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06-06-2014, 10:31 AM   #1
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PC Build Help

I am looking to put together a PC build strictly for photo editing and internet browsing. Editing will be done primarily with Lightroom.

So far this is what I have put together. I am looking for your opinions about this combination. Will it be efficient for my needs? Any recommendations to lower the total price without sacrificing performance?

PCPartPicker part list: Intel Core i5-4570, Corsair 200R - System Build - PCPartPicker
Price breakdown by merchant: Intel Core i5-4570, Corsair 200R - System Build - Price Breakdown By Merchant - PCPartPicker
Benchmarks: Intel Core i5-4570, Corsair 200R - System Build - Benchmarks - PCPartPicker

CPU: Intel Core i5-4570 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($196.97 @ OutletPC)

CPU Cooler: Gelid Solutions CC-Siberian-01 51.9 CFM CPU Cooler ($9.98 @ OutletPC)

Motherboard: Asus B85-PLUS ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($78.94 @ Amazon)

Memory: Kingston Blu Red Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($136.99 @ Newegg)

Storage: Kingston SSDNow V300 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($64.99 @ Micro Center)

Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($49.99 @ Amazon)

Case: Corsair 200R ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Newegg)

Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($29.99 @ Newegg)

Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ OutletPC)

Wireless Network Adapter: Encore ENLWI-N3 802.11b/g/n PCI Wi-Fi Adapter ($10.99 @ Amazon)

Keyboard: Microsoft Keyboard 200 Wired Standard Keyboard ($7.99 @ NCIX US)

Speakers: Cyber Acoustics CA-2016WB 3W 2ch Speakers ($9.98 @ OutletPC)

Total: $736.78
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-06-06 13:21 EDT-0400)

06-06-2014, 12:30 PM   #2
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You will benefit from having a quad-core processor, but unless you want to run at least two virtual machines on this PC, 8GB of RAM is more than enough. The SSD won't make Lightroom or your web browser run any faster, it's primary value is making your computer boot up faster. Are you going to run two monitors? A discrete video card would be highly recommended.
06-07-2014, 05:19 AM   #3
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2nd. vote for a discrete video card.

DVD drive ?
06-09-2014, 03:36 PM   #4
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Assuming you have a good monitor, I'd put my money on RAM and a good video card. I don't know how intense Photoshop and/or Lightroom have gotten, but i5s are plenty for those applications. However, all those fancy specs won't count for nothing without a decent monitor.

Have you given a Surface Pro 3 a thought? It does have a stand with access to external ports, although it would be an added expense.

06-10-2014, 08:02 AM   #5
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120 gigs of ssd will fill very quickly. Most consumer ssds have relatively slow write speeds compared to read speeds. Look at intel ssds for drives with more equal read and write speeds.

A terabyte storage drive sounds big but make sure you won't fill it too fast. I average around 22K photos a year and in three years I've used a bit more than a terabyte for my photo archive.

Get an external drive for backups. An external usb3 drive can be had for $150-200 in the 3-4 TB size range.

If you aren't gaming and you aren't using an application that relies heavily on cuda then the on-CPU video card is fine. It will use some of your ram though.

Buy a hardware calibration device! A colormunki display is like 150 bucks. Without calibration it doesn't matter how cheap or expensive your monitor is, it's putting out garbage in the informational sense.

16 gigs of memory is fine. However, if you make panoramas *really* often you might consider more. My machine has 16 gigs and I regularly hit swap while stitching panoramas together.

Last edited by Homo_erectus; 06-10-2014 at 08:48 AM.
06-18-2014, 05:24 PM   #6
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Its not all about power and capacity.

Seagate dives are said to be noisy, other areas of noise are video card cooling fans, processor cooling fans, power supply cooling fans. Get the noise issue right and the machine will be a pleasure to use, get it wrong and it will be a pain in the backside.

There are noise suppression kits you can buy to quieten a noisy drive and whisper quiet power supplies and other parts if there turns out to be a problem, so all is not lost.

A whisper quiet pc is a thing of beauty, its worth thinking about this as well as the usual considerations.
06-18-2014, 11:20 PM   #7
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I've just had a computer built for me by Chillblast. I won't claim to have known properly what I was doing!

My C-drive is a 1 terrabyte SSD. In addition to normal C-drive use, I use it as the Photoshop scratch disc and also for ingesting raw images and initial processing in Lightroom (and perhaps Photoshop). These therefore run faster. But when I need to re-use the memory cards for another shoot, I first copy the shoots on the C-drive to my J-drive, which has 4 terrabytes of RAID-1 dual recording.

(I do this because I shoot lots of airshows and motor sports, etc, in burst mode, and one of my highest priorities is to use Lightroom to purge the vast majority of my raw files!)
06-19-2014, 12:43 AM   #8
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Okay, first of all, my last job was designing computers for a living and my storage system at home is a 12 disk RAID6 (self-designed) NAS system with 24 terabytes of storage via SAS so take this with a grain of salt but ...

FIrst of all, I'd suggest that if you're going to be processing RAW files, which are BIG, you need a lot of big slow disk space. I'd skip the SSD and go straight to a pair of 3 terabyte 3.5" hard drive. You can get'em for around $110 from NewEgg nowadays. They're not super-fast with Windows, but they're adequate.

Get a motherboard with the Intel Matrix RAID built into its BIOS. This is a "fake RAID" but works well enough with Windows. Get *two* of the 3tb drives and mirror them using the Intel "fake RAID". Believe me, when one of the 3 terabyte drives die, you'll be thankful. They only cost $110 apiece so we're not talking huge money.

Note that SSD's have a bad tendency to just die for no reason. With 12 disk RAID6 systems we usually run several years without a problem then drives start falling out of the RAID and have to be replaced, it becomes a constant drip drip drip of one drive failing and replaced, RAID rebuild, run a few more months, etc. at that point until the last of the old drives are gone and it's all new drives. But with SSD's, they seem to have a more linear failure mode. They have equal chance of dying at all points, not just as they close in on end of life. My laptop has a 512GB Crucial SSD in it. That SSD has already died once, and I was quite annoyed since I had to grab spare spinning rust out of my cabinet and put it in there and restore my backups until Crucial got my replacement to me. I guess what I'm saying is that if you're going to run SSD, have good backups. I do (self-written backup software that saves it to that big RAID NAS system which maintains rotating differential snapshots of what my laptop looked like on a by day, by week, by month basis). But most people don't, then their SSD dies, and they're SOL.

Processor-wise, speed is good. Your specified processor is more than enough. There are people who are saying you don't need 16 gigabytes of memory. Ignore them. If you have dozens of tabs open in your web browser it's easy to chew up 8 gigabytes of memory with your web browser alone, and memory is cheap. Specs wise, other than the hard drives, your system looks fine to me for your stated purpose.

As others have noted, get a decent monitor. My old eyes like my 26" Samsung, but I'm sure there's better monitors out there now than this several-year-old monitor. Bigger than 26" won't work well with 1080p, the pixels start getting too big, and 4K is still too expensive. A pair of 26's might work well if you have the desk space, but that's a heckuva lot of desk space.

Regarding noise, my big 12 disk RAID system has a half dozen internal fans and two power supply fans that all howl like banshees, and the server-room quality 24 port switch that hooks my home network together also has two small fans that howl like a banshee, and the 16 port POE switch that feeds the video surveillance cameras also has two small fans that howl like a banshee... well, you get used to it. It's still quieter than the server room at work. (And, uhm, if you wonder about all the equipment, a lot of it is work related).

In other words: Your build looks fine to me, other than that you probably want to go to a pair of bigger spinning rust rather than a small SSD and a modest spinning rust. Sure, it won't boot or be as responsive to clicking on programs as with a SSD, but it will be good enough, especially with the 16 gigabytes of memory (which Windows will use to "pre-fetch" commonly used programs).

06-19-2014, 02:12 PM   #9

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I don't think I agree with the others upthread who have suggested a discrete video card.

The Intel graphics processor that's built into the i5-4570 chip you have in mind is more than adequate for desktop applications, internet browsing, Lightroom, etc. It supports up to three separate simultaneous displays if the motherboard has the appropriate outputs, which the B85-PLUS board you have in mind doesn't. The B85-PLUS has only one digital output (DVI) plus one analog (VGA). It could possibly use them to drive two independent displays, but VGA is terrible and I sure wouldn't wish it on someone doing graphics work.

So instead of the video card, consider upgrading the motherboard to one that has more digital video outputs (something using the H87 chipset, for example -- although some of those have limited outputs too, so check). You may pay ~$25 more for the motherboard, but you'll end up saving possibly $100 or more by omitting a video card, depending on the model.

You will also save power. Video cards are tremendous power hogs.

And finally, you can add a new video card later if you want, to try OpenCL acceleration (using the graphics coprocessor power to speed up Photoshop -- Lightroom doesn't have this yet) or whatever else you might want.

I just upgraded my own system to an i7 chip, and I'm using the built-in graphics. It's fine. It's much better, in fact, than my old NVidia card. And my system idles at 38 watts now (measured via a kill-a-watt meter at the wall) instead of my old system's 117 watts.

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