Sep 1, 2004

New here to the forums - but it looks interesting. I hope this CPU area is a good place to start with this topic / question.

I'm in the market for 2 new systems and want some advice. My business is web based photography / video. Basic Playboy style pretty girl stuff. The two systems will have specific functions which they do day after day after day.

#1 -- Photoshop work. Our image files are around 4mb (1000 x 1500) to 18mb (2000 x 3000). Each file is opened in Photoshop and retouched using all sorts of Photoshop tools and plug-ins, including Grain Surgeon (which currently take the most time).

The process also includes conversions from various formats -- Canon Digital RAW to PSD or TIFF, then after retouching, to JPG for web display.

So, I am looking for a great system to do this work. What CPU, what MB, Ram, Video, etc. Overall, what are the right components for a machine built just for this purpose?

The current system was purchased in March 2002 and is:

Windows 2000 with all updates. Dual AMD 1600mp, 1GB Ram, ATI 9200se Video (128mb), Western Digital 160gb (7200rpm / 8mb buffer) HD as main drive, and WD 40gb (7200rpm / 2mb buffer) as scratch disk for Photoshop CS. Works good, has been super reliable, but with newer file sizes, and my company's expansion into larger workloads, it seems slow. The RAW file conversion and Grain Surgeon processes are the worst.

#2 -- The second system we need is solely for digital video work. Thus far we are looking at two things. Digital video editing / DVD authoring, and live streaming in Windows Media Player format.

The current system is a twin to the one shown above (purchased same time), except the drives are both 80GB versions and it has the original NVidia Video card (64mb).

It works fine for both jobs, and my experience level is such that I'm not sure if this is as good as it gets, or if it is slow -- never used any other system for these tasks.

Today I am looking for advice on systems to replace these two. My main bit of confusion seems to be the dual processor issue. More than one friend or local tech has told me that the duals are a waste of time for these systems, and one even went so far as to say that under Windows 2000 and the current software, I was only using one CPU anyway....

Thanks in advance,



Jun 14, 2004
If you want dual processors, you will have to go with either dual AMD Opetron or dual Intel Xeon, both are VERY expensive.

You could also go with 1 Pentium 4 Northwood or Prescott that supports hyper threading which acts like 2 processors.

Eitherway it is recommended that you use respected manufacturers, like ASUS/MSI for motherboard and Kingston/Curcial for memory, same goes for video cards and hard drive manufacturers.

As far as I know Intel processors encode faster than AMD processors.

If you get AMD, make sure you go with 939 motherboards which are more advance than 754 motherboards and have better support for new technologies.

If you get 2 new systems, you might want to try to get AMD and Intel, and then try both your needs on each system and after you see who is faster in what, assign the duties to the faster system in the specific category.

<A HREF="http://www.clancas.net" target="_new">clan CHAOS</A>
First question, what budget are you talking about, is this a hobby or truely your primary job?

What mobo do you have now with the MP1600+? If you have a quality mobo you might be able to upgrade to dual MP2800+, or mod dual XP2600+ to MP.

I have an A7M266-D with 2 XP1800+ moded to MP and running at 2000+ speeds.

For programs like Photoshop and Premiere, you can take advanatage of multiple proccesors even using Win2K.

Depending on your requirements I would recommend a dual opteron solution. Although a fast P4 would be ok if you want save money but spend more time.
Also remember that there will be dual core socket 940 Opterons out next year so maybe check for support. Tyan is a great name in dual cpu boards. Asus doesn't make new dual cpu boards anymore (they still have their P3 and mine as their top boards).

I'd also rearrange your drive setup (more storae for video) and then I'd put a slow LG DVD burner in the photo editing rig and a faster LG 12X dual layer burner in your video editing rig. DVD-RAM is better for multiple and incremental writes. Also better for long term archiving.

Also a 36gb raptor for the phot rig, and a 74gb raptor for the video editingg rig would be wise. I'd also put a large sata secondary drive on your editing rig (like the 300-450 Hitachi 7K400, Maxtor DiamondMax, or the new Seagate Barricudas that have 16mb cache and native command queuing). This would allow for the quickest speeds for both editing and transfering. For the photo rig you'll be fine with one fast drive because despite the size of the pics even in .RAW format your RAM will be the biggest impact and even then 1gb will likely be enough. I'd suggest more memory for the video rig.

I'd also move your R9200SE to the video editing rig because unless that's at least an FX5200 with 64mb, then it's image quality isn't going to be very good in comparison, and for the photo PC get a Matrox P650 for the best image quality and the option of triple monitor support. 3 monitors is nice for video editing too if you could get one for that as well, to give you a preview and output view along with a 'tools' view. If you care about true colours and picture quality in your photo rig, then the P650 is your best choice.

Also this live streaming for the video rig that's as in taking on the functions of a mini-server, right? So once again fast is good.

Here's a dual opteron benchmark using Photoshop from last Fall; <A HREF="http://www.gamepc.com/labs/view_content.asp?id=thunderk8w&page=7" target="_new">http://www.gamepc.com/labs/view_content.asp?id=thunderk8w&page=7</A>

BTW, the graphics card difference is noticeable, but I think it's just due to freeing up resources by not using shared memory, not the power of the R9800.

Anywhooo, a little more info would help.

- You need a licence to buy a gun, but they'll sell anyone a stamp <i>(or internet account)</i> ! - <font color=green>RED </font color=green> <font color=red> GREEN</font color=red> GA to SK :evil:


Sep 2, 2004
I am looking to build a photoshop computer. I'm thinking a p4 but not sure which? I read the p4 is better over the AMD's for photoshop. 1 gig ram, an Asus p4p800 mb, for hard drives I'm thinking a Western Digital Raptor 36.7GB for XP and programs, a small swap drive, would a raptor make sence for a swap drive? Two sata 80 gig drives in a raid 1 for data. DVD burner. I would backup from the raid to dvd and then move the files form the raid to a large 160-200 extermal sata drive for storage. I have a NEC 19" monitor I'll use, but would like to be able to have two and was thinking of the 650. Am I on the right track? Thanks
If you are building a single proc computer, yes the P4 with HT will be a better choice. But a Dual Opteron will do better still, and they are significantly cheaper than a dual Xeon rig.

As for the drives, the faster your swap drive the better, but is it worth the money? A raid(0)ed pair of raptors would likely offer more performance boost than a fast swap drive.

I wouldn't botther with a second raid for your data drive, do the work in your raided SATA drive, and then move it to the unraided and more secure IMO, 2nd drive (if you think of the two raptors as one). From there you can use whatever storage methods you want, and burning to DVD (ram especially) would be a good idea, as well as an external HDD. Best if your external is a case that can change the drive, so should you decide to store this you can remove the future full drive to some nice dark cool dry place and put in a fresh one.

If you're going for a P4 go with the fastest one you can get for the best money. It's sounds logical, but the P4EE series can often be extremely expensive and the money would be better used elsewhere.

If you're willing to OC (less stable but better return on your dollar) then even the 2.4C can be a reasonable deal and alot cheaper than the 3.x+ ones.

NEC-Mitsubishi makes good monitors (thanks to the Mitsubishi side), I prefer Phillips and Samsung. Sony are great but usually at a premium, and grill lines can frustrate some people. Hitachi also makes good monitors. I haven't seen anything about the 650, their 95F is kind lacklustre, but their FE991 is pretty nice. If I were you I'd look at their Mitsubishi Diamond line for their quality stuff.

Anywhoo, just my two frames worth.

- You need a licence to buy a gun, but they'll sell anyone a stamp <i>(or internet account)</i> ! - <font color=green>RED </font color=green> <font color=red> GREEN</font color=red> GA to SK :evil:


Sep 2, 2004
Thanks for the info. Dual cpu's are out, too much $$. I was thinking a p4-C in 2.6 or 2.8. I won't OC untill I know things work, I want stable first then speed.

I don't know if I want to do a raid 0, I have had HD's die and don't want to risk it. Raptors may be pushing my $$ too much and I may just stick with 7200's. My plan was an external case just like you said in an e.SATA from Highpoint.

The 650 was the video card from Matrox I am thinking about. Do you know if I can use my 19" crt and later add a 15 or 17 lcd and run both?

I think a Raptor primary drive is a good idea even if it's only 36gb, and then a data drive of 200+gb ide or sata, and as external that should even keep case temps down a bit.

As for the P650, yeah you can start with the 19" and then later add the 17" AND the 15" if you decide to upgrade to triple monitor support.

As for the CPU, the 2.4C overclocked is nice, if you're not into overclocking that much, and want to wait and take it slow, then read up about which overclocks well. The difference between 2.6 and 2.8 isn't that much, and if they both OC to the same levels, then you can think about saving money short term, and still have the overhead in the future. That's why the 2.4C is attractive to so many people. However make sure thet the price differences are there, because sometimes they sell so close to each other, might as well get the 200mhz extra out of the box because it's only $5-10 difference.

Good luck.

- You need a licence to buy a gun, but they'll sell anyone a stamp <i>(or internet account)</i> ! - <font color=green>RED </font color=green> <font color=red> GREEN</font color=red> GA to SK :evil: