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Build Advice New Build Photo/ Gaming PC

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by MazzaB, 5 Jul 2011.

  1. MazzaB

    MazzaB What's a Dremel?

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    Hi folks! I've been lurking a while and I have saved up enought to start my new build - my first PC build for 14 years! I'd be grateful for constructive advice on my choices.

    Budget: I have saved £1050 and can add up to £200 per month later, and I prefer to buy the right kit 1st time rather than upgrade from poor kit if I can.

    Main uses of intended build: Photo editing with lightroom and photoshop CS5, Gaming, possibly video editing later. Also internet, spreadsheets, word processing etc. I will be watching streaming video content potentially as my new TV is internet enabled.

    Parts required: I want a full PC (case, MB, processor, drives, graphics, memory) and need to get an OS and at some point matching peripherals (I have bog standard ones already). I have a crap monitor but want to get a 24" IPS panel for good colour and viewing angles later, but this is in addition to the budget for the build)

    Previous build information (list details of parts):
    Very old PC built in 2000! I don't know if it's worth salvaging the optical drives - a c2000 CD RW and DVD read only from 2002 - I suspect they are not SATA compatable. The PSU is 300w and crap, the Graphics card is 32MB GForce 2! and the case is a lump of tin with no fans and no room.

    I may be able to scavenge some kit from work - possibly a Lan Li aluminium case? I dunno yet.

    Monitor resolution:
    My monitor is an old samsung 1240x1024 and is really only until I get something better!
    I will be buying a 24" 1980x1080 or 1980x1200 IPS panel I suspect.

    Storage requirements:
    Lots of room for photo and video, possibly with backup storage on a second hard drive later. I may add an SSD in 2-3 months, but a good monitor is the first "extra".

    will you be overclocking: YES:clap:s

    Any motherboard requirements (no. of USB, Xfire/SLI, fan headers):

    Quite like to be able to run multi screens in the future so may need SLI/ X-fire (I don't really understand what hardware you need apart from 3 screens!), USB 3.0 would be good as I'm sure my camera gear will love faster transfer speeds in due course! (I use a Nikon D90 and have fast SD cards - 30 mb/s)

    Extra information about desired system:
    I'm thinking about a 2600k vs 2500k processor - is it going to make a 50% improvement to my life when it comes to photo editing? If the advantage is slim it's not worth the cash.

    I'm also torn between a GeForce560 or 570 Graphics card - the 570 potenitally means cutting corners elsewhere - say on the case or peripherals - or waiting longer to get a decent monitor. ALso keen to hear thoughts on different cards - what do you get when you spend the extra £20-30.

    I am happy to leave out a sound card and SSD for now - I can add these later.

    I'm quite keen on the NZXT Phantom case (black or white so hard to decide!) for its looks rather than the Fractal Design which I feel is a bit minimalist (I feel a bit bling about this build!), but it's a bit pricy. Anyone had a go with one? It looks like it's easy to use and a good cooler - especially with extra fans!

    I'm not going to mod the case on this build so I want a case that looks the part out of the box!

    Advice on monitors also welcome!

    Heres my current plan:

    Processor: Intel core i5 2500k £160
    Mobo: MSI P67A GD53 £104
    Memory: Corsair DDR3 1600Mhz 4gb kit £35
    Graphics: GeForce GTX 570 £265
    PSU: Antec truePower 650W £92
    Cooler: BeQuiet! Dark Rock Advance £41
    Case: NZXT Phantom £105
    Storage: Samsung Spinpoint 1GB £40
    Optical: DVD reader £15
    OS: Windows 7 £115 (possibly cheaper - missus is a student)

    Total: £972

    Later Add ons

    Monitor: 24" IPS panel £ 220
    SSD: 120gb £ 160
    Sound: Asus Xonar DS £ 40
    Keyboard / Mouse upgrade £ 50
    More storage too - add HDD for photos and movies primarily

    I have just enough to fit an i7 2600k in the initial build if it's worth it, but I'll have to wait a month longer to get a good monitor so it needs to be a good value option!

    Suggestions on SSDs and Peripherals most welcome.

    Thanks for looking and even more so for any advice or helpful suggestions on alternatives and pitfalls with this set up!
     
    Last edited: 5 Jul 2011
  2. MazzaB

    MazzaB What's a Dremel?

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    BTW is this PSU enough if I want to go multi screen or add a second GPU card later? I don't know if I will, and I can always swap out the old PSU and use it or sell it I suppose, but what have others found?
     
  3. donok

    donok Every Little Helps .....

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    windows 7 will be £40 from software4students website
    might aswell get 8gb corsair ddr3 vengence LP for £70
    would keep the i5 2500k instead of the i7 unless you edit videos etc everyday

    dell u2410 is a great monitor for the money but it is £450 new but you can get one off ebay for £300 refurb.

    that will be £932. if you plan for a dell u2410 you'll need 1.5gb memory on your gpu so would upgrade to a evga gtx 580 for £383 or something from ati/amd

    with a 580 you'd be at £1050.

    then
    add a dell u2410 for £300 off ebay
    add a vertex 3 for £200 or agility for £160
    add a asus xonar ds for £35


    also get a 2tb initially as its only £10 more and you can use it for a storage afterwards.
     
    Last edited: 5 Jul 2011
  4. donok

    donok Every Little Helps .....

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    if not the u2410 then get the dell 23inch IPS which i hear is very good and is only £200 from aria
     
  5. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes How many wifi's does it have?

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    Whaaaa? No.. I have no problem with my Geforce GTX 260, and yes I can play games at max settings... well now the GPU is starting to show it's age, but it's processing power, not memory size (I still have my textures at max.. maybe not Crysis, but still).

    A single 1GB GPU should be enough.
    My recommendation though, is to wait at the end of the year, or possibly early next year when Nvidia is expected (based on their road map) to release or announce a new GPU.
     
  6. LennyRhys

    LennyRhys Oink!

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    You won't get a 24" IPS for anywhere near £200, and if photo editing is a priority then you should definitely spend most money on your display. I spent £600+ on each of my 24" displays because photo editing is a big part of my job and I wanted the best quality, no compromises :D

    Dell's U2410 is a good IPS display but is expensive, and there are some far cheaper IPS options when you take the size down to 23".
     
  7. MazzaB

    MazzaB What's a Dremel?

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    Thanks Guys!

    What performance gain is there from the extra memory - the recommended builds all seem to have 4GB still.

    Is the guidance from the initial sandybridge Labs Test in CPC that an overclocked i5 2500k almost as good as an overclocked i7 2600k still valid or have the overclocking heavyweights changed that by now?

    And having gone shopping again I think I meant to get a 23" panel anyway! My Bad! any personal experience from someone who does a lot of image work would be really helpful!

    I have a spider3 pro and an Epson Stylus Photo PX820PWD so I need good colour management from my monitor too!

    Cheers!

    Mazza
     
  8. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes How many wifi's does it have?

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    (and using a 6-bit panel at the same time instead of a true 8-bit color panel...)

    You won't get washed out colors like TN panel (all TN panels are 6-bit panels per channel (red, green and blue)) with an 6-bit IPS panel because of the color processors (that all TN panel don't have as well) and a 8-bit Look Up Table, but if colors are important, then getting out the best of them, an 8-bit panel is highly recommended (well the U2410 produces 10-bit colors (1.07billion colors), it's a 8-bit panel, and uses the same technique for 6-bit panel to produce 8-bit colors, but in this case to produce 10-bit colors. Obviously a true 10-bit colors is preferred, but this is getting over the top expensive (ie: you need a true professional grade monitor, which costs about 1000$ and up for a 22-24inch)

    6-bit colors: 262,144 colors (= 2^6 x 2^6 x 2^6 = 64 x 64 x 64)
    8-bit colors: 16,777,216 colors ( = 2^8 x 2^8 x 2^8 = 256 x 256 x 256)
    10-bit colors: 1,073,741,824 colors

    The way it emulates missing colors, is that it takes 2 color it can produce, close to the color you want, and switch between them really really fast (up to the speed of the monitor response time) and tricks your eyes.

    TN panels uses a per-programed table, and low quality LCD liquid.. which results in washed out colors, and loss of details. Most 6-bit panel IPS panels (and also PVA (equally good, slower, and more expensive... but provide the best blacks.. usually aimed at true professional graphic artist found on some really expensive monitors), has a color processor which will find the best match to produce the missing colors, and it shows that it does an excellent job. And example of this, is the Dell U2311H. It's a 6-bit panel that got all reviews, as 8-bit panel. A professional usually can detect it, especially if he uses a true 10-bit or more color panel.

    The U2410 also comes with 2 pre-calibrated color profiles: Adobe RGB and sRGB (the U2311H and other less expensive monitors don't). Obviously any pro's would use theri color calibrator, and calibrate the screen every month to assure the wear of the monitor doesn't affect the colors he sees, but a semi-professional or those who wants the best of color and easiest setup, this is a good start.

    In conclusion, the Dell U2410 and the U2311H are excellent choice. Both of them you'll get more than what you paid for. They both clearly can get the best deal for your money stamp.
     
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  9. MazzaB

    MazzaB What's a Dremel?

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    Very helpful advice - I quite like the look of the Dell - better value than the viewsonic in the CPC Elite list?

    I note someone suggests the LG panel is the same but cheaper than the Dell U3211 in this thread:

    http://forums.bit-tech.net/showthread.php?t=212483

    Do you know anything about this - if not I shall probably go with the Dell.

    I have also acquired a Llan Li cased PC today from a work colleague which is a few years old and has been replaced by a laptop. I will investigate it's contents and list them later as it may have some proper stuff inside that can be used in the new build (and the case is quality - low and long silver brushed aluminium - photo when I can post em.....)
     
  10. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes How many wifi's does it have?

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    Yes, the LG IPS231P-BN.
    This monitor is the same as the Dell U2311H, it's not the exact same exact model, but very very close. The big difference between the 2 monitors, is that the LG ones is used white LED back light, while the Dell U2311H (and all U series, of today) a high grade CCFL lamp.

    White LED's don't really exists... it's a blue'ish or warm'ish (depending which they choose) white. Higher the quality of the LED, the more white it is. But even the highest end model LED on market, used in LCD's today, have this blu'ish tone to them. It's a limitation of the LED light based on the current technology used.

    High grade CCFL lamp provide a nice true-white. Not the white produced by the sun (ultimate true white), but closer than white LED's. For the monitor market you are looking at, the white LED should be pretty good. My guess is that it's the same one used on the iMac and Apple Displays.

    Just to be clear: Your whites, will be white... not blue or yellow (unless you look under the TN panel realm, or lower end IPS panel (not worth your money)). We are talking about a slight tint on the whites.

    Another difference, is that the U2311H feature a full metal stand, white the LG one, solid one, but in plastic.

    Finally, the U2311H has VGA, DVI and Display Port (Display Port is replacing DVI, and is backward compatible with an inexpensive small adapter down to HDMI (obviously without audio, unless the monitor support Display Port with audio and has speakers) and DVI).

    While the LG one, is just DVI and VGA.
     
  11. darren1678

    darren1678 What's a Dremel?

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    if you really wanna go multi screen, i'd stick to an ati card maybe 5850 for approx £140 quid

    or the 6950 for £170 (easily moded to the full 6970 saving you at least £50 quid)

    the reason for this would better driver support for multiple monitors.

    i'd also choose a different psu as it's kinda pricy for a 650watt psu, you can get a 1000watt namebrand for another £30

    maybe consider a hydro h50 or h60 if you intend to overclock
     
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  12. xinaes

    xinaes What's a Dremel?

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    OK, I haven't read the whole thread, but let me say this: you certainly do not need XFire / SLI to run multiple displays; AFAIK it's orthogonal and only to do with accelerating performance. I would strongly advise you to get a Z68 motherboard with graphics output. This is mostly because GPUs are not able to idle efficiently in multi-display modes for some reason. Z68 will also allow you to use IGP/QuickSync features of the CPU, which may come in handy later.

    I recently built such a machine, and have found that it consumes an extra 40W of power on idle if I have both of my screens attached to my 560; from ~67W to ~107W. If I attach one screen to the GPU and one to the motherboard, then it works absolutely seamlessly with extended Windows desktop without using the extra power. I believe it would also be able to work without ridiculous power consumption having two screens attached (both digitally) to the motherboard and one to GPU, but I don't know that. [edit]darren1678 may also be on to something with AMD being better for multi-screen, but I believe they do still have similar problems with idle power consumption of multi-display setups, perhaps not as bad.[/edit]

    FWIW, the board I went for was a Gigabyte Z68X-UD3H-B3 and it seems ok to me.

    For your later add-ons, you might consider a colorimeter, although I see there's already been some discussion with GoodBytes about this and maybe if you get something pre-calibrated it'll be ok.
     
    Last edited: 6 Jul 2011
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  13. MazzaB

    MazzaB What's a Dremel?

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    Thanks Goodbytes for clearing the difference in backlighting up - it's not mentioned in the other threads.

    Thanks Xinaes - It's perhaps worth checking out the Z series mobos more - they slagged off the first one reviewed in CPC so I have been a bit wary, but I would love a multi screen set up at some point. I already have a colorimeter for my laptop anyway - I bought it when I did a wedding photography gig for a mate!

    Thanks Darren for the tip on looking at AMD graphics cards for multi screen use - I shall have a look back to the article in CPC a few months back - I think they may have agreed with you.

    When I get home I will check out this stuff I've been given a bit more - it includes an old dell monitor so it may mean I can happily wait until I can buy 3 identical quality screens.

    Anyone else feel the antec is too pricy as a PSU? It's always listed in the recomended bit-tech and CPC builds!

    Really helpful comments thanks a bunch!
     
  14. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes How many wifi's does it have?

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    I don't know about UK prices of Antec,... but Corsair PSU are far superior and in my opinion worth more your money. Beside Antec fans aren't even good (meh quality, too loud for my taste, vibrates a lot)... imagine the same one in your PSU).

    I had Antec PSU's, before Corsairs had their own... and compared to Corsair it's no comparison.

    Oh Seasonic are excellent PSU's as well (in fact the Corsair AX series and some HX series (the best of Corsiar) are made by Seasonic.) In fact again, the Corsair AX is a rebrand of the Seaosnic X gold series.

    Of course, Corsair HX/AX series and Seasonic are my recommendations.

    They are other brands like Enermax, and TruePower which are also recommended here, but I never experienced them.
     
    Last edited: 6 Jul 2011
  15. Yslen

    Yslen Lord of the Twenty-Seventh Circle

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    Bear in mind many Antec PSUs are in fact made by Seasonic. There's a massive list of original manufacturers on Tom's Hardware somewhere, can't find the bookmark just now...
     
  16. IcyAero

    IcyAero What's a Dremel?

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    If you do photoediting for your job (Photoshop?), invest in a proper display and LOTS of RAM.
    Generally for photoediting or rendering the key components are the processor and RAM, but this depends on your software. Photoshop relies on RAM (I'm struggling with 5GB of RAM for Photoshop) and certain programs (for instance, photo-stitching) rely on raw processing power.

    That is why I'm updating my PC soon as well (apart from having half the budget) into i5-2500K and at least 8GB of RAM. And that I'm going to upgrade on the future with at least another 4GB of RAM and an SSD. Yes, Photoshop and other Adobe's software like RAM. :D
     
  17. moody89

    moody89 Minimodder

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    Agree with the above, the more memory the better if you use Photoshop heavily. As has been mentioned most of the CS5 suite rely very heavily on RAM. There's no reason not to go for 8GB given how cheap memory is these days. Also I have heard that more cores are better for your kind of work. The i5 2500k will do you fine being a quad core - I can't imagine an AMD six core setup offering better performance IMO. That being said, if you're in no rush to purchase why not wait to see what AMD's 8-core Bulldozer chips offer?
     
  18. IcyAero

    IcyAero What's a Dremel?

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    Actually, the 2500K (and 2600K) are clearly just as effective and sometimes even outperforming most AMD's 6-core processors in Photoshop and other 3D work as well as rendering.

    http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/core-i5-2500-2400-2300_8.html#sect1

    http://www.guru3d.com/article/core-i5-2500k-and-core-i7-2600k-review/14

    But indeed, the 8-core bulldozers may be worth the wait - that is, may.
     
  19. MazzaB

    MazzaB What's a Dremel?

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    The early signs on bulldozer suggest not much point waiting! And I've been patiently waiting all year while I saved up anyway!

    So the build now is starting to look like this:

    Processor: Intel core i5 2500k £160
    Mobo: MSI P67A GD53 £104
    Memory: (2x4GB) Corsair DDR3 Vengeance (1600) £64 (for dual channel)
    Graphics: GeForce GTX 570 £265 (any guidance on specific cards - CPC like the gainward)
    PSU: 650W Antec TruePower New, Modular £92 or Corsair at same price.
    Cooler: BeQuiet! Dark Rock Advanced £41
    Case: NZXT Phantom £105
    Storage: Samsung Spinpoint 2GB £54
    OS: Windows 7 £112 (Amazon)
    Recycle optical drive from old PC.

    Total: £997

    Later Add ons

    Monitor: 23" Dell 2311H £ 200 (on Aria)
    SSD: 120gb £ 160
    Sound: Asus Xonar DS £ 40
    Keyboard / Mouse upgrade £ 50
    More storage at some point - add 2nd 2TB HDD for photos and movies primarily
    Consider anothe 8GB Ram to boost speed in photoshop and video editing

    Final questions: Do I need triple channel DDR3 Ram? Might I be better with a radeon 6950 if I want to go multi screen later?
     
  20. donok

    donok Every Little Helps .....

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    no need for triple channel memory if your using sandybridge. get a set of dual channel 1600mhz and your set.
    really does depend on what games you play. im currently making a rig for a mate whos going 3x 2311h. hes getting 2 gtx 580s to start with then moving to 3. all about crysis for him and also CAD work, rendering images etc better with nvidia
     

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