I've been out of the PC building game for a while and I'm just trying to gather more information. I'm debating if I should build a new PC or get one from Cyberpower/iBuypower. I'm a photographer who uses Lightroom and Photoshop a lot and my current system (Dell XPS 420 w/ Core2Quad and 4GB memory) just isnt kicking it anymore in terms of performance and expandability as far as my photo hard drives are concerned. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Approximate Purchase Date: Within the next 30 days.
Budget Range: $1300-1600
System Usage from Most to Least Important: I'm a wedding photographer, so Photoshop/Lightroom are #1 85%, Gaming #2 10% and of course, casual browsing #3 5%.
Parts Not Required: Monitor, currently have 2 23" DELL IPS monitors, not intending on changing them.
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com is preferred.
Country of Origin: USA
Parts Preferences: Not really a stickler to any specific brand. I just want the most bang for my buck.
Overclocking: Probably not.
SLI or Crossfire: Not unless its necessary.
Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 x2 for both monitors.
Additional Comments: I currently use a dual drive system for backing up my work. 1 live drive and 1 nightly backup drive. I'd like to have a hotswap system for that stuff with at least 4 bays so I can have 2 sets accessible at anytime.
It is my understanding that Photoshop responds well to as much ram as you can get.
To that end, I suggest a X58 chipset based system. With it, you can attach 24gb of ram. Note that you will need Windows-7 pro or ultimate to access >16gb.
The i7-930 will give you plenty of power. It is trivial and safe to overclock it to 3.5 or so. If you can walk in to a microcenter, they will sell you one for $200. If overclocking is not for you, the 950 is reasonable, $230 @ microcenter; more elsewhere.
The i7-980X 6 core is the absolute best you can buy today, but it is a $1000 part and probably not a good value to you.
For your gaming needs, something like a GTX460 is about right. I understand that photoshop can use some of the Nvidia cuda capabilities.
For backup, I suggest the use of mobile racks. These racks mount in the 5 1/2" external bays of your case. A hard drive is inserted into a caddy, and then into the rack. Your backups can then proceed at full sata speeds, and when complete the caddy and drive can be removed for offsite storage. You will need a tall case with sufficient external bays for your dvd's and the racks.
CPU/Mobo: It seems Newegg is really trying to sell this Mobo, and it fits well in your price range since it doesn't appear you'll need a feature loaded Mobo. CPU is the best CPU you'll get without going up 400$+ in cost.
PSU/GPU: Corsair is IMO the best PSU brand and 850 W should leave plenty of room for a better GPU/SLI in the future. The GTX 460 should satisfy your GPU needs for the time being and Photoshop plays nice w/ Nvidia cards.
Data Storage: This is where I went over your budget, but you can easily scale back here. I assumed you needed plenty of storage space, and great reliability. So I put 4 of these in my cart. There are cheaper drives even from WD, but these will have great transfer rates too which I assumed would be nice since you'll be frequently swapping and loading larger amounts of data. Also there very reliable.
The total including shipping on Newegg for me was 1673$. I realize that's above your price range, but you could get 4 WD Caviar Blue 1 TB if speed isn't your greatest concern andwind up <1600$. Or a couple less HDDs if you don't need that kind of storage yet. You could also save ~10$ on ram and ~30$ on PSU if you really need to cut costs. With these items:
Basically I tried to pick out the most reliable brands as I figured that would be your #1 priority in your line of work. With the hot swapping and 4 HDDs you could also mirror your data on 2 HDDs if you want every time you back up. Of coarse that means you pay twice as much for storage. Hope the suggestions help.