Computer Questions


I’ve been asked a few times in the past couple weeks to make a recommendation for computers. Photoshop and digi scrapping require a somewhat upgraded computer, since PS by itself takes a lot of power, and with digi scrapping you are usually working with very large files.

So if you’re looking for recommendations for a new computer, this list of specs might help you. However, I have some biases I want to get out of the way first:

  • I recommend a desktop over a laptop. Laptops are delicate, have lower quality screens, and are much more expensive for the same amount of computing power. That said, only you can decide if a laptop is right for you.
  • I’m a Windows user, so I won’t be able to help you with recommendations for a Mac. However, the specs themselves (hard drive space, processor speed, memory) will be the same on either platform.
  • I’m a fan of Dell computers. We run 4 of them here at home and have been very happy with their performance for years. That’s why the link at the bottom of this list is to a Dell computer.

Now that we have my biases out of the way.. I’ll share with you what I consider (backed up by Jared, who is a programmer and wholehearted geek) to be the best computer you can get for photo editing/digi scrapping for under $1000.00. If you’re in the market, I suggest you look for the following (this is a Dell we put together just to get the specs right):

Dimension E521 Qty    1  
  AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 Dual-Core 4600+, Genuine Windows® XP Media Center Edition 2005 Unit Price   $989.00  
space Qualifies for an Express Upgrade to Windows Vista Home Premium
Expires on March 15 2007  
Catalog Number:  29 DDCWBA3
 Module  Description Show Details
Base AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 Dual-Core 4600+
Operating System Genuine Windows® XP Media Center Edition 2005
Memory 2GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz- 2DIMMs
Keyboard Dell USB Keyboard and Dell 2-button Scroll Mouse
Monitor 19 inch E197FP Analog Flat Panel
Video Card 256MB NVIDIA Geforce 7300LE TurboCache
Hard Drive 320GB Serial ATA Hard Drive (7200RPM) w/DataBurst Cache™
Floppy Drive and Media Reader No Floppy Drive Included
Mouse Mouse included in Wireless, Laser or Bluetooth Package
Network Interface Integrated 10/100 Ethernet
Modem 56K PCI Data Fax Modem
Adobe Software Adobe® Acrobat® Reader 7.0
Sound Cards Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio
Speakers No speakers (Speakers are required to hear audio from your system)
Office Productivity Software (Pre-Installed) No productivity suite- Includes Microsoft Works 8. DOES NOT INCLUDE MS WORD
Security Software No Security Subscription
Warranty and Service 1Yr Ltd Warranty and At-Home Service
Internet Access Service 6 Months of America Online Membership Included
Miscellaneous Award Winning Service and Support
Future Operating Systems Windows Vista™ Capable
Upgrade to Windows Vista No Express Upgrade to Windows Vista Selected
Dell Digital Entertainment Trial pack- Basic and trial products from Corel and Yahoo
Labels Vista Capable Sticker


Unfortunately, Dell doesn’t allow you to customize computers and then send the entire link, so if you wanted this exact machine, you’ll have to go to the Dell link here to get started customizing (most of the stuff in this list isn’t the default):

The three main things you want to look for in a computer you’ll use for digi scrapping are:

  • processor speed (this computer actually has two separate processors, for extra power),
  • memory (this computer has 2GB of RAM - you should have AT LEAST 1 GB in order to run Photoshop, but the extra GB won’t hurt a bit),
  • and hard drive capacity (this computer has 320 GB).


This list also assumes that you have computer speakers, Photoshop, and MS Office, so they aren’t included. A 19-inch flat-panel monitor is, though. 

I know that not everyone has the means to upgrade their computer. I hope that you don’t take this as my encouragement to overspend. But if you’re in the market, here is what I recommend. Have a wonderful day and Happy Photoshopping! :D 

Jessica Sprague7 Comments