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Thread: Spec a custom build for me

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    Smile Spec a custom build for me

    Hi all,

    After toying around with the idea of getting an iMac I’m in two minds. I was hoping the good people of this forum could convince me that a pc can be just as good as an iMac (especially as part of the price of an iMac must be for the screen which I already have).

    My budget is £700 (not set in stone). I use my computer for processing photographs. At the moment the only program I am using is Nikon Capture NX2, but I haven’t written of the idea of investing in Photoshop in the future. My current computer is woefully slow at handling the large RAW format files that come from the camera and it is a massive pain editing even just one photo.

    I don’t work on large quantities of photographs as it’s just a hobby. So I don’t need massive storage and the like. I’ve been thinking of something built around the i3 processor with at least 4gb RAM, more if necessary. I’d like it to be as quiet as possible too. I have a good IPS monitor already it’d just be the base unit I’d need.

    I’d been looking at a few of the scan 3xs computers but most seemed more geared towards gaming and video editing.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Senior Member kalniel's Avatar
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    Re: Spec a custom build for me

    Cool, well for photo editing you mostly need RAM and CPU and storage. If you invest in photoshop in the future then it will be able to take advantage of graphics card from either ATI or nVidia to help accelerate some operations.

    Anyway, lets start with a non-photoshop build for now to see how cheap we can get. I don't know about Capture NX2's hardware characteristics - is it a native 64bit application? Can it take advantage of multiple cores?

    CPU: Intel Core i5 750. £157.63
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Intel...che-95W-Retail

    Motherboard: Asus P7H55-M. £61.48
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Asus-...TX-OnBoard-VGA

    RAM: 4GB (2x2GB) Corsair DDR3 PC3-10666 (1333) £94.12
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/4GB-%...-9-9-9-24-150V

    HDD: 1TB samsung F3. £61.65
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/1TB-S...-89-ms-NCQ-OEM

    PSU: 380W antec eathwatts. £36.31
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/18380...-Fan-Green-PSU

    Case: Coolermaster Elite 330. £25.37
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Coole...Scan-Exclusive

    Quieter CPU fan: Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro v2. £15.85
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Arcti...p-to-130-Watts!

    DVD: Samsung SH-S223C/BEBE. £14.91
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Samsu...SATA-Black-OEM

    Do you need windows as well?
    Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit OEM £76.46
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Windo...8Single%29-OEM

    That comes to £467.32 inc vat or £543.78 if you need windows. That gives you a very fast Quad core processor that should be very well suited to photo editing. 4gb is probably enough, though you have enough budget to double it no problem. And the computer will be very quiet.

    If you go down the photoshop route then you can pop in something like:
    Sapphire HD 4670 Ultimate. £59.19
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/512Mb...PCI-E-VGA-Card
    for a passive GPU with acceleration.

  3. #3
    Senior Member kalniel's Avatar
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    Re: Spec a custom build for me

    Or.. we could do an AMD build using the processor that came out today. This is probably recommended if you go for software that you know for certain is able to leverage multiple cores:

    CPU: AMD Phenom II X6 1055T. £162.27
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/AMD-P...he-125W-Retail

    Motherboard: MSI 785GM-E51. £58.39
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/MSI-7...Board-Graphics

    The rest as above. That would cost almost the same as the Intel build, but you now have a six core fast CPU, better onboard graphics if you don't get the dedicated card, and ability to RAID hard drives if you want to at some point.

    On the downside, that motherboard isn't in stock so you might have to pay 10 quid or so more to get on that is, and it won't be as quick as the Intel system if your software doesn't take advantage of multi-cores as well.

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    Re: Spec a custom build for me

    The Core i5 750 does not have an IGP so you will need a graphics card like the one suggested.

    Here is an alternate AMD based build:

    Phenom II X6 1055T + Asus M4A87TD/USB3 bundle ~ £264

    http://www.scan.co.uk/TodayOnly/Index.aspx

    The motherboard has USB3.0, SATA3.0 and the HD4290 IGP with 128MB of dedicated DDR3 RAM on the motherboard.

    4GB 1333MHZ DDR3 ~ £94

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/4GB-%...-9-9-9-24-150V

    Samsung F3 500GB ~ £39

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/500Gb...-Cache-8ms-OEM

    Use this as an OS drive.

    Samsung F3 1TB ~ £62

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/1TB-S...-89-ms-NCQ-OEM

    I would use this for image storage and have a scratch partition on this disc too.

    520W Seasonic S12II-520 Bronze 12cm Silent S2FC Fan, 80+ (85%) Eff. A0TX12V V2.3 PSU ~ £54

    http://www.scan.co.uk/TodayOnly/Index.aspx

    Zalman Z7 Plus (inc Side Fan) ~ £45

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Zalma...-Tower-PC-Case

    Sony AD-7243S-0B Lightscribe SATA DVD rewriter ~ £19

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Sony-...Labelflash-OEM

    Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit OEM ~ £76

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Windo...8Single%29-OEM

    The total comes to around £653 excluding delivery.

    Another thing is also to have a proper backup protocol for your images.


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  5. #5
    Senior Member kalniel's Avatar
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    Re: Spec a custom build for me

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    The Core i5 750 does not have an IGP so you will need a graphics card like the one suggested.
    There's one in the motherboard!!

  6. #6
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    Re: Spec a custom build for me

    Quote Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
    There's one in the motherboard!!
    The socket 1156 processors have the IGP in the processor but only the Pentium G6950,Core i3 and the dual core versions of the Core i5 have the IGP. The quad core Core i5 processors don't have the IGP.

    Edit!!

    You are ribbing me aren't you!


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  7. #7
    Senior Member kalniel's Avatar
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    Re: Spec a custom build for me

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    The socket 1156 processors have the IGP in the processor but only the Pentium G6950,Core i3 and the dual core versions of the Core i5 have the IGP. The quad core Core i5 processors don't have the IGP.
    There's still one in the motherboard, so no need for one on the processor!!

    edit: except maybe scan are wrong, in which case cat is right!! (sorry) and you have to consider a dual core processor with inbuilt IGP, which would make the AMD system the way to go if you didn't want a dedicated card.
    Last edited by kalniel; 27-04-2010 at 03:29 PM.

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    Re: Spec a custom build for me

    Quote Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
    There's still one in the motherboard, so no need for one on the processor
    No! No! The H55 motherboards have no physical IGP on the motherboard.


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    Re: Spec a custom build for me

    Appreciate this guys.

    I think £60 is very reasonable for graphics card, so I don't mind that. Afraid I have no idea about Nikon's software as to whether it's built for 64bit.

    How about the i5 spec but maybe use this cooler http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Proli...-%28Fanless%29 as it'd be completely silent?

    How easy would it be to increase RAM down the line if I needed to?

    On backing up I was thinking of going down the lines of an external hard drive of some sort.

    Cheers.

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    Re: Spec a custom build for me

    Quote Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
    edit: except maybe scan are wrong, in which case cat is right!!
    Actually, they're both right The motherboard has an onboard VGA port!!! (as well as DVI and HDMI).


    But the IGP is indeed in the CPUs, and only the dual core clarkdales. i5 750 build will always need a discrete graphics card (although if your software isn't GPU accelerated any sub-£25 PCI-e graphics card will do).

  11. #11
    Senior Member kalniel's Avatar
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    Re: Spec a custom build for me

    Quote Originally Posted by rodgers View Post
    Appreciate this guys.

    I think £60 is very reasonable for graphics card, so I don't mind that. Afraid I have no idea about Nikon's software as to whether it's built for 64bit.

    How about the i5 spec but maybe use this cooler http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Proli...-%28Fanless%29 as it'd be completely silent?

    How easy would it be to increase RAM down the line if I needed to?

    On backing up I was thinking of going down the lines of an external hard drive of some sort.

    Cheers.
    Increasing RAM is very easy. Turn the computer off. Open the case. Slot the RAM into the spare RAM slots. Close case. Turn on computer. The builds we've talked about use 2 out of 4 slots, so you have room to double the RAM even with todays technology - in the future you might be able to afford RAM that is higher density (ie can fit more into one slot).

    That's a good fanless cooler, but you will have to start paying attention to case airflow if you have both a fanless graphics card and fanless CPU cooler. If the PSU and case fan are in the right positions then you will probably get away with it if you don't work the system too hard. But it might be quieter to have a quiet CPU fan that exhausts out the back of the case than have the case temperatures increase so much that the PSU and chassis fan have to work overtime to keep it all cool.

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    Re: Spec a custom build for me

    Ah, that makes sense then, think I'll stick to what you recommended. Good to know about upgrading. My brother has now offered to build it all for me if I get the parts together. He says he's done a few before so it seems like a good idea. Might price it all up later and see what he thinks.

    Once again thanks for the advice.

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    Re: Spec a custom build for me

    I would add another hard disc anyway as you don't want to be running the page file and scratch disc on the same hard disc!


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