Component advice for a Photoshop Rig


Feb 28, 2004
I'm setting up a rig for my friend who does't know anything about computer hardware. he uses Photoshop and corel draw in his work(he has his own firm)
I was thinking something like this:

AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+
1-2GB DDR400 RAM
2x200-250GB disks in raid-0 setup. reliable quiet disks. seagate? I heard samsung had really quiet disks, but I'm not sure.

Motherboard could be anything really
as long as it has 4 dimm slots, and runs stable with 4 dimms at ddr400. most motherboards have the needed pheripherials, as USB2, RAID.

not sure about graphics card since no 3D is required. Matrox pops up when thinking of 2D quality cards, but not sure.

cpu cooler is also one thing. he wants it quit but not so his disks risk overheating and caving in early. so I thinking big CPU heatsing and big slow rpm fan, what's it called, the flower one 7000cu something. is it any good?

and a 120mm chassi fan sucking out the air in the back, should be sufficient right?

what else...

my questions are, 1 or 2GB ram, or should I buy 1GB ram and upgrade if needed? or is it important to get close "batches" on paired RAM or is it enough with same brand same/close model.

and I thought the AMD X2 3800+ would be a good idea, he has alot of programs open and the way he uses the computer I'd say dual core would improve alot. and the X2 3800+ would be the best bang for the buck on dual core.

so what do u guys suggest?



Jul 6, 2004
The stock cooler on the A64's is pretty nice, and reasonably quiet too. If you want more don't get the zalman 7000, get an XP-120 (Get the 90c if the 120 doesn't fit on your mobo) and a quiet fan to fit.

Get 2gig of RAM (2x1024) so he's got it, and that leaves 2 more sockets to upgrade with later. The 'close batch' concept is a good idea - you may get wierd issues (or it just doesn't work) with badly mismatched memory.

Don't know about video cards, but for those uses, just about anything will probably work fine (even the $40 cheapy). Probably get a better suggestion in the graphics card section.

Get DFI or Epox mobos if that PC will be overclocked. Otherwise get an nForce4 chipset and whatever model and mfg that fits the features and price. Asus is ok when not overclocking, and the DFI needs too much work to get set up properly UNLESS you're overclocking (then all the setup work pays off).

I like Seagate - nice and quiet. WD & Samsung are pretty quiet as well.


<font color=blue>Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside the dog its too dark to read.
-- Groucho Marx</font color=blue>


Jan 1, 2001
Asus is a great motherboard for non-overclockers.

2GB RAM for sure. Get Corsair, Kingston, OCZ, or Crucial. Pc3200, 2x1024.

Yes, go dual core. I think the 4400+ looks like the best bang for the buck as far as price/performance, but the 3800+ is excellent and much cheaper than the 4400+.

You'll be fine with stock AMD cooling.

Antec Sonata w/380w TruePower PSU included is a good deal and a nice case for this.

I like Seagate because they have a 5 year warranty. They are also great drives. I know that Photoshop usually recommends that you place it's cache files or something on a seperate drive than your boot drive for optimal performance. So with RAID it will recognize it all as one drive. Just something to consider. It may be overkill, but an ideal setup would be 2xRaptor drives (SATA) in RAID + a larger SATA drive for storage.

You don't need much for a graphics card. Although I think one of the 9000-series "All in Wonder" cards would be a good choice. They provide a lot options, are high quality cards, and give a basic level of 3D performance. I don't think they cost very much anymore (although actually... I don't think the cheap ones come in PCI-E...) Or here's a cheap $50 card that also offers basic 3D capability:

P4c 3.2Ghz NWood / ABIT AI7 / 1GB XMS-Pro DDR 3200 / BFG GF-6800GT 256mb / Antec 380W

A64 3000 Venice / Epox 9npa-U / 1GB HyperX DDR 3200 / XFX GF-6600GT 128mb / Antec 330W


Feb 28, 2004
thank you all for your advice.

the 2x1024mb ram was a great Idea, didn't think about that. leaves room for upgrade. he will probably have this computer maybe as long as 3-4years.

and I wrote raid-0 but I meant raid-1 mirror. my bad. I know 2 raptors are great when striping :) but it was just meant as a cheap somewhat large safe storage, not for speed :) the photoshop cache will have to be on the same drives. I dont think the performance loss there will justify another harddrive, say for instance a 36GB raptor that is around $130 here. I'm on a relativly small budget for a dual setup. because he's buying a $1500 Eizo LCD.

and yeah the 5year warranty on the seagate drives is appealing. and I think the noise they make will be negligable.

ya I forgot to say that I live in sweden. so the AMD X2 3800+ is about $450 here, and the X2 4400+ is $670. :(

and I'm gonaa go for a Chieftec case with a 360w PSU (I think it's very similar to antec).

ya I might get a 92mm fan in front blowing in air on the harddrives.

I'm not sure but I'm guessing the AMD fans are 80mm, and around 2500-3000rpm? and that's to much. I'm gonna go for 1200-1700rpm maybe, 92mm with a big heatsink.

going away on a trip, will be back in a week!