport" spec allows you to use multi-disc external drives, including various RAID configurations.
    All the software you mention is freeware (Adobe Flash, Shockwave, Java, Picassa), and you get exactly what you pay for. For photography on a PC, Adobe Lightroom ($300) will probably meed all of your needs. You can hold off on Photoshop, depending on your progress in electronic photography. MS Office is necessary for any business use, but there are freeware/shareware versions nearly as powerful for informal use. IE8 (free from MS) has better protections than FireFox (Mozilla), and is more universally compatible with websites. FireFox exists because people don't like MS in principle.
    You can get a low-end HP workstation (i.e., designed for working, not gaming) from a reputable company (e.g., CDW) for about the same price you were quoted. This gives you a cleaner design and the ability to expand its capabilities as your needs grow.
    Wikipedia is an excellent resouce to find out about terms like "IPS". Manufacturers like HP and Lenovo, who cater to professionals, have good resources to help you make choices between models and features. Packaged software should never be a consideration - you only get things which are not marketable on their own, and often wormy.
  8. 'Intel quads are not being made now unless they are on the i7 system'
    This is not true at all, someone who builds computers for a living should know better. First off, the intel i7 is a quad core processor, which also has whats called "hyper threading" which adds an additional four "virtual cores" for added performance. i7 processors start at around $300.
    But the intel i5 is sold in two versions. The lower priced i5 are dual core processors with hyperthreading, while the higher priced ones are quad-core processors without hyperthreading. The quad core i5s sell for around $200.
    I'm getting ready to build a new computer myself, and from the research I've done it sounds like photoshop can take advantage of multiple cores, so I'll be going with a quad core i5 as it seems to be the best bang for the buck.
    I see that he also is suggesting upgrading to 8gb ram from 4gb for an additional $89. This is a huge ripoff since you can get 8gb of ram for only $100 from newegg right now.
  9. try i buy power and configure your own, with their consultation and you can get a smoking fast "gamer" unit
    for the same money . . . forget the "hd" monitor and make sure you put the cash into a isp monitor no less
    than 24" . . .

    they now can be had for less than 500 bucks . . . unreal since just a year ago the starting point for such
    was at $1k . . . .
  10. While the 1080 HD resolution can be impressive for paying HD Blu-Ray videos on a huge LCD/LED monitor/TV, it does not represent the best you could do for photo editing.
    See available resolutions from video cards like ATI, or NVidia or other brands, and select a monitor that will match higher resolutions, and other parameters and features already explained by Edward and others....
  11. I think this is way overkill. I have a Gateway with Dual AMD processors, Win XP and a 500gb hardrive.
    4GB of Ram and I run LR3 (30,000 photos) and Photoshop Elements 8 no problem.
    You can use Open Office (Sun/Oracle) FREE Open Source compatible with MS Office.
    I would recommend not sweating the specs and buy a good off the shelf system from HP with Win7.
    I have a Win7 HP laptop running the same software no issues. Unless you are processing video or thousands of photos all the time, this is overkill. Buy a system for $650, maybe get an upgraded monitor and spend the extra dough on calibration software, LR3 and be happy with the extra change in your pocket. Oh and some external hardrives for backup. I just got a 2TB Seagate at Costco for $99!
  12. I agree with Mark S run down to Best buy and buy a loaded out HP and save money.
    The only other thing I would look at do you really need the 64 bit version of windows. Yes it can address more ram, but to fully use it you also have to purchase 64 bit programs. combining 32 bit and 64 bit programs can cause some issues. This is a future cost of ownership issue mainly. If you don't think you will be running that many 64 bit applications, stay with the 32 bit windows.
  13. @Richard - in my opinion, maxing out on RAM is plenty of reason to go 64 bits. 32 bit programs will work under a 64 bit OS.
  14. The only other thing I would look at do you really need the 64 bit version of windows. Yes it can address more ram, but to fully use it you also have to purchase 64 bit programs. combining 32 bit and 64 bit programs can cause some issues.​
    I don't even think you can buy a computer loaded with Windows 7 32-bit. Not very easily, anyways.
    A 64 bit OS running on 8 gigs of ram has become standard for digital darkroom as CS5 and LR are both 64 bit apps. I'd build around i7-920 or i7-930
  15. david_henderson


    Not going to contribute on the specification, but would simply add that personally I'd gladly spend a couple of hundred more on a computer that was assembled by a guy I know and trust, and who would be the person called in to fix it if it went wrong.
  16. ...personally I'd gladly spend a couple of hundred more on a computer that was assembled by a guy I know and trust, and who would be the person called in to fix it if it went wrong.​
    Awesome advice. That's the only way I do it, imo. I buy great parts at newegg then spend a couple hundred to have it assembled locally. It comes with no bloatware. You can have them make a partition for C Drive and load Windows onto it and put your data on D Drive. I use Norton Ghost to clone it all.
  17. A lot of posts since I last checked my computer..... and several others have recommended an IPS monitor, so I'll definitely ask him about this......and the Firewire card. I have no idea what that is. Also two 1TB internal drives is probably a good idea. Could I ask you.....would you put in one CD/DVD bay or 2? I've always had 2 on my tower, but honestly I always forget which is which and get it wrong when I'm burning anything. So maybe having 1 burner is enough? I'd be curious what others think about this as well. Thanks for your help!
    Trevor.....yeah, I saw some systems when I was looking online that had the i7. I wonderful if I just didn't understand him correctly......I obviously need to get some clarification on that. Thanks!
    Tony.....I know for some of you more tech types, building your own seems like a piece of cake. Not for me! :) So if I were to do it, I'd use someone local.......possibly this guy, or possibly even go to FRY's electronics to see if they have someone who can do it for me. Fry's has a pretty good warranty, so I might check them out. And yes, there seems to be a consensus about the monitor. Thanks!
    Frank.....yes, I've heard that a a great monitor for gaming is not necessarily the best monitor for photos. So I'll definitely nail him down on this issue and get something that is appropriate for the system I get. Thanks so much!
    Mark.....with regard to the 'overkill' thing, I'll just say this. You may be right, but honestly every single time I've bought a computer I've thought I could never possibly fill it up. I always thought it was overkill, yet several years later my system starts grunting along, and I find myself having to upgrade and spend money on repairs. Of course, that could happen anyway, but this time I think I want the overkill, especially because I plan to get more and more involved with photography. There are some powerful editing programs, and I'll want CS4 (eventually 5) and LR2 (eventually 3), plus no doubt some other stuff once I learn what I'm doing. :)
    Richard, Barry and Garrison.....most of the programs I want are 64 bit, so that's what I need. As for going to Best Buy and buying a decent computer, I actually haven't ruled out that idea. I'm thinking about getting a moderately priced laptop for now, and then seeing how I get along with that. It will at least upgrade me from my dinosaur computer that I have now, and it would allow me to load on the programs I already own (CS4 and LR2). Once I get familiar with those programs and get a little further along with my photography, I'll be in a better position to know what I want in a desktop. I still haven't quite decided on which way to go though.
    David and Garrison......Yes, my sentiments exactly! At least with my knowledge of computers, I like having someone 'hold my hand', so to speak. Having a local guy is worth a little bit more to me. However, I don't know this guy. I do know several photographers who are happy with him though. He knows computers and seems to have a pretty good business going.......lots of great reviews and positive comments on his web page......BUT he isn't a photographer, so I'm not sure he has that emphasis in building a computer for me. That's why I turn to you all. never lets me down. I've gotten some amazing advice here on other subjects in the past.
    Garrison.....I have no idea what the last 2 sentences of your post mean. :) For what purpose would you do this?
    You can have them make a partition for C Drive and load Windows onto it and put your data on D Drive. I use Norton Ghost to clone it all.
    Thanks to you all for your input and excellent suggestions!
  18. OK Christal, here is a (an EXAMPLE of) pre-built Acer PC that has virtually all the specs you are asking for, off the shelf for $1000 less than the local guy wants you to pay. Just add the software yourself and a good monitor (I will leave that choice up the the monitor gurus) and external backup drives and you are good to go!
    I am not recommending this pc specifically, just as an example of what you can buy off the shelf.
  19. I found this with a google search and after glancing through it I would probably change the way I would build a computer for Photoshop. It seems you would want to maximize RAM and spend a little more on a graphics card. I followed a link the other day from a post here on Photonet about the best processors for graphics and it looked like the Intel i3 and i5 were the fastest with the AMD processors not quite as good. The test didn't include the i7 but hopefully it would do as well. Sorry I couldn't find the link again. Hope this helps.
  20. I have to leave in a few minutes and will be gone all day. So I'll respond to everyone later. I thought I 'd just list the specs on the monitor. He told me he's willing to get me any monitor for my needs, but he thinks this is a great one. Here are the specs on it. Sounds good to me.
    Here are he specs for the monitor in case it still needs reviewing.
    Asus VH235T-P 23" Widescreen HD Monitor
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Display Type:
    Widescreen LCD​
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Screen Size:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Widescreen:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Pixel Pitch:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Display Colors:
    16.7 million​
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Display Format:
    16:9 Widescreen LCD​
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Touch Screen:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Vertical Refresh Rate:
    50~75 Hz​
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Horizontal Frequency:
    30~83 kHz​
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Interface Type:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Maximum Resolution:
    1920 x 1080​
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Condition:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Features:
    Built-in Speakers​
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Speakers:
    2 x 2 Watt Speakers​
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Contrast Ratio:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Dynamic Contrast Ratio:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Brightness:
    250 cd/m²​
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Horizontal Viewing Angle:
    160 degrees​
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Vertical Viewing Angle:
    160 degrees​
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] VESA Mounting Compliant:
    VESA 100mm​
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Dimensions With Stand:
    21.6" x 16.1" x 8.7"​
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Unit Weight:
    11.7 lbs.​
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Power Consumption:
  21. Hello-
    I like the idea of a local builder who builds to his specs, not to those of a penny-pinching accountant somewhere. Particularly for the all-important power supply, which is frequently of marginal (not bad, just marginal) quality. Sometimes this is fine. I got a nice Acer desktop for family use a few months ago--amazing specs for $420 delivered. But your situation is different, and calls for different thinking.
    For instance, when I built up a professional workstation last year, I used an AMD CPU. Dual-core was fine, I figured: it's like engines on an airplane, you get the biggest payback going from 1 to 2, and relatively minor gains 2-3, 3-4, etc.. It's frugal on power, too, which translates to less heat (and fewer heat-related malfunctions). I spec'd Asus for the motherboard for an uncommon reason--Asus supports ECC memory. Look around the net for "DRAM error experiences" for an unsettling hour or so of reading. But lots of folks happily save $40 and never worry about having a few trillion transistors oscillating in a box just a few feet away. YMMV. Other components in a computer are completely commoditized these days; Newegg-level quality is fine.
    Your monitor choice needs some rethinking. It is not IPS, not sRGB gamut, and not 16x10. tftcentral does a fine job in putting monitors through their paces; it is a great resource. But I can summarize by saying that the HP ZR24W is the minimum monitor quality you can spec for your intended application.
    Hope this helps.
  22. As for monitor choice, I was listening to a professional photog on a call in show, the caller couldn't match color prints with his monitor (a Samsung) and the pro said without an IPS monitor (over $1000), you are never gonna get it right, even with calibration. Not to doubt what he says, but I am sure that many people have successfully navigated this area without spending $1-2 k on a monitor. Lower cost alternatives are appreciated!
  23. Not to doubt what he says, but I am sure that many people have successfully navigated this area without spending $1-2 k on a monitor.​
    Yes indeed.
    The Dell UltraSharp U2410 24-inch Widescreen Flat Panel Monitor is the best bang-for-he buck out there. The next step up in quality would be going to the NEC's
  24. Okay, I got a little behind here......sorry, and thanks for continuing to send info on this. I've been researching like mad, and at some point I just have to go with something. :) Here is the way I look at it. I'm a concert violinist, and I do a lot of solo work. There are some who would belittle the fact that I don't have a $3 million Stradivarius or some other Italian make of violin. I've done quite well in my career with nothing close to that. I know how to maximize the sound of the violins I have, and I know how to find good quality for less money.
    Same with computers.....only I'm not knowledgeable about them, so I need some guidance. I've had several more discussions with this computer guy, and he has convinced me he knows what he's talking about. He is not a photographer, but he is not at all defensive about that, and he's willing to research and find me a good IPS monitor that will certainly serve me better than the old equipment I've been using since I started digital photography a couple of years ago. I appreciate his honesty, and he's very good at explaining things to me......NOT that I can necessarily regurgitate that info to you though. :)
    Mark.....that Acer does look good. This computer tech likes that brand too. Thanks!
    John......that's a great link......thanks for sharing it! I never think to look on Adobe's website.
    Jim.....My tech guy now understands what a photographer wants in a're right about the shortcomings of this monitor, and the HP one you recommend looks like a good one. I found a website that has a comprehensive list of IPS monitors, at different price points. That HP is on this list. Thanks for your help!
    Mark and Garrison......I will definitely not be spending $1000 plus on a monitor, and I agree that I can surely find something good enough for my skill level for much less. Thanks!
    So unless something drastic happens to change my mind, I'm going to go with my local tech guy. Yes, I might spend a little more, but I think I'll have a dependable system and be able to get tech support when I want it. I appreciate your input on this. It gave me info for starting a dialog with him about the kind of machine I wanted, and ultimately I think he'll be able to provide me a good system for a reasonable amount of money.
  25. ....that Acer does look good. This computer tech likes that brand too.​
    Run away, Christal. Acer is the lowest of the low, imo. With newegg, I did a bit of a parts shop list. Maybe it will help.
    $120. Have your tech guy buy you an Antec Sonata III case. It comes with a great power supply.
    $300. Go with the intel i7-950
    $235 for Asus or Gigabyte motherboard. Make sure it is sata3 and usb3. I like the ASUS P6X58D-E.
    $170 for 12 gigs or ram. Ram is cheap and options are many. On the cheaper side, 6 gig of Corsair XMS3 TR3X6G1600C9 6GB DDR3 3X2GB DDR3-1600 is around $80. You can double it up and have 12 gigs for $160.
    $135. I'd go for a SSD hard drive like the Crucial RealSSD C300 CTFDDAC064MAG-1G1 2.5" 64GB for your main C Drive. (your OS and apps.). And actually, I'd get 2 and put them in RAID 0. Your tech will know bit it will double the capacity and speed.
    $90. For your second hard drive, I'd get a 1 TB Western digital hard drive and use it for your data. It's one of the fastest mechanical 7200rpm drives out there AND has the new sata3 6gb/s to match your mobo.
    $95. This is an option and you have choices. But for dirt cheap you can have a 3rd drive in this case. Like a Western Digital 2 TB Green drive. If you run a back-up software program like Norton Ghost, this would make a great destination for your data from the other two hard drives.

    $140. Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM

    $25. The only thing left I can think of is a $25 dvd burner. I like Pioneer burners. And also there's room to install a card reader in the case right below your dvd burner. I always play it safe with my computers and install cpu fans. I never over-clock but I still install them.
    But for $1310 and have 12 gigs ram and 3 hard drives, and not to mention that it will be one fast box. Hard to beat that. If you want to go bare-bones and take out 6 gigs of ram and the 2TB hard drive, it'll knock the price down to $1130 ish. A decent tech should charge you $200 to assemble and install Windows.
    And like I said, the Dell UltraSharp U2410 24-inch Widescreen Flat Panel Monitor is the best bang-for-he buck. Proably around $500.
  26. had to take you awhile to compile all of that for me. I greatly appreciate it, and I'll pass along this info to my computer guy. I really love that Antec Sonata case, and the fact that the USBs aren't on the bottom like on my current system.
    My husband and I went out looking at computers yesterday, and he says he'd like to get a larger monitor......approx. 27". Would you also recommend Dell in that size?
    I'll try to remember to get back here and report back on the purchase. Since my computer guy is busy with Xmas orders, I told him I can wait until after Xmas. So I'll talk to him again next week sometime.
    Thank you SO much!
  27. You're welcome. And I forgot the video card. I'm not much into gaming so I don't follow the cards. But the best card you can buy for $100 is suitable these days. It depends on bells and whistles for outputs as well. Some want hdmi etc.
    The great thing about building a custom PC like this, is the ability of only swapping out the parts you need to when you wish to upgrade. I have one of the original Sonata's and it's housing it's third build. Sometimes just a new hard drive goes in. Sometimes I just need to update the video card. Or in an afternoon, you can swap out the cpu, mobo, and ram, and hook up your existing parts like hard drives and dvd burners. This is very hard to do on name brand computers like Dell, Acer, HP etc. With those, you usually have to update all at once and is a more expensive cost to your bank and the environment.
    Sorry, I don't know anything about the 27". I use 2 x 24" myself.
  28. Are you in a large city? I'd look through Craigslist for decent shop and I'd consider building up a dual-boot computer. That means you'll have two operating systems. It's very popular today to run Ubuntu as a second OS with Windows. Maybe google it and research on how cool it is. It's linux and bomb proof and like Mac (Unix) is very hard to get infected. I use Ubuntu almost exclusively except for when I have to do darkroom work and then I simply re-boot into Windows for Adobe software.
  29. Chris, There are some 27" IPS monitors out there but they are pretty pricey. They are all somewhere close to 1 grand and you mentioned you are not planning to spend that much. Dell sometimes offers discount for the Dell U2711, but you may have to wait.
    Another issue you may have with these monitors are most (if not all) of 27" IPS monitors being "wide gamut" which means they can cover (close to) the AdobeRGB color space. If you can take total control of the color management, they are great. However, if you can't, it can be frustrating because they will show very bright and over-saturated colors in non color-managed applications.
    You can get a very nice 24" IPS monitor like the HP ZR24w for about $400 or less. Something a little bit smaller and cheaper can be HP ZR22w (22"), Dell U2311 (23"), U2211 (22"), or NEC EA231w (23")for $250 to $300. All these monitors have an IPS panel and standard gamut, so you will have good color accuracy, good viewing angle and you won't have to deal with the over-saturation problem.
    Good luck the the purchase and have a happy holiday.
  30. Garrison, yes, I agree......from what I've read this is definitely the way to go. And I won't have a lot of 'stuff' on my computer that I don't understand. I at least know how to change out components, and on this system I'll be able to do that.
    As far as the Ubuntu thing..... now you're getting way over my head. :) One step at a time for me. But that's the exciting thing about computers and even photography. I keep learning, and eventually maybe I'll be able to understand and implement something like that. What I hope to do is keep this new computer for only business stuff and photography editing. Any Internet stuff will be done on a different computer. I don't know if this makes sense, but it seems to me that it will prevent me from getting a bunch of garbage or viruses on the new computer.......thereby making it last longer. Anyway....we'll see!
  31. Thanh Le.....excellent advice......thanks! When I share this info with my husband, maybe he'll reconsider. The monitor we have now is only 17", so even a 22-23" one will be a big step up for us. And there is a considerable price difference. The color management issues are something to consider, especially for me, because I wouldn't know how to manage this. I plan to take the New York Institute's Photography class sometime within this year. I hope to eventually be able to understand more of the technical side of photography. Thanks so much for your comments, and have a wonderful holiday yourself!
  32. For photography work:
    1. The computer itself almost doesn't matter. Anything faster than a nettop/netbook class machine will do. Just make sure it has 4GB of RAM or more. A current generation dual core Pentium is good enough. A whole working package with a usable LCD panel shouldn't be more than $400 or $500.
    2. Spend money on the second display. If you've the budget, get an IPS LCD panel. If you haven't the budget, see about getting a good lightly used CRT. Grade for grade, the old CRT's were actually better for photo work. Edit the image on the CRT and put the toolbars, editing palette, etc. on the bundled LCD panel.
    3. Spend money on a color calibration system. The Xrite Colormunki is pretty good because it covers both display and print profiling. Display only profilers can be had for less; it just means you'll have to use the printer manufacturer's ink and and perhaps paper.
    4. If you're getting the system custom built, spend money on a SSD. An inexpensive 80GB unit is more than big enough to hold Windows, Photoshop, scratch files, etc. The SSD is the difference between instantaneous responsiveness verus thumb twiddling. Add an internal, second traditional mechanical hard disk for the image file media. A sub-$100, 1TB drive will last you ages.
  33. Win7 can image your OS, take a close look at this, its the best insurance you can get if you ever need to recover your system for what ever reason.
    So get your self a external hard drive, and have Win7 store the image of your OS there.
    Listen to what Garrison is telling you, ask more questions if needed, its the best advice you have received so far.
  34. B and H has the NECP221w bk sv for $595 right now. It comes with calibration system, and I think that includes shipping. I know you said you wanted a 24, but this is a pretty good deal on this rig.
  35. Robert......I agree that the monitor is almost more important than the computer. And I will calibrate my monitor, something I've never done before. I'll check into the Xrite Colormunki. Thanks!
    Bill......I don't quite understand the first part of your post, but I'll ask about it. I'm sure the computer tech guy knows. And I AM listening to Garrison! ;-) Thanks!
    Russell.......I didn't even think about exploring the B&H website for computer/monitor info. Thanks for the info. That IS a great price......almost 1/2 price over what it usually sells for. But I thought I was supposed to be looking for an IPS monitor. I'm confused. This monitor got great reviews on a photo website, so I would think it would be good enough for me despite the fact that it isn't an IPS. Can someone clarify this for me? Thanks!
  36. cheers, Bill.
  37. Hi-
    Re the monitor NECP221w bk sv for $595, yes, the specs are nice, and the included calibration system assures you of a quality picture. A couple of other considerations:
    1. The NEC is wide gamut, aRGB. You will be spending much of your time, at least at first, in an sRGB universe. Be sure to verify that the NEC has a solid sRGB emulation mode. If it does not, you will experience the color distortions referred to a couple of posts previous.
    2. The Dell Ultrasharp U2211h is $240, occasionally available refurb for $199. It is standard gamut, sRGB, and has a few hundred more pixels horizontally than does the NEC. tftcentral speaks highly of it. Granted, it has no built-in calibrator. But for the dollar savings, you could forego one; you could always ask the techs at your school's media lab if you could borrow theirs.
    Hope this helps, and have a great holiday.
  38. Christal: If you're gonna spend $1300 for a PC, why not just get a Mac? The PC advantage has always been that you can buy an adequate machine for less than the Apple version. Your objections to Dell notwithstanding, I have been very happy with my 4gig / 1 terrabyte Dell Studio XPS. Found it for less than $500 bucks at their outlet. Whatever machine you buy, make sure it has an eSata port for an external hard drive you will eventually buy. Good luck.
  39. If you're gonna spend $1300 for a PC, why not just get a Mac? The PC advantage has always been that you can buy an adequate machine for less than the Apple version.​
    $1300 hardly buys a Mac laptop. On the other hand, I just gave her a parts list for the same amount and has 8 core, ssd, 12 gigs of ram, 3 TB of storage. More importantly, it'd be faster than a $5K Mac Pro with 3 X's as much storage.
    Your objections to Dell notwithstanding, I have been very happy with my 4gig / 1 terrabyte Dell Studio XPS.​
    Yes, I'd reconsider Dell too. They sell more computers than everyone else combined.
  40. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

    $1300 hardly buys a Mac laptop.​
    Hardly buys a Mac laptop? Technically incorrect (again). It does with $300 to spare:
    Arguably its an entry level MacBook and not even a MacBook Pro. But its brand new. And for still less than $1300, you can buy a refurbished MacBook Pro (2.66GHz Core 2 Duo):
    It is covered by Apple's standard one-year limited warranty -- the exact same warranty as a new MacBook Pro.
    But $1300 hardly buys a Mac laptop? Nope, that’s incorrect. Use “the” Google.
  41. "Hardly" is a subjective term. I have sneezes that cost me more than $300.
    Excuse him, Cristal. He's been clicking on my name and following me into threads to split hairs and hi-jack threads at the expense of people like you. Things are looking up though. At least he's doing it with recent posts and not two days behind, like usual.
    It's $1250 for the bottom of the line MBP where I am. Then taxes and enviro fees on top. Who in their right mind would suggest a $1000 entry level Mac laptop with a Core 2 Duo with 2 gigs of ram for Christals' needs? You can get $600 netbooks faster than that.
  42. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

    "Hardly" is a subjective term. I have sneezes that cost me more than $300.​
    I’m sure you do. Lets see, the MacBook referenced cost $999, so that $300 differences you sneeze at is nearly a third of the entire cost of the product. A 3rd is hardly?
    Excuse him, Cristal. He's been clicking on my name and following me into threads to split hairs and hi-jack threads at the expense of people like you.​
    Talk about delusions of grandeur!
    It's $1250 for the bottom of the line MBP where I am.​
    That would be a Macbook PRO. And yet your memory of what you wrote, that I’m apparently splitting hairs on is exactly “$1300 hardly buys a Mac laptop“. The statement is incorrect even with your fudge factor of the word hardly. In fact, $1300 buys you a Mac laptop with extra money in your pocket or more RAM or a cheap display, or an external HD etc. The statement you wrote is without a doubt wrong.
    Who in their right mind would suggest a $1000 entry level Mac laptop with a Core 2 Duo with 2 gigs of ram for Christals' needs?​
    Irrelevant in terms of the incorrect post you made: $1300 hardly buys a Mac laptop. $999 buys you a current, new Mac laptop. Just check your facts before you hit that Confirm button.
  43. Okey dokey

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