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Photoshop beast build - Would love your thoughts

Discussion in 'PC/Windows/Linux' started by Nchesher, Jul 8, 2008.

  1. Nchesher


    Jul 7, 2006
    So after nearly 4 years with my P4 it's time I upgrade. My current PC just can't handle CS3 and Lightroom. I'm hoping a quad-core PC will really speed up my workflow. I'm wasting so much time batching stuff at a snail's pace. Here's what I have so far. I'd love any thoughts or suggestions. I think I'm going to order everything this weekend.

    I'd like to OC past 3.0Ghz. I know it's easily acheived with this processor. The Raptor HD is for my C: drive, the 750 is for business photos and such, I also have a 320 in my current PC but it's IDE. I think I can use it on this MOBO. I also have another 80gb IDE HD that I'd like to use as a scratch disk for PS. I know the video card is overkill, I'd like to have the option of gaming if I decide to. Nothing hardcore but I want it to be enjoyable. I'm planning of going with Vista Ultimate 64bit. Lemme know what you think. Thanks


    Intel Core 2 Quad Q9450 Yorkfield 2.66GHz

    ASUS P5K-E/WIFI-AP LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard

    Antec Performance One P180 ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

    G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500)

    CORSAIR CMPSU-550VX 550W ATX12V V2.2 Power Supply

    EVGA 512-P3-N861-AR GeForce 9600 GT 512MB 256-bit Video Card

    Western Digital Raptor X 150GB 10000 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 1.5Gb/s HD

    Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD7500AAKS 750GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache HD

    ZALMAN CNPS9500 AT 2 Ball CPU Cooling Fan/Heatsink
  2. ajbooker


    Mar 17, 2008
    Omaha, NE
    I'd be tempted to go 2x Raptors in a RAID configuration for speed with automatic backups when you're not working to the larger, slower drive. Just my thoughts, since with batch operations you'll be throwing a lot of data around.

    Also, moving to 8gb ram might reduce the slowdowns from using a scratch disc for Photoshop.

    Just my thoughts.
  3. JMontes


    Jun 22, 2007
    Edgartown, MA
    Raptor drives are a waste of money for the increase in speed you get. If you are worried about losing images, run in RAID (mirrored).

    Your RAM is only 1066 FSB, your CPU is 1333....use the money you save on not getting raptor drives and go with DDR3 RAM (1333 FSB) :biggrin:
  4. Nchesher


    Jul 7, 2006
    Thanks John. That's the info I was looking for. Some of the numbers I just don't know.
  5. Nchesher


    Jul 7, 2006

    Is a scratch disk pointless with 8gb RAM?

    I can't find any DDR2 1333 RAM. All I see is DDR3. Any tips?
  6. Take a look at this case:


    Was a fan of Antec cases until I got this one. The machining is wonderful. I know it is not a "silent" case design, but is does have a removeable MB tray.

    Another thing about the Antec case you selected. With the P/S on the bottom the big power cables run by the hard drives and can get in the way.
  7. dan1son


    Sep 24, 2007
    I do like the antec cases. Their "quiet" cases really are nice and quiet (even dampening on the hard drive enclosures). Make sure the power supply and video card fans aren't going to be ridiculously loud. I've had to go aftermarket fans on video cards in the past to keep the sound down where I wanted it.

    I wouldn't worry about the raptor hard drive get 2 750's and mirror them. And you want DDR3 RAM with that processor. You might want to swap out Motherboards if that one can't do it. You'll get more of an increase in speed doing that then you will using a raptor drive for sure. You'll get annoyed copying files around to actually take advantage of the speed of that drive anyway.
  8. Nchesher


    Jul 7, 2006
    I wasn't thinking of RAID at all. To be honest I don't even know where to start. Any suggestions for a MOBO that'll do DDR3 under $200? That case looks nice. My wishlist might make a real transformation tonight. :) 
  9. Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  10. Nchesher


    Jul 7, 2006
    I'm thinking I may be ok with what I have. Nothing sticks out as horrible does it? I do like that Lian-Li case though. I didn't think they had any that cheap. I'm not necessarily trying to build this system on the cheap. It's at $1400 or so now with a new router and Lightscribe DVD burners. I'd like to stay under $1500. The debate seems to really be about the 10k RPM drive. I don't need it but if it helps my programs run a little faster than it may be a decent idea. I could certainly get something much larger that is a 7200RPM.
  11. turtile


    May 12, 2008
    Go with the WD 300GB Velociraptor instead. Its much faster than the 150GB Raptor. You may also want to consider the new Caviar Black Edition for your larger drive.

    DDR3 is currently a waste of money. Its only slightly faster than DDR2 since the latencies are still so high.

    A FSB of 1333Mhz means that each stick of memory runs at 333Mhz @ 1:1 (DDR2 667 - The FSB is quad pumped - 1333/4 = 333). DDR3 1333 would allow the memory run at twice the frequency as the CPU.
  12. 1. Ram speed is a myth. DDR2 is produced at 800 max - the higher numbers are for OC'd memory. Save yourself some $$$ and get 800 MHz RAM. I have Corsair XMS2 running with an OC'd Q9450 (3.2GHz) - so system board is at 400MHz native, x2 = 800 MHz memory speed (2 is the minimum memory multiplier), x4 = 1600MHz FSB (My mobo native speed) and x8 = 3.2GHz processor speed (the Q9450 has an 8 times multiplier).

    With the above setup, my board and memory are both running at the speed they were designed for. The CPU is running quite a bit faster.

    HDD: WD have just released their new speed demon - the 300Mb Velociraptor. $299. Per Tom's Hardware, it's the fastest SATA drive on the planet. I used one of those for my OS (C Drive) and an older 36Gb Raptor for a scratch disk. I used a WD SE-16 for the data drive.

    Cooler - If you are not going to OC, then the stock cooler is fine. If you are going to OC, then not the Zalman. Get the Xigmatek 1283. See my previous thread about the mounting bracket. I would not do without it. At 3.2GHz running Prime95 small FFT's I stay below 50 degrees (tCase temp). Max for the Q9450 is 71 degrees, so as you can see I am running pretty cool. Standard temp is between 25 and 29 degrees, depending on room temperature.

    PSU is perfect, just very bulky wires.

    Graphics: I also used a 9600GT but got the ASUS version. Yours should be fine. There is a bug in the nVidia drivers that sometimes renders icons with a strange black background - PM me for the fix if it bites you.

    If you are not going to OC, then the motherboard looks fine. For OC I'd go for a higher spec - 1600 MHz X48 board.

    Whatever you decide, have fun building it. Good luck.
  13. Nchesher


    Jul 7, 2006
    Thanks a ton guys
  14. JMontes


    Jun 22, 2007
    Edgartown, MA
    1333MHz ram is only available in DDR3. It's not a deal breaker, but it's better than a 10k RPM drive. One thing I have learned over the last 11 years of building PC's, proper cooling on HD's is the most important thing you can do. 10k RPM drives run fast, hot, and LOUD. Doesn't matter what anyone here says about them, unless you are spending 95% of your time accessing the HD (like running a database, ripping a lot of videos, etc.), they are a waste of money. For general use, you won't notice the difference. RAID is definitely something you should do, I have been doing it for years...HD's are cheap and it's a great way to have a backup in case of a drive failure. I'll never build another system without it. Stick to mirroring your drives though, not striping them. That effectively doubles your chance at a disk failure. I did it once for speed, but everything is so blazingly fast now it's just not necessary. Then again, you could do a stripe+mirror (0+1) to wipe put that chance of a failure back to normal :biggrin:

    Be sure that your case has a spot for a fan on the HD's to pull air across them. Since I have actively cooled my HD's, I haven't had a bad drive or bad sector in my PC's in 11 years. My desktop PC usually runs 24x7, it only gets shutdown when I'm gone on a trip. My wife uses it all day (works from home).

    I had a great picture of my PC when I first built my last one....I wish I knew where that image was, you could see how it was laid out along with the cooling (I'll see if I can dig it up). I don't have excess loud fans, just proper airflow with fans in the right places :wink:

    EDIT: Can't believe I found the image, haha...didn't even take long. Anyway, HD's on the right, fan flat against them pulling fresh air in from the outside. Keep your cables out of the way for nice airflow.

    BTW, I'm sitting on a QX9650 that I'm waiting to build a system around. Luckily I got it free, because I sure wouldn't pay $1k for a CPU!!!!

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 8, 2008
  15. The new velociraptor is a 2.5" drive that comes in a 3.5" "Ice Pack". This thing is always 3 to 4 degrees cooler than my 7200rpm SE-16. It also has a MTBF of 1.4 million hours.

    I am not a RAID fan unless you do it for speed. If you want to back up your data then you NEED to have an off-site backup in addition to a local backup. Find an off-site solution that works for you. If your house burns down, or floods or whatever, a local backup is totally worthless.
  16. JMontes


    Jun 22, 2007
    Edgartown, MA
    Interesting, will have to check that out then. I have a CPU, just not the rest of the system yet....been almost 5 years since my last new build.

    I do it as a backup in case of a HD failure....good point about off site backup. Mine is strictly in case of a drive failure though, I'd hate to lose years and years of images, you know?
  17. Nchesher


    Jul 7, 2006
    I do backup for every shoot onto DVD and off site so I'm not terribly worried about losing stuff. It would suck though, don't get me wrong. I've never had a HD failure. (knock on wood) I'm all over the place on this build. I don't want to drop more money than I really need to but I want something that will work well for 3-4 years. PC's are so much faster now compared to my P4 that anything will seem like a huge increase. So I guess in a nutshell I don't need or want to RAID. I do want to overclock a little. Not anything extreme but I'd like to hit 3Ghz. I may actually just go to a 7200RPM OS drive to save some money. And finally is DDR3 @ 1333 worth it? Will I actually notice the difference?
  18. This geezer has owned PCs since the first IBM's came out in the early 1980's and have been building them by hand up till 2006. With all due respect, most of you are missing the point. This thread should be in a first person shooter gaming web site.

    Digital photography is all about CPU power lots of RAM and storage, storage, storage. Of course everything which has been mentioned about hardware speed is correct, but stop and think; we're talking milliseconds difference between the various technologies.

    You want the executable to load fast, so you need a single 10,000 rpm Raptor. You want lots of RAM to hold several executables and images; however unless you're going to open and process 10 or more RAW images both hyper fast RAM and huge amounts of it will not yield the return on your investment. RAID is sophisticated and complex so it can fail. Personally I see no need for it; again return on investment. At the end of a session I copy the image folder in my computer which has been changed to two other backup drives.

    External storage is what is needed, and not even eSATA units. Buy multiple 1TB external drives running USB or FW. Redundancy is what is needed, not expensive lightning fast mirrored backup.

    Then buy a good lens with your savings. That said, if you're planning on gaming as well then do everything which has been suggested and get liquid cooling....but do get the extra backups. Those of us who have lost a drive full of data or carelessly trashed files will attest to that.
  19. moffo


    Oct 20, 2005
    Central TX
    I know John doesn't care what I say, but I bought a Velociraptor the first day they shipped, and I'm running it in a fairly snug Shuttle SFF box with no cooling problems whatsoever. I tend to multitask, not process data, so program load times are more important to me than CPU-memory access. Disk access has been the bottleneck on systems since day one (well, as long as disks have been around.)
  20. JMontes


    Jun 22, 2007
    Edgartown, MA
    It's not that I don't care.....:wink: As long as you have air flowing over that drive, you usually won't have issues. enclosed airflow is the key. I opened my case up and watched the HD temps increase...of course the CPU dropped, but that nice airflow over the drives disappeared and the temps went up significantly.

    FYI, all my comments were geared towards the original raptor drives....I'm not familiar with these new "velociraptor" drives. Sounds like WD made a step in the right direction.

    Your disk access will always be a bottleneck in the system, no matter what :biggrin:
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