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Thread started 03 Mar 2011 (Thursday) 21:06
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Which processor?

 
thegrandpoohbah
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Mar 03, 2011 21:06 |  #1

Starting to look at a new computer tower to go along with my Dell U2311H (tax return time!). Leaning towards a Dell XPS as I can get 10% off through their EPP. That, plus the fact that I don't have the time or know how to build my own system. We live in a small town and the only computer stores here would charge an arm and a leg to do a custom build. It will be used mostly for photo editing, web surfing and watching movies. Probably some light gaming too if I ever find the time. Looking at a couple of options and the main difference seems to be in the processors. Which would be better suited to my needs, a Core i7-2600 or a Core i7-930?

I am open to suggestions though. If I can order in all the components to build one myself and it would be significantly cheaper and/or better, then I will definitely consider it. Would pretty much need a step by step walkthrough of all the components I'll need though...

Here's a list of things that I want:
- 12+ GB RAM
- 2x 1TB HD in a RAID1 configuration
- Graphics card capable of expanding desktop across 2-3 monitors
- Blu Ray and DVD+/-R optical drives
- Wireless network card
- A decent sound card
- USB 3.0

Looking to spend no more than $2000 CAD. Any and all input would be greatly appreciated.


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Sp1207
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Mar 03, 2011 21:15 |  #2

i7-2600 for sure. It's faster than the old hexacore i7-980x at photoshop.

Decent sound and USB are functions of the motherboard. Unless you're driving a high-end analogue system there's no need for a sound card.

I don't see the need for multiple optical drives, I think one BR R/W would be sufficient unless you do mass backup to optical disks (an expensive and foolish option).

If you could be more specific on the light gaming (is it across all 3 monitors, is it minecraft or Metro 2033) I could suggest a graphics card/setup. If this is high-end this is where the total cost goes up.

As for the hard drives, unless you absolutely cannot live without 24/7 availability it would be smarter to get 2 2TB drives+an SSD, and put one of the 2TB drives on a separate onsite network backup location. RAID is no replacement for backup.

As for the ram requirement, do you see yourself actually using that much? I know I find 8 to be about right for gigantic photoshop projects+lightroom+str​eaming HD movies to the TV in the other room, but rams inexpensive and if you see yourself using it go for it.


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r31ncarnat3d
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Mar 04, 2011 03:42 |  #3

I'd disagree with the i7 2600k for Photoshop. PS scales pretty badly with anything more than four cores. The advantage of the i7 2600k vs i5 2500k is that the i7 can hyperthread into 8 threads with four cores. Seeing as how PS won't be using this, you're probably better off investing in just an i5 2500k and spending the rest elsewhere.


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tim
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Mar 04, 2011 04:08 |  #4

Rather than RAID i'd get an SSD and use offsite backups. 12GB is heaps of RAM, 8GB is probably enough even.


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Sp1207
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Mar 04, 2011 05:18 |  #5

r31ncarnat3d wrote in post #11953368 (external link)
I'd disagree with the i7 2600k for Photoshop. PS scales pretty badly with anything more than four cores. The advantage of the i7 2600k vs i5 2500k is that the i7 can hyperthread into 8 threads with four cores. Seeing as how PS won't be using this, you're probably better off investing in just an i5 2500k and spending the rest elsewhere.

http://www.anandtech.c​om/bench/Product/287?v​s=288 (external link)

It certainly helps, not to mention lightroom scales beautifully past 6 cores and would benefit even more. Also, the question was between which i7 to get. Not to mention that test was with CS4, which is behind CS5 in scaling.


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r31ncarnat3d
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Mar 04, 2011 12:38 |  #6

Sp1207 wrote in post #11953546 (external link)
http://www.anandtech.c​om/bench/Product/287?v​s=288 (external link)

It certainly helps, not to mention lightroom scales beautifully past 6 cores and would benefit even more. Also, the question was between which i7 to get.

With a delta of one second, it could very easily be because the 2600k was clocked 100MHz higher than the 2500k. And I was just making sure the OP knew of the options out there.


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thegrandpoohbah
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Mar 04, 2011 15:48 as a reply to  @ r31ncarnat3d's post |  #7

Thanks for the input. Keep in mind my computer knowledge is fairly basic. Just to summarize so far:

- A sound card is not necessary. Will I get decent surround sound while watching movies if just using the MB for sound?

- One optical drive is fine with me, just need to make sure it has both BR and DVD+/-R.

- I don't do much gaming. If I do it will likely be some form of RPG. Mainly I want to have 1 or 2 monitors hooked up as well as a 1080P LCD TV. I need to be able to have a HD movie playing on the TV (for the GF) while I use the monitor(s) for PS CS5.

- Totally forgot about a SSD. How big do I need? 60GB? 120GB? Besides the OS, can I run PS from it?

- I already have an external drive for back ups, as well as online. I just wanted a RAID1 set-up for more redundancy. Is this not worth it in your opinion?

- 12GB of RAM may be overkill, but as mentioned, it's not that expensive.

- What is the difference between i7-2600 and i7-2600K?


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thegrandpoohbah
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Mar 04, 2011 15:52 |  #8

Oh, one other thought. My current computer is a HP Pavilion Slimline S3400f. My biggest complaint is that it tends to overheat when doing too much post in PS. Would switching it out into a new case with some better fans help? I have found that the MB is a mini-ITX so I can find a case that will accomodate it. Problem is I can not find any details on whether or not the PSU will fit in a new case. Any thoughts? Is this even worth considering?


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anothernewb
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Mar 04, 2011 16:00 |  #9

if you really want some serious number (graphics) crunching ability - move to a xeon processor. I recently built an HP z800 with dual xeon 5670 processors, 18 gigs of ram, 10,000 PRM drives and dual Quadro 2000 video cards. the thing absolutely blows my old quad core away.

I spent a tad over your $2k limit, but scale back to 1 processor, a single, non-pro video card, and memory - you should still end up close to $2k. one thing I would highly recommend sticking with though is the velociraptor drives. transfer speed with them is just plain sweet. For my work I routinely work with image files that are 2-5 GB in size, the drive speed has really shortened the save time.


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r31ncarnat3d
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Mar 04, 2011 16:31 |  #10

anothernewb wrote in post #11956832 (external link)
if you really want some serious number (graphics) crunching ability - move to a xeon processor. I recently built an HP z800 with dual xeon 5670 processors, 18 gigs of ram, 10,000 PRM drives and dual Quadro 2000 video cards. the thing absolutely blows my old quad core away.

I spent a tad over your $2k limit, but scale back to 1 processor, a single, non-pro video card, and memory - you should still end up close to $2k. one thing I would highly recommend sticking with though is the velociraptor drives. transfer speed with them is just plain sweet. For my work I routinely work with image files that are 2-5 GB in size, the drive speed has really shortened the save time.

I'd definitely disagree. SSDs are a more viable option. Faster and more reliable.


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BeritOlam
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Mar 04, 2011 16:53 |  #11

thegrandpoohbah wrote in post #11956746 (external link)
- A sound card is not necessary. Will I get decent surround sound while watching movies if just using the MB for sound?

I think so. Generally, in my experience, the only people buying dedicated sound cards are guys who either (a) work in sound editing for their profession OR (b) are such extreme "audiophiles" that they won't hesitate to spend $7k+ on professional surround-sound speakers.

One optical drive is fine with me, just need to make sure it has both BR and DVD+/-R.

Shouldn't be a problem. Just make sure you check that option before purchasing. I think most of the Dell XPS systems I've seen lately give you that option.

I don't do much gaming. If I do it will likely be some form of RPG. Mainly I want to have 1 or 2 monitors hooked up as well as a 1080P LCD TV. I need to be able to have a HD movie playing on the TV (for the GF) while I use the monitor(s) for PS CS5.

Shouldn't be a problem with the modern graphics cards coming out bundled with Dell's XPS line.

Totally forgot about a SSD. How big do I need? 60GB? 120GB? Besides the OS, can I run PS from it?

Really depends how much stuff you plan on running. If it's just CS5, LR3, antivirus, plus a couple other misc programs....60gb would suffice. But with the prices coming down on 90-120gb, that would certainly give you a better storage ceiling. Given your budget, I would probably say get something in the 120gb range.

The problem is that I don't think you can buy a Dell XPS configured with the OS pre-loaded on the SSD, or at least I can't ever remember seeing those options in the XPS 7k-series and XPS 8k-series. That's the main advantage of building your own computer -- you can control the pieces of your build a lot better.

I already have an external drive for back ups, as well as online. I just wanted a RAID1 set-up for more redundancy. Is this not worth it in your opinion?

You're going to get different opinions here. But I think the main thing the guys are right to warn about is not to see this as a sufficient *back-up* of your system, which is what a lot of people are accustomed to thinking of Raid1 as doing. Locally, it's a decent way for some extra redundancy, but there are other ways to achieve redundancy other than Raid1.

12GB of RAM may be overkill, but as mentioned, it's not that expensive.

I upgraded to 12gb....and no regrets.

]What is the difference between i7-2600 and i7-2600K?

On something like a pre-configured Dell XPS machine....not much (if anything). It's primarily nomenclature that only people overclocking their computer are going to worry about. IOW, this is really only an issue for people piecing together their own build.

~Matt


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BeritOlam
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Mar 04, 2011 17:04 |  #12

thegrandpoohbah wrote in post #11956778 (external link)
Oh, one other thought. My current computer is a HP Pavilion Slimline S3400f. My biggest complaint is that it tends to overheat when doing too much post in PS. Would switching it out into a new case with some better fans help? I have found that the MB is a mini-ITX so I can find a case that will accomodate it. Problem is I can not find any details on whether or not the PSU will fit in a new case. Any thoughts? Is this even worth considering?

Tough call with 2 1/2 year old computer specs!

First thing I would do is open the thing up and make sure there's not dust bunnies clogging up your air flow. Happens more than people realize. I opened up a mini-case about 6 months ago belonging to a neighbor, and the heat-sink fan was just nasty!!! No wonder his system was overheating -- cleaned that thing out and his temps improved right away!

But if that doesn't solved the overheating problem, then a new case upgrade could help. And yes, if you did that, you would likely need a new power supply unit. The question is whether it's worth it. I'm not so sure it is, from the sound of it!


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thegrandpoohbah
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Mar 05, 2011 11:59 |  #13

Thanks for the input. I just opened it up and cleaned it out but no difference. I probably won't bother with a new case. I'll just put that money towards a new system.

Was pricing things out at Memory Express and I can build a pretty decent system for about $2000. They charge $70 to assemble the hardware and install the OS so I might just go that route. Any other good Canadian sites I should be looking at? I've also had a look at NCIX.


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thegrandpoohbah
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Mar 06, 2011 15:19 as a reply to  @ thegrandpoohbah's post |  #14

So I priced out a build at Memory Express:

1 x Antec - Twelve Hundred Ultimate Gamer Case $179.99
1 x Intel - Core™ i7-960 Processor 3.20GHz w/ 8MB Cache $299.99
1 x Corsair - Hydro Series H70 High-Performance CPU Cooler $99.99
1 x Asus - Rampage III Formula w/ Triple DDR3 1333, 7.1 Audio, Gigabit Lan, 1394, PCI-E, 3-way CrossFireX / SLI $319.99
1 x Corsair - Vengeance 12GB DDR3 1600MHz CL9 Triple Channel Kit (3 x 4GB) $159.99
1 x OCZ - Vertex 2 SATA II 2.5in Solid State Drive, 120GB $229.99
2 x Western Digital - 1TB Caviar Black 7200rpm SATA III w/ 64MB Cache $82.99
1 x LG - BH10 Super Multi Blue 10x Internal Blu-ray Disc Writer w/ Lightscribe, SATA, Black $99.99
1 x Asus - EAH6950 Radeon HD 6950 2GB GDDR5 PCI-E w/ Dual DVI, HDMI, Dual DisplayPort $299.99
1 x Corsair - Gaming Series GS 800W Power Supply $109.99
1 x Assemble - Assemble Hardware + Load my O/S $70.00
1 x Microsoft - Windows 7 Home Premium x64 (64-bit) DVD - OEM $99.99

Sub-total: $2,135.88

They have the i7-2600K listed at $329.99 but no corresponding mobos, so I did a build using the i7-960 which was roughly the same price. I have some time before I proceed with this purchase so I'll wait for the P67 mobos and go with the i7-2600K. Aside from that, how does this build look? Overkill? I figure if I'm going to spend this much money I may as well do it right the first time. I may downgrade the video card to save a few bucks. What other changes would you make and why?


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solara
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Mar 06, 2011 18:14 |  #15

I'm not sure you need that aggressive a cooling unit unless you plan to overclock the 2600k to the extreme. And you'll need to get dual-channel RAM for the 2600k, not triple.
Since you're not planning to game much, I'd rather get a cheaper graphics card and use that money towards a Vertex3. The Vertex3 should work very well on the new motherboards with SataIII.


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