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$3000 Photo Editing/Gaming PC (Lots of new pictures!)

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November 1, 2010 1:14:57 AM

Hey everyone! Great forum!

Looking to build myself a new Photo Editing PC. I'm looking to do some light gaming (mostly SC2/strategy/simulation stuff, I play FPS's on my 60" gaming setup in the other room). Anyways, I'm a professional photographer and the PRIMARY focus of this is going to be photo editing.

Already bought:

Antec 900 Case
2x2tb Hard Drives (storage)

Must Haves:

30" 2560x1600 Monitor (leaning toward the new Dell U3011, this will take up a bunch of my budget!)
Intel i5-760 w/ CM Hyper 212+ Cooler and O/C'ing to 4.0ghz
A SSD (don't know which brand to pick, thinking about 128gb size)


What I'm leaning toward:

8gb DDR3 1333 or should I do 16gb DDR1333 or DDR1600?
A Gigabyte Motherboard with USB3.0 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... or http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
ATI HD6870

Any suggestions are appreciated. I'll be running mainly Photoshop CS4 and processing 12mp RAW files in large batches (I shoot mostly weddings and edit ~1200 or so RAW photos for each).

EDIT: System is built, scroll down to see lots of pictures!

More about : 3000 photo editing gaming lots pictures

November 1, 2010 10:05:01 PM

Bumpity? Anyone?
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November 2, 2010 8:48:53 AM

An AMD 1055T may be a good option if you don't want to spring the ~100 to move to an i7.
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November 2, 2010 9:35:23 AM

I'd opt for thedell 27" as it's quite big and I believe the pixel density is higher or equal to the 30" while costing far less.
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November 2, 2010 8:17:43 PM

gkay09 said:
^ For your budget and usage, why not the i7 ? IMO it is a better option...Also Nvidia cards would better suit - CUDA
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/adobe-cs5-cuda-64-b...


Not really worth the money IMO. An oc' i5 at 4ghz is just as good as a oc'ed i7 at the same speed. Not worth the extra $250 or so between mobo, chip, and ram.

Thanks for the article on the CUDA, I'll check that out!

sp12 said:
An AMD 1055T may be a good option if you don't want to spring the ~100 to move to an i7.


It looks like the intel stuff is noticeably faster than the AMD for PS.

Somebody_007 said:
I'd opt for thedell 27" as it's quite big and I believe the pixel density is higher or equal to the 30" while costing far less.


I looked at that. I think the pixel density might be alittle TOO high. I'll probably always want to upgrade to a full 30" on eventually too!
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November 2, 2010 8:29:04 PM

Depends, in CS5 an 1055T will beat an i5-760 in most workloads (there are definitely some single/dual threaded plugins where an i5 will trash the X6). It will always lose to an i7, but that's to be assumed since an i7 would be 50% more expensive.
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November 2, 2010 8:34:18 PM

skiboarder72 said:
Not really worth the money IMO. An oc' i5 at 4ghz is just as good as a oc'ed i7 at the same speed. Not worth the extra $250 or so between mobo, chip, and ram.

Thanks for the article on the CUDA, I'll check that out!



It looks like the intel stuff is noticeably faster than the AMD for PS.



I looked at that. I think the pixel density might be alittle TOO high. I'll probably always want to upgrade to a full 30" on eventually too!


not exactly true about the i5/i7. i7s are simply better and give better performance per clock. Given you'll get one of those 950s you should also be able to OC to 4.0 on stock voltage(not 100% sure but most people seem to be able to achieve this). x58 also offers tripple channel which might be useful in PS although I don't know the importance of ram in PS. I would definately opt for nvidia and CUDA though.

About the screen well it's your choice it's just in my eyes it seems kind of weird to spend more on a monitor than the system that powers it. Especially considering you need an awful lot of horsepower to run games at 2560. I mean do you really want to pay such a premium for an amazing monitor only to see things lag on it? Doesn't it seem much more sensible to have a system that boots and loads twice as fast(SSD) never lags(I'm thinking 460gtx sli + i7 950 and with the money left over any amount of cool things is possible really) with the only disadvantage to this being is that you have a monitor similar if not better in quality(pixel density) thats a few inches smaller?

Just my 2 cents
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November 2, 2010 9:05:36 PM

Go with the core i7 instead the extra threads will benefit you with multitasking your photo shop applications.

I suggest that instead of getting 2x 2tb drives that you get 4x 1tb drives (seagate 7200.12) in RAID 5 for redundency. Get one extra drive for the OS (ssd or velocity raptor). Data on raid 5 and OS on the other drive. So 5 HDD's altogether. The benefit is if one drive fails in the RAID 5 you still have your stuff. If you need help on that let me know. It's pretty easy to setup.

Whats the gigabyte model number? I tend to go with Asus but Gbyte is ok. I need to make sure it has enough ports for that setup i suggested.

skiboarder72 said:
Hey everyone! Great forum!

Looking to build myself a new Photo Editing PC. I'm looking to do some light gaming (mostly SC2/strategy/simulation stuff, I play FPS's on my 60" gaming setup in the other room). Anyways, I'm a professional photographer and the PRIMARY focus of this is going to be photo editing.

Already bought:

Antec 900 Case
2x2tb Hard Drives (storage)

Must Haves:

30" 2560x1600 Monitor (leaning toward the new Dell U3011, this will take up a bunch of my budget!)
A SSD (don't know which brand to pick, thinking about 128gb size)

What I'm leaning toward:

Intel i5-760 w/ CM Hyper 212+ Cooler and O/C'ing to 4.0ghz
16gb DDR3 Memory
A Gigabyte Motherboard with USB3.0
ATI HD6870

Any suggestions are appreciated. I'll be running mainly Photoshop CS4 and processing 12mp RAW files in large batches (I shoot mostly weddings and edit ~1200 or so RAW photos for each).

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November 2, 2010 9:19:15 PM

Somebody_007 said:
not exactly true about the i5/i7. i7s are simply better and give better performance per clock. Given you'll get one of those 950s you should also be able to OC to 4.0 on stock voltage(not 100% sure but most people seem to be able to achieve this). x58 also offers tripple channel which might be useful in PS although I don't know the importance of ram in PS. I would definately opt for nvidia and CUDA though.

About the screen well it's your choice it's just in my eyes it seems kind of weird to spend more on a monitor than the system that powers it. Especially considering you need an awful lot of horsepower to run games at 2560. I mean do you really want to pay such a premium for an amazing monitor only to see things lag on it? Doesn't it seem much more sensible to have a system that boots and loads twice as fast(SSD) never lags(I'm thinking 460gtx sli + i7 950 and with the money left over any amount of cool things is possible really) with the only disadvantage to this being is that you have a monitor similar if not better in quality(pixel density) thats a few inches smaller?

Just my 2 cents


You make some excellent points.

I'm still waiting to see some benchmark that shows the i7's get better performance (noticeably) per clock. It looks like there might be a very tiny advantage from tom's hardware's CPU charts (http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/desktop-cpu-charts-2...). For instance an i5-760 which has the same clock speed of a i7-920 performs within 1% of each other. Is the "turbo" feature having an impact on this? What's up with this turbo thing anyways? If an i7 is going to be noticeably faster clock per clock it might be worth it, but at this time it doesn't look like many games/CS4 take advantage. I'm not trying to argue here, I would just love to see some benchmarks that prove it really is worth the extra $250ish to go that route!

I keep going back and forth on the whole 27" vs. 30" thing. I'm not sure where I'm gonna land up. It would be an easy way to cut a lot of money out!
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November 2, 2010 9:31:29 PM

Somebody_007 said:
not exactly true about the i5/i7. i7s are simply better and give better performance per clock. Given you'll get one of those 950s you should also be able to OC to 4.0 on stock voltage(not 100% sure but most people seem to be able to achieve this). x58 also offers tripple channel which might be useful in PS although I don't know the importance of ram in PS. I would definately opt for nvidia and CUDA though.


i7s are definitely not simply better. I would make the argument they're simply worse than an i5 (exception goes out to the hexacores and i7-870s)

i7s have worse perclock performance in games. Hyperthreading often gives them a pretty big advantage (~10%+) in synthetics/productivity, but a pretty big disadvantage in other apps as well. i5s also have more aggressive and pervasive turbos.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/109?vs=47 Seeing as the i7 is 50% more expensive (plus ~150$ more in mobo/ram costs), and is ~8% faster on average (and significantly slower in games), I would say it's the worse investment.

As for overclocking, i5s are actually better overclockers (lower TDP and Vcore spread). Neither will get past ~3.4 on stock voltage (and that's with good cooling), but 4.0 is doable with either if you're willing to voltmod.

Triple channel ram is a fraction of a percent faster in specific apps, and is definitely not worth it over dual except for server use. That said, it does allow you up to 24GB of ram.

Having personally used CUDA in CS5 as well as Maya, I can say it was definitely not worth the hassle and expense. Maybe at some point it'll be good, but right now it's more of a marketing gimmick unless you have a specific, very easy to deserialize problem.

As for the monitor issue, I would probably say 30in, but I have a strong personal preference for 8:5 screen ratios. I don't think you'll go wrong with either. Pixel density should be a non-concern seeing as it's only an improvement in image quality -- smaller text is just an option change in windows.
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November 2, 2010 10:01:42 PM

sp12 said:
i7s are definitely not simply better. I would make the argument they're simply worse than an i5 (exception goes out to the hexacores and i7-870s)

i7s have worse perclock performance in games. Hyperthreading often gives them a pretty big advantage (~10%+) in synthetics/productivity, but a pretty big disadvantage in other apps as well. i5s also have more aggressive and pervasive turbos.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/109?vs=47 Seeing as the i7 is 50% more expensive (plus ~150$ more in mobo/ram costs), and is ~8% faster on average (and significantly slower in games), I would say it's the worse investment.

As for overclocking, i5s are actually better overclockers (lower TDP and Vcore spread). Neither will get past ~3.4 on stock voltage (and that's with good cooling), but 4.0 is doable with either if you're willing to voltmod.

Triple channel ram is a fraction of a percent faster in specific apps, and is definitely not worth it over dual except for server use. That said, it does allow you up to 24GB of ram.

Having personally used CUDA in CS5 as well as Maya, I can say it was definitely not worth the hassle and expense. Maybe at some point it'll be good, but right now it's more of a marketing gimmick unless you have a specific, very easy to deserialize problem.

As for the monitor issue, I would probably say 30in, but I have a strong personal preference for 8:5 screen ratios. I don't think you'll go wrong with either. Pixel density should be a non-concern seeing as it's only an improvement in image quality -- smaller text is just an option change in windows.


Stop disagreeing just to disagree.

i7 920s and i5 750s(almost identical to the 950 and 760 in question) have the same amount of cores and the same clock speed. Yet the 920 performs consistantly better(exept for the single threaded benchmark where the i5s higher turbo you mentioned pushes it into the lead) http://www.hexus.net/content/item.php?item=25804&page=5 and http://www.hexus.net/content/item.php?item=25804&page=4 hyperthreading or not this proves i7s perform better per clock.

Then you argue price. As you mention all the channel stuff makes little difference in most cases so forget the ram and stick whatever you want in the x58 mobo and you won't notice the difference. So the price difference there is nothing. Good p55 mobos generally cost 150usd and good x58 mobos around 200 that's a 50dollar difference for a mobo that has more pci lanes and thus is more capable of future expansion or just improving dual gpu performance by 5%.

And about the overclocking you're just plain wrong. My 930 does 3.6 on stock voltage no problem and I haven't tried going higher but I should get a little more out of it. And 950s are even better in this rview http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=us5UO3kqjag he got his 950 to 4.0/4.2(think it's the latter but forgot) on stock voltage .

BTW: @ skiboarder turboboost is the frequency boost the cpu gets when the cpu isn't using all cores and is still stable in terms of temperature, consumption, etc.
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November 2, 2010 10:18:30 PM

I don't get it. I'm not arguing just to argue, I'm arguing because I think you're wrong about something, and what people say on these boards affects the OP's ultimate decision with his money. Those are all synthetics ("Hyperthreading often gives them a pretty big advantage (~10%+) in synthetics") focused around the hexacores. Not only that, but I specifically said "exception goes out to the hexacores and i7-8X0" which are the i7s worth looking at both according to my opinion and many professional sites (and also from the benchies you linked apparently).

I'll disagree on your definition of good P55 mobos. I'd venture a good P55 costs ~100$, but going on the cheapest listed at Newegg, you get 71$ for a new P55 mobo, and 165 for X58. I would buy neither of those, but I think the minimal ~200$ price difference for often worse performance is unjustified.

Chips come out on a bell curve. One specific (likely cherrypicked for 'overclocker3D's review') sample does not a dataset make. And believe it or not, minimal operating voltage required at a specific clockspeed is based primarily on temperature. I bet you're running your chip in an airconditioned room with a premium mobo, along with a top-end powersupply and possibly an aftermarket cooler. In 'real' testing conditions you're lucky to get 100 mhz over stock (hence why a chip becomes an i7-950 and not a 960). His massive cooler in that review no doubt played some part.

Despite the huge amount of variables in an overclock, i5s are statistically better overclockers (95 watt TDP vs. 130 watt TDP, lower Vcore).
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November 2, 2010 11:47:00 PM

I agree sp12. I really don't see too many advantages to going to the i7. Plus the increased performance per watt of the i5 is very attractive. Thanks for your input somebody_007 but I think the i5 is better going to fit with what I'm trying to accomplish.

Now that I'm convinced that I'm going with the i5-760 I'm leaning toward these two mobos: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... and http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... . Looks like the major difference is just the sata III. I'm not sure if thats really worth having on a board. Also looks like both can do the raid setup I want for the 2 2tb wd green drives that I bought. What does everyone think?
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a b 4 Gaming
November 3, 2010 2:57:43 AM

^ @skiboarder72 the i7 that I was referring to was the i7 8xx and not the i7 9xx CPUs...The HT works good with productivity s/w as they are multi-threaded...

And as for the discussion going on, I would simply put it like this - The extra bit of performance that the i7 gives is valued by those for whom even few seconds matter and you can find many such people...
So you have to decide whether you fall in that category, else stick with the i5s...

And for CS I would still suggest a Nvidia card, even though I dont fancy their general performance, but with CUDA they offer very good performance increase...
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November 3, 2010 8:29:42 AM

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/core-i5-76... here are game benchmarks where the i7 860 is a good deal faster than a i5 750. Now keep in mind the difference between a 950 and 760 is much larger(It should almost double the gap). So of course it's not linear with price performance, being in the premium product category you get diminishing returns.

The problem with comparing the cheapest mobos is that is a mid range socket and 1366 is a top end one which means that whatever mobo you get for 1366 is lekely to be very good. Not so much with 1156. So Used the same ranking mobo from the same manufacturer to compare(asus' sabertooth line) where the difference is 50usd.

And when you go with a dual card solution I think it's worth going with x58 to get the performance boost.

And yes all those overclocks were done in optimal conditions for the cpu(yes my room is 20degrees, yes I have a nh-d14 and yes I have corsair 850hx and good ram, but these conditions are to be expected when one gets a top end pc) , but the point is still the same. In the proper conditions i7s clock high, very high. And yeah you are probably right about that 950 being picked, but the other 950s shouldn't be far behind. I mean I've seen 920s go to 4.2 at 1.25v.

The problem in this discussion I think is that I'm still thinking about that 27" which would leave almost 2k for the pc in which case I would find an i7 950 a very good choice, but then if he gets the 30" he'll have little over 1k left in which case cramping to go with an i7 is a poor choice.
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November 3, 2010 2:27:53 PM

Somebody_007 - Thanks for the suggestions on the MOBO. I'm sure its a great board but I've never had a problem with gigabyte (no coil whine or anything either), and I'm familiar with the bios and layout of the mobo's so I think I want to stay with that. The goal is to come in UNDER budget here. I really like the maximize the performance/$ ratio.



Here's what I'm looking at ordering:

Qty. Product Description Savings Total Price
1

ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM



$18.99

1

HIS H687F1G2M Radeon HD 6870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity



$239.99

1

Arctic Silver Ceramique Thermal Compound


$5.49

1

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-8GBRL



$129.99

1

Intel Core i5-760 Lynnfield 2.8GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80605I5760


$208.99

1

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders



$99.99

1

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-G1 120mm "heatpipe direct contact" Long life sleeve CPU Cooler



$29.99

1

OCZ Vertex 2 OCZSSD3-2VTX120G 3.5" 120GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)


-$15.00 Instant
$30.00 Mail-in Rebate Card20-227-590

$234.99



Thinking about the SeaSonic S12II 520 Bronze 520W ATX12V V2.3 / EPS 12V V2.91 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply $59.99 for a power supply. And the GIGABYTE GA-H55N-USB3 LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI USB 3.0 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard $104.99 motherboard.

Whats everyone think!
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November 3, 2010 6:24:51 PM

you want a p55 chipset as h55 have onboard graphics which is a waste if you already have a gpu. And mini itx boards are ussually for home theatre PCs with weak CPUs. If you want any sort of overclock go with an atx mobo or at least mATX.
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November 4, 2010 12:47:22 AM

Somebody_007 said:
you want a p55 chipset as h55 have onboard graphics which is a waste if you already have a gpu. And mini itx boards are ussually for home theatre PCs with weak CPUs. If you want any sort of overclock go with an atx mobo or at least mATX.


sorry I totally linked to the wrong CPU... that was a mini, there is a full mobo that is the same price that I always keep getting it confused with!

I meant this one... http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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November 4, 2010 12:48:13 PM

Alright ordered three more components,

XFX HD6870, Corsair 550w PS, and the 3.5" OCZ Vertex 2 120gb SSD

Now I'm pretty much down to the Mobo, i5-760, Cooler, Ram, and Windows 7... all of which I know I'm leaning towards so I'll just wait a week or so and see if there are any good sales!
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November 16, 2010 2:32:15 AM

Alright time for a big update!

Bought everything and I'm up and running. Overclocked to 4.0ghz at 1.295v stable!

Here are a few photos of the madness!


6870 and 120gb SSD






That massive COOLER


8gb DDR1333 Gskill


All put together


Attempting to keep a clean case




Up and going with the Dell U3011


Multitasking like a motha!



Thanks for your help everyone!
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a b 4 Gaming
November 16, 2010 2:38:30 AM

^ The above pics talk about your Photography skills... They are so good... ;) 
And congrats on a successful and a very good build... :) 
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November 16, 2010 3:30:40 AM

With all due respect sir, I hate you
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November 16, 2010 8:37:56 AM

Dell U3011

Do want.
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November 16, 2010 1:24:07 PM

Haha thanks guys, got it clocked to 4.0ghz at 1.29v ROCK solid, let it prime 95 overnight, temps on all cores stayed at 70C or lower
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November 17, 2010 7:33:20 PM

skiboarder72 said:
Here are a few more pictures of my photo editing pc. And click here to see my Review of the new Dell U3011 Photo Editing Monitor.


Haha I read a bit on what you posted on your website great what you said about a mac lol(very true indeed). I'm quite satisfied to see that more and more people are starting to see that macs is supposed to be written from back to front.

Nice website btw I've seen many huge companies not being able to compete with that
level of website quality(cough* kingston *cough). I'd say nice pics, but considering your rank in taking pictures I'm really not the one to judge lol.
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