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Proposed build for photoshop (still photos only)

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November 7, 2012 5:41:05 PM

I'm selecting parts for my first build and would really appreciate any comments/suggestions on my tentative parts list, below. Hope I'm posting in the right forum area for this.

Purchase Date: e.g.: within the next week
Budget Range: $1300-$1650 After Rebates; After Shipping
System Usage from Most to Least Important: still photography, web browsing, word-processing. No video editing, no gaming.
Are you buying a monitor: Not now, but in a few months (see below)
Parts to Upgrade: New Build
Do you need to buy OS: Yes
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: e.g.: newegg.com, ncix.com, amazon.com
City, State/Region, Country - Chicago, IL, USA
Parts Preferences: Intel CPU
Overclocking: No
SLI or Crossfire: No
Your Monitor Resolution: Will upgrade within a few months to 2560x1440
Additional Comments: Very quiet PC is really important to me. I'll run Photoshop CS5; also Virtualbox with Windows host and Linux guest for web browsing and word processing.
And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: My current computer is nearly ten years old and won't run Windows 7 or Photoshop CS5.

So, here's my current plan.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($199.99 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus P8H77-V ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($115.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Kingston 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($35.98 @ NCIX US)
Memory: Kingston 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($35.98 @ NCIX US)
Memory: Kingston 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($35.98 @ NCIX US)
Memory: Kingston 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($35.98 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($159.49 @ B&H)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($139.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($209.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GT 640 2GB Video Card ($79.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Antec P280 ATX Mid Tower Case ($97.22 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Kingwin Lazer Platinum 550W 80 PLUS Platinum Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($145.74 @ Mwave)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($89.99 @ CompUSA)
Total: $1469.29
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

Comments? Suggestions? I'd be immensely grateful for any help anyone can provide.

More about : proposed build photoshop photos

November 7, 2012 5:56:15 PM

32Gb of ram is overkill for about 10 more years haha. I personal would never get a 5400RPM drive(just to slow). And with that much of a budget id try to go with a i7.
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November 7, 2012 10:20:10 PM

HAFSIX said:
32Gb of ram is overkill for about 10 more years haha. I personal would never get a 5400RPM drive(just to slow). And with that much of a budget id try to go with a i7.


I agree on all points. 32GB of ram is overkill, 5400 rpm is too slow, and an i7 is STRONGLY recommended. Running a virtual box well can really eat system resources, and media processing can really benefit from an i7. your mobo is fine, cpu cooler is awesome, but your PSU is waayyy nicer than you need. I mean if you really want it by all means get it, it's a fine PSU, but if i were you i'd save $75 and get the 550W Rosewill capstone series. it's guts are made by superflower, which is a very reputable brand overseas, but they sell for peanuts over here. with the money you save from getting less ram and a cheaper PSU you'll be able to afford a GTX 660.
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November 7, 2012 10:54:02 PM

Photoshop does support OpenCl and GL but some plugins do support CUDA, if the plugins you use support CUDA then i would get Nvidia, if not just stick with AMD

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($319.99 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($114.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix sport 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($78.78 @ B&H)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($128.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7870 2GB Video Card ($214.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Titanium Grey) ATX Mid Tower Case ($109.46 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Rosewill Hive 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($56.00 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1155.17
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
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November 8, 2012 12:50:58 AM

I've had ps projects eat 16gb (not counting memory leaks) so 32gb isn't a bad idea but it depends on what your are working on if you really need it or if it's a waste of money. You can always get 2 sticks now and have 2 empty slots to get more later.

I'd agree with getting an i7 but not on the gpu recommendations. A lot of people think ps needs a lot of graphics power because it's a "graphics" program. This is not the case, a hd 3000 can handle large format easily. And if you're not using the gpu accelerated plugins, a powerful gpu is useless. Some plugins are cuda specific. But again if you aren't using them and want to save a bit, just stick with the integrated. It still supports gpu acceleration and handles 2d a lot better than people think. CS6's MGE does take more advantage of your gpu and although having a more powerful gpu is noticeable in the gpu accelerated features, it's a small difference. Gpu is also another part that can be upgraded later.

Stick with your 256gb ssd, you've got the budget to not have to go lower. There are cheaper 7200 rpm hdds like boul posted instead of the wd caviar black and green. The fractal case is quieter than the p280. They are also right about the psu. It would save power, but such an amount would take over 10 years to pay off that $100. By then you would have another psu and have had wasted some money. You need windows 7 pro or higher to use more than 16gb ram.
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November 8, 2012 4:20:57 PM

Thanks so much for all your replies. They were a huge help! Here is the revised plan, with a few comments below.

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($199.99 @ Amazon) Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($319.99 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus P8H77-V ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($115.99 @ Newegg) Asus P8Z77-V PRO ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($208.49 @ Newegg) [but maybe ASRock Z77 Extreme4 LGA 115 Motherboard ($114.99 @ Amazon); see below]
Memory: Kingston 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($35.98 @ NCIX US)
Memory: Kingston 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($35.98 @ NCIX US)
Memory: Kingston 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($35.98 @ NCIX US)
Memory: Kingston 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($35.98 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($159.49 @ B&H) [or Seagate Barracuda 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($128.99 @ NCIX US)]
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($139.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($209.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GT 640 2GB Video Card ($79.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Antec P280 ATX Mid Tower Case ($97.22 @ Amazon) Fractal Design Define R4 (Black Pearl) ATX Mid Tower Case ($109.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Kingwin Lazer Platinum 550W 80 PLUS Platinum Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($145.74 @ Mwave) SeaSonic 520W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($69.99 @ Newegg) [or Rosewill Capstone 550-M 550W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (79.99 @ Newegg)]
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($89.99 @ CompUSA) Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 (64-bit) ($139.99 @ Newegg)

Total: $1469.29 $1456.86

I will get an i7 as all of you suggested. I decided to go for a Z77 motherboard because later on I might enjoy learning how to (gently) overclock. I'm confused about how many SATA drives the ASRock Z77 Extreme4 supports. AsRock's spec sheet for this mb seems to indicate 4 total in the "Storage" section, but 8 total in the "Connector" section. No doubt I am ignorant of some technical factor here that would make sense of it. (Anyone know?) But to be sure I have more than just 4 SATA connectors, for now I am leaning toward the Asus P8Z77-V Pro. I'd be grateful if anyone could straighten me out on this.

I'm grateful to all of you for suggesting I reduce the RAM. k1114's remarks makes me think 16GB is a good place to start given my needs. Occasionally I'll be scanning medium-format b/w negatives, and those files can get pretty big. (Adobe's optimization page for Photoshop CS4, CS5, CS6 suggests maxing out on ram (here), but as k1114 says I can add later if I need to. And k1114 thanks for mentioning I need Windows 7 Pro or higher to use more than 16GB. I was unaware of that!

The SSD will be for OS and applications, and the 7200 RPM drive for primary data. I'll probably stick with the green 5400 RPM since that's for backup only, and apparently it will be quieter and use less power than 7200 RPM. I'm still deciding between WD and Seagate for the 7200 HDD for primary data.

I think I'll stick with the 256 SSD as k1114 suggests, since I suspect I can use the overhead. I'll have both Windows and Linux OS's, and applications for both. (I much prefer the Linux world, but there's no Linux edition of Photoshop.) And since I can use part of the SSD as scratch space for Photoshop, that might mean I can get by without buying more RAM.

Thanks also for urging me to go with a less expensive PSU! I had been looking at SilentPCReview's GPU suggestions, but I think the Seasonic 520 Bronze or Rosewill Capstone 550-M will be about as quiet. Still deciding between those two.

Excellent suggestion k1114 to see whether I can get by with the CPU-integrated graphics rather than buying a GPU card. According to this Wikipedia page, the i7 3770k uses Intel HD Graphhics 4000, and this supports both OpenGL 4.0 on Windows, OpenCL 1.1, and Shader Model 5.0. From what I can tell by exploring Adobe's links about GPU settings, those versions are sufficient for PS CS4, CS5, and CS6. As boulbox and k1114 mention I can get an NVidia GPU card later, if I get into cuda plugins.

Thanks again for all of your help. I really do appreciate it.
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November 8, 2012 5:13:56 PM

these are pretty much the same ram but cheaper

http://pcpartpicker.com/part/kingston-memory-khx16c10b1...

and if it is Photosho only, i think you can get a much cheaper price

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($319.99 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($162.86 @ Newegg)
Memory: Kingston 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($59.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($189.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Titanium Grey) ATX Mid Tower Case ($109.46 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Rosewill Hive 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($66.27 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 (64-bit) ($139.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1250.51
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-08 14:10 EST-0500)

leaves room for a entry level graphics if you want to game a little bit
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November 9, 2012 12:31:49 AM

Augray37 said:
I agree on all points. 32GB of ram is overkill, 5400 rpm is too slow, and an i7 is STRONGLY recommended. Running a virtual box well can really eat system resources, and media processing can really benefit from an i7. your mobo is fine, cpu cooler is awesome, but your PSU is waayyy nicer than you need. I mean if you really want it by all means get it, it's a fine PSU, but if i were you i'd save $75 and get the 550W Rosewill capstone series. it's guts are made by superflower, which is a very reputable brand overseas, but they sell for peanuts over here. with the money you save from getting less ram and a cheaper PSU you'll be able to afford a GTX 660.



After mulling it over some more and reading some reviews, I decided to take your suggestion and go for the Rosewill Capstone 550W, the modular version. Thanks for that suggestion, I'm sure I'll be happy with it.
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November 9, 2012 1:51:14 AM

boulbox said:
these are pretty much the same ram but cheaper

http://pcpartpicker.com/part/kingston-memory-khx16c10b1...

and if it is Photosho only, i think you can get a much cheaper price

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($319.99 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($162.86 @ Newegg)
Memory: Kingston 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($59.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($189.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Titanium Grey) ATX Mid Tower Case ($109.46 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Rosewill Hive 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($66.27 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 (64-bit) ($139.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1250.51
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-08 14:10 EST-0500)

leaves room for a entry level graphics if you want to game a little bit


Thanks for all your help with this. I am getting that cheaper ram and the OCZ 256 SSD. Possibly the Seagates also. Thanks!
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November 9, 2012 2:28:16 AM

Did you budget for a big IPS monitor and a monitor calibration device?

You've probably gone way overkill, but that thing should be a photoshop beast.

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November 9, 2012 3:29:40 AM

twelve25 said:
Did you budget for a big IPS monitor and a monitor calibration device?

You've probably gone way overkill, but that thing should be a photoshop beast.



You're right, it's got to be a well-balanced system as a whole. I got a monitor calibration device a couple of years ago, the Spyder 3 Elite. I started looking at IPS monitors a few days ago, but it's gonna be a few months before I can move on that.
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November 9, 2012 8:20:17 AM

Here is the build I bought, its FAST! I also do some photoshop and 3d modeling/rendering. I chose to go with 3770 because I'm not that interested in overclocking, and also the parts are cheaper. I chose the motherboard because it has 16gb maximum memory, and that is also the maximum memory used by Windows 7 Home 64 bit. And also it was cheaper than 32gb maximum motherboards. Down the road I will add a graphics card, and maybe a 1tb hard drive. But the intel 4000 graphics and SSD are great for now.
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($289.99 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($74.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($189.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Fractal Design Arc Mini MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($99.98 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Rosewill Capstone 550W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($89.99 @ CompUSA)
Keyboard: Logitech MK520 Wireless Ergonomic Keyboard w/Laser Mouse ($39.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $976.89
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-09 05:14 EST-0500)
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November 9, 2012 2:22:14 PM

brandon that looks like a really nice build! I am now leaning toward your strategy of no overclocking, to keep costs down. But here's the question that keeps holding me back: would o.c.ing make the system stand up a few years longer to the ever-increasing demands of software? Anyone have views on that?

twelve25's question about the monitor upgrade got me to thinking. Not all H77 and Z77 motherboards support DisplayPort. (I suppose this just means that the motherboards in question don't provide DisplayPort support for the integrated graphics in the intel CPUs, and that you can still have DisplayPort if you add a graphics card.) Apparently HDMI vs DisplayPort is a controversial question (here is a helpful discussion), but the Dell article referenced there makes me want to go for DisplayPort, at least to keep my options open. The upshot is that since I hope to get by with just the integrated graphics (this system is mainly for still photography), that cuts out a few of the AsRocks for me. I am probably going to go with one of these three motherboards:

Asus P8H77-V
AsRock Z77 Extreme6
Asus P8Z77-V

The two Z77-chipset based motherboards are currently only ten dollars apart. The Asus includes wireless.
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November 9, 2012 4:20:12 PM

I would have probably considered getting an overclocking set-up more if I planned to do more gaming on my computer. I play some cpu games (Civilization 5 being the biggest resource hog) but not the ones I can play on consoles. I would rather play Battlefield games for example on my PS3 than my computer. So consider whether you want to play the big games on your computer or not.

Also everyone told me I didn't need an aftermarket cpu cooler on a i7-3770 since no overclocking, but I put one on anyway because rendering is very cpu intensive and warms it up.

You can't go wrong either way, but I would consider gaming the best reason to have overclocking.

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November 9, 2012 4:36:15 PM

Off topic, but I think gaming benefits very little from CPU overclocking. You can see from the "best gaming CPU" articles Tom's put out, that going past a stock i5 has sharply diminishing returns. They basically tell you there is no point in going past that point.

Now on the other hand, things like image batch processing or video rendering is 100% CPU bound, therefore every increase in CPU performance has a direct impact on performance.
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November 9, 2012 4:42:13 PM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($289.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($142.86 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($189.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Titanium Grey) ATX Mid Tower Case ($109.46 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Antec Basiq Plus 550W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($54.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Monitor: Asus VS239H-P 23.0" Monitor ($164.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 (64-bit) ($139.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1339.23
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-09 13:40 EST-0500)

leaves room for anything u need revamped it a bit like getting cheaper ram at a CAS of 8. the ASrock extreme4 has a DVI to connect to the IPS(no need for digital port)
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November 9, 2012 4:56:27 PM

Ocing really doesn't make much difference with such a high end cpu in games. Ocing will make the most difference in cpu intensive programs and games are mostly gpu intensive. It's not really a budget buster to have ocing and a decent boost in performance. I've actually undervolted/oc my cpu so I'm using less power but I'm at 4.2ghz vs 3.3 stock. No change in games' fps but rendering is about 10% faster.

What is your reasoning for a mobo with dp? Dvi and hdmi are the same quality and still support 2560x1600 at 60hz. Dp monitors still come with at least dvi. Or you can even just get a dvi/hdmi to dp adapter. You are spending money just to have another connection. That dell article is 4 years old (when dp was the new kid on the block) and hdmi has evolved differently then they had believed. It is still tv's choice of connection but is also on just about every pc monitor as well. Dp has gained some ground but now thunderbolt is the new kid and is capable of replacing data ports (usb and firewire) as well as video/audio ports. Although this is still too early to predict.
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November 9, 2012 6:52:08 PM

k1114 said:
What is your reasoning for a mobo with dp? Dvi and hdmi are the same quality and still support 2560x1600 at 60hz. Dp monitors still come with at least dvi. Or you can even just get a dvi/hdmi to dp adapter. You are spending money just to have another connection. That dell article is 4 years old (when dp was the new kid on the block) and hdmi has evolved differently then they had believed. It is still tv's choice of connection but is also on just about every pc monitor as well. Dp has gained some ground but now thunderbolt is the new kid and is capable of replacing data ports (usb and firewire) as well as video/audio ports. Although this is still too early to predict.

I'm still just learning all this (it's fun, though), but what made me think I might want DisplayPort are lines like these, excerpted from the specs for the ASRock Z77 Extreme4:

- Supports HDMI 1.4a Technology with max. resolution up to 1920x1200 @ 60Hz
- Supports DVI with max. resolution up to 1920x1200 @ 60Hz
- Supports D-Sub with max. resolution up to 2048x1536 @ 75Hz

And these, excerpted from the specs for the Asus P8Z77 Pro:

- Supports HDMI with max. resolution 1920 x 1200 @ 60 Hz
- Supports DVI with max. resolution 1920 x 1200 @ 60 Hz
- Supports RGB with max. resolution 2048 x 1536 @ 75 Hz
- Supports DisplayPort with max. resolution 2560 x 1600 @ 60 Hz

I didn't quite know what to make of all that, so I thought I'd get DisplayPort to keep more options open for when I update my monitor (if I stick with the CPU-integrated graphics). But your question prompted me to look into it more. I see now that with HDMI v1.1 the resolution is limited at 1920x1200 @ 60 Hz, and with v1.3 the limit is 2560x1600 @ 60 Hz. (I'm getting that from a table in NEC's white paper on "Video Display Interfaces", available on their site). And v1.3 fits with what you said. Could it be that these mobo's are using v1.1 rather than v1.3? I can't find the HDMI version numbers for these mobo's anywhere.

I'm not sure I'm thinking about all this correctly. If I got the ASRock mobo above, would I be limited to 1920x1200 @60 Hz unless I bought a separate GPU?
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November 9, 2012 10:15:44 PM

Uncle Walt said:
I'm still just learning all this (it's fun, though), but what made me think I might want DisplayPort are lines like these, excerpted from the specs for the ASRock Z77 Extreme4:

- Supports HDMI 1.4a Technology with max. resolution up to 1920x1200 @ 60Hz
- Supports DVI with max. resolution up to 1920x1200 @ 60Hz
- Supports D-Sub with max. resolution up to 2048x1536 @ 75Hz

And these, excerpted from the specs for the Asus P8Z77 Pro:

- Supports HDMI with max. resolution 1920 x 1200 @ 60 Hz
- Supports DVI with max. resolution 1920 x 1200 @ 60 Hz
- Supports RGB with max. resolution 2048 x 1536 @ 75 Hz
- Supports DisplayPort with max. resolution 2560 x 1600 @ 60 Hz

I didn't quite know what to make of all that, so I thought I'd get DisplayPort to keep more options open for when I update my monitor (if I stick with the CPU-integrated graphics). But your question prompted me to look into it more. I see now that with HDMI v1.1 the resolution is limited at 1920x1200 @ 60 Hz, and with v1.3 the limit is 2560x1600 @ 60 Hz. (I'm getting that from a table in NEC's white paper on "Video Display Interfaces", available on their site). And v1.3 fits with what you said. Could it be that these mobo's are using v1.1 rather than v1.3? I can't find the HDMI version numbers for these mobo's anywhere.

I'm not sure I'm thinking about all this correctly. If I got the ASRock mobo above, would I be limited to 1920x1200 @60 Hz unless I bought a separate GPU?



sticking with ASrock extreme4 would be ideal, spending more money on the mobo where it is not needed would be a bit pointless if you are worrying about Res and stuff like that. just get an entry level card (100-200) and you would be good.

something like a 650/ti or a 7750/7770 would let you get better res overall. remember even if you upgrade your mobo you are still bound to the HD4000 from the CPU. upgrading the mobo makes little to no performance because you are still stuck with HD4000
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November 11, 2012 3:28:12 AM

The connection supports the res (it has hdmi 1.4a) but apparently the hd 4000 only supports that res with dp. I guess you want dp on the mobo then.
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November 11, 2012 4:51:48 AM

Some small changes and improvements:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($319.99 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Phanteks PH-TC14PE 60.1 CFM CPU Cooler ($85.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($188.49 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($159.49 @ B&H)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($129.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($188.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Titanium Grey) ATX Mid Tower Case ($109.46 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($53.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 (64-bit) ($139.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1443.36
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-11 01:51 EST-0500)
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November 11, 2012 5:01:53 AM

willyroc said:
Some small changes and improvements:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($319.99 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Phanteks PH-TC14PE 60.1 CFM CPU Cooler ($85.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($188.49 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($159.49 @ B&H)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($129.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($188.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Titanium Grey) ATX Mid Tower Case ($109.46 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($53.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 (64-bit) ($139.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1443.36
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-11 01:51 EST-0500)


no need for a caviar black if you have an SSD. might as well get 2 of these
http://pcpartpicker.com/part/seagate-internal-hard-driv...
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November 11, 2012 6:03:05 AM

Money, money, money.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($319.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Corsair H80 92.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($91.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V PRO ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($203.49 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair XMS 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($144.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($139.99 @ B&H)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($188.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Black Pearl) ATX Mid Tower Case ($109.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: SeaSonic S12II 620W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($83.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 (64-bit) ($139.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1400.39
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-11 03:00 EST-0500)
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November 11, 2012 2:38:11 PM

If I were building a super powerful photoshop computer with your kind of budget...

32GB RAM

i-5 3550 (since you're not going to over clock)

40 or 80GB SSD (to use as a scratch disk exclusively)

80GB SSD to put OS and Photoshop on

1TB 7200RPM drive for all other files/storage

(if you had to have a GFX card, and you might for that resolution)
Go with a Quadro Professional Series card.

But, in my experience it's nicer two have two monitors as opposed to one giant one. (but depends on what you do in PS)

a Nice IPS monitor and some color calibration hardware would be worth the investment. I like to have one nice monitor and one TN panel monitor so I have a good idea what any given photo/graphic will look like when I print, and what it will look like on most other people's crappy screen. If it looks good on both, you've hit the sweet spot.

But if you're not doing photoshop professionally, you don't need a Lacie or an apple cinema monitor... one of the dell ultrasharps should do even without hardware calibration.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Though with the exception of some rendering, 3D and effects, photoshop is mostly a CPU/RAM/HDD intensive program.

So if It were me I'd invest my cash into RAM, SSD(s), CPU, IPS panel monitor, color calibration hardware.


If you were doing video editing of any kind i'd say go for the i-7 but since you aren't an i-5 should be fine.

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November 11, 2012 3:04:25 PM

blane2 said:
If I were building a super powerful photoshop computer with your kind of budget...

32GB RAM

i-5 3550 (since you're not going to over clock)

40 or 80GB SSD (to use as a scratch disk exclusively)

80GB SSD to put OS and Photoshop on

1TB 7200RPM drive for all other files/storage

(if you had to have a GFX card, and you might for that resolution)
Go with a Quadro Professional Series card.

But, in my experience it's nicer two have two monitors as opposed to one giant one. (but depends on what you do in PS)

a Nice IPS monitor and some color calibration hardware would be worth the investment. I like to have one nice monitor and one TN panel monitor so I have a good idea what any given photo/graphic will look like when I print, and what it will look like on most other people's crappy screen. If it looks good on both, you've hit the sweet spot.

But if you're not doing photoshop professionally, you don't need a Lacie or an apple cinema monitor... one of the dell ultrasharps should do even without hardware calibration.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Though with the exception of some rendering, 3D and effects, photoshop is mostly a CPU/RAM/HDD intensive program.

So if It were me I'd invest my cash into RAM, SSD(s), CPU, IPS panel monitor, color calibration hardware.


If you were doing video editing of any kind i'd say go for the i-7 but since you aren't an i-5 should be fine.



if it is a super hardcore editing computer then a i7 should be necessary for the hyperthreading. OCing the CPU will help with CPU performance so if you are using heavy OC programs then OCing might help with the times.
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November 11, 2012 3:21:13 PM

boulbox said:
if it is a super hardcore editing computer then a i7 should be necessary for the hyperthreading. OCing the CPU will help with CPU performance so if you are using heavy OC programs then OCing might help with the times.


I disagree unless he's running a ton of batch scripts daily, the timed saved/money spent wouldn't justify the added cost.

But it's hard to say for sure because only he knows what he does with photoshop.

In all reality, the entry level Dell XPS 8500 ($699) with some extra ram would run photoshop quite well, and allow him to spring for a nice big IPS monitor. There are lots of good off the shelf options as well for a photoshop/web/wordprocessing system.... If you don't require video editing, 3d rendering, or gaming... off the shelf workstations or media desktops are something to look into as well.




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November 11, 2012 5:10:55 PM

In all reality, you should not be looking at prebuilts at mid-high spec range if you want the most for your money. That dell costs more than building yourself minus tax. Just to provide an example, compare the base model $650 (plus tax) http://www.dell.com/us/p/xps-8500/fs vs http://pcpartpicker.com/p/njBR $605. Matches specs although costs less and even has a better dual band wireless card. You're right he could go with an i5 to lower price but does he want to. If his current pc is almost 10 years old, even an i5 would be a huge improvement and gets the job done well. But I'd have to agree, "a super powerful photoshop computer" should have an i7. Especially if he wants it to last as long as his current pc.
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November 12, 2012 2:56:13 AM

I'm continuing to follow the discussion, and really appreciate all the help.

Even aside from the immediate costs savings I do want to build it. Partly it's the fun of learning all this. Also, I want to get my feet wet so I'll be comfortable upgrading parts as needed, instead of just buying a whole new prebuilt system every five or ten years.



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November 12, 2012 6:07:11 PM

I just placed my order. As you can see I adopted many of the suggestions people offered. (My reasoning is below the list.) Thanks, everyone! I really appreciate your suggestions, and all the time you put into helping me. I'm sure I'll be very happy with this system for a long time to come.

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($214.99 @ Amazon) Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($319.99 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus P8H77-V ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($115.99 @ Newegg), Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($169.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Kingston 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($35.98 @ NCIX US), Kingston 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($74.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Kingston 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($35.98 @ NCIX US)
Memory: Kingston 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($35.98 @ NCIX US)
Memory: Kingston 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($35.98 @ NCIX US)

Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($159.49 @ B&H) Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($139.99 @ Amazon) Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($209.99 @ NCIX US) ($188.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GT 640 2GB Video Card ($79.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Antec P280 ATX Mid Tower Case ($97.22 @ Amazon) Fractal Design Define R4 (Black Pearl) ATX Mid Tower Case ($109.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Kingwin Lazer Platinum 550W 80 PLUS Platinum Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($145.74 @ Mwave) Rosewill Capstone 550W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($89.99 @ CompUSA) Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 (64-bit) ($129.99 @ CompUSA)
Total: $1469.29 Total: $1300.89

A few remarks . . .

CPU. As more posts came in I wavered back and forth on i5 vs. i7. Also on k vs non-k. Certainly i5 would be perfectly adequate for my needs in Photoshop: large files, but only still-photography, no video editing, not a lot of batch scripts. On the other hand k1114 is right that I want the system to last a very long time, and I agree that the i7 is worth the extra cost from that perspective. I get the sense that more software will be using hyperthreading in the future, and it'd be nice to be able to take advantage of that without a CPU update. (In that connection I notice that at least one major virus-protection program already uses hyperthreading.) At the moment I don't plan to overclock, but the idea intrigues me enough to pay for that option as well. I don't want to be sorry later that I didn't get a 'k'.

MOBO. If I'm understanding the spec sheets correctly, the Asus P8Z77-V supports 2650x1600 resolution without a graphics card, and its AsRock and Gigabyte counterparts don't. I'd like to keep that option (2650x 1600 without graphics card) open.

Memory. I went with the Hyper-X that boulbox suggested: KHX16C10B1K2/16X. That model has XMP which I would probably find useful if (when?) I o.c. I started with 16 GB and will go to 32 GB if needed. Especially with plenty of scratch on the SSD, maybe I'll be okay at 16. (The price jumped up on the Hyper-X. I should have reread boulbox's later posts. I see now that he later suggested some Crucial Ballistics.)

HHDs. I got the less expensive HDDs that boulbox also suggested. I looked at some of the performance charts on this website and these HDDs look great.

SSDs. I considered (a) one 256 GB versus (b) one 128 GB and one 64 GB. (Should also have considered (c) two 128 GB's, but too late now.) I opted for 256 total since I will have both Linux and Windows OS's and applications. On the one versus two question, the Adobe website says that using a single SSD for OS+programs+scratch "performs well", though they don't say one is better than two. There is a very detailed discussion of the more general question of one versus two here.

Graphics Card. Not for now, since as k1114 pointed out I might be all right without one. If I do get a graphics card it will probably be in the Quadro Professional Series as blane2 suggests.

Case: k1114 remarked that the Fractal R4 is quieter. And I watched a couple of reviews on YouTube.

Power Supply. For me it was either the Capstone 550-M Gold or the Seasonic 560W-M Gold ($125 @ Amazon). I'm all about quiet computing and the Seasonic 560 is a hybrid fan/fanless with great reviews. But it's $45 more than the Rosewell Capstone 550-M, which hopefully will be quiet enough. I got Gold because the higher efficiency means less heat production, so at least in theory the PSU fan, and maybe other fans also, should run more quietly. It sure is hard to find dB(A) data on powersupplies!

OS. Windows 64 Professional so I have the option of going to 32 GB ram. (Thanks again k1114 for pointing that out. Had you not mentioned it I would have bought and installed the Home edition for sure. I can only imagine how upset I'd have been to then discover I'm limited to 16 GB.)
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November 12, 2012 9:20:07 PM

All ram should have xmp nowadays and won't help unless over 1600. It essentially just changes all the ram settings to what the ram is rated for. But since 1600 is the stock speed it should already default to that. Of course you can always manually set each setting and get the same result so it's just a convenient feature rather than anything else.
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November 20, 2012 2:28:11 AM

Best answer selected by Uncle Walt.
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!