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FORUMS General Gear Talk Computers 
Thread started 22 Jan 2013 (Tuesday) 17:09
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PC specs and general computer talk!

 
LibraMoon
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Location: Essex, UK
     
Jan 22, 2013 17:09 |  #1

Hello all!

First time poster, long time lurker here :D

I am in the UK and have a budget of around £1500 (including monitor) to buy a computer solely for my photography. Am going the custom built desktop PC route. Spending less money would be nice but not a necessity. Am looking for a computer than runs beautifully for as many years as possible.

After speaking with a few computer-minded friends, I have ended up with some potential specs but would love the input of some fellow photographers. Afterall, this computer is not going to be used for gaming so am wondering whether I have overkill here in certain areas.

I have a Canon 60D, shoot soley in RAW and will be using this computer mostly for editing RAW files, with the seldom bit of dabbling with video editing. Other uses will be for digital art bits using a graphics tablet. Software used will be Photoshop CS6 and Lightroom 3. As far as leisure goes, no gaming at all, just a bit of music while I work and the odd DVD.

So, the specs, pasted from the website that I'm probably going to use:

Intel i7 3770k Quad Core
1155 ASUS P8Z77-V LX
32GB DDR3 Kingston 1333 (4 x 8Gb),
Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro Rev 2 CPU Cooler
3000Gb SATA Hard Drive SATA 3,
240Gb SSD SATA Solid state hard drive
ATI HD 7950 (3072MB PCI Express DDR DVI)

Any thoughts guys? I'm not sure whether the graphics card is more than I require? And after reading about drive configuration, am really flummoxed as to what to do here. I understand that it would be good to use at least one solid state drive, but have seen people recommend that up to four separate drives be used. The website that I have been looking at thus far offers a maximum of two (I will be getting an external hard drive, so wonder whether I even need the 3tb... maybe less?).

While I am at it, the monitor that I have been reading a lot about is the Asus PA238Q, but will be scouring these forums for reviews and other options.

Any opinions appreciated.

This computer stuff gives me brain ache! :)




  
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Disposibleteen
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Jan 22, 2013 19:04 |  #2

This computer may be overkill but will certainly last you many years to come. As far as the processor goes you really only need the "K" edition if you intend to overclock the chip. My only other thought might be in looking for a RAM kit that is a bit faster, DDr3 1600 for example. Faster clocked RAM is one of the few things you can do these days to really be able to see a difference in performance.




  
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Tony-S
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Jan 22, 2013 20:01 |  #3

For a 60D and "dabbling" in video, that build is way over the top. Just get yourself an Ivy Bridge i7 with HD4000 on-board gpu and mobo, drop the RAM to 16 gb @ 1600 and lose the graphics card. Spend more on the display and be certain you have a system backup strategy in place.


"Raw" is not an acronym, abbreviation, nor a proper noun; thus, it should not be in capital letters.

  
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LibraMoon
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Jan 22, 2013 20:23 as a reply to  @ Tony-S's post |  #4

Thanks for your replies.

I did think that it was a little on the too much side.

My only worry with the video is that I see it as something I will want to do more of in the future, where as for now it would be here and there, for fun.




  
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Tony-S
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Jan 22, 2013 20:44 |  #5

You can always add a video card at a later date. But the HD4000 is a remarkable gpu.


"Raw" is not an acronym, abbreviation, nor a proper noun; thus, it should not be in capital letters.

  
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mcoomer
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Location: Sammamish, WA
     
Jan 22, 2013 21:37 |  #6

I built my new computer in September and went a bit overboard as well but I certainly can't complain about performance. I used a 3770K and have it running at 4.3GHz under a Cooler Master cooler (TPC-816 model I believe). I've had it as high as 4.7GHz but didn't like the core temps so I backed off a bit. Motherboard is Asrock Z77 Extreme 4 with 16G of DDR3-1600. I have two 256GB Vertex 4 SSD. One is the Windows drive and apps, the second is a dedicated Lightroom drive that holds the catalog folder and has a 50GB raw cache. Storage is a 2.5TB WD Green SATA and a 2.5GB Seagate GoFlex external drive that I can take with me when I use my laptop. If I were only running Lightroom and productivity apps I'd use the CPU graphics but I like my flight simulations so I bought an HD 7950. Right after I bought the card, there was a big price drop in 7970's so I sold the 7950 and bought one of those. If I'd skipped the card I'd probably have about $1200 US in components, including the case ($300). The video card was $435 though so you do the math. How important is the card to you right now?

I'd do as others noted and bump the ram to DDR3-1600. I'd probably only get 16GB as well. You do that and throw a mild to moderate overclock on that chip and you'll have a screaming machine. From power switch to desktop is just about 20 seconds, even with a password to enter. Office apps (Word, Excel, Outlook) open in 1 second. Lightroom spends about 5 seconds at the splash screen but switching from file to file and applying changes in the develop module are nearly instantaneous. It really is a joy to use. If I may plug a site, the forums at overclockers.com provided me with a lot of help choosing my components. I told them what I wanted to do with the computer and a couple of guys put together a detailed list of recommendations. There's also a ton of info on there about overclocking your chip if you wish. Really good site. Hope this stuff helps.

Recommendation thread at overclockers.com (external link)

My build thread at overclockers.com (external link)

Mike


Gripped 5D2, 24-70 f/2.8L, 70-200 f/2.8L II, 580EXII

  
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LibraMoon
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Jan 23, 2013 12:50 |  #7

Thanks guys!

Mike, thanks for sharing. Will go and have a look at overclockers.com now.

Definitely going to go away and do some more reading and reconsider these specs a little.




  
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tim
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Jan 25, 2013 02:12 |  #8

Personally I feel overclocking isn't worthwhile. 5% more speed at peak, maybe, for a bunch of effort.

Agree go with the in built GPU for now, 16GB RAM unless you'll be doing a lot of video. Just make sure it's 2x8GB so you can easily add more later.

Also I prefer 64GB for OS SSD and another for caches. Just makes it easier to do image backups without getting a lot of rubbish.


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Hen3Ry
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Jan 26, 2013 10:56 |  #9

tim wrote in post #15531239 (external link)
Personally I feel overclocking isn't worthwhile. 5% more speed at peak, maybe, for a bunch of effort.

Well, if that's the way it worked, I'd agree. But going from 3.3GHz to 4.0 GHz with four or five keystrokes seems to be a bit more than 5 per cent, and not a lot of effort.


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tim
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Jan 26, 2013 15:31 |  #10

Good point. Remember though with real world workloads the CPU is already the fastest part of the system by far, even RAM is quite slow, and disk is really really slow. So increasing your CPU speed by 20% may get you a 20% gain in benchmarks, but will get significantly less in the real world.

No real harm though, if it's that easy. The lifespan could be a bit shorter, but anyone overclocking will probably replace it sooner than average anyway.


Professional wedding photographer, solution architect and general technical guy with multiple Amazon Web Services certifications.
Read all my FAQs (wedding, printing, lighting, books, etc)

  
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Disposibleteen
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Jan 26, 2013 15:32 |  #11

Hen3Ry wrote in post #15536086 (external link)
Well, if that's the way it worked, I'd agree. But going from 3.3GHz to 4.0 GHz with four or five keystrokes seems to be a bit more than 5 per cent, and not a lot of effort.

Couldn't agree more, I have been overclocking since the Pentium 4 days and my philosophy has always been that if the opportunity for free performance is there why not take advantage of it.




  
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Hen3Ry
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Jan 26, 2013 17:04 |  #12

tim wrote in post #15536924 (external link)
Good point. Remember though with real world workloads the CPU is already the fastest part of the system by far, even RAM is quite slow, and disk is really really slow. So increasing your CPU speed by 20% may get you a 20% gain in benchmarks, but will get significantly less in the real world.

No real harm though, if it's that easy. The lifespan could be a bit shorter, but anyone overclocking will probably replace it sooner than average anyway.

THe oldest saying I know about computers is that no matter how fast any individual component is, they all wait at the same speed: zero. :)

But taking advantage of technology can seriously alter that - the migration is on to SSDs now. Ending reliance on devices with (shudder) moving parts will sooner or later be the norm, but currently the pieces are out of reach because of price...for example, HP makes an enterprise level SSD - utterly reliable with an extremely high MTTF - but it costs over six grand. In another ten years, we'll likely have terrabyte SSDs and (virtually) endless RAM that you and I can afford.


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tim
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Jan 26, 2013 17:31 |  #13

Good point s:) RAM's already super cheap, 16GB is more than I need and it cost around $100. SSDs aren't too bad in price, though not for bulk data just performance sensitive data.


Professional wedding photographer, solution architect and general technical guy with multiple Amazon Web Services certifications.
Read all my FAQs (wedding, printing, lighting, books, etc)

  
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Hen3Ry
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Jan 26, 2013 22:37 |  #14

tim wrote in post #15537269 (external link)
Good point s:) RAM's already super cheap, 16GB is more than I need and it cost around $100. SSDs aren't too bad in price, though not for bulk data just performance sensitive data.

Exactly. This is why I've now switched to a tri-boot system with OS X (Photoshop), Windows 7 32 bit (archaic but once-expensive digital audio system), and Windows 7 64 bit (other stuff, including imaging software not available on OS X) each OS on its own SSD, each with enough scratch file/temp space on a fourth partitioned SSD to satisfy the need for OS and app (CS5, et) support for any of the three operating systems that happens to be running. Current data disks are intermediate sized (10kRPM 500-750 GB drives; the largest is 600GB at this point), and are high reliability enterprise drives. Everything is backed up (and accessible) over a gigabyte network, but basically there's nothing on the system drive but the system, apps, scratch #1, and system files and libraries. Nothing really to lose, and easy to restore, if necessary.


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tim
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Jan 26, 2013 23:58 |  #15

Make sure you have offsite backups, of course. You could use virtualisation, and 3 SSDs is almost excessive!


Professional wedding photographer, solution architect and general technical guy with multiple Amazon Web Services certifications.
Read all my FAQs (wedding, printing, lighting, books, etc)

  
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