I feel now that I'm armed with (and thoroughly enjoying) both Katrin Eismann's "Restoration & Retouching" and "Masking & Compositing" books, I can start to make a more regular contribution to this wonderful site.
I'm very much an amateur at this game - and while I'm not new to Photoshop, I recently (January) got myself a digital SLR which I suppose sparked my interest in the more refined arts of photo retouching and correction (my next project is to try and restore some of my late father's old army pictures).
My question is regarding my "2003 spec" PC. At the moment, I have limited funds with regards purchasing new gear and have to scrimp and save to afford anything of great value.
I have an Athlon XP1700 with 512mb ram on which I now run Photoshop CS which I upgraded from 7 at the same time I got my camera (again CS2 will have to wait) with a 80Gb hard drive. Off of my nVidia 5600 Ultra dual port video card I've got an old 17inch monitor and a two year old Iiyama Vision Master Pro 454 monitor (which I love).
While this system still seems to be performing quite admirably, it's beginning to seem a little slugish especially when I go and edit those large RAW files.
I know eventually I'll need to go and start replacing my PC for something more "modern" but I'd also like to get my hands on some toys too.
Would I benefit from a Wacom Intuos 3 6x8 (I find using the mouse for certain tasks quite hard work at times - though my drawing skills leave something to be desired) or would I be better holding out until I've replaced my PC and then start on the extras. (If I did indeed get a tablet, I could only plug it into one of the USB ports on my monitor - would this be an issue?)
I hope that all makes sense, I'd be grateful for any advice you could offer.
Hi Andy, welcome to RetouchPRO
(personal opinion here...)
I shouldn't be too worried about your setup - your old, out-of-date computer is better than my spanking new computer (one of the joys of living in the "third" world).
Photoshop does get sluggish even on the biggest setups and, unless you're using going to be dealing with really big images your 512M should get along fine.
As to the tablet, this only becomes an issue if you are going to be doing some sort of painting. Other than that, no need at all.
(but this is just a personal opinion, OK?)
Well I find my tablet very handy for doing more complex masking - but I agree there is probably no need to spent money on an expensive tablet, if you still have a fairly basic computer set up. Personally I find the Graphire 4x5 perfectly adequate, and it's a fraction of the cost of an Intuous.
I'll stick with what I have for the time being then. Thinking about it, I might well look for a cheap tablet on ebay before I shell out anything heavy. It'd be nice if I had somewhere local where I could go and try one out to see how I got on with it.
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