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Help with new build: scientific computing and photography

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Hi all,

I'm new here at the forum and looking for help building a new computer for technical computing and digital photo editing. Five years ago I built a desktop machine with a friend, but now it's time for an upgrade. I'm technically savvy, but don't know all the hardware ins and outs. Can anyone here suggest a parts list for me?

Here's what I need to be able to do:
I run statistical models using Matlab and R. Neither program is especially multi-threaded, but both run in 32 and 64-bit environments. I will probably run 64 bit linux for this work. Dual core processor is probably fine. Processing speed and getting data in and out of memory quickly is the major bottleneck. Need fast bus and and ram I expect. At least 4 GB of ram, 8 would be better.

I also do a lot of digital photo editing. I haven't done much with video, but the new camera shoots in full 1080p, so I may give it a try. No videos, though. My new 21 megapixel camera is on order, so i will need to be able to handle a lot of large files (26MB/image). I do editing in Photoshop and Lightroom. These run in Windows, so i'll probably need 64 bit Vista.

For now I plan to keep my old Viewsonic Optiquest V95 CRT monitor (1600x1280 resolution) but hope to upgrade to a large LDC in the future.

The budget is $550 shipped.

Thanks for your suggestions!!

p.s. this is cross posted on www.computerhelpforum.org
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