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Archive 2012 · Computer Build for Photo Editing - Need Recommendations
  
 
rico
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p.2 #1 · p.2 #1 · Computer Build for Photo Editing - Need Recommendations


My company makes SSD but they're not necessary unless you reboot every half hour. For serious image processing, the must-have resource is RAM, and as much as possible. My big box has 64GB, directly upgradable to 256GB, and 20MB of Xeon L3 doesn't hurt. Once everything is cached into main memory, you don't need anything as slow as mass storage (until you save final results).


Dec 27, 2012 at 05:41 AM
tived
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p.2 #2 · p.2 #2 · Computer Build for Photo Editing - Need Recommendations


Rico,

you are right in that having plenty of ram is handy, but at some stage you need to off load the data somewhere and if you have slow disks then it really doesn't matter how fast your CPU's and RAM are, you can only squeeze the data through to the disk, as fast as it can write.

I can assure you have one or more SSD's in single or in arrays will make a difference - maybe your company makes really slow SSD's :-)

Rebooting has little to do with computing... you don't buy as sports car because it starts fast or do you?

All said in good spirit, Happy New year!

Henrik



Dec 27, 2012 at 05:47 AM
rico
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p.2 #3 · p.2 #3 · Computer Build for Photo Editing - Need Recommendations


Hi, Henrik!

Even a lowly SATA disk of today can hit transfer rates of 130 MB/s sequentially, which is ample for batch processing of images (CPU is the bottleneck in this mode). For anything interactive, the human is the bottleneck. The killer facility is layers, which will be employed by any sophisticated post activity. The memory footprint can quickly explode, and you don't want that data swapping out. After the layers are collapsed, any disk can take the result asynchronously. Similarly, the next input image can be prefetched while the CPU grinds. DDR3 is $5-10 per GB, which is approximately free. You should see what I paid for RAM in 1978!

Ciao.



Dec 27, 2012 at 06:22 AM
tived
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p.2 #4 · p.2 #4 · Computer Build for Photo Editing - Need Recommendations


What DID you pay for ram in 1978, just checking if you got it cheaper then we did for our PET in 1976 :-) pre-IBM desktop. I can't go any further back, we also had a Luxor Basic machine with two 5 1/4" drive from Sweden. This was in Denmark back then.

I am one generation behind you in CPU's aka Dual XEON x5650 @ 4.18Ghz for both CPU's with 96 and 48GB of ECC RAM 1333 :-)

increasing the throughput from 2nd get SSD's to 3 gen SSD, and also adding more to the array has improved the speed at which I can accomplish a task.

try and run this on your system and let me know your results http://hdview.at/speedtest/index.html if you have the time. I am listed in the results list under "tived" like here ;-)

All the best,

Henrik

PS: My NAS runs at 120+ mb/s over gigabits NIC - so clearly there is room for improvement on a local system :-)




Dec 27, 2012 at 06:50 AM
rico
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p.2 #5 · p.2 #5 · Computer Build for Photo Editing - Need Recommendations


My personal machine has a pair of latest 8-core Xeon E5-2650 2.0GHz (up to 2.8 w/Turbo), and 64GB DDR3-1600 ECC (upgradable to 512GB with low-voltage DIMMS). The Tyan m/b has 4 GbE ports, which is a bit overkill for me. I just received this box and haven't decided on storage, but it will be something SAS. The temporary SATA drive is great if it doesn't seek.

Will run your bench on my office machine which has a SSD RAID (RAED really).

Memory price circa 1978 was $40,000,000 per GB in unadjusted dollars. Not really practical to deploy, let alone address. Type was static RAM for PDP-11/50 and we had 256KB to support multuser UNIX V7.



Dec 27, 2012 at 07:39 AM
arthurb
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p.2 #6 · p.2 #6 · Computer Build for Photo Editing - Need Recommendations


I built my own PCs right through the 2000s and built many for sale as well. In latter times it has become impossible to beat Dell on price here in the UK but I agree that it is nice to be able to choose what bits go into your PC.

That said, I bought an Apple Mac a couple of years ago and for photo work and music recording (my other hobby) the mac is much better. I too, have never looked back.



Dec 27, 2012 at 08:19 AM
15Bit
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p.2 #7 · p.2 #7 · Computer Build for Photo Editing - Need Recommendations


Wow, some serious builders here. I used to build and own dual socket machines (2 dual Pentiums, 2 dual Pentium Pros, 3 dual P3's and a dual Opteron hanging around in my past) but with modern multicore processors i don't think they are worth the money any more unless you have very specific needs and extremely well threaded software - a 16 core Xeon @2.8Ghz is a wonderful thing, but for most desktop needs (jobs that don't scale well will core-count) i would bet an overclocked i7 at 4.3-4.5Ghz will be as fast, or faster.

I don't know how well photoshop scales up, but testing with LR makes me think you gain more from clock speed than extra cores, once you have 4 cores to throw at it.

With respect to the RAM, if you are not doing large pano's with lots of layers i can't see any point to going over 16Gb. That said, the 32Gb sets don't come in at a big premium over the 16Gb ones.

SSD's are excellent, and i think well worth the money to boot off as they really improve responsiveness. For image storage spinning disks are more than fast enough though. Again, for LR the loading of images in the Develop module is CPU bound, not I/O bound. For Photoshop you only load the image once, and if you have enough RAM you don't touch the disks again.

There is one advantage to building your own over buying a pre-built workstation - overclocking. The Dell workstations are decent machines, but they don't implement overclocking in the same way as enthusiast motherboards.



Dec 27, 2012 at 09:12 AM
Ho1972
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p.2 #8 · p.2 #8 · Computer Build for Photo Editing - Need Recommendations


blob loblaw wrote:
The only way a computer will last 7 years is if you do not change from what you have right now
* camera
* operating system
* any new release of software like adobe, itunes, internet explorer, firefox, chrome, flash, etc.

You can safely keep adding storage, and maybe max out the RAM for the motherboard that you choose, but that's about it!

Just to give some perspective, 7 years ago it was
-Windows XP2
-Adobe CS2
-IE 6 (!!)
-Chrome did not exist at all
-Firefox 1 after it was 0.something for 3 years
-HTML5 was years away
-iPhone, iPad were years away
-depending on your location your internet was
...Show more

I just last month retired my 2005 machine. If support for XP was not going away, I likely would have kept it as my main editing platform for a little longer. My computer never really seemed to slow down as it aged; it was the only machine I did my work on so I had nothing to compare it to. And, as a general rule to keep me from premature hardware lust, I start ignoring benchmarks when my computers are about three years old.

Your list is interesting, but a bit puzzling and maybe not all that relevant since software and hardware can both be upgraded. No one is locked into using IE 6 forever or frozen out of installing Chrome (ick) if that's what they want to do. One need not keep a camera the same vintage as the computer either since every new version of Adobe brings updated camera support. Over the course of the years I added a new graphics card and an SSD to my 2005 machine. Up until the end, it was completely sufficient for ~90% of my daily processing. The only time I felt the full effects of limited RAM was when I was working on large files for print output (e.g., 24x36). The SSD (used for scratch, NOT for the OS) helped mitigate that to some extent.

Now it's 2012, I have a new computer and I fully expect to ride it into the dirt just like I did the last one (and the one before that). I understand that some people can't fathom using a machine for so long and feel that any computer approaching three years of service is a relic. That's fine. I don't care if they build five computers to my one. I rather spend my money on lenses.



Dec 27, 2012 at 11:34 AM
15Bit
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p.2 #9 · p.2 #9 · Computer Build for Photo Editing - Need Recommendations


I would agree with keeping computers running for several years. The raw performance increases are just not so great now as they used to be, and it is quite feasible to upgrade peripherals over time (I added an SSD and some other bits). I replaced my Q6600 with an i5-3570K 6 months ago, and when i checked the CPU performance (both online benchmarks and myself) it turns out that the i5 is actually only ~2x the speed of the Q6600 unless you are video encoding with quicksync or you need to use the VM instructions or encryption acceleration that the more modern CPUs have. Thats a 2x speed-up in 5 years of development. Compare to when i bought a Pentium 100 and a year later upgraded to the 200Mhz...

In truth the only reason i upgraded the Q6600 was that i needed more RAM (i had 4Gb) and the machine was becoming unstable due to a failing PSU. I figured that as i was changing PSU and RAM anyway, i might as well do the motherboard and CPU whilst i was there.

We still have a number of Pentium 4's floating around at work doing a good job as data collection / instrument control computers. I even had a P4 as my office desktop until january when they pretty much forced an upgrade on me as part of the Win7 roll out.


Edited on Dec 27, 2012 at 12:08 PM · View previous versions



Dec 27, 2012 at 12:08 PM
blob loblaw
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p.2 #10 · p.2 #10 · Computer Build for Photo Editing - Need Recommendations


Ho1972 wrote:
I just last month retired my 2005 machine. If support for XP was not going away, I likely would have kept it as my main editing platform for a little longer. My computer never really seemed to slow down as it aged; it was the only machine I did my work on so I had nothing to compare it to. And, as a general rule to keep me from premature hardware lust, I start ignoring benchmarks when my computers are about three years old.

Your list is interesting, but a bit puzzling and maybe not all that relevant since software
...Show more


It is just some food for thought how much our media has changed, from the size and volume of files to the richness of the online experience, which has become a big deal.
We did not have such CPU or browser intensive websites as we do today utilizing so much javascript and downloading relatively massive amounts of data.

This is just the browsers, and for something related to us, the Adobe collection has added a lot of tools that are CPU and memory (both bandwidth and amount) intensive as well, puppet warp, healing and fill come to mind and there is support now for GPU acceleration.
Of course all these new features added you do not have to use, but then you might as well not upgrade from CS2, LR1 and IE6
Lightroom did not exist by the way, so when that got released 2006 people were scrambling to upgrade their RAM and HDDs but things like the spot brush tool would still be painfully slow because it was dependent on the CPU only.

An SSD drive upgrade is definitely noticed as well as RAM amount, but this is only because you did not have an SSD or RAM maxed out. Where would you go if your 2005 PC already had a 5 drive raid0 and maxed out the RAM you can put in the motherboard?
Video card of course is great as well, but that does not add much to saving or loading files, moving sliders around in LR, etc. not yet anyway.

I ran that benchmark for gigapixel PTGui, and with a stopwatch it ran to 1min 40sec; that completes everything from pressing 'create panorama'. This is a simple modern PC, and it's an order of magnitude faster than my old 2005 (modernized) PC which is running it at 10+min

The D800 files are a good example and the main reason I chose to upgrade. My flow is using C1Pro and it was absolutely unbearable to wait for the loading times, changing of any of the sliders, etc, I can't quantify it in seconds, but there was nowhere to go in regards to upgrading the PC. Ram maxed out, SSD drive, GPu accelerated and support video card...

I feel you win regards to WindowsXP, but surely it is not just because Microsoft is pulling support? Security patches will be available you're just missing out on any new features.

Of course, this whole conversation is dependent on your usage habits and whether you want to do 'more' and use the latest available tools and apps.
I have older family members still on windows XP and Win98SE and they are happy (with no point of reference) with everything that they do.



Dec 27, 2012 at 12:08 PM
 

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15Bit
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p.2 #11 · p.2 #11 · Computer Build for Photo Editing - Need Recommendations


blob loblaw wrote:
I feel you win regards to WindowsXP, but surely it is not just because Microsoft is pulling support? Security patches will be available you're just missing out on any new features.


Actually, security patches will not be available - they are pulling all support in 15 months. No patches, no security updates, nothing. It is the actual end of the life-cycle.



Dec 27, 2012 at 12:14 PM
blob loblaw
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p.2 #12 · p.2 #12 · Computer Build for Photo Editing - Need Recommendations


15Bit wrote:
Actually, security patches will not be available - they are pulling all support in 15 months. No patches, no security updates, nothing. It is the actual end of the life-cycle.



Ouch, April 8, 2014. Thanks for the info I was mistaken!



Dec 27, 2012 at 12:16 PM
aubsxc
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p.2 #13 · p.2 #13 · Computer Build for Photo Editing - Need Recommendations


15Bit wrote:
Wow, some serious builders here. I used to build and own dual socket machines (2 dual Pentiums, 2 dual Pentium Pros, 3 dual P3's and a dual Opteron hanging around in my past) but with modern multicore processors i don't think they are worth the money any more unless you have very specific needs and extremely well threaded software - a 16 core Xeon @2.8Ghz is a wonderful thing, but for most desktop needs (jobs that don't scale well will core-count) i would bet an overclocked i7 at 4.3-4.5Ghz will be as fast, or faster.

I don't know how well photoshop
...Show more

Exactly. A $280 quad i7 2600K overclocked to 4.6 will handily beat a much more expensive Socket 2011 E5 Xeon with six or even eight cores and hyperthreading in most tasks, when the Xeon can only sppol up to 3.2GHz with Turbo on one or two physical cores. With current software, there are bigger gains to be realized with higher clockspeeds on quads which can easily be achieved with budget Z68 and Z77 boards, but pretty much impossible with OEM systems like Dell with locked BIOS' and/or locked processors (non-k Core i5 and i7 or modern E3 and E5 Xeons). Not to mention that you could build that fast Z68 or Z77 system for a fraction of what a professional workstation from Dell would set you back.



Dec 27, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Mataz426
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p.2 #14 · p.2 #14 · Computer Build for Photo Editing - Need Recommendations


blob loblaw wrote:
this sounds like an advertisement. guy joins forum today and first post is to recommend this case 3 times.
What is so great about this case?




Just trying to help the guy, as far as the case, it might be the last one you will have to buy, and it's a very quiet build
I'm into photography also



Dec 27, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Mataz426
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p.2 #15 · p.2 #15 · Computer Build for Photo Editing - Need Recommendations


tived wrote:
I also build PC's and repair friends Macpro's as needed. But we are all so different, that what seems logical to me is a nightmare for the next person. Likewise whats sufficient in computing power for one person here would be un=usable for the next person.

windows/mac, to build or buy ready to roll system, get what makes you feel comfortable, within your budget. Educate yourself, look at what gear you shoot with, the size of images you work with, how many images you shoot and how quick you want to process these. Look at your workflow, it can often make
...Show more

Yes I still use a dvd they are only $17.00 new, plus old software that you might have.



Dec 27, 2012 at 09:39 PM
rico
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p.2 #16 · p.2 #16 · Computer Build for Photo Editing - Need Recommendations


I just retired my year 2000 machine: dual Pentium 933MHz, 2GB SDRAM 133MHz w/two-way interleaving, PCI-X slots, five SCSI buses. This box was a monster in its time, and only needed hard drive replacements. Almost immediately, Moore's Law came off the rails, so I could ignore the Pentium 4 (thank God). My new machine is only 3x core-for-core.

The future of silicon computing, sad to say, is parallel. It's only good in the sense that I have decades of job security. Some tasks already run faster with multiple cores, others not. Compiling the Linux kernel (a tidy source tree) goes from one hour to four minutes - almost full 16-core utilization. Similarly for pigz, a multithreaded compressor that generates GZIP output. The gimp has multiple threads, but does nothing with them currently. RAW image conversion is amenable to massively parallel execution, although I don't know if commercial code does so. I mean to make my own demosiacer multithreaded since it takes two minutes per Canon 1Ds image!



Dec 27, 2012 at 09:41 PM
aubsxc
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p.2 #17 · p.2 #17 · Computer Build for Photo Editing - Need Recommendations


Mataz426 wrote:
Hello CorwinGraves, first post here. I would recommend building your own PC, I've been building mine since the 90's. PC components are pretty cheap, and you won't get all that pre loaded junk from dell or another manufacture, plus if a part fails (not likely) you can just swap out that part. I would highly recommend a LIAN LI PC-A71F full tower case, it's a tool less and elegant case, and super roomy. Go to hardocp dot com, hardforum, General Hardware, and you will find a lot of builds for you're needs. I would get a core i7 quad core,
...Show more


From personal experience, I would recommend against going with the Lian Li PC-A71F and similar cases. Both my A71F and slightly older PC-A70B have stripped threads on the motherboard plate which happened the first time I tried to replace the motherboard, which happens frequently with my computers (I play with a lot of different hardware). The plate itself is made of extremely thin Aluminum and flexes significantly with load (trying to mount heavy grphics cards and heatsinks). Also from personal experience, I would recommend a current generation case from Coolermaster or Corsair, something like the HAF 912 or 400R or 500R for a regular board, or bigger (HAF-X) if you are going with a bigger board in the E-ATX or CEB form factor. Much less expensive, built like a tank, efficient cooling and very well laid out. If you want a quiet case, look at the Fractal Design Define R4 or Antec P280, both of which are also very well built and have soundproofing on the panels as standard.

EDIT: Newegg is running a special on the Corsair 600T right now. At $100 shipped after rebate this is very good value for the money.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811139007


Edited on Dec 27, 2012 at 10:42 PM · View previous versions



Dec 27, 2012 at 10:34 PM
CorwinGraves
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p.2 #18 · p.2 #18 · Computer Build for Photo Editing - Need Recommendations


Thanks for the comments and please keep them coming. I haven't decided yet what I'm going to do, as I'm still torn between buying and building, though I'm leaning toward building.

Anyone care to point out the disadvantages of going with the Dell 9010 Minitower that was mentioned above? From what I can tell, possible downsides could include inability to overclock, small case and small PSU, though I assume Dell would supply the appropriate PSU to get the job done. The nice thing about it is that it includes Win 7 Pro and 3 years support.



Dec 27, 2012 at 10:42 PM
hugodrax
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p.2 #19 · p.2 #19 · Computer Build for Photo Editing - Need Recommendations


CorwinGraves wrote:
Thanks for the comments and please keep them coming. I haven't decided yet what I'm going to do, as I'm still torn between buying and building, though I'm leaning toward building.

Anyone care to point out the disadvantages of going with the Dell 9010 Minitower that was mentioned above? From what I can tell, possible downsides could include inability to overclock, small case and small PSU, though I assume Dell would supply the appropriate PSU to get the job done. The nice thing about it is that it includes Win 7 Pro and 3 years support.



Why would you want to overclock? The only reason people overclock is to show off how many Mhz they can push. Why add instability and the risk of data corruption so you can overclock an extra 200 Mhz which will not improve your photo processing speed since the 3770 CPU is already super powerful already.

Now if your goal is to build a PC and play around with the bios all day trying to get an extra mhz or two then I recommend building.

But if your goal is photography then I would recommend against building a computer.

The power supply dell would choose would be appropriate, since it is not in their best interests to put in a crap PSU when they are selling that computer with a 3 year next business day onsite support. Just one visit because they skimped on the PSU means they lost money to save a few cents.

The Optiplex models are rock solid, they are the business version of the desktops with better quality components and they do not load the computers up with crapware like the regular consumer models. You do not need a monster case since now so much is on the motherboard. Paying 230 bucks for a case is a foolish venture.

Back in the days you did need a big case because you needed to buy a Sound card, a IDE card, a serial I/O card, a parallel adapter card and video card, etc.. Now all the I/O etc.. is on a chip on the MB and all the ports built in.

With the 3770 CPU in that optiplex you will find out that 90% of the time the CPUs sit idle doing nothing. CPUs today are just insanely powerful.





Dec 28, 2012 at 12:04 AM
CorwinGraves
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p.2 #20 · p.2 #20 · Computer Build for Photo Editing - Need Recommendations


hugodrax wrote:
Why would you want to overclock? The only reason people overclock is to show off how many Mhz they can push. Why add instability and the risk of data corruption so you can overclock an extra 200 Mhz which will not improve your photo processing speed since the 3770 CPU is already super powerful already.

Now if your goal is to build a PC and play around with the bios all day trying to get an extra mhz or two then I recommend building.

But if your goal is photography then I would recommend against building a computer.

The power supply dell would
...Show more

Thanks for your response. It's quite helpful.



Dec 28, 2012 at 01:33 AM
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