Desktop build for a photographer

Started Feb 7, 2012 | Discussions
Andrew
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Desktop build for a photographer
Feb 7, 2012

A couple of weeks ago I posted a message about building a new desktop computer for my photography needs. Since then I've done lots of research but I'm still looking for input. So, let me make this a little simpler.

If you were building a new desktop to handle your photographic needs (semi-pro) what would you include in the way of a motherboard, cpu, video card and Ram. Intel seems to be having some issues getting out it's newest cpu's and those promised for this month are doubtful so my time frame for a build is in the next 30-60 days. Budget for the machine is around $2500 (not including monitors) and the video card should be able to (eventually) push dual moitors one of which may be 2560 x 1440.

So, what would you include?

Sony F505(retired), Sony F707(gave to son), Sony
F717(gave to wife) Sony S85(great little camera that
was stolen), Sony CD 1000 (ancient but a great lens), Sony P93
Sony H9(retired) Panasonic LX3 that became an LX5 (small
enough to go everywhere), Nikon D5000 that grew into a D7000, Sony HX1, Pany GH2

Tom_N
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Re: Desktop build for a photographer
In reply to Andrew, Feb 7, 2012

Core i5 or i7 CPU

8 GB to 16 GB of RAM (if you're making heavy use of Photoshop or similar programs)
64-bit OS (to allow use of said RAM)
Good, large monitor (with IPS panel)
Extra hard drives (probably external notebook type) for backups

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28to70
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Re: Desktop build for a photographer
In reply to Tom_N, Feb 8, 2012

I had a very good friend build an Intel I5 2500 with an MSI P67A-GD65. This thing is sweeeet! Ready for those D800 files.

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bossturbo
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Re: Desktop build for a photographer
In reply to Andrew, Feb 8, 2012

Andrew wrote:

A couple of weeks ago I posted a message about building a new desktop computer for my photography needs. Since then I've done lots of research but I'm still looking for input. So, let me make this a little simpler.

If you were building a new desktop to handle your photographic needs (semi-pro) what would you include in the way of a motherboard, cpu, video card and Ram.

That's not really that specific. Are you looking to do a lot of batch operations? If so, invest heavily in CPU. Are you looking to have a lot of files open in photoshop or have a lot of layers? You'll need both CPU and RAM.

I just built a rig that does a lot of batch processing in addition to viewing a lot of photos and some light photoshop. This rig is really fast for anything. Here's what I built:

I recommend getting the core i7 2600 (or better) processor since the i7 can do multithreading and the i5 cannot. It's like having 8 processors versus 4. If you really have the budget, you should consider one of the i7 extreme processors with 6 cores (12 total threads!) - but that's really if you only do a LOT of batch processing (or video editing) or are really impatient.

Intel Core i7 2600k processor
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004EBUXSA

CPU Liquid Cooler (not liquid cooling everything in the case). It's very important that you immediately throw the stock CPU cooler in the trash can.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004LWYE4Q

Asus P8Z68-V PRO Motherboard (super easy and safe to overclock - this machine is mission critical for my business and it works flawlessly with my i7 2600k overclocked to 4.6Ghz using that cooler above)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00503EA80

Corsair 16GB RAM
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004RFBIUU

I didn't buy a video card, I just use the on-board video since I am not doing a lot of editing. But I would recommend going with a decent NVidia card... after all these years, ATI cards are still a bit buggy (I just got an ATI 6950 a few months ago in my home rig). Something like this Gforce GTX560 is probably overkill if you aren't playing any games - it has 2x dual link DVI. Dual link DVI is required for over 1920x1200 resolution. I'm not 100% sure if 1gb ram is enough to run a 2560x1440 AND a 1920x1080 monitor or if you'll need 2GB video card ram. If you don't care about games (and don't video edit), then find a cheap 1GB or 2GB gforce card with DVI dual link. If you video edit, the pro software can use nvidia graphics cards like a CPU processor.

1gb version:

http://www.amazon.com/EVGA-GeForce-Mini-HDMI-Graphics-01G-P3-1460-KR/dp/B0050I1PHO/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1328675555&sr=1-1

2GB version:

http://www.amazon.com/EVGA-Superclocked-Mini-HDMI-Graphics-02G-P3-1469-KR/dp/B0050I1PI8/ref=sr_1_5?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1328675555&sr=1-5

Windows 7 64-bit (whatever flavor is up to you)

Corsair 500w power supply (you don't need a lot of power, just GOOD power.... don't cheap out here). Depending on the video card you get, you need a power supply that has the right power connectors for it. This one does have the 2x 6-pin PCI connectors).

http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-500-Watt-Certified-Compatible-Platforms/dp/B004W2T2U6/ref=sr_1_7?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1328676502&sr=1-7

I recommend running your OS and programs from an SSD drive. Here is an Intel 510 series drive rated up to 450mb/s read :

http://www.amazon.com/Intel-Version-2-5-Inch-Solid-State-Drive/dp/B004OR0GRC/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1328676887&sr=1-1

Then put all your photos, videos and other "crap" on a platter drive. western digital black 7200rpm 2TB hard drive (stay away from slower rpm drives, they will give you slower performance.. but if you have to cut corners, you can save nearly $100 by stepping down the rpm's and it won't make that big of a difference since you are running an SSD anyway):

http://www.amazon.com/Western-Digital-Caviar-Internal-Desktop/dp/B004CSIG1G/ref=sr_1_8?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1328676943&sr=1-8

DVD dual layer writer:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827106289

Blu-ray writer (if desired):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827106369

I'm not even going to link a case since that is subjective what someone wants. You may want to consider a case with front USB 3.0 ports so you don't have to have a usb3 extension cord always dangling on your computer like I do. Most of them have a cord that runs through the case, out the back and into one of the usb 3 ports in the motherboard, but that is much better than a cord hanging on your case.

If you need a USB stick, get this one... it's really fast. It is a tiny bit slower than I prefer for copying lots of 2-3mb jpeg photos, but even doing that it's much faster than usb 2.0 or my other usb3 usb flash drive. For copying large videos, it's insane fast.. like "this can't be right" fast.

http://www.amazon.com/Patriot-Memory-Direct-Supersonic-Magnum/dp/B004ZNA3UA/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1328677416&sr=1-3

.....aaaaaand, I think that'll about do ya......... you'll have a heck of a rig that is upgradable as you go. I could get into much more detail about the components and why I chose one over the other, but I've already spent way too much time writing this reply.

good luck, let us know what you end up with!

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-brian
SoCal Motorsports Photographer

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WeberPoint
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Re: Desktop build for a photographer
In reply to bossturbo, Feb 8, 2012

I will second bossturbo on his recommendations - they are sound and are in-line with what I am planning for my next build. 1gb video Ram is fine for running two monitors. I'm not a big fan of liquid cooling but agree completely that an after-market cpu cooler is required. The supplied Intel cooler is totally insufficient.

You should be able to put together a very nice photo-editing system for about $2k. Spend what's left to up your budget for a good IPS monitor and calibration tool (I use the NEC PA271 with Spectraview).

mrainwater.com

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bossturbo
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Re: Desktop build for a photographer
In reply to WeberPoint, Feb 8, 2012

WeberPoint wrote:

I will second bossturbo on his recommendations - they are sound and are in-line with what I am planning for my next build. 1gb video Ram is fine for running two monitors. I'm not a big fan of liquid cooling but agree completely that an after-market cpu cooler is required. The supplied Intel cooler is totally insufficient.

You should be able to put together a very nice photo-editing system for about $2k. Spend what's left to up your budget for a good IPS monitor and calibration tool (I use the NEC PA271 with Spectraview).

Also good recommendations. I use the Spyder 3 tool and it was amazing how off one of my monitors was (which was almost $800 when I bought it - not cheap).

And I just want to clarify. I am not an "overclocker", but the i7 2600k is made for overclocking. Literally. The "k" means it's an unlocked processor. If you are terrified of overclocking, buy the i7 2600 non k and save a few bucks. (or the new i7 2700?). But you can easily push the processor up 20% by clicking one button in the bios. The new bioses now are graphical and mouse driven.

Also, I'm not a liquid cooling kind of guy either. I have never had a liquid cooling setup with hoses running all over my machine and out the back to a radiator and all that jazz. But this CPU liquid cooler is super simple. If you just want air, spend the money and get a nice air cooler by a good brand like Zalman. Expect to spend $50 just on a CPU cooler.

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-brian
SoCal Motorsports Photographer

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skyglider
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Re: Desktop build for a photographer
In reply to Andrew, Feb 8, 2012

Andrew wrote:

If you were building a new desktop to handle your photographic needs (semi-pro) what would you include in the way of a motherboard, cpu, video card and Ram. Intel seems to be having some issues getting out it's newest cpu's and those promised for this month are doubtful so my time frame for a build is in the next 30-60 days. Budget for the machine is around $2500 (not including monitors) and the video card should be able to (eventually) push dual moitors one of which may be 2560 x 1440.

So, what would you include?

I just built an i5-2500K PC for about $650 which includes a 64GB SSD for the Win7 OS, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB 7200rpm HDD. The $650 does not include the Win7 OS, case, or monitor since I already had those items.

I used the full sized ATX motherboard Asus P8H67-V since it has a built-in IDE port. The IDE port allowed me to do two things:

1. Connect my old IDE data drive and copy the contents to the 1TB SATA HDD.

2. After step-1 was complete, I'm using the IDE port for my IDE CD/DVD optical burner drive. Saved having to buy a new SATA optical burner drive. (I don't need Blu-ray right now.)

The P8H67-V does not support overclocking but I don't overclock so that was a non issue for me. I got the i5-2500K CPU, not for overclocking, but because it supports the HD graphics 3000 (as opposed to HD graphics 2000).

The P8H67-V supports USB-2, USB-3, SATA-2, SATA-3, VGA, DVI, and HDMI ports. Bought a SATA to eSATA adapter cable/bracket so also have eSATA capability. Connected a 40' HDMI cable from the built-in HDMI port to a 46" Samsung HDTV set and am able to use the PC as a home theater PC.

Great motherboard if you don't overclock.
Sky

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jwhig
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Re: Desktop build for a photographer
In reply to skyglider, Feb 8, 2012

Sounds very cheap for the spec but I am not familiar with US pricing. Do you manage without a dedicated GPU?
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skyglider
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Re: Desktop build for a photographer
In reply to jwhig, Feb 8, 2012

jwhig wrote:

Sounds very cheap for the spec but I am not familiar with US pricing. Do you manage without a dedicated GPU?
--

The GPU is built into the i5-2500K Sandy Bridge CPU. Am able to run a 22" Samsung monitor via VGA and the 46" HDTV set via HDMI simultaneously in either clone display mode or extended (2nd) display mode.

No video card is needed at all. Right now, nothing is plugged into any card slot and running everything off the motherboard. Not buying a dedicated video card helped keep costs down.

Here's the specs on the P8H67-V motherboard that I had saved on my PC:

..............
P8H67-V Motherboard Specifications

CPU

Intel Socket 1155 for Intel 2nd Generation Core i7 Processor/Core i5 Processor/Core i3 Processor/
Support Intel 32nm CPU

Chipset
Intel H67 Chipset

Memory
4 x DIMM, Max. 32 GB, DDR3 1333/1066 Non-ECC,Un-buffered Memory
Dual Channel memory architecture
Supports Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)

Expansion Slots
1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 [blue] (single at x16 mode)
1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 [black] (at x4 mode, compatible with PCIe x1 and x4 devices)
2 x PCIe 2.0 x1
3 x PCI

VGA
Multi-VGA output support: HDMI, DVI-D, RGB

  • Supports RGB with max. resolution 2048 x 1536@75Hz

  • Supports DVI with max. resolution up to 1920 X1200 @ 60 HZ

  • Supports HDMI with max. resolution up to 1920 X1200 @ 60 HZ

Maximum shared memory of 1748 MB

Multi-GPU Support
Supports ATI Quad-GPU CrossFireX Technology

Storage
Intel H67 Express Chipset
4 x SATA 3.0 Gb/s ports (blue)
2 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports (gray)
Intel Rapid Storage Technology Support RAID 0,1,5,10
VIA VT6415 PATA controller
1 x UltraDMA 133/100 for up to 2 PATA devices

LAN
PCIE Gigabit LAN

Audio
ALC887 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC

USB
ASMedia USB 3.0 controller

  • 2 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports (blue) at back panel

Intel H67 Express Chipset

  • 12 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports (8 ports at mid-board, 4 ports at back panel)

ASUS Unique Features

  • Turbo V

  • Auto Tuning

  • Anti-Surge Protction

  • GPU Boost

  • Mem OK!

  • ASUS Fan Xpert

  • AI Suite II

  • EPU

  • CrashFree BIOS 3

  • EZ Flash 2

  • MyLogo 2

Back Panel I/O Ports
1 x PS/2 Keyboard/Mouse Combo port
1 x DVI
1 x VGA
1 x HDMI
1 x LAN(RJ45) port(s)
2 x USB 3.0/2.0
4 x USB 2.0/1.1
1 x S/PDIF Out (Optical)
8 -Channel Audio I/O

Internal I/O Connectors
8 x USB connectors support additional 8 USB-2 ports
1 x MemOK! switch
1 x GPU Boost switch
1 x IDE connector
2 x SATA 6.0Gb/s connectors
4 x SATA 3.0Gb/s connectors
1 x CPU Fan connector(s)
2 x Chassis Fan connector(s)
1 x Power Fan connector(s)
1 x S/PDIF Out connector
1 x 24-pin ATX Power Power connector
1 x 8-pin EATX 12V Power connector
1 x Front panel audio connector
1 x COM connector
1 x System Panel connector

BIOS

32 Mb Flash ROM , EFI BIOS, PnP, DMI v2.0, WfM2.0,SMBIOS v2.6, ACPI v2 0a, Multi-language BIOS

Accessories
User's manual
1 x UltraDMA 133/100/66 cable
2 x SATA 6.0Gb/s cables
I/O Shield

Support Disc
Drivers
Anti-virus software (OEM version)
ASUS Update
ASUS Utilities

Form Factor
ATX Form Factor
12 inch x 9 inch ( 30.5 cm x 22.9 cm )
............

Sky

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Jim Cockfield
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That's a lot of money for a PC ;-)
In reply to Andrew, Feb 8, 2012

Andrew wrote:

Budget for the machine is around $2500 (not including monitors) and the video card should be able to (eventually) push dual moitors one of which may be 2560 x 1440.

That's a lot of money for a PC. Personally, I'd spend about 1/4 that amount for a fast Core i5 2500 or similar if buying a new model.

But, if you really want to spend $2500, I'd probably do something like this one at $2486 for a loaded Core i7-3930K system (6 physical cores + 6 virtual cores via hyperthreading for 12 threads total), Liquid Cooling, 32GB of fast 1600Mhz DDR3, a fast Nvidia 570 based video card, Blu-Ray player, fast 120GB Intel SSD for the OS and Programs, mirrored 2TB Drives for Data, Wiin 7 Pro as the OS, a very nice Cooler Master Storm Trooper Case and Coolermaster Silent Pro 800 Watt 80+ Gold PSU, all with a 3 year warranty with lifetime technical support.

http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/saved/1DXCMN

Note that you can tweak the settings, click on the Save Button, and they'll send you a link to the changes via e-mail with a link to the config you setup. But, they only keep them for about a week (so that link may not work for long before it goes back to the default config for that model).

Even if you order the parts yourself, you can get a feel for the various options by using their configurators.

(I started out with the "Cyberpower Infinity 8000", then changed the case, PSU, OS, drives, etc. to end up with one fairly loaded for just under budget):

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Andrew
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Re: That's a lot of money for a PC ;-)
In reply to Jim Cockfield, Feb 8, 2012

Thanks everyone.

I contacted someone who might be considered the guru of photography to see what he uses and he suggested and Apple Mac Pro on steroids. That came to just under $6000 and while I'm getting my photographs published I know I'm not at that level.

But back to the original posting...I left out a number of details with the expressed purpose of being vague. I didn't want to cloud anyones creativity with what I'm currently considering...but here goes.

I do virtually all my work in Lightroom where my catalog grows daily as does my skill in using the program but there's still lots of room for learning. Current image inventory is around 21,000 images in a mix of JPEG and RAW.

I'm very interested in the i7-3930 but there seems to be issues with this processor and at least for the near future it's not availability. I'm also considering the i7-3820 as it will give similar performance as the i7-2600 but also allows an upgrade path for a couple of years at least.

I did mention that monitors were not an issue. That's because I already have two IPS monitors, one a Dell and the other an NEC and both are calibrated regularly. Both are 24" but some day in the future I may bump one to 27"

My mind is pretty much set on 16 GB's of RAM probably set up as 4x4GB. I have an article I need to read tonight on speed above 1333 but there seems to be a law of serious diminishing returns as speed increases. But the 16 is set.

I still have no idea on the motherboard but obviously that will be driven by my CPU choice to some degree.

I'm also conflicted with regards to the video card but something like a GTX 550 Ti 1GB would seem to be adequate.

The boot drive will be an Intel 520 120GB SSD for OS and programs
The data drive will be a WD Caviar black 2 7200RPM's either 1 or 2T

Dual DVD R/W. or one of them may be Blue Ray but I don't see the point.

I think that cooling and the power supply should be the last decisions (along with the case but I like the Antec 1200 V3 which houses my current rig).

So, that's where I'm at right now. Intel seems to be the bottleneck unless I throw in the towel and go for the i7-2600.

Now....where have I gone wrong? Thanks for all your great suggestions. I appreciate the

Definitely want USB 3 on the front of the case and no less than 6 USB 3/2 ports total.

A minor issue is a sound card...have to have my music while working.

I think fans and coolers as well as the case should come last once the other larger and power hungry heat creating items are resolved (but I do like the Antec 1200 V3 that houses my current rig).

Thanks for all your comments and suggestions. I hope you'll have more having read this.

Andrew

Sony F505(retired), Sony F707(gave to son), Sony
F717(gave to wife) Sony S85(great little camera that
was stolen), Sony CD 1000 (ancient but a great lens), Sony P93
Sony H9(retired) Panasonic LX3 that became an LX5 (small
enough to go everywhere), Nikon D5000 that grew into a D7000, Sony HX1, Pany GH2

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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S85
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Jim Cockfield
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Or save approx. $1K with this one for $1558 delivered
In reply to Jim Cockfield, Feb 8, 2012

Or ,save around $1K with something like this system with a Core i7 2600K, Liquid Cooling, Cooler Master HAF 912 Case, Corsair 750Watt 80+ PSU, 16GB of fast 1600Mhz DDR3, Nvidia 550Ti Video Card, Blu-Ray Player, Win 7 Pro, fast 120GB Intel 520 SSD for the OS and Programs, 2TB Drive for Data, 3 Year Warranty with lifetime technical support, all for $1558 with free shipping:

http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/saved/1DXCW7

If you want a better case with front panel USB 3.0 ports and more expandability, switch it to something like the full Tower Cooler Master Storm Trooper case instead (which is a very sweet case design from what I can see of it).

Frankly, I'd consider that to be "overkill" for most needs, too. But, it would be around $1K under budget (and much less than the config in my last post) and you'd have a real "screamer" of a PC for image editing.

Again, you can tweak a config and click the Save Button and they'll send you a link to it. But, they only keep them for around a week. So, that link may not work for long before it reverts back to the base system.

In any event, I'd play with their configurators, as they'll give you a good idea of the available options, even if you plan on building it yourself versus letting a vendor build, test and warranty it for you.

Then, if you need more storage later, just buy bare drives from newegg.com, amazon.com, etc., and add them, as most of the cases mentioned have plenty of extra bays.

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JimC

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Jim Cockfield
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How about this then...
In reply to Andrew, Feb 8, 2012

What issues have you seen reported with the Core i7 3930K?

Vendors are selling systems using it with warranties. So, I wouldn't think they'd do that if they were concerned about problems with it.

How about something like this one? It seems to meet the specs you want in your last post:

http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/saved/1DXD0J

It's got a full tower case with front panel USB 3.0 ports (something you seem to want), a Motherboard with 8 DIMM slots with 16GB (4x4GB) of 1600Mhz DDR3 (Kingston Hyper-X), leaving 4 slots open for more memory later, liquid cooling, a 120GB Intel 520 SSD for the OS and Programs, mirrored 7200rpm SATA III 2TB Drives with 64MB of cache each (which are likely WD Blacks, and you could call and ask them to find out), Mirrored drives give you better read speed (because the drives are mirrored and the OS can read more than one thing at the same time by splitting I/O between them via what's called "split reads"). I equipped it with dual Sony DVD writers (since you want dual optical drives and don't care about Blu-Ray), 64 bit Win 7 Pro, a nice Cooler Master Full Tower Storm Trooper Case with fan controls and front panel USB 3.0 ports, Corsair 750 Watt 80+ PSU (which is plenty of power for that kind of system), Nvidia 560Ti (a very fast card) and more.

I also added in an option to ship in 5 days (since you seem to be concerned about availability) for an extra $49; and added in their Premium Protection shipping (lots of extra padding, etc, to prevent damage during shipment). In addition, I added in mild overclocking (letting them do it for you, even though that's easy to do with a K suffix CPU, so they'd test everything to make sure it works that way).

That system would put you at $2444 with a 3 year warranty on parts and lifetime technical support.

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Andrew
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Re: How about this then...
In reply to Jim Cockfield, Feb 8, 2012

The i7-3930 has been unavailable for about three weeks. Newegg won't take orders and Amazon is estimating 1-2 months.

Sony F505(retired), Sony F707(gave to son), Sony
F717(gave to wife) Sony S85(great little camera that
was stolen), Sony CD 1000 (ancient but a great lens), Sony P93
Sony H9(retired) Panasonic LX3 that became an LX5 (small
enough to go everywhere), Nikon D5000 that grew into a D7000, Sony HX1, Pany GH2

 Andrew's gear list:Andrew's gear list
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S85
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bossturbo
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Re: That's a lot of money for a PC ;-)
In reply to Andrew, Feb 8, 2012

the 16gb ram I linked to I got for $90 on sale and i think it's $110 at amazon now. It's quality ram and runs at 1600mhz. It's 4x4GB sticks and they are matched sticks so they will all run in concert with one another. If you mix and match ram you may not get the best performance regardless of clock speed. You wouldn't save any money worthwhile trying to find slower ram.

Also, nearly every motherboard these days comes with sound on board. Many with digital out, too. You may want to do some research with the board I specifially posted, the asus one... i think there are reports of some audio humming. I use the computer while at a loud racetrack so I dont care.

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-brian
SoCal Motorsports Photographer

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CSMR
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Re: That's a lot of money for a PC ;-)
In reply to Andrew, Feb 9, 2012

Andrew wrote:

A minor issue is a sound card...have to have my music while working.

USB soundcards are fine, but one of the issues with building a desktop that you cram full of equipment (multiple hard drives, video cards, fast processors, etc.) is that it will be noisy.

I would really ask if all this is necessary.

Over the level of noise you will get, integrated sound should be OK! (If you just want the most basic connections.)

There are good USB soundcards these days so you can think about that later in any case.

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Jim Cockfield
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VT-d is the hold up
In reply to Andrew, Feb 9, 2012

Andrew wrote:

The i7-3930 has been unavailable for about three weeks. Newegg won't take orders and Amazon is estimating 1-2 months.

The issue appears to be that Intel originally marketed the CPU as supporting VT-d (Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O), and ended up having a problem with it not working.

So, Intel removed that feature from the current CPU specs and disabled VT-d for the rest of the first batch of CPUs.

Here's one post on the subject:

http://tbreak.com/forums/topic/65500-intel-core-i7-3960x-and-3930k-to-get-c2-stepping-in-january/

Since then, they decided to introduce a new C2 Stepping version that supports the VT-d feature, and it's taking longer than anticipated to get the newer models to vendors.

Now... VT-d is not something that's really needed for most users anyway. Basically, it allows Virtual Machines to directly use some peripheral devices (ethernet cards, hard drive controllers, etc.) via interrupt and memory remapping. It's usually referred to as PCI Passthrough.

Some benchmarks even show it can be slower when enabled with some hardware and Virtual machines, versus letting the VM handle it at the software level. I saw a test of Ethernet throughput with and without it showing that with some chipsets (where you're better off leaving VT-d disabled in BIOS with some chipsets). But, it's a feature you see some web hosts wanting that use a lot of VMs and have more specialized requirements.

For a normal desktop users, I don't see where it would make any difference. The CPU (as is, not the new one), still supports VT-x (so that most operating systems and applications in Virtual Machines will run at near native speeds using a CPU with that feature enabled). The issues is with VT-d, not VT-x.

Personally, I wouldn't care about having VT-d (even though I do use Virtual Machines a lot to run more than one OS at the same time. Now, I would prefer a CPU supporting VT-x for better performance of Virtual Machines (and the original Core i7 3930K does support VT-x).

But, It looks like most vendors appear to be waiting on the newer C2 stepping model now (which will support both VT-x and VT-d)
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JimC

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Jim Cockfield
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P.S. it's missing in the 2600K anyway, vendor stocking the 3930K
In reply to Jim Cockfield, Feb 10, 2012

BTW, the VT-x feature is missing from the Intel Core i7 2600K anyway. See it's specs here:

http://ark.intel.com/products/52214/Intel-Core-i7-2600K-Processor-%288M-Cache-3_40-GHz%29

So, just because Intel has a problem with VT-x with the first generation Core i7 3930K model, I wouldn't care. Just disable that feature in BIOS if you're using a BIOS version that supports it.

Use of the VT-x feature is very specialized anyway. For example, a Web Host may want to allow a VM direct access to a hard drive or NIC via a clients VM,

But, most users shouldn't worry about having VT-x. I run VMs all the time, and I don't care about having that feature (especially since some benchmarks I've seen show that it's slower with some chipsets,

Now, I would want to have VT-d. But, the original Core i7 3930K supports that feature. The problem with it is with VT-x, not VT-d. That;'s the holdup, since Intel originally advertised the Core i7 3930K as supporting VT-x when it doesn't work.

So, they're releasing a C2 stepping version that does support VT-x that many vendors are waiting for.

But, some vendors do have the original version in stock. For example, I see that superbiz.com has them. The original part number is being shown (upper case I versus lower case i between the 9 and 7 in the manufacturer's part number). So, it's not going to work with VT-x as Intel originally advertised for them. So, the feature list is wrong for it (it shows VT-x support when that feature is broken with the first production run of that CPU) Here's a listing for it:

http://www.superbiiz.com/detail.php?p=I7-3930KBX&c=fr&show=p

I've used that vendor before with no issues. For example, I ordered an Arctic GPU Cooler recently that newegg.com was out of stock on, and it was shipped promptly with good communications (tracking number, etc.) and arrived with no issues.

But, to be safe, you may want to call them and double check to make sure it's really in stock (as their web site shows) before going that route (ordering a first production run Core i7 3930K if you don't care about VT-x).

Again, I could care less about the VT-x feature myself, and you're not going to get it if you go with a Core i7 2600K anyway.

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JimC

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Andrew
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Re: P.S. it's missing in the 2600K anyway, vendor stocking the 3930K
In reply to Jim Cockfield, Feb 10, 2012

Nope...not even Superbiz has it. Looks like by the time the 3930 is back in stock the 3820 may be available and then it's a whole new ball game. Thanks for the info though.

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In reply to Andrew, Feb 12, 2012

This is the best deal I could get. This is a replacement for my old 9yr. old Falcon build XP computer. And I have room for expansions. The build was tops. fast.really fast. It can handle reallly big files. I did a file in PS then PixcelBender the out put file was 200MB there was no slowing down. The video card has Powerful GPU control and RAM for big files. I can add 3 more of these cards at $550 apiace. HAHA I don't think so..... Hopful This thing will last as long as the old Falcon build.

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Memory 16 GB [4 GB X4] DDR3-1600 Memory Module - Corsair Vengeance. Can upgrade to 64GB

Video Card AMD Radeon HD 7970 - 3GB - Single Card (NEW Just OUT) Room for 3 more AMD Radeon HD 7970 - 3GB CrossFirre setup..

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Power Supply 1050 Watt - Corsair CMPSU-1050HX

Primary Hard Drive 120 GB Corsair Force GT Series 3 F120 SSD - Single Drive for progams only.

Optical Drive [12X Blu-Ray] Pioneer BLU-RAY Re-Writer, DVD±R/±RW Burner Combo Drive

Flash Media Reader / Writer 12-In-1 Internal Flash Media Card Reader/Writer - Beige

Sound Card 3D Premium Surround Sound Onboard MB

Network Card 2 Onboard LAN Network (Gb or 10/100/1000) MB

Operating System Microsoft Windows 7 Professional + Office Starter 2010 (Includes basic versions of Word and Excel) - 64-bit

Advanced Build Options Tuniq TX-2 High Performance Thermal Compound - The best interface between your CPU and the heatsinks

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