Computer upgrade

Which platform's best for photography? How much RAM do you really need? Discuss computer hardware here!

Moderators: Bob Andersson, Thomas, Bjorn van Sinttruije

Computer upgrade

Postby primitive » Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:51 pm

Hey guys,

Been using photoshop more and more lately to do some retouching and I've ran into a brick wall in terms of performance. Photoshop is slow, really, really slow. Even worse when I use Lightroom + Photoshop.

Does it make sense to upgrade my PC and will I see a real world performance and productivity increase (I can't stress that enough since "benchmarks" and speedtests don't always translate well).

My specs are as follows:
- AMD X2 5400+ (Dual core, 2.8Ghz)
- 4GB, DDR2 RAM
- Windows 7 64bit
- 4TB HD space
- ATI Radeo 3600

I generally use these settings:
- 16bit TIFF @ 350PPI in Adobe RGB (Sony A850, 24 MP files, around 70MB in photoshop).

My system is decidedly budget but I do a lot of large prints (12x12 up) at a pro print shop, so working in Adobe RGB at 16bits is an advantage.

I was thinking of upgrading to Photoshop CS5, but I think I am probably better served spending the money to upgrade my existing system. Trouble is, I'm not sure what to get. So far I'm stuck on either:

- Core i7, 4GB DDR3 RAM, Case, Power (~$600.00)
- Core i5, 4GB DDR3 RAM, Case, Power (~$500.00)

Budget is of concern since I can only spend around $600 USD (with local taxes and shipping costs, it will total about 1000.00 USD).

I did check out some CS4 benchmarks and the Core i7 is marginally faster, but also costs 100.00 more than the Core i5. Leaning towards the Core i5 at the moment, but I'm still open to suggestions and comments.

FWIW, the benchmarks I've seen for photoshop using "retouch artist" action:

- Core i7: 14secs
- Core i5: 18secs
- My Computer: 3 freaking minutes!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But again, these are just benchmarks (that the tester did on a well spec'd machine complete with SSD drives)
primitive
 

Postby Lorride » Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:16 am

How about:

GIGABYTE GA-770TA-UD3 AM3
AMD Athlon II X4 620

and

RAM, PSU, Case and an Intel SSD = about 600USD.
Canon 5D MkII -|- Sigma 24mm f/1.8 | Carl Zeiss 35mm f/2.0 | Canon 50mm f/1.4 | Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro | Lensbaby Composer
Canon A-1 -|- Canon 28mm f/2 | Canon 35mm f/2.8 | Canon 50mm f/3.5 Macro
Lorride
 
Posts: 466
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 12:09 am
Location: North

Postby primitive » Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:30 am

The X4 was ranked significantly lower in the Photoshop CS4 benchmark (Anandtech) and since the test was consistent across all the tested CPUs, I would assume the performance in relation to the I7 and I5 would be about the same.

I like the SSD, although it might be a little pricey for the capacity I need (at least 250GB to store files while I work on them, and then move them over to a slower drive when the project is done).

Maybe I'm just biased away from AMD at this point since I'm a little frustrated with my current setup. Silly, but that's how bias works :D
primitive
 

Postby grahamnp » Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:37 am

The AMD's can't touch the Intels for performance. Even the flagship 965 has to be overclocked to compare favourably with the i5 750.

The 4s difference between 18 and 14 is not what I would call marginal. I think the i5 will be fine though, especially coming from your current processor. I don't know how much RAM your 24mp files use up but as I come close to my 4GB capacity with just my 10mp RAWs, I think you may want to get more but you can decide on this one yourself by just looking at your current usage.
grahamnp
 

Postby pgtips » Tue Apr 20, 2010 6:13 am

- 16bit TIFF @ 350PPI in Adobe RGB (Sony A850, 24 MP files, around 70MB in photoshop).


I think the maths is off on this one.

An image in Photoshop is made up of 3 or 4 channels, RGB and possibly Alpha.
A 16 bit image means that each channel will occupy 16 bits, i.e. 2 bytes.
A 24 MP image contains 24 million pixels.
So the final size would be 24000000 x 3 x 2 = 144 MB.

Any other layers you add on top of the background layer is going to increase your memory consumption by 144 MB. That's still alright, as I've never found Photoshop to consume more than 2 GB on my machine.

As to your question about the CPU, I'd say go with the Core i5 if you're on a tight budget. It'll already be loads faster than your current CPU.
pgtips
 

Postby thelostswede » Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:42 am

AMD is about to launch their new 6-core Phenom II's so if you can hold off a couple of weeks, you could get something that should be significantly faster than what you have now, although I couldn't say how it compares to Intel's Core i range of CPUs in Photoshop. One advantage of these new CPU's is that they have a Turbo feature that boosts the clock speeds if you're not using all six cores, although it only works with half the cores active, i.e. you get a Turbo with three cores or the normal speed with all six.
The only problem would be if your motherboard supports the new CPUs or not, as you might have to get a new motherboard and some DDR3 memory, but the rest should still be plenty fine.
Amazon already has two models up on pre-order
http://www.amazon.com/AMD-Phenom-1055T- ... 730&sr=1-1
http://www.amazon.com/AMD-Phenom-1090T- ... 730&sr=1-2
thelostswede
 

Postby Lorride » Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:46 am

Well, if you need that amount of project space an SSD would be, well rather expensive :p

Yes, by all means it's slower, but will you notice those 7 seconds in rl. or translated a 40% increase in rendering time?
I have an Intel E8400 at 3.6GHz, and I can't say I ever have to wait for anything in photoshop, mine would probably be around 24-25 seconds.

Either way, you wont be disappointed in the end result ;)

grahamnp wrote:The AMD's can't touch the Intels for performance. Even the flagship 965 has to be overclocked to compare favourably with the i5 750.


True, but Intel can't touch AMD's value, near double the price to shave of 7 seconds? (100USD extra in this case)
Canon 5D MkII -|- Sigma 24mm f/1.8 | Carl Zeiss 35mm f/2.0 | Canon 50mm f/1.4 | Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro | Lensbaby Composer
Canon A-1 -|- Canon 28mm f/2 | Canon 35mm f/2.8 | Canon 50mm f/3.5 Macro
Lorride
 
Posts: 466
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 12:09 am
Location: North

Postby Mark. » Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:09 am

You run Windows 7 64bit which recognises more than 4GB of ram (up to 192GB), upgraded your ram and you should be fine. No need to change your computers brain as its still very powerful.
User avatar
Mark.
 
Posts: 2619
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2008 1:25 pm
Location: Scotland

Re: Computer upgrade

Postby Mark. » Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:17 am

primitive wrote:I generally use these settings:
- 16bit TIFF @ 350PPI in Adobe RGB (Sony A850, 24 MP files, around 70MB in photoshop).

These setting are crazily huge, they don't need to be as big. Working in the Glasgow Print Studio where we print huge we use settings of 8bit 300DPI (saves space and gives quick rendering) we also use genuine fractals (saves detail when enlarging) if we are going even bigger, it's the industry standard in any print house.
User avatar
Mark.
 
Posts: 2619
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2008 1:25 pm
Location: Scotland

Postby primitive » Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:57 am

Thx guys. Wasn't expecting so much good feedback since I didn't even think anybody read this sub-forum.

Anyways,

@pgtips: I suck at math :D ... I just read the usage of a file I was working on at the time, but that file was a cropped B&W TIFF, so I should have been more careful in that regard.

@Orsan Kart: They are huge, and I doubt I need it all, but I have seen the difference between 8bit and 16bit TIFFs (haven't noticed any changes with DPI though since I usually stick above 300), particularly in shadow detail. The printing place uses Epson Stylus Pro 9900's (I think). Might be all in my head, but I don't want to throw away bits for marginal gain (I tested it, better but still slow) when I could simple upgrade (although I have the 12bit RAW files). Also, my mainboard only supports 4GB DDR2 so that's a dead end :(.

@thelostswede: This is the first I'm hearing about this, but I can imagine that first gen boards will be buggy and expensive. Though, I will see what reviewers are saying.

@Lorride: Not sure 7 secs is a big deal, but when put in a real world scenario, you can have 2 possibilities, either the difference gets minimized or amplified. I'm thinking it might get amplified since my computer, regardless of what I choose, won't be spec'd to the hilt, so every little thing will add up.

Thanks all, you've given me much to think about. I'll check around on newegg and see what makes sense financially since I guess any option I choose will be far better than what I have now. Especially since I want to upgrade to CS5 in the near future.

P.S. It's hard to spend money on something that isn't a lens :lol: !
primitive
 

Postby Citruspers » Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:22 pm

I assume the 16 bit workflow is great if you need to do postprocessing like shadow/highlight, but wouldn't 8 bit max out paper's dynamic range?
I take pictures so quickly, my highschool was "Continuous High".
User avatar
Citruspers
 
Posts: 6010
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 12:59 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Postby pgtips » Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:41 pm

True, but Intel can't touch AMD's value, near double the price to shave of 7 seconds? (100USD extra in this case)


Primitive is a wedding photographer. How many photos do you process after a wedding shoot? I have about 100 for a small wedding and around 500 for an all day wedding. If there is something that will save me an hour in processing time for just $100 extra, I'm gonna be all over it.
pgtips
 

Postby thelostswede » Fri Apr 23, 2010 4:46 pm

What first gen boards?
Dude, the boards are already selling and are based on just slightly upgraded versions of AMD's previous chipsets.
You really don't get a lot of chipset bugs these days, the issues you might run into are CPU "erratas" but both AMD and Intel suffers from them...
thelostswede
 

Postby Solok » Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:06 pm

It's a tough decision...I´ve been there.

I upgraded from an AMD Athlon X2 5000+ (2,6 GHz) and 2GB RAM to an Intel Core i7 860 (2,8 GHz, quad-core) with 4GB RAM. My new i7 is so ridiculously fast, that I can hardly make it work. It's that fast. The extra RAM has really come in handy, since Photoshop (Lightroom and CS4) tend to consume a lot of memory.

My recommendation is this: Buy a Core i5 750 and a new SSD drive for the money you'll save from not buying an i7. I'm currently saving for a SSD, as it's the best upgrade you can possibly make to your computer.
Nikon D700
AF-S 28mm f/1.8G
AF-S 60mm f/2.8G
AF-S 85mm f/1.8G
2 x Speedlight SB-600
Yongnuo RF-603 and other accessories
User avatar
Solok
 
Posts: 195
Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 4:22 pm
Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Postby Citruspers » Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:11 pm

Having recently bought an SSD, I can agree. HDDs were always the bottleneck for general computing, my laptop really flies now. Expensive, but worth it.
I take pictures so quickly, my highschool was "Continuous High".
User avatar
Citruspers
 
Posts: 6010
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 12:59 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Next

Return to Computer hardware and operating systems

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest