Photography (lightroom) build for a newbie! ~$1500

Hi everyone! Total newb here.. never built a computer but have always wanted to. Would love some input and suggestions!! I've listed the parts selected so far below. I'm looking for a blazing system for photo/video editing, photoshop, etc. I'm not a gamer, but I'm sure I'll find myself picking up a game or two at some point. Thank you!


Approximate Purchase Date: Within a month
Budget Range: $1,500, but flexible.. i.e., if it's worth it to splurge on something, I will do it.
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Primarily used for photo editing (lightroom), video editing, etc. NOT a gaming system, although I might dabble in it…
Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, and already have a Samsung 830 256gb SSD (not included in my budget above)
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg, amazon, tigerdirect..
Country: USA
Parts Preferences: Midtower case, Intel i7
Overclocking: Not initially, but would like to have the flexibility should I decide to go this route down the road
SLI or Crossfire: Probably not, unless I can be convinced that it will speed things up a lot
Monitor Resolution: 1920x1200, flexibility to run two monitors

Here are the parts I've selected so far ... I've made comments on each....

Case: Corsair Obsidian 650D - $159.25
I like the professional, high quality look of this case, the window, etc but am also liking some of the cooler master cases I’ve seen! Can’t make up my mind!

CPU: i7-3770k - $289.99+tax (in-store only)

Motherboard: Sabertooth z77 - $239.99+tax

GPU: None initially so not included in my budget for now, plan to use mobo graphics and upgrade to the GTX 660 ti when it is released in I believe Q3. Is that a decent choice? Can the mobo run two monitors (not for gaming, I know) or at least one for now?

PSU: Corsair HX750 - $144.99
Is this a decent choice? Seems to be tried and true. Will it run my system without an issue? I like headroom in most things…

RAM: Corsair Vengeance Blue 16GB DDR3 1600mhz .. 4 x 4gb - $92.99
Is there a benefit to going for a faster memory for photo editing, etc. or will 1600mhz cut it? Also, is 4x4gb a better choice than 2x8gb??

SSD: Samsung 830 256gb – already have this so not included in my budget!!

HD: Two drives…Western Digital Caviar Black 1 TB SATA III 7200 RPM 64 MB-- $229.98 ($114.99 x 2)
Will run these in RAID 1 configuration. I want to protect my precious photos!
Also – these are OEM… what wires do I need to buy?

DVDRW: Haven’t selected yet. Looking for suggestions. From what I’ve read, there is not a ton of variability across dvd drives these days

Cooling: What do I need? Does everything come with the case I selected?

Total so far is about $1200. Keep in mind I also need to buy Windows 7 and Lightroom to start :)

Thanks so much for your help!!
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More about photography lightroom build newbie 1500
  1. TBH, the 660 Ti is overkill for your system. Even the 560 Ti or the GTX 560 (no Ti) is enough in your system. The normal 560 is more than enough for CUDA usage. WD 1TB, would save and go with a cheaper drive. Mainly because the Samsung F3 1TB are really reliable but cheaper and will perform the same practically in real life applications. We don't really make use of SATA 3 so it's not a big deal.

    16GB of ram isn't worth it. 8GB is more than enough, especially since you've said, you're a "newbie" as an Amateur photographer, I do Senior Pictures and other stuff like that. None that really require more the 8GB, even when I do panorama stitchs or large HDRs, no problems at all.

    Check out my $850 build here:
    Swap the 7850 for the GTX 560:
    Honestly, you won't need a dedicated card. The iGPU in the chips is more than enough to handle no gaming but still run 2 monitors.

    Also, for the CPU. Honestly, photo-editing doesn't require an i7. Though it's nice. The i5 3570K or 2500K both do a great job at keeping up especially after a slight overclock. The i5 3570K in particular has improved enough to where it can be on par with the Sandy Bridge i7's.

    You'll be saving money. AND getting practically the same performance. The Sabertooth is overkill as well. You're not overclocking at first and you've stated, you're only going to dabble. That's not even close to needing the Sabertooth. for that matter the Sabertooth isn't worth it. Here's a review:,3187-22.html
    The Asus P8Z77-V Pro, about the price of the Sabertooth performs terrible per dollar while the Asrock performs great. Though for what you're doing, the motherboard I suggest in my build is more than enough.
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