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

Started 8 months ago | Discussions thread
shutterbug61 New Member • Posts: 13
Re: Decent new PC for old photographer... Under $1000? Possible?

As @gipper51 mentioned, AMD is making great CPUs again and a dedicated video card is not essential for photography work. These two things can come together nicely by looking for (or maybe building) a system based around one of the AMD APUs with integrated graphics processors, such as the AMD Ryzen 5 2400G -- a quad-core CPU with multi-threading (8 threads) and an integrated 11-core Radeon RX Vega 11 GPU. This integrated GPU is generally much faster (almost 3x) than the UHD Graphics 630 GPU integrated into most of the Intel Core CPUs that have integrated graphics.

An SSD for the o/s and installed applications seems to now be a given. And if it will be also used as a scratch disk for Adobe or to store something like a Lightroom catalog then one with the best write performance (besides good read performance) would be preferred. Something like the 2018 version of the WD Black NVMe PCIe M.2 SSDs, available in 250GB (WDS250G2X0C), 500GB (WDS500G2X0C), and even 1TB capacities (WDS100T2X0C) at very reasonable prices. BTW, stay away from the first generation of WD Black SSDs, which had green PCBs, as the performance was terrible. The 2018 versions, with black PCBs, considerable upped their game, becoming somewhat competitive with the Samsung EVO SSDs for much lower cost...and they've recently been superseded by 2019 versions that look very different.

Although I built a system last year around a 6-core/12-thread Ryzen 5 2600 CPU and a used Nvidia Quadro K2200 PCIe graphics card, I'm now building another system to be based around one of the AMD Ryzen APUs. Since the first of the 3rd generation Ryzen Series 3000 processors go on sale soon (July 7) I'm going to wait and see what happens to the prices of the existing Ryzen 5 2400G, which is being replaced by the new Ryzen 5 3400G.

There may not be much of a bump in performance from the relatively modest increases in clock speeds for the CPU and GPU in the new 3400G, and so if prices on the old part come down to simply clear existing stocks then the 2400G could be even more of a bargain.

So, while my choice of processor will come down to a Ryzen 5 2400G or 3400G, based on whether or not I can pick up a 2400G as a real end-of-line bargain, the rest of the components already being lined up are:

  • Nanoxia Deep Silence 4 mini tower case
  • Corsair RM550x 550W 80 PLUS Gold fully modular power supply
  • ASRock B450M PRO4 mATX motherboard
  • Patriot Viper 4 Series 16GB (2 X 8GB) DDR4-3200MHz (PV416G320C6K)
  • WD Black 250GB M.2 NVMe PCIe (WDS250G2X0C) for o/s and applications
  • WD Blue 4TB 3.5” SATA hard drive (WD40EZRZ) for mass storage
  • StarTech.com USB 3.0 Internal Multi-Card Reader with UHS-II support, fitted to one of the case's external drive bays

All of the above should come in at around $650, with the Ryzen 5 2400G currently being sold for around $136. As I will likely not be over-clocking (or maybe only mildly so) then the supplied Wraith Stealth cooler will be more than sufficient. The somewhat over-spec'd 550W power supply should help ensure very quiet running as the PSU fan won't kick in until around 50% load.

I'll also need to add a PCI-E USB 3.0 hub controller adapter -- one with an internal 20-pin connector -- for around $27 to connect the multi-card reader which needs to be attached to a 20-pin internal USB 3.0 connector. The motherboard only has one such 20-pin USB 3.0 connector and that will be used for the ports on the top of the Nanoxia case.

Even if you decide against tackling such a build yourself (all in, the above should come in at around $800), I hope this gives you a few ideas to consider for whatever you do eventually go with.

 shutterbug61's gear list:shutterbug61's gear list
Olympus C-5050 Zoom Olympus E-1 Olympus E-3 Olympus E-5 Olympus E-M1 II +15 more
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