Help me spec out a new work at home PC?

Nice tip, thanks!

Assuming it’s not too late, because I don’t feel like scrolling through the entire thread, you can find the minimum requirements for running Photoshop and Illustrator at Adobe. They also have a list of video cards that support some of their newer features.

Personally, I’d look for a least two steps up from the “minimum” requirements, since that usually means, “yeah, it’ll work, but you’ll tear your hair out waiting for it to do something even minorly complicated and still run the risk of everything crashing.”

So I’ve been spending my Friday night configuring my new machine for work. Fun!

I have about 90% of my software configuration set up. I have to say, I’m glad I sprang for 32GB of RAM, because with a bunch of programs running as I might have on a normal workday, I’m already at 33-37% memory capacity in task manager. CPU is barely bothered at 1-3% capacity though- it’s like, that all ya got? I would expect that since I’m not really doing anything with the programs right now, but my old machine would always be chugging along at like 2/3 of max CPU.

Thanks again for this tip-- I found a setting that was actually useful: ‘Smart’, where you can set it to go from green → yellow → red according to temp or CPU load. That’s pretty cool.

Nice! Actual value from RGB lights. Will wonders never cease.

How fast does Windows boot after a restart?

(There may be a fast boot feature enabled that makes turning the computer on boot much faster than restarting boots up. I’m asking about the slower restart boot time. I’m guessing under 30 seconds.)

I’m not sure of the restart vs. boot time, but both are ridiculously fast compared to what I’m used to. I’ll stopwatch the reboot speed next time and post it!

My favorite part of having a modern machine is how fast it boots. Booting my old budget box from the early 2010s, I wasn’t really booted until the mechanical hard drive stopped thrashing. It would let me try and do stuff like launch Firefox, but Firefox wouldn’t start loading until whatever thrashing the hard drive finished its thing. So my boot time was just over 4 minutes until I could start doing stuff, and everything was slow the first time until cached.

With this modern machine, not only does it get to the point where I can try to do stuff so much faster, but it’s immediately responsive even if the hard drive is still quite busy. Almost indistinguishable, actually. And there’s almost no difference between launching something the first time and then after it’s cached because the M.2 drive is just so ridiculously fast.

I timed until the tray icons finished loading, like the antivirus and whatever else. I think it was 27 seconds, but I’m not positive on that. (There’s a small chance it could have been 42. I can’t remember.) Fast boot makes turning it on like 12 to 15 seconds, but I disabled that because I like it turning it on being a full boot.

Oh speaking of antivirus these days, the general consensus seems to be that Windows Defender is good enough, just use that and you’ll be fine or at least good enough. It’s caught up to or even surpassed the good free alternatives.

So last night I put the computer through some paces. I tend to have a lot of programs open when I work, though recently I’ve had to be very judicious on that with my old computer. So I opened a LOT of programs, opened some BIG Photoshop files (one particular Art Director, don;t know what they do but their files tend to be hugely bloated, like 200MB). Did some work in different programs.

The temperature setting on the RGB fans turned out to be very useful (green is anything below ~45C, yellow is I thnk around 45-60C, and red is anything over.

I got the CPU up no higher ever than 16%, the memory up to 50%, and temp was mostly green but I was able to get it into yellow and even up into red a few times.

This morning I got an unsettling surpirse–I had shut down most of the programs and put it into sleep mode. I found this morning that it had wakened itself up, and it was in the red temp zone with the fan pretty loud (loud being relative-- a loud whisper). I checked Task Manager and the ‘Windows Module Installer Worker’ was using a lot of RAM, a good chunk of CPU (though total CPU was still only in the teens) and the power usage was ‘very high’. I googled a solution, found a fix to restart Windows Update in Services, which quieted down everything and now it’s purring away again in the green. But WTF.

Keep in mind that the thermal limit for your CPU is 95C (at which point it will start throttling to lower heat before ultimately turning itself off if necessary) so you still have a lot of safe working room over 60C in the red. You wouldn’t want to leave it at 92C constantly but it could spend its life at 72C and be perfectly fine. I guess I’m just saying not to start worrying each time the LEDs turn red.

If I was setting the temps, I’d probably put red at 80C+ which is where I’d start wondering what the heck the CPU is doing and if my cooling solution is working.

Edit: AMD previously responded to concerns about the high operating temperatures of the Zen 3 processor line with:

Yes. I want to be clear with everyone that AMD views temps up to 90C (5800X/5900X/5950X) and 95C (5600X) as typical and by design for full load conditions. Having a higher maximum temperature supported by the silicon and firmware allows the CPU to pursue higher and longer boost performance before the algorithm pulls back for thermal reasons.

Is it the same as Zen 2 or our competitor? No. But that doesn’t mean something is “wrong.” These parts are running exactly as-designed, producing the performance results we intend.

Thanks Jophiel, I had figured myself (or was maybe just hoping) that being ‘in the red’ was not necessarily bad. It’s good to hear that AMD CPUs are designed to handle high heat conditions. I’m not sure if I’m able to adjust the ‘red’ high heat setting in the Asus Smart settings, but if I can I will set red at 80+.

80° C is an excellent cutoff for red. Additionally, I would keep it green up to 50° C, then orange would be 50 to 80.

As for doing stuff on its own, there are various “Wake On…” settings in your BIOS you could play with to see if you could gain more control. I believe a windows update would be your network, which would likely be labeled Wake On LAN. I had to set Wake On USB to on so that my wireless keyboard and mouse would wake the computer up. Unfortunately that means they now also turn the computer on if I move the mouse when the computer is off. When USB wakes up my computer it wakes it up hard.

Temps set to 50-80 range for the yeliow zone. Thanks!

It really is cool that you’re getting tangible value out of your RGB. I like that a lot.

@solost, final verdict?

:+1: :-1:

I’ll give a final verdict after I’ve done a day or two of serious production work, but so far, all signs point to :+1:

I mean, unless it suddenly blows up on me, I can’t see any way it won’t be a 1000% improvement on my old machine.

So, after most of a day of work, it’s been effortless. No more opening a big Photoshop file and going to get coffee or something while I wait for it to open. No more random program freezing that could last 5 seconds or 5 minutes. Everything just works instantly. It’s like working at the speed of thought.

New z690 boards coming out in a month. Now I’m really rethinking my plan because the prices for those and DDR5 RAM is not outragous. My new plan is to get a z370 board ($70) and a 8700/9700/9700K if I can get one cheap. Transfer all the pieces of my current rig over (just an i3 3225) and then look to build a new rig in about 18 months when Raptor Lake had been out.

Awesome you are enjoying the new PC. That’s all that matters in the end.

Getting a new PC can be a revelation in how much faster stuff works.

I had to help a friend out on her 12+ year old PC and it was painful how slow things were. But, miraculously, it is still working and she is happy with it. But for me it was painful how long it took to do most anything (which honestly was not really long but the time lag was noticeable).

So I had to restart a couple times after a problem with my old wireless keyboard, and I timed it: 1 minute 9 seconds first time and 48 seconds for the second time. Plus about 20 more seconds for the left-handed configuration of my Kensington trackball mouse to to kick in. So not under 30 seconds, but still seems blazing fast to me. And once it’s restarted, reopening all my programs and getting back to work is quick and easy, just a breeze. Effortless.

ETA: damn wireless keyboard works ok for awhile, then the lag time becomes godawful slow. I had to switch to the crappy plugin keyboard that came with the computer, and the keys are closer together than I’m used to so I keep fat-fingering everything. I know, first world problems, right? Looks like I’m making a run to Staples to get a new keyboard at lunch.

For a proper comparison I just checked again. It took 27 seconds from choosing Restart from the start menu until the fresh boot actually started. I had the Windows Defender icon at 50 seconds (so 23 seconds to boot), then another 8 seconds until my final tray icon (X-Mouse Button Control) loaded in at 58 seconds.

So it seems right in line with your 69 and 48 seconds. I described what I meant poorly. (And it turns out the time I was thinking of was 23 seconds, not 27.) And agreed that it feels blazingly fast. So nice.

Restart and back to desktop with everything loaded in for me took 63 seconds.

Seems a common time for this (albeit our dataset is small).