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$3000 photo editing and gaming machine.Advice Improvements or swapouts

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November 11, 2010 12:39:31 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: 1-2 months

Budget Range: $3k Aussie

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Photoshop editing multiple large images at the same time, high end gaming, internet browsing, movie watching.

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: PCCaseGear

Country of Origin: Australia

Parts Preferences: by brand or type: I like AMD and Asus but it doesn't have to be them at all. :na: 

Overclocking: Yes

SLI or Crossfire: Yes

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1200 ~ already have one


Additional Comments: I'm trying to future proof it as much as possible, even though I realize this is fairly impossible. I don't imagine myself updating anything for atleast another 5 years. I would like two seperate 1TB drives. 1 for my wifes work which is predominately photos and the other for general use ie gaming, movies etc. The main aim is to make sure it is as quick as possible for her when she is editing large photos. Secondly it needs to be able to run games on high everything with NO dramas. I don't play Crysis, more like Eve online, Civilization, Need for Speed, Grid etc.

I have picked out the below parts already and would appreciate any advice on swap outs or if I can do things better by heading in another direction ie Intel or Nvidia etc.


AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition
ASUS Crosshair IV Extreme Motherboard
Corsair CMX8GX3M2A1333C9 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3
Gigabyte ATI Radeon HD5870 1GB Ultra Durable in CF
ASUS DRW-24B1LT DVDRW SATA LightScribe
Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB WD1002FAEX x 2
OCZ Z Series 1000W Gold Modular
CoolerMaster HAF X Case
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Retail Pack
November 11, 2010 3:23:31 AM

The CUDA on the GTX470 plays nice with CS5, though it would be a step down for gaming. If you prefer AMD, the 69XX cards will be out before you buy.
Can you get win 7 OEM in Australia?
If you will be doing some extreme overclocking, DDR31600+ might be worth it. If not, you could get a (much) cheaper motherboard.
An SSD for boot/scratch disk would be a good performance/$ boost too.
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November 11, 2010 3:27:28 AM

For the games that you listed, 5870 CF is overkill. I only have 1 5870 and with it, Crysis is playable at Very High 1920x1089 (No AA). I could (barely) understand getting a single 5870 to make it future proof. If you do need to upgrade in a few years, just get a new card. Evidence

Instead of of the Western Digital drive, get the Samsung Spinpoint F3
It is faster and cheaper.

Save some money by getting the OEM version of Windows

If you want, put some of that money into a SSD for a Windows and programs
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November 11, 2010 10:33:19 AM

etk said:
The CUDA on the GTX470 plays nice with CS5, though it would be a step down for gaming. If you prefer AMD, the 69XX cards will be out before you buy.
Can you get win 7 OEM in Australia?
If you will be doing some extreme overclocking, DDR31600+ might be worth it. If not, you could get a (much) cheaper motherboard.
An SSD for boot/scratch disk would be a good performance/$ boost too.


Ok so I'd need a 120GB SSD so what do you recommend? If I just got the 1 GPU I could probably stretch to a 240GB SSD and the Samsung SpinPoint F3 1TB for my other drive.
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November 11, 2010 10:40:15 AM

like I mentioned in the other thread 5870s especially in crossfire is a bad choice.

Nvidia is the best choice anyways for photoshop. I'd get 460gtx sli or a 580gtx if you want an upgrade path.

Although the market will be completely revolutionized in 1-2 months so it's difficult to reccomend anything at this point.

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November 11, 2010 8:19:53 PM

Somebody_007 said:
like I mentioned in the other thread 5870s especially in crossfire is a bad choice.

Nvidia is the best choice anyways for photoshop. I'd get 460gtx sli or a 580gtx if you want an upgrade path.

Although the market will be completely revolutionized in 1-2 months so it's difficult to reccomend anything at this point.


So if I go a single or dual 460's or 480's what board would you recommend? Is there any reasoning behind why you would go the 460's?

Do you have any thoughts on SSD's?
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November 11, 2010 8:31:03 PM

Short version on SSDs: Any of the SandForce SSDs are your best bet at 120-128 GB. OCZ Agility2/Vertex2, Corsair Force, Mushkin Callisto, Patriot Inferno, etc.

Long version:
Anandtech's SSD Relapse - a good overview of the technology, but a few months old, so the product recommendations are a bit dated.
bit-tech SSD Buyer's Guide - pretty recent, good overview of the various controllers
techreport article on SSD value - recent, includes comparisons vs. traditional HDDs.
Anandtech article about the C300's value compared to other drives
Anandtech article reviewing new VRs and comparison with SSDs
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Best solution

November 11, 2010 9:05:52 PM

chief2010 said:
So if I go a single or dual 460's or 480's what board would you recommend? Is there any reasoning behind why you would go the 460's?

Do you have any thoughts on SSD's?


IMO you've only got the choice between 460sli, single 580 or 580sli. 470s are bad value as an overclocked 460 will beat an overclocked 470 as the former OC like a dream and the latter are a nightmare to get stable. 480s perform very well but are bested in every way by their replacement(580gtx) which is worth everypenny over it's predeccesor(480gtx).

460gtx sli vs 580gtx sli I think the choice is fairly obvious here if you can afford the latter and want that much power then get the 580s.

Then the tricky choice: 460gtx sli vs single 580gtx: I haven't seen any direct comparisons but I think they perform very similarly. You can however get the former for 400 orso whereas the latter would set you back a good 550. I would much rather have the 580gtx if they were the same price because sli sometimes has driver issues, produces more heat, consumes more power and has no upgrade path whereas with the 580gtx you can add 1-2 more for 2/3way sli if you ever need more power(460s can only do 2-way so id the 460s ever get slow you'll need to replace). The only thing in favour of sli besides the price is 3monitor support.

Now I can't make the choice for you all our good in their own respects I hope I gave you enough info to make the choice. Although I'm sure prices of the 580 will drop when the amd cards come meaning the 580 will probably be the better choice but at these price points it's a tough call.

As for the mobo that's personal really just like a case almost any will do, but it's up to personal preference which features you want.

I'm going to assume your going with an i7 950 because that's by far the best choice for gaming especially if you plan on going with multi-card solutions at some point. And the overclocking potential of an i7 950 blowa any amd cpu out of the park.

If you want something basic and don't want to tinker with your pc too much. This is a great choice http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you want to get into OCing and playing around with your systen in general then maybe something like this

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And if you want the best and want to do some serious OCing there's this
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
and
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

As for the SSDs well coldsleep said everything there is to say really

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November 11, 2010 9:19:44 PM

^CS5 doesn't support CUDA acceleration for 460, I don't think for 480/580 either. Just 285/470/Quaddro Cards. Photoediting was req # 1 in the OP uses, not gaming.
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November 11, 2010 9:34:53 PM

etk said:
^CS5 doesn't support CUDA acceleration for 460, I don't think for 480/580 either. Just 285/470/Quaddro Cards. Photoediting was req # 1 in the OP uses, not gaming.


Arrrgh. Just to confuse the issue even more for me but yes, you are correct. Photoediting is the No.1 requirement of this rig.
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November 11, 2010 9:39:26 PM

chief2010 said:
Arrrgh. Just to confuse the issue even more for me but yes, you are correct. Photoediting is the No.1 requirement of this rig.


My understanding was that support for 460, 480, & 580 was in the works, just hadn't been finalized yet, but people have managed to get it working on their own.

Admittedly, I'm not a CS5 user, so I haven't been paying close attention.
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November 11, 2010 9:56:41 PM

coldsleep said:
My understanding was that support for 460, 480, & 580 was in the works, just hadn't been finalized yet, but people have managed to get it working on their own.

Admittedly, I'm not a CS5 user, so I haven't been paying close attention.


Please pardon my complete and utter noobish ignorance on the subject, but when you say that 'support' was in the works, what exactly are you referring to?
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November 11, 2010 10:00:35 PM

chief2010 said:
Please pardon my complete and utter noobish ignorance on the subject, but when you say that 'support' was in the works, what exactly are you referring to?


Whoops, I mean to say "CUDA support for the 460, 480, & 580 was in the works."

Again, I'm not a CS5 user, so I don't really care enough to pay attention to news on it. :)  I just thought I had heard that the cards were all in the process of being verified for support, and that it was likely to eventually happen. That was a few months ago though, and they could have easily decided that they're never going to support those cards and I would never have heard that news (what with the not really caring).

Searching google for CS5 cuda video cards leads to some interesting links that may be of value to you.
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November 11, 2010 11:32:36 PM

So I'm guessing that CUDA is in some way beneficial to Photoshop?
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November 11, 2010 11:55:57 PM

I've not really felt it be useful or worth the money.
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November 12, 2010 12:21:59 AM

chief2010 said:
So I'm guessing that CUDA is in some way beneficial to Photoshop?


Not so much Photoshop as other programs in CS5....but yes

http://www.studio1productions.com/Articles/PremiereCS5....
http://www.hd4pc.com/techblog/2010/06/03/cs5-with-cuda/

Check out the build I placed in this thread .....

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/298732-31-need-advice...

I built it for a college student minoring in photography and, apparently, majoring in gaming :) 

Only thing I'd add is that if you are serious about photography a TN panel in your monitor just isn't going to cut it.

Get an IPS such as the Dell U2410.


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November 12, 2010 3:30:28 AM

So I've been checking out the 460's and found this one. What do we think of running two of these in SLi? $458 for the pair compared to $699 for the 580.
Also thoughts on the Intel Core i7 950 running on the EVGA X58 FTW3 Motherboard 132-GT-E768-KR with what memory? I am looking at the OCZ DDR3 PC3-12800 Intel i7 Edition 3x2GB OCZ3X1600R2LV6GK which is matched specifically for the i7 processors, although I assume other sets are also matched but better than these??? I don't understand all the 8-8-8-24 mumbo jumbo that goes with RAM so maybe somebody can explain it or recommend some good fast RAM to go with the CPU and GPU and MOBO mentioned above.
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November 12, 2010 3:43:52 AM

Get 1600MHZ if you to be ocing that processor.

Basically 8-8-8-24 can be simplified to CL8.

Basically, CL7 is slightly better than CL8, and CL8 slightly better than CL9.

From what I've heard you can just make a CL9 perform like a CL7 is you want to 'overclock'i it.

Get SLI GTX 460's and you'll be in love, trust me.

They'd be performing unlike the Aussie cricket team =)
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November 12, 2010 7:38:57 AM

http://www.nvidia.com/object/cuda_gpus.html according to nvidia all the above mentioned GPUs support CUDA.

You seem to have pretty strange pricing their is Australia all the new stuff seems to be far more expensive than it should be like the evga 6gbps board and the 580gtx. At the price difference on this website I think 2 of these is a no-brainer http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i... I ussually reccomend the hawk but strangly it's very expensive on that website.

About the ram: frequency is just speed qs in how fast it works. The bunch of numbers(8-8-8-24) is how long it takes for it to start working. The first number is the cas latency and also the most important one for all intents and purposes ignore the other 3.

Both frequency and latencies can be changed in the bios so lowering the latency is also a form of overclocking.

Avoid OCZ ram in general as they've had trouble living up to their specs let alone overclock well. Here are some good kits http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i... dominators are ussually expensive for their specs but at this price they are great and they overclock like monsters. There is also this http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i... which is extremely fast at stock should overclock a good deal further and most importantly the looks. I've got those in red and they are already stunning let alone in yellow radioactivness.

BTW: the for core i7 OCZ advertises itself as just means it's a 6gb kit with an i7 sticker on it.
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November 13, 2010 4:11:20 AM

Ok so after much deliberation and after advice from lots of people on here and plenty of research I have come up with the following build components.


Patriot Inferno 240GB SandForce SSD
Lian Li CR-36 Black Multimedia Card Reader
EVGA X58 FTW3 Motherboard 132-GT-E768-KR
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 460 1GB Overclocked X 2
Mushkin 998958 Radioactive PC3-12800 (3x2GB) DDR3 X 2
Intel Core i7 950
Samsung SpinPoint F3 1TB HD103SJ
ASUS DRW-24B1LT DVDRW SATA LightScribe
OCZ Z Series 1000W Gold Modular
CoolerMaster HAF X Case
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Retail Pack

Have I put everything together correctly here and does anybody see any issues with anything? I want the lightscribe for my business. Ideally I would put the OS and business files on the SSD, and all then other gaming crap etc on the HDD.
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November 13, 2010 10:02:19 AM

Cool. What's the difference in the 2 PSU's? Apart from the obvious wattage difference?
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November 13, 2010 10:09:56 AM

I would like a case with a few bays in the front for easy expansion and easy access usb's without having to open door's etc. Any suggestions?
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November 13, 2010 11:44:51 AM

The corsair psu will be more efficient as having a completely overkill psu ussually isn't efficient as psu's are at peak efficiency when running a system for which they are made(the difference won't be huge though). The corsair psu is also fully modular so you can replace cables if you want. And I think the corsair has a longer warrenty.

The phantom has a door and unless it's for sound dampeningor cooling(which in the case of the phantom it isn't) I find them fairly pointless.

Here are some cases to look into

http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i... beautiful, legendary silverstone build-quality, best air cooler on the market, and not as huge as tha haf x which trust me is massive.

http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i... this thing is massive, yet simple and has amazing build quality but seeng as it has doors and everything It may not be what you are looking for

Just a great mid-tower with everything you're looking for I think http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i... another massive case

Note all the cases I mentioned are quite expensive, but they are all the best in their category. They all have legendary build quality and every feature you can which for whereas cheaper cases like the phantom and many others are all flawed in some way despite the fact they get amazing reviews. I have the thermaltake element G http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i... which is a nice case and gets great reviews but even this(starting to get in to the enthousiast range of cases) has numerous flaws. Just mentioning some: no proper dust filters, not enough room to hide cables behind the mobo, cable management holes are tiny, the fan controller is flimsy and doesn't always work the way it should, the pci brackets are these break of sheetrs of metal which can't be put back on, and the list goes on and on. I'm not saying you were planning on getting a more mediocre case but I'm warning you if you do you can expect their to numerous frustrating flaws.
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November 13, 2010 11:53:13 AM

I love the idea of this case, but unless you're going to lan parties I gues a lan case is pretty stupid http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

another great mid-tower which is't that expensive http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i... it has a door, but it seems to me to be amazing value(to all reviewers aswell btw). Not as top notch as the others, but it is silent due to all the sound dampening, and simply great in most ways. The mesh in the side panel is absolutly hideous though.
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November 13, 2010 1:17:35 PM

Unless your planning on getting the 6 core 980x, I would recommend getting the i7 930. I bought it and have been EXTREMELY happy with it. It has a stock speed of 2.8, but with a Prolimatech Megahalems, I have it overclocked at 4.1ghz completely stable. (24+ prime 95 testing) Given the overclockability of this model, I see no point in wasting money on a more expensive model that probably won't get much more performance than this anyway. Good luck on your build! I built mine two years ago and then upgraded to an i7. It can run almost every game I play at rock solid 60frames per second. (except crysis..... :p )

(My computer):
core i7 930 @ 4.1ghz
corsair 1600mhz ram
seagate 7200rpm 500gb hdd
sli gtx 260 (slowest part of the system, but excellent for all the games that I play!)
antec 1200 case
Corsair HX1000 psu
asus p6x58d motherboard (excellent overclocker, but beware that you won't be able to easily tri sli on this motherboard unless you have a extended tower case. I have an Antec 1200 and couldnt fit all three of my gtx 260s in there. :( 
prolimatech megahalems w/ tx2 (works very well)
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November 13, 2010 1:38:25 PM

jednx01 said:
Unless your planning on getting the 6 core 980x, I would recommend getting the i7 930. I bought it and have been EXTREMELY happy with it. It has a stock speed of 2.8, but with a Prolimatech Megahalems, I have it overclocked at 4.1ghz completely stable. (24+ prime 95 testing) Given the overclockability of this model, I see no point in wasting money on a more expensive model that probably won't get much more performance than this anyway. Good luck on your build! I built mine two years ago and then upgraded to an i7. It can run almost every game I play at rock solid 60frames per second. (except crysis..... :p )

(My computer):
core i7 930 @ 4.1ghz
corsair 1600mhz ram
seagate 7200rpm 500gb hdd
sli gtx 260 (slowest part of the system, but excellent for all the games that I play!)
antec 1200 case
Corsair HX1000 psu
asus p6x58d motherboard (excellent overclocker, but beware that you won't be able to easily tri sli on this motherboard unless you have a extended tower case. I have an Antec 1200 and couldnt fit all three of my gtx 260s in there. :( 
prolimatech megahalems w/ tx2 (works very well)


The 950 bassically replaced the 930 they cost the same now. On the website he'll be susing they don't even sell the 930 anymore. Besides the 950 is a good deal better so it's kind of no-brainer really.

And yeah in tri-sli in a mid-tower and even many full towers isn't possible.
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November 25, 2010 11:06:13 PM

Best answer selected by Chief2010.
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a b 4 Gaming
November 26, 2010 6:22:04 AM

This topic has been closed by Maziar
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