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Help Building New Desktop for Photography Editing under $900

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February 14, 2012 6:21:52 AM

I been crunching numbers for days now. My story this. I have not built PC since Windows Vista, when I switched to MAC. Problem now is have MacBook Pro 13" and I do photography. It is connected to 26" external display. It cant keep up, photoshop gets boogled down on these Canon 5D Mark II high res RAW files editing.

I need build system cause I can't afford dish out $1800 for laptop or iMac 27". If you guys have built similar system love to hear your thoughts and cost? I was going use Newegg but I live in CA and they add CA Tax on my order. So that like $78 or so extra buck on $900 system.

1) question is it possible get computer Intel i7-2600K or go with i5-2400K save $80 bucks and overclock a little.

2) what motherboard, I need USB 3.0 on rear and on main board to connect header from front USB port and install a Card reader 3.0 to USB header on board?

3) What graphics card is good, reliable for PS CS and Lightroom with future to add 2 monitor no problems?

4) I want add SSD drive and a separate HD. I want my Windows OS and Applications (PS, Lightroom, MS office) on SSD drive, and files on my HD drive. How big SSD drive do I need or should I get?

Note if I can do all this even cheaper then $900 I am all for it, but I do want a quality, and reliable computer to last few years.

More about : building desktop photography editing 900

February 14, 2012 1:49:14 PM

I think your ideal setup would be something like this:

Intel Core i7-2600k - $329.99
16GB Corsair XMS3 1333Mhz - $79.99
GIGABYTE GA-Z68MX-UD2H-B3 - $149.99
ASUS GT 520 1GB - $42.99
Crucial M4 128GB - $159.99
Seagate Barracuda 500GB - $84.99
LIAN LI PC-A04B - $99.99
SeaSonic S12II 380B 380W - $68.99
SAMSUNG CD/DVD Burner - $16.99

Total - $1033.91 on Newegg (The US version, sorry. Still gives you an idea though.)


Obviously this is over budget but if you want to upgrade to this over time, you could start with 8GB RAM and integrated graphics. (You can still run 2 monitors on Intel HD 3000) You could then drop the hard drive for a while too. That should get this under budget and you could add the RAM, GPU and HDD later.

EDIT: That motherboard in particular is perfect for you, it's a mATX board with 4 DIMM slots and USB 3.0 internally and externally.

If you don't want to drop the GPU/SSD/RAM you could probably just drop the SSD for a while.

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February 14, 2012 4:01:20 PM

Quote:
1) question is it possible get computer Intel i7-2600K or go with i5-2400K save $80 bucks and overclock a little.


Go with the i5-2400 - overclocking isn't necessary on a workstation and you'll save $80 which can be put to better use elsewhere.

Quote:
2) what motherboard, I need USB 3.0 on rear and on main board to connect header from front USB port and install a Card reader 3.0 to USB header on board?


Gigabyte and Asus are widely regarded as the best, Asrock is pretty decent, and so are some Intel boards.

Quote:
3) What graphics card is good, reliable for PS CS and Lightroom with future to add 2 monitor no problems?


Eyefinity easily - something like an ATI Fire Pro or a Sapphire Flex series will be what you want, don't get a cheap NVIDIA or ATI GPU.

Quote:
4) I want add SSD drive and a separate HD. I want my Windows OS and Applications (PS, Lightroom, MS office) on SSD drive, and files on my HD drive. How big SSD drive do I need or should I get?


My personal preference is to go with a small SSD (64GB) and then pair it with a big 1 - 2TB HD. Store your OS and main programs on the main drive, store your large files and everything else on the secondary.

jmsellars1 said:
I think your ideal setup would be something like this:

Intel Core i7-2600k - $329.99
16GB Corsair XMS3 1333Mhz - $79.99
GIGABYTE GA-Z68MX-UD2H-B3 - $149.99
ASUS GT 520 1GB - $42.99
Crucial M4 128GB - $159.99
Seagate Barracuda 500GB - $84.99
LIAN LI PC-A04B - $99.99
SeaSonic S12II 380B 380W - $68.99
SAMSUNG CD/DVD Burner - $16.99

Total - $1033.91 on Newegg (The US version, sorry. Still gives you an idea though.)


Obviously this is over budget but if you want to upgrade to this over time, you could start with 8GB RAM and integrated graphics. (You can still run 2 monitors on Intel HD 3000) You could then drop the hard drive for a while too. That should get this under budget and you could add the RAM, GPU and HDD later.

EDIT: That motherboard in particular is perfect for you, it's a mATX board with 4 DIMM slots and USB 3.0 internally and externally.

If you don't want to drop the GPU/SSD/RAM you could probably just drop the SSD for a while.


Not sure I would go with a 2600K and such a cheap GPU on a 1K build. You'll never utilize the full CPU load and you'll never utilize the full 16GB RAM either.

I'd go for something more like this as it will enable an Eyefinity setup for 3 - 4 multiple monitors - something that will come in extremely handy on a Photoshop build. :

Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 - $59.99
PSU: Seasonic MII 620W - $89.99
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD3H - $159.99
CPU: 3.1GHz Intel Core i5-2400 - $189.99
RAM: 8GB Crucial Ballistix Sport 1600MHz 1.5V - $44.99
SSD: 64GB Crucial M4 - $109.99
HD: Seagate Barracuda Green 2TB - $129.99
Optical: Samsung DVD Burner - $15.99
Video Card: ATI Fire Pro V4800 - $159.99

Total: $951.93
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February 14, 2012 4:08:19 PM

Apologies, I didn't realise the GPU was important. I'm sure the i7 and 16GB would be handy somewhere down the line which is why i used the word 'ideal', although I'm sure you're right when you say it wouldn't fully utilise the full potential right now.
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February 14, 2012 4:23:31 PM

You do not need a graphics card at all for a build running photoshop image manipulation. The graphics built in to the 2600K will be fine .
Workstation graphics cards are very useful for 3D renders , but tragically useless for a 2D photograph .

The 2600K would be my pick if its in the budget . The extra clock speed and the ability to hyperthread give you significant extra performance , and the ability to OC will keep you current for a number of years . Despite the advice given above many workstations are highly overclocked . Time is money and performance increases are gold for a pro .

JM Sellars build is sound . Id probably swap out the mb for a cheaper , but still high quality , Asrock . Definitely stick with the Z68 chip set .
If you are using CS5 [ or later ] then 16 gig of RAM could help . Otherwise you will be fine with 8 gig .
Dropping the graphics card and saving $50 is an option .

The SSD could be a 40 gig cache drive too .

Those changes would let you fit a larger hard drive which Im sure you will need for storage
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February 14, 2012 4:35:14 PM

OP says he uses Photoshop which works better with hyper threading and lots of RAM. As for 3 monitors, the GTX 520 might not cut it. You would need a 2GB model and one that support 3 monitors. You would probably need a GTX550TI or an AMD 6870 video card to support 3 monitors.
I guess how much you spends depends on whether you do Photoshop for a living or a hobby.
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February 14, 2012 4:37:55 PM

Oh, he said 'add' 2 monitors. No single Nvidia card will do that, it would be best to just have 2 cheap cards rather than buy one of the more expensive AMD cards which support 3 monitors.
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February 14, 2012 4:40:15 PM

I'd still skip the graphics card for now . The DVI and HDMI on the mb will be fine till he OP actually gets two more monitors .

Adobe CS5 and later is 64 bit . Older versions , and the home versions are 32 bit and wont benefit from 16 gig of RAM so 2 x4 gig would be fine .
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February 14, 2012 4:40:24 PM

well the importance of the GPU may be subject to your software. What version of Photoshop are you using because they have only recently started to optimize photoshop with GPU acceleration so if your running CS2 or something, you do not need to focus on a high powered GPU and since the GPU can be added/upgraded very easily, i would definitely go with higher end motherboard and CPU.

I built a system for CAD/Revit, 3d Modeling and photoshop and went with Intel Xeon CPU's and all my memory is fully registered ECC and i would make that same decision over and over 10 times out of 10 if i had to do it all over again as i'm extremely happy with the performance and stability of my system.

Heres Photoshop and its GPU support info:
http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/404/kb404898.html
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February 14, 2012 4:46:38 PM

jgutz2006 said:
well the importance of the GPU may be subject to your software. What version of Photoshop are you using because they have only recently started to optimize photoshop with GPU acceleration so if your running CS2 or something, you do not need to focus on a high powered GPU and since the GPU can be added/upgraded very easily, i would definitely go with higher end motherboard and CPU.

I built a system for CAD/Revit, 3d Modeling and photoshop and went with Intel Xeon CPU's and all my memory is fully registered ECC and i would make that same decision over and over 10 times out of 10 if i had to do it all over again as i'm extremely happy with the performance and stability of my system.

Heres Photoshop and its GPU support info:
http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/404/kb404898.html


I bet you didnt build your system for $900 .



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February 14, 2012 5:24:13 PM

I am using CS5 and upgrade to CS6 when comes out.

I only have one monitor, but may add second in near future?


I think the HAF 912 case is good and leaning towards $49

Is SSD card 60Gb suffice for OS, office, PSCS5,, Lightroom.. Or do I need go for 90 or 120GB.

Is 16GB over kill on system just doing photoshop?

i5-2500k is what I was leaning towards, and can slightly OC it to 3.7 or 4.0 easily. Is the i7-2600k overkill.
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February 14, 2012 5:37:03 PM

Outlander_04 said:
I bet you didnt build your system for $900 .


No, i did not but i was trying to get to the point that if maximized the Money spent on the base system now and maybe use an extra or inexpensive GPU, In another month or 2 (whatever the timeline may be) a new powerful GPU could be purchased completing the new computer build.
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February 14, 2012 8:30:36 PM

Boywonder27 said:
I am using CS5 and upgrade to CS6 when comes out.

I only have one monitor, but may add second in near future?


I think the HAF 912 case is good and leaning towards $49

Is SSD card 60Gb suffice for OS, office, PSCS5,, Lightroom.. Or do I need go for 90 or 120GB.

Is 16GB over kill on system just doing photoshop?

i5-2500k is what I was leaning towards, and can slightly OC it to 3.7 or 4.0 easily. Is the i7-2600k overkill.


Whatever performance you can get from a 2500k you can get more from a 2600k . I would choose the better processor and skip the graphics card for now to help offset the cost .

Rather than a separate gaming case and psu consider a quieter office style case.
Antec Sonata III 500 with 500 watt psu $135 inc shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you use a Z68 chipset mb you can use a 40 gig ssd as a cache drive . You get the performance of an SSD boot drive for all of your frequently accessed programs and booting . Intel smart cache

Since you are using CS5 then fit 16 gig if its in your budget . If not 8 gig will be fine.
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February 14, 2012 8:53:45 PM

What do you guys mean 40Gig can be used as cache drive? Is there something to do to make that happen, and is that good thing? As well do you mean take and partition my one SSD drive into a 40Gig and use it as cache drive?
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February 16, 2012 2:44:09 AM

Well sounds like I can hold off on game card, and maybe just use money saved there for i7-2600k

Which of these boards recommended?


ASUS P8Z68-V/GEN3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 $189
ASUS P8Z68-V LE $129.99
GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD3 $154
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