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  1. #1
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    Computer for 2D Design ?

    Hello everyone (sorry for my bad english in advance),

    I just finished a design school (but I consider myself as a rookie in this field) and I'd like to work as designer. The problem is I now need my own computer to work.

    I work in 2D illustration and animation (even if some different projects could be considered) and I mainly use for now Creative Suite from Adobe.

    My budget is about 1000 to 2000 euros (MAX), knowing that I need a central processing unit and two screens (22' minimum). I think that with this budget, buying a Mac would be difficult so I think buying a PC (but maybe could I find an interesting second hand Mac for my use? I don't know anything about computers...). So I need a computer able to run well CS6 and other editing softwares. The goal is to have an equipment quite close to what they have in studio.

    Would you have any advice for this hardware ?

    Thank you very much in advance,

    pitch9black

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  3. #2
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    A lot of that depends on where you're from. I'm from the Toronto area, so this may have a different result depending on your specific set of circumstances, but here's how I buy my computer stuff for the most part.

    1) Find a "computer alley". That's a street that contains several computer and/or electronics stores. Ideally, it'll be in an industrial / commercial area that big box retailers don't usually end up. There should be at least 3-5 stores on the street, though, within a few blocks of each other. If they're on side / cross streets, that's okay too. The key is that there's competition and it's all close to each other.

    2) Visit each store, or at least each store's website, and see what they have to offer. Most stores will have systems and pricing, and the better ones (e.g. Canada Computers | Computers, Computer Parts, Laptops, Hard Drives, PC Hardware & Accessories Sales) will have system customizers so that you can take a base configuration and add to it and customize it in such a way that your budget is more or less maxed out (leave yourself about 50 to 100 euros of "space" in your budget) but you have what you think is the best computer you can get for the budget you have.

    In your case, I'd focus on five things, in this order:

    a) The graphics card.

    b) Hard drives, both size and speed (measured in RPM). I don't know if a MAC can do this, but with a decent PC motherboard you can add two hard drives with a RAID1 configuration. If you're going to be doing professional-grade stuff, you really should be saving your work on two hard drives in RAID1. Most people don't, but it's foolish not to. You don't want to try and recover data off of a failing hard drive if you don't absolutely have to. It's painful.

    c) RAM. I put the RAM ahead of the CPU because quite often you're going to be doing some RAM-intensive work and quite probably multi-tasking. The graphics card itself should have a decent amount of RAM in it (I'd say 1-2 GB minimum), but the RAM will be a factor as well.

    d) CPU.

    e) Software costs. Make sure your budget includes the costs of anything you'll have to buy or license if applicable.

    3) Research the parts that you want to put into your computer. A Google search for a phrase such as "(model number of part) reviews" should do the trick, because chances are you'll end up on CNet or Tom's Hardware or somewhere that has a relatively comprehensive review of the part, with benchmark testing and other things covered.

    4) This will give you a base to go into the stores, talk about the configuration that you've come up with on your sites, and give you a bit of knowledge. Ask them what they'd recommend on top of that to get you as close as you can to your budget without going over.

    This is exactly what I did a couple of months back, and I built myself a tower for just under $800 CAD that kicks the snot out of anything big box and still leaves me room to expand later on (if I want to throw an SSD or a better video card or some more RAM in it down the road, I can).
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  4. #3
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    Thanks TheGAME1264 for your answer .

    I live in France (and I'm not in a very big city so I think I could only do your advice on Internet). Thank you very much for your list of things I have to watch for.
    About the graphic card, which model should I buy at least ? Every card with 3GB minimum should do the trick ?
    About the global RAM, 8GB is ok ?
    And for the proc, should I have an i7 at least?

    Sorry about these detailed questions but... I don't know many things in this field so...

    By the way: if someone has already worked in design for a company or a employer, is having a mac or a pc important ? I already read on the internet that many designers tell it's ok now to work on PC (most part of softwares work well on both). But maybe it's important for corporations and studios to have someone working on a mac, isn't it?

    Thanks for your advice in advance

  5. #4
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    I've never been a big hardware guy. Again, I'd suggest starting with what's on the websites of the retailers in your city, doing your homework, and then going from there. You don't have to be all that knowledgeable if you do that...you just have to know the basic parts and what they do and what they're supposed to accomplish.

    I run a Windows 8 PC with 8 GB of RAM, and it's plenty. Then again, I do more development than graphic work. That's why I suggested buying a PC and having it custom built...they're much easier to customize/replace parts for down the road.

    I'm running an AMD in mine, so I can't speak to an i7, but it should be fine.

    As far as a Mac over a PC, it depends on what you're doing and what's most useful to you. If you're doing graphic work primarily, then yeah, a Mac probably is the way to go (wouldn't know...I've used Macs and hate them personally, but to each their own). If you're doing multiple things (e.g. development) a PC might be the way to go, depending on what exactly you're doing.
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

    If someone helped you out, be sure to "Like" their post and/or help them in kind. The "Like" link is on the bottom right of each post, beside the "Share" link.

    My stuff (well, some of it): My bowling alley site | Canadian Postal Code Info (beta)


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