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Photo Editing / HTPC i7-2600 SSD+2xHDD max RAM

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Last response: in Systems
March 8, 2012 2:55:23 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: Buy before 25 March 2012
Budget Range: Currently near $1,500 (would love suggestions to bring it down to $1,000)
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, storage, Home Theater,
Overclocking: Yes
SLI or Crossfire: No
Here's what I've pieced together:
Intel Core i7-2600 Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 $299.99
ASUS P8H67-V (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel H67 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX $109.99
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) $234.99
HIS H679F1GD Radeon HD 6790 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready $129.99
SAMSUNG 830 Series MZ-7PC064B/WW 2.5" 64GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) $104.99
2 x Western Digital Caviar Black WD2002FAEX 2TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive $399.98

My thoughts were to invest now in a capable system that would persist in performance for years.
I was unsure if I should use the H67 chipset versus the Z68?
I'd like to use a separate graphics card to ensure HD playback, large photo editing with multiple layers in Photoshop, and the potential for video editing, so I'm looking for a good recommendation on this.
I maxed out on RAM; unsure if I'll need it all or would 16GB satisfy?
SSD for OS (Win 7 64 bit) and software
Raid 1 (or 5?) with multiple HDD for storage and redundancy. Should I use a separate SATA raid card?
I've got two 2TB drives selected, but I also have a WorldBook II NAS storage of 2TB in Raid 1 that I would continue to use.
Also, I'd like a recommendation for an efficient PSU (est 750W, maybe 650W) and ATX case with room for 2 disc drives (DVD + Blu-Ray) and front USB 3.0.
Lastly, this seems to come in around $1,500 but I'd like to pare that down to ~$1,000. I love the idea of SSD for nimble software response while editing, just unsure about the Raid setup, GPU, and PSU. Thanks! -Clint

More about : photo editing htpc 2600 ssd 2xhdd max ram

March 8, 2012 3:16:53 AM

16 Gigs RAM should be more than sufficient, but since you're a Photoshop guy, if you think you might need the 32, get 32 (only you know how you use it).
I'd spend a few more bucks and get the 2600k (unlocked) and get a z68 chipset mobo (like an ASUS P8Z68 or Gigabyte Z68XP-UD3P or similar).
If the mobo you get supports RAID 1 or 5, you won't need a seperate RAID, as long as you don't get some cut rate board, stick with the top players.
Your case should appeal to you. I have an Antec 300, but the new 302 has USB 3.0 on front, so I'll probably go to it. I like the look of it. Some people like the Level 10 GT look, etc etc. I'd head to newegg and start filtering according to USB 3 on front and how many bays you have. Then find one that's 'pretty'.
PSU, stick again to top names, Corsair, Silverstone and the such. Look at user reviews for ones in your price range (and around 750+W)
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March 8, 2012 3:46:26 AM

First off if you plan on overclocking your going to need i7 2600k:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If your gonna go cheap on a board then get this Z68:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Holy hell I really doubt you need all that RAM 8GB should do it:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A more reliable SSD:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

As for the case it's really up to you. your going ti need a better GPU in my opinion, 6970.
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Best solution

March 8, 2012 3:59:42 AM

1) I do fairly large HD video editing projects and am hard pressed (though it has happened on one project so far) to fill up my 16GB of ram. Doing photo editing which uses MUCH smaller files will not need 32GB of ram, so you can save a ton of money sticking with a 4x4GB setup instead of 4x8GB. Also, 1333 is not noticeably slower than 1600 for production work, but I would still swing for the 1600 if you can afford it because of the quality of the hardware is better (it is binned higher), which means it will last longer and is less likely to go through an RMA like I had to do.

2) i7 2600 is the perfect CPU for this, but the 2400/2500/2500K are very capable as well. Seeing as you are pairing this rig with SSDs/RAID for content drives I am pretty sure the HT will be worth it for your applicaitons (~30% over the 2500K).

3) I am pretty sure that modern versions of Photoshop has CUDA support (though I could be wrong as I am still on Photoshop CS2 which more than suits my needs for doing the occasional artwork tweak, but is highly outdated). If it does support CUDA then I highly suggest going with a GTX 570 or 580 (or wait for one of the new 600 series cards that are coming out soon). If it does not support CUDA then the AMD card is fine.

4) As far as the chipset goes keep in mind: Chipsets control the features supported by the motherboard, not the speed of the motherboard. So if money is a concern then scaling back to a H67 is perfectly acceptable, just know that it is limited on upgrade-ability (will not do 1600 ram, and will not OC). The p67 looses onboard video (which you are not using anyways), but gains 1600 ram, OCing, and Intel RAID functionality. z68 then adds SSD caching (which is largely over-rated), and the ability to use the onboard GPU in conjunction with your aftermarket GPU (again, highly over-rated, and largely unnecessary unless you are doing a lot of bulk encoding and are not concerned with file size/quality). Personally I would stick with the P67 for production work as it is a 'prosumer' based chipset compared to the much more civilian H67, but the H67 will still get the job done with no major issues.

6) With 2 drives you only have the option of JBOD, 1, or 0, and as this is a work machine where data loss can have dire consequences I would HIGHLY suggest RAID1 and then have a backup on a server or external HDD. RAID 5 requires 3 or more drives of similar size, and is not really suggested until you reach 4 or more HDDs. I would not necessarily trust the 3rd party raid controller on a h67 chipset (though it should work fine), but the p67 chipset is an intel RAID controller which should work just fine.

7) Personally I would wait on the big HDDs unless you have projects that need them immediately. Windows+Adobe suite will only take ~30GB of space, leaving 30GB for pics and work on a 60GB drive which can get you by for a little while. Drives are still suffering from the floods last fall, and are coming down in price steadily. By this winter they should be at the prices they were last year when you could get a quality 2TB HDD for $80. Also, I would avoid WD as they can have odd RAID issues. Stick with Seagate, Samsung, or Hatachi (Samsung is what I am saving up for for my server build this fall/winter, but I need 4 of the F4 drives which is a touch more than I have handy at the moment). Continue to use the Worldbook, and consider backing up the data on something, throwing the drives into a USB3 enclosure, and then putting all of the data back on, it would run MUCH faster. Later, when companies have recovered and the 6TB drives come out, and 4TB drive gain traction, then the 2TB drives should drop in price quite nicely.

8) You are perfectly right in wanting an SSD for your rig! My computer (see specs below) takes ~45sec to boot up and go due to my old HDDs. My wife's C2Duo (a MUCH slower machine) boots in ~10-15sec (wake from sleep is only ~3 sec). It takes me ~3sec to open a small program like office, while hers opens instantly. Larger programs like Outlook take my computer ~10-20 sec, and take her PC a mere 3 sec. Of course her computer does not have the raw processing power to do what my computer does, but when it comes to small stuff it is simply faster to do it on her computer than to wait for mine. I will be getting an SSD relatively soon, but as my software loadout is ~130GB so far, I would like to save up for a 240+GB SSD.

9) A final note on the HDDs, there are several ways to set things up, and you will have to pick what is right for you. RAID1 will have fairly quick read speed (though high latency), and will offer some amount of file protection, but it will not have the best write speed on earth. Conversely, RAID0 has fast read and write, but offers no protection, and in fact offers less safety than a single drive as there are more failure points over 2 drives. Another setup is to have 'specific use' drives (which is what I do), where you have a content drive, scratch disc/render drive, and an OS drive. As the scratch disc generally does not require a lot of space it allows for you to either double it's use as your 'cold storage' of old projects, or to purchase a much smaller (80-160GB) drive. Doing HD video editing I have to say that my 2 1TB drives offer enough (though not really what I would call 'plenty') of space for even large projects, while keeping archives of old ones. Having 4TB of overall space (and a little redundancy instead of relying on a backup) is probably what I should be on, but the plan is to move it all off to a server anyways and only having a local SSD, so I am not all that concerned with it at this point. I would find it hard to imagine filling 2TB (much less 4TB) with pictures alone. I am sure it can be done, especially if you are shooting and editing every day. But if you are at the enthusiast or hobiest level of things then 2TB is a ton of space for pictures, especially if you are using any sort of compression, and save only your finished product and delete your temp/working files after completing projects.


Lastly, check for a local MicroCenter as they have killer deals on CPUs (my 2600 was only $240). They also have killer deals on other things when they have sales (they had the OCZ Agility 3 240GB drive for $230 a few weeks back and I almost jumped on it), but most of their regular prices tend to be a little high.

Lastly (really this time), keep in mind that the 2600 will not OC (nor do you want to OC a production rig that you make money on, as it can cause stability issues and shorten the life of your components which can cause major issues when explaining why your project is lost/late to a customer). Also the H67 chipset does not allow for OCing. If you want to OC you need a K series CPU (+$30) and a p67 or z68 chipset. If OCing I highly suggest 1600 ram as it will keep up better, and will better handle the strain placed on it. All that said, I am hard pressed to find a workload that takes my stock CPU past 80% with my current HDDs (granted they are a few years old).

Hope that helps clear things up! Best of luck!
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March 8, 2012 4:07:50 AM

OH! almost forgot about the PSU! 550-600W is plenty of power for what you are doing. SSDs take literally no power (2-3W), CD drives take no real power, HDDs take very little power (5-12w), CPU only takes 70W on a full load, and the GPU is ~250W. After adding inefficiency, future HDDs, and other growth into account, you really don't need a monster PSU. In fact, you want a PSU proportional to the wattage of your system. Go to big, and then it is more likely to take hardware out with it when it goes.
Any name brand PSU that is 80 Bronze or better will be fine. I personally am a huge fan of PC Power and Cooling as they are the technical 'best', but for my own rig I am using a 750W OCZ power supply (way overkill for now, but I want a SLi option in the future and 750W is needed for 2 GTX570s), and there are many other respectable quality brands available out there (I just could not resist the rebate on my power supply when I bought it as it was nearly 50% off).

Go look up a system power calculator, and take it's suggestion for your build, or go 50-100W more.
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March 8, 2012 4:14:49 AM

aRodr1guez said:
First off if you plan on overclocking your going to need i7 2600k:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If your gonna go cheap on a board then get this Z68:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Holy hell I really doubt you need all that RAM 8GB should do it:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A more reliable SSD:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

As for the case it's really up to you. your going ti need a better GPU in my opinion, 6970.

Good advice! 2600K or 2500K (we don't talk about the 2700K as it is dumb) are required for OCing

I have the ex3gen3 and love it, but would do a high quality MSI p67 mobo if I were to do it all over again as I found I will not be using any of the z68 features.

8GB of ram is likely plenty... but 16GB is not that much more... but you could always add the 2nd set of 8GB later... but win7 uses 8GB of ram in my system (1-3GB typical with most programs open, but an extra 5GB is on standby) so 16GB looks pretty good... really it is a toss up between 8-16GB, but 32 is clearly overkill.

I would stick with the SSD you picked out as there should be no problems with your setup and a modern SF based SSD, but the M4s are pretty damn good.

Excelent PSU
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March 8, 2012 4:19:07 AM

@scottiemedic For the RAM, would you recommend 2x8GB to leave room for expansion? Thanks for the advice on the cases. I'll be shopping around and update this with my findings tomorrow. Sounds good on the 2600K and z68. As for the mobo, how considerate should I be of where the SSD and HDDs tie into the chipset?
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March 8, 2012 4:49:44 AM

I'd recommend 4x4GB to take advantage of the memory controllers (4 'lanes' of data instead of 2 'lanes', think roadways).

Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought I read 2 dual channels work faster (or more efficiently) than 1 dual channel controller.
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March 8, 2012 5:00:48 AM

Quote:
Quote:
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, storage, Home Theater


these programs dont use much gpu horsepower(a bit in light room)

Quote:
Quote:
Overclocking: Yes
SLI or Crossfire: No
Here's what I've pieced together:
Intel Core i7-2600 Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 $299.99
ASUS P8H67-V (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel H67 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX $109.99


if u are overclock then why a non k processor and a h67 mobo :pt1cable: 

Quote:
Quote:
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) $234.99
HIS H679F1GD Radeon HD 6790 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready $129.99
SAMSUNG 830 Series MZ-7PC064B/WW 2.5" 64GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) $104.99
2 x Western Digital Caviar Black WD2002FAEX 2TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive $399.98


32 GB of ram :o  man what are u gonna load on it a 400k photo or render a raw image of earth from sattlite :lol: 

and 4 tb carviar black :non: 

AND WHERE IS THE CASE AND OPTICAL AND I ASSUME THAT U HAVE A COPY OF OS WITH U ???!!!



IF u plan to oc then u need to get a cpu cooler

this is a build if u plan to oc



BUILD 1 -- OVERCLOCK AND GPU BEAST

Intel Core i5-2500K

ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO

CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Profile Desktop Memory

SeaSonic X750 Gold 750W ATX12V V2.3/EPS 12V V2.91 SLI Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

EVGA 01G-P3-1361-KR GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 1GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

OCZ Agility 3 AGT3-25SAT3-90G 2.5" 90GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

Seagate Barracuda ST2000DM001 2TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

COOLER MASTER HAF 912 RC-912-KKN1 Black SECC/ ABS Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case


TOTAL = $1,189.90 :bounce: 

link to list http://secure.newegg.com/Shopping/ShoppingCart.aspx?Sub...


freebies with this build :D 

Kaybles Model DHDMI-10BK 10 ft. D-Series Heavy Duty HDMI Cable Standard Speed 28AWG with Gold Plated Connector M-M - OEM

OCZ Gift - Diesel 8GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive

:hello: 










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March 8, 2012 5:01:58 AM

DONT post in WALL OF TEXT :o 
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March 8, 2012 5:44:26 AM

scottiemedic said:
I'd recommend 4x4GB to take advantage of the memory controllers (4 'lanes' of data instead of 2 'lanes', think roadways).

Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought I read 2 dual channels work faster (or more efficiently) than 1 dual channel controller.

Wrong, if you want 4 lanes then you need to use a Sandy Bridge E series chip and board... which is in an entirely different price point, but would be great for his uses. Duel channel simply means 2 lanes... and in practical use it is only a 10-20% performance increase over single channel. Quad channel is better, but still not worlds better than duel channel.

Duel channel is the same speed if you are running 2, 4, or 8 dimms of ram.
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March 8, 2012 5:46:58 AM

photoshop cs5 does support cuda partially which means u wont need to buy a huge graphic card for it



this is will be a build of NO OVERCLOCK AND A HTPC CARD IN A HOME THEATER CASE


Intel Core i7-2600 Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2000 BX80623I72600

$299.99

ASUS P8H67-M EVO (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel H67 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS

was: $139.99
$114.99

CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Profile Desktop Memory Model CML8GX3M2A1600C9

$49.99

ASUS GT520-1GD3-CSM GeForce GT 520 (Fermi) 1GB 64-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Low Profile Ready Video Card

$42.99

Seasonic SS-460FL Active PFC F3, 460W Fanless ATX12V Fanless 80Plus Gold Certified, Modular Power Supply

was: $169.99
$119.99

OCZ Petrol PTL1-25SAT3-128G 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

was: $159.99
$139.99

Seagate Barracuda ST2000DM001 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

was: $169.99
$129.99

Thermaltake Black SECC Japanese steel LANBOX Lite VF6000BNS Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case

was: $85.99
$70.00



TOTAL = $1068 :bounce: 

IT IS JUST ABOVE 1K BUT U CAN DOWN SIZE COMPONENTS WITH OUT SACRIFICING PERFORMANCE LIKE PSU AND MOBO BUT GONA LOOSE QUALITY AND FEATURES LIKE THE PSU IS 80+GOLD AND MOBO IS CROSSFIRE READY :D 
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March 8, 2012 5:57:57 AM

clintalba said:
@scottiemedic For the RAM, would you recommend 2x8GB to leave room for expansion? Thanks for the advice on the cases. I'll be shopping around and update this with my findings tomorrow. Sounds good on the 2600K and z68. As for the mobo, how considerate should I be of where the SSD and HDDs tie into the chipset?

There is no conceivable way that you are going to use 8GB of ram for photo editing... much less 16GB, unless you have a horribly inefficient workflow and are keeping literally hundreds of photos open at the same time.

Photoshop does support CUDA for some filters, so if you use them then get yourself an apropriate GTX GPU, otherwise if you are not using those select accelerated filters then you would be fine sticking with the onboard GPU, or just a cheap $100 one from either AMD or nVidia because it is only used for display, not for rendering.

Lastly, you will need a CPU cooler if you plan to do a major OC, but again, if this is something you make money with and has to be 100% reliable then do yourself a favor and keep things at the stock settings. But if you do OC then enjoy the 4.5GHz that you should be able to hit with the 2500K with a proper hyper 212+ or Evo cooler :) 
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March 8, 2012 8:44:31 AM

with that kind of work, i do suggest a p67 mobo and an i7 2600K (if you really want to over clock) well i do since it helps me do my work faster, and i also suggest going with 16gb ram well you can go 8gb now and when you get some spare dough go get another 2gb but it's better to buy those quad channel rams, to save a few dollars, a g.skill ripjaws Z 16gb (4X4GB) 1600mhz is great i use them on my new system it's awesome, well with 16gb ram, you have more than enough space to do your work and even on excessive stress, I my self when i do work and other stuff it goes to 12-14gb, although i get 1.5-1.8gb extra when i get to 14.xxgb usage, i don't like it so hence i went with 32gb but that's just me,

well for your kind of job and if you make money with your system just like me and other people, i do suggest a really reliable power supply and at least 80plus gold modular, not only it helps case air flow but with a really reliable psu you won't need to worry about other stuff, and well you don't have to worry about overclocking it as long as you stick to a stable 4.2Ghz to 4.5Ghz no need to get greedy since you need to work your self up more to get back what you paid for that kind of system, once you get them back and some extra you can start overclocking the hell out of it to 5.5Ghz if you can and with great cooling too, even if it breaks no problem since you got some extra deep pocket to buy another one, well that's how i do things but were different so overall, with an i7 2600K i suggest a great air cooling Noctua NH-D14 it's an awesome air cooling and for liquid cooling Corsair H100, but if your on a steep budget go with Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO, it cools well for a great price of 34$/35$ or something along that line...

cons of using h100 and noctua nh-d14 is that 1st with noctua you need a big case that can fit in those monsters and with h100 you need a case which can fit dual fans on top

Air Cooling::: Noctua Nh-D14::: big cooler requires big chassis
Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO::: great cooling but not on the level of noctua but still great

Water Cooling::: Corsair H100::: big bad boy in water cooling it the same with noctua nh-d14 but performs better when you overclock it really high your cpu i mean

Corsair H80::: great water cooling which should fit most case


note: i really don't suggest using water cooling, well in some rare cases, i had experience with some leaking, i learned it the hard way,(custom water cooling)

using an extreme system and water cooled it, after being stable for a while it leaked when i was moving around my case, well it's also my fault for carrying it around but still since then only built system with air cooling, since i always carry all my system around, besides the ones i leave at home are test bench which has water cooling
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March 8, 2012 10:54:57 AM

Here is a link to the system I bought just last week. I already had the GTX 560ti Fermi.
http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx...

Here is a post from the Adobe forum on What PC to build for CS5. 3 different rigs budget, economical or warrior. OP really knows his stuff. Read the whole post - there are a lot of nuggets.
http://forums.adobe.com/thread/947698?tstart=0

My budget didn't allow for this but Cuda and Hyper Threading are better than not having - get your CPU accordingly.
The other conclusion I came to was Photoshop loves Nvidia more than Radeon but I can't find the link.

A lot of great advice in this post. I'll be watching to see what you choose.

Good luck
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March 8, 2012 12:04:25 PM

A brief thought on future-proofing: the i7-2600k with LGA 1155 versus the i7-3820 with LGA 2011. I'm attracted to the 10MB L3 cache on the 3820 and it's $5 cheaper than the 2600k. Is the 2011 better than the 1155? e.g. In two years, will the LGA 2011 be more upgrade-able than the LGA 1155?

Again, thanks to everyone so far for all the awesome inputs and information. Still shopping!
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March 8, 2012 12:21:32 PM

clintalba said:
A brief thought on future-proofing: the i7-2600k with LGA 1155 versus the i7-3820 with LGA 2011. I'm attracted to the 10MB L3 cache on the 3820 and it's $5 cheaper than the 2600k. Is the 2011 better than the 1155? e.g. In two years, will the LGA 2011 be more upgrade-able than the LGA 1155?

Again, thanks to everyone so far for all the awesome inputs and information. Still shopping!



Great article in current Maximum PC about building a 3820 rig.
I looked at it as an alternative build but it took the cost up another $300+. CPU is similar price but MB and Ram $$ really jump the cost. Worth reading if you have the time. I believe it is the April issue.
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March 8, 2012 12:44:09 PM

CaedenV said:
There is no conceivable way that you are going to use 8GB of ram for photo editing... much less 16GB, unless you have a horribly inefficient workflow and are keeping literally hundreds of photos open at the same time.

Photoshop does support CUDA for some filters, so if you use them then get yourself an apropriate GTX GPU, otherwise if you are not using those select accelerated filters then you would be fine sticking with the onboard GPU, or just a cheap $100 one from either AMD or nVidia because it is only used for display, not for rendering....


Pretty much this.

Carefully review what CUDA brings to the table for you -- last time I checked it was really heavy in color correction that was of no interest to me.

I was also suggest dialing back huge financial commitments to HDD storage since current prices are so wacky. They've got to get better, hopefully sooner rather than later.



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March 8, 2012 1:24:01 PM

I agree about HDD prices. My son is really close to this issue and he tells me the bottlenecks should clear by June. Get by with less until then and watch for sales
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March 8, 2012 1:30:42 PM

no the hdd prices are going to stay high this year they will come down in jan or feb of 2013
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March 8, 2012 1:40:45 PM

That's too bad. Not worth waiting a year.
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March 9, 2012 4:41:24 AM

clintalba said:
A brief thought on future-proofing: the i7-2600k with LGA 1155 versus the i7-3820 with LGA 2011. I'm attracted to the 10MB L3 cache on the 3820 and it's $5 cheaper than the 2600k. Is the 2011 better than the 1155? e.g. In two years, will the LGA 2011 be more upgrade-able than the LGA 1155?

Again, thanks to everyone so far for all the awesome inputs and information. Still shopping!

LGA2011 is for the high end sandy bridge processors, and they will likely change it for the high end Ivy Bridge CPUs that come out next year, so it would not help you future proof with the exception of a 6core cpu later down the line (to add to the confusion; the 8 core Xeons that are 2011 will not work with most 2011 boards). On the 1155 side, you can upgrade from SB to IB, but other than the onboard GPU, and cutting 20W, there is really very little in performance gains on the processor itself (anandtech just did a review yesterday).
padraigm_02 is right about the added cost of the 2011 rigs though. The ram and entry level CPU cost the same, but the good boards are ~$75-100 more than the z68 boards. That being said, they are in a whole different class, and while gamers love them they are really designed for productivity work in mind. However, without going with the more expensive $500 6core CPU then you can OC a 2600K to match the 3820 in speed without breaking a sweat.
Here are some comparisons at stock speeds, and you can see they are pretty much the same except that the LGA2011 has a slight memory bandwidth advantage because it is quad channel instead of duel channel: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/287?vs=523

@wisecracker:
Ya, CUDA is stupidly powerful (truly amazing actually), but is only helpful for very specific tasks like color correction, green screening, and some other filters and video cleanup. It would probably be wasted on photos. Also, you need a minimum GTX570 to make it work properly (you can hack it to run on cards with less CUDA cores, but it will cause system instability). The 600 series is supposed to have massive amounts of CUDA cores in even the low end models... so maybe that will be an option for cheap CUDA? And you are absolutely right about nVida vs AMD. Adobe works and designs their software exclusively around nVidia, so if getting a serious card there is simply no comparison and you go with nVidia all the way. However, if not using GPU acceleration, then there should be no difference at all between the two as everything gets rendered in the CPU.
Doing video work I use the CUDA options all the time (partly because I paid for it and want to use it, but also because it is of really high quality and makes up for some of the color sensitivity that my camera lacks), and it is WAY faster than doing things on the CPU. But as mentioned, while very fast, it only helps with specific portions of the workload, and I can't imagine that it would help nearly as much in a photo environment where you are simply playing with much less data, and the 'real time' factor is not as crucial.
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March 9, 2012 4:52:42 AM

Speaking of alternate platforms:
Dual Sandy Bridge Xeon Mobo, $370:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2x 8core 16thread xeon CPUs for a total of 16cores and 32threads! $1100ea, $2200 total (and to think that is the 'cheap' 8 core CPU):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

64GB ECC 1600 memory $430ea, $860 total
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: $3430, and that is before all the silly stuff like GPU, HDD, power, case, etc.

*sigh* not sure if it is fun to dream... or just really depressing
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March 9, 2012 6:16:03 PM

Last round of comments! Here's the redesign:

CPU Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 $324.99
MOBO ASUS P8P67-M PRO (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard $149.99
RAM CORSAIR Vengeance 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) $98.99
GPU GIGABYTE GV-N460OC-1GI V3 GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 1GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 $139.99
SSD Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 2.5" 64GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) $93.99
HDD Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" $129.99
PSU Antec EarthWatts Platinum Series EA-650 650W ATX12V / EPS12V 80 PLUS PLATINUM Certified $119.99
CASE Antec Three Hundred Two Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case with Upgraded 2 x USB 3.0 $69.99
CPU Fan COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 120mm CPU Cooler Intel Core i7 $33.99
Optical SONY Black 12X BD-R 2X BD-RE 8X DVD+R 5X DVD-RAM 8X BD-ROM 8MB Cache SATA Blu-ray Burner BWU-500S $119.99
GRAND TOTAL 1281.90 (not including Mail-in rebates)

Concerns/questions:
Will a micro ATX form factor mobo be fine in an ATX case? or Does anyone have a favorite case recommendations?
Not looking for anything fancy, but organized cable ties, space for another HDD, et cetera.

CASE Concerns...the biggest hiccup was the USB 3.0 connector from the front of the case didn't have anywhere to plug in on the motherboard. So I have useless USBs in the front of the case.
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March 10, 2012 1:39:14 AM

ATX is a hole mounting standard, and you can always fit a smaller ATX mobo in a larger ATX case. So even if you had a huge monster eATX case you could fit a micro ATX mobo... it would just look really lonely.
As for a case, there are a ton of great cases out there at all price points. I personally am using a cheap $40 Thermaltake V3, and it runs quiet and cool, and has all the space I need for my little editing rig, but it is a little short in the tooth on features for many people. I really love the Corsair cases, specifically the white 600T, but there are a lot of great cases up in the price range to suit whatever tastes you have.
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March 10, 2012 11:05:10 AM

Best answer selected by clintalba.
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