Replacing older PC

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by steve_johnston|4, Jun 25, 2018.

  1. I am getting ready to get a new pc to replace a 5 year old windows 7 machine that struggles with big image files. I use Adobe CC and work with files that are 100MB to 1+GB. I use a NEC MultiSync PA272W monitor and Epson P800 to print. How much power do I need to "quickly?" load and process large files? ei RAM, Processer, Graphics card, etc. Thanks!
  2. Nothing dramatical has happened in computer parts since 2013. Processors may have more cores, but that does not matter much in photoshop. Memory has faster connection, but latencies have risen. Graphics card is probably still named Quadro. System SSDs now have m2 connection that is slightly faster than sata SDDs were in 2013. Storage is still often traditional spinning hard drives.

    Study current computer specs and aim to double everything.
    steve_johnston|4 likes this.
  3. That is about what I thought as well. What about OS?
  4. For starters, you need the largest hard drive offered and at least 16 GB of memory. It's easy to clone and change out a PC hard drive, not really feasible in an iMac (which is what I would recommend). Processor speed options help, but are largely incremental. Multi-processors help business software, but have relatively little advantage for photos and graphics. More important is the graphics card, its GPU and memory. It takes much of the processing burden away from the main computer. While processor speed is minor, the side-chain speed is very important. It controls data flow between the processor and memory.

    You need enough RAM that Photoshop doesn't swap data to and from the hard drive. You need about 3x as much memory as your largest image, or set of images loaded at one time. I keep my photos in an external RAID. Photos can fill a computer very quickly, so mine are only local if I need the best processing speed. That said, an external USB3, eSATA (or for Apple, Thunderbolt) drive is as fast, sometimes faster than the internal hard drive.

    You also need to be up-to-date on your imaging applications. A $10/month subscription to Photoshop/Lightroom is the best way to accomplish that.

    I suggest looking at Apple for several reasons. Because of the control exerted by Apple, you can be assured that all of the components are mutually compatible. The same for software, which is also closely controlled. The freedom to mix-and-match in a PC is accompanied by unintended consequences, which can spoil your experience. Apple also excels in sharing personal and business data, between home computers, but especially between applications. In Windows, each application has its own contact list. In OS X, one list is shared. No matter what you've heard, you can crash a Mac just as easily as a PC. You don't have as many diagnostic tools at your disposal, but it's easy to find help on the web or from Apple. That's where the consistency of hardware and software counts. I used only PCs for 35 years and Mac for the last two. I'm not looking back.
    Moving On likes this.
  5. To me, the key is to have a solid state drive (SSD) as your C: drive and load the Adobe programs and other programs there. Make it a dedicated drive for Windows and executable programs only. If possible, load up with plenty of RAM, which is not expensive any more.

    This makes a positive pleasing difference in speed. I have used a Samsung 1TB SSD as C: drive for quite a number of years now; and loading Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom is just about instantaneous. Recently I replaced my laptop to one with a 256GB SSD as the main drive; and the speed difference is dramatic.
    PapaTango, Uhooru, Gary Naka and 3 others like this.
  6. I like desktops made for windows software. IMO Apple products cost too much money for what you get and my MAC friends are now switching to windows machines.

    C: drive needs to be a SSD, at least 500GB. Some add a second SSD as a scratch drive. RAM needs to be a minimum of 16GB, 32 GB is better for what you have outlined. Graphics card with 4 GB RAM. Add extra fans in the desktop to keep things as cool as possible. Make sure fans are silent ones. Make sure it has enough USB and other ports you need for external hard drives and similar devices. If you get windows, get win 10 Pro.

    I have four internal hard drives in my desktop. I use these as part of my image storage and back up strategy. Internal hard drives come in different sizes with different specs. See below for more info on this. If your NEC monitor supports 10 bit you need a system that is compatible with that. (I wish I knew what this meant.).

    I had my photo desktop built by Micro Center so I know that each part in it is first class and can be replaced if it goes bad. Rarely can this be said for any brand name machine. And I avoid all of the software bloat on brand name machines too. ( i have had Micro center build me four desktops over the years and all have never had any problems. )

    Check to see if they have a store near where you live:

    Micro Center - Computers and Electronics

    Check out Puget Systems and see what they build for photographers.This will give you some idea of what you may want in a desktop for photography. .

    Recommended System: Recommended Systems for Adobe Photoshop CC

    Recommended System: Recommended Systems for Adobe Photoshop CC

    Hard Drive - System Component Comparison

    Hope this helps.
  7. RAM can be important, depending on the software.
    I have had my RAM usage go from 7GB to over 20GB when processing a bunch of pix in Photoshop Elements.
    I have no idea why PSE is using so much RAM.

    As with others my system is as follows:
    • OS = Win10
    • CPU = Intel i7
    • RAM = 24 GB
    • Drives
      • SSD for system drive
      • 7k spinning drive for data
    • USB-3 ports to my external backup drive
    The slowest time is when I am in Nikon Capture NX-D and execute the conversion to JPG.

Share This Page