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New Build needs expert advice.

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March 17, 2008 8:13:09 PM

This will be my first ever build, so I need some help. A lot, probably.
What I'll be using this build for is heavy Photoshopping and a lot of multi-tasking. That's why so many hard drives. I am also interested in overclocking, although don't know anything about it so far.

On the video, I read at Realtimesoft.com that for SLI mobos you can run Two PCIE vid cards for multiple monitors so long as you don't run them in SLI. I'm guessing that with this board I could run two PCIE cards, as well. Does anyone know for sure if this will work? Right now on my Dell E510 I run a Geforce 7600GT and one PCI card for my four monitors. I'd like to do this with PCIE instead of the PCI.

Anyways, here's my list for the new build:
Mobo:
Gigabyte GA-EX38-DQ6 LGA
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E168...

CPU:
Intel Q9450 C2 Quad BX80569Q9450

CPU Cooler:
Arctic cooling freezer 7 pro
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E168...

Memory:
Crucial Ballistix two 2x1GB DDR2
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E168...

Video Card:
8800GT EVGA
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E168...

Case:
Thermaltake Armor black full tower
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E168...

PSU:
Antec 850 w
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E168...

DVD Burner:
Lite-on 20xDVD+- Sata
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E168...

HDD's:
OS and Photoshop Scratch---Seagate Barracuda ES.2 250GB 32MB cache

Raid I for Data-- Two Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 750GB 32MB cache

Storage and backup-- two Seagate SV35.2 500GB 7200 16MB cache

Vista Ultimate 64 bit

Am I missing anything? Appreciate any help.


More about : build expert advice

March 18, 2008 11:47:17 AM

SLI is for nvidia chipsets whereas Crossfire is for Intel & AMD chipsets. The board you picked out is X38 made by Intel so it supports only Crossfire.

I do not know if you can run multiple monitors on SLI/CF, but I don't believe Photoshop will benefit from SLI/CF. It's print/web work. Just 2D. The cpu & ram will be the most important components. For print, the image in TIFF can be a hundred megabytes.

Go with a quad core cpu & 4-8 GB ram. Scrap the 8800gt which will be a waste if you don't game or do 3d rendering. Put the money on getting a better cpu & more ram. A faster harddisk. RAID would be great. Back up your work to DVD-/+/-RAM (rewritable ~1000 times). LG does DVD-RAM. No special drivers needed. Just Nero or Ashampoo which burn DVD-RAM, BD, etc.

If you get 8gb ram, Vista may need an update.

Don't worry about overclocking. Worry about putting it together.
March 18, 2008 12:50:09 PM

Let's see... If you're planning on driving 4 monitors you'll either need a quad graphics card or else 2x dual cards. With the X38 motherboard you should be able to run 2 PCIE video cards in non-crossfire mode.

RAM is cheap. I'd get a 2x2gb kit instead of a 2x1gb kit. That way if you decide to ramp up to 8gb total you can just get another 2x2 kit.

The power supply probably has more total power than you'll need but I'm not impressed with it having 4 separate 12v rails. I'm a big fan of PC Power & Cooling and I think the 750W Silencer would work well in this rig. It's not modular though so if you've got your heart set on a modular power supply you'll have to look elsewhere.

If you decide to stick with the 2x1gb kit for RAM then I'd go with 32-bit Vista. With 4gb of RAM you pretty much break even between 32 and 64 bit versions as the 64 bit version will see about 500mb more RAM but will also use more RAM. If you're planning to eventually go 8gb of RAM definitely go with 64 bit though.

@Akhilles, he does have a quad core CPU selected. I do agree with you on the 4-8gb of RAM.
Related resources
March 18, 2008 12:55:15 PM

Even if youhave one graphic card with 2 DVI outputs you can run 2 monitord
If you do not game no need for SLI , It's a waste of money
Get at least 4GB Ram
Not quite sure if Photoshop can run 4 quores
Get faster HDD 150GB Western Digital Raptor
QX9450 seems OK
March 18, 2008 2:26:05 PM

The only reason I'm looking at an SLI board is for the two PCIE slots. The GA-DS4 x38 is cheaper at 206.99, and has two PCIEx16 slots, but it doesn't support PCIE 2.0. I'd like to leave my options open for that 2.0 upgrade.

I agree with you guys that to go with 2x2gb is a better idea, in fact I may spring for the whole 8gb, because I want to run 64 bit anyways. I need more Ram than the 3gb that Vista will use. If MS wasn't looking to downgrade support for XP I'd stick with that instead of Vista., just go 64bit.

I'll get the PC Power and Cooling 750 watt Silencer. Been reading about it.

The Raptor; Is it really faster than Seagates 32MB cache or WD AAKS? And would you partion it for the OS and PS Scratch, or leave it as one volume?
March 18, 2008 3:51:19 PM

The general consensus is that raptors aren't really worth it nowadays. I have 2 set in raid 0 and they are speedy, but fairly loud. The newer seagates seem to match them fairly well speed-wise.

Also, that's a crossfire board, not SLI. For you this doesn't really matter. It will still run any 2 PCIE video cards and allow you to run 4 monitors.

The 8800GT would be overkill for photoshop. You could probably drop down to an ATI 3850 card and save a few bucks while still providing a decent card. Heck even the 3850 is probably overkill for what you need, but I haven't had much experience with the lower end cards.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
March 18, 2008 4:05:27 PM

Thanks. I realize that its a crossfire board. Don't know why I said SLI, but for this purpose it means the same thing I guess.

I read also that Raptors are noisy and that the new Seagates are right up there with speed.

What about the 9600GT? Its cheaper and is still nVidia. I'm going to pair it with my existing GT7600.

Am reading now about 32 vs 64bit and Photoshop. It seems 32 bit right now is a better way to go because of the driver issues and that PS only addresses so much space. Its just that I figured PS would soon provide upddates to take advantage of the extra Ram. Any thoughts?
March 18, 2008 5:31:49 PM

I bet the 9600GT would be fine.

I'm not a PhotoShop expert so I'm not going to hazard a guess on your last question.
March 18, 2008 6:03:55 PM

Stick with xfire and ATI. DX10.1 is a great fix. ATI multiple display is also ALOT more friendly then Nvidia in that respect. I can run 4 displays on my xfire setup in whatever config I want at all different resolutions. You can save all your config and change it with a click. With Nvidia I have to manualy do everything. Nothing resizes when moving from window to window properly. Its buggy as hell. The ATI option is a big cooler atm as well. Those 8800gts are VERY loisy and hot. Your fan in SLI will be running at 100% 99% of the time.
March 19, 2008 12:39:47 AM

fotoeye said:
The only reason I'm looking at an SLI board is for the two PCIE slots. The GA-DS4 x38 is cheaper at 206.99, and has two PCIEx16 slots, but it doesn't support PCIE 2.0. I'd like to leave my options open for that 2.0 upgrade.


The 'E' version of that is 2Xpcie2.0, I don't think itsays that at newgg but it is;
http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Products/Motherboard/Product...


March 19, 2008 11:30:16 AM

To be honest, an onboard gpu is fine for Photoshop as long as there's no 3d rendering plug-ins. I am thinking of exiting pc gaming due to cost. I leave the pc on & the gpu still draw wattage as much as it needs at idle. I do photoshopping & stuff like that.

I would get the lowest priced card with 2 DVI outputs. DVI can be converted to D-SUB or HDMI with an adapter. Even a low-end geforce 7100 will do. If you buy a powerful gpu, it's gonna have a fan. It's gonna make a noise the whole time you're working on the pc. Even if it doesn't, it'll attract dust to the fan blades & heatsink.
March 19, 2008 2:52:52 PM

akhilles said:
To be honest, an onboard gpu is fine for Photoshop as long as there's no 3d rendering plug-ins. I am thinking of exiting pc gaming due to cost. I leave the pc on & the gpu still draw wattage as much as it needs at idle. I do photoshopping & stuff like that.

I would get the lowest priced card with 2 DVI outputs. DVI can be converted to D-SUB or HDMI with an adapter. Even a low-end geforce 7100 will do. If you buy a powerful gpu, it's gonna have a fan. It's gonna make a noise the whole time you're working on the pc. Even if it doesn't, it'll attract dust to the fan blades & heatsink.


Akhilles, I know a less powerful card will do it for PS, but I already have a GT7600 and like it. As far as fans go I have lots of them in the room, including those behind my montiors. That white noise doesn't bother me.
March 20, 2008 4:42:32 AM

To OP:

I think that it would be better if you get an X48 Mobo instead of getting X38. Gigabyte GA-X48-DQ6 OR ASUS ROG Rampage Formula are the best choice for Penryn-based system. Since Intel Q9450 has only 8 multiplier for overclocking, it be wiser to get the latest good X48 mobo and you might probably be able to hit more than 500 FSB. If you are on a budget then X38 is still a good choice but not the best one for overclocking Q9450. X48 is binned for 1600 FSB and it is meant for Q9450, designed for the Penryn system. If you wanted to overclock Q9450 then X48 Mobo would be very good for you.

It would be great if you can also wait for the upcoming ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 which would be 50% faster than the current Radeon HD 3870 X2 and you will also aquire DirectX 10.1. It will come around June-July 2008.

Good Luck!
March 22, 2008 5:13:36 PM

I've reworked my build list, although still undecided about the Vid card. Might go with 9600GT. Also if the GA-X48-DQ6 board comes out soon I'll go with that. Otherwise it'll be this stuff:

MB:
Gigabyte GA-EX38-DS4

CPU:
Intel Q9450

CPU Cooler:
Zalman CNPS9700 110mm 2 ball

Memory:
Crucial Ballistix Two-2x2 GB DDR@800 (PC2 6400)

Video Card:
8800 GT EVGA 512-P#-N801 Geforce

Case:
Already purchased-Lian Li PC-A71 black

PSU:
PC Power and Cooling Silencer 750 Quad EPS 12V

DVD Burner:
Lite-on 20xDVD+- w/lightscribe Bld Sata LH-20A1L-06

HDD's:
OS and apps and PS scratch (one partition for OS and apps, one for scratch, and the remainder for storage) -Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 500GB 32MB cache
Storage and Backup - Two Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 750GB 32MB cache

OS - Vista Ultimate w/SP1 64 bit Not buying the OEM for this.

So far I've gotten a lot of helpful advice, and am open for more. Thanks.

!