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There is a budget though, and to stay under it I am faced with either sticking with 512 RAM or an analogue monitor.
Which would you go for - double the memory or a digital monitor?
I do mainly web design with a reasonable, but not huge amount of graphic work. No gaming to speak of. Never use the computer for listening to music or watching DVDs or anything like that.
Of course it is an advantage to have a fairly good and large monitor, but the really important thing for a webmaster's monitor is to have a realistic impression of what the visitors will be able to see. A very good or very large monitor might trick you into some designs that would be useless for many visitors.
Very true, especially if you play with decent log files. If you dont, I guess you wont save much money on RAM anyways.
I would not go for a LCD monitor yet. I use 4 of them on my main Mac for general purpose computing. My accomplice web designers wont touch them with a ten feet pole, especially if they do ocasional print jobs. I would do as troels_nybo_nielsen suggests : By a high quality huge CRT monitor that will outlast your box. It's a wise investment.
Erm, sorry MG, but i think that's the opposite of what Troels suggested. If you run a huge / high res monior you risk designing your web site one or two numbers to large. That's exactly my obervation. All my webdesign is done with two monitors - one large for the text, graphics and editing stuff (enough space for all the menus and tabs) but one 800x600 for all the browsing and browser testing. Look what's the most commonly used resolution and don't go above this. At least not if you don't need a bigger monitor for other reasons or if you don't have the budget for a second monitor.
abbeyvet, i asked what's your budget because if you don't need your pc for gaming and such but more for your design jobs, it might be a good idea to think about a mac. I'm serious! What's your budget?
Oops, your right Yidaki. But I stick to my idea of buying a huge monitor. Users dont have all those floating palettes in the way.
Your suggestion of buying a second monitor makes a lot of sense.
Obviously after 2+ decades using computers, you'd think I knew enough about ram to feel the same.
I went from 512meg to 1.5gig and can not detect a difference under 98 or xp. Granted I have a fast 130gig drive with 8meg cache and a 2.8amd - so it sort negates all the ram, but for the most part, it is indetectable between 512k and 1.5.
Go for the bigger monitor, or even dual monitors. You can have too much ram these days, but you can not have too big of a monitor (unless you have a jumbotron or something ;-)
Go for the bigger analog monitor over the LCD.
Then again I hope most people spend less then 16hours/day in front of an old crt ;)
it might be a good idea to think about a mac. I'm serious!
Oh my! I have been putting off getting this one, in spite of terrible performance from my current one, as I am dreading the couple of days it inevitably takes to get a new computer settled and all my stuff loaded up. Change of that magnitude is just waaaay too scary :O
My budget is around 1800-2000 Euro.
I am in Ireland, where US prices are a but a dream and I would as soon fly to the moon as open up my computer. That's why I am keen to get the memory thing right from the get go.
I am leaning towards the extra ram and the relatively cheapo screen.
I am looking at an LCD monitor one way or the other - but an analogue rather than a digital one. Reason for not staying with CRT is partly the many, many hours I spend looking at it, partly due to space - I work in a really teensy weensy home office. But am I getting the idea that this screen will be trouble?
Thanks for all your thoughts on this.
Sorry for the double post but the G4 1.25 GHz Dual / 512MB is at $1,924 [webmasterworld.com].
They are selling for even much less at auctions or special occasions.
No problem to find an up to date Mac together with a 17" screen for < $2,000.
And there's no better machine than a mac for web design imho.
>Change of that magnitude is just waaaay too scary
C'mon, you're a tough person, no!?
[edited by: Yidaki at 8:19 pm (utc) on Nov. 8, 2003]
Starting with the "Mac is better" idea... just use what you are used to. If you like paying double the money for a 'fashionable' box that will be ready for the skip in 2 years, get a Mac. PC's are MORE THAN fine for web design. Plus the guy just asked about memory or screen, he didn't ask what platform, keep the Mac evangelising out of it!
Memory... unless you will be editing audio or video, 512mb is more than enough. If you are on XP, load up all your programs ypou will be using, then load up something big to edit in each of them, then ctrl-alt-del once to see the task manager, then click the performance tab... in the box called 'physical memory' it will tell you how much you are using and how much is left. As an example, Dreamweaver + Photoshop + IE + Outlook + a FTP prog etc all open will never fill 512 unless you are editing a MASSIVE picture.
Screen... the best investment, a screen will outlast your computer two-fold at least in terms of usability. Get a QUALITY 17" CRT or a quality 15" LCD... CRT have better colour. I would also advise getting a QUALITY video card as well, get a Matrox G550 or above, it will totaly change the quality of picture and colour you see.
It's not that big a magnitude.
Look, they cost the same as a comparable (loaded) PC, it's just that you can't get a lower-end one-- they only come loaded.
When people say that they just want a computer they don't have to open up, etc., and they don't want to mess about with adding things on themselves, it's very hard for those among us who are entusiasts for that platform to refrain from suggesting it. I did, it was a very small adjustment to me, and I've been miles happier (and my productivity has skyrocketed) ever since. With a Mac, you know exactly what you're getting, and don't have to worry about it. As for sending it to the skip in 2 years, I've had many more hardware failures in PCs, and most of the Mac users i know have basements full of still-functional antiques that they just can't bear to throw out even though they've replaced them with much faster newer ones.
With that over with, I admit that yes, the original poster only asked a specific question, and so perhaps going on about switching platforms is a bit much. But it's certainly something to think about.
I don't care if it takes me a couple extra picoseconds to open my programs. What makes the biggest difference to me is that I enjoy looking at the thing. A large part of what has allowed me to be as productive a computer user as I am is that I really like my iMac's LCD screen (i adore the wide format-- extra storage for palettes, makes the whole screen seem even bigger than it is). I haven't had much trouble with the colors-- it suffices for me to email the graphic to a friend with a CRT and ask them to tell me if they like it. That's been fine. (Yes, the background of a website that looks "dusty" green on the LCD sort of looks "minty" green on the CRT. So you bother asking, sure. Or you keep the ancient CRT under your desk and when you need to be sure of a color, drag it out and hook it up.
So I'd push for the decent monitor.