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Which CPU for fast photo processing?

Last response: in Systems
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December 10, 2010 2:54:58 PM

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.

December 10, 2010 3:02:22 PM

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.
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December 10, 2010 3:12:21 PM

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.
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December 10, 2010 3:19:36 PM

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.
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December 10, 2010 3:22:24 PM

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.
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December 10, 2010 3:42:38 PM

@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?
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December 10, 2010 4:18:37 PM

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)
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December 20, 2010 2:55:02 PM

Best answer selected by mqh123.
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December 20, 2010 3:59:46 PM

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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