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not gonna upgrade - thinking about a new build


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#1 IPT

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 04:52 PM

Well, it seems like upgrading doesn't make much sense for what I will be able to do with what I have. I have an old tower from a Dell Dimension 8200 I can use as a case. My primary purpose would be digital photo editing (not video at this time - at least not HD). A quick mock up on Dell gave me a system with a BD writer, 3.??GHz i7 CPU, and 6GB or RAM. Price was about $1700. I imagine I could build it for less, and maybe even have more performance. I'd like to use my old hard drive in conjuction with this new system if possible to maintain the functionality of several editing programs which I ordered online or no longer have the discs for (they are a little older but still do the job just fine). The bulk of my computer experience has been swapping a hard drive, a video card, and I put in a Firewire card once. I would take the hard drive from this system (A Dell XPS 410, CDCR E6700 (2.66Ghz), DCT, 4mb (Dell Dimension DXP601 Intell® Core â„¢ 2CPU @ 6700 GHz with 3 GB of DDR2 SDRAM @667MHZ-2X512, 2X1GB,P).



I am open to suggestions for a build. This will be my first build so simple is better. As stated, the main goal is Digital Photo editing (lareg files - my camera is 21MP in RAW and I sometimes stitch images together too). I do also surf the web, do some excel and word preocessing. Dual monitors is a must also. I also would like to have firewire (for my scanner) and of course USB.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

Edited by IPT, 07 July 2010 - 05:38 PM.


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#2 RainbowSix

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 08:23 PM

You can't carry a Windows installation to a new computer. A new motherboard means a reinstallation of Windows. You will also have to re-buy Windows unless you have the retail version.

Here's a mockup system list:
Case: AZZA Solano 1000 $99.99
MB: ASUS M4A87TD $99.99
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (4 x 2GB) $219.99
CPU: AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition $295.99
Video: XFX Radeon HD 5850 $294.99
Sound: ASUS Xonar D1 $89.99
PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX $109.99
DVD: LITE-ON 24X $25.99
SSD: Kingston SSDNow V Series SNV425-S2BD/64GB $159.99
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB $94.99
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit $99.99

The above comes to ~$1600. There are both rebates and shipping costs.

EDIT: Changed the case to full-tower.

Edited by RainbowSix, 07 July 2010 - 08:32 PM.

[ Antec 1200 v3 | Gigabyte GA-890FXA-UD5 rev. 3.1 | AMD Phenom II x6 1090T (overclocked to 4GHz) | Corsair XMS3 4x4GB DDR3 1600 | COOLER MASTER Silent Pro 600W & Visiontek Juice Box 450W | SAMSUNG 470 Series 64GB SSD | WD Caviar Black 640GB & Samsung Spinpoint 2TB HDD | 2x XFX Radeon HD 5770 in Crossfire | SAMSUNG 22X DVD±RW | Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit]

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#3 DJBPace07

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 11:04 PM

RainbowSix's build looks great, but remember, unless you run highly threaded applications or games, you may not see much of a benefit with using a six-core CPU. Also, buying two G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 RAM kits will cost slightly less and you will have two RAM slots open for expansion all way to 16GB. Few people need RAM amounts above 4GB, even fewer at 16GB. You also don't need the sound card, which is a good card by the way, unless you are an audiophile or listen to loads of music with various equalizers or are planning on using this PC to watch movies. If you are planning on doing the movie thing, buying a Blu-Ray drive is suggested.

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#4 IPT

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 02:19 AM

thanks for the input. I'll have a look at that stuff. I actually have a Windows XP program brand new never installed (was gonna downgrade from Vista on the laptop but it never happened). Ah, but I probably need/want the 64 bit of the Windows 7 huh? I don't game at all so 6 core is most likely not needed. In fact, in this link from my other post someone pointed out that for PS the Duo core was faster than the Quad core http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/desktop...p-CS-3,826.html.. Based on that would you still use the same CPU? The top of the line for speed was an Intel (Intel Core 2 Duo E8600) and it looks like on Newegg it's even a little cheeper than the AMD suggested. I know a lot of people think you get more bang for your buck with AMD, and maybe that is true. Being that I want to use my old HD, and the stats on the link specific to use of Photoshop - do you still think AMD? WHat would be a comparable build using the Intel instead?

WHat would be a down grade for the video card? I currently have a NVIDIA GeForce 8600GT and it meets my needs just fine (just want dual monitors). Seems like I could save some money here.

The one thing is I would like to still able to run some applications from my old hard drive (Hitachi HD T725050VLA360). My Adobe Flash and Dreamweaver which have maxed out their licensing). Will that HD interact with the AMD stuff?

I am trying to learn some more about thsi stuff so bear with me regardingthese questions. I appreciate your help!

Wow - been looking at the recommendations. That AMD CPU uses twice the wattage to run vs the Intel one. That's a lot of juice being used for how much of a gain?

The SSD V Series - what exactly is that? Is like a specific sort of drive to run the operating system? Sorry for the newbiw questions!

Edited by IPT, 08 July 2010 - 03:14 AM.


#5 IPT

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 11:36 AM

After sleeping on it I think this will be a dedicated system. Seems like over time all my systems slow as I download stuff and run more programs. I think this will be offline (except to download updates or update my website) and dedicated to running the Adobe Suite (I may need to repurchase it though) and Lightroom 3 (which I just upgraded so I should have one user license left). A pure photo editing machine.

#6 DJBPace07

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 11:16 PM

Keep in mind that the Tom's Hardware list is from 2008, not reflecting any of the recent CPU's. This means that the higher performing Phenom II, i7, i5, Athlon II, and i3 CPU's, which are all current generation processors of varying degrees of performance, aren't counted. For photo editing, you probably don't need much more than a high-end dual core unless you want to later branch out into video editing where a quad core might be the better way to go. RainbowSix's build was a high-end AMD build which may be overkill for what you're wanting, again, unless you are gaming or doing any video work. AMD CPU's work just the same way as Intel CPU's, they both install easily and can run all the same software. The differences lie in pricing and performance at the high end. All of Intel's CPU's above the i7 950 will easily beat all of AMD's CPU's, but you will be paying a huge premium for that performance. I'm not entirely sure if by "run some applications from my old hard drive" you mean simply put together a new system and launch Dreamweaver without reinstalling. You cannot do this as most software uses something called the registry which is not transferred over with the hard drive and exists only from within a current Windows installation. Therefore, if you try to launch Dreamweaver without reinstalling it again on your new system, it would fail. You may be able to reuse your old GeForce 8600 GT so long as it is PCI-Express, otherwise you would need a new card. In fact, newer graphics cards, even sub $100 cards, can outperform that card. As for the AMD wattage thing, if you are looking at the old Phenom's, they were power hungry, as are the six core CPU's. However, a dual core, or newer quad core designs, from both AMD and Intel, function at about 95W. The higher end CPU's will draw more power, sometimes up to 130W and even higher if the CPU is overclocked. SSD is a solid state disc. Unlike current hard drive technology which uses spinning metal platters, the SSD has no moving parts and thus will last for longer than traditional hard drives and consume less power. These SSD's also have faster frequent read/write cycles which allows them to access information more quickly in some instances, like at system startup. The downside to this is the cost.

Here's an idea for a photo editing/light video editing setup:

Case: COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC-T05-WW - This is a mid-ATX case, perfect for holding a mid range setup. Keep in mind that if you later want to upgrade to large, high-end graphics cards, you may want to get a full ATX case which has added depth. An inexpensive full ATX case is the ENERMAX Uber Chakra ECA5001B. Computer cases are large and expensive to ship, check for shipping costs before purchasing as a higher-end may have free shipping and cost almost the same as a lower-end case without free shipping. $59

Motherboard: ASRock 870 EXTREME3 AM3 AMD 870 - This is a basic motherboard using the AMD 870 chipset which allows for AM3 CPU's, DDR3 RAM, USB 3.0, and SATA 6. This motherboard, as I said is basic, it is not meant for the higher end gamer who uses more than one graphics card, though this one is certainly capable. $89

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz 125W - You probably do not need the high-end six core CPU suggested in the previous build unless you deal with highly threaded applications, which most image tools are not. Highly threaded applications can include video encoders, 3D modeling, and video editing. If all you are going to do is photo editing without much video editing, a AMD Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition Callisto 3.2GHz would also work for less. Keep in mind that if you use programs that will use only one or two cores, the 965 will be faster given its higher clockspeed, also, if you use programs that can use all four cores, the 965 will also be faster. Both of these CPU's are Black Edition which means their multiplier is unlocked allowing for easy overclocking. $179

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 - This is a single stick of DDR3-1333 RAM and it is an excellent price. The motherboard can take a maximum of 16GB, or four of these sticks, however, most people don't need more than 4GB. If you plan on doing some high-end video editing, which can use a little more memory, you may want to get two. Remember, you need a 64-bit OS to use 4GB or more of RAM. $104

Graphics Card: XFX HD-577X-ZNFC Radeon HD 5770 1GB - You can reuse the card you've got if it is PCI-Express, otherwise you need a new one. This is considered a mid-range card excellent for just about everything thrown at it. Granted, you cannot play graphically intensive games on it with the eye candy as high as it can go, but it is still a solid performer for the price. For the sub-$100 range, the HIS H555F1G Radeon HD 5550 1GB or the SAPPHIRE 100293DP Radeon HD 5570 1GB are also good, though they don't perform as well as the 5770. All of these cards are more powerful than the 8600 GT and come with DirectX 11 and EyeFinity. $159

Power Supply: CORSAIR CMPSU-550VX 550W - This is more than enough for this system. You could upgrade to the Radeon 58xx series graphics cards with this power supply if you wanted to. $79 (Before $10 mail-in rebate)

Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Green WD5000AADS 500GB 32MB Cache - You probably don't need an SSD. This is a traditional drive with plenty of space. $54

Optical Drive: ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - This is a standard drive that can read and write DVD's and CD's. If you want all that plus the ability to read and write to Blu-Ray discs, the LG WH10LS30K 10X Blu-ray Burner is suggested. $18

Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit - You need this to run your system. $99

Grand Total: $848 (Before shipping, taxes, and rebates)

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#7 IPT

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 11:47 PM

DJB - awesome - appreciate your descriptions and explainations. Will need to process this and do some research. I'm sure I'll be back with more questions. Thanks to everyone who contributed so far, I appreciate it.

Is there anyway to know if a program uses dual or quad core? Seems like Photoshop and Lightroom will be there soom if they are not already. I just don't know if they do or not so I guess I'll have to keep asking around.

For some reason I lean toward the Intel stuff. Probably because of their advertising :thumbsup: and just what I am used to. I do see most people who know the ins and out seem to go with AMD though.

Oh, I am gonna ditch the old hard drive idea. I am just gonna have to purchase a new install for those programs. I intend to keep the old rig functional to go online and general work. Instead of the SSD and since I will be digitally storing, archiving, and sorting images I would think a HD more of this magnitude would help with speed WD VelociRaptor 10000RPM. Heck, I could ditch the sound card all together to make up the difference.

Edited by IPT, 09 July 2010 - 02:08 AM.


#8 RainbowSix

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Posted 09 July 2010 - 11:55 AM

Those high-speed hard drives aren't worth it. They're good with read and write speeds, but they still have the latency that other hard drives suffer from.
In fact, low latency is the main reason why SSDs are worth it.

Edited by RainbowSix, 09 July 2010 - 11:56 AM.

[ Antec 1200 v3 | Gigabyte GA-890FXA-UD5 rev. 3.1 | AMD Phenom II x6 1090T (overclocked to 4GHz) | Corsair XMS3 4x4GB DDR3 1600 | COOLER MASTER Silent Pro 600W & Visiontek Juice Box 450W | SAMSUNG 470 Series 64GB SSD | WD Caviar Black 640GB & Samsung Spinpoint 2TB HDD | 2x XFX Radeon HD 5770 in Crossfire | SAMSUNG 22X DVD±RW | Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit]

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#9 IPT

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Posted 09 July 2010 - 01:08 PM

The latancy is the same as the 7500 RPMs? The SSD makes sense to run the programs from but what about the data (like 400 Gb's of images) that the programs will be sorting thru? I don't want to get to complicated but even with a fast CPU if the HD can't get the data off that is the slow point, no?

#10 RainbowSix

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Posted 09 July 2010 - 01:49 PM

Fast HDDs come in handy when you are constantly dealing with very large files (such as video editing), but most of the slowdown comes when your system has to load many small files. This is where seek time and latency become an issue. Fast hard drives do have faster seek times, but latency is not much different. This is also why I don't recommend RAID anymore.

EDIT: After looking at the reviews with benchmarks, it appears latency is also somewhat lower than ordinary hard drives, but I still would say SSD is a better choice.

Edited by RainbowSix, 09 July 2010 - 02:11 PM.

[ Antec 1200 v3 | Gigabyte GA-890FXA-UD5 rev. 3.1 | AMD Phenom II x6 1090T (overclocked to 4GHz) | Corsair XMS3 4x4GB DDR3 1600 | COOLER MASTER Silent Pro 600W & Visiontek Juice Box 450W | SAMSUNG 470 Series 64GB SSD | WD Caviar Black 640GB & Samsung Spinpoint 2TB HDD | 2x XFX Radeon HD 5770 in Crossfire | SAMSUNG 22X DVD±RW | Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit]

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#11 IPT

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Posted 09 July 2010 - 02:02 PM

got this link from somewhere - thought I'd share it Lightroom and CPU's

here is another link:CPU benchmarks with image manipulation.

Looks like Intel makes up the better portion of the top end of the list (particularly in the PS and image manipulation arena).

Edited by IPT, 09 July 2010 - 07:40 PM.


#12 DJBPace07

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 12:12 AM

That Lightroom link was very helpful. The benchmarks at Anandtech are interesting, but with Photoshop CS4, the difference between the i7 920 and Phenom II X4 965 is 4 seconds, with the Phenom II X6 1090T it is about one to two seconds. Those benchmarks are hardly surprising, Intel dominates at the higher end, as I said earlier with the i7 950 and up, but AMD can hold its own at i7 920 levels and lower. The question is, how much are those one to four seconds worth in terms of dollars? For reference, the i7 920 is about $300 and the i7 950 is about $550 and an ASRock motherboard (LGA 1366) to take them will cost $100 more.

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#13 IPT

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 04:07 AM

choices, choices (pulls hair). Yeah, not sure how much those seconds are worth. Not gonna drop for the big boy, but maybe the i7-930 or the 960. If I need to expand the budget a tad I might do that. I would like to see this rig go a good 2-3 years before I am thinking about an upgrade.

One of the reasons I want to do this build is to learn more about computers. Hopefully down the road upgrades will be easier and less $$ 'cause I can just swap a CPU (though I seem to remember reading somewhere in these forums somethign big is changing in 2011 for both AMD and Intel reagrding sockets or something).

Anyway, you guys have all been a great help, appreciate it. I am going to tweak some things and weigh some pros and cons. I'll be back with my proposed "final build" and see what you think (even though it may be Intel based and not AMD :thumbsup:).

FWIW, I also read that Adobe has somewhat partnered up with nVIDEA on some level and recommend their cards for perfomance issues. Apparently (from what I have been reading at least) the cards that rock for Gaming (ATI ?) are not great for image editing (at least static images like LR3 and PSCSx).

Oh, some interesting info about optimizing PS Optimizing Photoshop. There is some stuff about how it uses the Video card (GPU) that I don't quite get but I'm sure it'll make sense to you guys. I'll need to read up on it some.

Edited by IPT, 10 July 2010 - 05:51 PM.


#14 DJBPace07

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 10:19 PM

Choices, choices, take a deep breath! :thumbsup:

The i7 930 is the successor to the i7 920 and is about 200MHz. faster, which is nothing in this day and age. It would be an upgrade from the i7 920 as it is the same price, though. Both Intel and AMD are planning on introducing new sockets and CPU's sometime within the next year or so. The i7 920 and 930 both use the LGA 1366 socket. The upcoming Intel LGA 2011 socket is set to replace the 1366 socket. There will be no backwards compatibility between the two new sockets. AMD will be releasing their new CPU's sometime in mid to late 2011 and it goes by the codename "Bulldozer" which is part of their Fusion line. More information about Bulldozer will be released sometime in August 2010. However, some data has been leaked, such as AMD moving from the 42nm process, which the Phenom II uses, directly to the 28nm process, skipping 32nm. This is important as die shrinkage means lower power consumption and less heat generation. Some sites have leaked details on the first consumer-level (Scorpius) Bulldozer chip codenamed Zambezi, it will supposedly use a revision of the AM3 socket (AM3 R2), but whether or not it is backwards compatible is unknown, it will also come in four and eight core variations. AMD usually maintains backwards compatibility, but whether or not it will be the same with the Bulldozer CPU's is still up-in-the-air seeing how the new CPU's are a complete architecture redesign. As for your Photoshop question, make sure you use the 64-bit version of the software to use all the RAM you can. There are differences between consumer level cards, the GeForce and Radeon, and the workstation cards, Quadro and FireGL. Traditionally, the cards are, hardware wise, very similar, but they have different BIOS' and drivers. The workstation cards favor precision whereas the consumer cards favor speed, thus workstation cards suck at gaming and consumer cards suck at scientific modeling. Workstation cards are hugely expensive but are excellent for modeling, CAD, and 3-D design. Check out the prices on the Quadro and FireGL cards and see if you want those. I would not get them, but I don't use software which can use those cards. Adobe and Nvidia are probably just in a marketing relationship. Both ATI and Nvidia do this all the time with games, saying one will run better than the other. In reality, the differences are minor and not worth getting too worked up over.

More Reading

Engadget - Next-gen AMD Scorpius and Lynx desktop platforms leak out, Fusion still coming in 2011
Fudzilla - Bulldozer Zambezi edition to use AM3 r2
Xbit - Globalfoundries Scraps 32nm Bulk Fabrication Process.
Xbit - AMD to Disclose Details About Bulldozer Micro-Architecture in August.
Bit-tech - Intel Sandy Bridge: Details of the next gen
VR-Zone - A Look Into Intel's Next Gen Enthusiast Platform : Sandy Bridge E & Waimea Bay

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#15 IPT

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 01:53 AM

Thanks for the reading. My g/f is feeling rather neglected lately, do you mind if I tell her it's your fault :thumbsup:? This is just what I need, another hobby.

Rather than start a new thread I have a question. Lets just assume the mobo is gonna be "ATX". When a case specification says "full ATX tower" or "Mid tower" what exactly are they referring too. Is it literally just the location of the board in the tower? Does it matter one way or the other? I notice most of the recommended towers are pretty big except the COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC-T05-WW.

One more question. On the Graphics card, for example this one EVGA 01G-P3-N981-TR GeForce 9800 GT 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 . When it says the Ports are 2xDVI that means it had dual monitor support correct (don't most decent cards these days)? One of my monitors has selectable inputs so I would be able to use the VGA for on system then just switch to the DVI input if I were running the other, correct? (it actually says the input is DVI -D). Also, the DVI can be used with a converter to enter a VGA but no vise versa, correct (the second monitor only has a single VGA input)? I was looking at Adobe's site and they recommend cards that support "Open GL" because it takes some load off the CPU and improves performance.

On the mobo would I be generally put anything on the PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP slot besides the graphics card?
Sorry for the total newbie questions.

Edited by IPT, 11 July 2010 - 02:19 AM.





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