Thinking about building a computer

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Rockadile, Dec 20, 2011.

  1. Rockadile

    Rockadile TPF Noob!

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    Hopefully some people here can chime in on computer hardware as I'm out of the loop. I did build one 6yrs ago but it was for gaming but this time it will be for photos.

    MB: Need help on this
    CPU: Intel i5-2500
    RAM: 8GB
    GPU: Need help on this
    HD: 40GB SSD and 1TB Samsung Spinpoint; one 1TB external HD for backup to keep off-site?
    Programs: Window 7 Home, Adobe Lightroom

    That's my rough list of what I got so far. I'm just an amateur photographer but I would like to start things right. My budget is $800~ and will try keeping my monitor, keyboard, and mouse.
    Is using SSD for OS drive worth it? Good program that will mirror my photos from internal to external HD?


     
  2. ConradM

    ConradM No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Wait a few months because intel is releasing a new lineup of procs. They will be priced about the same as the sandy bridge procs but will have 7 - 10% increase in performance while using less power.

    Other than that your build looks good, for a motherboard look for most anything that is an 1155 socket compatible. I prefer asus brand boards.

    Oh and it is worth it to load the OS and some major programs on the SSD, spring for the biggest SSD you can get. You can also get a z68 (chipset) mother board which would allow you to use your SSD as a cache in which case you could stick with a smaller SSD.
     
  3. bdw7t8

    bdw7t8 TPF Noob!

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    I've always built my machines around AMD processors, they're quite a bit cheaper and I've always found them very reliable. In fact, I've never had one fail on me. The last computer I built has a factory overclocked, liquid cooled, six core, 4gHz AMD Phenom II 16GB RAM, on an Asus motherboard, Hitachi 2TB Deskstar HDD's, an ATI Saphire Radeon GPU, Samsung optical drives and monitor and some Altec-Lansing speakers. Complete with software it cost me just under $1700 for everything including peripherals. Most of the parts came from NewEgg, and a couple (like the box) from TigerDirect. Had I bought one ready made it would have cost me at least double, and it still wouldn't have been as BA. Oh, I couldn't recommend the Sapphire Radeon HD 5770 more, it's just awesome.

    P.S. I highly recommend NewEgg over TigerDirect. Much better customer service and usually a bit cheaper too.

    P.P.S. Sorry, didn't see the $800 budget, I'd definitely look for a kit, there are some good ones out there for less, especially if you can reuse speakers, monitor etc. from your old machine. Also, I'd look for one that is upgradable, and will be for a few years, replacing a few components is a lot cheaper than building a whole new machine.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2011
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  4. ConradM

    ConradM No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    AMD pretty much fell out of the CPU war years back. Intel has zero competition now. It's a wonder they're aren't charging an arm and a leg. However, AMD would be a good choice for a low power, low budget build.
     
  5. KmH

    KmH In memoriam Supporting Member

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    WTF is 'a procs'. Is that some sort of texting lingo for 'a processor'?
     
  6. ConradM

    ConradM No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    :lmao:
     
  7. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    My level of computer knowledge isn't very high, but for editing photos more RAM is always a good idea. It's only the newest versions of Photoshop that can really take advantage of the power in the video card.

    Also, if photo editing is one of your main goals, then consider an upgraded monitor. Most flat panel monitors are 'Twisted Neumatic' (TN). They are cheap and good for gaming & movies etc, but not so great for displaying a full range of colors and not great for calibration. Look for an IPS type screen instead. On that point, don't forget to budget for a monitor calibration system.
     
  8. TheFantasticG

    TheFantasticG No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    From my limited experience there isn't much difference building an awesome gaming machine and a photo/video editing machine.
     
  9. ConradM

    ConradM No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I would imagine you need more GPU for a gaming rig. But other than that specs could be identical.
     
  10. ChefCanon

    ChefCanon TPF Noob!

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    Ok so my thoughts on this - As I was in the same dilemma not to long ago.

    I was looking to get a nice desktop to look at / edit / etc etc with my pics. The one thing i wanted was a TRUE HD display. Allowing me to see at least 1920x1080. This is going to give you the best idea of how your pics look. Above all else you really want to look at your monitor (what do you have now ?) Something with a fast display - maybe LED - full HD - Nice colors? That is your key component IMO. A nice GPU and Ram will be great if you are editing photos but if you are looking a a distorted photo how can you evening begin to edit that... An option to look at and What I went with is a iMac - Quality machines and their 21.5in goes for ~$1000 (A little over your budget) You can custom build them with a little more umphff but right out of the box they are VERY nice and most importantly... they have a BEAUTIFUL display.

    Just my 2 cents - Good luck with w/e you do. Check Newegg they usually have nice combo packs ~600 and a good monitor will be ~(200-300)
     
  11. TheFantasticG

    TheFantasticG No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Perhaps. I don't know enough to debate. I knew when I built mine a few months ago I needed graphics resolving power. That's why I went with the ATI Radeon HD 6970. I wanted to stay under $400 for the graphics card. That with the AMD 1100T and 16GB of DDR3 all on an Asus Crosshair V motherboard has made a fantastic photo/video machine. Turns out it also plays Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim like a dream as well (@ ultra high quality my setup doesn't miss a beat).
     
  12. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Well, the way I think of it...the needs really aren't that similar (but the end product is probably similar for either use).
    For gaming, you need something that can quickly process and display a constant stream of information. You need the display be able to keep up with the constantly changing game (or whatever) that is on the screen. I believe this is where you want a high end video card.

    Photo editing, on the other hand, isn't about a rapidly changing display. Sure, you don't want a display lag when making changes to your image, but it's not a constant, ongoing stream of changes. And before a few years ago, photo editing didn't really tax the video card at all. The latest versions of Photoshop have started to use the RAM available in the video card, but that may only be for things like smooth transitions when zooming in or out.
    For photo editing, the CPU and the RAM are much more important than the video card....but with gaming, the video card is a big piece of the puzzle.

    Don't confuse a 'beautiful' display and one that is ideal for photo editing. As I mentioned above, most monitors these days use TN technology, which is good for general computing, gaming, video etc. They can be pretty bright and can look great. But the problem for photo editing, is that they are not capable of displaying a wide range of colors. If I remember correctly, they can't even fully display sRGB, which has a small color gamut. Something like Adobe RGB or Prophoto RGB is way above that.

    Also, there is the issue of calibration. For accurate photo editing, you need to have an accurate display and to do that, you need a calibration system (device plus software). You can calibrate a TN screen, but it's not going to make the display perfect. IPS screens are much better suited for photo editing, and while they are more expensive, some of them have come down in price a lot, in the last few years.

    Yet another issue, is where the calibration is applied. A typical (lower end) calibration system will crate a display profile and load that into the computer's video card. So the card is trying to interpret the display info and tweak it for accurate display on the monitor. That's not a perfect system. High end 'photo editing' monitors will have their own Look Up Table, so the calibration profile is loaded right into the monitor, which is a better system for getting accurate display.

    That's my understanding anyway. If you want a better explanation, find Garbz.
     

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