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Jess M.
Jess M., Computer Support Specialist
Category: Computer
Satisfied Customers: 7120
Experience:  Computer Hardware & Software Specialist - 10yrs Exp, Web Designer & Developer
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I am a graphic designer but I have relatively less knowledge

Customer Question

I am a graphic designer but I have relatively less knowledge about computers themselves. I am about to invest in a new high-end computer to use in my design practice. I would like a PC and not a MAC.
I need to know what to look for when buying a new PC which will be used in a graphic design office and will be running graphics software, as well as used to save various JPEGs, customer files, and also for leisure use (listening to music or watching films.). My existing computer has the following problems:
- Adobe tell me that I do not have the minimum amount of RAM to use certain features on their creative cloud products (illustrator/photoshop etc) This means that certain features are unuseable and the ones that do work, work very slowly.
- Photoshop freezes a lot, and goes very slowly. So does illustrator to a lesser extent.
- I cannot use photoshop/illustrator and simultaneously search for images on google or listen to music using my browser and youtube. It's as though too many processes are causing my computer to freeze (is this a RAM related issue? Is it a processor issue? I have very little clue. Then I have very little knowledge of 'graphics cards' and whether I need integrated or dedicated types?)
My existing computer is:
Dell Inspiron ONE2205
AMD Athlon II X2 250u Processor 1.60 GHz
Installed memory (RAM): 3.00 GB (2.75 usable)
64-bit operating system
Windows 7 Home Premium
I cannot afford to make a mistake buying a new computer. It needs to be fast and able to handle various tasks at the same time (adobe, web browser, saving lots of photographs/images/logos.) The constant freezing and slow processing of my existing computer makes simple tasks (zooming in in photoshop) into something that takes minutes and results in a very unproductive office. It also means that my partner (say, when he's trying to play a music video on youtube, has graphics packages freezing on him.)
I have a budget of about £800. While some people seem to suggest that MACS are better specified for graphic design they are also more pricey, I am used to using a PC and I do not want to make the transition to MAC at the moment.
Thank you for any advice you can offer. As I say, I have very little knowledge of computers themselves and don't want to buy a computer without knowing about things like RAM, Memory, Hard-Drives, Graphics Cards etc, and end up with another slow machine.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Computer
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
This answer was horrendous. It was basically an endorsement of a product being sold on Amazon. The answer was less than you would receive on one of those 'free' answers websites and I wouldn't have rated it highly on those either; I certainly wouldn't have chosen it as a 'best answer.' My question was thorough and detailed, asking for information on what to look for when buying a new computer for graphics purposes. This didn't provide one piece of useful information whatsoever.
Expert:  Mike the Mac Medic replied 2 years ago.

I am a graphic designer and video editor I just looked for the best thing that would do the trick in your price range not being in the UK I have limited places to look. What do you want me to explain you did not make it clear you wanted to learn all about computers. This has the best processor 4 cores a great graphics card for design Photoshop etc.. and 8 GB of memory with a large hard drive, it will blow your old computer out of the water!!

Expert:  Mike the Mac Medic replied 2 years ago.

This one has an even better graphics card but a smaller but faster hard drive:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Freshtech-Motherboard-Performance-Certified-Barracuda/dp/B00IOQZQ7O/ref=sr_1_2?s=computers&ie=UTF8&qid=1429816905&sr=1-2&keywords=computer+core+i7+graphic+design

If you explain what you will do with it that can help but either of these would be awesome for graphic design. Also this one you can purchase without the system if you want to stay with your Windows 7 disks you already have

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
I appreciate your help, but as this is a significant financial purchase, I will be shopping around a lot and I need to have an idea of what to look for. I won't be purchasing the first machine I see as I'll need to compare prices and specification of various machines. Thank you for finding me that machine, but as I said, I will need more information and therefore I relisted the question.
Expert:  Mike the Mac Medic replied 2 years ago.
OK good luck
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
Thank you for your help, but I was just looking for a different kind of information.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
Expert:  Jess M. replied 2 years ago.
Hi, welcome and thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I am glad to assist you today.
Do you still need help with this issue? I can provide you more information regarding processors, RAM, graphics card, and other essential computer components that you should consider in buying your new computer.
Please let me know so that I can help you further.
Best regards,
Jess
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hello Jess and thank you for helping. Yes, I still need help. I don't know what exactly to look for when buying a new computer. I know it needs to be able to run programs like:

Photoshop

Illustrator

But I also want it to be able to save lots of photos (such as JPEGS) and lots of adobe illustrator/photoshops files (.ps / .ai files)

I will also be using the computer for leisure purposes, so it will need to be able to handle having a web browser (and multiple tabs open) at the same time. So I can listen to some music on youtube (for example) while simultaneously using photoshop.

I don't know whether I need an intel i7 processor for this sort of speed? Or would an i5 be suffice? Do I need 1 or 2gb of dedicated graphics (do I need them at all?) And regarding RAM, would 16gb be enough, or would 32gb be overpowered for what I need?

Thank you for any help you can offer.

Kind Regards

Martin

Expert:  Jess M. replied 2 years ago.
Hi Martin,
Thank you for writing back and thank you for your patience.
I would like to help you decide which computer to buy based on how you are planning to use the computer. You have mentioned a budget so that means some sort of limit as to which specs to select for a computer. But to be able to decide as to which specs for a PC to look for, I want to tell you how these specs affect your actual usage of the computer. In that way, you yourself can balance the right combination when deciding which computer to buy on the nearest computer store.
These are the very important specs to look for when buying a PC:
1. Processor
2. Hard Disk Drive (HDD)
3. RAM
4. Video Card
About the Processor
The processor serves as the center of all computer operations. Logically, the faster the processor, the better is the system performance. However, by "fast", do not just depend on the published speed in units of megahertz or gigahertz, like 3.4 GHz. You also need to consider the number of cores. This is very important when comparing processors of different brands like an Intel and an AMD. But if you are comparing processors of same brands, you can look at the figures directly. That is, the bigger the number, the faster.
Also, please also understand that most processors now are composed or several cores or sub-processors. So in the specification (specs) list, you can see there "Number of processors" or "Processor count". It means a certain processor contains several core processors so it means a faster processing. As an example of this, an Intel Core i7 now has 4 cores so it simply means that though only 1 processor is installed, inside it are 4 processors running on the published speed (3.6GHz) so imagine how powerful your system would be!
For your PC purchase, I highly recommend getting an Intel Core i7 processor. The speed can vary depending on your price restriction. The main reason for this is because the i7 series are the latest and most reliable in terms of speed and efficiency. This will ensure that your PC will be able to sustain it processing speed after several years. You cannot predict your future with technology so you might end up installing a resource-hungry software and by that time, if you settle for i3 or even i5 processors NOW, you might feel the need to upgrade it to i7. That can happen for about 2 to 3 years of using the PC and processor upgrade is very expensive since you will just throw that i3 or i5 processor away to favor the i7. I hope you understand what I am trying to say here. So it will be best to start with the best class of processor today, it will be a good investment.
About the Hard Drive (HDD)
I understand that you are a graphic designer and most graphic works are huge, second to videos I should say. But storing tons of them require a huge Hard Disk Drive. But you should consider these 3 options:
1. Install a second hard drive for data (internal)
Most branded PC today are bundled with 1TB of Hard Disk Drive. It means a lot of storage space. However, as you use the PC for years of work, it can be filled up easily in over time. So you can decide as to adding another 1TB HDD when you buy the PC so that you will end up with 2 HDDs, 1TB each, a total of 2TB system. Depending on your budget, you can make the second HDD a 3 or 4TB HDD since it is an ideal way of storing your data.
Another thing, if there is a system bundled with 500Gig of HDD, it will be a nice option. Then invest a bigger space in the second HDD.
I DO NOT recommend buying a system with a huge 2TB hard drive, you can stick with a 500Gig or 1TB HDD and just add another HDD as a secondary drive for your DATA.
These are the reasons why you need a second drive:
Do not rely on the original HDD. If your system crashed, you can restore to factory settings, all data on the original HDD will be lost and your system is restored like new. So if you have a second HDD and you save all your data there, they are always intact even if the system crashes.
Another one is, when you have a smaller original HDD, it will take time to maintain like virus scans will take less time as compared to scanning a 1TB drive. Less time to do a system backup as well.
About the RAM
This is a very important aspect that you need to decide when you buy a new PC. The memory serves as the working space or the scratch pad for your system. When you are working, all the information are temporarily stored in the RAM. When the power went off, the data is lost because the RAM are powered off without saving the data to the HDD. That is how the PC uses the RAM. So rule of thumb, the bigger the RAM, the more capable your system to multitask.
Another thing, you need to ask the store as to how much is the total RAM that the PC can hold. Because there is a limitation per motherboard or processor. For instance, the system is described as having 8Gig but can handle 16 or 32Gig RAM. Now, you need to decide, based on your budget, how much RAM is installed in your new PC.
One more thing about RAM when buying a new PC -- make room for future upgrades! That is, you also need to ask the store as to how many RAM SLOTS are there in the motherboard. There are usually 2 or 4 slots.
Here is a scenario:
If the PC can take 32Gig of RAM, ask how many slots are there. If there are 2 slots, it means you can only ADD 1 more RAM stick in the future if you can afford for the upgrade. So you need to decide how much RAM you want. If you are seeing yourself running the PC on full RAM in the future, that is 32Gig, you need to have 16GIG of RAM installed now and you need to buy a single RAM stick that is 16Gig. But if the PC has 4 slots for RAM, you can have 8Gig installed now, then add another 8 in the future, then add another 8 until the RAM slots are filled to the maximum. I hope you understand what I am trying to say here.
As for my recommendation, if your budget can allow, you can go for a 16Gig RAM from the start but of course, 8GIg RAM will be blazing fast as well. You can always upgrade or add another ram stick in the future.
Lastly, regarding video card
Video cards are another expense for a PC. Most PCs today have built-in or integrated video cards. They are fine. But there are software that requires a DEDICATED video card in order to install. These software are often games or autocad software, and even Photoshop. Here is the system requirements for Adobe Photoshop CS systems:
https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/system-requirements.html
What this graphics or video cards do is they just provide a better display performance for your PC and they will NOT use your RAM to support it. That is, it has its own graphics memory.
For me, a 1Gig of dedicated video card is a decent choice since this is the recommended requirement for most graphic software. But if it still fits the budget, you can go for 2Gig of dedicated graphics card.
I hope that helped.
Please remember to rate my service positively (3-5 stars/faces) if this helped. Tips are always highly appreciated!
If you need further assistance, please do not rate me negatively with 1 or 2 faces. Instead, please reply to me so that I can help you further.
Thank you!
Best regards,
Jess
Jess M., Computer Support Specialist
Category: Computer
Satisfied Customers: 7120
Experience: Computer Hardware & Software Specialist - 10yrs Exp, Web Designer & Developer
Jess M. and 6 other Computer Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Fantastic Jess! I am very grateful to you; a brilliant answer that has really helped me. I needed someone to explain these things for me and you've done that for me really well.

Expert:  Jess M. replied 2 years ago.
Hi Martin,
Thank you for writing back and thank you for the excellent service rating and the generous tip :-)
I am so glad that I was ale to help. At this point I have not recommended to you a specific model for the PC since if I understood you correctly, you will personally go to a local store to buy it instead of buying it online. Since the actual product models sold in the local stores could be different compared to online specifications, it will be better for you to check the actual specs there, giving you a specific model as a recommendation will only limit your search.
If you need further assistance with this, just let me know so that I can help you further. I will be signing off now as it is already late in my country but I can respond to you after 10 to 11 hours from now when I resume work to assist you if you have further questions.
Thank you for using our service.
Best regards,
Jess