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Request advice on Dell system for video & photo editing (no gaming)

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March 28, 2011 2:23:56 AM

Hi everyone,

I have a Dell that it several years old and needs replacing now that I am processing photos, and planning to be editing video very shortly. I’m not a build-your-own system kind of guy, though I clearly see what the benefits of that would be. I’ve priced out the two main home user offerings at Dell, and was hoping you guys could steer me in the right direction as to which system would best suit my needs. I am hoping to place my order in the next week or two. These systems are listed below.

As I said, this system will primarily be used for photo and video editing, using both Photoshop Lightroom 3 and Premiere Elements 9. Please note that my gaming days are behind me, so I’m not concerned with any specifications that may solely apply to gaming.

My main questions are:
1. Which of these two processors would best suit my photo/video needs (2600 vs. 930)?
2. What type & amount of RAM would be ideal (without unnecessarily maxing out the slots)?
3. From a performance perspective, would it make sense to upgrade from the Radeon HD 5670 to the Radeon HD 5770?
4. Are there any other considerations I should be aware of, that I've missed?

Systems:

1. Dell XPS 8300
Intel® Core™ i7-2600 processor(8MB Cache, 3.4GHz)
6GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz- 4 DIMMs
1TB - 7200RPM, SATA 3.0Gb/s, 16MB Cache
ATI Radeon HD 5670 1GB GDDR5
Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64bit

Price: $899

2. Dell Studio XPS 9100
Intel® Core™i7-930 processor(8MB L2 Cache, 2.80GHz)
6GB Tri Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz- 3 DIMMs
1TB - 7200RPM, SATA 3.0Gb/s, 16MB Cache
AMD Radeon HD5670 1GB GDDR5
Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64bit

Price: $999

I am willing to upgrade in some areas (ie. ram/video card), but am hoping to keep the cost around $1,200 or so.

Any guidance you could provide would be very much appreciated!

Thanks,
Ryan
March 28, 2011 11:59:25 AM

I would suggest the XPS 8300 because of the newer Sandy Bridge CPU. Stay with the existing graphics card. It is perfectly adequate for what you intend doing with the computer.

Use the computer for a few months, gain experience with it, read reviews on products, and then consider any upgrades that you have decided on.

If you are familiar with building, spec out a new computer and build your own. This is also a viable option.
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March 28, 2011 2:47:20 PM

I agree with Ubrales that the Sandy Bridge option will be better for you in the long run. Concerning the RAM, I believe SB motherboards only have 4 dual-channel slots. If you want 6 or 8 GB of RAM, I'd suggest buying 2x3GB or 2x4GB set so that you have 2 slots open instead of filling all 4 with 1.5 GB DIMMs. I'm not sure if this will substantially increase performance (most likely not) but it'll make any future upgrades easier.
Another option you might consider, price out building your own computer and then have the parts put together by a local shop or friend. This way you get the bennefits of building exactly what you need without the extras dell throws in, but you don't have to put it together yourself and you have warrenty options through one company instead of each part manufacturer.
Good luck!
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March 30, 2011 3:29:50 AM

Thanks for the responses guys, I appreciate it. I pulled the trigger on the XPS 8300 i7 2600 last night. There was a decent 3-day sale on so I upped the RAM to 12GB to future proof that aspect of it.
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