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PCs for Graphic Designers: the DIY Option

They say that graphic design has two eras: before Photoshop and after Photoshop. The famous software has indeed revolutionized the graphic design world. The Photoshop of today is light years away from the version started in 1987 by Thomas Knoll and John Knoll.

For graphic designers, particularly those doing independent consulting work, the challenge was how to keep up with the rapid software updates without buying a new Mac or PC every year. Some of these professionals have taken the approach of building their computers from scratch.

Understanding Your Purpose

You’re probably using it for work. But you also need to think about how else you might use your PC. For example, if you play games during your downtime, you might be interested in the specs or requirements of gaming computers.

The point is, while you should focus on building a unit for graphic design purposes, you should maximize your build to accommodate the requirements for other uses. Otherwise, you might as well buy the one on sale.

Doing the Build

Big brands advertise the latest and most powerful chip. But then you will find out that the RAM can’t efficiently run photo-editing software like Photoshop. This is what’s cool about building your own from scratch. Here are some of the considerations:

graphic designers

  1. Computing Power. The CPU is like the engine of your car. It manages the manipulation of colors, images, texts, and other 2D work during photo editing. The CPU handles all of your instructions. This is the first component that you should decide on for your build. Note that experts recommend a “single-threaded performance” over a “multi-threaded performance” CPU. Consult an IT hardware professional before you make a decision.
  2. The Motherboard. The motherboard is what gives you flexibility. The motherboard dictates the number of RAM slots, disk drives, audio devices, or Wi-Fi capability. No budget for two RAMs? Buy a motherboard with two slots and then just upgrade later.
  3. Memory. RAM is probably the PC part with less fuss to install. Essentially, the higher the RAM, the better the performance of your PC, particularly if you’re running several applications at the same time. You’ll need to choose between dual and quad-channel. For Photoshop, think long term and go for 16GB. Experts say that an 8-8 configuration produces better performance. But if you’re aiming for 32GB at some point, you need to discard your 8GB sticks.
  4. Graphics Card. This can boil down to your preference or idiosyncrasy. Choosing the low end of the spectrum will have no significant impact on your photo editing task workflow. A higher-end version, however, makes image and color representations on the monitor more vivid. Do you know how some people add a spoiler to their regular sedan just because they think it’s cool? It’s like that. If you aren’t racing and driving fast all the time, you don’t need it.

You’ll have to think of the size of your hard drive and power supply. Make sure that all the components are compatible. Seek the help of experts before finalizing your build.

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