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PC Build for Photography

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  • 07-07-2014 9:40am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 47


    I want to replace a pc (Win XP) that is currently used for photo editing (my husbands). Photoshop and NIKON software are the two main software packages used. The RAW images from the camera can be 75MB in size and saved TIFF files can be 100MB so RAM and graphics are important (I think!). I've got this build from a company that does PC builds:

    CPU - i7 4770 LGA1150 Intel
    Memory - 8GB DDR3 1600-PC3-12800 UDIMM 240Pin (4 of these - to give 32GB RAM)
    HDD - 3TB SATA 3.5" Purple (2 of these - 1 for operating system and one to keep the images on)
    Motherboard - Z87M-PLUS
    Graphics - 2GB GTX770Gb
    Win 8 operating system

    Budget would be 1500 up to a max of 2000.

    It's the graphics card that I can't figure out. There are so many out there and I don't know which to choose and my supplier says he will build but I have to tell him what I want - he won't recommend.

    What do you think of the above spec? Any advice greatly appreciated. Also was thinking of looking at the Apple pc's but would the learning curve be high - moving from Win XP to apple.

    What would you recommend regarding an apple pc.

    Thanks again


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,882 ✭✭✭frozenfrozen


    An iMac would be something definitely worth thinking about, it's very tidy, quiet, looks nice, and will get the job done especially with the 27" ips display which comes fairly colour accurate out of the box.

    A colour accurate display is just as important as any other part of this build, so I'd straight away keep the 600 or so euro for a dell u2711 display for that. Or get one of the korean IPS displays, although I can't attest to their ability to be calibrated properly (to the degree needed for home use, at least).

    Your build you have posted in the OP wouldn't be the best. Especially the choice of 2 mechanical hard drives where one is for the OS. I'd go with one 256gb ssd and 3tb WD red drives as storage, as many as the budget allows so they can be in raid 5. The OS will be on the ssd along with the CC suite.


    For 2000 you could be looking at a socket 2011 build. 3930k 6 core 12 thread processor, and the 8 ram slots on the motherboards that go with this. Just something to keep in mind, although then you'd suffer with spending more of the money on a performance boost rather than being able to spend it on a great monitor.


    I would consider the imac though. I know its more money vs the performance you get, but given that the current pc is windows xp, anything will be a huge upgrade, and the imac will be able to just be plugged in and left for another ~10 years until it's as obsolete as a windows xp machine is today.

    ..having said that, wait for someone on this forum to spec out a windows build!


  • Registered Users Posts: 47 AnnRo


    Thank you for the reply. I work in IT but on the software side so my hardware knowledge isn't great! If I can tell my supplier what I need he will build but he won't recommend. Forgive my ignorance but what is a socket 2011 build? We want this pc to last as long as his win XP pc which is nearing 8 years. And because of the money - we need to get it right or nearly right.

    Thanks again.


  • Registered Users Posts: 28,789 ✭✭✭✭ScumLord


    I'll second the ssd. With photoshop on the ssd drive it can start up almost instantly. You will want some form of a raid setup to protect against hard drive failure.

    Get two 3tb hard drives and put them in a raid array so one is a copy of the other (there are other raid setup options but this is the minimum to protect data), that way if one hard drive fails you can just stick in a new one and keep all your stuff.

    I don't know how important a graphics card is, there are some things like scrubby zoom that can make use of Nvidia cards but I don't think you'd need a 770.


  • Registered Users Posts: 47 AnnRo


    Thanks for the information on the ssd - something I hadn't thought about. Will look into that. If anyone has any thoughts on a good graphics card - let me know.

    Thanks.


  • Registered Users Posts: 206 ✭✭almorris


    + 1 the ssd.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,882 ✭✭✭frozenfrozen


    AnnRo wrote: »
    Thank you for the reply. I work in IT but on the software side so my hardware knowledge isn't great! If I can tell my supplier what I need he will build but he won't recommend. Forgive my ignorance but what is a socket 2011 build? We want this pc to last as long as his win XP pc which is nearing 8 years. And because of the money - we need to get it right or nearly right.

    Thanks again.

    socket 2011 is the 6 core 12 thread intel processors. So rather than having 4 cores 8 threads with 1155, there's more processing power. Quite a large price increase though and there may not be enough budget to accompany it.

    I think the iMac is a little out of the higher end of the budget. Models starting with solid state drives (SSD's) are just over 2k, and then you'd need to factor in paying for external hard drives for storage etc.

    Dell U2713h monitor. It's a bit expensive, but worth it. Colour accurate, low power draw, decent warranty, and being 2560x1440 resolution there's enough room to work in photoshop efficiently.

    It would be important to get a nice keyboard, nice mouse, and a mousepad. I'd recommend a gaming mouse. Try to get one that isn't to gaudy with lights and such, but they're comfortable and accurate.

    Here's a first start at choosing parts that I hope someone can make a bit better

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: Intel Core i7-4930K 3.4GHz 6-Core Processor (€499.90 @ Caseking)
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler (€33.40 @ Amazon Deutschland)
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-X79-UP4 ATX LGA2011 Motherboard (€207.79 @ Amazon Deutschland)
    Memory: GeIL EVO Leggara Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (€129.90 @ Caseking)
    Storage: Crucial M500 240GB 2.5" Solid State Drive (€101.00 @ Amazon Deutschland)
    Storage: Toshiba 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (€90.95 @ Amazon Deutschland)
    Storage: Toshiba 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (€90.95 @ Amazon Deutschland)
    Video Card: HIS Radeon HD 7850 1GB Video Card (€139.80 @ Amazon Deutschland)
    Case: BitFenix Shinobi ATX Mid Tower Case (€11.90 @ Caseking)
    Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA 750W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply (€96.95 @ Amazon Deutschland)
    Monitor: Dell U2713H 60Hz 27.0" Monitor (€591.99 @ Amazon Deutschland)
    Total: €1994.53
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available

    So that doesn't include keyboard and mouse, it's at the very top of the budget, but could probably be got a bit cheaper if the parts were picked through geizhals, I just used pcpartspicker because it's easier.

    "only" 16gb of ram there. ram is very expensive at the moment, but in 12-24 months the price will likely fall when ddr4 comes out, so you could pick up 6 more sticks and have 64 gb of ram. Realistically though 32 would be as high as you would want to go, and 16 is still loads, especially since its only photographs being edited. The only time I fully use my 32gb of ram with photoshop is with a ps canvas of something like 40k x 10k at 16 bit. so not very often, if you're not editing video.

    I chose the 7850 gpu basically just because it fit the budget. I don't really know what would be the best to use. photoshop uses opengl so no need for it to be nvidia anyway. But if someone else could help on this point that would be good.

    The psu is overkill and could be brought down to something smaller, however an overclocked 4930k and a mid-high end gpu could easily use over 500 watts, along with wanting to be able to add extra Hdds down the line and any other sort of power draw, i'd say its safe to stay a little bit overkill


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,071 ✭✭✭witnessmenow


    Guys, is a €700 CPU and Mobo package (with talk of overclocking) really worth it for photo editing?

    I know you probably know more than me, but this seems unnecessary.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,885 ✭✭✭SherlockWatson


    He wants it to last for around 8 years though!


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,882 ✭✭✭frozenfrozen


    Well it's not jpegs we're talking. in the op 75MB raw nikon images are mentioned, that's a D800? 36 mpixel 14bit colour, so there's a fair bit of processing power in that. I don't know though, maybe the hexacore is a bit too much, even with the prospect of 8 years.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,071 ✭✭✭witnessmenow


    Just personally I think you could spend half that and never know the difference.

    Spending €300 now and €400 in 3 years (if new ram is needed) would deliver much better performance over 8 years

    I don't really know much about photography, but RAW are uncompressed images that hold colour information of each pixel right?

    They probably use less CPU than Jpegs (highly compressed), just a lot more RAM


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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,882 ✭✭✭frozenfrozen


    Just personally I think you could spend half that and never know the difference.

    Spending €300 now and €400 in 3 years (if new ram is needed) would deliver much better performance over 8 years

    I don't really know much about photography, but RAW are uncompressed images that hold colour information of each pixel right?

    They probably use less CPU than Jpegs (highly compressed), just a lot more RAM

    The raw image needs to be debayered, so it's not like raw as in uncompressed its raw sensor data wrapped in a lossless compression. this will be converted to an open non-raw standard like dng when being brought into photoshop though, or else in a sort of dynamic link when using adobe camera raw, with the image as a smart object in PS. The info isn't there anymore in the jpeg as its so heavily compressed so it can't be compared in the same way if you were talking about uncompressed and wrapped video files (like cineform, or canopus hqx)

    Spending just enough now to be able to fluidly edit the large raw images would be good. I'd assume that if you went a bit too low end that it would be sluggish, and the next update in a few years would then be to deal with even larger images again, and remain a bit sluggish. Rather than just going overkill now so it feels nice to use and so there's no reason to not use photoshops heavily threaded filters.

    I'd say a socket 1150 4core/8thread could enough though, and there's a good bit of money saved for getting a higher end gpu or adding more ram or planning an upgrade in the future. I'd just be a bit wary because I have a 3930k and at times it could use a bit more power when working with large files in photoshop (A2 print size at 600dpi, which is larger I believe than a d800 raw image), this is in conjunction with 2 ssds and a gtx 580 which still has relatively good performance.

    It would be interesting if someone who uses a 4770k or something could give their experience with photoshop to see if the extra cores are actually worth it, or if the money would be better spend elsewhere


  • Registered Users Posts: 28,789 ✭✭✭✭ScumLord


    Guys, is a €700 CPU and Mobo package (with talk of overclocking) really worth it for photo editing?

    I know you probably know more than me, but this seems unnecessary.
    It can all depend with photoshop. Files can get massive and effects can get complicated, if you have a very large file with a few dozen layers and linked smart objects a few files deep you're going to need some grunt to be able to work with something like that. But if you're not going to go beyond some colour correction you probably don't need a lot of power. However a powerful PC will open up doing video work too.

    I also think the motherboard and CPU are worth spending money on. A good motherboard will make your life much easier over the lifespan of the PC.


  • Registered Users Posts: 47 AnnRo


    FrozenFrozen - Thank you so much for the spec - at least I now have something to look at.

    I found the Dell Monitor U2713HM on komplett.ie for €499.


  • Registered Users Posts: 47 AnnRo


    Thank you all so much for your replies. We now have a lot more idea of what we are looking for.

    Thanks again.


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