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Old Jul 21, 2011, 02:46 PM   #1
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From Crap to Not Crap - Building a New Computer

Hi! I'm currently using a garbage computer that's nearly a decade old. Here are my cringe-worthy specs, try not to laugh:


Current PC Build
CPU: AMD Sempron 3000+ (Barton) | 1 x Core | 1 x Thread | 2GHz
Cooler: Stock fan & heat sink | 2600RPM
Motherboard: Abit KW7 | 2 x SATA 1.5 Gb/s | 5 x PCI | 1 x AGP 4X / 8X
RAM: Infineon | 200MHz | Single Channel | DDR | 512MB (2x256MB)
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 | 250MHz | AGP 2X | DDR | 128MB
Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Gamer LE
HDD/SSD: Maxtor | ATA | 7200 RPM | 30GB
CD/DVD ROM: ATAPI CD-RW 40X12
PSU: ATX P4/P3/AMD 400W

The only thing that is somewhat decent about the above list is the soundcard and the fact that it's compatible with the drivers found on this site. Everything else, though, is crap!
I create digital artwork and I need a computer that can handle programs like Adobe Photoshop and very large image sizes somewhere between 300-470 million pixels per layer and about 30 layers.
This is definitely intended to be a PC that's geared toward graphics editing programs over gaming. With that said, here are a few components that I've already decided on getting for the new build:


Intended PC Build
CPU: Intel Core i7 2600K | 4 x Cores | 8 x Threads | 3.4 GHz (OC'ed to 5.1GHz)
Motherboard: ASRock Z68 PROFESSIONAL GEN3 (Z68) |
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series (PC3 17000) | 2133 | DDR3 | 16GB (4x4)


Based on reviews that I've read from this and other sites, I believe that the above components should allow me to do what I need to without any major slowdowns.
I still need some help in deciding on the following components, though:


Need Recommendations
CPU Cooler: I'm looking for something affordable that will allow me to push the i7 to 5.1GHz (4.7 + Turbo Boost).
GPU: I just need something that will boost performance in Photoshop-like applications. Will the i7's Graphics 2000 technology and the ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z's iGPU perform even better in this situation?
HDD/SSD: I'd like to get an SSD but what features in particular should I be looking for other then SSD Caching?
PSU: I probably won't be adding a second GPU, therefore, reliability and a decent wattage is all I need. Any particular brand?
As for a soundcard and disc player, I'll have to decide on those things later; they're of lesser importance to me right now.

Anyway, I'd really appreciate the help in figuring these things out. Thanks!


Benchmarks
CPU: AMD Sempron 3000+ [score: 443] -vs- Intel Core i7 2600K [score: 9900]
Now correct me if I'm wrong, but if I overclock the i7's 3.4GHz to 5.1GHz, I should see a 50% increase in performance which would bring the Passmark score up to 14850(?) therefore making it x33 faster then the Sempron.
GPU: NVIDEA GeForce FX 5200 [score: 45] -vs- EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti [score: 2969+]
The GTX 560 Ti will be at least x66 more powerful then FX+5200! A huge difference to say the least.
HDD/SSD: Maxtor 6E030L0 [score: 261] -vs- OCZ VERTEX3 MI [score: 3,403]

Well, not that it's of any importance to this thread or anything, but I did mention that I am a digital artist, and, if you're interested in seeing what I created using this crappy computer, I made a thread about it here. Of course, you can completely disregard this if you want to. I really just need answers for my computer.
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Last edited by Crystallization; Sep 3, 2011 at 10:20 PM.
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Old Jul 21, 2011, 03:18 PM   #2
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Re: From Crap to Not Crap - Building a New Computer

For 5.1ghz, I would recommend one of Corsair's self-contained liquid cooling coolers, such as the H50, H60, H80, or H100 (the higher the #, the more expensive/better cooling). They all fit the 1155 socket.

For PSU, I would recommend a 600-700W (for room for expansion) PSU made by either Seasonic or Corsair. Both are incredibly high quality and should last you a lifetime.

If you want a graphics card that can just run Photoshop and that's it, something along the lines of an nVidia GTS 450 (probably still overkill...could probably get a GT 430 and have fun with it) or an AMD HD6670. I would recommend the nVidia over the AMD since Photoshop can be hardware-accelerated with nVidia cards. For graphics card brands, I would recommend EVGA, Gigabyte, and ASUS (for nVidia cards), and for AMD I would recommend XFX, Sapphire, Gigabyte, and ASUS.

HDD/SSD: Get a SSD. It will make your life so much less painful.

if you decide to go the SATAIII route, something like this would probably be your best bet:

Newegg.com - OCZ Vertex 3 VTX3-25SAT3-120G 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

Whereas if you go SATAII, something like this:

Newegg.com - OCZ Agility 2 OCZSSD3-2AGT120G 3.5" 120GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
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Old Jul 28, 2011, 07:37 AM Threadstarter Thread Starter   #3
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Re: From Crap to Not Crap - Building a New Computer

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Originally Posted by synthesis204 View Post
For 5.1ghz, I would recommend one of Corsair's self-contained liquid cooling coolers, such as the H50, H60, H80, or H100 (the higher the #, the more expensive/better cooling). They all fit the 1155 socket.

For PSU, I would recommend a 600-700W (for room for expansion) PSU made by either Seasonic or Corsair. Both are incredibly high quality and should last you a lifetime.
Hi synthesis204. Sorry about the late reply.
For the CPU cooler, I thinking that I might go for the H100 seeing as it seems to offer better cooling and the price isn't that much higher (+$10). I might just wait for this site to review it before I purchase it, though

Quote:
Originally Posted by synthesis204 View Post
If you want a graphics card that can just run Photoshop and that's it, something along the lines of an nVidia GTS 450 (probably still overkill...could probably get a GT 430 and have fun with it) or an AMD HD6670. I would recommend the nVidia over the AMD since Photoshop can be hardware-accelerated with nVidia cards. For graphics card brands, I would recommend EVGA, Gigabyte, and ASUS (for nVidia cards), and for AMD I would recommend XFX, Sapphire, Gigabyte, and ASUS.
Hmm. I'll probably go for the nVIDIA card then. If I could put that expense off for a little while, though, could the iGPU and i7's Graphics 2000 hold me over until then. I thought that this technology was supposed to be superior for rendering programs like Photoshop then even a high-end GPU. Maybe I wrong?

Now you mentioned that it would be "overkill" for Photoshop but I should reiterate that the image sizes I plan to work with are huge, the largest probably being 72"x72" with the resolution set to 300dpi (that's 466,560,000 pixels per layer); so running effects on such large images and having them complete in a reasonable time would require something quite powerful I assuming. If you still think that that's overkill, then great! I prefer the overkill then.

Quote:
Originally Posted by synthesis204 View Post
HDD/SSD: Get a SSD. It will make your life so much less painful.

if you decide to go the SATAIII route, something like this would probably be your best bet:

Newegg.com - OCZ Vertex 3 VTX3-25SAT3-120G 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

Whereas if you go SATAII, something like this:

Newegg.com - OCZ Agility 2 OCZSSD3-2AGT120G 3.5" 120GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
These all look good but I may not need that much space. I prefer speed over storage capacity; so maybe a SATA III SSD in the 50-60GB would be fine. Any suggestions?

Thanks again for the reply.
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Old Jul 28, 2011, 08:10 AM   #4
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System Specs

Re: From Crap to Not Crap - Building a New Computer

If you're going down the route of SSDs then a 64GB wouldn't go amiss. At this stage I wouldn't recommend any lower as even the bare minimum amount of applications use up more space than you'd imagine.
I have a 40GB SSD and I keep it rather "clean" - my appdata folder is on another harddrive, all main programs are installed to another harddrive (obviously), barring a select few (security suite, web browser and a couple of other minimalistic applications). That and having all storage on a different harddrive keeps me around 8GB spare on my C drive.
Being your main application, I think it'd be a good idea to put Photoshop on the SSD as it will cut down on the launch time. Keep the harddrive bare and you should be onto a winner. A Vertex 3 64GB would serve you well, I'd say.

For the graphics card, I'd say go for a dedicated graphics card such as the GTS 450. I can't vouch for how overkill it would be considering the large images in use but the onboard would just drive you crazy working with such large pictures. For the price difference of the 450 compared with the 430 I'd bite the bullet and have the 450 for that better-safe-than-sorry factor. It would serve you better if you have any other graphics-intensive applications that you want to run, even if they're further down the line. A few extra bucks now could save you buying a replacement graphics card in the future.
Ideally, as you're not gaming, a Quadro would be suited for your needs but as you need components other than your graphics card, it's best left out.
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Old Jul 28, 2011, 03:03 PM   #5
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Re: From Crap to Not Crap - Building a New Computer

I didn't mention that. That if you are working for hours on end with very large images, nVidia makes a line of graphics cards made for that (and modelling/animation/etc) called the Quadro line. However, they are very expensive and have little to no other use (the GTS 450, one of their consumer cards, can be used for Photoshop, gaming, etc.). However, the GTS 450 is faster than any less-than-$200 Quadro card, so I'd stick with that and see how you like it (unless you're willing to dish out $400 (for their low-mid quadro card) or $1000 (for their regular Quadro card).
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Old Jul 28, 2011, 08:02 PM   #6
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Re: From Crap to Not Crap - Building a New Computer

even for myself which don't load up a ton of apps and such find myself running low on space for the primary OS and programs with 50GB primary partition sometimes if i'm not careful WITH pictures/documents/etc all hardcoded to be saved or put on another drive of larger capacity for the sake of maintaining the primary partition for cleanlyness sake.

You'll kick yourself if you don't get at least a 120gb drive i'd say if you are considering a solid state drive. IMO
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Old Jul 29, 2011, 02:59 AM   #7
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Re: From Crap to Not Crap - Building a New Computer

I personally have a 60GB SSD with Windows, Starcraft II, MS Office, my media players, and web browsers and it's essentially filled to the rim (300MB free, maybe?). I'd get a 80GB or 120GB if possible.

You can also get two 60GB SSD's and raid them together for increased performance and 120gb of room (:
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Old Aug 13, 2011, 06:15 PM Threadstarter Thread Starter   #8
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Re: From Crap to Not Crap - Building a New Computer

Alright, well I decided on a few things. For storage, I might just hold off on buying a high capacity SSD altogether due to the mountain of complications associated with it and SATA III and instead use a small SSD, 10-20GB, along with a 1TB HDD and enable SSD Caching which is supported on the Z68 mobo I plan to buy. Besides, I'd much rather wait until the price of a SSD PCIe drive comes down as they're much more reliable and perform much better then even SATA III. Perhaps a 120GB OCZ RevoDrive 3 PCIe SSD?

As for a video card, I'm thinking that I might go for something a little higher then the 450. What do you think of the EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti graphics card?

Oh, and I'll probably be changing up the RAM as well. Instead of the Patriot Division 2 Viper Xtreme 8GB (PC3 16000), I'm now looking to get the G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (PC3 17000). I assume that I'll need the extra RAM when working with very large canvases in Photoshop. By the way, does anyone know if I can enable 1T mode with this RAM or no?

I also need some recommendations for a case; preferably something under $100 but will fit either the Corsair H80 or H100 cooler.

Thanks!
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Old Aug 15, 2011, 03:29 AM   #9
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Re: From Crap to Not Crap - Building a New Computer

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Originally Posted by synthesis204 View Post
I would recommend the nVidia over the AMD since Photoshop can be hardware-accelerated with nVidia cards.
And this false information comes from where?

In all fairness, this acceleration doesn't do much difference anyway.
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