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Budget Photoshop PC

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December 12, 2012 2:18:53 PM

Hi, all --

I've found lots of useful info on this forum to help inform my first build. Now I'm hoping for some constructive feedback on the components.

The system is intended primarily as a graphics workstation for print illustration using Photoshop, Illustrator, and Painter. No plans for video editing, animation, or 3D modeling/rendering. Gaming is not a priority. I don't plan on overclocking (unless someone wants to convince me otherwise).

Target budget is $1500, though that could go up a bit if the extra expenditure would make a significant difference.

System will be paired with a 27" Korean monitor requiring dual-link DVI @ 2560 x 1440.

I plan on running Windows 7 Professional 64-bit.

Here's the configuration I'm looking at:

CPU:
Intel Core i7-2600 Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2000 BX80623I72600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16819115071

GPU:
ZOTAC ZT-60901-10M GeForce GTX 660 2GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16814500270
Note: I've selected this card based on Photoshop-specific benchmarks that show it in a virtual tie with more expensive GTX models and even edging out Radeon 7870 and Quadro 2000.
http://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Adobe-Photoshop-CS6-GPU-Acceleration-161

MoBo:
MSI Z77A-GD55 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16813130644

Drives:
Plan is for an SSD as main drive running OS and apps, a 2nd SSD for Photoshop's scratch disk, and a larger HDD for data.

SSDs:
Intel 330 Series Maple Crest SSDSC2CT060A3K5 2.5" 60GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820167120
I had been planning on the Corsair 60 GB SSD, but Newegg is sold out of them at the moment. The Intel's are cheaper and seem to be well-reviewed.

HDD:
Western Digital WD Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16822136533

RAM:
Crucial Ballistix Sport 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop Memory Model BLS2KIT8G3D1339DS1S00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16820148600

Media/Burner:
LG Black 14X BD-R 2X BD-RE 16X DVD+R 5X DVD-RAM 12X BD-ROM 4MB Cache SATA BDXL Blu-ray Burner, Bare Drive, 3D Play Back (WH14NS40) - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16827136250

Case:
Corsair Carbide Series 300R Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811139011

PSU:
SeaSonic G Series SSR-550RM 550W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16817151119


Including Windows 7 and a tool kit, that comes in at $1,335. Rather than going back and trying to figure where I can spend every last penny in my $1500 budget, I'll just toss it out to you for your thoughts. Does this system offer good bang-for-buck? Am I overlooking compatibility or performance issues? Heat/noise levels reasonable? Anything I'm neglecting?

Thanks in advance for any constructive feedback. I've tried to do my homework but readily admit this build is based on clues I've gathered rather than on any real functional tech knowledge.

More about : budget photoshop

December 13, 2012 12:20:16 PM

I've made some updates to the above specs:

i7 3730 in place of the 2600.

Crucial M4 64GB SSDs in place of the Intels.

XFX 550w PSU in place of the Seasonic.

View the updated system on PCpartpicker: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/sirh

Would appreciate any feedback. Good bang for buck? Room to improve?

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December 13, 2012 2:53:50 PM

-id get a xeon e3 1230v2 for 250 dollars if you are not going to use the onboard video. its a i7 but for a i5 price. look at newegg
-no point of a 60gb SSD. either go 128gb or 256.
-no point of black hard drives
-no toolkit needed. a phillips screwdriver is all you need

this is a lot better
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/sjst
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December 13, 2012 3:08:06 PM

Troll, you seem to always recommend Xeons. While I can't argue they are excellent processors, are you sure that all the boards support them? They don't end up on very many desktop boards support list. While they SHOULD work on any Ivy bridge chipset, there is less of a guarantee.

Smaller SSD are slower. SO while I can see some logic in splitting up the IO for OS and scratch, in reality you are moving to slower disks which just cancels out. A single 128 is going to be cheaper, faster and more flexible. What if you outgrow the 64GB OS drive?

I like the switch to Crucial M4's, though. Intel 330 60GB are one of the slower 60GB SSDs.

i7-3770 (or a Xeon if you can confirm it works) would be a great option. Also, You could save $20-40 by dropping to an H77 based board since you seem to be shopping non overclock CPUs.

Otherwise, great build.

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December 13, 2012 4:36:57 PM

Thanks for the feedback. Had already decided boot drive should be bumped up to 128GB. So you think the scratch drive would benefit from being bigger as well? Because I don't see even coming near needing 64 gigs scratch space, never mind twice that.
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December 13, 2012 4:55:47 PM

I just meant put scratch and OS on same 128GB SSD. It can easily handle it. For mechanical disk it would make sense to isolate them, but not SSD.
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December 13, 2012 5:52:34 PM

Twelve25, thanks for clarifying. I'm reading conflicting things regarding partitioned SSD scratch drive vs. dedicated separate SSD scratch drive. Some, like you, say the digital drive makes a separate drive unnecessary. Others say that if the same physical disk is being accessed by OS and apps as well, the additional traffic will necessarily cause a slowdown. I don't know enough about it to have an opinion.
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December 13, 2012 5:53:15 PM

Troll, thanks for the parts list. Most helpful.

I'm concerned about the GTX 660 fitting on a microATX mobo and case, however. It's a dual-slot card, over 10" long.
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December 13, 2012 6:43:15 PM

yes. xeons are to work fine in consumer boards. just like how a 3770k can work fine in a server board. just that you dont get overclocking

the case can easily fit the card. you can remove hard drive cages within if it doesnt
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December 14, 2012 2:49:11 PM

Best answer selected by Moe Kowbel.
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December 15, 2012 1:36:33 PM


Thanks for the feedback, guys. After doing some more research I've decided to go with the Xeon chip on an H77 board (thanks, Troll, for that tip). The money saved was shifted to increase ram to 32gb of 1600. Also a pair of 128GB SSDs in place of the smaller drives originally specced. Plus an internal card reader and cheap soundcard (for music more than games). Still comes in under my $1,500 target budget.

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/swvx

Note the PCpartpicker list still shows the i7 3730 as the Xeon appears not to be an option, but I've got the Xeon in my Newegg basket :-)
Also couldn't find an exact match for the Crucial RAM I'm getting (HERE) so I've listed a comparable Corsair kit in its place. I'm going with the Crucial because it's a trusted name and runs at slightly lower voltage, which would seem to be a good thing, especially with me maxing out this board's RAM capacity.

I feel pretty good about this component list but welcome any final thoughts before I check out!

Thanks again for the guidance.
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December 15, 2012 2:59:58 PM

That should scream! 32GB is probably WAY overkill, though. If it were me, I'd just buy 2x8GB sticks and then if you somehow chew through that much RAM (unlikely) you can add another 2x8GB kit. And I wouldn't spring for the 1866 unless it is the same price as 1600. It just doesn't make a difference.

It's funny that you went for 2x128GB now when I was counciling to consolidate down to 1x128GB. So now you not only still have 2 SSD, but they are twice as big! It will definitely be fast, it's just money you could save. Crucial m4's are fantastic, though. I have a 128GB in my work machine and it flies.

You don't need that sound card add-on. The board already comes with 8-channel 24-bit 192K audio. (This chipset: http://www.via.com.tw/en/products/audio/codecs/vt1708/)

And again, I would just caution to somehow verify Xeon compatibility before installation. They usually won't take back a CPU that has been mounted in a board, so if you do put it together and it doesn't work, you are SOL.

EDIT: here's the list of CPU support for that board: http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_1155/P8H7...

looks like Xeon 1230 and 1245 V2 are supported. Others will probably work, but I'd stick with those. (1230 does not have built in video, 1245 does).

If you aren't going to game at all, you can drop WAY down on the video card. If you want to game occasionally, then The GTX660 is a medium-high end card. IF you just need a card for the monitor ports, then you can step down to something like a GT630.
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December 15, 2012 10:30:54 PM

Quote:
32GB is probably WAY overkill, though. If it were me, I'd just buy 2x8GB sticks


Yeah, 16 gigs was my original plan. Adobe recommends "as much RAM as your system can hold," -- advice echoed in many Photoshop forums I've been combing through. I keep going back and forth as to whether to go with 16 and see how it performs, or just throw the extra $80 at maxing out RAM with 32. Still up in the air. I budgeted $1,500, but there's plenty other places to spend it if I come in under.


Quote:
It's funny that you went for 2x128GB now when I was counciling to consolidate down to 1x128GB. So now you not only still have 2 SSD, but they are twice as big! It will definitely be fast, it's just money you could save. Crucial m4's are fantastic, though.


You definitely convinced me I needed something larger for the boot drive. There are a lot of others emphasizing the need for a separate physical scratch disk, though, so I opted to keep a 2nd SSD for that. Maybe I should scale that back to the smaller drive as originally planned. I know the smaller drives sacrifice some speed, but it's still an SSD, it's got to be way faster than the HDDs folks have used for scratch disks up til now. Heck, I don't even know how often I'll be utilizing scratch with 16 to 32 gigs of RAM up front.


Quote:
You don't need that sound card add-on. The board already comes with 8-channel 24-bit 192K audio.


I know there's onboard audio, but I hadn't managed to find anyone very satisfied with it. I guess like with the RAM I could save money now, see how it sounds, and add a card later if need be. Just trying to get it right the first time, not have to keep sticking my fingers into this pie once it's baked.


Quote:
And again, I would just caution to somehow verify Xeon compatibility before installation.


Thanks for the Asus link. It shows the Xeon 1230 v2 I'm planning to get is supported by this board. On-board graphics should be unnecessary with a dedicated GPU.


Quote:
If you aren't going to game at all, you can drop WAY down on the video card.


The GTX 660 kept pace with more expensive cards on Photoshop CS6-specific benchmarks. The GTX 650 isn't far behind, either, but doesn't support SLI if I want to go dual-monitor down the road. Also the 660 has 3x the CUDA cores as the 650, which supposedly is great for CS6.


So, yeah, I'm still thinking about whether to trim a little fat off this system, or just make the most of my budget and not try to scrimp beyond that...
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December 16, 2012 12:08:17 AM

zotac is still cheap. get it
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December 16, 2012 12:16:58 PM

TheBigTroll said:
zotac is still cheap. get it


I figured coming in under budget I should splurge on the name brand card. You think Zotac is reliable?
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December 16, 2012 12:50:20 PM

zotac is pretty good. has been around for a while
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December 17, 2012 3:01:45 PM

did i tell you to get a samsung or a adata premier pro ssd? they are better options than the m4

you dont need extra cables


if you dont want to lose screws, just look for a small bowl to store them in for the moment
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December 17, 2012 3:17:09 PM

Troll, you hadn't mentioned those drives previously. I'll look into that, thanks.

Newegg CS said cables weren't included with the M4 I inquired about. Just trying to get everything I need up front. Are cables typically included?
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December 17, 2012 3:20:01 PM

Intel typically includes everything, but in general, you are lucky to get anything more than mounting screws.

You just need a SATA cable of the appropriate length that is rated for SATA 6Gb/s. Locking clips, braided, sleeved, glow in the dark, right angle is all up to you and how you want to set up your case.
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December 17, 2012 7:08:46 PM

Moe Kowbel said:
Troll, you hadn't mentioned those drives previously. I'll look into that, thanks.

Newegg CS said cables weren't included with the M4 I inquired about. Just trying to get everything I need up front. Are cables typically included?


i have. inside my build that i provided

cables dont come with the drive, but the motherboard
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