Home Desktop Photo Editing Workstation Build - Please Advise

Discussion in 'Build Your Own PC' started by wrecks135, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. wrecks135

    wrecks135

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    Hey folks, I'm preparing to get started on my first DIY computer build. I want a desktop computer for general family usage and photo editing with Photoshop and Lightroom. Gaming is not really the goal. I'm replacing an 8 year old computer so I will keep this a long time and I want it to be advanced and "future proof" enough to last awhile.

    I'd also like to keep the budget as low as reasonably possible and the components I've selected are coming in right at around $700 - which is a good target for me. I already have the general extras like monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

    Any advice or suggestions on how to improve upon this build would be greatly appreciated:

    Processor: Core i5 2500K
    Micro Center - Intel Core i5 2500K LGA 1155 Boxed Processor 179648

    Motherboard: ASROCK H61/U3S3 LGA 1166 H61
    Newegg.com - ASRock H61M/U3S3 LGA 1155 Intel H61 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

    RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB
    Newegg.com - G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL

    Graphics Card: ASUS GeForce GT 430 1GB 128-Bit (Open Box)
    Newegg.com - Open Box: ASUS ENGT430 DC SL/DI/1GD3 GeForce GT 430 (Fermi) 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card

    SSD: OCZ Vertex 2 90GB SATA II
    Newegg.com - OCZ Vertex 2 OCZSSD3-2VTX90G 3.5" 90GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

    HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200 1TB
    Seagate Barracuda 720012 ST31000524AS 1 TB 35 Internal Hard Drive by Office Depot

    PSU: Antec BP550 Plus 550W
    Newegg.com - Antec BP550 Plus 550W Continuous Power ATX12V V2.2 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

    Case: Antec 300 Illusion
    Newegg.com - Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

    Cheers,
    Rex
     
  2. Nuclear Krusader

    Nuclear Krusader Mondsreitersmann

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    ASrock is garbage, go with an ASUS mobo. I'd also avoid G.Skill on account of all the compatibility problems they've had. There's not much to like about a Seagate HDD but with WD's factories closed, that'll have to do.

    I don't really see the advantage of an SSD, especially one that small.
     
  3. glc

    glc Forum Administrator Staff Member

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    The very first thing I'd do is order that hard drive - RIGHT NOW - before it goes out of stock and/or the price goes up. I don't like Seagate drives but right now is not a time to be fussy.

    For the rest of the system - the Asrock board is low quality, G.skill ram is problematic, and the video card is out of stock. I'd build right now with no video card and no SSD, with the idea of adding them later if needed. I'm recommending a Z68 board which allows you to cache the hard drive with a 64gb or smaller SSD for performance improvements.

    Newegg.com - ASUS P8Z68-V LE LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS

    Newegg.com - CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Profile Desktop Memory Model CML8GX3M2A1600C9
     
  4. wrecks135

    wrecks135

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    What gives with the world of hard drives? I've already seen the prices change while looking over the past week or two and I'm not even sure I can get the one I cited in my build.

    Thanks for the recommendation on ASrock and G.SKILL. I'll look at the ASUS and Corsair suggestions.

    Nuclear Krusader, my thinking on the SSD was that I would load my OS and programs onto it, make it my boot drive, and store my data on the HDD. I though that would cut down on load times and other tasks - particularly while using Photoshop. Am I wrong here? If that is not a great plan please let me know as I can save a significant amount by cutting it out of the build!

    GLC, what do you mean by being allowed to "cache the hard drive with a 64gb or smaller SSD for performance improvements". I'm learning here and I appreciate your thoughts.
     
  5. glc

    glc Forum Administrator Staff Member

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    The floods in Thailand have knocked out a significant portion of the world's hard drive manufacturing capacity.

    At the $700 budget point, a SSD is not really advised. However, research "Intel Smart Response Technology" to see what I'm talking about.
     
  6. Nuclear Krusader

    Nuclear Krusader Mondsreitersmann

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    The OS and apps will load faster and any operations that require reading/writing will benefit from the speed. Thing is, SSDs have a limited number of writes so you want to keep both your Windows swap file and the Photoshop scratching OFF the SSD. Now, AFAIK Windows does not like to have the swap file in any partition other than the one it's installed (if this is no longer an issue with Win7 please someone correct me), which would be the SSD; what with all the swapping and PS's scratching you'd just be aging the SSD real fast.
     
  7. wrecks135

    wrecks135

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    Total newbie question but, do I need a separate cooling fan for the CPU with this type of setup or does it come with my board or chip? I didn't have one listed..
     
  8. jdeb

    jdeb

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    The CPU comes with a heatsink/fan assembly if you are ordering the Intel.
     
  9. wrecks135

    wrecks135

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  10. Nuclear Krusader

    Nuclear Krusader Mondsreitersmann

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    I don't know that particular board, but Biostar is decent: it's the only cheap brand that can be trusted.
     
  11. jdeb

    jdeb

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    They are both good boards but I prefer Asus over them. I build quite a few Biostars (including that one) as they are my second choice and are preferred when a budget is to be strictly maintained. However, there are a couple of Biostar boards I prefer for certain applications, this not being one of them.

    The Asus board glc recommended is rock solid stable when combined with the Corsair Vengeance ram. It is also noticeably the fastest Z68 board I have built with whether it is the V - LE or Pro series.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2011
  12. wrecks135

    wrecks135

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    Thanks for the additional input. It sounds like the ASUS mobo is the preferred one and that it is probably worth the extra money.

    I noticed that the recommended ASUS board has two USB 3.0 ports on the rear panel. The case I'm looking at has two USB 2.0 ports on the front panel. Some of the more expensive cases also have USB 3.0 ports on the front panel. If I'm downloading 100 image files from my camera is the USB 3 going to be significantly faster than USB 2? If so, would it make sense to have a USB 3 port on the front panel? Alternatively I could just run a card reader to the USB 3.0 port on the back and leave it on my desktop.

    Any thoughts on the trade-off from a performance perspective?
     
  13. glc

    glc Forum Administrator Staff Member

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    The Asus board I recommended has a motherboard header for 2 front USB 3.0 ports.
     
  14. gordintoronto

    gordintoronto

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    I doubt if your camera supports USB 3, so it's going to run at USB 2 speeds in any case.

    I have my desktop computer sideways behind my monitor, so I have access to both front and back ports -- a major benefit of an LCD monitor over one with a picture tube.
     
  15. glc

    glc Forum Administrator Staff Member

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    The camera may not support USB 3.0, but a card reader will.
     
  16. Nuclear Krusader

    Nuclear Krusader Mondsreitersmann

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    It's not recommended to plug directly the camera to the PC to download pictures; it's better to use a card reader.

    Curiously, the card must never be formatted using the PC, but the camera itself. Amazing.
     
  17. wrecks135

    wrecks135

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    I always pop the card out and drop it into a card reader anyway (it is easier than finding the right cable for the camera). I was just looking at the card reader and USB insert panels that you can get to drop into a drive bay. That looks like the most convenient way to go and it the card reader works at USB 3 speeds so much the better!
     
  18. wrecks135

    wrecks135

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    Additions for Gaming

    Okay, all this research and tinkering has gotten me back into having a gaming bug and I'd like my build to at least be able to play a game like BF3. I don't need to milk every last drop out of the game but I'd like it to run smoothly.

    What would I need to add to my build to make this work? As it stands here is what I'm going with for the build. I know I'd need a graphics card - but what would be considered a minimum and would my existing planned setup be adequate? I'm cost sensitive!

    i5-2500K
    ASUS P8Z68-V LX
    8Gb Corsair Vengeance
    WD Black 1TB SATA 6Gb/s
    Antec EA-650 PSU
    Antec Three Hundred Black Case
    Win 7 - 64

    Thanks for your help!
     
  19. glc

    glc Forum Administrator Staff Member

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  20. wrecks135

    wrecks135

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    Success!

    I just wanted to jump back on to report that I built and started up my new machine last night. I couldn't have done it without the help and advice of many people on this forum, particularly glc. It wasn't just the posts to my thread that were helpful but reading through many threads on the forum. Thanks!

    I feel like I got a great computer at a great value. I learned a lot through the process and had fun along the way. My final build looks like this:

    Core i5-2500k ($150 on Black Friday at MircoCenter)
    Asus P8Z68-V LX ($60 on Black Friday at MicroCenter)
    8GB Corsair Vengeance ($40 at Newegg)
    Antec EA-650 PSU ($52 at NCIX.com)
    Antec Three Hundred Case ($35 at MicroCenter after rebate)
    WD Caviar Black 1tb SATA 6Gb/s 64mb Cache ($130 at Best Buy)
    Lite-On DVD/CD ($20 at NewEgg)
    Win 7 - 64 OEM ($100 at NewEgg)

    Total cost $587. It could have been even cheaper if I had picked up one of those Western Digital HDDs when they cost $70 - but that is just life.

    If you can believe it, the part of the build that took the longest was actually getting the I/O shield to sit right around the rear panel of the motherboard. What a pain in the ***! I'm still not sure I did that right but it works.

    I also overlooked the EATX 12V power connection on the Motherboard the first time I tried to boot it up. The machine clicked on and then instantly shut down -my wife gave me a look that made me think she was about to say, "I told you to buy a Dell" but then she patted me on the shoulder and said, "you'll figure it out". My 11 year old son looked in the case and said, "I think you forgot to connect something." The problem was figuring out what I was missing - once I realized the mistake everything went fine.

    I partitioned my HDD with 180GB for OS and programs and the rest for my data (files, pictures, music, etc). I installed & updated Windows, grabbed Microsoft Security Essentials, went to Ninite.com for other extras, and everything is great. I didn't get my BIOS updated yet - but I think I have my problem with that figured out and will do that tonight.

    Thanks again!
     

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