Advice on Computer for Photo and Video Editing

Planning new build for part-time professional photographer with some videography. Currently using computer built around Phenom II X4 955 with 4 GD RAM and no graphics card. The main applications are Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, and some Premiere Pro. I would like to keep total cost below about $1200. I think stability and thermal control are more important than the last bit of speed; not sure I want to overclock things.

CPU: probably Intel i5-3570K (Not sure the Apps are threaded enough to justify i7-3770K with the same TDP). Non-K version if I don't overclock?

Motherboard: H77 (e.g., ASRock H77 Pro4) sounds like it has what I need if I don't overclock. A not-to-expensive Z77 board might have slightly better components.

Graphics Card: Apparently need to stay with NVIDIA to support GPU in Premiere Pro. From what I can tell from the Adobe forums, one wants a balance between CPU and GPU. I was thinking of something like a GTX 560 (the GTX 660 just came out - more CUDA cores but a narrower memory bandwidth).

RAM: 16 GB of DDR3-1600, preferably not too tall. Would 2x8GB allow for a little better airflow than 4x4GB?

Storage: Probably will get a 128GB SSD for a system/app drive, and I picked up a pair of 1T WD Caviar Black HDDs on sale. Would RAID 0 be too risky with this pair? Apparently storage often tends to be the bottleneck these days in this work. Several large external drives are also available.

Already have a blue-ray burner for archiving data to off-line storage.

My main question is whether this seems like a reasonable combination of capabilities, or whether I'm cutting corners somewhere that we will regret in six months. Thanks.
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  1. Best answer
    CPU: any i5 will do; if you are sure you are not going to overclock then get a slightly less expensive non "K" version. if you are going to overclock then get a "K" version a a Z7x motherboard.

    Motherboard: take a look at the B75 chipset if you are not going to overclock; they are a little cheaper than the H77s but at the cost of a few features like having only 1 sata 6gbs port. but that only affects having an SSD and since you are planing on having one with a few platters (mechanical drvies that do not exceed the sata 3gbs capabilities) you're fine.

    if you are going to overclock then look at some Z75 motherboards; same thing except for no intel smart response tech; which isn't used (it uses a 60GB SSD for a cache drive) they are ~$10 cheaper than the Z77 motherboards.

    Graphics Card: make sure you know what nVidia cards are "officially" supported for the mercury playback engine in premiere. there is a way to use the gpusniffer.exe in the premiere folder than an edit in the supported_cuda_gpus.txt file to get what you choose for a card to be supported. but since the 560s are really not all that great and older tech. the 660 (non ti) might be the path to follow.

    RAM: i'd suggest the 2x8 configuration. that way if you ever need more you will have two other DIMM slots to upgrade with. (unless you get a microATX board which is smaller and most only have two DIMM slots to begin with)

    Storage: SSD is great to have. not sure about a pair of black for a raid0. that could be risky and a shame to lose your work. now having a raid0 for your scratch/render drives and then save the work on a 2+TB "green" drive might be a thought . . . and another $80+

    hope this helped, i would like to suggest taking a cruise through the adobe forums also.
  2. PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i5-3470 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($190.39 @ NCIX US)
    Motherboard: ASRock Z75 Pro3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($84.99 @ Newegg)
    Memory: Corsair Vengeance LP 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($93.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Samsung 830 Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($99.99 @ NCIX US)
    Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 660 2GB Video Card ($229.99 @ Amazon)
    Case: Cooler Master Elite 430 ATX Mid Tower Case ($36.99 @ NCIX US)
    Power Supply: Antec Neo Eco 620W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($34.99 @ Newegg)
    Total: $771.33
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

    Umm, this Z75 mobo is decent and cheaper than the H77-M. So why not? If the SHELL SHOCKER deal for the PSU is over, get this one instead:

    Again, I'm not really sure whether or not you need the case and PSU. And if you need a monitor, this one is decent:
  3. Best answer selected by ssalem47.
  4. Thank you both for your suggestions. I'm acquiring components now, looking for the occasional sale or rebate. I may post the final system here just for the record. I think that it will be a significant improvement over the current system.
  5. glad to help. good luck and let us now how it goes.
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