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Photograph/Graphic Design & Gaming, $1500

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Last response: in Systems
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November 16, 2012 12:42:17 AM

Hi all,

I'm embarking on my first adventure in computer building. I'm learning what I can, but I could use advice, criticism, and cries of "Oh, dear god! What are you doing?" to steer me in the right direction. ;)  You folks seem incredibly knowledgeable, and I'd love to have your input.

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Approximate Purchase Date: I plan to buy this week or early next. While buying during Black Friday makes sense, I don't have the option of waiting, unfortunately.

Budget Range: My budget has a little flex room, but I'm aiming for approximately $1300-1500 after rebates and shipping costs.

System Usage: I'm building this machine for two uses: gaming (after ten years of laptops, I'd love to play something like Skyrim on high-end settings with postprocessing, for example), and for heavy photo-editing with Photoshop and Lightroom as well as graphic design work with InDesign and Illustrator.

Are you buying a monitor: No. I have one.

Do you need to buy OS: Yes, I need to buy an OS. However, I figured I'd so using student discounts unless someone knows where to get a good deal on Windows 8.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts:
I am familiar with Newegg but open to alternatives, of course.

Location: I'm near Chicago, Illinois, U.S. However, I don't have any way to get to Chicago, so my ordering will likely have to be online.

Parts Preferences: I'm open to suggestions. Intel preferred.

Overclocking: Probably.

SLI or Crossfire: Probably not, unless there's a clear benefit for me given my system usage above.

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080.

Additional Comments: I'd like a quiet(ish) PC. Software: Lightroom, Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator. Games: Skyrim, Assassin's Creed, Mass Effect, and a plethora of older games. What else to tell? I kind of like nifty cases, and that may be a tendency someone should quash if it's for my own good. ;) 

Why Are You Upgrading: I've been using a laptop for ten years. I can't do much of anything on it. Because I love to learn about technology, it's time to build something myself.

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Although I've looked around, I haven't seen many builds that stress both gaming and graphic design, so that's an area of curiosity for me. Here's what I've got, if it's at all helpful as a starting place.

PCPartPicker List

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($219.99 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($26.29 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($124.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($44.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 680 2GB Video Card ($518.49 @ Newegg) [$20.00 mail-in rebate]
Case: NZXT Phantom 410 (Black/White) ATX Mid Tower Case ($107.59 after shipping @ Mwave)
Power Supply: Rosewill Capstone 450W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V ($59.99 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($19.98 @ Outlet PC)

Base Total: $1287.54
Mail-in Rebates: -$20.00
Shipping: $34.75

Total: $1302.29

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So that's what I've got. Thanks again for any criticism and suggestions. :) 

More about : photograph graphic design gaming 1500

November 16, 2012 1:31:15 AM

Here is Guru3D's power supply recommendation:

GeForce GTX 680 - On your average system the card requires you to have a 550 Watt power supply unit.
GeForce GTX 680 SLI - On your average system the cards require you to have a 750 Watt power supply unit as minimum.

If you are going to overclock GPU or processor, then we do recommend you purchase something with some more stamina. http://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/evga_geforce_gtx_6...
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November 16, 2012 1:36:01 AM

Since you will be doing photoshop and other CPU intensive softwares, I recommend getting an i7. And also, you need a better power supply to power a GTX 680.

I edited your build, does this looks good?

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/nTwy
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/nTwy/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/nTwy/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 ($26.29 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($124.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($44.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 680 2GB Video Card ($518.49 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Phantom 410 (Black/White) ATX Mid Tower Case ($107.59 @ Mwave)
Power Supply: Corsair Enthusiast 650W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($19.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $1422.29
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-15 22:35 EST-0500)
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November 16, 2012 1:31:15 PM

Thanks, folks. :)  This is really helpful, and I'm not sure how I missed the power supply. So I do want the i7? I see conflicting rationales for purchasing one or the other--any insight on that front? But yes, this does look good. Thanks!
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Best solution

November 16, 2012 1:37:08 PM

I'm surprised the 680 has been allowed unmolested so far. Drop down to the GTX670, its 95% the performance at 80% the cost. Can even overclock the 670 to surpass 680 performance.

The i7 will be useful for your usage. The extra threads the Hyperthreading provides will lead to a big difference in the Photoshop, Lightroom usage of the machine, gaming not so much.

Another 8GB of RAM wouldn't go astray either for this usage.
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November 16, 2012 1:59:18 PM

erehwonnz24 said:
Thanks, folks. :)  This is really helpful, and I'm not sure how I missed the power supply. So I do want the i7? I see conflicting rationales for purchasing one or the other--any insight on that front? But yes, this does look good. Thanks!
The 680 is only 7% faster yet cost $100 more that's not worth it here see for yourself http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/598?vs=555& i would suggest going for this http://pcpartpicker.com/p/nWkF
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November 16, 2012 2:01:15 PM

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 ($26.29 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-D3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($141.98 @ NCIX US)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($100.70 @ Amazon)
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($332.86 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Phantom 410 (White) ATX Mid Tower Case ($99.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: SeaSonic 620W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Sony AD-7280S-0B DVD/CD Writer ($18.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1280.77
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-16 10:54 EST-0500)

i don't know why you recommending sli or "680" however if i jumped into the 680 price region the 7970 will be a much better choice , on this build all he needs is a powerful cpu with ht like the 3770K and enough memory he is not running multiple monitors.
clear things to me if i am wrong.
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November 16, 2012 10:24:12 PM

Best answer selected by erehwonnz24.
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November 16, 2012 10:26:26 PM

Thanks so much for the feedback and help. I'm learning! I'll be putting this range of suggestions together and coming up with a final rundown soon. :D  Thanks again!
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