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can someone please point me in the right direction?


TPF Noob!
Mar 20, 2009
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Wilmington, NC
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
I'm lookin to get a desktop, and would like it to be good for photoediting/organizing. I don't plan to add a bunch of software to it, or use it for gaming so don't need nothing to terribly fancy, I'm on a budget.

I've searced some and didn't come up with anything that stood out consistantly. I'm not computer spec savvy.

I definitely would like a decent monitor (picture and size wise)

Any links or advice would be appreciated.
look for quadcore chips. i have an athalon phenom and i love it.
consider at least 4gigs of ram.
decent video, but integrated would be ok...not ideal, but ok.
good HDD space for saving all your files...at least 650gb for the internal, and if you can go 7200rpm, thats a plus.
i have an HP i got from best buy as a kit with monitor and printer and im thrilled with it. paid around 800 for it all. the monitor is a nice 21" lcd HD.
If you're on a budget, we can't properly recommend you a computer without you telling us what that budget is.

What about a dual 6 core processor mobo with 24GB of RAM and three 1.8GB Nvidia GPUs? A 30" monitor is "good" as well.
^ thats about the price im willing to go. i can upgrade the monitor later if need be. thanks. i found some asus with 1terabyte of internal, any news on those?
If you're on a budget, we can't properly recommend you a computer without you telling us what that budget is.

What about a dual 6 core processor mobo with 24GB of RAM and three 1.8GB Nvidia GPUs? A 30" monitor is "good" as well.

im talkin about best buy budget. if i can get a decent cpu/monitor package and upgrade the monitor later ill do so. im not sure my exact budget right now. i kinda figured when i said budget people would have a decent idea of what i was meaning. :blushing:
I am also searching for my new one and have a key point to make. You said "I don't plan to add a bunch of I don't plan to add a bunch of software to it"

In reality this is the specification you are looking for.

Identify the software you will run MAYBE for photo editing and look up the system requirements. That is the determining criteria for the computer you want. I run Photo shop Elemenets 5.0 mostly but I also have the full blown Photo shop and others. So I will look up the most strict system requirements and go from there. Even though I mostly don't use these program I still could. And even then you can get by often with a lesser machine.

Base your minimum criteria on the most demanding software you MIGHT use. Then there are a bazillion different machines that can do the job for you. As far a screen goes get big (15'' is probably minimum) Bright etc. You should be able to tell a good one from a bad one just by looking at it. I hear LED is the cats meow. But then again get a good price as well. I don't spend a lot on computers because in 3-8 years I will be shopping again. I now also want a TV tuner capable machine to plug into an antenna for vacation property football games.

Right now I use an old HP laptop with pathetic specs BUT IT WORKS JUST FINE. It is a bit slow at times like when I open 100 photos in PS all at once, but it works. I am mainly going to upgrade so I can save a functioning XP machine and not kill it as it is the only one I have that my scanner works with.
My present specs that work fine for photo processing HP pavilion laptop. AMD Athlon 64 processor 3400+, 256 MHz, 512 MB RAM
If you're looking into a budget system (I build them), I would say the first step is to determine your expectations.

For instance, you'd want a minimum of a dual core I'd suggest Quad Core and an AMD Phenom X4 is a great pick and ~70$. From there, the motherboard you pick isn't that important I like MSI generally, but they put a max of 4 USBs in the back and people these days like 8-10, which other manufacturers will do. You can get a case for 20-50$, botherboard should be around 70-80. RAM you're going to want at least 4gigs (2x2GB) since you'll be running photoshop x64. the HDDs I'd go with some Western Digital Drives, I'd get a faster for your OS something either 7200rpm or 10000rpm - I use a 10k atm and love it (no funds for SSD or 15k rpm HDD). Then, you'd pick a bigger, much slower HDD for your media (i.e. your photos). I would suggest at minimum a 5200rpm 500g drive.

The smartest thing to do here is to get two 500GB drives (~50$ each) and set them up in mirror raid. That means the computer will see them as a single drive, so everytime it writes something to one, it writes it to the other - hence Mirror RAID. This way you lose 500GB of space BUT if one drive fails, the other is an exact copy = no work lost = :D

Those would be my suggestions.. I'd say with a generic NVIDIA vid card you're looking at a 450-500$ build that will serve you well for Photo Editing. If you need more help with components I'd be happy to take 10-15m to put together a system for you @Newegg. If you're looking for built systems honestly I'd say hang out on Woot® : One Day, One Deal? until they get a nice refurb. I'm always amazed at the prices they offer on those (250-400$) for the specs they have.

The important thing to remember is that if you're going low cost it'll be when you're picking a lens. If you go for a high CAPACITY HDDs then you'll have to get slower drives to offset the cost or if you get FAST HDDs you will get much less space. I see 1TB HDDs on Newegg and Woot going for 40-50$, which is excellent. Buying 2x1TB HDDs and putting them in Mirror Raid is something I suggest to ANYONE that values their photographs. I've seen people do Mirror Raids that include 4 HDDs; producing 3 redundant drives that have their photos incase the first three fail. I digressed there for a bit, srry.

Any way, manage your expectations and look around, I've been building PCs for myself and friends for about 7 years now and its such an excellent value and not really that hard (lets be honest).

p.s. I didn't touch the Monitor at all because there you can't skimp and its all about budget, but I will say if you put together a system for cheaper, the Monitor Budget will be bigger :D
damn. im fairly electronic and mechanical savvy but not computer savvy. building a computer would confuse the piss out of me. but ill look into it. can only add to things to learn and i got time so i can piece it together!
damn. im fairly electronic and mechanical savvy but not computer savvy. building a computer would confuse the piss out of me. but ill look into it. can only add to things to learn and i got time so i can piece it together!

It's really easy. Most don't even require screwdrivers. I think the hardest part is applying thermal grease to the back of the cpu without applying it to yourself.

I lied. You need to screw the motherboard to the case.

And everything has instructions and is color coded. It took me about 15 minutes to remove the motherboard from my already assembled computer to install a better cpu heat sink & fan and that's because I was watching Top Gear, iirc.
Building computers is really easy. The only things that can be troublesome for a new builder in my opinion would be plugging in the front panel controls to the motherboard (depending on the case you buy and how the pinouts are arranged), and knowing whether the parts you buy will work properly together. Both of which someone could help you with. Otherwise it's just a matter of plugging things in where they fit.

I'm a big fan of building your own. When you buy pre-built, you typically get generic hardware and they load the computer up with software demos and other crap. They get paid to put this junk on your computer, which basically offsets the price of the OS. When you build your own, unfortunately you have to pay full price for the OS.

Anyway, building isn't for everyone.

I came across a really good desktop PC deal the other day that might be worth looking into:

Intel Core i3-540 3.06GHz (dual core)
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Card reader for your camera cards
Keyboard & Mouse

Lenovo H320 40411CU Desktop PC - Intel Core i3-540 3.06GHz, 6GB DDR3, 640GB HDD, DVDRW, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit at TigerDirect.com

It only uses the onboard video, which would probably be fine for photo editing... but it wouldn't hurt to throw an off board graphics card in there to boost video performance.

Then pick up a nice size monitor, I HIGHLY recommend around 24-26 inches. With the resolution cranked up on a good sized monitor, you'll have lots of room to work with your photos.

If you have any questions, feel free to PM me.
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Alright, here's my suggestion.. couldn't resist putting together a new build:


- This isn't fancy, you're on a budget:
Newegg.com - GIGABYTE gz-KXA Black SECC ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

- What I use in my builds (I hate flashy cases):
Newegg.com - Antec P182 Gun Metal Black 0.8mm cold rolled steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
advantage: looks badass. 45 pounds EMPTY.. that's STEEL for ya.

Power Supply

-IMPORTANT not to skimp out on this. Bad one can burn the rest of the gear:
Newegg.com - CORSAIR CMPSU-550VX 550W ATX12V V2.2 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply
if you use any lower quality PSU, be prepared for high costs later on replacing other components that fail due to POS power.


- SOLID dual core:
Newegg.com - AMD Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition Callisto 3.2GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 80W Dual-Core Desktop Processor - C3 Revision HDZ555WFGMBOX

- Cheapest x4:
Newegg.com - AMD Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition Deneb 3.0GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM2+ 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ940XCJ4DGI - Processors - Desktops

*you'll see (if you look) Phenom X4 for cheaper. Do NOT get a Phenom X4 they were a terrible processor compared to the Phenom II X4 series.


- Pretty standard:
Newegg.com - ASRock M3A770DE AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard

Hard Drive(s)

- I would get two of these, but your budget will decide:
Newegg.com - Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EARS 1TB 5400 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive


- SOLID product:
Newegg.com - G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL

- Cheaper alternative:
Newegg.com - G.SKILL NS 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop Memory Model F3-10600CL9D-4GBNS

Vid Card

- Decent Card, even if you were to do some light gaming:
Newegg.com - EVGA 01G-P3-N959-TR GeForce 9500 GT 1GB 128-bit DDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

Edit: Forgot DVD Burner:


Case ~25$
PSU ~90$
CPU ~89$
Mobo ~60$
HDD ~65$
RAM ~85$
GPU ~65$
DL DVD ~17$

Total: ~497$

That total's with the dual core and better RAM and one Hard Drive.
That's a complete system, there are definitely places you can upgrade like Processor and get two HDDs.

*i looked through twice for compatibility, may be mistakes if you're serious I'll spend real time once you've got the specs you want nailed down. basic disclaimer incase you order these exact components and something isn't compatible, lol.
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if you're budget is more like 1,000$.. ooo the system I could put together for you :p
When it comes to computers you need to buy JUST below the absolute best available to REALLY make it worth it. The best of the best that is available is crazy expensive at a super premium, because it's 'the best'. One step down is much more affordable, and nearly as good as 'the best'. Build your own computer to be one step below the best and you can expect it to last 5 years as a computer capable of running everything anyone should be able to produce (software wise). After five years it will still be a fine working computer, but not 'on the leading edge'.

If all you can afford right now is $800, keep saving until you can buy just under the best available. You WILL see the difference, and be happy for years to come (instead of being pissed in a year or two because 'your computer is slow'. Buy quality, and treat it right, and your computer WILL last.

edit - Macedonian, that case is SWEET, and the one that is used for my personal tower.
edit - Macedonian, that case is SWEET, and the one that is used for my personal tower.

Hell yeah man! I've got my tower and server in one of those, as well as my parent's build and two of my friends' builds! One of the best designed cases I have EVER seen. I've got five of those fans in there and I could cool a drink by placing it on the case. I call it //THE_FRIDGE :p

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