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Archive 2013 · Building a PC
  
 
gome1122
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Building a PC


For those of you that have built a PC for photo processing, what did you use. I have a case from an older PC that I can use and also the CD/sub ports on it are still good. What are the major things that you go for it(CPU, motherboard, processor etc. As far as software for it I will be using lightroom on it and storing most photos(if not all) on a Western Digital HD


Feb 02, 2013 at 10:00 PM
C Parish
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Building a PC


I would suggest fastest intel CPU you can afford on a mobo that has the features you want with 16 Gb memory and an ssd for a boot drive as well as running Lightroom from and a traditional HD for storage.

Cheers



Feb 02, 2013 at 11:19 PM
hugowolf
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Building a PC


I recently did this (again), and would suggest SSD for apps and HDD for data. I would also suggest a RAID HDD pair. I went for 32 GB of RAM this time, the cost differentail between 16 and 32 didn't seem like a lot. For the first time in well over a decade, I went for Intel onboard graphics.

Brian A



Feb 03, 2013 at 01:49 AM
Bifurcator
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Building a PC


I like using slightly older Apple workstations. A 2008 8-core 2.8ghz Xeon unit runs only around 4 or 5 hundred. It'll take 64GB ram and 32GB for that model is only around 3 hundred right now. 4 drive bays and two eSATA ports make for some nice fast storage options too.






Feb 04, 2013 at 06:17 AM
Snead
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Building a PC


I've built PCs for many years and here's what I've learned. Forget your old PC case. Buy the best case and power supply you can afford because over the years that is the one item that you won't change. Buy a motherboard that can easily over clock your processor. I'm not talking about wild over clocking, I've been running an Intel i7 2.6 @ 3.6 for 3 years and it's very stable using a slightly larger CPU fan. Use at least 6GB of memory. You can add more later if you like. For image processing you won't need a really an expensive graphics card as long as it's OpenCL compliant. Use an 256MB SSD for your operating system and graphics programs and a 1T or 2T hard drive for image storage. This type of setup will cost you a little more at first but later when you want to upgrade (and you will want to) you wouldn't have to buy everything again.



Edited on Feb 04, 2013 at 01:22 PM · View previous versions



Feb 04, 2013 at 01:00 PM
Ishotharold
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Building a PC


1-2TB will run out very quickly. It's defenitly worth looking at some sort of a tower raid system that stands alone for storage.


Feb 04, 2013 at 01:17 PM
morganb4
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Building a PC


Agree with Snead mostly except triple channel isnt really current anymore. New generations of i chips use either dual or quad channel.

A good case is important for airflow if your going to overclock. Get one with good cable management like the Corsair 600T

Some boards OC better than others, some boards seem to sacrifice overclockability with ease of overclocking.

I dont recommend going over 16GB because you start to pay a penalty in ram timings with higher density chips. Get 4x4GB, its a relatively small cost.

Couldnt be happier with my 3930K, its on a X79-UD3 board which drives it at 4.5GHz. I can not clock it past that and I suspect I am hitting the ceiling of the board and not the chip. My display is a DellU2711 driven by an nvidia GTX680 OC 4GB.

Spend up on a quality PSU - a cheapo no-name brand that blows will often take out other components. Estimate your power requirement and then exceed it significantly. Mine is a 750 Thermaltake Toughpower XT to cover an estimated max pull of about 450-500 Watts.

Bifurcator has a good suggestion too.

Edited on Feb 04, 2013 at 09:17 PM · View previous versions



Feb 04, 2013 at 01:22 PM
morganb4
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Building a PC


Ishotharold wrote:
1-2TB will run out very quickly. It's defenitly worth looking at some sort of a tower raid system that stands alone for storage.


We cant say that for sure as we dont know the OP storage requirements. I get through about 2TB a year as a professional shooting RAW, I hold onto a lot more images than I should.



Feb 04, 2013 at 01:23 PM
dgdg
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Building a PC


I just go over the Toms hardware website and find their recent pc builds. I pick the one for my needs and budget, tweaking the components as needed. There are many computer builds that will work just fine for you. I imagine a good home use photographer's pc would set you back $1,000. If you are doing a lot professionally, probably more expensive for speed. Hard drives are cheap, get a big one. Internal raid drives sound nice, but unless you are tech savvy, not worth the extra effort. However, a mirror raid is a plus if you can set it up and run the monitoring software. You'll need a big external back up for whichever backup solution you choose.


Feb 04, 2013 at 02:30 PM
Eiremon
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Building a PC


Good advice here. I have been building my own machines for a while. To echo some of the advice given:

- Buy a nice case. Modern cases are much easier to get around and come with some nice features (e.g. USB 3.0) which you may want. You can keep the case for a long time and upgrade the components if you outgrow them. Newegg sells some great ones at a low cost - Cooler Master is my choice. I recently upgraded to this one and really like it:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119197

- Overclock. I have an i7-920 CPU which I ran stock for years. I finally decided to try overclocking (lot's of simple guides on YouTube) and what a difference - much faster now. You will need a motherboard which is relatively easy to customize.

- CPU fan. You will want to upgrade this as the overclocking needs good cooling. They are not expensive.

- SSD as a primary drive. Much faster than traditional 7200rpm drives.

- RAM is cheap - get lot's of it.

- Good power supply. The newer ones have much better cabling and are much easier to manage inside the case.



Feb 04, 2013 at 02:56 PM
 

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Shutterbug2006
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Building a PC


gome1122 wrote:
For those of you that have built a PC for photo processing, what did you use. I have a case from an older PC that I can use and also the CD/sub ports on it are still good. What are the major things that you go for it(CPU, motherboard, processor etc. As far as software for it I will be using lightroom on it and storing most photos(if not all) on a Western Digital HD


PC Power and Cooling makes nice reliable, efficient and quiet power supplies.

http://www.pcpower.com/index.html

I'd recommend Intel's 6-core 12-thread i7-3930k processor to drive your system, but if you want to save some money at the expense of performance, you could look at AMD's FX 8350 8-core processor.

There are a lot of motherboards to choose from. ASUS is a popular choice. All of the major players have models that include on-board firewire, e-sata, usb 3. Some will offer on-board RAID controllers. Whichever board you choose, look carefully at user manual before choosing the brand and type of memory you purchase.

Using a solid state drive for the operating system and programs will make the system seem snappier.

The type of tower case I have allows me to have a large, quiet cooling-fan in front of the hard drive bay, and I have one mounted on the back of the case.

While you might be successful taking a hard drive from an old system and getting it to boot up into the old operating system where you can install necessary drivers to make things work, you will always be much better off starting with a fresh installation of the operating system. You can install a fresh copy of an operating system and use PC Mover Professional from LapLink to transfer all your serialized or licensed software and data from the old to the new PC.

http://www.laplink.com/index.php/individuals/pcmover-for-windows-8/pcmover-professional-8

Sometimes you can buy pre-built systems with a full warranty for less than what it will cost to build it yourself. Future Shop and Best Buy had 8-core AMD tower computers with 16GB, 128GB SSD and a 2 TB hard drive plus a 2GB nVidea video card for about $1100 during a sale (with Windows 8 -ugh) in the last two months.



Feb 05, 2013 at 01:16 AM
rico
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Building a PC


SSD is great if you plan to reboot often. Otherwise, the most important resource is RAM. Recently had a photocentric machine built for me, and it sports 64GB (512GB max). Dual-Xeon mobos are expandable that way. Second most important feature is the video pathway: in my case, the Eizo SX2762W and nVidia Quadro 600. This combo allows 10 bits/channel, or 30 bits of total color. The Eizo is 27" of extended (AbobeRGB) gamut, with options to calibrate the onboard LUT. As always, choose top-grade for the other components (e.g. Tyan m/b, PCPower&Cooling, Samsung DIMMs) to avoid reliability headaches.


Feb 05, 2013 at 04:59 AM
15Bit
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Building a PC


You have several budget levels to choose from here (ignoring second hand options).

Level 1: Quad core i5 / i7, up to 32Gb RAM.
Level 2: Hex Core i7, up to 64Gb RAM
Level 3: Dual socket Xeon (with 6 or 8 cores each), up to lots of RAM


Level 1 is what most folk buy, usually an i5-3570K or i7-3770K, and overclock. For LR the hyperthreading cores of the i7-3770K apparently add very little, so a 3570K is probably better value. Photoshop and other apps will make more use of hyperthreading though. Either CPU will overclock up to 4.3-4.5Ghz with little effort.

Level 2 is a few hundred $ more than Level 1 and offers some performance benefit over Level 1, but its questionable whether it is worth the extra money. See the recent LR performance thread for details on that (http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1165920), and maybe have a PM chat with morganb4 as he just upgraded from "Level 1" to "Level 2".

Level 3 will cost you a kidney or two, but will fly.

The SSD arguments will continue to rage for years to come i think. Personally i like the extra snappiness an SSD brings to my computer, so i boot from one. I don't see much advantage in LR to hosting images on a (second) SSD though. I have tried it and it was not much different.

There is little point buying a Graphics card for LR - it has no video card acceleration for still images, only a bit of OpenGL acceleration for movies. As for Hyperthreading though, photoshop makes more use of video card acceleration.

I would also echo the comment above with respect to PSU's - don't go cheap here. A decent PSU will come with 5-7 years warranty and provide years of reliable service. A cheap PSU could well die spectacularly after a few months and take out the rest of the PC hardware when it does.



Feb 05, 2013 at 07:06 AM
Bifurcator
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Building a PC


Thanks morganb4,
Also on the same line of reasoning:

Ishotharold wrote:
1-2TB will run out very quickly. It's defenitly worth looking at some sort of a tower raid system that stands alone for storage.


I have three 2-drive software raids in my Mac Pro. Each drive is 3TB and the raid is RAID0. So that's 18TB inside the box and lightening fast too. The newish Barracuda 3TB (ST3000DM001) drives are just amazing! Easily as fast as the fastest single SSD solution - when 2 are in a RAID0 configuration (and only $100 a pop). I'm booting externally but if you were to partition one of those RAIDS the OS would scream! I posted some screenshots of their benchmark results and people didn't even want to believe it - funny but true.




So anyway, stand-alone storage devices are really only an extra expense IMO. Used for off-line backups they're good tho.

BTW, if you like (or need) Windows more than OS X you can install Windows on the machine directly and never even see OS X. I had Win7 on duel-boot for a little while - everything works as if it were a pure bread Xeon Windows box - speed, cards, ports, the lot....



Feb 06, 2013 at 04:44 AM
DorkSterr
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Building a PC


Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge 3.5GHz (3.9GHz Turbo) @ $329.99

ASUS Maximus V @ $299.99

CORSAIR DOMINATOR GT 8GB X2 @ $93.99 Each

Rest is up to you. Terabytes of space, with your main drive as an SSD! Its an alright budget rig I suppose.



Feb 06, 2013 at 04:58 AM
rico
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Building a PC


15Bit wrote:
You have several budget levels to choose from here (ignoring second hand options).
...
The SSD arguments will continue to rage for years to come i think. Personally i like the extra snappiness an SSD brings to my computer, so i boot from one. I don't see much advantage in LR to hosting images on a (second) SSD though. I have tried it and it was not much different.

Nice writeup! Despite my earlier comment about SSD, I ordered one for my main machine to be used as root device. Benchmarking should be amusing. Spec sheet (Intel Cherryville 240GB) shows performance is pegged by the 6Gb/s SATA III interface. Also, the Sandforce compressing controller doesn't look so hot for uncompressible data, reaching just 250MB/s for sequence write. The killer "SSD" model is the 900 Series, an enterprise-grade PCIe board with sequential read rate of 2000MB/s (no typo). It also survives power failure without spilling your unwritten data on the floor (unlike consumer models). Of course, the price is hideous.



Feb 06, 2013 at 06:12 AM
15Bit
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Building a PC


Rico,

The limitations of sandforce drives with incompressible data are well known, though to be honest 250Mb/sec isn't exactly slow. Its not that long since i was well pleased to be getting 5Mb/sec

I buy Samsung SSDs for the more consistent performance with incompressible data, but i can truthfully say that this is a benchmark based rather than experience based decision on my part as i doubt i would see the differences between any modern consumer SSD's - all are more than fast enough.

A direct PCIe-attached drive would indeed be nice, but would be something of an extravagance on my desktop PC i think.



Feb 06, 2013 at 06:23 AM
rico
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Building a PC


Samsung 840 SSD was enticing, but I read enough about firmware issues to get nervous, and the build quality doesn't match the Intel models. The Seagate ST3000DM001, meanwhile, is speedy for 7200rpm, getting up to 210MB/s sustained. Disturbing is the error rate of 1 unrecovered sector per 10^14 bits read. That amounts to just four full drive scans - absolutely unacceptable. 10^17 is a minimum for me, and the enterprise SSDs boast 10^18.


Feb 06, 2013 at 06:33 AM
Bifurcator
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Building a PC


For me in the way I view things I think the square bulky SATA SSD drives are dead. With about the same speed you get 4 times the capacity at half the price with SSHD drives - and that's a factor of 8 to 1. If it's speed you want there are duel mSATA adapters for between $25 and $75 like so: http://www.mfactors.com/dual-msata-to-sataii-2-5-inches-ssd-adapter/ and these little mSATA guys are the same speed as a full-sized SSD. With the adaptor they're two of them in a processored RAID0 so it's about twice the speed of the fastest SSD you can buy on a consumer budget! Here's a single mSATA SSD in a laptop:


http://www.liteonssd.com/datasheet/M3M.pdf


Two of those in such an adaptor as linked above would be roughly two times these speeds. And AFAIK mSATA drives are fairly cheap. So 800 MB/s writes and 1 GB/s reads for about $300 a pop or something. If you're only considering a single (full sized) SSD just forget the idea and get an SSHD instead! Virtually the same speed, larger capacity, and lots cheaper!




Feb 06, 2013 at 07:15 AM
gabimaster
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Building a PC


You could save some money choosing a smart configuration (powerful but not expensive) :
3570K Ivy Bridge i5 CPU , a 120-180 Gb Intel 520 SSD(for the OS) , 2X HDD 1Tb (choose WD RE 4 if you want to configure it in RAID), 16 gB Ram DDR3 1600 (2X 8gb), an ASUS or Gigabyte motherboard with Z77 chipset, a graphic card with Nvidia GTX 660 GPU it should be enough, and "voila",a powerful PC for a decent amount of money. A Dell U 2412h should complete your PC (don't forget about the case,a DVD-WR and a good PSU ).



Feb 06, 2013 at 09:43 AM
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