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Photograph/Graphic Design & Gaming, $1500

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. :)
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  1. It looks good i suggest this power supply http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151095 and get a 670 the rest is fine.
  2. 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_680_classified_with_evbot_review,8.html
  3. 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)
  4. 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!
  5. Best answer
    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.
  6. 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
  7. 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.
  8. Best answer selected by erehwonnz24.
  9. 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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