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First build for photo/video editing

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April 28, 2012 5:20:07 AM

I'm looking for some advice on my first computer build. I've been doing a lot of research, and think I've narrowed down the components, but since this is the first build I've done, and I've not followed any PC hardware advancements until starting to research this build, I'd like some of you experts to let me know if I'm headed the right direction.


Approximate Purchase Date: Preferably in the next month or so.

Budget Range: around $1000

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Photo editing (currently using PS CS4, plan to upgrade to CS5 or CS6. Plan on LR4 as well), some light video editing (cutting home videos of the baby that is on the way, nothing too extreme), web, MS office, etc. No gaming at all.

Parts Not Required: Monitor, keyboard, mouse

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: No preference, other than just sticking with reputable dealers

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: No preference. Parts I've picked are just from seeing what others suggest.

Overclocking: Most likely

SLI or Crossfire: Doubtful. Haven't done the research to fully understand what this is, but I don't think I need it.

Monitor Resolution: One at 1600x1200 and one at 1280x1024. Probably upgrade the smaller one at some point before the computer runs out of life.

Additional Comments: Plan on keeping the computer for 5 years or more. My current desktop is about 6 years old, and I'd like to get similar life out of the new one.


Here is a possible list of components I've come up with. I'm not really tied to any of these, but they seem to be decent for a decent price. Please take a look and let me know if this seems like an appropriate build, or if there is somewhere I should make changes.


CPU: i7 2600k - for future proofing and video editing. I know Ivy Bridge is out now, or soon, but I'm not one to jump on the latest, greatest. I'd rather get something proven, and hopefully SB prices will come done some.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115070

CPU Cooler: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus - will most likely overclock
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103065

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD3 - Looking for Z68, onboard USB3.0, good price. What about PCI express 3.0? This doesn't have it. Do I need it?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128512

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 - there seem to be a lot of G.Skill or Corsair that are almost identical for about $90. This is a kind of random selection of the bunch
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231429

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKX 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s - I'm not totally set here. What's the real difference between this and caviar black? I see the caviar black has 32MB cache. Is that worth the extra $$? How about the Seagate Barracudas? I also haven't really settled on a good backup yet. Maybe two of these in RAID 1? More later.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136769

SSD: Not right now. Maybe a future upgrade when prices come down. I'm not really all that worried about startup time or application loading. Maybe a small cache drive, but then again, I can keep the cost lower by skipping it for now.

GPU: EVGA 01G-P3-1526-KR GeForce GT 520 (Fermi) 1GB - I'm pretty much clueless here. I picked this since I saw it recommended somewhere and the price is right. But because of the low price, I'm worried that it's hardly even going to be worth the $50. I've read that for no gaming, pretty much any ~$100 video card will do. What about CUDA? I've read a bit about that. Seems the GPU can help video editing, but not much for photo editing, but Photoshop and Lightroom my be using it in the future.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130680

Case: Antec Three Hundred Two - I've looked at a lot of cases, and really I'm just looking for a cost effective case with USB 3.0 on the front that doesn't look hideous. I'd prefer not to have a window, or LED fans. Is there a way to turn the LEDs off on those things? I'm open to suggestions here. Even cheaper would be better. Can you replace front USB 2.0 with USB3.0 on a case that only has USB 2.0 on the front?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129180

Power Supply: Antec BP550 Plus 550W - Seemed like a decent price on something that was recommended somewhere (can't remember where). Again, I'm a little clueless here. I don't want to spend a fortune, but also I've read enough to know that you want to buy quality here. Any other recommendations? Is 550W appropriate?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371016

Optical Drive: ASUS 24X DVD Burner - or maybe reuse my old one.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827135204

Card Reader: Koutech IO-RCM630 Multi-in-1 USB 3.0 SuperSpeed Front Panel Internal Card Reader with USB 3.0 Port - This is a maybe. I like having my current internal card reader, and if I get one for the new build it needs to be USB 3.0. Haven't found many options though. Maybe I'll stick with external.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820162030

OS: Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit - OEM - Going with Pro for higher RAM capability for future upgrading.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116992


Backup: As mentioned above, this is still open. I'm thinking either a single internal 500GB drive for OS, programs, and data (currently have 80GB for OS, programs, 160GB for data). Or maybe two in RAID 1. Also I'd like a bare drive tray that goes in a 5.25 bay so I can insert bare 1-2TB drives for backup of data and keep all data on two separate drives. I currently keep the current year's photos on the internal drive, and all photos (previous and current year) on two separate externals. This seems to work ok, but maybe its time to revamp the backup system.


I think that about covers it. I'd really like to know if these are good choices, or if there are better choices. By better, I mean good bang for the buck. This setup is putting me right about $1000. I don't really want to go much higher, and as always, saving money is a good thing.


Thanks in advance for any help you all can provide.
April 28, 2012 11:44:23 AM

One thing come to mind:
Since you're not SLI/or Crossfiring, you can get a cheaper MoBo. A Gigabyte z77 D3H should do you well.

The rest of your choices are good (though I can't comment on the GPU as I do not know what will best suit your need). Your PSU should be fine. However, if you want to have better cable management, you may want to look at modular PSU's. I personally won't go with that PSU mainly because its not officially rated. Sure it says 80 plus but how do you know it really runs at 80 plus efficiency. Get one that says at least 80 plus bronze certified.
April 28, 2012 10:31:52 PM

I looked at the Gigabyte Z77 D3H. Looks like there are two options in the ATX form factor. The cheaper one comes to the same price as the motherboard I have listed above. At Newegg, both are $127 when you factor in rebate on one, and shipping on the other. I suppose Z77 gives me flexability to upgrade to an IB CPU.

How does this power supply look? PC Power and Cooling Silencer MK III 500W Modular 80PLUS Bronze
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817703035
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April 30, 2012 2:38:51 AM

Another question. Now that Ivy Bridge chips are out, should I be looking at a Z77 motherboard and Ivy bridge instead of what I have listed?

I had been planning on sticking with the SB i7-2600k since I'd read that there really wasn't that much difference between SB and IB, and people are saying that its harder to overclock IB. I don't know how much truth there is to that.
April 30, 2012 5:30:41 AM

Choose the ATX version of that MoBo I recommended. The reason why IB is harder to OC is because of heat issues. IB gets hot really fast (which you don't want when you OC). That is why they say it is harder. That PSU is fine.

SB is a better choice if its your first time OC. However, if someone knowledgeable is helping you out, IB should not be too much of a problem.
April 30, 2012 6:45:55 PM

Thanks for the feedback. This will be my first time overclocking, nad I don;t know anyone who has done it. So my only help will come from forums like this. I'm sure there is plenty of good help to be found online, but it's always nice to have someone with you to walk you through it. Maybe it would be better in that sense to stick with SB.

If I do end up getting SB CPU, is there any reason to go with a Z77 MOBO? Or should I stick with Z68 for SB?
May 3, 2012 8:04:47 PM

I'm starting to have second thoughts on the CPU, not that Ivy Bridge is out. Given that I will be doing no gaming, and that I plan on only minor video editing, is it worth the exta cost for an i7 over an i5?

Here are the CPUs I'm trying to decide between:

i7-2600k
i7-3770k
i5-2500k
i5-3570k

I'm starting to lean towards an i5, but not sure if I should go SB or IB. The cost difference isn't big, so it seems like IB would be the way to go if I get an i5.

The cost difference between SB and IB goes up for the i7 CPUs, and for that case, I'm thiking sticking with SB would be more cost effective.

Does anyone have any thoughts on which CPU would be appropriate for my usage?
May 5, 2012 3:21:58 PM

csebasti said:
I'm starting to have second thoughts on the CPU, not that Ivy Bridge is out. Given that I will be doing no gaming, and that I plan on only minor video editing, is it worth the exta cost for an i7 over an i5?

Here are the CPUs I'm trying to decide between:

i7-2600k
i7-3770k
i5-2500k
i5-3570k

I'm starting to lean towards an i5, but not sure if I should go SB or IB. The cost difference isn't big, so it seems like IB would be the way to go if I get an i5.

The cost difference between SB and IB goes up for the i7 CPUs, and for that case, I'm thiking sticking with SB would be more cost effective.

Does anyone have any thoughts on which CPU would be appropriate for my usage?

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For editing / encoding be sure you get the onboard graphics so you can use Intel's Quick Sync. It will at least halve your computing time for any of that kind of work. Using LucidVid or whatever it's called you get the benefits of Quick Sync and your descreet video card when it's needed for games etc. be sure your MB will support it. I just got the i5 2550 looking at the 3.4 speed but failed to notice that the final specs locked the onboard graphics closed. A big mistake for me !! Not sure about the IB CPUs check them carefully, for actual specs, not rumors. The hyperthreading of the i7s may come into play with highend video editing programs, not sure about that. You should evaluate the editor you plan on using.
May 7, 2012 5:02:45 AM

johnsgary said:
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For editing / encoding be sure you get the onboard graphics so you can use Intel's Quick Sync. It will at least halve your computing time for any of that kind of work. Using LucidVid or whatever it's called you get the benefits of Quick Sync and your descreet video card when it's needed for games etc. be sure your MB will support it. I just got the i5 2550 looking at the 3.4 speed but failed to notice that the final specs locked the onboard graphics closed. A big mistake for me !! Not sure about the IB CPUs check them carefully, for actual specs, not rumors. The hyperthreading of the i7s may come into play with highend video editing programs, not sure about that. You should evaluate the editor you plan on using.


Thanks for the info. I'll have to check into that. I'm not sure what video software I will be using. I'd like to use Premier, but that is probably not practical since I won't be doing a ton of video editing.
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