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Archive 2013 · I need a new computer
  
 
Deanh
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p.1 #1 · I need a new computer


I am starting to look at a computer upgrade, I have a Windows systems now want stay Windows based. I use it for Lightroom, Photoshop, some gaming etc.

My priorities are fast file downloads, fast Lightroom catalog management, fast photograph processing and reliability. USB 3 and Thunderbolt connections are preferred as I think these are the fastest consumer connections right now, kinda not been paying attention to computer specs the last several years.

I have a Dell and generally like them, but will go to whatever builder that offers what I want. I stopped building my own systems a long time ago.

Can you get Windows systems with Thunderbolt? Are there Thunderbolt CF card readers?

I am also looking at a DROBO for backup, I think they are both USB 3 and Thunderbolt.

What minimum processor, motherboard, RAM would you recommend? Any general specs that you consider minimum? Dell still making reliable stuff?



Apr 02, 2013 at 03:10 AM
Sunny Sra
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p.1 #2 · I need a new computer


What is your budget? WIthout knowing the budget a CPU alone can be between $300 or $1800


Apr 02, 2013 at 04:30 AM
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p.1 #3 · I need a new computer


Lightroom needs as much horsepower as you can give it (both cores and clockspeed), and for now has no graphics card acceleration. It is reported by many to be more responsive running catalogues from an SSD, though i haven't found that to be the case myself. There is a relevant thread here: http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1165920/

Personally, i think the best value for money is an overclocked i5-3570K, 8-16Gb RAM and an SSD to boot from. If you are gaming, then your graphics card choice will be dictated by that. If you have the money to throw at the computer, a 6 core i7-3930K is the chip to get. If you are buying pre-built from Dell etc, you will probably have to forego the overclockable processor, so just get the fastest chip you can.

I think the choice between AMD and NVidia is interesting at the moment as they offer equivalent gaming performance at each price segment, but AMD seems to be a long way ahead in terms of OpenCL compute performance. Phase One has had OpenCL acceleration in Capture One for a couple of versions now and Adobe have started using it in Photoshop too. I suspect the next version of LR will have OpenCL acceleration also.



Apr 02, 2013 at 05:44 AM
gabimaster
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p.1 #4 · I need a new computer


i5-3570k , 16 Gb Ram 1600 Mhz, a graphic card powered by GTX 660 (Nvidia chip) should be ok, a 180 Gb SSD Intel 520 + a 2Tb WD Caviar black HDD , case,power supply ,etc - pretty cheap but powerful !!!


Apr 02, 2013 at 09:32 AM
howardm4
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p.1 #5 · I need a new computer


+1

Just yesterday I put the finishing touches on a i7-3770, Gigabyt Z77-UP5 TH (with Thunderbolt) mobo, GTX650 and 256G Sandisk SSD system.

A great advantage (for me) is that that mobo is also OSX friendly so dual boot is possible.



Apr 02, 2013 at 11:45 AM
irish-george
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p.1 #6 · I need a new computer


I'm not too sure why you'd want to waste money on Thunderbolt at the moment...it's been around a few years now and still the only peripheral I see for it is external hard drives and for that eSATA is the same speed. Personally, I think its biggest attraction is for external graphics cards for laptops...if they ever come out with any.
If you're not a hard-core gamer, you might want to consider one of the new GTX 650 Ti BOOST graphics cards.



Apr 02, 2013 at 12:00 PM
Sarsfield
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p.1 #7 · I need a new computer


I know you said you stopped building comp's a long time ago. With today's almost fully modular components, a monkey could build the fastest Windows system on the planet for about 1/3 of what it would cost to have someone build. If you could even get the components you want from Dell or HP or Toshiba or Lenovo or the boutique builders. I would spec out a nice fast system using the many online resources you can use, order the components from Newegg or whoever has the best prices and put it together in an afternoon. I had mine up and running in about 2.5 hours. Just do it. You will love seeing that thing light up when you turn the power on. Oh, and stick to Win 7 when you get it. You'll be happier.


Apr 02, 2013 at 03:59 PM
aubsxc
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p.1 #8 · I need a new computer


Sarsfield wrote:
I know you said you stopped building comp's a long time ago. With today's almost fully modular components, a monkey could build the fastest Windows system on the planet for about 1/3 of what it would cost to have someone build. If you could even get the components you want from Dell or HP or Toshiba or Lenovo or the boutique builders. I would spec out a nice fast system using the many online resources you can use, order the components from Newegg or whoever has the best prices and put it together in an afternoon. I had mine up
...Show more


This. If you have built your own in the past, that is an added bonus, as it has gotten a lot easier. For buying a PC today you essentially have two choices:

1. Buy from Dell/HP or similar: These systems typically use inexpensive components manufactured by anonymous OEMs which are selected based on prices Dell/HP can negotiate with them. You will not find premium $300 motherborads and power supplies in these systems.

2. Boutique builders like Puget Systems, who will build you a premium system with name brand parts but at a premium price.

Cut out the middleman and you can save a chunk of cash. A budget sytem using an i5 quad and 16GB memory will set you back about $1,000 to 1,200, a midrange system with an i7 quad about $1,400 to to $1,800, a high end 6 core i7 SB-E system with 32GB meory about $2,000 or more, and a full on video editing rig with dual socket Xeon hex or octo core processors with 64GB or more ram anywhere from $3,000 to $8,000.

If you decide to roll your own and need help selecting components send me a PM and I will put together a list of parts based on your budget that you can use as a starting point.



Apr 02, 2013 at 04:51 PM
jj_glos
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p.1 #9 · I need a new computer


Sarsfield wrote:
I know you said you stopped building comp's a long time ago. With today's almost fully modular components, a monkey could build the fastest Windows system on the planet for about 1/3 of what it would cost to have someone build. If you could even get the components you want from Dell or HP or Toshiba or Lenovo or the boutique builders. I would spec out a nice fast system using the many online resources you can use, order the components from Newegg or whoever has the best prices and put it together in an afternoon. I had mine up
...Show more

PC's have never been that difficult to build. I'd love to see your build list where you can build your own top system for the 1/3 of the cost from that of a specialist builder. There are some savings to be made but nowhere near 66%!



Apr 02, 2013 at 08:25 PM
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p.1 #10 · I need a new computer


jj_glos wrote:
PC's have never been that difficult to build. I'd love to see your build list where you can build your own top system for the 1/3 of the cost from that of a specialist builder. There are some savings to be made but nowhere near 66%!


I would agree. Every time i priced up home built vs vendor systems they came out quite similar once the cost of a copy of Windows was included. The difference being that the parts i chose were a grade higher. The big savings come with the ability to upgrade and re-use existing parts.



Apr 02, 2013 at 08:39 PM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



aubsxc
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p.1 #11 · I need a new computer


jj_glos wrote:
PC's have never been that difficult to build. I'd love to see your build list where you can build your own top system for the 1/3 of the cost from that of a specialist builder. There are some savings to be made but nowhere near 66%!


Based on a little research I did a few months ago, a computer that Puget Systems might sell for about $2,500 would set you back about $1,500 to 1,600 if you built it yourself using brand new parts. So a saving of about 35 to 40% would be more in line with my experience.



Apr 02, 2013 at 09:24 PM
alatoo60
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p.1 #12 · I need a new computer


Was recently facing a very similar choice and ended up buying a Gateway PC, although since the time I bought it the price went slightly up. It's a nice system, easily upgradeable, but right now, I am very happy with the speed as is.



Apr 02, 2013 at 11:26 PM
aubsxc
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p.1 #13 · I need a new computer


alatoo60 wrote:
Was recently facing a very similar choice and ended up buying a Gateway PC, although since the time I bought it the price went slightly up. It's a nice system, easily upgradeable, but right now, I am very happy with the speed as is.


One problem with buying a Dell or Gateway is that these systems can't be overclocked. With modern Intel unlocked processors it is trivially simple to bump up speeds by 25 to 30 percent by spending 10 mins changing a few parameters in the BIOS. An overclocked 3770k ($300 retail) running at 4.5 GHz will be faster in Ligthroom than a Xeon octocore E5 priced at $2,000. Another issue is that these systems are built using budget OEM components, and quality can be iffy.



Apr 02, 2013 at 11:58 PM
alatoo60
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p.1 #14 · I need a new computer


aubsxc wrote:
An overclocked 3770k ($300 retail) running at 4.5 GHz will be faster in Ligthroom than a Xeon octocore E5 priced at $2,000. Another issue is that these systems are built using budget OEM components, and quality can be iffy.
Quality can be iffy in any computer. Per my observation, price is no guarantee for the quality. My daughter's Mac Pro failed three times in four years, while her 10-year old Compaq laptop that was dropped and spilled on more than one can count, still works just fine.
As about overclocking, prior to buying computer, I spoke to my friend, Intel system architect. His recommendation was to get Ivy Bridge, good motherboard, SSD with the fastest read/write time, lots of memory, and not to bother with overclocking. Don't remember what exactly was his argument, but the main idea was that even if the processor speed appears higher, you will actually gain very little in overall performance.



Apr 03, 2013 at 12:57 AM
Sarsfield
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p.1 #15 · I need a new computer


There are some savings to be made but nowhere near 66%!

Just check it out for yourself. However, make sure you go to Puget and select the top end components for the build. Then price it out to do yourself. I know it's at least 50% that you'll save because this is what I did.



Apr 03, 2013 at 01:44 AM
15Bit
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p.1 #16 · I need a new computer


alatoo60 wrote:
Don't remember what exactly was his argument, but the main idea was that even if the processor speed appears higher, you will actually gain very little in overall performance.


In a sense that can be correct. The i5-3570K without overclocking will spin up to 3.9Ghz on a single core when loaded, which isn't all that much different to a easy overclock at 4.2-4.3Ghz. So for single threaded applications there is not so much gain.

The big gain is in software that uses all 4 cores. The i5-3570K won't speed up appreciably if all 4 cores are loaded, meaning that it will be running at the standard 3.4Ghz or nearby. If you overclock then you can have all 4 cores running at the overclocked speed, which *is* an appreciable performance boost. For sure i see the difference when running LR, though i'll admit i don't see the difference for any other software i use.



Apr 03, 2013 at 05:40 AM
rico
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p.1 #17 · I need a new computer


Single-threaded speed is not the compelling reason for Xeon, although fast standard-clocked Xeons are available for a princely sum. I have dual Xeon boxes for the ECC memory support, four channels to main memory per CPU, 20MB of L3 per CPU, and 16 cores. With suitably distributed workloads, this rig offers heavy-lift capability, and rock-solid reliability. Overclocking doesn't enter the equation. All the components are top-grade, name brand, and easy to access and service in a big pedestal case (Liteon FS020).

As I said in previous threads, the first optimization for for any machine (consumer or server) is RAM, lots of RAM. At least 32GB. An expensive (or overclocked) CPU waiting for mass storage is not much of an asset.



Apr 03, 2013 at 07:01 AM
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p.1 #18 · I need a new computer


rico wrote:
I have dual Xeon boxes for the ECC memory support, four channels to main memory per CPU, 20MB of L3 per CPU, and 16 cores. With suitably distributed workloads, this rig offers heavy-lift capability, and rock-solid reliability.


Heavy lifting generally comes with a heavy price tag - i'll bet that wasn't cheap...



Apr 03, 2013 at 07:23 AM
Mr645
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p.1 #19 · I need a new computer


I would go for the i7. I have both i5 and i7 machines and when it comes to processing data, like RAW files, the i7 is much faster. I have an i5 2.5 quad and an i7 2.3 quad. The i7 is much faster.


Apr 03, 2013 at 02:49 PM
aubsxc
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p.1 #20 · I need a new computer


alatoo60 wrote:
aubsxc wrote:
An overclocked 3770k ($300 retail) running at 4.5 GHz will be faster in Ligthroom than a Xeon octocore E5 priced at $2,000. Another issue is that these systems are built using budget OEM components, and quality can be iffy.
Quality can be iffy in any computer. Per my observation, price is no guarantee for the quality. My daughter's Mac Pro failed three times in four years, while her 10-year old Compaq laptop that was dropped and spilled on more than one can count, still works just fine.



As you found out with the MacPro, price alone does not a guarantee quality (Apple uses OEMs like Foxconn and Delta to build their parts, just like Dell/HP/Compaq. Apple just marks up their prices a lot more than the others). However, one thing you can be sure of is that if an OEM is selling a motherboard to Dell for $34 a unit, or a power supply for $19 a unit, said mobo and PSU cannot be built to the same standards as the mobo Asus or Gigabyte sells for $200 to $300 or the Platinum PSU Seasonic sells for $120. A good board from Asus or Gigabyte (or any other name brand maker) will be built using better quality components (all the bits and pieces stuck to the board), will typically include a server grade Intel LAN chip, an upper end sound chip from Realtek or Creative, solid Japanese caps/power phases and VRMs that deliver the power to the CPU, chipset and perpherals, more features (additional USB3.0 ports, SATA ports, raid) and so on. This is not to say that the $34 board that Dell puts in their machine is defective, or that it will not function as designed over the life of the computer, it is just a lower quality part with fewer features built to a lower specification. If you build your computer, the kep is to do your research and figure out which parts have the best reputation.


As about overclocking, prior to buying computer, I spoke to my friend, Intel system architect. His recommendation was to get Ivy Bridge, good motherboard, SSD with the fastest read/write time, lots of memory, and not to bother with overclocking. Don't remember what exactly was his argument, but the main idea was that even if the processor speed appears higher, you will actually gain very little in overall performance.

If you overclock the CPU, the processor speed does not just APPEAR higher, it IS higher. If a process is not bottlenecked by I/O (disk/ram/PCIe bus), overclocking can get you signiifcant gains. If encoding a video stream takes 10 mins on a stock processor, you may be able to cut the run time down to 7.5 mins or less with overclocking. Spend a few minutes looking through the benches on the page linked below as they illustrate the gains you can achieve by overclocking your cpu:

http://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/asus_maximus_iv_gene_z_review,15.html

http://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/asus_maximus_iv_gene_z_review,14.html

Manufactirers like Dell lock their BIOSs to prevent overclocking because their hardware is built to minimum specs based on cost and will not safely handle overclocked demands well. If you buy from a place like Puget or build your own, you set the speed based on what you are comfortable with.



Apr 03, 2013 at 04:53 PM
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