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Photoshop CS4/Lightroom - battle of the builds!

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November 10, 2009 5:39:12 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Now

BUDGET RANGE: $2000 - 3000 (that's Canadian, though!)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Simultaneous Photoshop/Lightroom use with several images open at once and running other simple programs (internet etc) at the same time, eventual movie editing, surfing the net, listening to music, watching movies

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: speakers, additional hard drives (3 internal and one external to be swapped out from old system)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: ncix.com

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Canada

PARTS PREFERENCES: none

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1200

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: quiet as reasonably possible, would like it to last 3 to 4 years, unlikely to update components along the way unless really necessary (I said I would do that with my last computer and I didn't). Little knowledge of overclocking and no interest in "pushing the envelope".

Hi everyone! My first post here, so thanks for looking. I know this question has been asked before but things are changing so fast. I have been working on a build for a few weeks and I think that I've outlined what I'm using it for pretty well. My current computer is 3 years old and hanging on me a lot recently. Now that I have CS4 it's almost unusable!

Here is what I'm considering:

Intel Core i7 860 Quad Core Processor Lynnfield LGA1156 2.8GHZ Hyperthreading 8MB Cache Retail Box $354.99
http://www.ncix.com/products/productdetail2.php?noheade...

Noctua NH-U12P SE2 LGA775/1156/1366 AM2/AM3 I7/I5/PHENOM Heatpipe Cooler W/ 2XNH-P12 120MM Fans $79.99
http://www.ncix.com/products/productdetail2.php?noheade...

ASUS P7P55D LGA1156 P55 DDR3 2PCI-E16 2PCI-E1 3PCI 7SATA CrossFire GBLAN 8CHANNEL Audio Motherboard $157
http://www.ncix.com/products/productdetail2.php?noheade...

G.SKILL F3-12800CL7D-4GBRM Ripjaws 4GB 2X2GB DDR3-1600 CL7-8-7-24 240PIN Dual Channel i5 Memory Kit $115 each X 2 = $230
http://www.ncix.com/products/productdetail2.php?noheade...

Gigabyte Radeon HD 4850 625MHZ 512MB 1.92GHZ DDR3 PCI-E CrossFireX DU-DVI-I HDCP HDTV Out Video Card $123
http://www.ncix.com/products/productdetail2.php?noheade...

Antec P183 ATX Tower Case Black 11 Drive Bay 4X5.25 1X3.5 6X3.5INT No PS Front USB & Sound $135
http://www.ncix.com/products/productdetail2.php?noheade...

Antec Truepower New 750W Modular Power Supply ATX Active PFC 80 Plus SLI Ready Blue 120MM PWM Fan $129
http://www.ncix.com/products/productdetail2.php?noheade...

HP LP2475W H-IPS 24IN Widescreen LCD Monitor 1920X1200 1000:1 6MS DVI HDMI Display Port PIP Pivot $693
http://www.ncix.com/products/productdetail2.php?noheade...

Microsoft Windows 7 Professional Edition 64BIT DVD OEM $169
http://www.ncix.com/products/productdetail2.php?noheade...

OCZ Vertex 120GB 2.5IN SATA2 Solid State Disk Flash Drive SSD $500
http://www.ncix.com/products/productdetail2.php?noheade...

Samsung SH-S223L/BEBS 22X SATA Black DVD Writer Lightscribe OEM $39
http://www.ncix.com/products/productdetail2.php?noheade...

Microsoft Natural Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 USB 2.4GHZ OEM $60
http://www.ncix.com/products/productdetail2.php?noheade...

Microsoft Wireless Keyboard 3000 2.4GHZ USB $46
http://www.ncix.com/products/productdetail2.php?noheade...

AuzenTech X-PLOSION Cinema 7.1 Sound Card DTS Connect Dolby Digital Live Sound Card PCI 32BIT $100
http://www.ncix.com/products/productdetail2.php?noheade...

Total around $2865 Canadian including assembly.

To make things interesting, my brother in law (who has always given me good computer advice in the past) came up with his own build, which differs from mine in the following way:

CPU: Intel Core i7-920 Bloomfield 2.66GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor - Retail $330
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=34598&vpn=BX...

HSF: Zalman CNPS9700NT Copper CPU Heatsink 110MM Fan LGA775 AM2 S939 1250-2800RPM 19.5-35DBA Green LED $57
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=21680&vpn=CN...

MOBO: ASUS P6TD Deluxe LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $335
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=43118&vpn=P7...

MEMORY: OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Voltage Desktop Memory Model OCZ3P1600LV6GK - Retail
(not available at NCIX right now but I believe this is similar:

OCZ OCZ3OB1600LV6GK 6GB DDR3 3X2GB DDR3-1600 PC3-12800 CL 9-9-9-24 Triple Channel Memory Kit $210
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=35710&vpn=OC...

POWER: CORSAIR CMPSU-850HX 850W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Retail $230
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=38650&vpn=CM...

OR

POWER #2: SeaSonic X650 Gold 650W ATX12V V2.3/EPS 12V V2.91 SLI Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Retail $200
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=46111&vpn=X6...

SSD: Intel X25-M SSDSA2MH160G2R5 2.5" 160GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid state disk (SSD) - Retail $550
http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=43566&vpn=SSDSA2MH160...

I think the total on my brother in law's build is around $3200 - a little over budget but not a deal breaker.

Well? What does everyone think? Mine, his or a combination of the two?

Many thanks for your consideration!

*edited to include links and make a couple of price corrections*

More about : photoshop cs4 lightroom battle builds

Best solution

November 10, 2009 6:34:52 PM

The first thing I would change would be to ditch the sound card and use the money to stay under budget or upgrade in another area. On board sound is very good these days and addition of a sound card is an easy upgrade in the future if you find yourself wanting more.

Next, because you list your OC as maybe, and if you do you won't be going crazy, an $80 cooler is overkill. Check out the Coolermaster Hyper 212+. Very inexpensive and performs excellently, especially at the price point. I am currently using one in my i5-750 build OCed to 3.8 and never hitting 60C on prime95 blend.

In my mind it is a toss up between socket 1366 and 1156 for your purposes, each offers its own advantages. Being that you are using CS4 and Lightroom 1366's triple channel memory may be of advantage to you, however when dealing with only mild overclocks i would prefer the i7-860 for improved turbo boost. The motherboards selected for each build are quality and i don't think you can go wrong whatever you do decide.

Now on to the power supply. Running a single 4850 will not require 750watts, and modular, while nice, is not needed when you take ~20 minutes to route cables properly. I would look more int he 500-650 range Corsair, PC Power & Cooling, Antec. the Seasonic X series is the top dog, but really not worth the extra $100 for gold rating.

You stated that sound is an issue for you. The 4850 isn't the quietest of cards on the market. You may want to consider 5750 or 5770 as well, but others can offer input on this based on what is needed for CS4/Lightroom.

Ill look through some more when I have some more time and see if I can find anything else to suggest.
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November 10, 2009 6:36:55 PM

Thank you! I look forward to any further suggestions you have time to make.
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November 10, 2009 7:08:52 PM

Antec True Power is a good PSU and alot more economical than the overkill of a Corsair 850 (designed for 3 graphics cards). Though if you go with the ATI 5770 or 5750 graphics card, you can drop all the way down to a 550W PSU and be fine for a single card, 650 for a pair. The newer cards are faster and use alot less power.

You can give your brother in law some heckling about an outdated choice on CPU coolers. Those older Zalman models are overpriced and underperforming compared to newer direct contact tower coolers like the Coolermaster Hyper 212, Xigmatec S1283 series, Sunbeam Core Contact Freezer and that Noctua you listed. Even Zalmans new CNPS10X is a direct contact tower.
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November 10, 2009 7:18:53 PM

Heckle my brother in law? Sounds good!

Thank you for your advice!
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November 11, 2009 1:29:04 AM

Get a 5750 or 5770 instead of the 4850. And since you are NOT doing CF/SLI, get this motherboard for the LGA 1156 platform:
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=42284&vpn=GA...

And do you really need Windows 7 Professional. I mean for most people Home Premium will do fine.

About the SSD: It will be fast for read (the Intel, but not so good at write speeds). If you can get an affordable Indilinx controller drive from OCZ go for that.
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November 11, 2009 2:11:51 AM

If you run an older version of Lightroom (1.x), keep Windows 7 Professional on your list. These versions have issues with W7, so you might have to resort to XP Mode, which Home Premium doesn't offer.
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November 11, 2009 2:31:23 AM

I'm running Lightroom 2.5, but thank you for the information.
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November 12, 2009 3:33:43 AM

Just wanted to say thank you to those who replied!

Any other opinions out there? I'm close to making a decision.

Thanks again!
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November 12, 2009 1:37:52 PM

Thank you! I was thinking about that but missed it somehow.
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November 18, 2009 5:24:17 PM

So - which one won?

Quote:
Intel Core i7 860 Quad Core Processor Lynnfield LGA1156 2.8GHZ Hyperthreading 8MB Cache Retail Box $354.99
http://www.ncix.com/products/produ [...] &sku=42498

Noctua NH-U12P SE2 LGA775/1156/1366 AM2/AM3 I7/I5/PHENOM Heatpipe Cooler W/ 2XNH-P12 120MM Fans $79.99
http://www.ncix.com/products/produ [...] &sku=42819

ASUS P7P55D LGA1156 P55 DDR3 2PCI-E16 2PCI-E1 3PCI 7SATA CrossFire GBLAN 8CHANNEL Audio Motherboard $157
http://www.ncix.com/products/produ [...] &sku=43123

G.SKILL F3-12800CL7D-4GBRM Ripjaws 4GB 2X2GB DDR3-1600 CL7-8-7-24 240PIN Dual Channel i5 Memory Kit $115 each X 2 = $230
http://www.ncix.com/products/produ [...] &sku=44261

Gigabyte Radeon HD 4850 625MHZ 512MB 1.92GHZ DDR3 PCI-E CrossFireX DU-DVI-I HDCP HDTV Out Video Card $123
http://www.ncix.com/products/produ [...] &sku=33156

Antec P183 ATX Tower Case Black 11 Drive Bay 4X5.25 1X3.5 6X3.5INT No PS Front USB & Sound $135
http://www.ncix.com/products/produ [...] &sku=37119

Antec Truepower New 750W Modular Power Supply ATX Active PFC 80 Plus SLI Ready Blue 120MM PWM Fan $129
http://www.ncix.com/products/produ [...] &sku=36265

HP LP2475W H-IPS 24IN Widescreen LCD Monitor 1920X1200 1000:1 6MS DVI HDMI Display Port PIP Pivot $693
http://www.ncix.com/products/produ [...] &sku=42161

Microsoft Windows 7 Professional Edition 64BIT DVD OEM $169
http://www.ncix.com/products/produ [...] &sku=45275

OCZ Vertex 120GB 2.5IN SATA2 Solid State Disk Flash Drive SSD $500
http://www.ncix.com/products/produ [...] &sku=36023

Samsung SH-S223L/BEBS 22X SATA Black DVD Writer Lightscribe OEM $39
http://www.ncix.com/products/produ [...] &sku=42349

Microsoft Natural Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 USB 2.4GHZ OEM $60
http://www.ncix.com/products/produ [...] &sku=32601

Microsoft Wireless Keyboard 3000 2.4GHZ USB $46
http://www.ncix.com/products/produ [...] &sku=41720

AuzenTech X-PLOSION Cinema 7.1 Sound Card DTS Connect Dolby Digital Live Sound Card PCI 32BIT $100
http://www.ncix.com/products/produ [...] &sku=29233

Total around $2865 Canadian including assembly.

To make things interesting, my brother in law (who has always given me good computer advice in the past) came up with his own build, which differs from mine in the following way:

CPU: Intel Core i7-920 Bloomfield 2.66GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor - Retail $330
http://www.ncix.com/products/index [...] omoid=1120

HSF: Zalman CNPS9700NT Copper CPU Heatsink 110MM Fan LGA775 AM2 S939 1250-2800RPM 19.5-35DBA Green LED $57
http://www.ncix.com/products/index [...] MAN%20TECH

MOBO: ASUS P6TD Deluxe LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $335
http://www.ncix.com/products/index [...] cture=ASUS

MEMORY: OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Voltage Desktop Memory Model OCZ3P1600LV6GK - Retail
(not available at NCIX right now but I believe this is similar:

OCZ OCZ3OB1600LV6GK 6GB DDR3 3X2GB DDR3-1600 PC3-12800 CL 9-9-9-24 Triple Channel Memory Kit $210
http://www.ncix.com/products/index [...] Technology

POWER: CORSAIR CMPSU-850HX 850W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Retail $230
http://www.ncix.com/products/index [...] re=Corsair

OR

POWER #2: SeaSonic X650 Gold 650W ATX12V V2.3/EPS 12V V2.91 SLI Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Retail $200
http://www.ncix.com/products/index [...] lectronics

SSD: Intel X25-M SSDSA2MH160G2R5 2.5" 160GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid state disk (SSD) - Retail $550
http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku= [...] ture=Intel


A computer has to fit two needs. One is the needs of the applications - what will the computer be used for? In my case it will be Photoshop CS4/Lightroom 2.5. Either build would fill this need beautifully.

The second is the needs of the user. The difference between the two builds was the potential for upgrading that the i7 920 build gave. I tend to use a computer until it no longer fits my needs, and then replace it. I'm unlikely to upgrade the processor in a year or two just because I can - in fact, I won't even be following any developments in the 1366 socket line because it will be off my radar screen once I have a computer that works!

So since the 860 is the borderline winner in speed for CS4 at the moment, it is the winner.

I did try to change the cooler to the Hyper 212 +, but NCIX is out of stock and backordered for at least 3 weeks so I went with the Noctua, which as the poster said, is overkill but NCIX didn't have many coolers in stock for 1156. Maybe I'll overclock a bit now! I did go with an nVidia card after all, and Windows 7 Home Premium. I stayed with the PSU as I got a great price on it through price matching, and stayed with the ASUS board as I've used them in the past and feel comfortable with ASUS. I stayed with the OCZ SSD also.

So, that's that! The build will take a week or so. I'll let you know how it goes. Thank you everyone for your help!
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December 7, 2009 7:03:43 PM

A final thank you to everyone who helped me out. This build is incredible! Unbelievably fast at Lightroom and Photoshop; I can have both running along with internet/email/whatever else I want, and no problems. Haven't had multiple images open in Photoshop very often, so I don't know the effect that setting a spare HDD as my scratch drive will have, however I am very impressed. The HP monitor, although very expensive, is unbelievably sharp at native resolution.

Anyone who's debating about a SSD - go for it! I consider the SSD and the monitor the two most important things about this build. Windows 7 is great - very easy to transfer my data and photo HDDs to, from my WinXP computer.
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December 7, 2009 7:29:30 PM

Congratulations. I'm glad your build went together and is running well. That noctua should be able to easily OC your 860. If nothing else make sure you try out enabling turbo for some small automatic overclocks. Don't have to get your hands too dirty to boost your performance a decent amount.

IPS monitors (and PVA/MVA) are so much better than TN I try to recommend them in any build that can afford it. Nice to see you are enjoying yours.
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February 16, 2010 5:29:01 AM

Hey Brett123, could you follow up on which nVidia card you chose, and if after a few months of using your machine you're still happy with your choices. Many thanks from a fellow Lightroom user. I have a canon 5d Mark2 and shoot all my photos in 25mb +/- RAW files. Lightroom was sluggish batch editing and bouncing back and forth from photo to photo on my 5 year old system. So I recently updated to a quad core q9550 on a gigabyte GA-EP43-UD3L mobo. I've 4 gigs of ram, but my old ATI X1600 is having issues with the newer setup. I am not a gamer at all and simply want a video card that works and has zero issues with 64 bit Windows 7.
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February 23, 2010 4:37:07 AM

Hi k3nt

I went with a 260, in my case the EVGA e-GeForce GTX 260. Probably total overkill, but I didn't want to be held back by any future Photoshop/Lightroom needs. Like you I am not a gamer. I like to get 3 to 4 years out of a build. I have had no issues with 64 bit Windows 7 with this video card (or with any other components). I haven't done any big batch edits on the new build, but Lightroom and Photoshop are still working flawlessly and very fast! Switching between images is instantaneous, even with other programs running. I use a Nikon D200 and shoot RAW+JPEG, around 8 to 10 MB per image.

Very happy with my build! Good luck, let me know if I can help any further.

Brett
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March 5, 2010 12:23:37 AM

Best answer selected by Brett123.
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March 5, 2010 1:17:45 AM

I ended up getting a Gigagbyte HD5450 1gb ddr3. At first I saw a line running through videos/movies. All formats, avi, mkv, wmv, mov, flv... but only at 1920 x 1280. Updated the drivers and it cleared up. As there is no fan, it's fanless, the card is dead silent. HD movies look excellent on my 24 inch LG. Bought it not on sale for aboput 80 bucks about 2 weeks after release. The prices will no doubt be cheaper in time.
I run Windows 7 64bit. Windows Experience for graphics is 5.0 and gaming is 6.2.
I highly recommend this card for anyone who is not a gamer and wants a silent machine.
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