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Advice on computers - what do I need

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Old 08-25-2003, 08:03 PM
Elya Elya is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2003
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Advice on computers - what do I need

Hi All,
I maybe have a naive question but whoever I asked couldn't answer it, even sales reps at Apple. All I know about Mac is that it's RAM, speed, a chip made by Adobe and a much better operations system that won't crash. Which one would be the best for restoration? Do I really need a Mac? I used to have a Dell, it was very good until it got killed after 4 years of fighting viruses, now I have a custom made one but I'm thinking of buying a G5. Do I really need that much of everything for retouching and restoration?
Please advise.
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Old 08-25-2003, 09:00 PM
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DannyRaphael DannyRaphael is offline
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Location: Near Seattle, Washington, USA
Posts: 6,300

Welcome to Retouch Pro. I'll jump in with my experiences and opinions and others will no doubt follow.

I have Windows 2000 on my PC and it hasn't "crashed" in over a year. I leave my PC on 24x7, only rebooting when I have to install virus fixes! Stability-wise I'm very happy with Windows 2000 (replaced by Windows/XP Pro).

Macs appear to require a lot less handholding virus-wise and worm-wise than Windows, but with good anti-virus and internet firewall-type software, it's not a big deal.

If you have already invested in software for your PC, e.g., Photoshop, beware that it will NOT run on the Mac. You will have to replace it.

RE: How much RAM for retouching and restoration?
One way to hedge your bets is to get, say, 500 MB of RAM for openers -- and be sure the motherboard can be UPGRADED to accomodate more RAM down the road if that becomes necessary.

RE: Microprocessor-wise (chip, CPU)
Speaking from the Windows side of the world, for just retouching I'd think a 1.0 ghz to 2.0 ghz microprosessor would be more than enough.

Anyway hope this gets the debate going. Again, welcome.

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Old 08-25-2003, 09:59 PM
Mike Mike is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Grand Junction CO USA
Posts: 676
I tred in here with a great deal of caution. Seems everytime some one mentions PC or Mac the air is suddenly filled with great amounts of shouting and ill will.....

I think the answer is to have 2 computors. One for the net and one for your retouching. If its not connected to the outside world, its hard to catch a bad bug!

I have a Dell with a 2.3 (I think) chip and gig of ram. Seems to buzz along quite nicely, thank you. And the firewall is a 5 foot gap between it and the line, with nothing connecting the two but air.

I just took my old machine and made it my internet terminal. Its a little slow perhaps, but I have arranged them so if I am working on some kind of image, I can also keep an eye on whats coming in on the net. Hardware is becoming so cheap that you might give something like I have a thought or two.

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Old 08-25-2003, 10:15 PM
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KevinBE KevinBE is offline
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Location: Lake Charles, LA
Posts: 511
Hi Elya. Welcome to Retouch Pro. Your question is the 64,000 question that is asked often in my circles. It's really a matter of preference. Mac people are very loyal and satisfied with their products. The OSX is a very good stable operating system with fairly lean software and hardware support right now, but it's getting better all the time. So if you are comfortable with the Mac then it's a good system to have. But it is more expensive and less powerful than a Windows PC.

I always build my own PC's so that leaves the Mac out for my uses. I can build a PC with twice the power of a G5 for half the money. Windows XP is not perfect but it is the best and most stable version of Windows yet. I have had no problems with Win XP Pro and I have been running it since it was released with absolutely no problems. This was not true of Win 98 and 95 because I was constantly having to reload with those two.

Do you really need all that power? It depends on how you work. I scan images at high resolution which creates large files. I may work with several copies of an image at the same time. I have 1.5 Gig of RAM and my PC never even breaths hard when I am pushing it hard.

The G5 is a good computer. You have a tough decission to make.
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Old 08-26-2003, 05:30 AM
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svsg svsg is offline
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I don't do any professional retouching or art. I am just basing this on my experience with image editing/restoration for over many months. I dont know about a mac. I use a P4 chip, 256 MBRAM linux OS,Gimp for photo editing,17" compaq monitor,a normal mouse.I don't get any problems at all with speed or handling size. If you are going to scan and work with really large files, increase the RAM to 512MB(it is not expensive). But I would advice you to get a good monitor - The colors should be faithful to the photos scanned and the size may be 19/21" to work with higher resolution and large images and multiple windows. Also if you can afford, you may invest on professional eqipment instead of mouse.But if you do buy a mouse, buy a very comfortable one. Sometimes you may be stuck in a photo for hours and the hands will start to pain. And all the above applies only if you are worried about cost.If money is not a concern, you may happily buy a high end PC and a mac and compare and let us know how they compare

ps:linux is far more stable than windows
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Old 08-26-2003, 09:33 AM
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Ed_L Ed_L is offline
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Re: Advice on computers - what do I need

Originally posted by Elya
Do I really need a Mac?
Hi Elya,

Welcome aboard. I think you already have your question answered. No, you don't *need* a Mac. I'm running Windows XP with 512 RAM, and I find that's enough. Some people work on 500 MB files, but mine are not that large. One thing that can make a world of difference in speed is how you set your scratch disk, and it should not be overlooked. The following comes from Photoshop Help:

When your system does not have enough RAM to perform an
operation, Photoshop and ImageReady use a proprietary virtual
memory technology, also called scratch disks. A scratch disk is any
drive or a partition of a drive with free memory. By default, Photoshop
and ImageReady use the hard drive that the operating system is installed
on as its primary scratch disk.

You can change the primary scratch disk and, in Photoshop, designate a
second, third, or fourth scratch disk to be used when the primary disk is
full. Your primary scratch disk should be your fastest hard disk, and
should have plenty of defragmented space available.

The following guidelines can help you assign scratch disks:

For best performance, scratch disks should be on a different
drive than any large files you are editing.
Scratch disks should be on a different drive than the one used for
virtual memory.
Scratch disks should be on a local drive. That is, they should not
be accessed over a network.
Scratch disks should be conventional (non-removable) media.
Raid disks/disk arrays are good choices for dedicated scratch
disk volumes.
Drives with scratch disks should be defragmented regularly.

To change the scratch disk assignment:

1.Choose Edit > Preferences > Plug-Ins & Scratch Disks.
2.Do one of the following:
(Photoshop) Choose the desired disks from the menus. You can
assign up to four scratch disks of any size your file system
supports. Photoshop lets you create up to 200 GB of scratch
disk space using those scratch disks.
(ImageReady) Choose a primary scratch disk.
3.Click OK.
4.Restart Photoshop or ImageReady for the change to take effect.

Important: The scratch disk file that is created must be in contiguous
hard disk space. For this reason you should frequently optimize your
hard disk. Adobe recommends that you use a disk tool utility, such as
Windows Disk Defragmenter or Norton Speed Disk, to defragment
your hard drive on a regular basis. See your Windows or Mac OS
documentation for information on defragmentation utilities.

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Old 09-01-2003, 09:18 AM
Elya Elya is offline
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Advice on computers - what do I need

Thanks to All,
You've been very helpful.
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