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Thread started 01 Jan 2013 (Tuesday) 22:41
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MODEST PS/LR BUILD – advice appreciated

 
Meanderthal
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Jan 01, 2013 22:41 |  #1

Main uses are PS/LR. Still images - occasional small wedding. Minimal video, no gaming, no overclocking. Using 5DII and 50D. When latter dies, will get 5DIII ;).

After studying What's Your Computer Build? https://photography-on-the.net …read.php?t=5768​28&page=99 and other POTN, this seems enough for me:

CPU: i5 3570 (3570K doesn’t seem necessary; i7-3770 offers but a bit more speed and hyper-threading).
MBO: Asus P8z77 V), or equivalent Gigabyte.
RAM: Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600, 4x4GB
HDD1, System and applications, work files: 1TB WD Black (not interested in SSD for this at this time).
HDD 2: Long-term storage: 2TB WD Green
SSD: PS scratch disk: Crucial M4 64GB or OCZ Vertex 3 60GB
GPU not needed at this time. If get heavily into video, will add one and, if needed, Cooler Master Hyper 212+
PSU: Antec TruePower 550w or equivalent.
Case: Antec P183 V3 or Corsair Obsidian 550 (both quiet).
Win7 Home Premium 64-bit

Plan to keep until needs change (now upgrading from WinXP to accommodate LR), hopefully 4 years. While not wishing to throw away $$$ on what I don’t need, I won’t skimp on utility to save a few pennies. Comments? Thank you, and have a great 2013.


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LensCaps
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Jan 02, 2013 00:05 |  #2

Here are my thoughts-

CPU: that sounds fine, you probably could step down to a high end i3 if you where planing to keep it for ~2 years but in 4 years time 4 core will be subpar; let alone 2

MBO: I hear great things about asus and gigabyte, if someone asks me to spell out the build I think they should do, unless it is a $3000 gaming build, I recommend gigabyte. In this case a ga-z77x-u(d)3h would be comparable to the asus bord; which looks good as well.

RAM: 16gb in 2 sticks is a good idea. Both of those boards have 4 RAM slots so you can upgrade to 32gb without replacing any sticks.

HDD 1: if you aren't interested in forking out for a 256+gb SSD then a caviar black is a very good choice.

HDD 2: I would consider 2 of these in a RAID 1 for data security. People will tell you not to RAID caviar green's but I read about people doing it in a stable fashion for years and years all the time.

SSD: I don't know if you need this; I don't have much experience with photoshop.

GPU: if you wind up wanting one, I hear good things about the gtx-660/ti for a cost to performance ratio. If that isn't enough for what you want it for you could step up to the 670 or 680. If you don't want one for another 2 or 3 years then look into how well the ones at the time review.

PSU: I hear good things about and recommend corsair PSU's. I'd go for 650w; while its MASSIVE overkill for your system right now; once you add a few more HDD's, an optical drive or 2 and a graphics card or 2 you could be bumping against it. I'd also go modular but I'm a bit anal about the inside of cases being clean

Case: that's up to you, though I'd look for something with plenty of drive bays, good airflow and that's nice and quiet.


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Meanderthal
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Jan 02, 2013 03:40 as a reply to  @ LensCaps's post |  #3

Many thanks for the detailed and thoughtful analysis. I'll study your suggestions, starting with the Gigabyte board, and let you know what I come up with.


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Jan 02, 2013 08:23 |  #4

I have read that the ATI/AMD GPUs are better optimized to handle all Photoshop functions which will help in you video processing. Hyper threading in the i7 will be helpful in your video processing also. Neither is necessary to do what you wish though.


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Meanderthal
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Jan 02, 2013 10:41 as a reply to  @ 2n10's post |  #5

Thank you, 2n10, I'll keep your advice in mind when getting into video. JHowland, your insightful comments made me re-think future-proofing vs. my budget. I've downgraded my Win7 to Home Premium 64-bit and my RAM to 4x4MB. The original post has been adjusted to reflect this.


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Jan 02, 2013 14:07 |  #6

Thoughts are wonderful, but here is some knowledge and experience.


Lightroom is a very CPU intensive program, the more cores you can throw at it the better, and the faster those cores are, the better.
In all process an i7 will out perform an i5 and an i3 will not be enough unless your doing quite low volumes of work, or still using an 8-10MP camera with no plans to upgrade.

An i5 is often sufficient if your not a heavy Lightroom user. LR does not use the hyper threading for exports, preview renders and most adjustments.
It does however use it for the local adjustments. With hyper threading disabled local adjustments on 5D2 raw files become very slow and unusable at larger brush sizes, but are smooth and easy to use with it enabled.

If you have the space in your budget, get an i7 3770.
It will also help future proof your system against the ever increasing files sizes from new cameras and any advances in Lightroom.


An SSD is nice. I have 2 of them. They do not however make a dramatic difference to LR performance.
Everything loads faster, and anything using the catalog is more responsive, but you need to keep all your images on as well to really experience a big difference.
If you get one, put your catalog on it, and of course remember to back it up.
The SSD has made a dramatic difference to boot times and program load times.


8GB of ram is enough for 99% of LR tasks. 16GB is nice, again for future proofing and if your also going to do some heavy work in Photoshop or other intensive programs.


Graphics cards, as you've pointed out, have no impact on Lightroom performance, and the on board Intel HD4000 is more than enough for Photoshop.

Photoshop makes limited use of open GL, which any current GPU supports, it does not matter if the card is AMD/ATi or Nvidia or Intel.

If you get into Video then things change, different programs use different technologies to speed up render times. An AMD/ATi card will do nothing if your using Premier pro, it is only able to make use of Nvidia cards, and only supports a limited number of cards unless you modify a settings file.

Meanderthal, it looks like you've done your homework and your suggested list would be a great build.

The only thing I would add would be an aftermarket CPU cooler, does not need to be anything fancy, but Intel have really skimped on the cooler size for the i5s and i7s.
It is sufficient, rather than being best. With the stock cooler on my first i7 I was seeing some quite large temp increases when using LR, my $60 aftermarket cooler (a coolermaster something) holds a constant temp even when running at 100% for 3 hours while rendering video.


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Meanderthal
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Jan 02, 2013 19:19 |  #7

Cooler Master Hyper 212 plus is about $40.

"Placid me" doesn’t likely need the faster loading that I’d get from putting the OS and apps on an SSD. But Adobe recommends having both PS scratch and LR catalog etc. on an SSD. Before deciding on the size of the SSD, I’d best think on what I need to catalog, plus on the cataloguing process and the resulting demand on drive space. I have read that a 256GB SSD is sweet indeed, at $200.

Regarding the processor, per Intel website, a $90 cost difference ($25-$30 per year) gives: i5-3570 vs. i7-3770
# of Threads: 4 vs. 8
Cache: 6 MB vs. 8 MB
Embedded Options Available: No vs. Yes
Hyper-threading: No vs. Yes
Max TDP: 45 W vs. 77 W


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Jan 02, 2013 19:38 |  #8

Meanderthal wrote in post #15436858 (external link)
Cooler Master Hyper 212 plus is about $40.

"Placid me" doesn’t likely need the faster loading that I’d get from putting the OS and apps on an SSD. But Adobe recommends having both PS scratch and LR catalog etc. on an SSD. Before deciding on the size of the SSD, I’d best think on what I need to catalog, plus on the cataloguing process and the resulting demand on drive space. I have read that a 256GB SSD is sweet indeed, at $200.


Yeah, I don't really notice the difference in load times. My computer stays on for weeks at a time, and Windows prefetch is pretty good at loading frequently used programs into RAM.

You don't need a lot of space for the Photoshop scratch or LR cache, and the LR catalog doesn't really get much beyond a couple of GB in size, however the previews can easily be close to 15% of your total image size.
My 1.5TB of images produced 200GB of preview data.

Hence I bought two SSD's one for the OS and programs (which is nice, Office programs open instantly), and a second one for the scratch and cache.

Both are 256GB Samsung units which are sitting at a really nice price/size point at the moment.


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LensCaps
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Jan 02, 2013 21:56 |  #9

Meanderthal wrote in post #15434875 (external link)
Thank you, 2n10, I'll keep your advice in mind when getting into video. JHowland, your insightful comments made me re-think future-proofing vs. my budget. I've downgraded my Win7 to Home Premium 64-bit and my RAM to 4x4MB. The original post has been adjusted to reflect this.

What I was saying was that you had the right idea initially with 2x8gb sticks so you only had to add sticks, not replace them, to upgrade to 32gb. Sorry if my previous post didn't make sense to anyone else, but re-reading it is still sounds that way to me.


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Jan 02, 2013 21:58 as a reply to  @ Moppie's post |  #10

All good advice. But remember that if you get a motherboard that supports more than 16GB, that W7 Home Premium will not, and you'll need to upgrade to a more expensive version of Windows.

Also, while Photoshop (other than some limited things, like zooming) doesn't benefit a lot from a GPU, more recent software (e.g., plug in filters like Topaz, OnOne, etc, as well as newer features in LR and Photoshop) is being written as multithreaded - if it can be. Some code, by its very nature, will never be multithreaded.

I'd agree with Moppie - as long as you're building it, you might as well out an i7 in it. You'll probably want one sooner rather than later.


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LensCaps
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Jan 03, 2013 00:08 |  #11

Hen3Ry wrote in post #15437501 (external link)
All good advice. But remember that if you get a motherboard that supports more than 16GB, that W7 Home Premium will not, and you'll need to upgrade to a more expensive version of Windows.

Also, while Photoshop (other than some limited things, like zooming) doesn't benefit a lot from a GPU, more recent software (e.g., plug in filters like Topaz, OnOne, etc, as well as newer features in LR and Photoshop) is being written as multithreaded - if it can be. Some code, by its very nature, will never be multithreaded.

I'd agree with Moppie - as long as you're building it, you might as well out an i7 in it. You'll probably want one sooner rather than later.

I'm not really fimilar with windows, just hardware, so I didn't know that.

Now that I've seen the comparison between the 3570 and 3770, I will get behind the recommendation that he goes for the 3770.


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Meanderthal
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Jan 03, 2013 08:16 |  #12

Thank you all, i7-3770 it will be! I'm over my budget and still struggling with:

1. W7 Pro vs. Home Premium, whether 16GB RAM will be sufficient in my modest use for the next 4 years.

2. Would partitioning the WD Black HDD for PS scratch and the LR files be good enough, saving the cost of an SSD.

JHowland, sorry for editing my original post on you. Your advice on going with 2x8 RAM is good, applicable should I go with W7 Pro.


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Jan 03, 2013 11:13 |  #13

Meanderthal wrote in post #15438642 (external link)
Thank you all, i7-3770 it will be! I'm over my budget and still struggling with:

1. W7 Pro vs. Home Premium, whether 16GB RAM will be sufficient in my modest use for the next 4 years.

Probably yes, unless you drastically expand your workload.

Meanderthal wrote in post #15438642 (external link)
2. Would partitioning the WD Black HDD for PS scratch and the LR files be good enough, saving the cost of an SSD.

WD Blacks are very little different from WD Blues. So fas as I can see from the specs, the only real difference is that they are dual processor disk drives, which lets them calculate a seek and a set sector concurrently. This is an advantage over other drives, but not much of one. You'd probably do just as well with Blues. You would do better, if your goal of long term use is to be realized, to use an enterprise drive. They're faster and are designed to be more reliable.


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Jan 03, 2013 13:23 |  #14

Meanderthal wrote in post #15438642 (external link)
Thank you all, i7-3770 it will be! I'm over my budget and still struggling with:

1. W7 Pro vs. Home Premium, whether 16GB RAM will be sufficient in my modest use for the next 4 years.

2. Would partitioning the WD Black HDD for PS scratch and the LR files be good enough, saving the cost of an SSD.

JHowland, sorry for editing my original post on you. Your advice on going with 2x8 RAM is good, applicable should I go with W7 Pro.

Partitioning the HDD will yield no performance gain. The whole point of a scratch disk is to have photoshop/lightroom use a disk that isn't actively being used by the system.

I would suggest a ssd its a significant difference in computing experience. while the difference is not huge for incompressible files such as Photos and Video. things like the lightroom catalogue will benefit slightly.




  
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Jan 03, 2013 14:17 |  #15

Interesting, Hen3Ry, thank you. The best review I could find,
http://www.xbitlabs.co​m …d-roundup-4_12.html#sect0 (external link)

The RE4 WD1003FBYX is very good. It hardly has any rivals under high loads but you have to pay for this. We mean, literally. It is twice as expensive as both the old and new Barracuda LP disks, for example. It is going to be the perfect choice as a high-capacity RAID disk which is fast but not necessarily as fast as SAS disks. This is the application it was developed for, after all. But when it comes to home computers, the RE4 WD1003FBYX doesn’t look optimal. It may fall behind other HDDs at medium and low loads typical of home applications while costing much more than them. By the way, if storage capacity is not a critical factor (e.g. you use a different disk to store your data files on), you may want to prefer an SSD which is going to be even more expensive but also much faster. What we're driving at is that if you don't know exactly why you need the RE4 WD1003FBYX of all the models available, you may want to find a more optimal disk for your particular system.

We’d recommend the Caviar Black WD1002FAEX as a very fast HDD. It is occasionally faster even than the RE4 WD1003FBYX but costs considerably less. It is clearly better than the older Caviar Black WD1001FALS in most of the tests, so we don’t think the latter is worth buying.

Comparing the Caviar Blue WD10EALS and the Caviar Blue WD10EALX, we’d prefer the newer HDD, too. The WD10EALX is as fast as the previous-generation model but features an excellent price/capacity ratio. It is a well-balanced product offering a rather high performance at a more or less affordable price. Take it if you just need a good HDD.


The WD Black has 5yr warranty, the WD green has but 2yr. warranty. It looks like I'm still favoring the Black.


gotaudi, ah yes, of course re partitioning. The remaining question is the size of the SSD, if any. Around 120GB might fit my budget, but not without some pain. Or just get a very small SSD for PS scratch, keep LR files in the WD Black.


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