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02-04-2013, 03:41 AM   #1
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PC build for PP?

I'll be building a new rig for editing and stuff later this year, but I'm still unsure what specs it should have... hope to have a little help here.

Which components of a PC are more important to photo processing? What parts would you recommend?

I would like to build an optimum rig for that, a little video editing too, and StarCraft 2 on the side (to be played at max settings - it's the only game I have, aside from Windows games, lol)

02-04-2013, 04:36 AM   #2
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What type of file and software are you planning on working with?
Rule of thumb(as with most things) is the faster the better.
02-04-2013, 05:24 AM   #3
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Processor, Memory Amount, Disk Transfer, Graphics Card in that order generally.
For Adobe software stick to Intel processors, something like a i5-3570K is a nice upper mid range cpu - You can investigate the AMD FX alternative but I'll think you find that most of the processing software is not multithreaded enough to actually allow it to flex its muscles. I normally use Asus motherboards, but check the offerings from Asrock, MSI and Gigabyte.
Memory: at prices these days 16GB - Have a look at Corsair DDR3-1600 Vengeance - Corsair stuff just works.
Storage:.Samsung 840 Pro series for an SSD drive, 1 for 500+MBs throughput, 2 in RAID 0 for near double that, this is your working volume, Suggest adding 2 Hdds (Western Digital, Samsung, Seagate) in RAID 1 at 2TB each for backup and longer term storage.
Graphics: The Intel chip I mentioned above has graphics build in but I don't know the state of their drivers. I generally use AMD Gpus and find their colour rendition pretty good. Waiting for the AMD 8*** series to come out in Q2 for my next upgrade. 87** for Low thier, 88** for mid to upper, 89xx for high end. NVidia also have their range, 650s being low, 660s being mid and 670s being normal high. They also have the 680s and 690s for lunatics looking for the final frame per second in whatever game they are currently addicted to.
Don't forget a qood quality PSU, Seasonic, Corsair or be quiet! spring to mind. 550W to 650W being the max you need.
02-04-2013, 06:20 AM   #4
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what was said above is all true, but what wasn't said is the most important.

What wasn't said above, is the importance of monitors. I would HIGHLY recommend dual monitors, and recommend that at least one of them be a very high end monitor. I hate apple with a passion, but their Thunderbolt monitors are truly superb. Dell Ultrasharps are also at the top of the pile and are used extensively in the AV industry. Be prepared to spend AT LEAST a grand on your primary monitor, I'd also recommend it be at least 24 inches, preferably 30. One monitor feature that I really like from the Dell Ultrasharps is the ability to easily rotate them into portrait mode. If you do a lot of shooting in portrait this is an incredibly handy feature since you can spin it 90*, hit a hotkey and the image rotates with it. There are a bunch of monitor mounts that allow this, but it is a feature worth shopping for

The second one doesn't usually matter nearly as much since it is used to keep your email or website pages up, file directories etc. I would also invest in a Spyder to make sure the colors on the screen are accurate.

As far as computers go, the biggest thing your going to want is to maximize your RAM. As said above, 16gb of ddr3 sounds like a lot when you are used to seeing 4gb, but my laptop right now is idling at 45% ram usage with 6gb of ddr2. You want as big of a buffer as possible to keep you from bogging down. Even with video editing, the graphics card is surprisingly low in the bottom of the pile, for gaming it is 2nd from the top, but for PP it is close to the bottom. Your processor speed should be the next thing to look at and the Intel processor mentioned above is spot on.

02-04-2013, 06:35 AM   #5
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Freshly built and fast.
MSI board with Z77 chipset
Core I5 Sandy Bridge, 2.9 bumped to 3.4
Geil Evo DDR3 1600 Memory, 16GB
WD Black 1 TB, System OS drive
Asus ENGT430 video card
Win 7, 64Bit

What I'm seeing over a similar box using Core2Duo....

Biggest increase is Video, Instead of 20 minutes to render, 10 minutes or less.

File transfer, the Z77 chipset has improved data transfer. Not only has sata 6 but has improved sata 3 transfer rates.
Has USB 3 but has also improved data transfer on USB 2.

Photo programs have picked up maybe 30% boost, The ones build for x64 are very fast, even when 'Layers' are used.

I don't game so I got the GT430 card, The grandson uses my box and has no problems with Guild Wars 2 or any of the
Steam games. You might jump up to the GT5xx or 6xx card.

When I first built it I tried the OS on a WD green Sata 6 and the WD Black Sata 3. I saw no difference in processing times.
I think the only way you'll pick up any improvement with drives is to go with SSD.

FWIW.....The windows ratings for everything, excluding HD, are in the high 6's and mid 7's. HD are topping out at 5.9 and
the only way to improve is with SSD.

Have fun and good luck.
02-04-2013, 06:42 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by JohnBee Quote
What type of file and software are you planning on working with? Rule of thumb(as with most things) is the faster the better.
Mostly DNGs and K-x/K-5 videos at most. I'm building this rig so I can go back to CaptureOne (C1 7 is 64-bit only), though LR4 I'm trying out now is getting easier to use by the day too... currently I'm using an old Core2Duo laptop running on 2GB of RAM (yes,it's laughable already these days )

Projected budget for the right is around $1,200, monitor included. Currently my work doesn't involve printing huge sizes, and the videos are at most simple, low-budget weddings/corporate parties. The game is just for breathing something else

QuoteOriginally posted by robbiec Quote
Storage:.Samsung 840 Pro series for an SSD drive, 1 for 500+MBs throughput, 2 in RAID 0 for near double that, this is your working volume, Suggest adding 2 Hdds (Western Digital, Samsung, Seagate) in RAID 1 at 2TB each for backup and longer term storage.
Ah, RAID. Never got to understand this one. What's its best advantage, in layman's terms? I've been hearing it quite a lot from IT friends, saying it makes stuff e.g. HDD reading faster... but they have a hard time explaining it too.

QuoteOriginally posted by robbiec Quote
I generally use AMD Gpus and find their colour rendition pretty good.
As for this, how do you compare them to nVidia colors? I've also heard from a friend of mine who works on IT that AMD gfx cards have better color, but I can't figure out how.

QuoteOriginally posted by Saxplayer1004 Quote
Dell Ultrasharps are also at the top of the pile and are used extensively in the AV industry. Be prepared to spend AT LEAST a grand on your primary monitor, I'd also recommend it be at least 24 inches, preferably 30.
As much as I'd love to, looks like I'd have to skip the best monitor for now... perhaps upgrade to that later, but I'll keep your suggestion in mind.
02-04-2013, 06:54 AM   #7
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Motherboard is going to be the hard part, i would go for gigabyte or asus for all the branded things.
processor = intel i5 the top model or the lowest i7
ram = 2x8 or 2x16GB 1800mhz with 9 timing, or around these numbers
Disk = get an SSD!!! 256gb or more, this your biggest speed boost
graphics = top mid range nividia should do the trick without blowing the budget too much (nivida for CUDA, i normally use AMD)
02-04-2013, 07:01 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alizarine Quote
Ah, RAID. Never got to understand this one. What's its best advantage, in layman's terms? I've been hearing it quite a lot from IT friends, saying it makes stuff e.g. HDD reading faster... but they have a hard time explaining it too.
There are different types.

with 2 disks you can get either speed boost, because they are both working together or as backup.
Speed boost work by spacing out the information over two disks so 50% of the information is on disk one and 50% is on disk 2, if 1 disks fails all your infomation is not readable anymore
Backup the info is for 100% on both disk, you have the storage of 1 disk this way.

With 3 disks you can do combo of this, so backing up and speedboost, this way 1 disk can fail not 2.
Also the storage is total minus 1 disk

you can do slightly different combos as well but the idea is roughly the same.

You can also add more disks

02-04-2013, 07:23 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Anvh Quote
Speed boost work by spacing out the information over two disks so 50% of the information is on disk one and 50% is on disk 2, if 1 disks fails all your infomation is not readable anymore
That doesn't sound so good... how much is the probable "speed advantage" over the traditional 1-disk system? Also, that's 2 votes for AMD Gfx cards. What models are best fit? (I don't plan on getting something like the 7980 though... overkill for my purposes, and I don't want to go back to hardcore gaming anymore)
02-04-2013, 08:20 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alizarine Quote
That doesn't sound so good... how much is the probable "speed advantage" over the traditional 1-disk system? Also, that's 2 votes for AMD Gfx cards. What models are best fit? (I don't plan on getting something like the 7980 though... overkill for my purposes, and I don't want to go back to hardcore gaming anymore)
RAID 0 will effectively double throughput. Taking the Samsung 840 Pro SSD as an example, it has a max read speed of 550MBs, hook up 2 of those in RAID 0 and you will see read speeds in the range of 1000MBs.
What happens in RAID0 is that when data is written it is spread across 2 disks, its called 'striping'. when you read it back, both drives combine their read speeds essentially. Same happens when the data is written but it is slightly slower, 350MBs and 675-700MBs in RAID0. Upshot is fantastic speed and full use of the drives size. Downside is that if you lose a disk, you've lost all data.
RAID 1 then is a safer alternative, when the data is mirrored across both drives. Slower at writing because it is writing simultaneously to both drives but again faster read speeds than a single drive. Upsides: Data is safer, faster in reading data, same speed as a single drive writing. Downsides: Only half the drive space of 2 drives is available, so 2 x 128GB in RAID 0 = 250GB, in RAID 1 = 128GB

A normal disk will give you reads / writes in the region of 150MBs

My setup at home is the following - RAID Card - LSI 9240-8i (Ebay tip - Look for IBM M1015 :-))
4 x 60GB SSDs - OCZ Vertex 3s in RAID 0 for a useable 220GB volume
I also have 4 1TB Samsung F3 std HDDs in RAID 10 to give me a Mirrored 1.86TB volume
Because i'm ultra paranoid, I backup the SSDs to the HDDs every night and once a week I backup the HDDs to an external drive.

On the colours thing, AMD vs Nvidia, I always feel a Nvidia card seems more saturated wheras the AMD more muted but more natural. Its purely subjective and my own opinion, I think Nvidia goes for pure framerates at times wheras AMD will be a bit slower but more correct.

Upper Mid range AMD = 7870 or you might find a deal on a 7950. These will be replaced in Q2 by the 8*** series so you might catch a good deal on a nearly new 7970 :-P

With the Dell Ultrasharps, 24U or 27U have a wide colour gamut, 24UM or 27UM are more mainstream but still a big step above the usual glossy crap that most people are pawned off with. The other option is try is the Korean branded Ebay specials using the same IPS panels as the Dell's and Asus's of the world.
02-04-2013, 08:43 AM   #11
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A very few brief answers and suggestions...

Consider either a quad core I5 or even better an I7.

Go with a W7 64bit O/S. This is also the best choice if one would ever want to go dual boot - perhaps more.

Also strongly weigh either a sealed liquid cooling system or perhaps even an unsealed one; in addition to getting as many larger fans as possible.

RAM is relatively inexpensive; I'd go for a minimm of 8gb. The more the merrier.

Without liquid cooling it is possible to get a Windows rating just .2 shy of the top mark for about 1k. Depending upon cases, power supplies and the like, and hard disk options it's quite easy to drop 10k.
02-04-2013, 08:57 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alizarine Quote
That doesn't sound so good... how much is the probable "speed advantage" over the traditional 1-disk system? Also, that's 2 votes for AMD Gfx cards. What models are best fit? (I don't plan on getting something like the 7980 though... overkill for my purposes, and I don't want to go back to hardcore gaming anymore)
hmm 50% or something?
If you've 3 disks you can do a combination, that's intersting but for 2 disks the only raid that is intersting is for backup.

For your main disk so for your OS and programs get an SSD, that is 100 times faster, i'm not kidding.


For graphics card in all honesty nvidia is better because of the CUDA, some programs don't fully support the open GPGPU standard yet so you get more "acceleration" compatibility with the nvidia cards at the moment.
7980 is indeed overkill.
02-04-2013, 09:04 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Medium FormatPro Quote
Also strongly weigh either a sealed liquid cooling system or perhaps even an unsealed one; in addition to getting as many larger fans as possible.
liquid is only beneficial if your system is running on full power for a long time, or else air cooling actually keeps your system cooler.
02-04-2013, 09:45 AM   #14
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I just built a game rig similar to what you describe - the Samsung 840, Intel 3570, Gigabyte H77 based mobo, etc. It replaced an AMD PHenom X3 based rig which became my new office rig. It runs VERY cool in comparison even playing CPU dependent games like Supreme Commander. I debated liquid cooling, but went with air cooling and there is no heat problem at all. I'm using a Corsair Carbide 300 case, but if you want more than 4 HDDs, you'll want the 400. Look for PSU on bottom cases, they do help with heat.

The AMD Trinity series gets good marks for productivity, and are suitable for gaming. Tom's Hardware did a build series using them late last year. Generally speaking, they like the A8 and A10 for that mixed use but still prefer the 3570 for gaming.
02-04-2013, 12:34 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Anvh Quote
liquid is only beneficial if your system is running on full power for a long time, or else air cooling actually keeps your system cooler.
Sorry but have to respectively disagree with this one. My main PC is watercooled, dual pumps (DDC Ultras), dual rads (240 and 360 XSPC RX's) with EK blocks and no way is an aircooled system coming anywhere near the temps I see at least without having to use noise cancelling headphones just to possibly match my cooling, whereas my is a gentle whooshing of air no matter what stress its under. Admittedly i'm using the best fans in the world for this application (Noiseblocker PL2s, 11 of them in my Lian-Li A70B) but I have to stress that air will not come anywhere near a properly specified, setup and bled water cooled system.
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