New system

Jul 9, 2008
Warrington, England
So, I've always built my own systems, my current setup is getting a little slow with Lightroom 2.2 and Photoshop CS3.

I'd like to have something quick enough for almost instant rendering if high resolution files in Lightroom and show image edits without much delay or slow down.

The image files are from a D3 so are 12mp RAW files.

The system I am looking at is

2x2gb PC2-8500 Corsair DDR2 Ram
AMD Phenom 2 X4 920 2.8ghz
2x500 gb WD Caviar SATA hard drives

I plan on keeping my GeForce 7300GT graphics card.

I understand that graphics card power isn't a neccessity for photo editing, is this card still ok?

Does anybody use the Caviar hard drives? I am looking for relatively large hard drives which are reliable.

and Finally, does anybody run the Phenom 2 X4 920?
Aug 10, 2005
The graphics card for cs3 has no effect, but when you get to cs4 it is being used to take on some of the rendering. So if you are only looking towards bang for your buck today then yes you are right, but going forward you may want to look at a higher end card.
Jan 8, 2007
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
For the small price difference, you should get the 640GB WD drives. They are faster than the 500GB (due to using denser platters).

Are you going to run a 64bit OS?
May 12, 2008
Real Name
I'd also go for the 640GB drives. They are faster than the 500GB. Western Digital has a black series which as a 5 year warranty instead of a 3 year like normal Caviars.
Apr 17, 2006
Hong Kong, China
SSD is not worth the $ now.

WD640G is probably still the best value, "Black" series has slightly faster access time than "Blue" or "Green". "Green" is slightly slower, but generates less heat and noise. So maybe you can also consider it if you do not need that 0.0x sec faster access time.

Phenom II has very good price/performance ratio. From what I've seen it is quite possible that a 920 will overclock to 3.5G with stock heatsink. I think it could be faster than similar priced Intel systems.

CS3 doesn't use graphic card, so wait until you upgrade to CS4 before you buy a graphic card. Remember it is about 9 - 12 months for another generation of graphic chips to appear. So delay buying it until the last moment.
Nov 22, 2007
San Diego
great system... i agree with everyone about the hard drives. Go for a bit more ram too if you are going with a 64bit OS... that stuff is so cheap nowadays.
Jan 6, 2006
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
You didn't mention how old your current system is so not sure if you have an AGP or PCI-E version of the 7300GT. Nvidia makes both flavours of that particular card so could be either one. You may want to check that out just in case as your new system will be PCI-E for sure which means you're gonna need a new video card if you have the AGP version. Cheers!

P.S. I also agree with the previous comment on upgrading the ram. It's dirt cheap right now so you might as well go for the 8 megs and run Vista x64. Works perfectly for me so far and driver support is pretty much a thing of the past for most stuff other than older printers and scanners.

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