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Old 09-08-2007, 12:57 AM   #1
marlene
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Default Vendors to custom-build a desktop PC for graphics work?

I know I've asked this already (more than once) but this time I'm serious. I really need a new PC, and since my old custom builders are no longer building, I need a new source.

The vendor needs to be in the U.S., and be able to configure a PC to meet my (well, Adobe's) needs. It can't be something off the shelf. I want to be able to make choices in components and not have a bunch of junk software and utilities and demos installed (all I need is XP). It has to be powerful enough to run Photoshop, InDesign, Quark, Illustrator, Eudora, Firefox, and Acrobat -- and all at the same time. It has to support the 24" LCD monitor that I am probably going to buy (Dell).

I am NOT going to buy a Mac (I have yet to find one person who can tell me how well those PC apps run under Parallels, and I have too many fonts and applications to switch platforms), and I am NOT going to build a computer myself, no matter how easy anyone tells me it would be. Nor am I going to buy all the components myself and bring them to a computer shop to be assembled.

Ideally, I'd like to find a couple of vendors with experience building graphics PCs who can help me figure out what I need.

I'm not looking for the least expensive solution. I want quality components and a skilled builder. I'm gonna be making my living with the machine.

Suggestions?

TIA,

mxh
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Old 09-08-2007, 02:22 PM   #2
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Quote:
marlene: I know I've asked this already (more than once) but this time I'm serious. I really need a new PC, and since my old custom builders are no longer building, I need a new source.
This is too funny as I was just wondering about what you had decided as I passed Affinity today on my way to the barn...

I know their website sucks but the guy I talked to--John, the owner I think and I spoke to him in May--was very nice and I do think they might be someone to at least touch base with--the husband of a friend of mine had good things to say about them.

At any rate...here's their info:

Affinity Computer
23035 Douglas Ct # 140
Sterling, VA 20166
(703) 397-9451

Sales: sales@affinity-usa.com

Do let me know if you talk with them...and if you decide to work with them, maybe we can get together for lunch or something...

Terrie
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Old 09-09-2007, 11:37 PM   #3
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Well, maybe I'll e-mail them and see how responsive they are to e-mail. I need to find out if they have any experience building the type of PC I need. Unless they're familiar with the demands of Photoshop, they aren't going to be able to help me.

mxh
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Old 09-10-2007, 10:20 AM   #4
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marlene: Well, maybe I'll e-mail them and see how responsive they are to e-mail.
Hope they are responsive...


>>I need to find out if they have any experience building the type of PC I need.

I did mention to him what sort of system you were looking for and he seemed to know what I was talking about...the husband of the friend of mine that I mentioned is an old Amiga hand and into a fair amount of graphics work and was pleased with their service--not sure what he had done...

Do keep me posted...

Terrie
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Old 09-11-2007, 07:22 PM   #5
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The last time I had one built, I used Colfax http://www.colfax-intl.com/. They had very good components to choose from, but I don't know that they can advise you. From what I can tell, anything built as a gaming machine would probably do just fine. Really depends on how much money you want to spend. nVidia does seem to have somewhat more stable drivers than the competition. Have fun....
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Old 09-12-2007, 02:01 PM   #6
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Thanks, I'll check out Colfax.

I was under the impression that a different type of video card might be used for gaming -- 3D, etc. -- as opposed to graphic design apps, but maybe that's old (dis)information.

mxh
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Old 09-15-2007, 10:54 PM   #7
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It used to be that the gaming cards did not have drivers that worked well with Photoshop or Draw. When I used Colfax, they tried to get a Matrox card to work, but it and the system board would not cooperate with each other. Ended up with a Radeon. A few months ago I swapped out the guts of that system with parts of my own choosing. Switched to nVidia Geoforce 7600. My daughter who is really into gaming was seeing many fewer issues with the nVidia chipsets and drivers. I have had no issues with that video card.

I would guess that there are a lot of features in the 3D cards that we rarely use, but I am not aware of any modern 2D cards. I would not spend big bucks for a top-end 3D card. I would spend extra for processor, RAM and system board. If you want a real screamer, look into Raid 0 with 10k RPM SATA drives.
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Old 09-16-2007, 11:40 PM   #8
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I still haven't had time to check into the vendor(s) wares. I have to decide whether to go with dual core or quad core (or whatever they're called) and how many of each. RAM, I know I need 3 or 3.5 GB.

Quote:
If you want a real screamer, look into Raid 0 with 10k RPM SATA drives.
I do want a real screamer. My current PC moans and whimpers -- it's too slow and the hard drives are too full.

Exactly what is Raid 0? It's not striped, is it? I don't want any striping. Sounds like too much potential for disaster.

The problem is that I don't have time to do research -- I don't even really have time to call vendors. But I'll have to get it done before the current PC blows up from overwork.

mxh
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Old 09-18-2007, 02:15 PM   #9
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I'm in the same boat as you, so naturally I consulted my son, who is world-class at spending my money. He assumes incorrectly that I remember the phone conversation that's behind the beginning configuration below: I think he's quoting from the Tiger Direct site. He and I put together a computer for my husband there and it's been more than satisfactory. It's a deal kind of like the Dell site where you choose a starting point and check boxes until you have what you want or can't stuff anything more in and have to go to a higher level starting setup. (My current computer is a dell Dimension 8250 and it's been a hunk of junk from the beginning -- I'm not going Dell again).

A couple points -- cooling is very important with the new processors, and there's a general perception that whatever comes with a computer needs to be helped a bit. This may mean simply a more open case and maybe an extra fan or two.

Ross insists that I need two dual processors even for the still pictures. Or not need absolutely (as would be the case for video editing) but that they'll make the work less frustrating. He also thinks that an internal HD is the most practical way to back up -- practical meaning I might get around to it, or learn to live with the redundancy of backup programs? He's given me a batch of internal drives, all matching -- says things will go better that way, especially when I start trying to convert my horse tapes to DVD. I've reminded him that I need a bagful of USB ports and at least two Firewire ports -- don't know what that will add to stuffing the case.

I don't understand what RAID is all about except that The Guru considers that a Raid setup is faster and more stable. If I got him right. He generally is right about anything to do with heavy-duty computer projects.

(I don't know what the odd characters are supposed to represent -- it's the way the clip he sent came through)

Also, the price of storage and memory and processors went down and speeds went up while we were kicking the configuration around so a number of items have changed upward. I'm going with my current monitor -- but Simon Says I'll really appreciate a widescreen monitor and a second monitor for graphics work.

Quote:
$2333.00
(before all applicable rebates)

CASE: ($30 off Mail-in Rebate) Xion 791 Mid-Tower 420Watts Case with 8 Open Bays

CPU: (Sckt775)Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6850 CPU @ 3.00GHz 1333FSB 4MB L2 Cache 64-bit
MOTHERBOARD: (Quad-Core FSB1333) Asus P5N-E nForce 650i SLI Chipset LGA775 FSB1333 DDR2 Mainboard

MEMORY: (Req.DDR2 MainBoard)2GB (2x1GB) PC6400 DDR2/800 Dual Channel Memory (Mushkin Xtreme w/ Heat Spreader)

VIDEO CARD: NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB 16X PCI Express (Major Brand Powered by NVIDIA)

HARD DRIVE: Single Hard Drive (500GB SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 16MB Cache 7200RPM HDD)

Data Hard Drive: 1.5TB (750GBx2) SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 16MB Cache 7200RPM Hard Drive

Optical Drive 1: Sony Q170A 18x Double Layer Dual Format DVD+-R/+-RW + CD-R/RW Drive

Optical Drive 2: Sony Q170A 18x Double Layer Dual Format DVD+-R/+-RW + CD-R/RW Drive

SOUND: 3D WAVE ON-BOARD 5.1 SOUND CARD

. . . With 3 hard drives I upped the power supply and added a couple fans. I believe this is a water cooled system. If you don't want that I can reconfigure.


There are very few cases that don't have the stupid cover or doors in the front. I'm guessing you want it open.
(I do? Why? better cooling? Easier to blow out the dust that gets in regardless -- it's very dusty out here--?)

When we got my husband's setup from Tiger Direct, we had the option of no operating system or having them install one, and were able to install an educational price XP, which is very lean and clean compared to what was on the Dell.

One thing. The Dell's Sony DVD drives failed in less than a year, and the first one I replaced (another Sony) failed the day the 6-month warranty was up, so I got the top of the line Plextor drive. The loathsome bloated Nero software wouldn't run the Plextor and the even worse bundled Roxio software that runs the Plextor will read but not write to the remaining Sony DVD drive except as a CD data drive. I don't know what the answer to bad drives and bad software is, but a dummy like me is evidently stuck with matching whatever drive fails with the same brand. (and BTW, the Plextor began to fail immediately and is only good for writing data to a CD and not all that reliable for that; the 5-year guarantee is worthless as it depends on proving to Plextor that the drive isn't working right.).

PS: when things calm down a bit -- he's just starting the school year at Los Gatos High and is going day and night setting up the performance groups (he runs the instrumental music)-- he might be willing to consult with you. He's done very well by us on stuff like this! He's better at explaining why I need stuff than I am at remembering it.
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Old 09-18-2007, 02:23 PM   #10
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I had no idea that Tiger Direct did configurable pc's...very interesting as TD used to be a pretty schlock place...

I'm glad he upped the power supply as what they had listed wasn't powerful enough...

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