Decent new PC for old photographer... Under $1000? Possible?

Started 10 months ago | Discussions thread
PHXAZCRAIG Forum Pro • Posts: 16,135
Re: Decent new PC for old photographer... Under $1000? Possible?

It's possible, but you'll have tradeoffs, and you'll have to understand the tech to know if it is an acceptable trade.  Let me address things in a general way rather than point out issues in your current choices.

SSD/HDD - this one really is a no-brainer.  You obviously haven't had the SSD experience yet, but once you do, you'll know.   You want a boot SSD that also runs Windows and your programs and your image database preferably.   Nothing will speed up your system as much as adding an SSD.   Problem is, of course, cost and capacity.   Which generally means a hybrid system with both.  For instance, I have a new latop with 128GB SSD boot and 1TB HDD for data.  Works great, though I wish for more space on the SSD.

I also built myself a new PC in January, with 1TB NVME SSD boot, a 2TB NVME SSD working drive, and my old 4TB HDD holding photos.   I took my old system and added a 500GB SATA SSD boot drive, and I even cloned my girlfriend's boot drive onto a 500GB SATA SSD for her.   Going back to a PC with a boot HDD is like going from a Mustang to a Volkswagen bus.

RAM - more is better, and RAM isn't too expensive.  How much is enough?  Dunno, but at your price point it probably won't be 16GB or more.   But it may be close.  My laptop came with 12GB, and it's pretty decent.   I put 16GB in my new PC.   I don't remember what I have in my old (now backup) PC.

When I bought ram, I had to pay attention to the latency specs of the RAM.  Makes a big difference in price to get the low latency stuff, and that's what I wanted.  Be very careful here.  You can find the same RAM in a number of latency values from the same manufacturer, and it's easy to get web-paged to the cheaper stuff.

Video -may or may not apply at your price point, but I got an education in newer monitor tech when I decided to upgrade to dual 4K monitors.  First, monitors are a lot better and cheaper than I remembered.  I bought two 24 inch IPS monitors for my girlfriend for $109 each, shipped.   Second, you don't push 4K through the old VGA (analog) or DVI cables.  My monitors didn't even come with DVI connectors, which threw me.  I had to upgrade my video card (I went with GTX-1060 3GB RAM) and dual DisplayPort cables.  Pay attention to the video card specs and connectors you have with whatever monitor you choose to use.

CPU - I've got a range of them now, and they all seem pretty fast (thanks to the SSD's).  I9-8900 in the expensive PC,  I7-8700 in the latptop, and an old I5 quad core in the backup PC.

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Phoenix Arizona Craig

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