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$1000-$1500 Lightroom/Photoshop for Photographer Build

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April 28, 2010 5:15:14 PM

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APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Probably within the month but I’m in no rush

BUDGET RANGE: $1000-$1500 (lower is always better)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Adobe Lightroom mostly with some Photoshop

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, speakers

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: bing.com, circuitcity.com, tigerdirect

PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel i7 core

OVERCLOCKING: I’m gonna give it a shot

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: I have one 1600x1200 monitor but I want to run a second one at a higher resolution

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I’ve been looking through this site for the past week and I’ve gained a lot of knowledge. This is not my first build but it’s been about 5 years since I’ve built a pc so I’m really out of the loop on technology. I’ve also never OC’d before but I’m willing to try if it’s easy enough and from what I've read, there is a large benefit with less risk than a few years ago

I’m a prosumer photographer hoping to become a pro someday so I mainly use Lightroom to process my photos. I try to stay away from Photoshop, probably because my current PC is old and slow now but if I can speed up my build enough I'm sure I'll spend a little more time in PS. A few of my part selections are based on things I’ve read through the forums and articles. Let me know if what you think and if I can improve anywhere. Thanks for your time guys!

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Parts I’ve selected so far:

CPU: Intel Core i7 930 Processor BX80601930 - 2.80GHz, 8MB L3 Cache, 4.8GT/s QPI, HyperThreading, Quad Core, Bloomfield, LGA 1366, Retail, Fan
$299.99

MOBO: M452-6055 ::MSI X58M Motherboard - Intel X58, LGA 1366, micro ATX, PCI Express 2.0, CrossFire Ready, SLI Ready, Dual Gigabit LAN, Firewire(3.05 lbs) $179.99

Graphics Card: P450-5672 ::XFX Radeon HD 5670 Video Card - 1024MB DDR5, PCI-Express 2.0, CrossFireX, DVI, Dipslay Port, HDMI(0.75 lbs) $119.99

Memory: OCZ Gold Tri Channel 6GB PC10666 DDR3 Memory - 1333MHz, 6144MB (3 x 2048) $164.99 (20 mail-in rebate)

Heatsink: M333-3020 ::ZEROtherm Core92 CPU Cooler - LGA 1156, 1366, 775, Core i5/i7(0.45 lbs) $34.99

HDD: TSD-1000WD ::Western Digital WD1001FALS Caviar Black Hard Drive - 1TB, 7200 RPM, 32MB, SATA-300(2 lbs) $94.99

PSU: O261-2017 ::o CZ ModXStream Pro Power Supply - 600-Watt, Modular, Dual +12V Rails, SATA, 80Plus(5.9 lbs) $69.99 ($20 mail-in rebate)

Case: T925-3018 ::Thermaltake V3 Black Edition Mid Tower Case - ATX, Micro ATX, 120mm LED Fan, 4x 5.25 Bays, 5x 3.5 Bays (13.1 lbs) $49.99

DVD/CD Burner: S203-8582 OEM ::Samsung SH-S223C DVDRW Drive - DVD+R 22X, DVD+RW 8X, DVD-RW 6X, DVD-RAM 12X, CD-R 48X, OEM(2.35 lbs) $69.99 ($20 mail-in rebate)

Case Fan: ULT40141 ::Ultra Silent 120mm Case Fan - Dual Ball Bearing(0.49 lbs) $19.99

Thermal Gel: ULT40124 ::Ultra ULT40124 Thermal Gel(0.04 lbs) $9.99

Total BEFORE another monitor (I didn’t include a monitor yet because I’m still shopping for one but I plan on spending about $300), mail-in rebates, and Bing cashback(10%): $1159.88

More about : 1000 1500 lightroom photoshop photographer build

Best solution

a c 84 B Homebuilt system
April 28, 2010 5:45:51 PM

A lot of bad choices for stores and some slightly bad ones for parts. Here's a much better build from a much better store (Newegg):

I'm also going to take a look at the new X6 benchmarks for Photoshop to see if that's a better choice...

CPU/Mobo: i7-930 and Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R $470. A more future proof board.
RAM: 2x G.Skill Pi 3x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $380. Faster, more reliable sitcks. OCZ has compatibility issues, especially with Intel boards.
GPU: HD 5670 $75 after rebate
HDD: Seagate 7200.12 1 TB $80. A Faster HDD. Not to mention cheaper.
Case/PSU: Antec 300 Illusion and Earthwatts 430W $105. A higher quality case and PSU.
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $22. A much, much cheaper optical.
HSF (if OC): Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus $35 (with free card reader). A better HSF. Thermal paste is unnecessary.

Total: $1,167

EDIT: It appears the i7-930 is better for Photoshop. The extra 4 GB of RAM would also help.
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April 28, 2010 8:57:43 PM

MadAdmiral said:
A lot of bad choices for stores and some slightly bad ones for parts. Here's a much better build from a much better store (Newegg):

I'm also going to take a look at the new X6 benchmarks for Photoshop to see if that's a better choice...

CPU/Mobo: i7-930 and Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R $470. A more future proof board.
RAM: 2x G.Skill Pi 3x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $380. Faster, more reliable sitcks. OCZ has compatibility issues, especially with Intel boards.
GPU: HD 5670 $75 after rebate
HDD: Seagate 7200.12 1 TB $80. A Faster HDD. Not to mention cheaper.
Case/PSU: Antec 300 Illusion and Earthwatts 430W $105. A higher quality case and PSU.
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $22. A much, much cheaper optical.
HSF (if OC): Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus $35 (with free card reader). A better HSF. Thermal paste is unnecessary.

Total: $1,167

EDIT: It appears the i7-930 is better for Photoshop. The extra 4 GB of RAM would also help.



Thanks for the quick reply MadAdmiral.

I knew about Newegg but I guess I was trying to be really cheap and avoid the taxes since I'm in California. The other thing I was trying to take advantage of also was the 10% cashback but I guess all I had to do was find better deals at Newegg.

Nice finds on the combo deals by the way. I guess I should've done more research. You even got me 12 gb's of ram which is awesome. Should I be worried that the GPU doesn't have a lot of reviews and is so cheap? I guess it doesn't matter as much since I'm not gaming right? Also, will the 430W be enough to OC? I'm not an OC expert so my thinking is probably way off but I thought you'd need a little more power. I do definitely love the case because it's not too bling'd out and comes with fans.


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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
April 28, 2010 9:00:48 PM

The GPU is newer, so it won't have that many reviews. Also, reviews are just a poor gauge of anything but how much have been sold. It's cheap because it's not a powerful GPU (which doesn't matter to you).

430W is definitely enough. The newer 5xxx series cards use very little power, especially in the lower end. Also, the PSU is a high quality unit, which means the wattage is understated.
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April 28, 2010 9:15:16 PM

MadAdmiral said:
The GPU is newer, so it won't have that many reviews. Also, reviews are just a poor gauge of anything but how much have been sold. It's cheap because it's not a powerful GPU (which doesn't matter to you).

430W is definitely enough. The newer 5xxx series cards use very little power, especially in the lower end. Also, the PSU is a high quality unit, which means the wattage is understated.



Awesome! Thanks again MadAdmiral! I guess I'll be buying parts sooner than I thought. You've saved me a lot of time for sure. I'm definitely glad I posted before going forward.

Oh, I just remembered one more thing. Will the outputs on this card allow me to run a dual display? My current monitor uses DVI and it looks like the GPU only has one DVI output. Would I be able to use the HDMI output then?
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April 28, 2010 9:39:23 PM

Hey just my little thought on the cpu, everything MadAdmiral wrote and recommended it awesome for you. I might conisder the new AMD phenom 2 x6. Tom's just did a review about it and on a productivity level it does a great job. On par in most apps as the 1000 dollar cpu intel offers, plus I hear tigerdirect is having a 50 dollar mail in rebate so that makes it a 6 core proc that only costs 235ish. Thats a great deal not to mention since you are new to OC and it is a blak edition cpu(unlocked multiplier) it is easy to OC. I will look for some Mobo's that will go good with that cpu unless MadAdmiral makes a better point or beats me to the punch
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
April 28, 2010 9:45:52 PM

It should allow you to use up to three monitors, as that's a major benefit of the 5xxx series cards. You definitely will need to use a different output for each monitor, but could use an adapter to get the right connectors.
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April 28, 2010 9:52:03 PM

Fluffycakes said:
Hey just my little thought on the cpu, everything MadAdmiral wrote and recommended it awesome for you. I might conisder the new AMD phenom 2 x6. Tom's just did a review about it and on a productivity level it does a great job. On par in most apps as the 1000 dollar cpu intel offers, plus I hear tigerdirect is having a 50 dollar mail in rebate so that makes it a 6 core proc that only costs 235ish. Thats a great deal not to mention since you are new to OC and it is a blak edition cpu(unlocked multiplier) it is easy to OC. I will look for some Mobo's that will go good with that cpu unless MadAdmiral makes a better point or beats me to the punch



Thanks Fluffycakes. Yeah, I did see that but I guess I was drawn away by the benchmarks. It looked like it did OK but still wasn't quite on par with the Intel processors. The way I looked at it was that for every photo I have to process, I save a few seconds by going with the Intel processor which totaled up over one post processing session really adds up. I dunno though. If it is easier to OC, them I definitely should consider it... that and the fact that it is cheaper :) 
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April 28, 2010 9:56:36 PM

MadAdmiral said:
It should allow you to use up to three monitors, as that's a major benefit of the 5xxx series cards. You definitely will need to use a different output for each monitor, but could use an adapter to get the right connectors.



Great, I'll probably use the HDMI connector for the 2nd display.
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
April 28, 2010 10:39:17 PM

@Fluffy: The i7-930 is better than the X6 in Photoshop. Check out anandtech's review of the new CPU.
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a b B Homebuilt system
April 28, 2010 11:25:50 PM

Some thing you may want to consider: If you are working with very large images, getting a nVidia card for GPU based acceleration may help. Also if you plan to use the new CS5 and the new Mercury Playback engine, you will need an nVidia card.

Realize, that GPU accelration will ONLY affect things like zoom,3D rendering,etc and NOT when you apply filters,etc.

And +1 for the i7 930 for Photoshop: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-phenom-ii-x6-10...

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April 28, 2010 11:48:00 PM

Shadow703793 said:
Some thing you may want to consider: If you are working with very large images, getting a nVidia card for GPU based acceleration may help. Also if you plan to use the new CS5 and the new Mercury Playback engine, you will need an nVidia card.

Realize, that GPU accelration will ONLY affect things like zoom,3D rendering,etc and NOT when you apply filters,etc.

And +1 for the i7 930 for Photoshop: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-phenom-ii-x6-10...


That is a very, very good point. I do a lot of zooming in and out in Lightroom. I'll take a look at the nVidia cards but if you have any suggestions, I'd be more than glad to hear them. :) 
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
April 29, 2010 12:20:53 AM

The 9800 GT is a good card around the price of the 5670.
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a b B Homebuilt system
April 29, 2010 12:30:12 AM

^+1. That works quite well.
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April 29, 2010 4:31:13 AM

Nice... thanks again. I did a little more research and learned a bit more. From what it looks like, nVidia and Adobe are collaborating. I'm still doing a little more research but the 9800 GT looks like the way to go.
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
April 29, 2010 1:20:41 PM

I don't think there's much actual difference between the cards, but I'm not well versed on the older nVidia models. I do know that card doesn't have an HDMI output if you need that.
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April 29, 2010 2:48:05 PM

I probably don't need the hdmi output since it has 2 dvi connectors. I guess I'm just worried about getting a model that's too old. I was going to start looking at the workstation cards until I saw a post from Shadow703793 telling someone that it wasn't necessary for 2d work.

I did narrow down the type of monitor I wanted to IPS ones which seem to be more expensive so I guess with my budget, I should stay with the cheaper graphics card. I'll do some more digging.
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April 29, 2010 4:17:12 PM

It looks like my main worry, Lightroom, doesn't really use the graphics card much.

I'm going with the 9800gt. I actually need 2 dvi outputs because the second monitor I'm going with doesn't have an hdmi input but I can just buy an adapter. I need to cut costs as much as I can since IPS monitors are a little more expensive.

Thanks for all your help guys. Here's what I've got:

CPU and MOBO combo: i7-930 & Gigabyte GA-x58A-UDR 469.98
Case and PSU combo: Antec Earthwatts EA-500D 500W & Antect Three Hundred Black Steel 109.94
CD/DVD: Sony Optiarc 21.99
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 79.99
GPU: Zotac Geforce 9800 GT 512MB 79.99
Memory: G.SKill 6GB (x2) 379.98
Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 with free card reader :)  34.99


Total after tax and shipping from Newegg: 1296.17

I think this is definitely a great deal! Hopefully I'm not missing anything.
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
April 29, 2010 5:18:17 PM

Looks good. You may want to check the price on the adapter. They can sometimes be expensive, so it might actually be cheaper to buy the card with the native DVI outputs.
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April 29, 2010 5:26:47 PM

You're right. I was actually just thinking the same thing. I couldn't pull the trigger because I wasn't sure about that but I'll have to check the adapter prices.
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April 29, 2010 10:29:51 PM

I put the order through with the 9800 GTX. I didn't really want to deal with adapters. I can't wait to see how this turns out!

Thanks to all, especially MadAdmiral, for the help. I'll let you know how it turns out when I get it all together. I still have to look for another monitor and I ended up ordering Windows 7 through ebay so hopefully that will come at the same time.
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May 6, 2010 6:11:20 PM

I just wanted to say thanks again to everyone that helped.

I got the build up and running finally and it's working beautifully so far. I OC'ed the CPU to 3.8Mhz and so far everything is working good. There are a few kinks to work out but as far Lightroom and Photoshop go, it's working great. It's such a relief to be able to use Lightroom and PS with no waiting.
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May 6, 2010 6:13:45 PM

Best answer selected by bec619.
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