hairy_moth wrote in post #16515948Personally, I would never build a PC again.
You obviously know what you need (and what you want).
I suggest looking for a higher end, off the shelf computer from one of the respected manufacturers (e.g., HP). All you really need is: fast processor (it never pays to get the fastest), lots of memory. Start with 8GB (maybe 16) but make sure you can expand to at least 16, 32 is better. I don't think any software out now needs more than 8GB or would even benefit by having it. Any of the higher end graphics cards will suffice and you need a large disk (2TB minimum based on your work), though I like 2: one for the system and backups and the other as the primary data disk.I would pass on the solid state disk; fast boot-ups are nice, but really, how often do you boot.
My system is configured to sleep after 2 hours -- start-ups from sleep are faster than booting from solid state. Cooling systems (other than a fan) are not needed unless you go with an extremely high end chip which also is not needed. Windows7 64 bit is the way to go right now.Every homemade computer I have used just wasn't worth the trouble.
You may pay a little more off the shelf for a high end PC, but you will save yourself headaches now and in the future.
I've had less problems with all the machines i've built, versus store-bought ones (except when i've overclocked them wayyyyy too hard, and hosed the OS ). Why settle for all the bloatware they give you, not to mention crappy PSU's? On top of that, recover disks are a joke.. i want all the apps and OS as full originals.
ie. Motherboard goes on your (insert big name) PC just after it's warranty ends. You're pooched with your system disk, but with a Genuine copy of windows, you'll have no issues.. other than re-registering it. With a system disk, you'd have to buy a Windows CD (another $100), plus any other apps, if you liked any, you lost.
As for RAM, even if no programs use more than 8GB or RAM "now", that will surely, guaranteed...100% change in the near future. Remember when 2/8/16/32/64, etc. MB of RAM was considered enough? Then it was 512MB/1GB and 2GB.. but XP ran out of headroom, with any higher than that (~3.25GB being the most it could use). So... they created an OS that could and would make use of higher amounts of RAM.. and it does.
Best to go with bigger DIMMs (8GB sticks if you can afford them) as well, so you can upgrade your RAM in the future, without having to buy bigger sticks. The only time i don't like the bigger DIMMs, is for heavy-duty overclocking, as they tend to not overclock as well, and place higher demands on the memory controller.
My machine is over 4 years old now (Specs in my gear list), and few generations of CPU, and i will want to upgrade within a few years. The reason i want an upgrade.. i have 8GB of RAM, and can't go any further (4x2GB)..i don't want to invest in 4GB DDR2 DIMMs..too hard to find now, and too expensive...and my mobo would likely choke with that density of RAM sticks.
CPU is fine..GPU is fine for what i want, but a newer model could probably help with photo-editing, i'm sure. Also.. #1 for me now.. an SSD!! They're about more than booting up faster. They speed up application-loading, sorting through big pictures (and as with RAM, our RAW files will be getting bigger in the not-so-distant-future), etc. etc.