Hardware for running a Photoshop oriented drawing screen

Discussion in 'Off Topic Chat' started by doobiedoobiedum, Feb 9, 2018.

  1. doobiedoobiedum

    doobiedoobiedum Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Having played with and still have as a test bed, a Dell Canvas I am happily working away with it powered by a generic lenovo v520s provided by my employer. It has 8GB RAM and no graphics card - I'm running large Photoshop files (CS6) and around 20 layers so far. I also have a 6 second video I am using to animate over so that has been on screen filling the screen up.

    These are all activities my personal 12.3" HP 2760p would struggle to display well. Playback on the HP is weak too.

    So, if I spent more of my budget on the screen - the 27 inches has been a dream to work on, almost like drawing on A2 paper all over again - what is a good budget PC desktop for such a machine? My budget would be around £5-700 for the desktop. I sell more handmade and 3D art than I do digital work so I am not desperate to spend all my profit on a super powerful desktop that would just soak up all my hard earned spare cash.

    Applications
    - Sketchbook Pro, use this a lot
    - Photoshop CS5.5 used a lot
    - zbrush in small doses
    - blender in less doses until they change that interface
    - shortcut video editing

    For factor - no preference but I would want to be able to upgrade graphics card at a later date. Memory and storage are important. I don't play video games so that part is completely irrelevant for my proposed purchase.

    Thanks in advance for any replies.
     
  2. Marty

    Marty Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Hey doobie! So taking a look at your sample prebuilt on the Canvas thread, I put together a quick build on PCPP based on the same Ryzen 2400G (which I think gives the best price/performance right now):

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: AMD - Ryzen 5 2400G 3.6GHz Quad-Core Processor (£131.94 @ Aria PC)
    CPU Cooler: ARCTIC - Alpine 64 Pro Rev 2 36.7 CFM CPU Cooler (£8.99 @ Amazon UK)
    Motherboard: MSI - B350M PRO-VDH Micro ATX AM4 Motherboard (£61.96 @ Box Limited)
    Memory: Crucial - 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR4-2400 Memory (£60.17 @ Amazon UK)
    Storage: Samsung - 850 EVO-Series 500GB 2.5" Solid State Drive (£111.54 @ Aria PC)
    Case: Fractal Design - Core 1100 MicroATX Mini Tower Case (£30.97 @ Amazon UK)
    Power Supply: EVGA - 500W 80+ Certified ATX Power Supply (£43.50 @ Aria PC)
    Total: £449.07
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2018-02-18 20:12 GMT+0000


    This has some notable improvements over the prebuilt, such as a EVO 850 SSD (very important for general performance), a single 8GB RAM module (vs 2x4GB) with 4 slots, and nicer case (imo :)).

    Case design is a personal thing, so here is little video on the Fractal Design I picked out:



    The 500W power supply might seem like overkill now, but I want to preserve future GPU upgradeability when prices come down.

    Of course you'll need an OS, but I don't recommend paying full retail. Contact your school for educational licenses for Win10 Pro (also Office 2016 if you need it) via MS' OnTheHub program.

    This should be a good start, let me know how much you can push that 500 quid budget and we can work from there. ;)
     
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  3. Azzart

    Azzart Late night illustrator Senior Member

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    That Photoshop cs5 though... you're missing all the goodness of working in a touch environment. :-/
     
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  4. doobiedoobiedum

    doobiedoobiedum Scribbler - Standard Member

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    That's great, and it's cheaper? I don't foresee much change in GPU prices right now - data mining is a huge craze. I also don't want to change the budget too much, a Dell screen would take most of my budget and if I was to drop that for an Artisul D16 (for example) I might have an extra £5-600.

    However, my priority would be drawing experience and screen. I'd like to stay fairly close to what I've outlined. I wouldn't do any gaming or general internet kind of stuff - this would have one purpose only.

    I know, however I am attached to CS5.5, I like it and I paid for the full suite. I can always use CC 2017/18 at work though and if I can talk us into getting 10 Dells here I'd have the best of both worlds.
     
  5. Marty

    Marty Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    For under £500, I would say that's a pretty solid build with all the basics.

    The only major question now is if you'd like an NVMe SSD over a traditional SATA (trading storage space for faster speeds) and maybe swap out the 8GB stick for a single 16GB (giving you full 64GB upgradeability into the future).

    With above tweaks, you just break the 500 quid threshold:

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: AMD - Ryzen 5 2400G 3.6GHz Quad-Core Processor (£131.94 @ Aria PC)
    CPU Cooler: ARCTIC - Alpine 64 Pro Rev 2 36.7 CFM CPU Cooler (£8.99 @ Amazon UK)
    Motherboard: MSI - B350M PRO-VDH Micro ATX AM4 Motherboard (£61.96 @ Box Limited)
    Memory: Crucial - Ballistix Sport LT 16GB (1 x 16GB) DDR4-2400 Memory (£143.94 @ Aria PC)
    Storage: Samsung - PM961 256GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive (£98.99 @ Overclockers.co.uk)
    Case: Fractal Design - Core 1100 MicroATX Mini Tower Case (£30.97 @ Amazon UK)
    Power Supply: EVGA - 500W 80+ Certified ATX Power Supply (£43.50 @ Aria PC)
    Total: £520.29
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2018-02-19 19:24 GMT+0000


    Overall worth it, in my opinion. Storage might require management, but if you need extra, you can always add a 2.5" hybrid drive later, as the new SSD is m.2 form factor.

    So now about those monitors/cintiq alternatives, would you like some recommendations on those too? :)
     
  6. doobiedoobiedum

    doobiedoobiedum Scribbler - Standard Member

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    It's excellent thanks. Really cool.

    That particularly would be great, it's one area I would be prepared to shift on the budget for.

    This is usually where I keep swapping and upgrading and then a good, affordable system stops being affordable and I don't go any further. Cheaply upgradeable RAM is a real bonus though. "Just breaking" £500 is fine, smashing through on to £600+ is not.

    I doubt I could get a better price than the Dell Canvas if I can add to the college order. 27 inches is proving just perfect for full size drawing with minimal zoom. I used to do a lot of A2 drawing and this just brings things back for me.

    An alternative I've looked closely at is the Artisul D16 but that's not available in the UK (yet.) I'd rather scrimp on SSDs and other peripherals for a tower to get a bigger, better screen with minimal parallax effect.
     
  7. Marty

    Marty Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    One thing to note (as I explained here for stone's build), you'll see a significant performance boost with an NVMe drive during Premiere editing. In terms if price/performance value, a good SSD is never a bad investment.

    This would definitely be the way to go then. No Cintiq alternative will even come close to the screen quality.

    Man, I'm getting a little jealous myself. I want a new build too! :p
     
  8. doobiedoobiedum

    doobiedoobiedum Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I don't do or expect to do enough Adobe Premiere work to change my basic requirements and we have Premiere on several Apple Mac Pro here with our Media dept. (They were never shy about demanding the most expensive equipment for their work) I've used them in the past for larger video jobs.
    They run Premiere really smoothly.

    Thanks for the help, really helped to discipline myself!
     
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