Need Assistance with PC Specs

Started Jun 13, 2013 | Discussions thread
theswede Veteran Member • Posts: 4,009
Re: Need Assistance with PC Specs

My hobby is photography, not computers (this IS a photography forum). I've been buying (lower end) computers for over 20 years (actually my first was a Radio Shack Color Computer dating back to around 1982 where my dad spent an extra $100 to get 6mb RAM vs. 4mb.

No, your dad did not buy 6mb RAM for a Radio Shack Color computer. That would have required him to take a second mortgage on the house.

.. so that is 30 years).

My first computer was a Sinclair Timex with 1kB RAM. I started before you. Just in case we're comparing epeens.

Electronics fail from time to time, and certainly those that add stresses to the system by overclocking, etc... increase that risk. But all my cheapy computers have not failed despite years of significant use.

I've had dozens of computers fail, both cheap and expensive ones. MTBF numbers speak a clear language; it's inevitable.

I've only bought new computers because performance of the old lagged so badly I was forced to. Maybe I've been lucky.

Most definitely.

The point I tried to make is a descent (brand new) photo-editing computer that will remain viable for the next 3-5 years should have:

  • a better CPU - Gen 3 or 4 I7
  • a lot of RAM - 32GB would be better to deal with future needs
  • SSD for OS (256GB+), applications and work space + large HDD (1.5TB+) to archive files
  • For photo editing a strong GPU is not really required, but if video editing might be in one's future, maybe a better GPU (I'm not into video so I do not know this as a fact)

i5 is plenty for most people's needs. No need for an i7. And rotating platter inside the machine is just a noise and heat maker. If all you're doing is archiving a NAS or USB3 external HDD is a much better choice. And the i5 included GPU is plenty for both photo and video these days.

Certainly a self-assembled unit can be done cost effictively with quality.

Which was precisely what you argued could not be done. Thank you for conceding that point, which was my whole argument.

But if I'm a photographer vs. a computer techy, in about 30 minutes I can drop in an SSD (complete with cloning/OS reinstall) + RAM into an off the shelf computer and generally it will "just work"... all for <$1K. My time is valuable so researching what I need to build and assemble my own system would be a huge opportunity cost for me... and I would argue far outweighing the cost savings of a custom build as I spend hours researching, hemming and hawing about all the parts I need and then more research to get value pricing... and finally assembly... and having my fingers crossed it will work right with the first start. How many hours of research would I have to do to even understand there are lacquered and un-lacquered motherboards (mind you, I've been using computers, without component failure, for over 30 years)?

And now the goalposts have been moved. You've abandoned your initial argument and are arguing something entirely different.

You also do not have to know exactly what the quality issues with cheaper components are, just that you tend to get what you pay for. And all the research you have to do is make sure the ports you need are there and that the parts will actually plug together.

If I want the Leica of computers, yes, I want to build it by hand myself. If I want to process tens of thousands of photographs over the next 5 years, the entire process can be done with a quick on-line order and a couple of hours of assembly in an afternoon for less than $1K... and I guarantee my photos will:

  • look identical to those processed with a hand-built system
  • be post processed just as quickly then by that of a hand built system


  • my slightly modified off the shelf system will highly likely be replaced years out because its technology will be outdated vs. component failure

And I can build a computer with the exact same ports and performance cheaper from parts than you can buy the preassembled machine (with the exception of refurbished; then I'd have to hunt open box items). Which was my entire point. If you wish to contend this, please provide a link to one of those magically cheap machines.


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