best balance in new PC?

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I'm planning on building a new PC and will be using Photoshop CS2 vs 9 +
Quark Express 6.1. Will be doing maily photo and graphics editing and DTP.

Could anyone please comment on the relative importance of the PCs processor,
memory and graphics card please - I know the best of all three woudl be
best, but I have a budget of 1000 and would welcome comment on which
components make most difference in performance/speed.


Re: best balance in new PC?

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It depends on the size of your images.  I have 400MB (.bmp) 24b
photo images that tax my system, AMD 2800 (300MB FSB) w
1GB RAM and SATA 1 disk, PaintShop Pro 9.  On the other hand,
digital camera photos (6MP = 24MB) zip through. Photoshop Elements
seems to run faster in my limited use of it so Photoshop might also.

My experience that the CPU and memory speeds are the limiting case.
You want enough memory to hold your image to avoid paging which
appears to be 2 to 4 times the image size.  Note that if you use JPGs
the in-memory size will be much greater than the JPG file.  I doubt a
graphics card will make a difference.

In conclusion if you are doing typical operations on digital camera or
other images less than 50 MB a relatively inexpensive system will be
adequate.  I edited about a thousand of such images with a 500MHz,
512MB system.

Of course, your patience is also a factor others might have contrary


Re: best balance in new PC?

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In the chart at the bottom of this page, the processor speed makes
more of a difference than changing the memory speed. For Photoshop,
having more memory means less chance of swapping to disk. Photoshop
has some limits as to how much memory it can use, so buying an
infinite amount may not be useful.

In terms of processor family, this chart is pretty useful.
The E6600 is maybe $350 if you can find one (some time in August).
I cannot find a price on an AM2 5000+, but it might be in the
same price range if I could find one. The ones at the bottom
third of the chart would probably run pretty hot, and would not
be my first choice (and the 965XE is $890).

This page makes a convenient chart for approximate pricing. /

Official wholesale pricing for processors:,,30_118_609,00.html?redir=CPT301

So, I guess you have ~$2000 USD to spend.

1) $350 for processor
2) $100 for cheap motherboard
   $250 for deluxe motherboard (just doesn't seem worth it)
3) $200 for 2x1GB DDR2-800 memory (or less if using DDR2-667 which
        is more likely to work when you plug it in the first time)
        Two sticks of memory are used to benefit from dual channel mode.
4) $50  for power supply
5) $50  for video card (expensive cards help gaming but not Photoshop)
6) $100 computer case (variable, function of taste)
7) $xxx disks, 200-250GB prices might be the sweet spot
8) $100 keyboard, mouse, sundries

I would say about $1000 would be a good start. If you wanted a
Matrox video card for some reason, the price would go up quite
a bit ($250-$300). I wouldn't spend more at the outset, unless
the system performance was demonstrated to be lacking.


Re: best balance in new PC?

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Well with a budget of 1000 I doubt you will have too many problems!!
However generally speaking the more you spend on a system the less
value for money you get, your first 500 spent is better value than the
last 500 spent.

Infact I would go as far as to say you would be better off buying 2 systems
for 500.

So there is the challange. Put togeather any system for 1000 and I will
find two systems for 500, which will, as they say in the USA, "Whip it's
ass" :O)

Throws down a glove.

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Re: best balance in new PC?

Thanks for all the comments - all will be noted.

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