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08/03/2015 11:21:41 PM · #1
Time to build my next system. My dual core 3.1Ghz Athlon X2 is 6 years old and has served me well.

Some things are a given, 8 or 16 Gb of ram, booting from an SSD, Win 10 x64, probably an Asus motherboard. I'm shopping first for the items that don't change much in design or price, which is the case, power supply and some lesser accessories. I'm looking at this to house it, good reviews for functionality, reasonable price and killer looks:
Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1163130.jpg

I've usually gone with AMD processors, I like the bang for the buck and supporting the underdog in the industry.

Since acquiring ATI, AMD now has two processor lines, one with graphics processors on board and the other that requires a discrete graphics card. I am not a gamer. I do run multiple monitors. I don't think pushing pixels around the screen for photography requires high end graphics hardware, but there could be some advantages to the discrete option. So, any opinions or experience on the built in GPU vs CPU-only models?
08/03/2015 11:59:14 PM · #2
These days, you *really* ought to look carefully at Intel processors. Far higher performance per watt, and higher performance period. Intel Skylake processors are just beginning to hit the streets, so I'm personally waiting just a few months.
For graphics, discrete is a given, and not a gaming card. For support of high-bit-depth, high resolution displays a workstation type card, like the nVidia Quadro series is preferred, IMO. The GPU can significantly speed up Ps and now Lr 6 as well, so you do want a relatively powerful GPU.
I currently have 8GB in my desktop system, and it is nowhere near enough when stitching large panoramas or dealing with other multi-layer Ps projects. I will be installing 32GB in the next system,and I consider 16 to be the minimum for a graphics workstation.
08/04/2015 12:08:46 AM · #3
I'm about there, myself. Will be lurking on this thread.
08/04/2015 10:05:33 AM · #4
Originally posted by tanguera:

I'm about there, myself. Will be lurking on this thread.


I think there are a few of us with older systems that need updating. Good to have a thread to discuss hardware choices.

I've been doing a little research on the Intel processors that are being released this week. The i7-6700K is looking like a winner, and pricing, if it follows the rumors (I expect it will) seems attractive at $313 USD. I was going to wait until later in the Fall, however if pricing and availability dictate, I may jump earlier. Here's what I'm thinking:
- Motherboard: ASUS, Z170 chipset, model TBD
- Processor: Intel i7-6700K
- Memory: 32GB DDR4-2800, brand/model TBD
- HDD1 (OS & apps): Intel 750 Series 400GB NVMe SSD
- HDD2 (Data): SSD, 1TB, brand/model TBD
- Graphics: nVidia Quadro K1200
08/04/2015 10:32:44 AM · #5
Originally posted by kirbic:

Originally posted by tanguera:

I'm about there, myself. Will be lurking on this thread.


I think there are a few of us with older systems that need updating. Good to have a thread to discuss hardware choices.

I've been doing a little research on the Intel processors that are being released this week. The i7-6700K is looking like a winner, and pricing, if it follows the rumors (I expect it will) seems attractive at $313 USD. I was going to wait until later in the Fall, however if pricing and availability dictate, I may jump earlier. Here's what I'm thinking:
- Motherboard: ASUS, Z170 chipset, model TBD
- Processor: Intel i7-6700K
- Memory: 32GB DDR4-2800, brand/model TBD
- HDD1 (OS & apps): Intel 750 Series 400GB NVMe SSD
- HDD2 (Data): SSD, 1TB, brand/model TBD
- Graphics: nVidia Quadro K1200


Where do you buy your junk components?
08/04/2015 11:31:31 AM · #6
Originally posted by tanguera:

Where do you buy your junk components?


My wife might take issue with us talking about my junk... ;-)

I buy the vast majority of my system components on Newegg. I have a "Preferred Account" with them that normally gives me 12 months no interest, no payments on purchases over $500, so when I build a system, I buy the whole mess all at once.
08/04/2015 11:38:18 AM · #7
:)
08/04/2015 11:38:56 AM · #8
Yep I'm in that boat too, with a 5 year old i7 950 3.06 Ghz that has served me well. I am going to wait for the Skylake and new motherboards to support it, so will keep an eye on this thread and post what I find. newegg is my preferred source as well.

I have been looking at some of the new m.2 hard drives for use as a boot and maybe a scratch disk as well. Anyone have any thoughts/experience on those?



Message edited by author 2015-08-04 11:39:18.
08/04/2015 12:22:34 PM · #9
Originally posted by EstimatedEyes:

Yep I'm in that boat too, with a 5 year old i7 950 3.06 Ghz that has served me well. I am going to wait for the Skylake and new motherboards to support it, so will keep an eye on this thread and post what I find. newegg is my preferred source as well.

I have been looking at some of the new m.2 hard drives for use as a boot and maybe a scratch disk as well. Anyone have any thoughts/experience on those?


Like NVMe, they use the PCI bus and therefore can be very fast. The main issue is that you have to find the correct "key" version for an existing motherboard, or make sure that the motherboard and drive you are buying will physically plug together. They don't seem to come in capacities larger than 512GB either, so for boot/OS they would be fine, but pretty small for data.
I do like the no-cable interconnect strategy, and if pricing is right, perhaps they represent an option to the more expensive Intel 750 series NVMe drive.
08/04/2015 12:42:02 PM · #10
Just bought the following:

After reading several web articles about Photoshop performance, I optimized for RAM and Hard Drive speeds over Processor/GPU speeds. Budget was ~$1000 US. Your mileage may vary.

ITEMS:
======
Code: CFGI3Z $871.00 x 1 $871.00
CyberPower B85 Configurator (NO MONITOR)
http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/system/CyberPower_B85_Configurator

*BASE_PRICE: [+565]

CAS: XFX TYPE01 High-Airflow Mid-Tower Gaming Case W/ USB 3.0 & Toolless Drive Bays [-53]
CD: LG 14X Internal Blu-ray Burner, BD-RE, 3D Playback DVD+RW Combo Drive (Black Color)
COOLANT: Standard Coolant
CPU: Intel(R) Pentiumô Anniversary Edition G3258 3.2 GHz 3MB Intel Smart Cache LGA1150 (All Venom OC Certified)
CS_FAN: Default case fans
FAN: Asetek 550LC 120mm Liquid Cooling CPU Cooler - Extreme Cooling Performance (Single Standard 120MM Fan)
FLASHMEDIA: INTERNAL 12in1 Flash Media Reader/Writer [+10] (BLACK COLOR)
HDD: 256GB SANDISK + 4TB SATA III Hard Drive Combo [+176] (Combo Drive)
IUSB: Built-in USB 2.0 Ports
MEMORY: 16GB (8GBx2) DDR3/2133MHz Dual Channel Memory [+74] (G.SKILL Ripjaws X)
MOTHERBOARD: ASRock Z97 Pro4 ATX w/ Intel GbLAN, 2 PCIe x16, 2 PCIe x1, 2 PCI, 1 x M.2, 6x SATA 6Gb/s (All Venom OC Certified) [+21]
MOUSE: AZZA Optical 1600dpi Gaming Mouse with Weight Adjustable Cartridge
NETWORK: Onboard Gigabit LAN Network
OS: Windows 7 Professional (Free upgrade to Windows 10 when it is released) [+135] (64-bit Edition)
POWERSUPPLY: 600 Watts - EVGA 600B 80 PLUS BRONZE Power Supply
SERVICE: STANDARD WARRANTY: 3-YEAR [3 Year Labor, 1 Year Parts] LIMITED WARRANTY PLUS LIFE-TIME TECHNICAL SUPPORT
SOUND: HIGH DEFINITION ON-BOARD 7.1 AUDIO
SPEAKERS: Eagle Arion ET-AR302-BK 6 Watts RMS 2.0 Black Soundstage Speakers [+19]
VIDEO: Integrated onboard Graphic [-90]
WNC: PCI Wireless 802.11n 150Mbps Network Interface Card [+19]

_PRICE: (+871)

----------------------------------------------------------------------
SUBTOTAL $871.00
Sales Tax (N/A) $0.00
Shipping: UPS Ground $75.00
----------------------------------------------------------------------
GRAND TOTAL $946.00

08/04/2015 12:51:52 PM · #11
Originally posted by kirbic:

...The main issue is that you have to find the correct "key" version for an existing motherboard, or make sure that the motherboard and drive you are buying will physically plug together. ...


Yes. I expect as new MBs come out for the SKylake chip that more will also have support for m.2 or similar small form factor drives. My plan (today, who knows about tomorrow) is to use one (256 or 512 GB) for the boot and program drive, convert my existing 128GB SSD (boot drive in my current set up) as a scratch disk, and keep my data on large (2-4TB) HDDs.

Another possible m.2 advantage - I have never used RAID due to space limitations and laziness ... JBOD (just a bunch of disks) regularly backed up to a couple different locations seems to work fine for me. Using an m.2 drive shoul free up space for an internal RAID 0 or RAID 1 array (but won't necessarily cure me of my laziness).
08/04/2015 01:01:47 PM · #12
Kirbic speaks truth, Intel has won. :P :)

This site is indispensable for spec'ing and pricing your builds: http://pcpartpicker.com/

Message edited by author 2015-08-04 13:02:33.
08/04/2015 01:20:52 PM · #13
Originally posted by EstimatedEyes:

...Using an m.2 drive shoul free up space for an internal RAID 0 or RAID 1 array (but won't necessarily cure me of my laziness).


I *was* using a 2-rotating-drive RAID 0 array for boot, and in its day it was an advantage. I ditched it for a single SATA 3 SSD, and the difference is amazing. I can see using a RAID 1 array for data redundancy, but I don't think i'd do another RAID array for speed. With M.2 or NVMe, reducing latency is as important as transfer speed, and RAID actually increases latency to some degree.

Edit to fix bungled quote...

Message edited by author 2015-08-04 15:33:15.
08/09/2015 09:59:03 PM · #14
Bought the case, power supply, a 240Gb SSD and some minor bits.

I'm now looking at some combo deals on a cpu and motherboard. Fry's has these on offer this week:
Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1163644.jpg

I'm leaning toward the i5 package.

-The AMD would require a video card, while I can get the Intel system running on its integrated graphics, which brings the pricing closer together in that regard. I'm not doing any gaming or video editing, so integrated graphics will probably be sufficient. I can always add a discrete video card down the road if I decide I need it.

-Benchmarks suggest the Intel i5 4690 would be about 4.75x the speed of my current dual core AMD system. The AMD FX6300 just under 4x the speed.

-The last 3 system builds I have done have used ASUS motherboards and they have been the most trouble free builds I have done. My current system has been trouble free for 6 years as far as motherboard and CPU go. So I have a preference for Asus.

Thoughts?

Message edited by author 2015-08-09 21:59:15.
08/10/2015 05:11:01 PM · #15
Bump?
08/10/2015 06:02:22 PM · #16
Originally posted by Yo_Spiff:

Bump?


Waiting to hear how the build goes :)
08/10/2015 06:34:28 PM · #17
I'm primarily looking at ASUS as well, although I have hit a couple minor speed bumps with them in the past. I'd also consider MSI and Gigabyte. Asrock and EVGA also seem to have a decent reputation. It really all comes down to features and price. ASUS is probably going to be a little premium priced, but not by all that much for comparable features.
08/10/2015 07:18:45 PM · #18
Originally posted by tanguera:

Originally posted by Yo_Spiff:

Bump?


Waiting to hear how the build goes :)

It will still be a few weeks to get all the needed components, but I will update when I put it together. My current system is still going strong since 2009. Had one OS corruption and two hard drive failures in that time, and starting to run short on hard disk space now, but otherwise a fairly good record over 6 years.
08/10/2015 07:40:24 PM · #19
My last build was an ASUS as well and pretty trouble free, but I am leaning towards going with this ASRock board for my new build. Z170, lots of expandability and has that fast m.2 port. Waiting til next week when the rest of the first gen Skylake cpus are supposed to be announced to decide.

08/11/2015 04:08:50 AM · #20
3 years ago I got a laptop to 'kind of' replace my ageing iMac that now sits in the recording studio part of my flat and owns it.

the laptop is i7 quad core with 16GB RAM blah blah, but the single most change that had the most impact for me was installing an SSD drive. A good quality SSD drive will make the world of difference. After that I would say (for photography) a fast Video Card, the rest of the stuff corners may be cut without too much impact I would say.
08/12/2015 12:32:07 PM · #21
I think I have my new build specced out and ready for critique ... it is more powerful than I need for Lightroom 6 and Elements 12, which is the majority of what I do, but the extra will help with video editing (small bit now, but expect it may grow) and perhaps full photoshop if that ever becomes a bigger part of my workflow (50/50 yes/no on that).

Here's the essential bits:
The ASRock Extreme 6+ motherboard I posted above.

Skylake Core I5 3.5Ghz or i7 4.0 Ghz CPU -- I think the i5 is powerful enough for my needs. Don't plan to overclock it and not into gaming, but from my googling it looks like the speeds on the unlocked CPUs are still likely to be higher than those on the locked ones (around 2.5 - 3.2 Ghz). My current build has a Bloomfield core i7 3.06 Ghz chip in it so am looking for a significant improvement in performance over that.

Unclear whether I actually need a standalone graphics card to take advantage of LR GPU and get the dual monitor support I need, or whether the integrated graphics embedded into Skylake (HD Graphics 530) will be sufficient. I suspect I can go without a card for now and add one later if I get heavy into video editing (for which it will certainly be needed). If I were to add one now, something like this GTX-960 card is probably what I would go with.

Those are the major bits. Will add either 16 or 32 GB of DDR4 ram (in 8GB sticks); probably 32 but, again, that may be overkill for my needs. I am leaning towards this case because my current one is a dust magnet, and will probably go with this 650W power supply (or its 750W cousin). I am also looking to upgrade my monitor, and am leaning towards this one from Dell, or perhaps this one from ASUS.

So have at it tech-heads, and let me know what you think. Thanks!
08/12/2015 01:10:38 PM · #22
Dennis,
Here are my thoughts on your listed components:
- I think you will be fine with either of the Skylake processors. From what I am seeing in the performance metrics, there is not as big a difference on most real-world tasks as one might think. Physically, the notable difference between the two is that the i7 supports 8 threads (two virtual processors per core) whereas the i5 only supports four. The other notable difference is in the amount of on-chip cache.
- For graphics, I would seriously consider a discrete graphics solution, though it is certainly easy to add later. One reason i say this is that Intel has actually reduced the on-board graphics performance of these chips vs. the last generation. I think that they are seeing that most folks are using discrete graphics with these chips, and therefore are de-emphasizing the on-board graphics performance. Another reason is that Lr 6 does use the GPU, and you really want all the horsepower you can get for Lr
- Now, as to the exact graphics solution, do your research, but I will say that a gaming-oriented card like the one you list is not optimized for 2D graphics, and consumes gobs of power. The listed card uses 100W, which isn't terrible, but will cost you $33 per year to run (just the graphics card!) if your machine is on 8 hours per day, 5 days per week. A workstation-oriented card like this one consumes 41W. Look carefully at what you need for performance (2D vs 3D performance) and what you need for connectors (in particular, some of the nVidia careds have only DisplayPort).
- With regard to RAM, if you are running only Lr and Elements, I'd say 16GB should be sufficient. If you want to do more intensive work, like for instance stitching panoramas from large, hihg-bit-depth files, I'd go 32. The cost difference should be about $120 or so, so you'd have to play this against your needs. Also remember that if you decide you need more later, you'd probably have to replace what you have.
- The Dell 2715Q (at least the version that is currently shipping) is getting very good press, and at $599 for a 27", 4k IPS monitor, who's to complain??
08/12/2015 01:27:45 PM · #23
Thanks Fritz, that is very helpful, particularly on the graphics solutions. I am finding it is really difficult to research graphics cards, since so many of the reviews are written for or by hardcore gamers ... you have to dig pretty deep to find graphics reccs for non gamers, deeper still for those aimed at Photoshop applications, and deeper again for those that aren't aimed primarily at 3D or video! Most of what I have found to date is outdated, conclusory or both.

ETA: What I did find suggested the NVIDIA GTX 700 or 900s were the best for GPU acceleration in LR, which is why I had picked that one, but based on what you've said I am definitely going to look further.

Message edited by author 2015-08-12 13:29:23.
08/12/2015 01:38:07 PM · #24
Those GTX 7xx and 9xx cards do have some powerful hardware, no doubt about it. Comparing the 960 to the K620, you have 1024 Cuda cores in the 960 vs. 384 in the K620. The 960 also carries more RAM. The give-back is a lot of power consumption. YMMV, of course, but I know I will be going the workstation route, probably with the K1200.

ETA:
You might ask why I'm leaning toward the nVidia K1200, when similarly-proced AMD (formerly ATI) boards seem to over-achieve in benchmark tests. I've looked at customer reviews for both the AMD and nVidia boards, and I see a *lot* of complaints of early death on the AMD side. My personal experience has been that the nVidia boards are rock solid; I've had my current card since about 2009, without a hint of trouble, though it is slow as a slug compared to today's hardware. The nVidia drivers are usually good as well, but have not been completely free of issues.

Message edited by author 2015-08-12 14:12:48.
08/12/2015 04:56:58 PM · #25
Originally posted by kirbic:

... You might ask why I'm leaning toward the nVidia K1200, ....

I get it, I've got a Quadro FX 580 in my current build and it has been trouble free as well, so I am predisposed to nVidia as well. (The K1200 is a pretty powerful unit, and appears worth the step up over the K620 if I go that route (512 v 384 CUDA, 4 v 2 Gb and 80 GBs v 29 GBs mem bandwith). Its about $80 more than the GTX so that eats into the power savings comp a bit but that's not the deal breaker. Problem is only card i can find is a PNY with a low profile bracket that won't fit my mid- case, and reviews say it doesn't ship with a full height one.)
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