help the clueless!

hello there everyone!

im a product designer who works a lot with 3D and graphic softwares. i know how to use a computer but i don’t have a clue about how to buy one. my computer (which was bought by my ex boyfriend who was a computer expert but is, as i said, EX now…) is getting a bit old for my needs and i need to get a new one.

so please help!

the best thing for a clueless person like me would be to have a list of parameters. money is not a problem but i really want a good quality cause god knows how long it would take me this time to save for a new one.

thanks in advance!

tamara :open_mouth:

what software? what use? what potential use? what personal preferences? need input before output.

hello YKH!
i use mostly photoshop, freehand, solid works, rhino, 3D max. i need good graphic qualities since i issue an independent magazine, but more important - a computer that can handle the needs of a small design studio (3D softwares for products development as well as massive use of the internet!).
hope it’s enough to help you help me…

sorry. no one’s paying me i’m told.

I don’t know much about PC’s. I hear the Dells are really good and fast. As a REALLY simple suggestion, if you look at their preconfigurations, if you spend $2500 you should be set for pretty much everything. Almost all computers nowadays are good for internet, don’t need to worry about that. Dual processors are good for photoshop and 3-d rendering for some programs. The higher the megahertz number, the faster it is, you’ll want that for renderings and photoshop.
I know there were some threads on here that gave really specific specs on good PC’s, I haven’t tried the search function here but you can find it that way, look at the old threads.
Maybe my lame explanation will encourage ykh to step up to help you.

I’ll throw my hat in the ring. There is no need to spend $2500. The essentials are:

  1. as much RAM as you can afford (at least 512 mb in my opinion).
  2. Good video card. ATI or Nvidia, accept no other. It is difficult to determine the differences between models, but get as much video RAM as you can here. 64mb is a minimum.
  3. Don’t worry about your processor speed, but get either a Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon +. They will be great for all your apps.
  4. CD burner
  5. I do alot of work and I haven’t filled up a 20 gig harddrive. This is really up to you though. Make sure the drive is 7200 rpm though.

    OK, now the fun stuff. If you want to splurge, an LCD monitor is great. There is less eye strain, and they use less electricity…but they are pricey. For graphics, I have to say I love having a 19 inch monitor, and I would have trouble going back to a 15. You can buy monitors very cheap now on the used market. Look up computer parts used in your yellowpages.

Sound: doesn’t really matter, if you get a package deal, it should come equiped and ready.

Physical interface: make sure you have an optical mouse. If you touch type (don’t we all?) I would highly suggest the ergonomic Microsoft keyboard.

Package deals: Dude, you don’t need a Dell. Dell offers alot of great packages, but I would suggest shopping around some smaller stores. Alot of places will sell you a package. I know, I know, “where’s my tech support”. The likely hood is when something actually breaks on your computer it will be time to get a new one (2 years from now).

lastly, if you want to get really techy, check out a site like They have all kinds of equipment reviews. Or…buy a Mac.


Look for a system that has at least 512MB DDR RAM preferably.
You want a good Processor (Min 1.5GHz but dont pay for the Best, not worth it. If you can, 2-3GHz)

Here is something you need. Twin piggybacked Hard Drives.
LocalDrive, doesnt really matter, 10GIG - 20GIG (This one will do the work for the system and store progs)

2nd Drive. This is your work storage drive so get it as large as you need.
Organising and maintaining the drives is important.

Graphics Card, Animation? ‘Pure Render’ Cards £2500 Eight chips, masses of RAM. MAYA Support only, i think?

If you are doing limited pres renderings in MAX, Min 128MB RAM- 256 If poss. Make sure the Card has a fast bus speed 550MHz + NVidia Chips on most cards. Open GL 8x AGP or PCI

Windows 2000 Pro - Simpe, reliable, my choice
Windows XP- Arty farty, tends to crash more often, i think it runs more background crap so beware on slower machine. Works real well with some programs though.

Plenty of USB ports, Firewire, etc. You never know…

Internet access on a system running CAD is a big issue.
Obviously Internet security is important, but it should be turned off when using CAD. The two dont like each other very much. Especially Norton. Constantly scanning work. Sucks processor power.

Broadband DSL Modem

Good Image management monitor (Cant advise well, sorry)

Hope this helps