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New Build and com port question

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July 10, 2012 2:37:09 PM

I am preparing to build a new computer - hi-performance for image and video processing (mostly photoshop CS6, some premiere pro.) So far, this is my build:

Intel Core i7-3930K Sandy Bridge-E 3.2GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) LGA 2011 130W Six-Core Desktop Processor BX80619i73930K
ASUS P9X79 DELUXE - LGA2011 - X79 - 8x DIMM - PCIe 3.0 Motherboard
Corsair Vengeance Blue 16 GB DDR3 SDRAM Dual Channel Memory Kit CMZ16GX3M4A1600C9B
Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO CPU Cooler (RR-212E-20PK-R2)
Corsair Enthusiast TX V2 Series 750-Watt 80 Plus Bronze Certified High Performance Modular Power Supply CP-9020003-NA
EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Superclocked 2048 MB GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 2DVI/Mini-HDMI SLI Ready Graphics Card, 02G-P3-1469-KR
Crucial 256 GB m4 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive SATA 6Gb/s CT256M4SSD2
Crucial 128 GB m4 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive SATA 6Gb/s CT128M4SSD2
2 X Western Digital Caviar Green 3 TB SATA III 64 MB Cache Bare/OEM Desktop Hard Drive - WD30EZRX
Antec Eleven Hundred Black Super Mid Tower Computer Case
LG Electronics CH08LS10K LightScribe SATA Blu-ray Combo Drive, Bulk (Black)
Koutech IO-RCM430 Multi-in-1 USB 3.0 Front Panel Internal Card Reader with USB 3.0 Hub (3.5" )
4 X Enermax T.B.SILENCE 120mm PWM Twister Fan

So far, I have the Intel i7 3930K Processor, and am ready to buy the rest by the end of the week.

I'd appreciate any critique on this build - are these components compatible? Can I save money without sacrificing power and speed? I work with fairly large photoshop and video files, so storage, power, and speed are all three very important.

Finally - I see that modern motherboards do not have either parallel or serial ports built in, but that add-on cards are available for very little money. Is there any justification for installing such an add-on card with parallel or serial ports? My current printer, Epson R1900 uses a USB connection, and it seems that most modern printers do the same. I don't need to accomodate every conceivable contingency, nor do I anticipate needing to rely on vintage equipment. Is there a credible contemporary rationale for having a serial/parallel port?

Thanks in advance for any and all advice and help.

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July 10, 2012 2:45:32 PM

There are some compatibility issues.

1. That RAM is a dual-channel DDR3 kit, meant for LGA1155, 1156 and AMD systems. Sandy Bridge-E requires a quad-channel DDR3 kit specifically marketed for LGA2011 systems. Those run about $130CAD for 16GB.

2. Not sure why you have two Crucial m4 SSDs, one in 128GB and other in 256GB. You mention you work with large files, but I think using an SSD for that may be overkill. A WD Raptor will be just as fast since the bottleneck here will be your processing speed, not disk read/write speed.

3. Antec Eleven Hundred is a great case. It received high points in the recent Tom's mid-range case roundup.

4. Speaking of which, the Antec 1100 comes with 2 front USB3.0 ports, so while your Koutech card reader is nice, the extra USB3.0 ports may or may not be necessary.

5. If you're doing Photoshop CS6 (or Adobe work in general) it pays to have a faster NVidia GPU to take advantage of tighter CUDA integration. It will speed up your work a lot more than just performing it on the CPU. I suggest GTX 570 or at least a GTX 560 Ti, especially if you plan on doing some casual gaming once in a while.

6. Serial/Parallel ports are dead. Even my ancient Lexmark printer from 2003 uses USB - I think you'll simply be wasting a cup of coffee worth of money to buy an expansion card. Besides, if you ever need one, you can simply buy it then.
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July 10, 2012 8:00:56 PM

Thanks for your input. I have a couple of questions about your comments:

1. I've read that desktop applications don't take advantage of multiple threads of memory, so while the motherboard may be able to handle quad channels, Photoshop won't. That's why I've been told that dual channel is fine - the increase in speed from dual to quad for programs like Photoshop is marginal at best. I'm linking an article from earlier this year talking about this very issue in relation to the best choice for RAM memory for a LGA2011 motherboard. In addition to the link, I'll quote a relevant paragraph in the article:

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/memory/display/lga2011...

DDR3 SDRAM for LGA 2011: Which Memory Is Best?

"Most typical desktop applications do not address the memory in multiple parallel threads. Therefore, we have quite a paradox in reality, when quad-channel memory access provides minimal or no benefits. Even though it may seem unbelievable, you will get practically the same performance if you use a dual- or triple-channel DDR3 SDRAM in your LGA 2011 system instead of a special quad-channel kit."

The quad channel memory for LGA2011 isn't all that much more than the dual channel, but unless there is a demonstrable increase in speed, what is the justification for even the marginal increase in cost?

2. I've also been advised that GPU memory is a bigger factor for Photoshop than is the speed of the GPU itself. That's why I opted for the 2GB EVGA 560. I've considered the following three video cards:

EVGA 012-P3-1570-AR GeForce GTX 570 (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II 2GD5/OC GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

EVGA 025-P3-1579-AR GeForce GTX 570 (Fermi) HD 2560MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

If GPU memory is really a critical issue, then either of the 2GB cards are better than the 1GB 570. I've also been told that Photoshop speed doesn't really come from the graphics card, so long as it meets basic levels. Again, the price difference between these three GPUs isn't enough to cause me to reject any of them. But again, as with the RAM memory, I don't want to pay more unless I get a justifiable increase in performance.

A 2% gain with quad over dual isn't enough to make me switch. The same is true of the 560 to the 570. Now, if either or even both of these would give me 15-20% more speed and power, then I'd consider it a good investment. I'm not trying to be argumentative - just trying to understand what seem to be conflicting accounts.

Thanks again for your comments.
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July 10, 2012 9:07:17 PM

rcheek said:
Thanks for your input. I have a couple of questions about your comments:

1. I've read that desktop applications don't take advantage of multiple threads of memory, so while the motherboard may be able to handle quad channels, Photoshop won't. That's why I've been told that dual channel is fine - the increase in speed from dual to quad for programs like Photoshop is marginal at best. I'm linking an article from earlier this year talking about this very issue in relation to the best choice for RAM memory for a LGA2011 motherboard. In addition to the link, I'll quote a relevant paragraph in the article:

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/memory/display/lga2011...

DDR3 SDRAM for LGA 2011: Which Memory Is Best?

"Most typical desktop applications do not address the memory in multiple parallel threads. Therefore, we have quite a paradox in reality, when quad-channel memory access provides minimal or no benefits. Even though it may seem unbelievable, you will get practically the same performance if you use a dual- or triple-channel DDR3 SDRAM in your LGA 2011 system instead of a special quad-channel kit."

The quad channel memory for LGA2011 isn't all that much more than the dual channel, but unless there is a demonstrable increase in speed, what is the justification for even the marginal increase in cost?



I thought that Sandy Bridge-E systems can only use specially made kits compatible with Quad-channel memory controller on the LGA2011 CPUs. I may have been wrong all this time, and one can indeed use regular dual-channel DDR3 kits. I've done some searches but none of the results I've found were conclusive.

Assuming that dual-channel DDR3 will function fine in a LGA2011 system, the performance penalty will be minor, if at all. So you are correct that quad-channel kits are not worth the price premium. With that said however, the premium is only $40 in Canada, so it will be even narrower in US.

rcheek said:
2. I've also been advised that GPU memory is a bigger factor for Photoshop than is the speed of the GPU itself. That's why I opted for the 2GB EVGA 560. I've considered the following three video cards:

EVGA 012-P3-1570-AR GeForce GTX 570 (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II 2GD5/OC GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

EVGA 025-P3-1579-AR GeForce GTX 570 (Fermi) HD 2560MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

If GPU memory is really a critical issue, then either of the 2GB cards are better than the 1GB 570. I've also been told that Photoshop speed doesn't really come from the graphics card, so long as it meets basic levels. Again, the price difference between these three GPUs isn't enough to cause me to reject any of them. But again, as with the RAM memory, I don't want to pay more unless I get a justifiable increase in performance.
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This is something else that I was not entirely sure about.

A small amount of digging revealed this thread on dvinfo.net. One person commented that:

Quote:
For example, the GTX 260 and the GTX 550 Ti both have 192 CUDA cores - but as Bill Gehrke's testing has proved, the GTX 550 Ti is slightly slower than the GTX 260 because the GTX 550 Ti's 192-bit DDR5 VRAM has less total bandwidth than the GTX 260's 448-bit DDR3 VRAM.


So it isn't just about the amount of VRAM, but rather the bus width combined with the general CUDA capability of each shader. The 570 has 480 cores vs. 560's 336, so it may give a tangible, albeit slight, advantage.

This thread has comments that backs up your assertion that VRAM is more important than CUDA cores.

This chart concludes that for the workload used in its benchmark, the GTX 570 has one of the highest price/performance ratio.

It's a lot to think about, I guess. The GTX 560 has a 256bit bus, and GTX 570 has 320bit bus. GTX 570 will definitely be faster by some margin, but it isn't worth spending $100 more for it. Keep in mind though, I've seen GTX 570s go for $230 in Canada, which is an amazing price.
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July 11, 2012 12:27:46 AM

Thanks for responding. I'm not sure about the dual/quad RAM issue - the increase in price is pretty small - 20 bucks per 16GB, so a total of only $40.00 USD. While I plan to start with 32GB of RAM, the ASUS motherboard can handle 64, and I definitely see upgrading to 64 in 2-3 years when I upgrade the computer. The goal is to get five years out of this build - 3 years before an upgrade then 2 more after that. In the 3 year upgrade, I'll move up to 64GB, and that may be when I go for the quad memory. It's something to think about.

As for the video card, I also see it lasting for 3 years, so I may give the 570 a look, especially if I can find it with 2GB of VRAM. I had a good price on the 560 2GB (USD$189.99). If I can find a 2GB 570 for less than USD$250, I'll probably step up.

Part of my problem is, I read some things but I don't have the depth of experience to evaluate what I read. I don't know if an article is mainstream or out on the edge. So, it's good to hear from someone who knows more and has some experience. Thanks for your comments.
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July 18, 2012 12:09:34 PM

Best answer selected by rcheek.
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