Which computer processor would you recommend



  • Hi to all you wonderful helpful SVSers,
    I am looking into buying a new processor for my illustration work. I am forcing my non-techy brain to understand all the various terms and options. Why can't they use normal words?
    Anyway I really need some advice about which processor is best for illustration work. I work on a Intuos tablet, mostly using photoshop but hope to add some more software with a better processor.
    Is 8GB of RAM enough?
    Apparantly the radeon Graphics card is optimized for Gaming and there are other, more expensive ones for design? I am wondering if the Radeon one will be good enough for me? What do you have?
    Also what speed does the processor have to be, How many GHZ?
    Is there any difference between an Intel processor and an AMD processor?
    I want to know what works for you.
    Thank you so so much



  • @Rachel Computers are complicated!
    What I would do is go onto Ebuyer and look at the Gaming PCs (They have more powerful setup better suited for Graphics work) and see what I could get for my budget, look at the reviews etc... sort them by rating.... look into the different components that are in them.

    It depends what sort of work you want to do as to how advanced you get it. A 3D artist will need a better graphics card and more processing power than a 2D artist for example. The more recent and advanced the graphics card is the more expensive the computer. You don't need a crazy powerful graphics card unless you are into playing the most recent games really.

    I've had many frankensteined computers over the years (My brother can build them for me) but it is tricky to get different components to work together properly sometimes if you don't know what you are doing you can get driver conflicts- something else to be careful of. Best bet is to buy one ready made by people who know what they are doing (hopefully) so everything works in a stable fashion.

    I got one ready made on Ebuyer for my sister who does lots of Illustration work last year which had everything pre-installed and setup for her and worked with no problems.
    8GB is probably fine- I only have 8GB myself, they start at 8GB- I wouldn't go for less than that- more if possible. I think my sisters was 16GB of memory. Intel are usually good processors- I have an older one now , they are on i5 and up these days, but its fine (Intel core i34150 is my current one and I have an AMD graphics card- but I wish it was an Nvidia one). Another thing to make sure is that you get a computer with a good quality power supply unit and cooling fans etc... especially if you want more processing power. Also check it has enough storage for your needs and more drives can be put in if possible. You want more than one hardrive in it- ideally one with the operating system on and one for storage- perhaps another for a scratch drive.

    I can't go anymore geeky than that though sorry, some people are crazy about this stuff but it is pretty mind boggling to me as well.



  • Hi there Rachel,

    Like Christine mentioned, I recommend a 'gaming' computer as well. Personally, I have found newegg.com is the best place for computer deals. Your best bet is to build your own computer but if you're not comfortable going that route than buying a pre-built gaming PC is your next best option. Not sure what your budget is but here's some advice for a $600 to $800 range.

    To answer some of your questions:

    • 8 gb is probably enough if you're not working in the 3D realm, but RAM is relatively cheap so having 16 gb is a good idea for the long run.

    • I recommend Nvidia over AMD any day. It may be alittle bit more expensive but in my opinion the Nvidia is much better build quality wise and reliability.

    • I would go with an Intel Processor over an AMD. Anything in the I5 series is a good start, but don't go any lower.

    • For a graphics card I again recommend Nvidia over AMD.

    • Also for memory I HIGHLY recommend a Solid State Drive. If you haven't seen Will Terry's on his PC set up here's the link He talks about his computer recommendations, which is extremely helpful to new computer buyers.

    What works for me ( what I own ) Total cost: $770

    RAM: 16 gb

    Video Card: GeForce GTX 960

    CPU: Intel Core I5-6500 @ 3.20 GHZ

    OS: Windows 10

    Memory: 120 GB SSD + HDD 900 gb

    Hopefully this was somewhat helpful...Best of luck!



  • Are you building your PC yourself? I did so recently, and used pcpartpicker.com to double check the compatibility of the parts. I recommend using it if you are going that route. This was my first build, and though I had an experienced builder around to ask questions if needed, I pretty much figured it out myself. It's not too tricky if you have enough time to read any of the build guides online (and memorize the terminology haha, I was lost at first, too).

    I'd get:

    --> 16 GB ram, with room to upgrade to 32 GB if and when your PC starts to slow down with age. Good brands of ram include Mushkin, Corsair, Crucial, Kingston, and really with ram, it's okay to go cheap if you're on a budget.

    --> Be very careful which Power Supply Unit you get. This is one part you'll want to research well. Cheap brands can blow up your computer or set fire to your house. The best ones to get are Platinum/Gold rated, and come with at least a 7 year warranty. I got this one: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817438054

    --> Yeah, go with Intel. They're a bit faster, even at a lower GHz and less cores than AMD CPUs. The Intel Core i5 6600K (3.5 GHz) is a super nice and fast CPU, but I decided to save $100 and go with the i5 6500 (3.2 GHz), which is a 4 core CPU (same one as Dan above! Actually, my whole build is pretty similar to his). From my research, you don't really need to go over 4 cores for digital art at this point, especially if you're trying to save money.

    So far, my CPU is running cool with the stock cooler--however I just have a basic Nvidia graphics card. Fancy gaming graphics card can be in the $1,000 range, and I wanted to keep my entire computer around $1,000 total. :P If you want a fancier graphics card for 3D work and whatever, then you'll need to get a better cooler for your CPU.

    Good luck! :)



  • I would agree with the other posters here as far as recommending "gaming" hardware. Nvidia over AMD seems to be the popular opinion online, however I have never had any issues with my AMD card. Also, the suggestion K.W. made above about the power supply is worthwhile to take into consideration. I had a PSU go bad/ surge, and apparently ruin my motherboard about a year ago. I looked into it a bit and found out that was not out of the ordinary with oem power supplies. I purchased a new motherboard and then a "Gold" rated psu on ebay for about $50...well worth the investment.

    My system is about 5 years old and still works extremely well with my Intuous 3 tablet in Photoshop, Corel Painter, and Manga Studio. I think I paid about $1200 for it.
    8 GB Ram
    Intel Core i7-3770 @ 3.4 GHz
    AMD Radeon 1GB GPU



  • Thank you so much for your help everyone. I don't use the latest version of photoshop, I use CS6, Does that make a difference?
    I am making a jump now from laptop to PC. I have never had a PC before so your advice is so helpful. Just one more question (I hope) What is the motherboard? Is it a separate piece of hardware that I need to buy seperately? What is the PSU and CPU? (excuse my ignorance)
    Thanks again
    Also, is there anyone out there who would recommend a laptop over PC?



  • @Rachel No worries! It was pretty much all foreign to me before I built my first computer too! And then, unfortunately, I became more familiar with everything when I had to figure out how to fix the issues from my PSU going bad. PSU, by the way is short for Power Supply Unit. GPU is your Graphics Processing Unit (also called Graphics Card) and CPU is your Central Processing Unit (also just called processor).

    I'm not a "computer guy" so the best explanation I can give you for the motherboard is that it is basically the "hub" for all the other parts of your computer to communicate with each other. Everything gets plugged into your motherboard- your hard drive, your CPU, your GPU, your PSU, USB ports, speakers, everything. Your computer will come with a motherboard, you will only have to purchase one if something happens like it did to me and your original motherboard needs to be replaced.

    As far as your other questions, just from my own experience, it doesn't matter what version of Photoshop you are using- I am still running CS4 on my machine. And again, I can only speak from my experience, but I have found laptops to run much less efficiently than desktop units for this type of work. I'm sure you could probably build a laptop that would compete...but I've always been wary of the life expectancy of a laptop when you are pushing it with graphics and illustration work, they don't seem to last as long as desktops, and at least to me, upgrading / repairing a desktop seems much easier.


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