Usually, as I have experienced in the past as well, “consumer-grade” computers tend to have problems with stability (that is “crashing”) and speed when it comes to graphics work and Photoshop. So, this time around the idea was to get a stable and fast computer. After some research, I decided to have a custom built system with a motherboard recommended for gaming. Yes, this does sound unusual, but motherboards made for gaming are usually very stable, specially when picking other components purely based on manufacturers’ recommendations, but without having a chance to test them.
The system specifications are:
Motherboard: Asus Maximus IV - Gene-Z (Intel Z68 chipset)
Processor: Intel Core i5 2400 3.10GHz Quad Core Processor
RAM: 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3 2133 memory (Mushkin)
Video card: EVGA 01G-P3-1556-KR GeForce GTX 550 Ti
Hard drive (boot): Western Digital Caviar Black WD5002AALX SATA III
Hard drives (storage): Two 1TB Samsung EcoGreen F2 HD103SI drives in RAID-1 array, and One 2TB Samsung EcoGreen F4 HD204UI drive*.
CD/DVD drive: Samsung DVD writer with Lightscribe support
Power Supply: OCZ ZS Series 550W
Computer Case: Antec Performance One Series P183 Mid Tower
Monitor: Dell U2410
Keyboard: Logitech UltraX (wired)*
Mouse: Logitech MX310 (wired)*
Speakers: Creative (not high-end)*
Software: Windows 7 Professional 64bit, Adobe Photoshop CS5, Microsoft Office Professional 2010, Avast (free) antivirus, Nero Essentials (supplied with CD drive).
Printers: HP PSC 1220 all in one for regular use and Epson Stylus Pro 3880 for photo printing.
*Recycled from old system.
So far, in to one week, the system works flawless. It is noticeably faster compared to my old computer, which was a dual core, Intel Pentium based system. The best change is the new Dell U2410 24 inch monitor (which replaced an old 19” LCD monitor). I did quite a bit of search prior to buying this monitor. The finalists in my list were Dell U2410 and Asus PA264Q (but decided against buying the other one because of so many bad reviews, specially about back-light bleeding around the frame). This Dell U2410 is absolutely fantastic. It is very easy to setup and comes factory calibrated, with a drivers disk with installation instructions and calibration report. Dell also provides a zero dead-pixel warranty on this one, which comes with a 03 year warranty. It is an IPS panel, with an anti-glare coating and non-glossy frame, which I really like. I use SRGB profile, which is very easy to set in the monitor.