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Thread: Can these (large) requirements be met in this (large) budget?

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    Question Can these (large) requirements be met in this (large) budget?

    Is it possible to create a gaming/dev/photo-editing PC with the following requirements for less than £3,500? For reference, I'm not a competitive gamer playing the very latest FPS's, but I do enjoy games like Assassin's Creed, WoW, Witcher 3 which can be fairly demanding. Online games are not very compatible with small children, so competitive online gaming is certainly not a requirement.

    • CPU that will still be a moderately competent one in 3-5 years (I was thinking i7 7700??)
    • At least 16GB of fast RAM, ideally 32GB (for running Lightroom/InDesign/Photoshop/Premiere well)
    • 802.11ac Wifi (maybe onboard the mobo, but doesn't really matter)
    • A four-bay NAS with initially 2x3TB RAID 1, with a view to later adding another 2x3TB, to store mostly photos, but also longer-term to digitise a DVD/small Blu-Ray collection
    • Triple 2560x1440 monitors (mostly because of dev/photo-editing but also gaming)
    • GPU that can run the monitors, while playing recent games at near-top quality, at frame rates that do not drop below 60fps
    • Keyboard and mouse that will be good for gaming, but definitely don't need to be top-end. Mechanical keyboard might be nice, but definitely not mandatory.
    • Sound card that can output digital audio (co-ax or optical) to a home-cinema amp, as my computer speakers are several-hundred pound floorstanders, so why not get the best sound into them
    • While not needing a silent-running PC, as quiet as possible would be good
    • Optical drives not needed, as I'll use ones from an old PC
    • (Optionally, and probably not within budget, a cheap but competent colour laser printer)


    If your answer is no, would waiting six months change it to a yes?

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    Banhammer in peace PeterB kalniel's Avatar
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    Re: Can these (large) requirements be met in this (large) budget?

    Yes, for everything apart from the GPU - that will not last 5 years with your requirements, instead buy near rather that at the top end and set aside budget for replacing it more regularly. GPU is also a good reason to wait a few more months for the 1080ti/Vega releases - normally I'd say not to wait for these, but you have high requirements.

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    Re: Can these (large) requirements be met in this (large) budget?

    For the CPU, I would think you'd be better going LGA2011 or waiting for Zen. If photo-editing is your main usage, I think you are better off with more than 4 cores. Six or eight cores seems a lot better for this usage plus even for gaming core-utilisation is on the up with the consoles having 8 actual cores (even if they are very slow cores, they will have less context switching).

    Okay, chances are if you go BW-E (or Zen or even wait for SB-E) you won't quite as high single-threaded performance but your multi-threaded performance would be a lot higher.

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    Re: Can these (large) requirements be met in this (large) budget?

    I did struggle, when trying to spec it up, finding a GPU that seemed powerful enough to run triple 1440p monitors and still coming in under £2k (allowing £1.5k for the monitors and NAS). Any suggestions on monitors/NAS that are good but within budget?

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    Not a good person scaryjim's Avatar
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    Re: Can these (large) requirements be met in this (large) budget?

    Quote Originally Posted by DaKid View Post
    I did struggle, when trying to spec it up, finding a GPU that seemed powerful enough to run triple 1440p monitors ...
    You would - that's ~ 40% more pixels than a single 4k panel and the wider field of view should mean you're rendering more objects/geometry which will also have an impact. You probably need to accept that you'll be targeting medium settings even with a GTX 1080, and in a couple of years you'll be toning that down to low in newer games. As kalniel said, you're probably better off a) waiting until Vega/GTX 1080 Ti are launched, and b) planning to replace the GPU in 2 - 3 years anyway.

    Waiting for Vega will also let you see what Ryzen CPUs bring to the party, and as kompukare said you're probably better looking at Ryzen or the lower end of Intel's "extreme" platform for a long-lived computer that has work aspects as well as gaming (what kind of dev work do you do?).

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    Re: Can these (large) requirements be met in this (large) budget?

    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    You would - that's ~ 40% more pixels than a single 4k panel and the wider field of view should mean you're rendering more objects/geometry which will also have an impact. You probably need to accept that you'll be targeting medium settings even with a GTX 1080, and in a couple of years you'll be toning that down to low in newer games. As kalniel said, you're probably better off a) waiting until Vega/GTX 1080 Ti are launched, and b) planning to replace the GPU in 2 - 3 years anyway.

    Waiting for Vega will also let you see what Ryzen CPUs bring to the party, and as kompukare said you're probably better looking at Ryzen or the lower end of Intel's "extreme" platform for a long-lived computer that has work aspects as well as gaming (what kind of dev work do you do?).
    JavaScript-based development; so front-end dev, command-line stuff, React-native. Nothing especially intensive, although some of the testing can hammer the system a bit when running and speed-ups there are always welcome.

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    Re: Can these (large) requirements be met in this (large) budget?

    Quote Originally Posted by DaKid View Post
    JavaScript-based development; so front-end dev, command-line stuff, React-native. Nothing especially intensive, although some of the testing can hammer the system a bit when running and speed-ups there are always welcome.
    You might want to find out what part of your current system it's hammering. While for photo-work having more than 4C/8T might be nice, for dev it's possible that it's mainly hammering your disk system.
    Which might mean you'd want to look at a decent-sized NVMe SSD. If you're spending £3k you do want to budget a decent SSD. Maybe even two: the NVMe for the OS and dev work, and a slower & cheaper SATA SSD for games and photo-work (video work would probably benefit from the NVMe).

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    Re: Can these (large) requirements be met in this (large) budget?

    Fair enough - is the photo editing to support the front end work? If so it sounds like the most resource intensive task will probably be the gaming, and as I've said I don't think there's a gaming card available currently that will drive that display set-up at high quality with a steady 60fps - that's not really possible even on a 4k display yet and your setup will be more intensive.

    Have you got your eye on any monitors in particular? Presumably if you ideally want a stead 60fps you're looking for high refresh monitors? So something like three of these: http://www.ebuyer.com/748361-acer-xg...c-um-hg0ee-a01 (that's a 144Hz monitor that supports freesync, so you get smooth gameplay even if the frame rate does drop if you're using an AMD GPU *cough*vega*cough*). That's £900 out of the budget, which isn't too bad.

    Have you considered a self-build NAS? If you're happy setting & running a linux distro from a USB drive there's possibilities out there to get a 4 bay NAS running very cheaply....

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    Re: Can these (large) requirements be met in this (large) budget?

    The photo editing is to support the occasional wedding photography that I do, so processing a couple of thousand 21 megapixel RAW files in Lightroom (normally). I also do Photobooks (of the processed TIFFs) in InDesign, and occasionally use Premiere to put together simple videos.

    Are you sure that's 144Hz? To be honest, I'd had half an eye on this Dell monitor (http://amzn.to/2jn6YP7), although it doesn't have Freesync/G-Sync obviously, but it does have VESA mounts which is a good thing for my intended study setup.

    I guess I'm hoping to avoid anything too Heath Robinson, simply for the aesthetics and ease-of-support. If I had to, it's something I could consider.

  10. #10
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    Re: Can these (large) requirements be met in this (large) budget?

    Quote Originally Posted by DaKid View Post
    ... Are you sure that's 144Hz? ...
    Good question Reading around it looks like that might be the 75Hz version (the difference? The 144Hz version is the XG270HU, the 75Hz version is the XG270HUA). Dell make good monitors, but settling for a 60Hz non-adaptive-sync monitor will impact your gaming experience. However, if you're considering the Dells, there are other options that would lengthen the budget slightly, e.g. a 24" Benq IPS @ £210 or a 25" AOC @ £240...

    There are a few high-refresh IPS freesync monitors at your preferred resolution (mostly 27") but you're looking at £400+ for them, so I guess it'd be up to you to balance whether the extra cost was worth it. It's worth noting, however, that buying a freesync monitor wouldn't tie you to AMD graphics - an nvidia card will still benefit from a high refresh rate monitor!

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    Re: Can these (large) requirements be met in this (large) budget?

    Plonk in one of those secondhand six core Core i7 chips for under £100 and get a better card?? Also invest in an SSD too!!

    I have 16GB of DDR3 and a Xeon E3 1230 V2 and its enough for a 24MP D600,even with a few composites.

    Even with a GTX1080 at 2560X1440 I get around 60FPS on max settings on W3 with my system.

    To make life easier,I would just run games on one monitor.

    Edit!!

    Also,I would probably look at colour accuracy first if I was you. I have a 25" Dell UP2516D which can't do FreeSync or GSync but it was the best monitor I could get for my budget for image editing at the time.
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 18-01-2017 at 02:16 PM.


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    Re: Can these (large) requirements be met in this (large) budget?

    There aren't a lot of fast IPS displays, and I don't think any of them are cheap.

    This one is £520 each, http://www.ebuyer.com/720853-acer-xf...c-um-hx0ee-001

    But that would the three 27" monitors, which would need a fairly gigantic desk and tbh I find three 24" monitors to be on the limit of how much I can be swivelling my head all day. I expect half the pixels would go to waste, which makes me wonder if an ultrawide monitor with half the total pixels might work well

    http://www.ebuyer.com/746754-acer-xr...r-um-cx2ee-001

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    Re: Can these (large) requirements be met in this (large) budget?

    Curved monitors and image editing - probably not really ideal TBH. OP should be looking at reviews looking at colour accuracy first,and gaming abilities second.

    Like I said concentrate on gaming on one monitor if you want high settings,and if you want to use more than on monitors drop settings.

    The problem is even a Pascal Titan X is going to struggle with three 2560X1440 displays and even if Nvidia released a fully enabled chip,I can't see more than another 10% to 20% extra performance. Plenty of games also don't scale well with SLI and XFire too.



    Even at 4K the Titan X is around 33% faster than a GTX1080. So even if Nvidia were to launch a full fat GP102 based card,I can see it being more than 40% to 50% faster overall.

    The problem is that a three displays will be meaning the system would need to render around 37.5% more pixels than at 4K.

    Like I said with Hairworks on I get around 60FPS at 2560X1440 on W3. So even a 50% faster card won't scale that well with three times the resolution.

    Plus,unless the pound starts going down any more,I would really wait for Vega to launch - a Titan X is £1179 and can only be bought from Nvidia.

    A GTX1080 is around £630 so is "relatively" cheap in comparison.
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 18-01-2017 at 03:29 PM.


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  14. #14
    Not a good person scaryjim's Avatar
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    Re: Can these (large) requirements be met in this (large) budget?

    I did wonder if one option - and a bit of a wildcard at that - would be a couple of 34" ultrawide monitors - very nearly the same number of horizontal pixels, the same number of vertical pixels. It would also bring http://www.ebuyer.com/721431-acer-bx...r-um-cb0ee-001 into the picture, which is a very interesting monitor: IPS, only 75Hz, but it has a freesync range of 30Hz - 75Hz, which should mean it also supports low framerate compensation...

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    Re: Can these (large) requirements be met in this (large) budget?

    Yeah,we need to ask what level of image editing the OP wants. My Dell came pre-calibrated with an individual calibration report included in the box,and has specific Dell software which will work in concert with a X-Rite i1DisplayPro colorimeter,ie,has hardware calibration support.
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 18-01-2017 at 03:37 PM.


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    Re: Can these (large) requirements be met in this (large) budget?

    I have a Spyder Pro colorimeter, so I calibrate the individual monitor myself and a profile for it is automatically created and applied in the OS. A wider gamut support would certainly be useful (in Adobe RGB ... I'd expect near full sRGB anyway).

    I think the point about curved monitors and photo editing is interesting. I wonder if the curve is strong enough to cause perceived distortion in the image (or to detrimentally influence the image editing)?

    Perhaps triple 1080p is the answer, if the screens are very high quality, but then maybe that's a waste with not all games supporting multiple monitors. Certainly triple 27" monitors does seem too large. Maybe triple 1440p (@ 24") but always game on just one, which would mean perhaps a 1070 would give me high enough GPU power for high-framerates?!?

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