Help me build a desktop PC, and choose a laptop PC

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by Samriel, Nov 9, 2008.

  1. Samriel

    Samriel TPF Noob!

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    I was thinking of posting this in the equipment forum, but somehow it seemed like I’d find more knowledgeable or at least more interested people around here.
    I’m looking to upgrade my computer sometime soon, and since photography is becoming an important part of my life, I’d like some advice from some fellow photographers concerning this. First my current configuration:

    AMD Athlon 64 3500+
    Corsair 512Mbx2 DDR400 RAM (forgot the exact naming)
    MSI nVidia nForce 4 (I think…I forgot the exact name of this one as well) SLI Diamond
    2x250GB 7200rpm Hard Drives
    2xnVidia GeForce 6800GT (SLI)
    24” Dell Monitor
    Pioneer DVD writer
    Etc.
    OS: Windows XP x64

    I bought it about 4 years ago, and it served me quite well. However, as I recently started doing a lot of photo editing and processing, it sometimes just takes too much time to finish a job, or to respond to a command. It gets even worse when I start running multiple applications. I'm basically using only Lightroom, and occasionally CS3. However, I’m using Lightroom very often, and I feel my current machine is dragging me down. Here is what I was thinking of getting:

    Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550
    Corsair TW3X4G1600C9DHX-G (DDR3 PC3-12800 2GBx2) (I'd add 4Gbs more later on)
    DDR3 compatible motherboard (Intel X38,X48 or nVidia 790i SLI chipset)

    Everything else would stay the same (maybe I’d change the casing – my current one is not really practical, and possibly the hard drives). While I’m basically set on the CPU and memory, I’m wondering about the motherboard: and SLI chipset would allow me to use both my GPUs, but honestly speaking, I don’t play games as much as I used to, and it wouldn’t be a tragic loss if I couldn’t use one, and both the X38 and X48 seem worth considering, especially budget-wise. After reading some reviews, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no big difference between the chipsets for someone like me (who will not overclock etc.), but the nVidia boards seem to be rather on the pricey side compared to the Intel ones.
    So, my first question is if you have any general suggestions concerning the setup. The second question is if you have a motherboard you’d like to recommend to match the components above.

    Then I’d like to get a laptop as well, one of the really small ones which are being sold at bargain prices all around now (EeePC & Co.) I’d be using it for storing, transferring and reviewing photos, writing, surfing, watching movies etc. It would be good if it would allow some basic editing in CaptureNX or Lightroom, or at least conversion to DNG at a not too bothersome speed level. I was looking at the EeePCs and their competitors, and the ASUS EeePC 9” version seemed really good (up to 2Gbs of RAM, fast SSD drive), just that the keyboard is a bit too small for my fingers. The 10” EeePC seemed better, but it can only have 1Gb of memory. I do not want anything bigger than 12” and anything more expensive than USD600, but I’d be willing to consider used machines.

    I’d appreciate any advice and suggestions on both topics.

    Cheers,
    Vlad
     
  2. Kegger

    Kegger TPF Noob!

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    Well here's an HP, 2GB DDR RAM, 160GB HD. Click 10 bucks over your limit though.
     
  3. Samriel

    Samriel TPF Noob!

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    Any idea on the battery life of the thing? I'm also not familiar with the CPU.

    EDIT: It comes with Windows Vista Business and has a battery life of about 2 hours 30 minutes. But it has a better screen resolution than the rest, which does make it interesting.

    I forgot to mention that battery life is also quite important for me. One of the biggest advantages of the EeePC, 5 hours of PRACTICAL battery life according to several owners. About 7~8 according to the specs.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2008
  4. Ls3D

    Ls3D TPF Noob!

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    If you can build a nehalem based Core i7 system the benchies are looking great! 40 - 65% gains, the likes of which we have not seen since netburst... and with multi threading back in the pipeline..

    X58, custom coolers, triple channel DDR3 memory, it adds up, but why go half way at this point in history. Check the hardware forums for details and 10 reviews a day coming in...

    -Shea
     
  5. Samriel

    Samriel TPF Noob!

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    The HP is out of questions as it seems that the VIA CPU didn't quite live up to the expectations.

    The Core i7 does seems interesting, but I'm not sure I'd be able to wait for it to get out and down to a affordable price. Still, thanks for the info. You gave me some more brainfood. :)
     
  6. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Mac with Parallels Desktop 3.0?

    Not much you couldn't run for either operating system. Plus I have yet to see a PC that will handle 32 gigs of ram. Not saying it's not out there, just haven't seen it.

    Just a thought.
     
  7. PatrickHMS

    PatrickHMS TPF Noob!

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    For my desktop I am running a Gigabyte Motherboard, an Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 processor. Easily overclocked, and even "on air" the CPU is running at 3.2GHz clockspeed.

    Still experimenting with high-end video cards. Not getting into SLI, Crossfire, or RAID though.

    Think a good video card and a wide-screen LCD will do it for my desktop as far as hardware goes. Acquiring better software is a never ending process.

    When I get to buying a Laptop, for one of the top criteria, gonna go for the best motherboard I can find, everything else is upgradeable.

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2008
  8. Kegger

    Kegger TPF Noob!

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    5 HOURS!!!!!

    Holy crap, I'm gonna have to look into that.
     
  9. Ls3D

    Ls3D TPF Noob!

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    BTE - The 8 core power macs are overdue for a nehalem update, meaning apple should give birth any day now.. probably the Bloomfield version.

    The graphics options at that point will be of interest to many... you all know why.

    BTW - I run SLI on my laptop, thing will drive 4 million pixel 30" ACD with room to spare!

    Gryphon, If you want to see workstation class machines that will hold bookoo ram check out Boxx.

    And best wishes for your new machine whatever from it may take. :D

    -Shea

    -S
     
  10. Samriel

    Samriel TPF Noob!

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    I was thinking about a workstation setup, but it'd cost double the "standard" desktop setup, and I don't think I need so much editing power at the moment. If I wanted to do so, I needed a workstation motherboard, two Xeon quad-cores, and a lot of DDR2 RAM etc. But as I already said, I'll only think about workstations and USD3000+ Macs after I actually start earning money with photography.
     
  11. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The Boxx was cool. I had never seen them. Top ram was 16 gigs though from what I saw. I didn't check out the video versions.

    I had the chance to see a Mac Pro 8 core with 32 gigs of ram installed. It had CS3 on it. I blazed through batch processing like I could only imagine before. Of course the setup was about a $25,000 computer with the monitor and all they had installed. Just a few thousand out of my price range, but it was awesome.
     
  12. Ls3D

    Ls3D TPF Noob!

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    Yeah there are 32 gig platforms and 100 core render clusters, basically all the high end PC stuff. Even this company will be releasing nehalem boxxes soon enough..

    -S
     

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