Computers for photographers - recommended specifications

Which platform's best for photography? How much RAM do you really need? Discuss computer hardware here!

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Postby Lorride » Sat Jul 24, 2010 11:18 pm

DD_nVidia:

Your list does not make much sense considering price/performance.

Take a serious look at the Hex core AMD. And really, triple channel is not even nearly worth it, 4GB dual channel will do just fine. (8GB RAM if you work with 1080p video)
Pick out a 80-160GB or similar size SSD as a scratch disc and for OS. Really improves your speed when working with large amounts of small sized files, like raw images.
Graphic card, pick out the cheapest GTX 460 if you want nVidia.
PSU, more than 500W is a waste of money. (In this case)
Canon 5D MkII -|- Sigma 24mm f/1.8 | Carl Zeiss 35mm f/2.0 | Canon 50mm f/1.4 | Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro | Lensbaby Composer
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Postby AnderssonPhoto » Sun Jul 25, 2010 7:22 am

I pretty much have the High End one

But the Ram/graphics/PSU is better :P

Ram @ 2000Mhz, Graphics: ATI HD5770 Crossfire and a 1200w PSU (for the PSU part, most people said that 1200w is insane)

but of course this is both for photos and gaming :)

urk, AMD I cant be bothered to use them anymore.. Caused too many problems for me before.
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Postby popo » Sun Jul 25, 2010 8:39 am

Given the low price of ram and the incidental performance boost it gives a system even if you're not using it directly in running applications, I'd consider 4GB to be low entry level for a new system today. 6-8GB is a balance between cost and general headroom. Don't underestimate how much ram can be eaten up once you get photoshop cracking.

As for PSUs, we're back to the old problem, cheaper brands tend to be optimistic in the power rating. Also you have to remember a PSU is working at its best if not running on its limit, not too light a load. A target of around 50% to 75% load is fair. So for a desktop running an actual 350W under load say (ball park for average box with average gfx), that would suggest a minimum of 450W, so models around 500W are spot on. If you're overclocking the nuts off it with dual GFX, you will need quite a bit more.

And I need to keep away from this thread, I've been getting a computer upgrade itch recently...
Canon DSLRs: 7D2, 7D1, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 70-300L, 100-400L, 100L, MP-E 65, EF-S 10-18, 15-85
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Postby thelostswede » Sun Jul 25, 2010 8:52 am

1200W? why? You're just wasting electricity, especially if it's not a PSU with really high efficiency at low loads, which it like isn't as very few power supplies are efficient at below 50% load except for the really really expensive models.

Just a word of advice here, unless you're getting yourself a high-end graphics card and we're talking about the kind of cards that require a pair of additional power inputs, then there really should'be be any need to go beyond about 6-700W.

High-end CPUs have a peak power draw of around 130W (LGA-1366 processors). Add 330W for a high-end graphics card at full load, throw in enough extra power for motherboard, RAM, hard drives, a couple of extra cards and what not and you're still going to have a hard time hitting 6-700W, as you're usually NEVER going to load your CPU at 100% and your graphics at 100% at the same time.

The most important thing is to buy a quality power supply and these days you want to look at something with at least an 80 plus bronze logo on it if you at all care about power efficiency. Going beyond that will cost you a lot more compared to what it'll really save you on your electricity bill as the difference is a mere 2-3% in terms of power saving in most cases.
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Postby AnderssonPhoto » Sun Jul 25, 2010 9:56 am

I bought 1200w because of future upgrades (what Im saying now)

my old plan was to get 2x 5970s or 3x 5870s.... My photo gear gets first priority!
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Postby WoutK89 » Tue Nov 30, 2010 1:17 pm

I think this article is long overdue for an update :?
AMD and nVidia being already at the 6000 and 500 series resp. and Intel at the edge of releasing the newer generation of the i3/i5/i7's
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Re: Computers for photographers - recommended specifications

Postby MrCliff » Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:51 am

I've got a dual core Intel socket something on an Asus Mother Board. I built it myself about 18 months ago and it works pretty good. How much US$ will I pay for an entry level quad core intel cpu and Mother Board? What model cpu is a reasonably priced quad core? no interest in the latest and greatest- a generation or two old is my price point. running win 7 pro and 64 bit lr4.
thx!
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Re: Computers for photographers - recommended specifications

Postby popo » Mon Apr 09, 2012 9:07 am

Check exactly which motherboard you have and find the compatibility information for it (Asus are pretty good for that). I think there is a good chance you can drop a quad core straight in without changing the mobo, perhaps requiring a bios update first.
Canon DSLRs: 7D2, 7D1, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
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Re: Computers for photographers - recommended specifications

Postby MrCliff » Thu Apr 12, 2012 2:37 am

I had a look at installing a quad core in my mobo but no joy- the 18 month+ old hardware is now dated. makes sence though, i bought it cheap- at least a generation old when I bought without an eye toward upgrade. Seems the socket LGA1155 is the config for me to shop for. Asus mobo and 6mb cache i5 3.4 ghz quad core for about $420. need a new heatsink -$50 or so. I'll shop through Camera Labs affiliate page when I finally buy.
Adobe has an online hardware video showing a machine with dual hex core CPUs and, 2x virtual core (24 total cores), 2 gb ram per hardware core. schweet.
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Re: Computers for photographers - recommended specifications

Postby popo » Thu Apr 12, 2012 6:31 am

The oldest PC I still run has an Asus P5W DH Deluxe motherboard in it. It was released in 2006 and even that supports quad core, for a large part of its life running a Q6600.
Canon DSLRs: 7D2, 7D1, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 70-300L, 100-400L, 100L, MP-E 65, EF-S 10-18, 15-85
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 50/1.4A, 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS
Compacts: Sony HX9V, Fuji X100.
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Re: Computers for photographers - recommended specifications

Postby Lorride » Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:05 am

Post your motherboard name here and we will double check for you =)

There really isn't that much extra power to get from the latest intel quad's compared to for example Popo's Q6600.
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Re: Computers for photographers - recommended specifications

Postby MrCliff » Fri Apr 13, 2012 4:11 am

The mb is an asus P5P43TD. Cpu is an intel E7600. This stuff really works well. After reading Thomas's notes on loading 40-50mb raw files into LR4: four cores pinned at 100%, 16 gb Ram (2x what I'm running) in about 8 seconds, twice that on a dual core laptop, seems like it may be getting close to upgrade time. All the quad cores I find the socket 775 cost as much as a new socket 1155 mb and i5 Cpu.
Looking at asus P8P65 mb and i5 2550K Cpu- a bit over $400.
Last edited by MrCliff on Fri Apr 13, 2012 5:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Computers for photographers - recommended specifications

Postby Lorride » Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:10 pm

Your motherboard supports quad core CPU's alright.

http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_ ... 43TD/#CPUS

Your'e right about people who sell these CPU's though, prices are a bit high for old 775 quads.

If I where you I would get this combo instead:
ASUS P8H61-M PRO mATX (If you want 16GB of RAM getting 4x4GB can be 10-15USD cheaper than 2x8GB at 1333Mhz, hence full ATX would be necessary)
Intel i5-2310 or if you wanna overclock then the one you chose is nice.

One can also make a pretty cool and very space efficient rig with mini-ITX motherboards. Did one recently for a friend of mine.
i3-2100 | 6950 2GB | 64GB SSD 2.5" | 1TB HDD 3.5" | Blu-ray slim drive | 8GB RAM
http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/att ... 1332330750

Ivy-Bridge is getting closer to launch, this might change the pricing a bit.
Canon 5D MkII -|- Sigma 24mm f/1.8 | Carl Zeiss 35mm f/2.0 | Canon 50mm f/1.4 | Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro | Lensbaby Composer
Canon A-1 -|- Canon 28mm f/2 | Canon 35mm f/2.8 | Canon 50mm f/3.5 Macro
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Re: Computers for photographers - recommended specifications

Postby MrCliff » Fri Apr 13, 2012 5:16 pm

Lorride wrote:ASUS P8H61-M PRO mATX

Thanks! I like the price of this board. The USB 3 on my current board has me won over however. My USB 3 passport backup drive does it's work very fast. USB 3 is a must have for now.
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Re: Computers for photographers - recommended specifications

Postby lagnificent » Sat Apr 14, 2012 3:30 am

All the quad cores I find the socket 775 cost as much as a new socket 1155 mb and i5 Cpu.


Yeah, with all the new sockets being released with each generation of Intel processors, it often is cheaper and easier to replace the whole CPU/mobo combo than to upgrade processor-only. My last PC, i went with a basic motherboard that met my Core 2 Duo's needs because I knew when it came time to upgrade to quadcore, none of the new processors would be compatible.
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