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Pls review budget graphics workstation build -- advice requested

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December 13, 2012 4:59:58 AM

Yeah, get the i7-3770K instead. It's the latest generation and it costs the same.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel 330 uses SandForce which has reliability issues especially with incompressible data. I don't see the point of 2 60gb drives as well.
Get this instead.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You could save a few $$$ on the PSU, this one is made from Seasonic as well.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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December 13, 2012 12:13:30 PM

Thanks, excella1221, for taking a look. Sorry, the above post is rather lacking in explanatory detail. I had posted in greater detail earlier (here), but it got buried before generating any responses.

Regarding the duplicate SSDs, one is intended as a dedicated Photoshop scratch disk. The other would be the main drive for Windows and apps, while the HDD is for data.

I've swapped out the Intel SSDs for Crucial M4 SSDs as you recommend. Also updated my parts list with your other recommendations. Thanks again.
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December 13, 2012 12:28:20 PM

IMHO, 60GB boot drive is too small. Don't let anybody talk you into a smaller PSU. Bigger if anything. Gaming GPUs are not good for work stations. Check with the software you intend to use. I use a Quadro.
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December 13, 2012 12:52:21 PM

Thanks for the input, ram1009. You think a larger boot drive is necessary even if it's only holding OS and apps? There's room in my budget to go larger if need be, just looking to not spend unnecessarily. 60GB seemed big enough since data is going to be stored elsewhere, but I'm open to being convinced otherwise if there's a good reason to go bigger.

Estimated wattage is 335w. Shouldn't a 550w PSU suffice? I'd read that you don't want a PSU that too greatly exceeds system load, though I admit I don't know anything about it.

I selected the GTX 660 based on Photoshop-specific benchmarks (here). Seems to deliver great bang-for-buck. Edges out the Quadro 2000 for about half the price.

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December 13, 2012 1:09:52 PM

Yes, I actually went from a 128GB SSD to a 256GB because I got tired of managing space. I also recommend Seasonic. You can get a 520w modular unit for 69 bucks at newegg.com. Gaming cards are faster than pro cards at Photoshop, so a 660GTX will be fine. I would bump up to 32GB of 1600mhz memory and configure a ram disk (AMD makes one that works really well) to use as your scratch disk. One last thing...I am not a fan of MSI's motherboards, you can get an ASRock Extreme 4 for the same price or lower.
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December 13, 2012 1:12:56 PM

Usually, you are better off getting one large SSD vs 2 smaller, however if you manage your space, 60 GB is fine. Typically to free up space you will want to disable Hibernate and system restore, and relocate your pagefile to your SSD. You can also move your user libraries fairly easily (goto folder properties on my documents, my pictures etc). Moving the temp folder is also advisable. Some steps described here: http://thessdreview.com/ssd-guides/optimization-guides/...

You can take things a step further and move the entire users directory (and programData) to your HDD, but the process is rather involved, I can provide instructions if you are interested.
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December 13, 2012 1:28:16 PM

I'm already figuring on bumping the boot drive up to 128GB based on the above feedback. Only $30 more to double drive capacity. That's a cheap enough upgrade to be worthwhile even if it is possible to manage with a smaller drive.

Djscribbles, the 2nd SSD is intended as a dedicated Photoshop scratch disk. Thanks for the tips on space management. I'll look into that once I'm up and running.
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December 13, 2012 1:43:11 PM

You didn't edit anything, you need to re-paste the URL since it changes everytime you replace or add something. :p 

550w would be more than enough for your system. I'm not sure if what ram1009 said about PSUs was for me since I didn't recommend a smaller wattage, the XFX I linked actually has 30w capacity more.
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December 14, 2012 11:50:40 PM

Okay, I've gotten some helpful responses here, done a bunch more research, and made a raft of changes to this system, bumping it up to 32gb DDR3 1600 ram, among other things. Also opted for a xeon CPU since I've no plans to overclock and can use the $ elsewhere to stay within my $1,500 budget. You can check out the details HERE (note this configuration still shows the i7 3770 CPU as the Xeon doesn't seem to be an available option on PCpartpicker).

Haven't pulled the trigger yet, so feel free to weigh in with opinions. (Also feel free to just tell me it looks good, too: this is my first build and I could use the confidence boost!)

Some notes:

Xeon E3-1230 V2 -- Virtually identical to i7 chip in performance but less expensive as it lacks internal graphics (unnecessary with dedicated GPU)

Geforce GTX 660 -- In CS6 Photoshop-specific benchmarks (here) it performs neck and neck with more expensive cards.

Asus P8H77 mobo -- supports LGA 1155 and SATA 6gb/s that I need, but saves money by not supporting overclocking which I don't need

Crucial RAM -- trusted name, runs at a lower voltage so maybe a bit cooler


So that's where I am. Thoughts?

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!