Welcome To Signs101.com: Largest Forum for Signmaking Professionals

Signs101.com: Largest Forum for Signmaking Professionals is the LARGEST online community & discussion forum for professional sign-makers and graphic designers.

 


  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

What kind of computer do I get!?

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware' started by Flame, May 10, 2006.

  1. Flame

    Flame Major Contributor

    8,283
    6
    38
    Apr 26, 2006
    Vancouver
    :help: :help: :help:

    Okay, my computer is old and slow (well, 1 year old, and too slow for me). What should I get? I do a lot of large format printing, so I want a LOT of RAM. Has anyone bought one lately and have any suggestions? I need one REALLY bad!
     
    Tags:
  2. Cadmn

    Cadmn Very Active Member

    2,859
    0
    0
    Aug 19, 2005
    Tiger direct has a nice AMD 64 bundle offering then add in 1 gig of ddr ram or maybe 2 gig my son built a custom 64 & it flies running big programs
     
  3. Flame

    Flame Major Contributor

    8,283
    6
    38
    Apr 26, 2006
    Vancouver
    I've heard good things about Tiger Direct. Any idea on how much your sons system cost him?
     
  4. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

    1,854
    104
    63
    Feb 4, 2005
    Lawton, OK
    My knee jerk answer is this: if you're running Windows get a Dell. If you don't like Windows anymore and want to switch get a Mac.

    Whatever you buy, just be sure you get a computer that has a dedicated graphics card. You don't have to buy a top end $600 graphics board. But just don't buy a low end PC with an integrated graphics chip on the motherboard. Those PCs are sloooooowwwww. Even the $400 Dells have that problem. Many lack an AGP or PCI-X slot on the motherboard for an add-on graphics card. So basically you're stuck with poor to mediocre performance.

    Get 2GB of RAM if you're going to run any new or recent version of Adobe Photoshop. 1GB is not enough.

    If you buy a WindowsPC, insist on WinXP Professional. The Home version has some nasty limits on networking and won't run certain high end creative applications, such as Alias|Wavefront Maya (including the free personal learning edition).

    The only alternatives to Dell or Apple I would consider is the high end companies like Falcon Northwest, VoodooPC and Alienware if I were wanting a high end gaming PC, or BOXX (another high end builder) if I wanted a top flight CGI or video editing workstation.

    I think most computers sold in department stores and office supply stores aren't very good. They have all sorts of junk software bloated into the system and there's often no way to get rid of it (they put it right into the system restore disc -if they even give you a disc). Such computers are difficult or impossible to upgrade. They may be fine for home users, but they're not great for an office environment -especially a creative production environment.

    Most of the PCs in our shop are Dells. We do have one new custom built PC. We had to try building our own again just to see how it would go and it was a pain in the butt. We had to send back a defective ASUS motherboard and a defective Western Digital 400GB SATA hard disc. The parts were ordered from NewEgg, but I've seen the same sort of thing happen from others like TigerDirect. It just goes with the territory. Basically, my point with building your own PC is it's not for the faint of heart. You can save money if you know what you're doing. But the effort can burn up a bunch of your time. Those hours of lost time required for setting up the home built machine should be factored in against the money you save from just buying something like a Dell.

    When it comes to notebooks I'm even more firmly in Dell's camp. They simply make the best variety of notebooks (and the fastest too -their current top of the line XPS model is currently faster than anything else on the market). Dell's notebooks have higher resolution screens, faster and better hard discs, a wider variety of graphics card choices and they're just more reliable.
     
  5. skyhigh

    skyhigh Major Contributor

    4,863
    10
    38
    Jun 16, 2005
    PA
    I thought all Dell's had the integrated motherboards? Also, I was not very comfortable trying to deal with Dell. I bought my new components through tiger and had it built and loaded in an evening. Like Bobby said.... you can save money if you know what your doing.
     
  6. Geary

    Geary Very Active Member

    Mac lover here. I'm about to get a new g5. Oh, Lordy.....I'm going to be in heaven!!! I did look at the Quad, but, honestly....I'm not into heavy duty 3D rendering and I'm not a super freak about the new hot rod games so....the dual will do just fine. My g4 is still cranking thinks out fine but, it is 5 years old now and I've got to keep adding external HDs. Plus, the graphics card is so outdated....yada, yada.

    ~gear
     
  7. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

    1,854
    104
    63
    Feb 4, 2005
    Lawton, OK
    Only two Dell Dimension desktop models lock you into having only integrated graphics chips on the motherboard (the B110 and E310). Certain configurations of the thin, space saving XPS-200 model have integrated graphics in their base configuration, but that can be upgraded.

    Currently Dell is offering discounts up to 35% on certain models.

    Here's the current rundown on graphics boards offered in Dell desktop systems:

    Dimension desktops:

    B110
    Integrated Graphics Only

    E310
    Integrated Graphics Only

    E510
    128MB ATI Radeon X300
    256MB ATI Radeon X600

    XPS-200 (thin model)
    Integrated Graphics or
    128MB ATI Radeon X600

    XPS-400 (normal looking tower)
    128MB ATI Radeon X300
    256MB nVidia GeForce 7300LE
    256MB nVidia GeForce 6800
    512MB ATI Radeon X1900 XTX

    XPS-600 (top end gamers model)
    256MB nVidia GeForce6800
    512MB GeForce 7900GTX
    512MB ATI Radeon X1900 XTX
    SLI Dual 256MB nVidia GeForce6800
    SLI Dual 512MB nVidia GeForce7900GTX (expensive!)
    --AGEIA PhysX physics accelerator is another option.

    Precision Workstations:

    Precision 380 (Pentium 4, Pentium D)
    128MB ATI FireGL V3100
    128MB nVidia Quadro FX540
    128MB nVidia Quadro FX1400
    256MB nVidia Quadro FX3450
    256MB nVidia Quadro FX3500
    512MB nVidia Quadro FX4500 (expensive!)

    Precision 470, 670 (Dual Xeon capable)
    64MB nVidia Quadro NVS 280
    128MB ATI FireGL V3100
    128MB nVidia Quadro FX540
    128MB nVidia Quadro FX1400
    256MB nVidia Quadro FX3450
    512MB nVidia Quadro FX4500 (expensive!)

    An additional note:
    I tried to find the ordering link for that extremely expensive ($9950) XPS-600 system with the custom red flame paint job and FOUR 512MB GeForce7900GTX cards in quad SLI configuration, but it seems to be nowhere to be found. Alienware (now a Dell-owned subsidiary) also offers a quad-SLI solution. You really gotta love gaming to spend that kind of money on it.
     
  8. Flame

    Flame Major Contributor

    8,283
    6
    38
    Apr 26, 2006
    Vancouver
    Let's say I had $2000 burning a hole in my pocket, and wanted to order one within a week... what do you think would be the best way to go?
     
  9. pgettys

    pgettys Member

    268
    0
    0
    Jan 24, 2005
    i just bought a gateway from bestbuy that has dual 64bit processors 4 gigs of ram 2.8 ghz 360 HD DVDR 128 mg graphics card, i always have 5 or 6 programs running at a time and this is made for multi tasking

    i paid 1200 with the memory upgrade

    runs like a raped ape
     
  10. jayhawksigns

    jayhawksigns Very Active Member

    1,208
    33
    48
    Jan 8, 2005
    Kansas
    If you go the home built route I highly recommend shopping at newegg.com.

    I personally avoid Dell like the plague, they are not the company that they used to be, especially with their tech support.

    I think you biggest question is whether or not you want to run a dual core computer. Anyone who has one will probably tell you its worth the extra money. And for $2000 you can easily get a descent dual core computer setup along with a new set of dual lcd screens.
     
  11. 2NinerNiner2

    2NinerNiner2 Very Active Member

    1,122
    0
    36
    Mar 21, 2006
    Calgary, AB
    I agree with Bobby H - get a professional grade Dell and stay away from the bloated consumer models available at the 'big box' stores; I worked tech support for HP-Compaq and I would NEVER get one of their consumer versions! That being said, my next system is going to be a Core Duo 20" iMac with an additional 20" Apple Cinema display, and running Windows XP Pro using Parallel's virtualization application. Best of both worlds - at the same, unlike Apple's Boot Camp where you have to reboot to switch the OS.
     
  12. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

    1,854
    104
    63
    Feb 4, 2005
    Lawton, OK
    One only needs to go dual core if multiprocessing enabled applications are in use. None of the vector-based drawing applications and none of the sign making software packages are multi-threaded.

    Adobe Photoshop is the most commonly available program that takes advantage of multiple processors, including dual core processors. Adobe Premiere & After Effects are SMP capable as well. A good number of 3D modeling/animation programs and some other engineering and sciene/mathmatical programs utilize multiprocessing.

    You can still gain some benefit of dual core machines in that WindowsXP will assign one application or process to one core and let another open application use the other core. But you don't get as huge a speed improvement as one application that can harness both cores/CPUs.

    On the bright side, with the clock speed ceilings being reached at just under 4GHz (at least for now) all new developments are being propelled in the multiprocessing direction (finally after all these years). So we can expect to see a lot more applications get recompiled to take advantage of multiple cores or CPUs.
     
  13. Sabre

    Sabre Member

    375
    0
    0
    Sep 13, 2005
    I have to strongly disagree with the Dell boys. I built and fixed PCs for a living before we decided to try this graphics end of things. Not once in my 8-odd year career was I ever impressed with a Dell. I'm sure they make some decent machines, but they certainly weren't the ones I saw. Dell machines, more-so than the other big box (Gateway/Compaq/Emachine) just assemble their machines from parts from the lowest bidders. A high-end Dell? Yeah, sure, then they're just using parts that are readily available to any PC builder. Nothing in there will be Dell branded. I don’t want to continue my Dell bash as I see several Forum members are fans and I have respect for what they have to say.

    My advice? Find a competent system builder in your area. Tell him what you're after. Just about anything off the shelf is going to have crap you don’t want installed on it, or not be a proper configuration for your application. I agree with the Dual-Core boys. I run one both on my design machine here and at home. Preference for AMD’s Athlon X2. More RAM the better, 2Gig is good, 4 is better. If it's within budget see if you can get a Western Digital Raptor drive in there and a secondary archive drive. And/Or if data integrity is foremost and you're not doing semi-regular backups, ask about a RAID array on your archive drive. I'm not exceptionally clear on the role of a high-end 3D graphics processor in a design machine. When I assembled this one I checked every technical forum I could and went with the Matrox Parhelia triple head. People discussed its colour purity being superior and supporting 3 monitors was a nice touch. I'll admit I'm still not aboard the bandwagon for this card... You'd be hard pressed to see any sort of difference. Get them to build your machine with 12cm fans wherever possible especially in the power supply (450 watt+) and wrap it up in a silent chassis.

    There were some amazing builders listed in a previous post. Voodoo and Falcon Northwest are my favourites. I’m a little hesitant on Alienware since Dell got their paws in there. I’d hate to recommend one and then the first time you have a problem you get redirected to their India call-center with everyone else. But again, these aren't doing things much different than a knowledgeable builder. You'll just end up with extremely similar hardware in a fancy painted chassis and a binder that includes a certificate of authenticity to give you a warm fuzzy feeling of buying from an overpriced online boutique
     
  14. Sabre

    Sabre Member

    375
    0
    0
    Sep 13, 2005
    Must be coming from a single-core user. Dual-Core CHANGES the way you work. It is noticible in lots of different applications. I can rip a huge graphic, extract a clipart archive and burn a DVD at the same time, maintaining a decent performance level with a dual-core. They honestly do make a difference that is welcome in this neighborhood.
     
  15. EndlessOptions

    EndlessOptions Member

    172
    0
    0
    Mar 5, 2005
    I think this one is awesome!
    http://www.deals2buy.com/delldeals.htm#bd

    Dell Dimension E510 Pentium D 820 Dual Core, 2.8GHz, 512MB, 80GB, 16X CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW) w/double layer write capability, 19" Flat Panel (LCD), 2yr At-Home Warranty » for $727 at Dell.com

    List Price: NA Exp: 05/18/2006 5:59 CST
    An entry-level PC with a balance of price and performance for productivity use and basic multimedia functionality.
    Click here to go to Dell Home & Home Office
    Price shows $1077 before instant discount
    Select "Hard drive" to "80GB Serial ATA 3Gb/s Hard Drive (7200RPM) w/ 8MB cache [subtract $50"
    Select "CD or DVD Drive" to "Single Drive: 16X CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW) w/double layer write capability [add $50 "
    then keep continue and add to cart for $1077
    At checkout apply $350off $999 or more dimension coupon code : $29ZG6VL2CF147 (Exp 05/18/06 5:59am CST or 4k uses)
    Final Price : $1077 - $350 = $727 + Free Shipping + Tax (Except CO, IN, LA, NM, SD & VM)

    Upgrade to 1 gig when you order it and it is cheap.
     
  16. ground zero graphics

    ground zero graphics Member

    61
    0
    0
    Mar 9, 2006
    Alien Ware?
     
  17. mark in tx

    mark in tx Very Active Member

    2,081
    0
    36
    Oct 25, 2005
    Harker Heights, Texas
  18. jayhawksigns

    jayhawksigns Very Active Member

    1,208
    33
    48
    Jan 8, 2005
    Kansas
    Bobby - You are right about most applications our industry uses not taking full advantage of a dual core processor, and you rely on windows balancing the workload of just running windows across the processors. Thus the decision of is the extra $100-$200 for the same speed processor in a dual core package worth it.

    Definitely explained why dual core computers should become the norm in the coming year or two. In a business environment like ours where you can be working with Photoshop and your vector program at the same time, just the increased responsiveness of the computer is nice. And if you are dropping $2000 in a computer, you should be able to find that extra $100 to make it a dual core system.

    Four years ago I built my first dual processor, dual monitor system. It was at a time when processors made for dual processor systems themselves cost twice as much as a single processor chip, and you needed two of them. Now with the price difference as low as $100 in some cases, I would say its almost stupid not to go dual core. And as for a dual monitor setup, almost all new graphics card you should be using in your comptuer support dual monitors. Its something that anyone working in the graphics industry needs to at least try once.
     
  19. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

    1,854
    104
    63
    Feb 4, 2005
    Lawton, OK
    Alienware makes great stuff; just be prepared to shell out serious dollars for it. Dell just bought up the company, although the original guys who started Alienware will keep designing the systems. They needed the deal with Dell for a larger, more efficient supply chain of parts.

    You assumed incorrectly. My current work computer has a PentiumD 840 CPU. Regardless of the machine I use, I am correct on what I stated about most available software being compiled only for single-CPU use and how Windows will manage applications in multiprocessor environments.

    Most newer CPUs have more than enough strength to handle most user tasks. The bigger performance liabilities these days are: not enough RAM, too slow a video card or no dedicated video card and insufficient hard drive speed/capacity. If you're lacking in any of those three areas it won't matter if you have the fastest dual core CPU made. You're still going to be hitting serious lags.

    You made some absolutely contrary statements about Dell and mom and pop shop system builders.

    Dell routinely puts top quality name brand parts in their machines. They don't put junk in there like you claim.

    OTOH, most mom and pop shop system builders will try to saddle the user with a compromised system filled with odd ball lowest cost parts. If you know exactly which components you want they'll more than likely give you some song and dance about how you don't need that part and this other odd-ball brand is just as good.

    There may be some honest custom PC builders out there, but most users are far better off by avoiding them. One should only go down that direction if they have very good to expert level knowledge on PC components and can force those guys to build what they're supposed to build. But the thing is, if you know enough about that sort of thing you don't need those guys at all and can build your own.
     
  20. Sabre

    Sabre Member

    375
    0
    0
    Sep 13, 2005
    Software no longer has to be written for SMP, this is handled at a hardware level on the newer northbridge chipsets. Therefore, Dual-Core will in fact make a difference on any system in multitasking environment. This difference is probably not as noticeable on your Intel chip with its substandard memory controller configuration. If you're going Dual-Core, AMD is your only realistic option.

    When I say competent system builder, I mean competent system builder. It's up to you to find one, and they're out there. A mom and pop place might have one, a best buy might have one. Neither are guaranteed to have one, that's for sure. One of the most knowledgeable people I talked to last time I was on holidays was stuck in a Visions Electronics store being completely wasted.

    As a technician, I can tell you Dell most certainly does put crap in some of their machines. Not all, but I haven't seen one that impressed me. You would have a hard time convincing me parts from manufacturers like FoxConn and samsung are the highest quality available. Not to mention the fact that their so heavily in bed with Intel they're completely missing the boat on the dual-core performance. A high quality computer is made of high quality parts; it's not a single brand. Dell makes computers for cheaper than everybody else and there are sacrifices there whether or not you like it.

    I'm not sure why you would want to avoid an "honest custom PC builder". It seems to me that they would be the best bet. They will take your needs/wants/desires and wrap it up in your new computer. I have seen Dell make some horrible mistakes on spec'ing a user’s new computer on FAR too many occasions to consider them a possibility.

    If needed, I would be more than willing to spec a machine for whoever originated this thread. I would be comfortable in taking any criticism from the forum and in the end he could take it wherever he’s confident for the build.
     
Loading...

Share This Page

 


Loading...