Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Want to build a Video/Photo Editing PC for $2000-$3000

Last response: in Systems
Share
May 19, 2010 1:38:59 PM


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: ASAP

BUDGET RANGE: $2000-$3000 though I could do more if for good reason

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Adobe Premiere; Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom; not a huge gamer but I'd like to keep my options open...

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, Mouse, Blu-Ray Burner, Speakers. I also have a couple LCD monitors that are OK but not specifically designed for photo editing. If you have specific recs for Video and photo editing monitors I'd consider these in addition to the 2-3000 dollar budget.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg

PARTS PREFERENCES: I'd like to go intel - considering the hexacore

OVERCLOCKING: I've never overclocked before but I'd be willing to give it a go if you think it would make a difference for my needs.


HARD Drive Thoughts: I'd also like to have a lot of storage space. I was thinking about using the RAID configuration that offers redundancy using parity (two drives storage, 1 drive backup) - I think it's either RAID 0 or RAID 5 but I forget. Anyway, I was thinking about getting maybe 3 2TB drives which would give me 4 TB of space, which would come in handy for the video editing stuff. I was also thinking about using an SSD drive as my boot drive and main drive to run Photoshop and Premiere.

RAM Thoughts: Not sure how much is usable these days but I think Premiere CS5 is geared to use quite a bit of RAM if you have it and are running Windows 64 bit. So if you think 12-16GB wouldn't be overkill for instance, I'd consider it.

Video Card: Not a gamer but I think Premiere CS5 is able to gain some additional speed by utilizing video card resources. Not sure on the details.

Audio Card: Do I need one, or is the on board Audio OK? I'm also an amateur musician of sorts and have Live 8.0 for audio mixing, etc. I'm thinking about getting some Midi add-ons in the future so that I can record from my keyboard and guitar as well. Anyone know if I need to be thinking ahead for this purpose? I could always buy an audio card later if need be.

Case: I like cases with the USB ports etc on the top of the case for easy access. I also like the ones that have a little tray on top for putting USB keys and stuff...I like little conveniences like that. I also want it to be fairly large to give space for upgrades, all my hard drives, etc.

$$$$: I've put the price at 2-3000 dollars because I assume that spending more than that would end up yielding diminishing returns. I do have the money to spend more on this however if you think it would be worth it. I'm just trying to go a little easy on things since I'll likely want a high end Epson Printer pretty soon, possibly higher quality monitors, and then the Audio stuff I mentioned above.

Thanks for all the help!
May 19, 2010 1:57:19 PM

You're not getting the i7-980X on this budget. That CPU is $1,000 by itself.

CPU/Mobo: i7-930 and Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R $474
RAM: 2x Mushkin Enahnced Redline 3x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 6 $455 after rebate
GPU: Get a nVidia Quaddro to help with the productivity features.
SSD: 2x Intel X25-M 80 GB $410 (RAID 0)
HDD: 3x Samsung Spinpoint F3EG 2 TB $360
PSU: Cosair 850W Modular 80+ Silver $170 after rebate
Case: LIAN LI PC-A71F $220
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $20

Total: $2,109 before GPU.

EDIT: I've finally got the list finished. I've been getting kicked out of the forums a lot today...
May 19, 2010 2:16:22 PM

Great! Thanks for the advice. Well like I said, I could spend more if the bang for buck factor was there. For my purposes would I notice the difference between a 980x and a 930?

RAM: is 6GB enough for my purposes? Just assumed video editing etc would be more RAM intensive.

Seagate drive: The specs are there but it only gets 3 eggs and people seem to be having problems with it...

Love the Case.

Will that cooler fit in my case?
Related resources
May 19, 2010 3:21:02 PM

You would get more performance, but you really can't afford the 980. Once you add the GPU, you really don't have room to spend another $700 on the CPU.

I stuck in 12 GB of RAM. It's two kits of 6 GB.

To be honest, I'm not a fan of the 2 TB drives. There aren't many of them, and the ones that are the best are $250 each. That Seagate is the only one I could find that isn't an arm and a leg at first. I replaced it with a Samsung that's cheaper and has better ratings. I would almost advise getting six Seagate 7200.12 1 TB or Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB to avoid any issues.

I switched out the case. The HAF 922 is a great case at a great price, but it doesn't have enough space for a lot of HDDs (it only allows for 5), while the Lian Li has room for 10.

The Megahalems would fit in the HAF. I just dropped it out because there really isn't a need for an aftermarket HSF if you're not going to overclock.
May 19, 2010 3:50:19 PM

+1 on the Admiral's build...not much to improve on there...

the only suggestion/question I have is regarding RAID...

Some drives do not play nice when it comes to setting up RAID...

I don't use RAID, don't know more than the basics, but I do know that some drives play nicer than others...
May 19, 2010 4:08:02 PM

MadAdmiral said:
You would get more performance, but you really can't afford the 980. Once you add the GPU, you really don't have room to spend another $700 on the CPU.

I stuck in 12 GB of RAM. It's two kits of 6 GB.

To be honest, I'm not a fan of the 2 TB drives. There aren't many of them, and the ones that are the best are $250 each. That Seagate is the only one I could find that isn't an arm and a leg at first. I replaced it with a Samsung that's cheaper and has better ratings. I would almost advise getting six Seagate 7200.12 1 TB or Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB to avoid any issues.

I switched out the case. The HAF 922 is a great case at a great price, but it doesn't have enough space for a lot of HDDs (it only allows for 5), while the Lian Li has room for 10.

The Megahalems would fit in the HAF. I just dropped it out because there really isn't a need for an aftermarket HSF if you're not going to overclock.



OK so how much performance benefit will I get from the 980? Like I said, I have the money I just don't want to spend it foolishly.

In terms of the RAM, do you think I should get 4GB DIMS so I have the option to add more later, or do you think that by the time I needed more than 12GB of RAM, I'd want faster RAM anyway? Not sure what the cap is in terms of RAM usage when it comes to Premiere and Photoshop, but maybe I could benefit from even 24GB...anyone know how good CS5 is at RAM utilization?

The Case is nice but not my typical style. I usually find those doors in the front to be an annoying extra step, but I suppose that's being a bit too picky.

In terms of the RAID array, I looked it up and it is RAID 5 that I'd want to use. Not sure if motherboards these days have an easy enough time as a RAID controller or if I should get a dedicated RAID controller card. Also, I assume that If I'm going RAID 5 and using 1TB drives that I would need 6 drives (multiples of 3). Is this correct? RAID 5 seems like a nice idea since it will quicken up my access times and provide me with an instant backup solution.

In terms of the overclocking, it's something that I've always wanted to do, but never had the time to figure out. Is it relatively easy - I don't mind a weekend project, but anything more than that would get annoying. It seems like all the Toms Hardware builds that are overclocked blow away their non-overclocked counterparts, so it seems like a worthwhile thing for me to look into.

Any specific recs on the video card?

Thanks again for all the help!
May 19, 2010 4:34:37 PM

With this sort of budget, I would suggest getting a dedicated RAID card. RAID on motherboards is capable enough, but it isn't transferrable/portable. I would expect to spend at least $75 or more on a RAID card, though I don't have any specific recommendations.

You do not need multiples of 3 for RAID 5, 3 disks is simply the smallest number you can create a RAID 5 container with. If you want 4 TB usable, for RAID 5, you need 5 disks.

Check out this comparison of a 920 vs a 980X. I'd eyeball that at about a 20-25% improvement on most tasks, up to double on some.

Just to play devil's advocate, you might also investigate the AMD 1090T vs. the i7-920/930.
May 19, 2010 5:49:11 PM

4 GB sticks of RAM are extremely expensive right now and you don't need more than 12 GB at this time. It's likely that you could buy 4 GB sticks when you upgrade to 24 GB and still pay less in total for the 6x2 GB and 6x4 GB than you would if you bought 3x4 GB now and 3x4 GB later.

I agree with coldsleep on the RAID card.

The benefits of overclocking can be large if you invest the time to do it right. I'm not an expert at it, so I can't really vouch for how hard or easy it is to do.

To be honest, I'm not that well versed in the exact workstation GPUs, so you might have to do some of your own research there. Or get whatever fits the budget.
May 19, 2010 6:08:02 PM

Good point about the cost of RAM. I'm sure 12GB is more than enough right now.

Getting a RAID card sounds good too...I just hope the software is easy enough to figure out. I've never configured a RAID array before. But I'm always looking for ways to increase my geekiness :-).

In terms of the processor - I guess I'm still unsure of what to do. On the one hand I really hate waiting for PS to render things but on the other hand it looks like we're really just talking about 10-20 seconds difference for most of the things I do...is it really worth the extra 700 bucks or so? I guess I'm just not sure yet. I'll have to think on it.

May 19, 2010 6:16:17 PM

A question in your original post that seems to have been unanswered: for most people, on-board audio sounds very good. I'd suggest just sticking with that and then if you find it's lacking for what you want to do, consider a separate card at that point.

For the processor, I'd say that it depends on what your plans are for this machine. If you're using Photoshop all the time (say, professionally), then the $1k processor might be worth it. If you're using it occasionally or at home, then I'd suggest that the price isn't worth the time saved. Or to look at it another way, if you're using Photoshop 2 hours or less per day, then go with a less expensive processor. If you use it 6-8 hours a day, you may find it worthwhile, though it's still hard to recommend...especially over the $300 AMD 6-core. :) 
May 19, 2010 6:41:40 PM

I would like to point to the benchmarks that the i7-930 performs better than the X6 in Photoshop (and other productivity apps), though it is only a slight difference.
May 19, 2010 6:48:25 PM

Yeah, the AMD hex-core is really not as good at Photoshop (compared to the i7s) if that's most of what you're doing. It seems to excel in 3D rendering & animation, which I probably was focusing on due to the use of "rendering" and mention of Lightroom.
May 31, 2010 1:26:35 PM

OK so I’m about to finally make the purchase…here’s what I’ve come up with. As you can see I went along with most of the recommendations with a few small changes...let me know what you think.

Motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (Gigabyte GA –X58A-UD3R).
$209.99
The combo deal isn’t available anymore. My only concern is that a recent newegg user said they had trouble getting SATA III to work. I’m going to be booting with the SATA III SSD listed below. I hope I don’t have a problem with it since I live in Germany and wait time for shipping etc is a pain. Also I’d prefer a board that had more than just two SATA III slots. Any suggestions?

Processor: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$288.99
(Intel i7-930)

RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$219.99 each
(Mushkin Enhanced Redline (3x2GB)) x 2 for total of 12 GB.

SSD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$399.99
(Crucial Real SSD C300 128 GB SATA III). Wanted to get one 128gb drive rather than two smaller drives in RAID 0 just to keep it simple – and 128GB should be enough room for all my programs.

HDD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$229.99 each.
Seagate Barracuda 2TB SATA 6.0 GB. I want to get two of these but the motherboard only supports 2 SATA III drives and I’ll already be using one of those slots for the SSD. I’ve already asked this above, but are there any motherboards out there that have more than just two SATA III slots and are still reasonably priced? By the way I’m scrapping the whole RAID project. I’d like to be have a more portable solution and in terms of backup I’m thinking about using an online service. One of my HDs was recently stolen and it had all the RAW photos I’ve taken in the last year as well as my entire music collection…so I’ve learned my lesson with that one.

Video Card: Still unsure. So many choices…any specific recs for a card that would suit my needs?

PSU: Not sure. I was going to get the Corsair HX 850W as suggested but Newegg is out of stock now. Any other PSUs that have as good a track record for this price?

Case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$159.99
(Cooler Master HAF 922) Decided to get this over the Lian-Li case since I won’t need more than the 5 drive bays now.

CPU Cooler: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$62.00
Megahalem cooler. This will fit in the HAF 922 case I assume…

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit OEM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$174.99

This puts me at $2195.91 before the PSU and Graphics card are added in. This is fine for my budget – and I am going to try my hand at overclocking so hopefully I’ll be able to really get the most out of it.

Anything else I should get…does the processor come with conducting paste for instance? Should I get more fans?

Thanks for all the help. I really appreciate it!
May 31, 2010 3:27:28 PM

Hey aj,

A couple things I would consider...

HSF: Noctua NH-D14 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This thing is a beast in benchmarks and will probably cost around the same (if not cheaper than the Megahalem) once you buy the needed fans and y-splitter. Since you have a case that fits it (HAF922) and ram that sits under it (Mushkin) why not?

GPU: Admiral recommended a quaddro but I disagree... if you check out the PPro hardware forums a lot of people are recommending the Fermi cards (GTX 470/80).
http://forums.adobe.com/community/premiere/hardware_for...

The Fermi cards are much faster than quadro cards (except 5800) but aren't officially supported by Adobe for MPE (yet), but they will be a little later this year. In the meantime there is a simple workaround to get the hardware support.

Either way, stay with a MPE capable card (quadro 3800+ or GTX 285+).


June 1, 2010 1:29:57 PM

Thanks pijh.

I checked out the Adobe forums and am deciding to go with the GeForce GTX 480 (Fermi) for $499: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

In terms of the power supply I think I'm going to go with this 1000W Rosewill for $139.99: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

For a DVD burner I'm going to get this Lite-On for $31.99: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I already have a Blu-Ray burner that my buddy got me for Christmas.


I also took your recommendation on the cooler. You said I would have needed to buy fans and a y-splitter for the Megahalem. I had no idea I needed to buy more add-ons for it...I'm assuming that the NH-D14 is a complete package then? Come to think of it, is there anything else you think I'll need in addition to the above mentioned stuff? It would suck to wait for all this stuff to get shipped to me and then realize that I'm missing some essential cable or something...should I get any additional fans since the GPU tends to run so hot?

Well if I go with this package my grand total with shipping will be $3,043.50. Not bad for what I'm getting I think. Here's the recap:


Processor:------------i7-930--------------------------------------------$288.99
Motherboard:---------Gigabyte GA –X58A-UD3R--------------------------$209.99
GPU:-----------------GeForce GTX 480---------------------------------$499.00
Ram:-----------------12GB of Mushkin DDR3 1600------------------------$439.98
HDD:-----------------Seagate Barracuda 2TB SATA III drive x2----------$459.98
SSD:-----------------Crucial 128GB SATA III drive----------------------$399.99
PSU:-----------------Rosewill 1000w------------------------------------$139.99
Optical:--------------Lite-On 24x DVD burner----------------------------$31.99
Cooling:-------------Noctua NH-D14-------------------------------------$94.00
Case:----------------CoolerMaster HAF 922------------------------------$159.99
OS:-----------------Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit--------------------------$174.99
Shipping (APO):---------------------------------------------------------$143.62
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total: ------------------------------------------------------------------$3,043.50

The only thing I'm still unsure about is the motherboard since it only has 2 SATA III ports and I'll be getting 3 SATA III compatible hard drives. Any recs on a potential upgrade for the motherboard?

Thanks again!
June 2, 2010 12:22:52 AM

^
1. You DO NOT need Win 7 Ultimate.

2. Ditch the Rosewill 1kW and get a Corsair 750TX or hell the better XFX 750W. You don't need a 1kW PSU.

3. You DO NOT need a GTX480 for Photoshop (ie Zoom,etc) / Pr Mercury playback (the new engine is a huge improvement over CS3/CS4 in terms of speed with a CUDA enabled card). A GTX260 will do fine. Any card above this doesn't offer much of a performance gain for the money depending on what you do. If you do some insane work in Pr, then yes, the GTX480 makes sense, else it doesn't. Mind listing your photography/video capture hardware?

4. Ditch the Seagate and get Samsung F3s. I don't trust Seagate after the firmware issues they had and the increasingly dying Seagate drive reports on the interwebs.

5. You DO NOT need 128GB for an OS drive. An 80GB X25-M G2 is more than enough for my CS5 Master Collection (trial) + CAD Software (~25GB, just for the CAD software) + OS.

6. WTH is S&H $144!?!?!?! Don't you qualify for free shipping when you order more than $500 @ Newegg?

A few notes about RAID:
Unless you want a Enterprise class RAID 5 set up, you don't really need a dedicated RAID card (easily $500 for a good one). You may also want to look in to the performance hit with software RAID. Beware, that if your RAID card fails, you pretty much need a similar card to get your data back. I can't offer much info on Windows software RAID, but on Linux, software RAID works quite well if you have a decent CPU (ie C2D works fine with RAID 5 with out too much of a performance hit) and HDD. And most importantly RAID IN NOT A BACK UP SOLUTION! ALWAYS have 3-4 copies of your important files on an external HDD, online (ie Dropbox; encrypt data first),etc
June 2, 2010 4:08:33 AM

Shadow703793 said:
^
1. You DO NOT need Win 7 Ultimate.



I agree, unless the price on it is fantastic.

The best option is Windows 7 Professional. Why? Longevity. It will receive security updates until at least 2020. All other non-server versions are scheduled to lose all support, including security updates, in mid 2015.
June 4, 2010 2:42:35 AM

Shadow703793 said:
3. You DO NOT need a GTX480 for Photoshop (ie Zoom,etc) / Pr Mercury playback (the new engine is a huge improvement over CS3/CS4 in terms of speed with a CUDA enabled card). A GTX260 will do fine. Any card above this doesn't offer much of a performance gain for the money depending on what you do. If you do some insane work in Pr, then yes, the GTX480 makes sense, else it doesn't. Mind listing your photography/video capture hardware?


I don't know what you have seen regarding benches between a 260 and a 480 on PPro but the system benches on PPBM4 indicate a HUGE difference between a 2XX and a Fermi card. http://ppbm4.com/

(note the difference between 'FredT New MPE' and 'Harm's Beast MPE' the first having a GTX285, the second a GTX480. The total render time difference was 35%! I would say that's at least something of a performance gain - and thats with a 285 - not a 260. Although this difference could partially be due to the different clock speeds of the CPU).

But you are right, if the OP isn't doing anything to crazy a 470/480 may not be worth the money.
June 4, 2010 2:07:22 PM

^ Yes, there is a difference in performance, but it all comes down to if OPs going to be needing/using the extra power.
June 4, 2010 7:39:02 PM

Just one more thing to keep in mind... Adobe hasn't said anything about 'officially' supporting any other 2xx cards in the future (e.g. GTX260) - only the 285 so far has native support. However, Adobe has said that later this year the Fermi chips will be given official MPE hardware support.

Now, this may not matter because right now with the code hack it is possible to get hardware support for a 260 and a 470/80. But there may be less stability using a non-official card, than say a 470 when adobe gives is official support.

IMO a 470 is the best buy right now - even in light of the 465.
!