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Recommendations for new build for graphic design and some video

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January 12, 2011 3:13:56 AM

I’m building a new PC for my wife. It will mostly be used for standard office applications and web-surfing but will occasionally be used for Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign and light video editing with Premier using the CS4 suite for her freelance jobs.

This PC will not be used for gaming. My budget is around 1,000 USD. I’ll be running 64 bit Windows 7.

I’ve done some research and was going to try to stay close to some recommendations I found on the videoguys.com website (http://tinyurl.com/c4uhqs) but have had a hard time piecing together a build on newegg or TigerDirect.

Here’s a summary of what they recommend. Keep in mind that the video editing we plan to do is probably lighter than what their recommendations are meant to fit. I do, however, want to be able to scroll through clips and have it not be too choppy.

So here’s what they recommend.

* CPU: Intel i7
* Graphics Card: nVidia GTX470 or Quadro card with Open GL and dual-monitor support
* RAM: 8 MB of triple channel RAM
* Hard Drive: 1 drive for system and another for docs/programs
* Motherboard: (They say the chipset is more important than the brand but don’t specify a chipset)

Specific questions I have are.

* Should I go sandybridge?
* For lighter video editing do I need to to go with those beefy graphics cards? The nVidia can be around $250. I’ve seen Quadro’s that support Open GL from as low as $129 and as high as $3700.
* Is triple channel RAM necessary?

Any comments/suggestions are appreciated.

Thanks.
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
January 12, 2011 12:04:06 PM

Some issues with you're "recommendations":

You're probably not going to get a great i7 for this budget, at least with such an expensive GPU. If you drop the GPU to something like the GTX 460 (which likely won't have an impact), the i7-2600 comes into play. If you don't want to do that, I'd look at the i5-2400 or i5-2500.

I'd avoid the GTX 470. It's pretty much a horrible card. Instead, check out the GTX 460, 570 or 580.

You can't have 8 GB of triple channel RAM. The triple channel part means three sticks of RAM, which means either 6 GB of 12 GB. You can get 8 GB of dual channel RAM, which you'll be using with the i5.

Multiple drives aren't really that useful, especially not on a budget. Get one fast drive to start with.

The brand of motherboard is extremely important for quality. You generally want to stay with Asus or Gigabyte for the highest quality, but MSI and ASRock are fairly high quality as well, and usually significantly cheaper. Chipset is entirely dependent on the CPU, so it's not really a choice.

To answer your questions:

Sandy Bridge: ABSOLUTELY. This isn't even a real question. You want a Sandy Bridge CPU, even if it's not an i7. The new i5s are super fast. Besides, you wouldn't be close to affording an LGA1366 i7 (the old ones) anyway.

GPU: Not really. A Quadro card would be a waste unless you're spending a lot more than $130. I'd likely go with the GTX 460. It's big enough to support what you're doing, yet it's cheap at under $200. It's also extremely power efficient (unlike the 470) and runs very quiet (again unlike the 470).

RAM: Yes, if you're getting an old i7. No if you're getting anything else, which you should.

Here's what I'd look at (without knowing more details, check the guidelines in my signature):

CPU: i7-2600 $300
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD4 $190
RAM: Corsair XMS3 2x2 GB DDR3 1600 mhz CAS Latency 9 $40 after rebate
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB $70
GPU: GTX 460 1 GB $170 after rebate
PSU: Antec Earthwatts 650W $75
Case: Any ATX case she likes. Some great ones are the Rosewill's Destroyer or Challenger, Antec's 300, 300 Illusion, 900 or 902, Coolermaster's Elite, Centurion 5, 690, HAF 912, or HAF 922, and anything from Lian Li. I'd say about $100 would be the most you should spend here.
Optical: The cheapest SATA DVD burner you can find. Should be under $20

Total comes to $965 if you spend the full $100 on the case. I went a little higher on the board and PSU to support SLI (dual video cards), so if after a while the photo editing seems too slow, you can drop a second GTX 460 in the build for a huge performance boost.
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January 17, 2011 3:40:01 PM

I agree with madadmiral for the most part. :) For your budget, your best bet is to go with sandy bridge. But I'd wait atleast 2 weeks to see some more reviews on the mobos. I'd personally go with an asus but gigabyte is also good. I recently built a video editing PC with i7-950 and dual- GTX 460's (SLI) and it's great for HD editing. I think the 460 GTX is the best way to go but choose a factory OC'ed one (like this one http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127518) Great HDD. I think 4gb is way too low for video editing. I'd highly recommend going for atleast 6GB (which is what i did) from Corsair or G.Skill. I really like the haf 922 case since it has lots of space but it's not the coolest looking. And if your budget allows I'd highly recommend the corsair CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX psu just in case you'd like to sli in the future http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139006 Have a great time!
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
January 17, 2011 4:06:20 PM

650W is good enough to SLI the 460. If you absolutely want to get a bigger PSU, I'd rather have XFX's 750W than Corsair's. The XFX is the same price, yet is modular and has a higher efficiency.

I wouldn't get any factory overclocked card, with the exception of EVGA's FTW GTX 460. Why pay more to have someone else do something you can do yourself with a couple mouse clicks?

Also, 4 GB of RAM is a little light for a heavy editing machine, but I was concetrating on the "light/occasional" side of the description. Unless you're running those programs a lot, you'd do better to save some money on the RAM.
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January 17, 2011 7:04:46 PM

True, the 650W is enough but I like to have lots of headroom. The only reason I recommended the factory OC'ed card was because I don't know if the OP is inclined to OC by himself. If so, then thats a good way to save some $. However, even for light video editing especially if it involves HD, 6GB is the minimum.
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
January 17, 2011 7:55:30 PM

Except that most boards are dual channel, so 6 GB isn't really compatible. And I disagree on the "need" for more than 4 GB for light use. Going to 8 GB isn't going to save that much time if you don't use it that much.
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January 17, 2011 8:25:21 PM

I was thinking of the i7`s triple channel, anyways I said light video editing. of course 4 gb is enough for light computing but for any video editing I`d highly recommend 8GB.
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