Need help with a quiet photo editing pc

I have been configuring pc's for a month. I keep ending up with a system that's over budget.
I will be using this for multi-tasking home office work,emails,and photo editing but I am an amateur photographer and still learning. My pc crashed and I need to purchase something new and I'm reluctant to use Dell and HP. HP 480t seems under powered, and Dell XP9100 has potential. I will not be gaming. I've configured every possible pc builder on the net. Most are fine for people who know how to take pc's apart and fix them. That is not me. If I purchased a $2000+ system and had problems with it I would be lost. Let's face it, I'd freak.

My problem is I keep going over budget. I'm trying to spend $2000 with an IPS monitor but I'm willing to go over if better performance necessitates increasing my budget. The goal of trying to keep the system quiet also adds to the confusion.

Please help me spec out a system for $1800 - $2000. If it's not possible let me know what the next step down would be. Will I be disappointed if I go to an i5 or AMD x6?

My config so far is:
Antec P183 Case
Intel i7-930 or i7-950
Asus or EVGA X58 motherboard
CPU cooler:
Case Cooler:
Quiet Power Supply: 650w or 750w?
Acoustic Dampening:
Windows 7 64 bit
GPU: GTS 450 or Radeon HD 4850
6GB RAM (3x2GB)
Optical (no blu-ray)
Media Card Reader
Primary HD: Velociraptor 10,000
Secondary HD: 1TB Western Digital Caviar Black 7200rpm
Microsoft Home and Student

If I'm not gaming, do I need case fans?

I don't need a good video card.

I have no idea what other components would be useful. For example everyone talks about USB3.0 and I have no clue what this means. What is it and why do I need it? If there's any other convenient hardware I've neglected feel free to make the suggestion.

I have read how great SSD drives help speed things along. But, budget contraints prevent going that route.

Do I need two hard drives? Anything to speed the photo editing process will be the goal. Right now I dread loading images. Even small changes take long to process. I don't think I'll be working with large files in the beginning but look forward to shooting Raw which are larger files.

I'm almost set on using a Dell 2209WA monitor.

I'm torn between having someone build this or buying from a custom on line builder. The most reliable on line sources are $2300 - $2400 for all of the above. But no monitor.

I hope someone can help me sort all of this out so I can move on. One more thing, if someone is nice enought to reply please keep in mind I don't know the lingo. I have no idea why one part is faster or better than another.

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  1. I would reccomend the new AMD 6 core, should be better for your uses, if you go with this only need 2x2gb ram. Case fans no. Cpu cooler, use the stock one if not overclocking. The raptors are not really worth it anymore hardly faster, I reccomend dropping that for SSD. No on 2 hdds, unless you need the space. 650w PSU will suffice, Corsair XFX or Seasonic. For the monitor, look at the Asus 22", really cheap nice and mediocre build in speakers.
  2. This is my usual basic template for Thuban workstation, non GPU intensive , CPU/RAM bound machine


    Optional Items

    CM GeminiIIS cooler $33

    60GB Sandforce based SSD $118AR Free Ship

    Of course if the mATX form factor is not one's liking or features like USB/SATA 3.0, etc is mandatory just upgrade the core/basic h/w in template hehe
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