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New PC Specs i would need for Adobe Design Software

Discussion in 'General Chit-Chat' started by uv, Sep 16, 2020 at 3:12 AM.

  1. uv

    uv New Member

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    Hi Everyone.

    We have to buy a new computer and have drawn the line with apple because they are too expensive.
    I am looking to buy a PC tower and was looking to see if anyone had suggestions on what spces i would need to include. We uses illustrator and photoshot to set up files for large format printing.
    Thanks
     
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  2. player

    player Major Contributor

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    Budget?

    i7 or i9 Intel processor, 32 gigs or more of ram (ram has mHz speed so faster is better), solid state c drive (500gigs -1 tb), good motherboard (I have liked Asus) 2nd hard disk for data (6 tb), separate graphics card (budget?), 850 watt power supply, full size tower (Corsair Obsidian is nice and designed to be quiet.).

    The motherboard specs are important. That will determine many things like max ram, how many slots to add cards, the number of usb ports, size and speed of processor and sound card etc. Be sure all components are compatible.

    I am no expert, I have some knowledge and put toether an i7 box a few years ago.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. FireSprint.com

    FireSprint.com Trade Only Screen & Digital Sign Printing

    As much as you can afford. With the stuff we do, we don't notice the graphics card getting too overloaded. Typically the hard drive, processor or memory slow us down. An SSD is a must for your main drive running the OS and software.

    A good processor with 6 or more cores is pretty important and difficult to upgrade if you start hitting the max on it. Everything else can most likely be upgraded as you see issues.

    A good way to tell what is slowing you down is to open your resource monitor and see if there is anything maxed out at 100% at any point while you work. That's where you should spend your money for the upgrades.

    resources.gif
     
    • Like Like x 2
  4. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    Not really. Plenty of benchmarks out there that show that you have diminished utility after 6 cores and completely stop at 8 cores. Most of that testing is done with Ps CC (maybe even exclusively, I would have to look at it again to make sure on that).

    I'm a firm subscriber to better to have it and not need it then to need it and not have it, but there is a point of diminished marginal utility.

    Here is the thing though, with the rolling release nature of both Win 10 and with Adobe products, you want to try to make your computer as future proof as you can for x amount of yrs until you think you can handle another upgrade. In doing so, that does tend to shrink the cost difference between Apple and Windows (although there are other reasons why I would still choose Windows over Apple personally if I was still using either one of those OSs).
     
  5. dypinc

    dypinc Very Active Member

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    I think this would be a good time to discuss the use of RAM between the Windows OS and the Mac OS. I my experience Windows does not seem to use all the Ram available to and seems to struggle because of this. The 2 Windows machines here used for RIPs, one I built my self for the wide formats has 32GB of RAM and never seems to use even half that. The other one a EFI Fiery EX-P 3100 with 16GB of RAM never seems to us all it RAM either. On the other hand my personal Mac 5.1 workstation (10years old) with 96GB use almost all of it's RAM when I am doing heavy work like Photoshop which will sometimes uses half of that or more if I let it.

    As I understand it the Unix Kernel of that Mac OS is very efficient using RAM. My experience with using Windows over the years is that it seems to not be able to use all the RAM in the computer resulting in sluggish performance as I always have to remind myself when using it to slow down to avoid hangs. What are others finding with heavy graphics work on the latest Windows OS? I can't see myself going the Windows route but with the price of that latest MacPro I think about from time to time, but when I spec-out the latest HP machines that are comparable with the MacPro there is not much of a price difference. Also not sure I could live with using the Windows OS because of its performance on the computers we already have and the vulnerability to viruses etc. All Windows computers here have been banned from internet use for years here so I am not sure that could be overcome with the boss so I am not sure we could overcome that.
     
  6. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    It's not just the BSD kernel (Apple uses the open source Darwin kernel, which is pretty much BSD, with their own tweaks later on, for instance, the APIs that bind hardware to software), but also have to keep in mind that with Mac, you don't have all these options with regard to hardware, so instead of relying on drivers to make everything work from 3rd party OEMs, it's baked into OS, which makes it highly efficient. Your also dependent on how good those 3rd party make their own drivers etc as well. Some don't always do such a good job.

    This is one reason I like Linux so much. Wacom tablets, for instance, are far more stable with the driver (which Wacom has 4 dedicated devs for the Linux project) that is baked into the kernel compared to when I was on Windows and having to re install every other week it seems, so don't discount that. Unfortunately, that also brings about other concerns (at tleast ones that I have), but I digress.

    Price wise, most of the time, almost always do better specing out custom build versus going OEM. That's only factoring in price differences though. Knowledge required, research required, are different issues, just depends on how you value one over the other. However, when adding into that trying to future proof (which one should do due to the rolling release nature of Win 10 and Adobe software), even going custom may not save as much (if any at all) unless really shopping those deals.

    People are probably sick and tired of me saying this, but in all honesty, all computers that handle production should not be on the internet period (this is one of the many reasons why I do not like production software as SaaS). That includes Macs (contrary to popular opinion, all platforms do have virus out there, so that fails even on that and some viruses/malware actually affect all platforms without needing specific code for any one platform). Also have to keep in mind, Macs can act as a typhoid mary if they deal with files/networks that feed into those Windows machines.

    Windows really only has 2 advantages, hardware compatibility and software availability and both of those are highly dependent on 3rd party OEMs to make it so (and that's why you also see performance hits every now and then on multi platform software on Windows, shoot when WSL first came out, some of their own software with no changes ran faster on the Linux kernel then their own OS). That's it. Windows as an OS, which has a lot of legacy bloat, was never really made for security in mind and how they have tried to strengthen things now, has come up short, because they also try to respect legacy support (which they really shouldn't). That all plays into it.
     
  7. SteveQuincey

    SteveQuincey New Member

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    Get yourself a desktop CPU that runs AMD Ryzen 7 3800XT Processor. It specs 8 Core with a clock speed right under 4 GHz. It will have you bouncing between programs like a gazelle.
     
  8. shoresigns

    shoresigns Very Active Member

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    Biggest question is whether your design work is primarily done in Photoshop, or primarily done in Illustrator/InDesign. We don't get clients asking for Photoshop-heavy designs with endless layers and effects, so I'm quite happy doing 100% of our design work on a little Macbook Air. It's a 2017 model with 8gb ram, a solid state drive, and an i7-2.2ghz cpu, and I'm running the latest Photoshop/InDesign/Illustrator with no performance issues.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  9. ewded

    ewded Member

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    too lazy to explain, but if had to build my work pc today I'd build it around Ryzen 3900x
     
  10. ikarasu

    ikarasu Very Active Member

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    Ryzen is better than Intel right now. So go with a Ryzen... Maybe next gen intel will bounce back, but AMD is wiping the floors with them price wise right now.

    Video card isnt too important - If you google what uses the GPU in photoshop / illustrator you'd be surprised. M2 SSD, good CPU, and 32-64 GB of ram thats this gen and you'll be flying.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. SignMeUpGraphics

    SignMeUpGraphics Moderator

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    I built our 3950X back in December paired with 64GB RAM, 2TB NVMe, 2080S... wasn't cheap but certainly does the job. No regrets.
     
  12. WYLDGFI

    WYLDGFI Merchant Member

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    If you like Macs, you can get a refurb 2012 tower with loads of ram and a new Vid card for under $3k US. Thats of course is dependent if you are proficient with Apple computers and such or Prefer mac.

    Like above, best processor...most ram...64 bit os...vid card...etc. May want to consider Dual Monitor as well,
     
  13. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

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    OSX-based computers have other problems relating directly to the sign industry. Just about all of the industry-specific software for the sign industry runs only on Windows. There are no Mac versions of Flexi, Gerber Omega, etc. RIP software geared for large format printers (Onyx, RasterLink Pro, etc) also tends to be very much a Windows-only thing. The same is true for routing table software.

    For now, it's possible to run Windows natively on current Mac hardware under Bootcamp/Parallels due to the Intel CPUs inside. But that's going away as Apple transitions to its own ARM-based CPUs. While Apple has said it will support Intel-based Macs for some time we all know, based on Apple's own history that support will not be for more than a couple or so years. These days many of us tend to use desktop PCs and notebooks for considerably longer. 7-10 year (or longer) life spans are common for computers now, unless the PC is a cheap entry-level product.

    It doesn't take a heck of a lot of compute horsepower to run Photoshop and Illustrator adequately. Most new computers now have to do basic things like play HD-quality video steams without dropping frames or stuttering the playback in other ways. But who knows what lies ahead in the next couple or so years? Spending more up front for a more powerful system will translate into additional years of useful product life.

    Right now the only Apple product I would recommend is an iPad Pro as a specialty tool to supplement one's desktop/notebook PC work. The Mac Pro tower is horribly over-priced. I dislike Apple's notebooks for how the RAM and everthing else inside is soldered-in permanently. Most Windows-based notebooks can be cracked open and have various internals upgraded (RAM, SSDs, battery, etc). But, buyer beware. Even some PCs have soldered-in RAM and other baloney.
     
  14. balstestrat

    balstestrat Member

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    Did you just leave out Caldera on purpose? It's a great RIP that runs on OSX. Onyx competitor.
    Anyways yeah, windows for the win.
     
  15. eahicks

    eahicks Magna Cum Laude - School of Hard Knocks

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    OP did say primarily design, i.e. Adobe products. MAC or PC is fine for that. If they want it for RIP purposes, sure, PC is preferred.
     
  16. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    I mentioned Caldera before on conversations along this line. I don't think that Caldera is just much thought of at all, but I am speculating on that.

    But since this is a conversation about Adobe software, not to sure why RIPs are actually mentioned, but it may just be something that was mentioned in case it is/was a concern, just not thought of (maybe due to it not being the primary concern at the time) when the post was originally made.

    While that would be true for the dual boot(Bootcamp) and VM (Parallels) options, another option that I have mentioned before that is often overlooked is WINE (or if you want the commercial variant for Mac, CrossOver).

    This is very much like WSL on Windows, just for getting Win sys calls to POSIX calls and without the various overheads that are associated with dual booting (having to shut down and restart in the OS) or VMing(not really sharing resources between essentially 2 computers running at the same time on the same box). The downside to this is that your Mac machine IS able to get Window's viruses (and Linux machines as well). But the main point here is that you would still be able to run Windows programs and while I have not looked into CrossOver as it would be a very cold day before I go Mac, WINE also does run on ARM. This was actually how people would get Inkscape and GIMP to run on Android without actually having specific builds for those programs to ARM. But since CrossOver is based on WINE, porting it to ARM should not be a concern, especially if Mac is going that way as it is. But if CrossOver does get support dropped and is not built for ARM, there is still WINE.

    Now, do also have the option of emulation (some people consider virtualization (Parallels) to be the same as emulation and in this key specific instance is where they are different. Hypervisors cannot "spoof" hardware via software while emulators can. In this case, it would be the processor specifically (x86_64 on ARM) that is "spoofed". The biggest downside (and what a lot of people attribute to hypervisors as well and it's really not the case for hypervisors, that's just poor host computer resource availability) is that there is a HUGE performance hit, because the emulator is also "spoofing" hardware instead of just focusing on running the software. I would not suggest emulating into that gets betters (and it may with Mac going ARM), I only mention it, because it is another option of technically running Windows on Mac. Just not good for production yet, but may very well be more viable later on when others may make the transition, so it is something to keep looking at.


    As an aside: with Nvidia buying ARM, I have to wonder what will happen with the already strained relationship of Apple and Nvidia (unless I am just misremembering).
     
  17. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

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    No. I said, "just about all of the industry-specific software for the sign industry runs only on Windows." Caldera is a rare exception. What competitors to Flexi, Gerber Omega, Sign Lab in the "CAS" software space run natively on OSX? How about routing table software? The situation for sign industry specific software on the Mac platform was far better in the 1990's. Flexi and a few others had Mac versions way back then. But not anymore.

    If the computer will be used solely for design (using Adobe software), yes, the user can pick which ever platform he or she likes. If the computer is going to be connected to a vinyl plotter, large format printer or routing table, as is the case in most sign companies, the Windows platform becomes more of a necessity.

    BTW, CorelDRAW is another factor. Even though sign shops vary in the kinds of industry specific CAS software they run CorelDRAW is likely the most used common denominator graphics application across the sign industry. So it's fairly important for any sign shop to be able to handle CDR files. While there now is an OSX version of CorelDRAW, given the state of the Corel company and its past couple releases of CorelDRAW the future of the OSX version appears very murky at best. Corel's development team doesn't appear to have enough resources to make a fully stable Windows-version of CorelDRAW on an annual basis, much less maintain Intel and ARM-based variants of CorelDRAW for OSX.

    The OP mentioned setting up files for large format printing. Given this is a sign industry forum and most participants here work in sign companies it's not out of bounds to mention other sign shop related software considerations when buying a new computer.
     
  18. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    Setting up files (which I have done as well for large format printers) doesn't in of itself mean that those files are also going to be sent to the printer from the same computer. Could also outsource to printers, how many "setup" files and outsource their prints? Now, where it would really come into play is are we talking about "setting" files up for full bus size wraps\huge banners or are these on the smaller end of wide format. I do think that even on the smaller end of large format, can get away without RIPs. Is it advisable or not, it all depends, but on your smaller large format (I would consider 609mm (or so) wide to be the beginning of large format, but correct me if I'm wrong) it could be quite possible to get away without a RIP.

    I setup files all the time on my office computer, but they get sent to the production machines on another (all shared via the wonderful NAS devices). I don't spec out my office computer the same way that I do my production computer. Even though my office rig is where I do all my creation/setting up that goes to production rigs.



    Not necessarily. Especially if it's just a plotter, although there are other solutions for the routers, just may not necessarily be the ones that one is looking for. Thinking of "Can I run A on X platform" is different then "Can I do this (function) on X platform".

    For instance, I can run my plotters no problem without an OEM driver and/or specialty software. Very easily and all using a GUI (in case there are some that are going to come in with the "it's too techie" argument, I know what some people have to do with keep the more sophisticated production software going and it's far easier then that (on some platforms mind you)). Now there are solutions that will do the same thing without having to do what I have done, but yea, it's not quite the death knell that some might thinking for everything, for some things, yes, but not everything.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2020 at 1:59 PM
  19. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

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    It depends on the size of the sign company or if the person works at a "sign company" that's really just a one person operation only doing design work and jobbing out 100% of his/her actual production, manufacturing and installation.

    In a real sign company chances are likely any new workstation will be connected to at least one or more pieces of sign industry-specific hardware, be it a vinyl plotter, routing table or large format printer. Even in bigger sign companies where a design-only workstation is common team members have to be able to access and share files between other computers. That's easier to do in an environment with only one OS.

    It's possible to do small print-only things without a RIP. But the output wouldn't be as good or efficient. Then there's the matter of print and cut operations. We can run off a job of hundreds of printed and cut decals from Onyx. The same isn't possible from an ordinary OS print dialog box.
     
  20. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    I have seen the setup of 3 local sign companies (one has a secular branch and one has a religious branch (with different staff/equipment, 3 buildings being used), I'm mainly aware of them as I've done onsite training for their embroidery crew when they were wanting to expand that part and they need some training as they were using desktop embroidery machines and now went to bridge style machines and their design crew did not have the same software as their production crew. They did have the same setup that I do and the connection is that all files are shared via a NAS.

    Bare in mind, they are a sign shop and advertise as a sign shop that just happened to do embroidery, so I don't want you to think that it's an embroidery shop and that one difference negates how they do things as it relates to "real" sign shops.


    Most NASs handle various transfer protocols that makes a non issue and by non issue, I mean PnP. While having the same platform does make some things easier, access and sharing files between computers is not one of them unless those files require very specific programs to read them and those programs are only available on 1 OS, unless your saying everyone needs access to not just Ai/Draw, but also Flexi files (or insert your RIP/niche software here). Then what I would probably do is run MS Server and run Windows as a VM thru the server and do things that way (or did MS block that functionality yet? I think that was going to be deprecated and remove, but I can't remember).

    I know you can with a python script, but that is also with separate plotter and printer.
    Again, I think people would be surprised if they think of it in terms of "can I do this operation" versus "can I run this program". Doesn't always have a great outcome, but I think people would be surprised. And that might also give flexibility to the business as well. Now at times that does require people to know their tools (computers) more then what they really want to. So there is that as well. I think that's a shame, not really much different then those that like to make their own tools/tables etc, just another tool, but I digress.
     
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