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Old 01-05-2015, 10:53 AM   #1
SamDoe1
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New computer build help

Hey guys, I finally upgraded to LR5 for photography work and quickly discovered that my old machine just isn't cutting it anymore in terms of performance so it seems to be time to upgrade. I'm looking to spend less than $1k on a machine (excluding display, including if possible though) for general cruising the internet, document editing work, streaming media to TV, listening to music (will be adding a BT adapter to stream), and PS/LR work. This machine will NOT be used for gaming at all, whatsoever but I don't want to build one every other year. My current one has lasted 5 years, I want this one to do the same. Also, please don't recommend a Mac, I don't want one.

Here's my starting point, tear it apart and recommend what you can for changes:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($214.48 @ Micro Center)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus Z97-A ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($146.98 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($146.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Crucial MX100 256GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($104.99 @ B&H)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($54.99 @ B&H)
Video Card: Asus Radeon HD 7770 2GB Video Card
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Black Pearl) ATX Mid Tower Case ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair RM 750W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($21.43 @ Micro Center)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($138.04)
Wireless Network Adapter: TP-Link TL-WN881ND 802.11b/g/n PCI-Express x1 Wi-Fi Adapter ($19.22 @ Newegg)
Total: $1057.09
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-01-05 10:51 EST-0500

Above is not really a final parts list. I'm going to try and find combo part deals as much as possible to save some more cash.
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Old 01-05-2015, 11:23 AM   #2
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I don't think I would change anything about that, it will be more than enough for what you need it to do.
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Old 01-05-2015, 11:26 AM   #3
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Thanks, would you lower any of the specs? I also don't want to overkill it and get stuff I don't need.
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Old 01-05-2015, 11:29 AM   #4
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I ran mine with no video card for 6 months without any issues. The newer Intel chips have integrated graphics that really aren't bad at all. And photoshop /LR won't be using your video card, they're doing number crunching in the processor so memory and cpu speed are more important than graphics in that case.
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Old 01-05-2015, 11:34 AM   #5
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Don't think you need a 750W power supply. This 550 Corsair should be more than enough (80+ Gold too), and it's only $40: http://pcpartpicker.com/part/corsair...-supply-cs550m

Other than that, everything looks good. ASUS have great parts, and they're always what I use.
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Old 01-05-2015, 11:38 AM   #6
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If you want to do LR (any photographic work, for that matter), a video card is a must.
I would lower the power supply to 500W (600W tops). While that doesn't save you much in money it will be more efficient (energy wise). People over-do power but they work best at 70-90% max load (they are designed for that).
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Old 01-05-2015, 11:44 AM   #7
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You could also check out EVGA power supplies. I've seen a lot of them on sale recently for great prices, as long as you're willing to deal with mail-in rebates. Plus, as Cowmoo32 alluded to, you can shave down the GPU and save some $$$ too. If you want integrated graphics, you'd have to up the CPU to an i7. I think (not hip to on board gfx)! You could easily scale the vid card back to something much cheaper if you're not gaming.
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Old 01-05-2015, 11:46 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaplian View Post
Don't think you need a 750W power supply. This 550 Corsair should be more than enough (80+ Gold too), and it's only $40: http://pcpartpicker.com/part/corsair...-supply-cs550m

Other than that, everything looks good. ASUS have great parts, and they're always what I use.
Thanks, I'll lower it down. ASUS has always been good to me, I have an ASRock in my current machine and I hate it. Had so much trouble wiring things and getting it working properly. Had to exchange it out twice for defective memory slots too. Never again.

Thoughts on MSI parts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cowmoo32 View Post
I ran mine with no video card for 6 months without any issues. The newer Intel chips have integrated graphics that really aren't bad at all. And photoshop /LR won't be using your video card, they're doing number crunching in the processor so memory and cpu speed are more important than graphics in that case.
Thanks. My current machine doesn't have a GPU either, just whatever is integrated and it seems to do just fine. I thought I'd add one in for fun but if it won't be worth it, I'm not going to bother.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Master Po View Post
If you want to do LR (any photographic work, for that matter), a video card is a must.
I would lower the power supply to 500W (600W tops). While that doesn't save you much in money it will be more efficient (energy wise). People over-do power but they work best at 70-90% max load (they are designed for that).
I thought video cards were for video applications...true or no? I'm not going to be rendering things and if I am, I'll do it at work where I have as much horsepower as I want.
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Old 01-05-2015, 11:47 AM   #9
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Don't stray from Asus. Other companies make good boards, but they can be hit or miss, and Asus rarely if ever misses.
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Old 01-05-2015, 12:07 PM   #10
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I have an ASRock board in my current desktop. Had very nice features for the price and has lasted 5 years with no problems. You could save maybe $50-100 there.

Does photography software use the graphics card?

Make sure you pick up a tube of arctic silver for the thermal paste. It'll help keep your processor nice and cool to last longer.

Also, your case doesn't do a good job of specifying if it comes with fans and what fans fit, etc. So make sure it comes with 'em.

EDIT: Nvm found fans in the spec.
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Old 01-05-2015, 12:10 PM   #11
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Not a fan of MSI, I've had a few of their boards fail.

ASUS is great, and if you have the cash to blow, EVGA isn't bad either.

Lightroom doesn't use GPU from what I remember, but I may be wrong. CS on the other hand does (I might have them mixed up).

A 7770 might be slightly overkill, but IMO, it's always nice to have a GPU.
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Old 01-05-2015, 12:35 PM   #12
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I'm running an ASRock board as well, no problems despite what I've read online. However, Asus makes quality hardware so I would stick with them. And I agree the PSU is overkill but if you ever upgrade the processor or graphics card it's better to have it just in case. After looking around I stand corrected on the Photoshop/GPU issue, but light room does not utilize the GPU so you wouldn't need it for what you're doing. And even then, a modern processor is more than adequate for photoshop if you decide to stop using LR.

https://photo.stackexchange.com/ques...-and-lightroom
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Old 01-05-2015, 12:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WDE46 View Post
Make sure you pick up a tube of Arctic Cooling MX-4 for the thermal paste. It'll help keep your processor nice and cool to last longer.
FTFY. MX-4 is better paste, non conductive, and doesn't have a ridiculous 200 hour cure time.
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Old 01-05-2015, 12:39 PM   #14
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Worth noting for the PSU - you never want to run them too low or too high due to efficiency and reliability issues; there is a sweet spot. Check out the data sheet.

If you ever plan on doing photo or video editing, I was told that the i7 is a better option due to hyperthreading.

I personally used the CPU cooler that came with my CPU. It's a massive thing that is pretty well designed. For standard clocks and normal use, it's fine, you can save a few bucks here.

You could also go with a cheaper motherboard. The more expensive units usually add things like more ports, or provisions for USB 3.0 front ports. If these things don't matter to you, you can get a more simple ASUS board for cheaper.

Lastly check out the Corsair cases. I like them a lot and they are similarly priced.
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Old 01-05-2015, 12:41 PM   #15
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Lastly check out the Corsair cases. I like them a lot and they are similarly priced.
Fractal cases are really well designed, and the R4 is one of the quietest cases around.
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Old 01-05-2015, 12:45 PM   #16
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Fractal cases are really well designed, and the R4 is one of the quietest cases around.
I don't doubt it - has a lot to do with the fans. My 400R is also super quiet, and cable management was very easy. Just another option to look into.
http://www.corsair.com/en-us/carbide...mid-tower-case
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Old 01-05-2015, 12:46 PM   #17
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USB 3.0 is worth it now that peripherals are capable of using it. I recently got a 3.0 thumb drive and transfer speeds are literally 10x what they were on 2.0. Hyperthreading does make a difference and it's more pronounced when editing video (my friend has an i7 and uses it just for video editing). I used to run photoshop in a virtual machine and even then had zero problems with any sort of processing taking too long. I even ran Premier in a VM and didn't have any problems, but it was noticeably quicker once I started dual booting windows and running it there.
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Old 01-05-2015, 01:42 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowmoo32 View Post
I'm running an ASRock board as well, no problems despite what I've read online. However, Asus makes quality hardware so I would stick with them. And I agree the PSU is overkill but if you ever upgrade the processor or graphics card it's better to have it just in case. After looking around I stand corrected on the Photoshop/GPU issue, but light room does not utilize the GPU so you wouldn't need it for what you're doing. And even then, a modern processor is more than adequate for photoshop if you decide to stop using LR.

https://photo.stackexchange.com/ques...-and-lightroom
Good to know. I only have PSCS2 so the version is VERY old and I'm sure the built in graphics will be able to handle whatever that version can throw at it. I can always add on later if needed though.

Thanks for doing the research.

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Worth noting for the PSU - you never want to run them too low or too high due to efficiency and reliability issues; there is a sweet spot. Check out the data sheet.

If you ever plan on doing photo or video editing, I was told that the i7 is a better option due to hyperthreading.

I personally used the CPU cooler that came with my CPU. It's a massive thing that is pretty well designed. For standard clocks and normal use, it's fine, you can save a few bucks here.

You could also go with a cheaper motherboard. The more expensive units usually add things like more ports, or provisions for USB 3.0 front ports. If these things don't matter to you, you can get a more simple ASUS board for cheaper.

Lastly check out the Corsair cases. I like them a lot and they are similarly priced.
I will downgrade the PSU. I'm never going to run multiple power hungry GPUs so getting something lower makes sense.

Having USB 3.0 is now a must so that's a requirement for me. I'd also like to have HDMI out and optical out if I can swing it so this mobo is a good balance of the bare bones to the high end gaming ones.

I'll check out those cases but I don't really care about appearance, I just want something good, inexpensive, and easy to work with.

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USB 3.0 is worth it now that peripherals are capable of using it. I recently got a 3.0 thumb drive and transfer speeds are literally 10x what they were on 2.0. Hyperthreading does make a difference and it's more pronounced when editing video (my friend has an i7 and uses it just for video editing). I used to run photoshop in a virtual machine and even then had zero problems with any sort of processing taking too long. I even ran Premier in a VM and didn't have any problems, but it was noticeably quicker once I started dual booting windows and running it there.
I'm not sure an i7 would be worth it for me. I don't do enough editing to warrant that at this point. I currently edit on an i3 and am just now running into performance issues.
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Old 01-05-2015, 01:47 PM   #19
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Plus with the unlocked CPU you can always overclock if you need a little more performance (also another reason to go just a little over on the power supply IMO).
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Old 01-05-2015, 01:49 PM   #20
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Sam, have you considered ITX boards? I just put together a used system with a tiny Asus ITX board, and it has on-board video, HDMI out, USB3, wireless, yadda yadda yadda. You might save some cash by ditching the GPU altogether and going that route.
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