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Old 04-13-2009, 02:28 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default PC for a photographer...

Well I posted a similar question here A Photographer PC but never got around getting a PC as my brother was busy and did not have the time to check out the hardware I had chosen. Now that I'm completely jobless(bloody recession) and with enough money to finance the computer myself, I want to look into upgrading. This time with a monitor as well as my LCD has gone bust.

My specifications have become now
how much ever GB of Ram required for a decent performance pc....even if its 4GB, it'll do....
640GB HDD (2*320 I suppose)
Good enough graphics card to run all latest games at medium settings
No preference for processor or motherboard but would like something that is future proof for atleast one further upgrade (i.e faster RAM capabilities)

Budget $800 without a LCD....

Regarding an LCD...want a big screen (ranging from 19' - 22', not bigger) to make editing easy with a decent viewable angle and decent for gaming. I saw the LG w2234s going for about $200, is it any good. I'll have a budget of about $300 for a LCD.

Thanks in advance
Faisal
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Old 04-14-2009, 06:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC for a photographer...

Well, ignoring everything you've written and just making a comment on your OP title, i.e. "PC for a photographer..." that is going to be 90% about the monitor and hardware calibrator. If you're serious about building a PC for photography then you need to spend £400+ on a monitor and £100+ on hardware calibration.... of course if you're not serious then you have completely the wrong thread title

Sounds to me like you just want a budget gaming PC.
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Old 04-14-2009, 07:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC for a photographer...

If you really want to focus on photography...then:

Ideally you want a monitor with a wide gamut S-IPS display, but some S-PVA ones are decent enough. The monitor you list is a 6 bit TN model, the results on that will be very compromised in regards to colour rendition. The good news is that you can indeed get something pretty acceptable nowadays for 400GBP as the other poster suggested. You can look up the acronyms themselves for thorough explanations of the technologies, but to break it out to you: TN is the cheapest and with the lowest dynamic range / gamut, S-PVA is more expensive (but many displays acceptable nowadays, though still far more expensive than TN), but as the matrix is vertically aligned (PVA stands for patterned vertical alignment) only when sitting right in front of it will you get good colour - moving around or sitting to a side changes it a bit. This is usually far less drastic than it sounds, and S-PVA are the superior choice to TN. If you have the money to go all the way, IPS is your bet, but from what I read that is way out of your current budget. If you need a list of what monitor uses what kind of display, be prepared to get zero information on that from the manufacturer and from most magazines. There is a good list here:

Master Monitors List - WSGFWiki

The monitor I use and you can see in my sig is a wide gamut S-PVA Dell 2408WFP which cost me double than what it retails for now, it is great value now, check it out on your local Dell site. I use Spyder 3 Pro calibration bought on amazon.co.uk at around 150GBP if I remember well. The results you will get are not going to be like if you were using something professional from Eizo or LaCie, but that would set you back 3 or 4 times the price, and it will be more than acceptable.

Some TN displays are getting a bit better but I would recommend staying away if you are going to work with colour. I understand your current financial situation is not good, so the best way migt be to check out that list I provided, check your e-tailers for offers, and then dig in on the reviews you may find online and decide. On the plus side, you seem to live in the States, which means you will be buying at least 30% cheaper than us in Europe.
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Old 04-15-2009, 04:52 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC for a photographer...

Err...Okay...I did not know anything about the availability of such variety of LCDs....also I am planning to get something for calibration but that would not be budgeted with my computer cost...that for me goes under my photography cost....

So let me rephrase my needs...

I want a PC that will run all my softwares, will do batch processing of over 300pictures without throwing errors like insufficient memory, heating issues etc...Also something that will let me edit with lightroom 2.0 as well as photoshop CS3 simultaneously while exporting/importing pictures to my external HDD and playing some music on the side....I also require the pc to let me play any games during my free time. Budget $700

Regarding the LCD...I want the one that will render me the best dynamic range without making me financially broke. So instead of a $300 budget, I'd redo it for a $500.

Does this budget make more sense???

I've just stepped into the world of photography and with some assignments under my belt I want to improve on the equipment I work with including my PC...I used to work on a Viewsonic VP171b but that has gone bust and so I've decided to get a new pc also...

Any help is appreciated...Thanks!!!
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Old 04-15-2009, 07:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC for a photographer...

You'll find several running threads about PCs on a given budget on the forums (mostly in the regular, not performance subforum ), all replied in detail by knowledgeable members and mods, so no need to invent the wheel again, just click around and you'll find them within minutes. 700 bucks nowadays can get you a very decent computer.

For 500$ you will be able to get a good monitor, follow the advice from my previous post. When you do buy calibrating hardware, make sure it is not the very cheapest model since those usually do not handle the wide gamut / high contrast of the better monitors very well.
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Old 04-15-2009, 08:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC for a photographer...

Newegg.com - Intel Core2 Quad Q9400 2.66GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor - Processors - Desktops

Newegg.com - GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3R LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Intel Motherboards

Newegg.com - OCZ Platinum 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Desktop Memory

Newegg.com - XFX GX260NADFF GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards

Newegg.com - SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 22X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe - CD / DVD Burners

Newegg.com - Western Digital Caviar Green WD6400AACS 640GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive (bare drive) - Internal Hard Drives

Newegg.com - CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Power Supplies

Newegg.com - Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Computer Cases

and just choose your monitor.
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Old 04-15-2009, 08:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC for a photographer...

I've heard from a few people the best ones are the CRT monitors. They make some just for this purpose and also have high refresh rates where as you're looking at 5ms on a regular LCD.

Not to mention they show excellent picture quality. But, this is here say from some photographers, I couldn't buy a new CRT monitor for the price of two LCD's
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Old 04-15-2009, 08:16 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC for a photographer...

high end CRT's have a really nice pic quality. better that LCD's but the cost alot and are big ugly and hot.
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Old 04-16-2009, 03:46 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC for a photographer...

What you say about CRTs is true, I still have two old 21" CRTs, a Sony and a Mitsubishi, that were given to me when our old DTP company closed. The thing is that the latest offerings from Eizo are LaCie are now neck to neck with the best CRTs, some people from the profession hail Eizo LCDs as even better. Anyhow, we are not talking about that price level here, since we are talking about thousands, and our OP is kind of on a shoestring.

Someone mentioned response time being an issue. Let me put it this way: response time is absolutely irrelevant for colour photography work. Actually, the best monitors for this job usually have a very high response time (Eizo, etc.). This factor only matters for gaming and video. Oh and by the way, response time and refresh rate are actually not the same thing, but no need to go into that now.

That rig that philbar suggests will do the job more than nicely, and if you are feeling frisky and get a decent HSF you can even overclock it quite a bit. A quad core makes sense since Photoshop (which I assume you will be using) makes use of it. Oh and CS4 comes with both 32bit and 64bit versions, so I would suggest getting Vista 64bit.
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Old 04-16-2009, 04:35 AM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: PC for a photographer...

[CPU] Newegg.com - AMD Phenom II X4 940 Deneb 3.0GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM2+ 125W Quad-Core Black Edition Processor - Processors - Desktops - $215

[MOBO] Newegg.com - GIGABYTE GA-MA78GM-US2H AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - AMD Motherboards - $80

[RAM] Newegg.com - G.SKILL HK 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Desktop Memory - $41

[HDD] Newegg.com - Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - Internal Hard Drives - $75

[VID] Newegg.com - XFX GX260NADFF GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards - $205

[CSE] Newegg.com - COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Computer Cases - $75

[PSU] Newegg.com - SeaSonic S12 Energy Plus SS-550HT 550W ATX12V V2.3 &#47; EPS12V V2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Power Supplies - $90

[OPT] Newegg.com - LG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache IDE 22X DVD±R DVD Burner - CD / DVD Burners - $23

[CLR] Newegg.com - XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler - CPU Fans & Heatsinks - $35

Total: $850.
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