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Lightroom 4 / Photoshop PC build suggestions for $750-$1000

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December 26, 2012 6:15:56 PM

Hello!
Have been reading several VERY helpful threads on here and have been gathering suggestions for a new PC build.

Help/guidance appreciated since it's been a few years since I last built a PC and I'm needing to maximize my performance/price ratio as much as possible. :D 

Approximate Purchase Date: hopefully within 30 days (requires CFO approval ;)  )

Budget Range: $750-$1000

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Lightroom 4, Photoshop CS 5, PS plugins, Nikon Capture, Office 2010, web/email

Location: St Louis, MO

Overclocking: No / Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: No

CPU:
(am leaning toward an i7 but am wondering if an i5 would be worth it to save a little cash)

Motherboard: I’m leaning toward the ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155
(also open to other options)

RAM: G.Skill Ares Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600
(these still recommended?)

HDD 1 (OS, programs): Crucial M4 256GB 2.5" SSD
(256GB too much? Would 128GB be better?)

HDD 2 (swap, LR cache): Crucial M4 64GB 2.5" SSD

HDD 3 (data):
(differences between WD Black? Blue? Green?)

Media Reader:
(I’d like an internal USB 3.0 reader WITH included floppy…they make such a thing?)
(also open to additional suggestions for FAST media reader. Internal faster than external?)

Optical Drive:
(Blu-ray burner worth it or stick with standard DVD/RW?)
(anyone actually use Lightscribe still?)

Power Supply:
(I’m thinking I only need 550-600 watts. Correct?)

Case:
(I don’t want any windows, or external LEDs or visible LEDs inside the fan.)
(Case will be up on my desk & visible. Should be quiet too…not having much luck here :(  )

OS: Windows 7 Professional
(OEM or retail? Best price?)
December 26, 2012 6:36:58 PM

there are 2 options.

1) you can get a fx 8320 build. it costs a fair bit less, but then you would have to pay up for 2x the power consumption
2)or you can go a intel route but then it can cost more on the CPU


ill provide both

intel build. should be around 1000
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/ugK1

+ a xeon e3 1230v2. same thing as a i7 3770 but without graphics and uses even less power. i have a graphics card for that usage
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


amd build. costs about as much i think. its larger than the other build
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/ugMK
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December 26, 2012 6:49:26 PM

TheBigTroll said:
there are 2 options.

1) you can get a fx 8320 build. it costs a fair bit less, but then you would have to pay up for 2x the power consumption
2) or you can go a intel route but then it can cost more on the CPU


ill provide both

intel build. should be around 1000
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/ugK1

+ a xeon e3 1230v2. same thing as a i7 3770 but without graphics and uses even less power. i have a graphics card for that usage
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


amd build. costs about as much i think. its larger than the other build
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/ugMK


I'm wanting to stick with Intel.
So, are you saying that the ONLY difference between the i5/i7 & the Xeon is the exclusion of the graphics?
Hmmm...didn't know about that option.
From what I was reading, it made it sound like the graphics abilities of the i5/i7 were pretty sweet making a GPU unnecessary for anyone NOT gaming.

Will definitely consider your hardware options!
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December 27, 2012 12:44:13 AM

the e3 1230v2 is just a i7 without graphics. the graphics onboard will get you through flash games and some COD but then again, i provided a GPU so there isnt a point of it when it costs 50 bucks to get it

the GPU provided is for CS6. CUDA on nvidia cards really help out with rendering times
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December 27, 2012 1:10:38 PM

TheBigTroll said:
the e3 1230v2 is just a i7 without graphics. the graphics onboard will get you through flash games and some COD but then again, i provided a GPU so there isnt a point of it when it costs 50 bucks to get it

the GPU provided is for CS6. CUDA on nvidia cards really help out with rendering times


What about an i5?
Does it have the same video capabilities as the i7?

Otherwise, is there a recommended GPU for about $100?
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December 27, 2012 1:18:31 PM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.98 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($134.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($44.98 @ Outlet PC)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: PNY GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB Video Card ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 371 ATX Mid Tower Case ($37.20 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: XFX ProSeries 750W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($79.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.89 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $795.00
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-27 10:17 EST-0500)

base build for you all to improve :) 
-OS
-SSD
-3770K
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December 27, 2012 1:25:47 PM

oh boy.... goes above 1000

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($134.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Corsair XMS3 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($49.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Crucial M4 64GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($69.99 @ Microcenter)
Storage: Intel 330 Series 240GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($159.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: PNY GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB Video Card ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 371 ATX Mid Tower Case ($37.20 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: XFX ProSeries 750W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($79.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.89 @ Outlet PC)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $1089.99
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-27 10:27 EST-0500)

---
which one do you want to cheap out? GPU?
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December 27, 2012 1:29:38 PM

CMPhotography said:
What about an i5?
Does it have the same video capabilities as the i7?

Otherwise, is there a recommended GPU for about $100?



you get around a 30% boost in performance from a i5 to a i7. there are i5 xeons avaliable as well but not worth it.

just get the xeon and the gtx 660. will be much better than a i5 or a i7 with onboard graphics.

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December 27, 2012 1:30:24 PM

AMD Radeon said:
oh boy.... goes above 1000

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($134.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Corsair XMS3 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($49.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Crucial M4 64GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($69.99 @ Microcenter)
Storage: Intel 330 Series 240GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($159.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: PNY GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB Video Card ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 371 ATX Mid Tower Case ($37.20 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: XFX ProSeries 750W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($79.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.89 @ Outlet PC)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $1089.99
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-27 10:27 EST-0500)

---
which one do you want to cheap out? GPU?

its a workstation, not much of a gaming rig. i5s arent really suitable
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December 27, 2012 1:38:52 PM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($134.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Corsair XMS3 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($49.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Crucial M4 64GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($69.99 @ Microcenter)
Storage: OCZ Agility 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($93.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Asus Radeon HD 7770 1GB Video Card ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 371 ATX Mid Tower Case ($37.20 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: XFX ProSeries 750W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($79.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.89 @ Outlet PC)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $913.99
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-27 10:37 EST-0500)

----
anything to improve?
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December 27, 2012 1:45:21 PM

AMD Radeon said:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($134.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Corsair XMS3 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($49.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Crucial M4 64GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($69.99 @ Microcenter)
Storage: OCZ Agility 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($93.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Asus Radeon HD 7770 1GB Video Card ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 371 ATX Mid Tower Case ($37.20 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: XFX ProSeries 750W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($79.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.89 @ Outlet PC)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $913.99
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-27 10:37 EST-0500)

----
anything to improve?


yes actually

-i5s are not for workstations. they perform well, but you can do better
-xms isnt the best quality ram but it will do
-z77 board but no heatsink to overclock. but either way it doesnt catch up to i7 performance in workloads very easily
-64gb SSDs arent really worth it
-agility is always crap
-the 7770 isnt great for CS6. and he is not gaming
-the case isnt that great either
-that power supply is great, but is total overkill
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December 27, 2012 3:08:10 PM

TheBigTroll is correct...this will be a Lightroom/Photoshop workstation and not gaming but am trying to keep everything under $1000 if at all possible.

Will be running dual monitors - will the integrated graphics support dual monitors or is that the reason I need a dedicated GPU?

Seems like if I go with the Xeon E3 and save money over the i7, I negate those savings since I then need to purchase a GPU. :/ 
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December 27, 2012 3:19:25 PM

TheBigTroll said:
yes actually

-i5s are not for workstations. they perform well, but you can do better
-xms isnt the best quality ram but it will do
-z77 board but no heatsink to overclock. but either way it doesnt catch up to i7 performance in workloads very easily
-64gb SSDs arent really worth it
-agility is always crap
-the 7770 isnt great for CS6. and he is not gaming
-the case isnt that great either
-that power supply is great, but is total overkill


Could you clarify a couple things?
1. The 64GB SSD is ONLY for my PS scratch/swap usage - would a 64GB work for this?
2. What don't you like about the Agility SSD? Poor reliability? What would you recommend?
3. I kind of like the specs on the case although it is a bit on the ugly side. :) 
I DO NOT want LEDs on the case or visible fans or a side window. I do want to make sure it will hold 2 optical drives, an internal media reader & at least 3 SSDs and 2 mechanical HDDs.
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December 27, 2012 4:06:58 PM

Here's what I've put together so far:
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/usbf

I still need help on:
- GPU - needed for Lightroom 4/PS CS 5 since I'm NOT gaming?
- Case - trying to find one with NO LEDs or a side window.
Found 1 that was a 'maybe' but it said it didn't have any 2.5" slots for SSDs.
Is this a big deal or do I just need mounting hardware to put the 2.5" SSDs in the larger 3.5" slots? ???
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December 27, 2012 6:24:18 PM

dude, i provided a GPU in my build. did you not see a gtx 660 in there? a gtx 660 might be pretty good for gaming, but it also doesnt mean it cant to work. it would be faster than a equvialent priced quadro card since it has more CUDA cores

quadro cards start destroying Geforce options when you have to do 3d rendering

my build will not have any LEDs other than the motherboard LED to indicate that it is working properly. you wont see it. if the power button has a LED, just dont plug in the LED headers



yeah agilities are crap. if you want a scratch disk, you can do this. get 2 kits of the memory that i recommended, buy AMD ramdisk software for 20 bucks, partition 16gb for a ramdisk, and use that as a scratch disk. it will be 10x faster than a SSD, but then you cannot save data on it as it is volitile storage

my build performs better. use that instead
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December 27, 2012 7:29:46 PM

Yes, I saw the GTX 660. Was just wanting clarification on whether it would be necessary if I went with the i7 cpu for dual monitors.

Swapped out the OCZ Agility 4 64GB SSD with a Crucial M4 64GB since I want to use a 2nd SSD not just for the OS swap, but LR previews/cache storage as well. Would rather store those than use a ramdisk.

Tweaked my build list:
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/uuv3

Am up to $1260 though :( 
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December 27, 2012 9:16:43 PM

the 660 can power 2 monitors. and it will help with CS6 operations, which the intergrated GPU cannot do.

did i tell you already that the xeon performs the same as the i7? because they are identical, other than the missing onboard that is useless to you. why would you pay for something that you will not use?

ramdisk is literally 10x faster. the 128gb SSD is there to store your OS, apps, and whatever you need it for. and the ram disk is there for scratch operations. there is no reason to get a sperate SSD for previews or for a cache

my build either way still performs better. here it is again, but with a different gtx 660 as the asus model just went up in price
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/uvVc
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!