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Photo Editing / Gaming PC - $1000 budget

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Last response: in Systems
June 6, 2011 10:40:47 PM

Hello everyone, long time reader, first time poster. I built a system 2-3 years ago with the help of this forum and recently have upgraded a few parts which left me almost enough parts to build another machine.

I do alot of Photography on the side and spend several hours a week editing baseball, basketball, and motorsports images on Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. But, I spend alot more time playing games such as World of Warcraft, Arma II, Wings of Prey, and many Racing Sims such as rFactor.

Just 3 days ago, I mentioned to the wife that I wanted a dedicated computer for my photography work... surprisingly she supported the idea so... I went and bought an Apple 27" iMac. Photography + Apple = Win right?

Well, I returned it yesterday because for $1800 I didn't feel like I was getting $1800 worth of performance so... here I am needing some assistance in building my ultimate do all machine.

Approximate Purchase Date: Now

Budget Range: $1000

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Photo Editing / Gaming / Video Editing / Surfing

Parts Not Required: (keyboard, mouse, monitors, speakers, case, GPUs, & PSU)

Preferred Website(s) for parts: but, prefer to buy at local Fry's Electronics

Country of Origin: USA - CA 

Parts Preferences: 
Intel, Nvidia, Corsair, if it's blue... I prefer it. 

Overclocking: Maybe. I would rather have a stable machine 

SLI or Crossfire: Yes, SLI. I already am running a pair of EVGA GTX 570s in SLI, Nvidia's Surround Gaming

Monitor Resolution: 
5040x1050 - I game with 3 screens. I had a Triplehead2go but, dumped it when I went with the 2 GTX 570s (which allowed me to bump up my resolution to 5040x1050)

Additional Comments: 
At the end of the build, I plan on having my ultimate do all machine plus with leftover parts from my previous build, I can put together a dedicated racing sim machine... don't tell the wife.

So here are parts I am thinking. I would love your comments to see if I am going about this wisely:

CPU: Intel i7 2600k $315

CPU Cooler: Corsair H70 $110

Mobo: Asus P8P67 Deluxe $225

Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB $90

OS: Windows 7 64-bit Home Premium $95

These are parts that I will reuse from my existing build:

Case: Thermaltake Level 10 GT

GPU: 2x EVGA GTX 570 1280MB in SLI

PSU: Corsair HX1000W

HDD: I currently have 4 internal HDD ranging from a 74GB boot drive, a 1TB "Applications" drive, and a 2TB media drive for my pictures, and another 2TB drive backing that up... plus 3 external HD for additional backups.

TOTAL - $835. 

The few questions I do have is. 

1. Is there a better mobo I should be looking at? I would need at least 8 internal SATA for the multiple media drives I use.

I believe I should be using a RAID setup for my image storage but, don't know how to set that up.

2. Should I get more RAM than 8GB? I am assuming more would be better for Photo work... then again... the iMac I returned ran Lightroom slightly faster with only 4GB of Ram

Sorry for the long first post.

Thanks in advance.

More about : photo editing gaming 1000 budget

June 6, 2011 10:53:39 PM

You might look at this mobo:

It's made by ASUS, it's one of the most popular P67 SLI boards out there, and it's cheaper than the ASUS models. And, of course, it has 8 SATA connections.

And I'm no expert on photo editing, but if you're doing professional work across 3 screens, I'd recommend 16GB of ram. (obviously not an issue for gaming)
June 6, 2011 11:09:10 PM

I use light room and Photoshop, though HT is a benefit. You don't need it. Get the i5 2500K can save yourself 100$. Plus it performs at about 97% of the 2600K so no big deal there. As for motherboards, the Asrock Extreme4 P67 would be a better choice, cheaper to as cuecuemore said. For coolers, you don't need the H70, just get the Mugen 2 Rev. B from Scythe. It'll perform really well and quiet. Quieter than the H70 in fact, the H70 is overated, expensive and loud.
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June 7, 2011 6:34:20 AM

Let me ask another question... Lets say I went with the mobo and i5 2500 as suggested... Will I notice a huge performance gain in Lightroom/Photoshop vs my current setup:

Asus P7P55D Deluxe / i7 860 / 8GB Ram

June 7, 2011 8:07:40 AM

Not a huge one, but yes, the 2500k is a better processor. Now if you were to overclock it you could get it to where it would outperform a stock 860 by 70%, and with a top-of-the-line cooler like you're looking at that won't be a problem.
June 7, 2011 11:53:29 PM


The 2500K is pretty on par to the 860, it's just overclock and thermal ability. Your current rig seems fine for PS5/Lightroom. I run Lightroom 3.4 pretty well on my 955 which is way worse than the 2500K.
June 8, 2011 2:50:00 AM

Hmmm I'm beginning to think that I'm being a little impatient with LR3... and the best thing for me to do is.... Nothing.

Best solution

June 8, 2011 3:32:14 AM

^ Yeah, your system is fine, 8gigs helps with creation vs my 4, and your 860 is alot better than my 955.
June 8, 2011 6:12:38 AM

Best answer selected by RuninRonin.