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Which CPU for fast photo processing?

I do a lot of heavy duty photo processing with large image files. No video file processing, no games. I've never built my own system before, but I'm pretty confident I can do it as long as I know all the parts I need.

I've read the "Recommended builds by usage" thread, but I'm not quite sure whether I fall into the "enthusiast" or "workstation" category. In particular, I can't tell the which of the differences between the Intel and the AMD chips apply to me, since a lot of it seems to be about video, and I don't do video or games.

One thing to note, and I don't know if this matters when it comes to performance: the application I use the most for photo editing is Paint Shop Pro X - it was released many years ago, way before 64-bit computing existed. It's been verified as being compatible with Vista, but I don't know if the fact that it's probably a 32-bit app matters when it comes to choosing a CPU. (Please: I don't need advice about upgrading to a newer version, or to Photoshop; I'm very, very happy with this version of the program.)


Date wanted: within the next couple of months
Budget: $1500
No monitor, keyboard, mouse required - I'm happy with what I have
Windows 7 Professional
Minimum of 6GB RAM
Minimum of 500 GB hard drive

Dual-monitor support would be nice, but not required.
8 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about which fast photo processing
  1. if its an older program, it's probably single-threaded.
    I'd stick with a i5-760, 8 GB RAM, and a GTX 460 in SLI.
  2. I suppose that it'd be wise to look to the future and assume that I *could* end up with Photoshop or some non-single-threaded program in the future. I don't want to limit myself by buying an underpowered CPU just because my current software is also underpowered.
  3. Best answer
    If you're not using the system for anything else you don't need anywhere near $1500 to maximize performance of that software. An i3 w/ hyper threading disabled would probably give you the best single core performance.

    Paint Pro X was way before GPGPU's so heck, on board video would be fine for you.

    I guess you could spend some money on a nice SSD. OCZ vertex 2, or x25-M would be best choices.

    RAM wise more than 4 GB is pointless. Pro X is 32 bit software. Can't utilize more than 2gb of RAM regardless of your OS. Even adding a large address aware header (may have to write your own for something that old) will only increase that to 3gb.
  4. the i5-760 is a solid CPU. However, it's being replaced by Sandy Bridge in 4 weeks. My suggestion has deciding to upgrade to something newer in mind. Its just you won't see advantages over going with an AMD 6-core rather than an Intel 4-core with that software.
  5. @banthracis - interesting idea about using SSD's to boost performance. Assuming that I had one SSD and one regular hard drive in my system, would I be better off with the SSD as the boot/system/pagefile disk, or as the data disk where my photo files are stored?
  6. SSD are usually best as boot/application/paging disks, as the cost per GB is high (about $2.00-$2.50/GB) compared to mechanical drives (as low as $0.50-0.80/GB)
  7. Best answer selected by mqh123.
  8. ScrewySqrl said:
    if its an older program, it's probably single-threaded.
    I'd stick with a i5-760, 8 GB RAM, and a GTX 460 in SLI.


    $300 for SLI'd cards that will never be used as GPUs? (Admittedly, he'd be all set if he chooses to play Crysis later...)
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