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Building a Photoshop editing + gaming PC

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#1
Fidel Castro

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Hello everyone,

 

I'm currently trying to build a PC that I will mainly use for professional photo editing (Photoshop + Lightrroom etc.) but also for decent gaming.

 

My original budget was around $1,000 - $1,200 but seems like I exceeded it already.

 

Here are the components I've chosen so far:

 

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/D4fWBm

 

To explain shorty each one of those...

 

I'm going with i7 4770K because the i7 4790K isn't available in my country yet and I DO want to overclock significantly.

 

The chosen mobo is the AsRock Extreme 4 but I'm already leaning towards the 'Asus MAXIMUS VII RANGER' as it's more serious and not much expensive than the AsRock (I just couldn't find it on the PcPartPicker)

 

16GB of RAM is minimum for serious Photoshop workflow and I might upgrade to 32GB in the future but for now I think I'll be fine with 16GB of RAM.

 

Now... the SSDs/HDD. This is where I spent a lot of time investigating and I found out that the I should have a separate SSD for the Photoshop's 'scratch disk'. And I've been told that 60GB is more than enough and that's why I chose the Kingston 60GB SSD for my Photoshop 'scratch disk'. The other (128GB) SSD from Samsung should be even faster and better and I'd be using it for the Windows OS and some other essential programs I'd frequently use. Lastly, I think I'll be fine with 2TB of standard HDD and I chose the 'Seagate Barracuda ST2000DM001 2TB, 7200rpm' as it has good reviews and nice gb/$ ratio.

 

People were telling me that I'd be fine with 1 SSD only for OS and PS but others told me that in that case PS and OS would struggle working with the data from the same disk slowing my PC and that's the last thing I want. Some people even told me that I can use a small partition on the 2TB HDD drive for PS scratch disk but due to it's speed I'm not sure how efficient would that be.

 

So I definitely need some professional suggestions on that matter.

 

Moving on... The Graphics Card... I've been reading a lot about NVidia vs Radeon cards, advantages of GPU acceleration, CUDA cores etc. But again, a lot of different information everywhere and the more I read the more confused I get. On the link listed above I have the 'Asus GeForce GTX 760 2GB DirectCU II Video Card' as recommended by many. It looks like a decent card, more than enough for Photo editing but probably not the best for gaming. I chose that one due to reviews, due to many people saying that NVidia will work much better with Intel CPUs than the Radeon cards, due to CUDA cores etc. But again, I'm not so sure about all those things after all. I definitely cannot exceed by budget for the Cuadro cards so the only thing I might consider is getting the competitor brand, in this case the 'XFX Radeon R9 280X 3GB Double Dissipation Video Card' which beats the GTX760 one on pretty much all Benchmarks and it's not much more expensive. The thing is that I don't want to compromise my professional work with gaming so if the Radeon card will give me better gaming experience but lower Photoshop experience as opposed to the GTX760, I guess I'd stay with the GTX760. If you think the Radeon card would be as good as the GTX760 for Photoshop then I might just add a but more money and get R9 280X card.

 

And lastly, the PSU. I'm pretty confident that I'd be ok with 600W supply as long as it's a decent one. I don't want to spend unnecessary money on the PSU but I don't want to cheap out on that and compromise my whole system. I think I should be looking for a 600W-750W supply which is semi or fully modular and has at 80+ Bronze or 80+ Gold stamp on it. On the link above I have the 'Corsair RM 650W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply' which had some great reviews and a decent price (a bit more than I originally planned but still not something abnormal). Do you think that supply would be enough or I should go for something higher (750W or more) or more efficient?

 

P.S. I do plan to overclock. Not sure exactly how much but probably I'd try to push the CPU to at least 4.2GHz, maybe even 4.4GHz-4.6GHz and that's where the cooling comes into play. I was told that even with the 'Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO' I should be ok regarding the temperatures but other told me to go for the 'Phanteks PH-TC14PE_BK 78.1 CFM CPU Cooler' or even the big 'Noctua NH-D14 120mm & 140mm SSO CPU Coolers'.  Not to mention the cool guys suggesting water cooling which I would like to avoid, if possible.

 

Well, that would be all for now.

 

I appreciate in advance any suggestions you might have.

 

Fidel


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#2
phillpower2

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:welcome:    Fidel Castro

 

A fair list of parts but a couple of observations made + a couple of alternative suggestions for you to consider.

 

You have included an aftermarket cooler on your list, are you aware that using anything other than the stock heatsink and fan supplied with the CPU will void your warranty.

 

damage to the Product due to external causes, including  accident, problems with electrical power, abnormal electrical, mechanical or environmental conditions, usage not in accordance with product instructions,  misuse, neglect, alteration, repair, improper installation, or improper  testing;

 

Full Intel article available @ http://www.intel.com/support/processors/sb/cs-009862.htm

 

 

 

 

You have not included an OS such as 64 - bit Windows 7/8 or 8.1, what will you be using.

 

Consider purchasing 1TB HDDs, 2TB is a lot of data to loose should the drive fail + it is a lot of data to keep backing up, start with 1 or 2 X 1TB HDDs and add them as you need them further down the line.

 

If you are unable to obtain the ASUS Ranger MB an alternative 4th and 5th generation compatible MB here

 

The ASUS GTX 760 is ok but not the best, consider the EVGA GeForce GTX 760 2GB Dual Superclocked ACX here instead

 

 

Colleague iammykyl will no doubt be along at some point as he is the expert on Photoshop and Lightroom etc  :thumbsup:


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#3
Fidel Castro

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Thanks for the reply.

 

Well, overclocking also voids the warranty (if I'm informed correctly) so even tho I already made a 'draft' on my parts I'm still considering if going for an OC set-up or not since the price for the OC set-up is just adding up forcing me to buy more expensive PSU, more expensive K CPU, probably water-cooling etc.

 

After posting this thread I might say that I'm leaning towards to non-OC set-up and go for long-period stability and more budget-oriented PC than having a an expensive beast that might last quite shorter (I usually use my PC at least 3-5 years).

 

That being said, I'm considering getting the i7 4790 CPU which is even cheaper than the 4770K if I go for not OC. Then I will probably step down from OC mobos like the Z97 and go for H97-PRO which will reduce the price significantly. Especially when I don't have to think about the water-cooling, gold/platinum PSUs etc.

 

I'll be waiting for some more expert opinions as I'm in no rush and I want to make a proper decision that will give me a long-run PC for the next 3-5 years.

 

 

P.S. I'll be using the Windows 7 x64 (probably Ultimate Edition).


Edited by Fidel Castro, 29 June 2014 - 05:26 AM.

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#4
phillpower2

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I am not a fan of overclocking having spent a lot of time helping people out when their attempts have gone badly wrong  :( Intel btw offer a one off warranty for OCers but I for one would rather not need it, see here

 

The H97-Pro looks like a good board and having used an ASUS Z87 MB in my own build last year I can say that the brand also appears to be of good quality, performance and reliability.

 

A minimum of a bronze rated quality brand PSU is a must and I will only use anything above this if it is on too good an offer to miss or by specific request as part of a build or replacement.


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#5
Fidel Castro

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You're probably right, I think on a long-run (as I don't change PCs often) non-OC should be the way to go.

 

In that regard, the components might be:

 

CPU: Intel Core i7-4790, 3.60GHz up to 4.00GHz, 8MB, LGA1150, Haswell, GPU HD4600

CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO, RR-212E-16PK-R1

MBO: Asus H97-PRO, Socket 1150

GPU: Asus GTX760-DC2OC-2GD5, NVIDIA GeForce, GTX760

RAM: Kingston HX316C10FB/8 HyperX FURY 8GB 1600MHz DDR3 Black (x2 pcs)

SSD (for PS 'scratch disk'): Kingston V300, SV300S37A/60G, 60GB SSD Now SATA 6Gb/s 450 MB/s 2,5" 7mm

SSD (for Win 7 x64 OS + freq used apps): Samsung SSD 128GB 840 Pro Series Basic, MZ-7PD128BW, 2,5", SATA 3

HDD (for all data): Seagate Barracuda ST2000DM001 2TB, 7200 SATA I/II/III, 64MB cache, 7200rpm, 3.5"

Case: Fractal Design Define R4 Titanium Grey Window, FD-CA-DEF-R4-TI-W

PSU: not sure yet as to limited offer at my place, some 600-650W 80+ Bronze should do the job well

ODD: LG DVD RW GH24NSB0 24x speed, SATA Internal Black Super Multi DVD Rewriter

 

All this comes at around 1,250 euros here at my place which is definitely over my budget but I can stretch that much if I find it necessary.

 

Some changes that I might consider are:

 

GPU: As I said in the original post, the NVidia GTX 760 seems like a pretty good choice and has a pretty good ratings. However, many  people suggested me the competitor's 'Radeon R9 280X' which passes the GTX760 in all benchmarks, at least for gaming. My main question would be if it passes the GTX760 in photo editing as well. As I understood the GTX760 has an advantage of utilizing CUDA cores which the Radeon card doesn't. It's also somewhat cheaper, depending on the brand. So those are the 2 GPU options I'm still not sure about and would like to hear some professional opinions from Adobe/Photoshop users.

 

SSD/HDD: After reading a lot and investigating for weeks on many websites I found out that a Photoshop's (or any other Adobe software) should have a dedicated SSD as a 'scratch disk'. It doesn't have to be big but it should be for that purpose only to get the best out of it so that's why I chose the 60GB SSD for that purpose which I will keep empty and use it for Photoshop 'scratch disk' only. The other SSD for Win OS and essential frequently used programs should be enough with 120GB and the above mentioned Samsung rated very high on all benchmarks I've been checking lately. At the end, the HDD is good enough, the only thing I might consider is getting 2 pcs of 1TB instead of 1pc of 2TB for more secure data storage but that again would slightly increase the budget, again.

 

Case: I've been originally offered an LC case with included PSU but I decided immediately that I'm not going to sacrifice my whole system that way. I really liked the Fractal R4 case and I've read a lot of great reviews on it both for it's look, features, noise and heat performance. The USB 3.0 front plugs are a must for m and having 2pcs of thoe along with 2pcs of USB 2.0 seems great to me. It also has a nice door cover to make it look much nicer, elegant and prevent dust from coming inside, especially since I'm very rarely using the CD/DVD ODD. The thing is that the case is around 100 euros over here and I definitely didn't plan on spending that much on a case. Also, My small motherboard would fit even in a smaller case (I think) and I don't have any other big peaces inside so if there is some similar case with decent performance on a lower price tag I'd definitely consider that.

PSU: The main problem is that I'm quite limited with the quality PSUs offer over here so that's something I'll have to look at the end because I already know that I don't want less than 600W and I don't need more than 650W since I will not overclock. I don't need the platinum expensive PSUs so the 80+ bronze or 80+ gold will be the option to go.

 

At the end, I'll just put out here the list of the PSUs that my PC dealer offered me so you can see how poor my main options are: (arranged by price from 40 do 70 euros)

 

Techsolo STP-650 650W (reali) serie Black Mamba, ATX 24/2, 1x 140mm fan with regulator integrated

LC Power LC600H-12 V2.31 MAX 600W Fan

Raidmax RX-500AF Andyson, 500W, 80PLUS Bronze

LC Power LC6600 V2.2 600W  2x12V,12cm,SuperSilent

LC Power Silent Giant LC6600GP2 V2.3 (ATX 2.3, 600W)

Chieftec GPS-600A8 Power Supply Delta, ATX 600W

LC Power LC6650GP3 V2.3 650W

ThermalTake 600W LitePower, 12cm fan/ 80PLUS


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#6
phillpower2

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As you will not be overclocking you definitely dont need a third party CPU cooler, if you are adamant that you will use one, save yourself the equivalent of $10 and purchase an OEM CPU that does not come with a stock Intel cooler supplied, do keep in mind though that Intel does not supply any warranty the merchant that sells you the CPU does, the warranty is typically for 12 months but sometimes for less so please check.

 

I have asked iammykyl to drop in to advise on the best video card and scratch requirements etc.


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#7
Fidel Castro

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After your first reply, I've contacted my PC dealer and he told me that the aftermarket cooler does not affect the warranty at all and that's why I went for it. 

 

But since I'm not OC I might try the stock one and see how the temperatures go and then if it's overheating I might add the aftermarket cooler later. The only reason I wanted to do it at the beginning is because I have to remove most of the parts to install the cooler and it would be much easier to install it from the very beginning.

 

Alright, I will be waiting for iammykyl then. Thanks a lot for your inputs.


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#8
iammykyl

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Gday.

I do apologize for the delay in responding, a bit pushed for the next couple of day, so just a build to consider and I will get back to your.

In which country will you be purchasing part?

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/VRJJmG

MB has 1 M.2 (PCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA, > http://www.asrock.co...1ty H97 Killer/


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#9
Fidel Castro

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I'm from Montenegro which doesn't really help you I'd assume since the offers here are very limited and I cannot afford buying components outside the country as it would result in a much higher cost of import as well as problem with the warranty in case something goes wrong with the warranty period.

 

I have basically chosen all my components and they are as follow (with the lowest prices in euros I can get in my country from my long-time PC dealer)

 

 

Intel Core i7-4790, 3.60GHz up to 4.00GHz, 8MB, LGA1150, Haswell, GPU HD4600 = 279,00 eur
 
Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO, RR-212E-16PK-R1 = 41.50 eur
 
Asus H97-PRO, Socket 1150 = 110,00 eur
 
Asus GTX760-DC2OC-2GD5, NVIDIA GeForce, GTX760, PCIe 3.0, 2048 MB, DDR5, 256-bit, GPU 1006 MHz, Memory 6008 MHz, = 253.00 eur
 
Kingston HX316C10FB/8 HyperX FURY 8GB 1600MHz DDR3 Black, (kit of 2) = 150,00 eur
 
Kingston V300, SV300S37A/60G, 60GB SSD Now SATA 6Gb/s 450 MB/s 2,5" 7mm = 55.00 eur
Samsung SSD 128GB 840 Pro Series Basic, MZ-7PD128BW, 2,5", SATA 3, Read Speed 530 MB/s, Write Speed 390 MB/s = 115.00 eur
Seagate Barracuda ST2000DM001 2TB, 7200 SATA I/II/III, 64MB cache, 7200rpm, 3.5" = 78.50 eur
 
Fractal Design Define R4 Titanium Grey Window, FD-CA-DEF-R4-TI-W = 102,00 eur
 
LC Power LC6650GP3 V2.3 650W/140mm/activePFC/6xSATA/2xPCI-e/8PinEPS = 64.00 eur
 
LG DVD RW GH24NSB0 24x speed, SATA Internal Black Super Multi DVD Rewriter = 17.00 eur
 
TOTAL: 1,265 eur
 
 
 
The only advice I'm looking for from an experienced PS user would be the SSD/HDD management. Am I going the right way of setting the small SSD to be empty and used only as a PS scratch disk? And the larger one for the Win OS and other essential programs? 
 
Are there additional settings/configurations I should do in order to get the maximum performance out of my system regarding Photoshop usage?
 
Thanks,
 
Fidel

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#10
iammykyl

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You will get better performance having 2 x 1TB HDDs. as LR Catalogue is on the OS SSD, one for project source files/Master images/completed projects, (two separate folders, not partitions). one for relocated OS folder, My Docs, My Pics, My Videos, Downloads and a second programs folder for Office etc. 

The smaller SSD is good for PS scratch file or the Cache file in LR, providing preference will allow the move.

 

PSU Specs, . http://www.pc-specs....C6650GP3_V2.3/7

 

> Last bit of this blog is wrong, do not defrag a SSD, > http://www.easyeleme...ratch-disk.html

http://helpx.adobe.c...html?sdid=KBQWU

http://helpx.adobe.c...op-cs4-cs5.html

http://helpx.adobe.c...ompression.html

 

A couple of Tutorials to move your LR catalogue to a new computer, Please research the subject,  > http://www.photograp...a-new-computer/

http://www.lightroom...o-new-computer/

You may also need similar method to move files from PS. 


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#11
phillpower2

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After your first reply, I've contacted my PC dealer and he told me that the aftermarket cooler does not affect the warranty at all and that's why I went for it. 

 

But since I'm not OC I might try the stock one and see how the temperatures go and then if it's overheating I might add the aftermarket cooler later. The only reason I wanted to do it at the beginning is because I have to remove most of the parts to install the cooler and it would be much easier to install it from the very beginning.

 

Alright, I will be waiting for iammykyl then. Thanks a lot for your inputs.

 

Your PC dealer to be quite blunt is talking out of their hat and I`m not sure that I would trust them with offering me any advice that could potentially cost me a large amount of hard earned cash, the information that I provided was direct from Intel and it quite clearly states that the 3 year warranty is void if the CPU is not used or installed within the Intel specifications, Intel FAQ video here


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