Hello everyone! A friend of mine referred me to this site to take a look at some configurations. After some research, I've got some of my build configured, but still have a few things to nail down and would like some feedback from the experts. I've been spending a lot of time reading the MicroATX gaming build thread hoping to get some pointers, and it has been mostly helpful.
I currently have a Mac mini 2.26 core 2 duo, 4gb ram, 500gb 7200rpm hdd with the integrated nvidia 9400M graphics running Windows 7 Pro. I've had it for about a year and a half now, but over the past few months, my sole use of the computer aside from listening to music and browsing the web has been photo editing using Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5. The Mac mini simply can't keep up. Photos take seconds to "resolve", edits made kick in after a couple seconds using sliders, making it difficult and frustrating to make precise adjustments, and this is just in LR, not PS.
The main reason I love(d) my Mac mini is due to its size, understatedness, and quietness, which is why I am sticking to a MicroATX case. I do not want a big monster tower with blue lights shooting out the sides.
Approximate Purchase Date: within the next month
Budget Range: $1000ish
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Photo editing, photo editing, photo editing, iTunes (yeah I know it sucks), interwebs
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg, amazon
Parts Preferences: I have no allegiance to any one brand, but am willing to pay 10-20% more for "quality".
SLI or Crossfire: If necessary?
Monitor Resolution: currently with a 22" Dell 1680x1050 monitor, but I am drooling over the 27" Dell ultrasharp which is 2560x1600 I believe. If I don't get that, I'll get the 24" version which is 1920x1200. Here is what I'd LIKE to be able to do, but I understand if it's unrealistic:
1680x1050 on the left, 2560x1600 in the middle, 1920x1080p HDTV on the right (AKA living room) via HDMI with audio. Currently I am using a display port + USB audio to HDMI adapter, and it works perfectly. All I do is drag the VLC window onto my TV so to speak to watch things out there, and switch the audio source to USB.
I'd also like 802.11N wireless, and bluetooth. I'm not sure if I should just use USB adapters for these, or use something else.
Graphics Card: Is there a single card that would let me run 3 monitors at a time? If not, is there one that will let me hook up the 27" monitor with the dual link DVI and then run HDMI to the TV with audio? How about one with a display port adapter so I can use my current HDMI audio adapter with it, while running the 27"?
Power Supply: Something that will fit... and power everything... and stuff...
Are there better PS's that fit the MicroATX case but arent necessarily designated as such?
Additional: Solution for 802.11N Wi-Fi and BT? Cooler?
Am I forgetting something? Let me know! I'm a noob at building things, and am definitely open to suggestions! It seems like anything will be an upgrade to what I have now, but I'd like to make sure I get it done right the first time so I can use this machine for at least two years.
Thank you to everyone in advance for your help. I'm willing to pay you in photo tips