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Help/advice from you techie guys re new desktop, please.

PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 7:29 pm
by oldCarlos
I have a new monitor, so just need help on getting a new `tower`.

1st off. Presumably i'd be better off going to an independant supplier, rather than PC world or any of the other multiples. (unless there is a decent pre-built set up, that you can recommend?)

I don't want to go down the `mac` route. atm we're on Vista & IE, which seems to be ok & what we're used to & presume Windows 7 would be fine?

I'm a complete techie dinosaur so don't really know what i'll need, or what to specify! :? (& what NOT to get or be persuaded to get)

2nd. It'll be used for surfing the net, my wife uses Microsoft office, excell spread sheets, word..... & watches a few tv programmes but I guess 70% of it's use will be for photo editing & storage, (atm I have an 8gb external for backing up important pics)
The PC is over 4 yrs old, the C-drive is nearly out of memory & it's VERY slow. I know i've heard that `memory` is cheap these days, but tbh probably best to fully upgrade now rather than getting someone to add memory & try to speed this thing up in the short term?

Hopefully in the near future i'll be getting a D800, so will presumably need a decent PC set up to work with the pics & 1 or 2 TB storage especially shooting RAW.

We'd like a DVD to DVD writer/copier if poss, as well as card-reader.

Presumably anyone `building/supplying' PC's would understand what I need, but i'd like to make sure by asking what you guys recommend so I can specify those.
Hopefully the new PC will be more than adequate & something that'll last us 4+ years.

Spoke to our son (who `games`on his PC) & he said possibly to go; Windows7, an i7 processor and no less than 16 GB of RAM?
Is this correct & what else is there to add/think about?

Also, what sort of ball-park figure should I be reckoning on? £££'s
Thanks in advance for your help/ideas.

Re: Help/advice from you techie guys re new desktop, please.

PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 11:16 pm
by maxjj
I am in a similar boat, but on the advice of a guy I have bought pc`s from for the last 20 years, have decided to wait a bit. The Thailand floods have had an impact on the price of hdd and other stuff, I see that they are coming down but still not back to where they were.
He did say that Intel i5-2500K CPU is good bang for you buck, but wait as Intel’s Ivy Bridge CPU`s are coming out soon or the Sandy Bridge stuff to get a bit cheaper.
Then possibly an intel SSD drive around 120GB and a 2 Tb HDD not sure about graphics card, may well not need one. I am thinking that 8gig memory is possibly enough, unless a lot of grunt work is required.
And yes will be using Win7.
That was suggested as a good bang for you buck system if I was buying now, I am holding off and waiting just so I can upgrade it a more and gear it towards video editing.
With case and blue ray writer came in around $1000 AU

Re: Help/advice from you techie guys re new desktop, please.

PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 3:38 am
by Maestro
Sounds to me like you're on the right track and just need a little more structure to your approach. To wit:

Figure out what you want to do on the PC (you listed photo editing, word processing, TV viewing)

Figure out which applications you want to use to do the above (you listed MS Office, but not the photo editing app or the TV viewing app)

Check the recommended system requirements for those applications. (And if you plan to use more than one app at the same time, be sure to add the system requirements of the apps together.)

Figure out how long you want to continue to use this PC without upgrading it. (You said 4+ years.)

Using Moore's Law as a rule of thumb--processing power doubles every 18 months--calculate what the system requirements will be at the end of this machine's life expectancy. (e.g. 4.5 years = 3 18 month "generations" and MS Office 2010 system requirements are 500MHz CPU with 512 MB RAM. Doubling each of those figures three times means you'd like the equivalent of a 4 GHz single core CPU (or roughly speaking, a 2GHz dual core or 1GHz quad core, etc.) with 4 GB RAM. Note: your photo editing app's requirements will most likely be higher.)

Now that you have an idea of what you need, you can start adding things you want (including faster CPU, more RAM, etc.) until you reach the limit of your budget.

If it helps any, about a year and a half ago, I did a complete build--i.e. a new case and everything inside (cables, fans, etc.)--of a watercooled i7 970 3.2 GHz on an EVGA X58 motherboard with 12 GB RAM, an EVGA GTX 480 video card, 80 GB SSD and two 1 TB HDDs, Blu-Ray burner and DVD burner, and 1kW PSU for ~$2,500 (US)

Oh, and if you're still considering storing/backing up photos to an external drive, you may want to look for USB3 support on both the motherboard and the external drive.


P.S. One more thing--since you mentioned TV viewing, you may want to look for DLNA support (so you can easily stream video to any DLNA device--PC, TV, tablet, smartphone, etc.--over your home network).

Re: Help/advice from you techie guys re new desktop, please.

PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 10:29 am
by oldCarlos
Thanks Max.
I'm not needing to buy within the next few weeks, so could wait a short while I suppose. I'll make a note of your suggestions. 8)
btw, what are the differences between Ivy-bridge & Sandy-bridge? :?

Trouble is I don't know how to `figure out` the requirements etc :? :oops: :lol:

Forgot to even mention Adobe PS stuff ....etc & presume if/when I shoot RAW @30+mp, the PC will need some `grunt`?

Initially I was thinking around the £1k to spend, but I suppose i'll have to be a little more flexible.

Thanks for helping.

Am I getting there with; 2-3TB ext HD, Win7, an i7 processor, no less than 16 GB of RAM (as much as poss really), good graphics card (specific recommendations?)

Re: Help/advice from you techie guys re new desktop, please.

PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:02 am
by Maestro
System requirements can usually be found on the product's packaging and website. e.g. Photoshop CS5.5's system requirements are listed at:

But please bear in mind that doubling every 18 months is just a rule of thumb, and that this also assumes you will want to run the latest version of the software at that time. (Maybe you won't.) i.e. if you never plan to upgrade beyond CS5.5, you will never need to upgrade your hardware, as the system requirements to run CS5.5 are unlikely to change drastically, if at all.

Also note that there's a list of video cards that support GPU acceleration on that page, as well.

And personally, I'd want to add an SSD to your list, at least for the OS and page files. But the rest looks fine, as long as the external drive and your motherboard both support USB 3. Or you could go with an internal HDD instead. (As noted previously, I have two internal HDDs in my PC.)


Re: Help/advice from you techie guys re new desktop, please.

PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:10 pm
by oldCarlos
I've been in touch with 2 local independant shops & discussed what I want from your help on here.
Still waiting for a quote from one of them, but this is the 1st;

Intel core i7 3.4Ghz
16GB DDR3 dual channel
ATI Radeon 7000 2gb
128GB Solidstate Drive (for Operating system)
2TB HDD (for storage)
2x DVD super burners
750W power supply
Silent fan
Windows 7 64bit
@ £1200

Are the specs ok & price reasonable?


Re: Help/advice from you techie guys re new desktop, please.

PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:21 pm
by oldCarlos
2nd quote is a bit more expensive, but seems higher spec. I can just about afford it, but would like to know if it seems a good price.

Motherboard # ASUS P9X79 PRO
CPU # Intel Core i7 3820, 3.6GHz Quad Core LGA2011 Socket, L2 10 MB
Memory # Corsair Vengeance LP PC3-12800 16 GB 4X4
CPU COOLER # Dark Rock Pro Dual Fan Quiet CPU Cooler
PSU # 650W Corsair Enthusiast Series - Modular - 80 PLUS Bronze 85% Efficient
Graphics Card # ASUS AMD Radeon HD 6870 1 GB
Card Reader # Akasa AK-ICR-07 Internal Media Compatible with high capacity memory cards (SDHC)
Hard Disks # Western Digital WD1002FAEX Caviar Black 1 TB SATA III 6Gb/s, 7200rpm, 64MB Cache, 8ms ... 2 of

# Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit inc COA and discs
# Office 2007
# Microsoft security Essentials anti virus.
# any other software you fancy

Built, loaded and tested, burnt in for 24 hours on full load with Everest Pro.

Re: Help/advice from you techie guys re new desktop, please.

PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 10:45 pm
by Lorride
Don't go with an enthusiast socket, just buy the 2600k instead if you think you need hyper threading.
There is some value in the 2011 with six core CPU's but its gonna take some time before they become affordable enough that it makes sense to buy one.

2500k is just fine, ht does not really give much extra compared to the price.

Re: Help/advice from you techie guys re new desktop, please.

PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:52 am
by Maestro
My main concern would be that neither of those video cards is on Adobe's supported list for GPU acceleration.

But if that's not important to you, then I guess those quotes look OK. With the caveat that I'm not up on UK prices, of course.


Re: Help/advice from you techie guys re new desktop, please.

PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:17 am
by Lorride
Does anyone have any good information about photoshop and it's ability to use GPU acceleration?

Found this, the work load is a bit insane, but I am sure in a time lapse scenario where a lot of pictures is edited it will have its advantage: ... ,2770.html

But apart from that the general idea I get from various posts on dpreview, canonforums and what not is that for example the built GPU in i7-2600k(HD3000) is plenty for 2D image processing.

Re: Help/advice from you techie guys re new desktop, please.

PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 3:38 am
by Maestro
I think it depends. For, say, RAW files from a Nikon D800, I'd certainly like to have the additional processing power, even for just 2D work.

And, of course, Photoshop keeps incorporating more and more 3D FX. (Even the old Lighting Effects filter is a primitive 3D ray tracer.)

But yes, if you never plan to do anything like that, then the on-board chip should be OK - Mark

Re: Help/advice from you techie guys re new desktop, please.

PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 8:19 pm
by jameswilby5
I wouldn't bother waiting for the Ivy Bridge processors to come out since they were meant to come out at the beginning of the year. The improvements Ivy Bridge will bring are only really for laptops so if you want a computer now don't feel as though you should wait.

Another thing to mention is stay away from Quad Core i5 processors and go for a Quad Core i7 processor. Why? The quad core i5 seems to be a bit of a downfall in the intel range. It only has 4 threads and 8 was expected in this model. The i7 solves this problems and has the expected 8.

As for specs you should be looking for something decent to run photography software such as photoshop.

I would suggest:

Quad Core i7. Get the most powerful one you can afford. Although make sure it is at least 2.4ghz. For a desktop I would suspect you could get something in the region of 3.4ghz. (I have 2.5ghz Quad Core i7 on my mbp and it runs photoshop and premiere pro with ease)

At least 8gb RAM although 16gb or even 32gb would be good. If you buy a tower with lots of RAM slots you can add your own very cheaply. It's only once you start getting individual RAM above 8gb that it becomes expensive so having lots of slots is an easy way out of this processor.

For the hard drive I would say have one massive 2tb 7200rpm hard drive that you can store all of your photos on. Make sure it is a 7200rpm drive as this will significantly increase speeds over the cheaper 5600rpm drives. Also do not underestimate how much the drive effects the speed of your computer. I added an SSD to my mbp and speeds almost doubled when reading and writing files (which is quite a lot of the time). For a desktop you will likely have two hard drive bays so I would get a small SSD and store all of your programs on this. The crucial m4 is a very quick and reliable option. The programs are the most intensive things you will have to run and an SSD can make programs like photoshop open instantly :D

As for the other components I wouldn't worry as much. Make sure its got a good graphics card and the rest should be okay. Focus your money on the main components and you will have a good machine. Also look out for desktops with features such as USB 3.0 and a high speed SD card slot. These will drastically reduce your copying times. Buying an off the shelf desktop can be an economical way to go since the company has bought all the parts in bulk and therefore the computers are cheaper than buying all the components individually. Brands like Alienware, ASUS and Dell XPS would be a good place to look. If they are out of budget good computers can be bought from brands such as HP. On another note stay away from Acer there packages look appealing but there systems can be very unreliable.

Re: Help/advice from you techie guys re new desktop, please.

PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 8:24 pm
by jameswilby5
Of the two you posted the first would be quicker thanks to the SSD although if you installed an SSD into the second one it would be a very nice machine. You could probably do it for £1550. Also be sure to check video card compatibility as pointed out by others here and maybe alter the setup accordingly.

Re: Help/advice from you techie guys re new desktop, please.

PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 3:09 pm
by Jean-Pierre
The good commonalities:
1) CPU: both will be plenty.

2) 16GB RAM: definitely recommend it, I've reached the limit of it quite a few times while editing photos and especially for videos.

Here are the 3 biggest differences I see between each option.
1) Graphics card: I've had the 6870 for about 6 months and it made a huge difference in both photo and video editing. I definitely recommend this one. The 7000 will probably choke even with basic video editing, and if you do any serious photo editing, you'll be cursing at it.

2) HDD: 1 TB of storage might be a bit small, although you can always add a 2tb USB drive for less than 100$ in the future. Having an SSD is known to make applications open faster, but I haven't made the plunge yet, so can't comment, although I did go with a Seagate hybrid drive (500gb of HDD + SSD combined in one drive) which did help speed things up.

3) Cooling: Having a silent fan can sound enticing at first, but these new video cards produce a lot of heat, and you'll need a way to disperse it. Don't skip out on the fans if you want your system to work well.

One thing that puzzles me with these higher end systems is neither of them offer a blu-ray reader or writer, you might want to look into that if you think you'll ever use it, when I bought mine the difference wasn't that much.

You might want to look in a better antivirus if you'll be spending time on the net. I personally love Panda Antivirus.

Conclusion: Option #2 might be a bit more expensive, but it does bring your office 2007, and the ATI 6870 vid card.

Re: Help/advice from you techie guys re new desktop, please.

PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 2:08 pm
by oldCarlos

I went with option 2. It's been up & running for a over a month now, with no hiccups (touch wood!)
When I click on a photo to open it with PS elements 10, it's there in about 8 seconds, where my old PC took about a minute to load it.

I didn't opt for a blu-ray, coz i'll not use it.

Just need to get myself a 2TB ext HD for backing pics up.

I'm very happy atm & would like to thank you all for the help & advice. 8)