Purchasing new desktop tomorrow - feedback?

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I have had my main computer for 4 years now (Dell) and it's become way too slow to do a solid workflow on. Photoshop takes forever, my card reader fails randomly and I'm running out of space. Since it is an XP, I don't have much room to upgrade my RAM so I am purchasing a new computer solely for the purpose of editing photos and book-keeping for my business.

I don't have the money for a Mac at the moment but am looking into a couple of different options. I currently work with dual monitors and would like to have that on my new one (meaning I'll buy one more and use 2 on my new computer and leave one on my "internet/multi-media/play" computer.

I don't really have the time to build one right now so I am looking at these two from Best Buy. They are in my price range and seems to be what I am looking for. The 1TB hard-drive makes me nervous as I'd hate for it to fail but at the same time, I'm looking to set up an online backup for this computer and also hook up my external HD to it (to backup on) for an extra level of security. My boyfriend is a huge techie and will be going with me to answer questions but since he's so bogged down with work right now I figured I'd get some extra advice as well.

SO, knowing this is for editing and business purposes only, is there anything in the pros or cons you would say about these computers that I should consider?

Thank you ahead of time for looking! :smile:

Option 1:
*Note - currently doesn't allow dual monitors so I will have to switch out the video card so I can use dual monitors.
Lenovo - Ideacentre Desktop / Intel® Core™ i3 Processor / 8GB Memory / 1TB Hard Drive

Option 2:
Asus - Essentio Desktop / AMD Phenom™ II X4 Processor / 6GB Memory / 1TB Hard Drive
 
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Stacey, I'm in the same boat as you, looking for a new computer - preferably a desktop this time around as for the money you get so much more.

First and foremost, let me say a little piece for the Lenovo. They're owned by ACER (as are eMachines and someone else). My wife works for ACER, and I have had an ACER laptop (demo sample - probably something that should have been disposed of) and it works flawlessly. I've had it for over a year and a half. It's missing two keys due to our chocolate lab, and the hinge is kinda' broken.

Now, with that said, again, it works flawlessly. I have never had a problem with it. I've only used it for editing (Lightroom 2, then LR3, and CS4), internet surfing, and watching movies on long trips and it works great, even with the hinge/missing key issues.

Having a 1TB harddrive, or a 2TB, or a gajillion TB shouldn't scare you, as long as you're backing stuff up. I'm overly cautious, so I back things up on my external harddrive, and when my images are complete, I back final images up onto a CD and store my CD's in my home office. Helps me feel confident that my work is protected. Plus, final images are uploaded on my SmugMug.

I should say this: ACER isn't exactly known for their customer support if you have an issue. The good thing? If your boyfriend is a techie, he can handle most anything that might happen.

Not too sure if that helped sway your decision, but I'm very happy with my ACER laptop, do not see the advantage of an Apple product, nor will I shell out the skrilla for an Apple product, and I will happily buy more ACER/Lenovo products in the future.
 
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It looks like both of them only have USB 2.0 ports - eSATA and USB 3.0 are becoming fairly standard these days and if you're backing up to an external drive, USB 2 is super slow.

Sean

Very nice catch. If you're planning to use external drives, a 3.0 USB will make this a lot less painful. With that in mind, and considering your budget, there aren't that many choices to consider. However, if you're willing to spend extra ~$100 I can strongly recommend Velocity Micro. I've been dealing with them for about 5 years now, and never had any trouble. Their customer service is also top notch.

http://www.velocitymicro.com/wizard.php?iid=71

This is their most basic setup, and the only thing you're giving up on is some HD space (500GB vs 1TB) and 2GB of memory, but you do get the 3.0 USB ports. Since your boyfriend is a techie, I'm sure he'll be able to find a cheap upgrades online to compensate for the memory/HD space shortcomings.
 
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How much $$$ do you want to spend? Is it Win7? Send me a PM, I can put you in touch with a co-worker who custom builds PCs (side business). He built mine last Xmas, I gave him requirements for digital asset mgt and post processing. He delivered an I7-950 3.07 GHz with 12GBs of RAM, 2 1TB HDD (RAID1) and NVidia GeForce GT 240 video running Win7 Pro 64 bit. I saved a lot of $$$ which I used on a 23" monitor (dual monitors), LR3 and Portrait Professional.
 
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Consider what you can and can't upgrade. You can't (easily) upgrade the chip, motherboard, and so on... Yet you can easily upgrade the memory, hard drive, USB versions, video card, and so forth.

Your budget is what?????

Is Best Buy your best bet? I ask because up in Alaska sometimes their prices are not competitive. Could the case be the same for the two systems you linked?

EDIT: have you looked at costco??
 
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I've bought several "deals" that were advertised through www.dealnews.com.

Lots of different manufacturers list sale items, not exclusively computer stuff.

I signed up for a daily newsletter that comes in the mid-afternoon. There have truly been some deals on Desktops....with and without monitors so you have to read very carefully.

Early signs point to refurbs from Dell as being some of the better buys.

I know that's a little Off Topic, but sorta applies:biggrin:
 
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Thanks everyone for your feedback. My bf built his monster (he's a web designer & gamer) and I'm sure if he had time right now could do the same for me. The thing is, time is ticking because I am shooting almost non-stop and the more I shoot, the more ram and space I need and the less I have.

I was going to go to Best Buy because his friend works there and can work a little down on the price and because I need something asap.

Budget wise, I want to get out the door for $700 or less for a tower. Will need to spend another $200 or so on another monitor on top of that. I could save another $300 or so and get a iMac if it would be worth it?
 
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Budget wise, I want to get out the door for $700 or less for a tower. Will need to spend another $200 or so on another monitor on top of that. I could save another $300 or so and get a iMac if it would be worth it?
Spend a grand and get an iMac. Since your original budget was about $1k for the tower+monitor, the iMac in your situation will be a better choice. If nothing else, the monitor quality alone will be far superior than any $200 TN monitor you were going to buy.
 
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The thing that scares me most with the iMac is that if something goes wrong (say with the monitor) then you have to send the entire thing in.

I also didn't see where this was listed, but not sure if you can hook up another monitor to have dual monitors? This is a big deal for my workflow.

Maybe I should look at Alienware.
 
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...nevermind, just saw their prices.

It's funny (or not) how every.single.computer has at least one review from a WoW player. What are photographers using?!
 
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Alienware = Dell.

I'm using Velocity Micro PC. Well, at this point I've modified it a little bit to suit my needs, but overall:

QX6800 quad core
8GB RAM
ATi 6870
multiple HD's with a few TB of combined HD space
and a 24" LG 246WP monitor, which is just amazing.

Also, keep in mind that there is no "photographer specific-PC". If you're generating large RAW files, you need just as much processing horsepower as any WoW player ;)
 
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Spend a grand and get an iMac. Since your original budget was about $1k for the tower+monitor, the iMac in your situation will be a better choice. If nothing else, the monitor quality alone will be far superior than any $200 TN monitor you were going to buy.

+1

...nevermind, just saw their prices.

It's funny (or not) how every.single.computer has at least one review from a WoW player. What are photographers using?!

Macs. :wink:

The only professional photographer (not a huge number) that I follow that uses a Windows machine is Moose Peterson. Everyone else uses a Mac.
 
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A grand for an iMAC? How about $1199 for the base 21.5" model (I3 3.06 GHz, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD). It's a nice machine but underpowered for high volume storage and post processing. For $1999, you get 27" model (I5 2.8 GHz, 4GB RAM, 1TB HDD). The 27" monitor is a dream but the RAM should be doubled or tripled and have at least a RAID 1 (hardware) solution.

For the record, I have Win7, iMAC and MacBook Pro machines in the house. The Apples are nice but my custom built Win7 (I7-950 3.07 GHz with 12GBs of RAM, 2 1TB HDD RAID1) box is the DAM and PP workhorse. It blows standard Apple configs out of the water and at 80% of the cost.

Apple - you pay for the silver case, the App store, iPhone, iPad, iPod interoperability and the logo. OSx is nice but 64-bit Win7 Pro with MSE is pretty nice too.
 
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^Right, because a person who came in here for some advice with $600 to spare is going to shell out $2k on a computer. I see you have a 300mm f/4 in your sig. Why would you go with that. The /2.8 is soooo much better :rolleyes:
 
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Well, I would save for an iMac if it were worth the difference, but the thing is I need something asap and that isn't in the budget. I guess I'm just looking for something large and fast enough right now that I can add to later when I do have more $$ to spare on it. I'm not necessarily looking to get the 100% package deal right this minute, hence the $600 budget for the time being.

I know not all photographers edit on the same machines, but I as just curious as to the setup and specs that some use. I actually do take the WoW comments into consideration when it comes to the video card, ping, etc. I just thought it was funny seeing something about it on every single computer I looked at.

So basically, I will be building onto the basis of whatever I buy tomorrow, I just need a solid starting place, and soon.
 
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If you jam up the HD with stored files, no computer will work properly.

Back up and erase them.

Clear the IE cash and history and all the temporary files Microsoft sneaks in like the daily check to see if you upgraded to Windows 7.

Now that you have it cleaned of unnecessary crud, defrag the thing.

Windows machines crud up and begin to run slow over time. Nothing you can do about it.

Now see how it works. You have lost nothing. When I had two SP computers, and it rejuvenated them. If that does not work, wipe the HD clean, reinstall the OS and programs. It will run as new.

Eventually you will get tired of this nonsense, and choose something with a better OS. But if you clean the HD, you will be miles ahead.

Oh, and wipe out the PS history as you go along. Do it manually. Microsoft requires you to shutdown the machine for automatic erase. If you leave it there, it slows everything. Sorry, just the way it is.
 
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Since time appears a bit more critical than money, and money is limited right now, my guess is you will buy one of the 2 machines you listed very soon. Both machines appear to be pretty decent for your intended use. The Lenovo appears to be the better one based on some specs.

The chips in both machines are comparable, but from what limited reviews I have seen, the Intel I3 tends to score a bit better on CPU scores than the AMD X4. The I3 chip in the Lenovo is 3.1GHz versus the AMD 2.8GHz. With a slightly better chip, that is 10% faster, I would guess that the Lenovo would have a small, but noticeable performance edge for still photo work. In addition, the Lenovo starts with 8Gb of memory versus the 6Gb of the ASUS. A 30% edge in total ram should help the Lenovo to edge out the ASUS as well.

The ASUS has (1) 5-1/4" and (1) 3-1/2" expansion bay. The Lenovo spec just says it has 4 expansion bays. Since your BF is a techie, he could use the additional bays to add additional hard drives as backup drives now, or in the future. You might want to have him add the additional HDs as soon a practical for immediate internal backup. Either machine should work ok for this, but I'd look at the case before buying and see which one would be the easiest to work with. Adding (1) 1TB or (2) 500GB drives yourself, would run just a bit over $100. It would give you 2~3 drives to spread your Photoshop and Windows scratch disks across. That speeds up things even more and you have 500Gb ~ 1TB of internal backup in case of main drive failure.
 
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1st question, due you need a new monitor??.....if not then take that money and use it toward the system and then upgrade down the road. Monitors are cheap now, I recently bought a 24" Samsung for one of my 2 desktops (both 3-4 year old machines) for $159.00 bucks at Microcenter.

2nd....keep in mind any photo editing programs your using now might not work on a Windoze 7 machine if it's XP based.....

This machine linked seems to have promise

http://dealnews.com/HP-Pavilion-p67...-Desktop-PC-for-660-free-shipping/454447.html

I would get at least a i5 processor....this has a i7 (1st gen) that'll help.

If your boyfriend could build you a machine it would be better longterm even if time seems like a factor now. Better a box you can add onto....
 

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