Build Help - Cheap Photo Editing

Hello - been reading and searching the boards recently and have come across some great info, yet nothing recent seems to quite match my needs. Simply put, I am considering moving from a MacBook (C2D 2.0 with 4GB Ram) to a desktop for just my photo processing needs - RAW files, Lightroom, PSElements, and a few other photo specific programs. That's it. I will be using a netbook for other day to day duties and Internet surfing. I considered a new (actually refurb) Mini - C2D 2.0 4 GB RAM - but realize the performance will be very similar to what I am coming from. I also realize that I don't need a Mac anymore. It seems that I can build a pretty competent system for what I want to do for less than the Mini ~$600. Ideally, I want to be close to $400.

Considering I have multiple 500GB 7200 hard drives, an IPS display, I think it is quite possible to get close to $400, maybe less?

I am looking at two AMD processors for no particular reason other than good reviews and they are cheap:

1. AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200 Brisbane 2.7GHz - $56 (newegg)
2. AMD Phenom 8650 Toliman 2.3GHz 3 - $79 (newegg)

Not sure on motherboards. I would be interested in a micro atx build to keep the size down, but I do realize that may increase the cost and limit the choices. I really only have a desire for two hard drives in the case - a 500GB HD (which I have) for photos and a 10K rpm boot drive (which I will need to buy).

1. Western Digital Raptor WD740ADFD 74GB 10000 RPM - $80 (newegg)

I figure 4 GB (2x2GB) of dual channel RAM is going to run about $50 give or take. Will I see any benefit going with 8GB of RAM for what I want to do? With my current Macbook, I think the processor and 5400K hard drive contribute more to the slow speed than 4GB of RAM.

I am going to use Win 7 RC since I have really enjoyed it - very similar in feel to OSX. I will buy that license later, so that does not have to be in the budget.

Any assistance on helping to complete this build? I am not a complete newbie at this, but would prefer guidance in selection well matched components for what I am trying to accomplish. Again, I'd prefer to use a micro atx case (either cube or some type of slim tower), but if I can gain performance or save a considerable amount of money, I may be OK with giving this up. I am not married to a processor - I just thought the two above might be good values from what I have read.

Thanks,

Joe
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  1. I think the 5200 Brisbane would fit your needs. Regarding a motherboard...here are some ASUS boards to consider:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=2010200022%2050001315%201070930149&name=AM2%2b%2fAM2

    4 gigs of dual channel memory should be good; agree that 8 gigs isn't necessary unless you find a great deal for later use.

    Someone mentioned to me that a 7200 rpm WD with 32mb cache would be almost as fast and you could get more storage for less.

    Good luck
  2. Motherboards
    GIGABYTE GA-MA780G-UD3H AM2+/AM2 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128382

    ASUS M4A78-EM AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131384

    And you won't see any benefit for 8GB of RAM. 4GB is good already.
  3. Thank you for the replies. Good to know that I can save $50 by not going for 8GB RAM at this time. I appreciate the links to the mother boards. Right now my biggest hang up is trying to figure out what case to go with. I want simple, clean, and compact - but my budget doesn't allow for that!
  4. cmichael138 said:

    Someone mentioned to me that a 7200 rpm WD with 32mb cache would be almost as fast and you could get more storage for less.

    Good luck


    On second look - I think this might be a good idea. For the same price as the 10K drive, I can pick up a 750GB 32MB cache WD Black. I can partition it 250/500 and use the 250 for the boot/applications and the 500 for photos. That way I can continue my current archiving system with multiple 500GB back-ups and only have a need for 1 HD in the case. I have many more 'slim' options using only 1 drive.
  5. This is what I am thinking about right now...



    Yes? No? Alternative suggestions. Seems like a decent build for a cheap price.
  6. ^ Change the CPU to this...
    Better than the 5200...
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103300

    And change the HDD to 640GB version as they are newer than the 750GB version and are more efficient...
  7. gkay09 said:
    ^ Change the CPU to this...
    Better than the 5200...
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103300

    And change the HDD to 640GB version as they are newer than the 750GB version and are more efficient...


    I took your advice on the CPU and drive. What do you think now? Should I go ahead and buy everything? Any more changes I should make?

  8. Do you really want to stick with that microATX case...
    It would give problems when you want to upgrade your PC components as you would little or no room left for additional components and heat might be a major concern...
  9. gkay09 said:
    Do you really want to stick with that microATX case...
    It would give problems when you want to upgrade your PC components as you would little or no room left for additional components and heat might be a major concern...


    It doesn't have to be that case. I am trying to keep the case and power supply under about $80-90 and I'd prefer to have something slim for on the desk top. Do you have any suggestions? My biggest concern with that case is the power supply and the limited options to upgrade that case.
  10. ^Good that you asked....
    This the best case + PSU that you could get for about $80...
    The case and the PSU are very highly rated and the PSU has 80+ efficiency...
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.193753
  11. And that PSU can even run a discrete graphics card - Upto HD 4850....
  12. OK. I think I have made my final decision. I understand this build is not very interesting to most since it is simple, cheap, and not geared towards gaming. However, I am on a quest to build a very capable photo editing pc with little out of pocket. I will post my 'cart' below for (hopefully) final critique. Since I can't find a slim case that will be reliable and inexpensive, I am going to reuse a Thermaltake Soprano case that I have sitting around and replace the aging power supply. I will also grab the 3.5" card reader I have in that case, as well as ad one of my many 500GB HDD in my possession to use as a back-up to the drive below. I plan on partitioning the 640GB HDD into 140/500 and use the 140 for OS/apps and the 500 for photos. The second 500 will be the 1st back-up.

    I think this represents the best use of $350.



    BTW, I will be over clocking this to 3.0 on stock cooling as this seems like a no brainer.
  13. ^ Nice choices...Good luck with your build... :)
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