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Digital Photography Build

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April 22, 2007 7:16:17 PM

This computer will be used primary for a home photography business. All comments/advice is appreciated. TYIA.

Processor
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+ Windsor 2.6GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM2 Processor - Retail - $169.99

Motherboard
MSI K9N SLI Platinum Socket AM2 NVIDIA nForce 570 SLI MCP ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail - $124.99
[OR]
MSI K9A Platinum Socket AM2 ATI CrossFire Radeon Xpress 3200 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail - $129.99

Video Card
EVGA 256-P2-N624-AR GeForce 7900GS 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 KO Video Card - Retail - $139.99 (after $15.00 MIR)
[OR]
SAPPHIRE 100176L Radeon X1950PRO 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Video Card - Retail - $134.99 (after $20.00 MIR)

Memory
Patriot eXtreme Performance 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail - $125.99 (after $50.00 MIR)

Storage
Western Digital Raptor WD740ADFD 74GB 10,000 RPM 16MB Cache Serial ATA150 Hard Drive - OEM - $139.99 (after $20.00 after MIR)
Seagate ST3500601XS-RK 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache eSATA External Hard Drive - Retail - 146.99

Monitor
2007WFP Wide-Screen Black Flat Panel Monitor, LCD with Height Adjustable Stand - $359.99

Comes out to around $1,200 but S&H and tax (when applicable) is not included. I am trying to decide whether to go with ATi or nVidia, which will also determine what motherboard I will use. Suggestions for case, cooling, DVD burner, or anything else I would need that I can not think of at the moment would be greatly appreciated. I am also planning on running Vista Home Edition on this machine as well. Thanks for taking a look.
April 22, 2007 8:07:48 PM

Don't get the 74GB Raptor. For some reason, it is quite a bit more expensive per GB than the 150GB or even the 36GB.

You can get a 150GB Raptor (retail) from Micro Center for $169 right now.
April 22, 2007 8:23:55 PM

Good point, I am changing it right now to the 150GB version. Certainly worth an extra $40 for double the internal storage.
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April 22, 2007 8:47:18 PM

Looks good. But I would change the CPU to a E6300/6600( or even a E4300 if you are willing to OC) and a motherboard to a DS3. Go with the x1950PRO. IMO the Raptors are quite unnecessary for a video editing setup and I would rather spend that $ on a bigger harddrive.
April 22, 2007 8:48:52 PM

You should probably get more storage than that. You will fill that space up pretty quick if you will be using RAW image files.

Unless you're going to use external storage. Burning them to DVDs is not ver efficient.
April 22, 2007 8:52:18 PM

I have the 500 GB External to go along with the 150GB internal Raptor, and I will probably be yanking out an old 160GB internal and sticking it in there as well, which means I should have around 800GB in storage.

Also, in response to Shadow703793, are the Intel's alot better for digital photography than the AMD's? I wasn't really sure on that one, I have more experience with building gaming desktops than ones designed for digital photography. Thanks.
April 22, 2007 9:27:05 PM

i would go with a different set up. for the supposed purpose of that computer you could and should go in a diff direction. intel's are better at encoding so i would go for an e4300. the ds3 is a very stable board that should give you options. instead of getting a raptor, spend it on an internal 500 gig hdd for storage. you spoke of a spare 160 gig. that can hold ur operating system and programs. (might wanna jus splurge the 50 dollars and get a new 160 gig depending on age) ur gonna be dealing with a lot of raw files and size should be ur priority. maybe even use the second 500 gig in a raid 1 configuration so that u have a backup. go for the x1950 although imo i think its overkill and a passively cooled 7600gt should suit ur needs. a suggestion to increase productivity is go for 2 19 inch monitors and run them as dual screens.
April 22, 2007 9:31:19 PM

Taking into consideration some of the suggestions, and the fact that this is my first time building a system for digital photography, here is what I have come up with on my 2nd try:

Processor
Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz 4M shared L2 Cache LGA 775 Processor - Retail - $235.00

Motherboard
GIGABYTE GA-965P-DS3 (rev. 1.3) LGA 775 Intel P965 Express ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail - $109.99

Video Card
EVGA 256-P2-N541-T2 GeForce 7600GS 256MB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail - $69.99 (after $20.00 MIR)

Memory
Patriot eXtreme Performance 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail - $125.99 (after $50.00 MIR)

Storage
Western Digital Raptor WD1500ADFD 150GB 10,000 RPM 16MB Cache Serial ATA150 Hard Drive - OEM - $179.99 (after $30.00 MIR)
Seagate ST3500601XS-RK 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache eSATA External Hard Drive - Retail - $146.99

Monitor
2007WFP Wide-Screen Black Flat Panel Monitor, LCD with Height Adjustable Stand - $359.99

I know the HD is a point of contention, but I have always read and heard that it is good to have a really fast primary HD and than just having a bunch of huge secondary or external HDs. Dunno, I guess I will have to do a bit more research on that. Also changed th processor/MB to Intel and downgraded the video card even more. Let me know how this revised one looks. Also, any advice on Cases, cooling, power supplies, or anything else I may need is appreciated. Thanks alot.
April 22, 2007 9:33:13 PM

The 320Gb drives seem to offer the most storage per buck given current prices. Given that single image files will not fill a whole disc using a couple of 320s would give the most storage for the money as a pair can be had for the same price as a single 500 which still carry a bit of a premium.

RAID is an option although perhaps in this case more trouble than its worth.
April 22, 2007 9:43:30 PM

as for cases, i hate recommending certain cases becuz i feel its the most personal decision about a computer. however, i do suggest getting an antec, lian-li or silverstone case as they all are very easy to work with, quiet and have good air flow. as for power supplies i suggest a 500 watt seasonic, silverstone or corsair. they are more expensive by 10 or 20 dollars over such manufacturers like thermaltake or antec but their power supplies are top notch.
April 22, 2007 9:48:09 PM

personalyl i would say stay with your AMD system, because you want 100%data integrity and 100% stability, and you aren't going to get that if you overclock your processor, you'll get close, but not 100%, and you need that 100%, so i would go for the amd system.
April 22, 2007 9:57:03 PM

well getting a core 2 processor doesnt immediately mean it is going to be overclocked. and you only lose stability if you improperly overclock. you can have a completely stable system if you overclock your processor properly. the ds-3 was chosen because on top of it being a tremendous overclocking board it also has a lot of features and offers pretty good stability and options. the e6600 is a good choice because it would speed up downtime while encoding over an amd which usually doesnt encode files as fast as intel.
April 22, 2007 10:24:54 PM

I would go for a Core 2 E4300, because photo editing (I think) doesn't take up much processor usage (though it depends how heavy you are on the effects). I have a friend who's a semipro photographer and he's still using a 2.4GHz Pentium 4. You might want to wait because Intel's new Core 2's haven't really hit the market yet and I hear there will be price cuts.

My friend is using a pair of 500GB WD MyBook drives as a primary storage and a backup (photos actually do seem to take up a lot of space). I would go for two internal 320GB drives because as AudioVoodoo said, they have the best bang for the buck. Maybe use one to back up the photos from the other. I like Hitachi for hard drives, but that's more a matter of personal preference. I heard from someone that IBM used Hitachi hard drives and so I trust them to be more reliable. I would skip the WD Raptor. It's too expensive and won't afford much performance for photo editing.

The 7600GS should be good--it will handle photo editing easily.

I don't know if Patriot makes good memory, but I've had good luck with Corsair XMS. It might be more expensive.

I agree that cases are pretty personal and that Antec is good. I have a Thermaltake Soprano, and I like it, but I'm starting to be annoyed by the door on the front and my next case won't have a door.

For motherboard, my friend has a Gigabyte which is very badly designed (NB heatsink too small, and he's a gamer and can't overclock). I think that varies from board to board, though. Tom's said the MSI P6N Platinum was a good mainstream motherboard, so you might want to look at that.

I think the monitor will be one of the most important components, because you need good color reproduction. I don't know how that Dell monitor is.
April 23, 2007 1:44:25 AM

Quote:
You might want to wait because Intel's new Core 2's haven't really hit the market yet and I hear there will be price cuts.


Core 2 have been out for a while now (well awhile for the computer industry anyways) They are proven overclockers and are great CPUs. However, as of right now IF YOU ARE NOT overclocking your CPU AMD is a better buy for the lower end.

Gigabyte mobos are great. The DS3 is a proven contender in that price region.

Patriot memory isnt bad memory however if you are really overcloking alot their are better brands to get for that.

Dell monitors are great but you many save some money if you ge a samsung.
April 23, 2007 1:48:54 AM

Just for some clarification, I am NOT planning on overclocking anything at all, I just need the computer for a home photography business. I'm aware I will need to calibrate the monitor after I buy it, I am more concerned about the hardware than anything else. Thanks for all of the good replies so far, they have been helpful, I haven't researched for buying a new system for any reason in over 4 years, and never for digital photographer before. Thanks again.
April 23, 2007 1:54:50 AM

If you are not planing to overclock then it will prob be better for you to get an AMD CPU as of right now. This prob will change by tomorrow because of the price cuts but anyways. AMD does have a good outlook for upgradablity if that means anything and the motherboards are usually cheaper that an Intel motherboard.
April 23, 2007 8:28:33 PM

Yea, I really don't care about overclocking anything....I just have to get the storage situation figured out. Thanks again, when I get a chance I will post my latest build later.
May 1, 2007 2:10:15 AM

I worded my last post badly--what I meant about the Core 2's was that the second round of them (e4400, 6320, 6420) were not out yet. They are out now, and the price cuts have come. The E4300 is $116 now, which seems like a pretty good deal to me.
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