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Opinions sought for web/photoshop machine

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January 31, 2010 8:38:41 PM

I'm piecing together a new machine based on some parts I already have and some parts I got in a trade from a friend. The new machine will be my primary computer and will serve as a web/email/general-use and Photoshop/InDesign machine.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: whenever
BUDGET RANGE: Hard to say...maybe $300-$400 as I already have most of what I need
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Web/email, Photoshop. I don NOT do any gaming.
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: CPU, Motherboard, RAM, CD/DVD, Case, Power Supply, Peripherals (see below)
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
PARTS PREFERENCES: none
OVERCLOCKING: No
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No
MONITOR RESOLUTION: want to be able to do 1920x1080 for a future monitor. Currently have single CRT monitor but want to upgrade over time to either a nice big widescreen or two smaller LCDs. I'm a photographer and the fidelity of color is important. I'll be going with IPS monitor(s) eventually.
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I want the machine to be quiet and run cool.

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Parts I already have:

CPU
Intel Core2Duo e6600 Conroe
2.4 Ghz; 1066 FSB; 4M L2 Cache

Motherboard
Asus P5LP-LE (HP Leonite 2) Micro ATX
1066 FSB; supports up to 667 DDR2; PCI-Express x16

RAM
2x Kingston KVR800D2/1GR
(1GB DDR800...2gb total)
(Mobo only supports up to DDR667, but I got these in a trade, so I figure I'll use them)

2x Kingston KVR667D2N5K2/2G
(1GB DDR667...2gb total)

Optical Drives
2x IDE Dual Layer DVD Burners

Case
Antec 300

Power Supply
Antec SmartPower 450 Watt (SP-450)

I also have an external 1Tb hard drive.

What I plan on buying:

Video Card
ZOTAC ZT-98GES3G-FSL GeForce 9800 GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
(This might be overkill for my purposes but I like that its 256bit memory.)

HDD
Western Digital Caviar Black WD5001AALS 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OS
Windows 7 Home Premium Full Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
(Want to buy the full retail rather than OEM so I can upgrade the CPU/Mobo at a later date)

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So yeah, I pretty much have most of what I'll need, but I would like opinions on the overall build as well as thoughts on whether the three items about would round out the package well.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
January 31, 2010 9:25:23 PM

If you are really into rendering you should consider an Intel 1156 platform. The i5 is an excellent processor and very affordable if you configure all other components properly.

If you are just surfing for the most part your build looks pretty good. Personally, I would beef up the RAM and GPU power but you will get by with that card and memory modules for average needs.
February 1, 2010 1:18:30 AM

- Honestly, if you are not looking to play games AT ALL the GF 9800 GT is overkill. Something smaller will drive multiple monitors with no problem and will decrease the overall heat and power usage of your system. A card such as the 4670 or 5670 would more than likely be a better choice for photoshop/web browsing and do not require anywhere near the amount of power a 9800 gt does ( everyone loves a lower power bill ).

- Also, photoshop is well optimized for quad cores and would be a major improvement in speed for that line of work. The intel core2 quad 8200 is quite inexpensive and would provide a major boost ( make sure your motherboard will handle the upgrade it may require a bios update ).

- More ram would help out photoshop as well consider upgrading to 4gb if possible ( not too expensive and a major performance boost ).
Related resources
February 1, 2010 1:34:53 AM

The Samsung F3 is a better 500gb drive currently because of platter density.
February 1, 2010 2:38:42 PM

Thanks for the input, everyone

NITROGEnarcosis said:
- Honestly, if you are not looking to play games AT ALL the GF 9800 GT is overkill. Something smaller will drive multiple monitors with no problem and will decrease the overall heat and power usage of your system. A card such as the 4670 or 5670 would more than likely be a better choice for photoshop/web browsing and do not require anywhere near the amount of power a 9800 gt does ( everyone loves a lower power bill ).

- Also, photoshop is well optimized for quad cores and would be a major improvement in speed for that line of work. The intel core2 quad 8200 is quite inexpensive and would provide a major boost ( make sure your motherboard will handle the upgrade it may require a bios update ).

- More ram would help out photoshop as well consider upgrading to 4gb if possible ( not too expensive and a major performance boost ).


Any recommended 4670 or 5670 cards? The reviews for that 9800GT card on newegg seem to indicate that it doesn't use a lot of power, though.

Not sure my mono would support a quad core, but that might be a good future upgrade.

I have 4gb of ram already...sorry my original post wasn't very clear on that point.

Thanks again for the thoughts!

Oh, one more Q...is platter density more important than cache size?
February 1, 2010 2:50:29 PM

Yes, typically platter density matters more than cache size. Not that cache size doesn't help, but with platters that are more dense, the heads on the drive have to move less to get to the right sector and can read more data per rotation of the platter.

Check out TH disk reviews for some more into. The WD Caviar Black 2 GB has 500 GB platters, while right now only the Samsung F3 and Seagate 7200.12 have 500 GB platters in the 500GB-1TB range.
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