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1st Build - Photo Editing Desktop & Home Media Server

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September 20, 2012 7:28:33 PM

Decided to take the plunge and build my first computer as I've gotten much more into Photo editing and can finally benefit from a superior computer. Greatly appreciate everyone's input and feedback. My primary goals for the computer are:

- Be power efficient when not doing heavy tasks but able to ramp up when I want to work in CS6
- Be quiet as possible
- My plan is to create multiple partitions within the computer: primary for everyday use and active photo editing; secondary RAID configuration for media storage and access from home network

My questions are:
- Is this overkill for my intended use?
- Any red flags for the parts I picked out and/or really good alternate options for less?

Approximate Purchase Date: Within the next month
Budget Range: $800 - $1,200

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($329.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus SABERTOOTH Z77 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($239.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($75.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($119.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Black Pearl) ATX Mid Tower Case ($124.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Professional 750W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($136.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: LG WH14NS40 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1177.90
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-09-20 16:54 EDT-0400)

Thanks,
Adam

More about : 1st build photo editing desktop home media server

Best solution

September 20, 2012 9:12:08 PM

If your primary requirement is CS6, and you have no interest in gaming, forget overclocking (stabilty & reliability more important than marginal performance gain), and SLi/crossfire (not compatable with CS6). Your issue is setting the right balance of performance/graphics, to suit your work/workload. That's very difficult to quantify. CS6 benefits from the maximum number of cores (Intel core/hyperthreading), and the computation power of the graphics card to help speed the process. The problem, is where you draw the line, when more is better. I suppose with budget. However, if you are doing TONS of editing, especially professionally, it's worth stretching your budget, as far as you can possibly manage.
There are two areas where you can save money, to facilitate better components elsewhere. Firstly, you don't need anything like 750w, for power supply. You only need that for SLi, which is a no-no for CS6. You don't need Sabretooth mobo. Yes they are very good, but overpriced, and you don't really need their features. There are several, high quality mobos, in the AsusP8Z77 range (it is worth it getting AN Asus).
Freeing up some money, in those areas, will make it possible to get good graphics.
You need to think, a bit, whether you need to up budget, to get a really powerful system, based on the importance/workload, of what you are doing, or whether a "pretty" good system will be adequate.
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September 20, 2012 9:43:30 PM

Thanks for the input. You brought up a few points that I wasn't aware of as I thought some overclocking would be helpful for performance in CS6 (things like filters etc...). As of now I'm not editing professionally, it's just a hobby so I don't need absolute top of the line. However, I am trying to build so that it will last me several years so don't mind slightly overbuilding right now.

I do agree with you on the Power Supply, something in the 500w range should be suitable. I just want to make sure I have enough to support mild overclocking and a graphics card (which I don't currently have in my system as Photoshop really only leverages GPU power for some features).

What about something like: Power Supply: OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($49.99 @ Newegg)

One of the reasons I liked the mobo in addition to great feature set was number of SATA connectionsas I'd like the ability to load up the computer with HDDs down the road for server functionality. Checking out some of the ASUSP8Z77 mobos it seems like I could save ~$70 but would lose at least 2 connections. Is there another brand or type of mobo I should be looking at?

I do think it would make sense to add a graphics card, I just haven't even started looking into that yet as I know how expensive they are and not sure what I want to do will justify the cost initially.
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September 20, 2012 10:03:57 PM

Not a great lover of OCZ for power supplies. Quality is a bit variable across their range. Probably the best bet for you, if you don't want to spend a lot is XFX 550w. The Seasonic X Series is exceptional quality, but a bit pricey. Rosewill Capstone is another good choice.
There are no "better" boards, than Asus. The P8Z77-v PRO, is my personal favourite, but if the Sabretooth gives you something extra, that you need, go for it. I was trying to save you a few bucks, because you haven't got a graphics card, in the build, yet, and CS6 is one software package that is a bit "fussy" about which graphics card.
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September 20, 2012 10:11:47 PM

Gotcha, I follow now. Guess with so many parts every little saving adds up. Thanks for the power supply recommendations as well, checking those brands out now.
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September 20, 2012 10:30:35 PM

Quote:
Not a great lover of OCZ for power supplies. Quality is a bit variable across their range. Probably the best bet for you, if you don't want to spend a lot is XFX 550w. The Seasonic X Series is exceptional quality, but a bit pricey. Rosewill Capstone is another good choice.


OCZ is very hit or miss. Their subsidiary PC Power & Cooling produces some very top quality stuff.

Quote:
Motherboard: Asus SABERTOOTH Z77 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($239.99 @ Newegg)


The Sabertooth is very overrated and very expensive for what you get. You can get the P8Z77-V for $100 less and it includes everything you need.

Quote:

My questions are:
- Is this overkill for my intended use?


I didn't see a graphics card listed. Is that intentional? The onboard video is really used for diagnostic purposes only - even heavy use and redraws will put a strain on your system's RAM and resources - you might as well add a cheap card like a low end Fire Pro or a Radeon 7750.
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September 20, 2012 10:44:31 PM

nVidia consumer graphics (570 or 670), or, even better, Quadro with Photoshop, rather than Radeon/FirePro.
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September 20, 2012 10:55:49 PM

malbluff said:
nVidia consumer graphics (570 or 670), or, even better, Quadro with Photoshop, rather than Radeon/FirePro.


You'd have to make some major changes to the build to fit one in, or add one in later.
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September 21, 2012 1:19:01 PM

Just curious, why would I have to make some major changes to fit in a graphics card? My intention is definitely to get a graphics card, I just wasn't sure about getting one now versus in a couple months.
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September 21, 2012 1:42:47 PM

I think the thought was "fiiting one IN budget". Because it's so difficult to really judge what graphics card YOU need, it can sometimes be best to start without graphics card (just make sure you CAN add something decent, later). Start without one, and, over a couple of weeks, see how much you are struggling without. It CAN be a little easier, then, to judge how FAR you need to go.
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September 21, 2012 1:47:34 PM

Ok, I was worried that for some reason the parts/layout I had selected would need to fundamentally change. If a graphics card is needed for editing, then I'm fine spending the extra cash - even if the purchase is just spread out some. The more I research, the more I realize that this will end up being closer to a $1500 build - which I'm ok with as I think it gets me a much better computer and more future proof.

I was looking at a used GTX 460 as a good option (<$100). I think that will more than meet my needs. Thanks again for the input.
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September 21, 2012 2:15:45 PM

GTX 470 is OK. Trouble with 4xx GPU's is they are electric guzzlers, and tend to running fairly hot under long term load.
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September 21, 2012 5:12:43 PM

rubaflo said:
Ok, I was worried that for some reason the parts/layout I had selected would need to fundamentally change. If a graphics card is needed for editing, then I'm fine spending the extra cash - even if the purchase is just spread out some. The more I research, the more I realize that this will end up being closer to a $1500 build - which I'm ok with as I think it gets me a much better computer and more future proof.

I was looking at a used GTX 460 as a good option (<$100). I think that will more than meet my needs. Thanks again for the input.


Used PC parts are generally a bad idea - especially a component as critical to your system as the GPU. There's all kinds of shady sellers out there and if something goes wrong you won't be able to get a refund or replacement for it. A new card in that range that's pretty good would be a Radeon 7750 or 7770.
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September 21, 2012 8:11:10 PM

Thanks for the tip. Looked through the Adobe sight for recommended GPUs to use with CS6. Not planning to do any gaming so wanted to find a powerful option without getting a lot more GPU then I need. Is it worth the extra $50 bucks to get the GeForce GTX 550 w/ 2GB of memory compared to the Radeon 7750 w/only 1 GB memory?

($149 EVGA 02G-P3-1559-KR GeForce GTX 550 Ti (Fermi)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

vs

($99) ASUS HD7750-1GD5-V2 Radeon HD 7750
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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September 21, 2012 8:19:37 PM

Recommended GPU's are any Quadro (more or less) or GTX470,570,or580. You can add to that 670 (not on list, yet). Those are not the only cards that will WORK, but the cards which are able to provide graphic accelation of processes.
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October 1, 2012 1:41:34 PM

Best answer selected by rubaflo.
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October 1, 2012 2:57:02 PM

Don't spend more than $150 on a GPU. It's overkill for editing. Look at Apple, the Mac Pros come with a 2 year old GPU that used to cost $150.

Photo editing requires a good monitor. If you want accurate color renditioning and n sRGB value near 100% (not AdobeRGB) then you need to spend around $300 for a monitor. You could get a Dell U2312HM for $260 each. Also, you might want to get a colorimeter such as Spyder Express 4 ($120). The Express can only calibrate one monitor in a two monitor system, but for an extra $50 you can get the Pro which allows for 2 monitor calibration. The added accuracy is worth it.

Also buy a 1TB HDD. It's only $15 more, and you won't kick yourself later for not doing so.
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