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Old 01-08-2013, 09:47 PM   #1
HowlCat
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Default Custom System - Please evaluate

Hi all - First post, need lots of help.

I am trying my hand at a custom build. Primary use will be video/photo editing. Need the small form to accommodate my tripod/computer rig, kind of like this: http://www.joemcnally.com/blog/2008/...ly-tripod-rig/

I'd like to move away from a laptop to a mITX & 21" monitor. Here's what I worked up on http://pcpartpicker.com. If you have a few minutes, please evaluate. Thanks in advance!

  • CPU - Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core CPU
  • Cooler - TUNIQ Tower 120 Extreme 90.7 CFM
  • Motherboard - Asus P8Z77-I Deluxe Mini ITX LGA1155
  • Memory - G.Skill Ares Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1866
  • HDD OS - Plextor M5P Series 256GB 2.5" SSD
  • HDD Storage - Plextor M5P Series 512GB 2.5" SSD
  • Video Card Asus GeForce GTX 680 2GB
  • Case BitFenix Prodigy (Black) Mini ITX Tower
  • Power Supply Rosewill 500W ATX12V / EPS12V
  • Optical - Asus BC-12B1ST/BLK/B/AS Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer
  • OS Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 (OEM) (64-bit)


Last edited by HowlCat; 01-09-2013 at 11:07 PM.
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:33 AM   #2
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You said you need a photo/video editing rig. Your parts suggest an overclocking gaming rig. Which is it?

I've moved this thread to General Hardware, which is the catch-all for system builds.

Answers to these questions will help us help you.
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:02 AM   #3
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For photo work, you'll want an IPS monitor. It prevents color shifting as you move around. Here's an Asus for $150.

I'll wait to discuss the rest until you've answered those questions Zap linked to.
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:57 AM   #4
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Does it have to sit on that tray? Can you put the desktop somewhere else and just have the monitor, keyboard and mouse on the tray?

The first thing that comes to mind when putting a lot of high performance components in a small package like that is heat and airflow.
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:07 PM   #5
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1. What YOUR PC will be used for -
Primarily for photo and video editing as well as graphic design work using Adobe CS6. Any Avid work will be done at work - though I suppose it would be nice to be able to manage Avid from home too.

2. What YOUR budget is -
2500-2800 Shipped and taxed (prefer not to pay sales tax if it avoidable.


3. What country YOU will be buying YOUR parts from -
USA. My initial post used New Egg pricing because they are a big client (my wife is special counsel and I am working on a new non-profit project for them...but, there is that nasty tax thing when buying from New Egg; I am in Cali)

5. IF YOU have a brand preference -
None really, except I am primarily using the Adobe CS, so an Adobe certified card with fast CUDA acceleration matters to me. Quadro is what we have in the editing bay, but I it's a $2K card. That, I can't afford.


6. If YOU intend on using any of YOUR current parts -
I don't have anything I would reuse except a pretty bitchin stylus.


7. DO YOU plan on overclocking -
If I can figure out how and it doesn't affect stability, sure.

8. What resolution -
1920 x 1200...
28801800 (or whatever the math works out to in the 21-24" range), if you know how to get a Retina-esque screen without buying an Apple.

9. WHEN do you plan to build it -
either over the next 9days or first thing back from a Norway shoot, February 9th.


Thanks in advance for your help!

MjS

Last edited by HowlCat; 01-09-2013 at 07:02 PM.
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loki993 View Post
Does it have to sit on that tray? Can you put the desktop somewhere else and just have the monitor, keyboard and mouse on the tray?

The first thing that comes to mind when putting a lot of high performance components in a small package like that is heat and airflow.
Hi Loki - yeah, I was thinking I could use a small case below the tripod, and only mount the keyboard and monitor on the tray.
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:34 PM   #7
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Do you have a Micro Center nearby?
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:29 PM   #8
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Don't think so cause I don't know what that is.
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:00 PM   #9
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No Geforce 600 series cards are certified for Premiere CS6, so you will have to step back to the 500 series if that's important to you and you don't want to buy a Quadro.

Xeon E3-1230 V2 $245
GA-H77N-WIFI $120
GeIL DDR3 1600 16GB $75
GTX 570 $235 AR
Intel 335 240GB $200
Seagate 2TB 7200RPM x2 $220
Lite-ON DVD Burner $18
Rosewill Hive 550W $70
BitFenix Prodigy $80
Total: $1263

Spend (some of) the rest on a nice IPS monitor like the Dell U2410. While you could certainly spend $2500 on this project if you really tried, you'd be talking about seriously diminishing returns.
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:36 AM   #10
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I think mfenn's build looks good except for the HDDs. You can get 3TB HDDs on NCIX US for only $140 each (a 20% spending increase on the drives for 50% more space) or the 2TB drives for only $90 each.

Also, you may want a smaller PSU like the Silverstone Strider series since the Prodigy is pretty limited when it comes to PSU space. It's also $5 cheaper after rebate.

Last edited by Sleepingforest; 01-10-2013 at 02:40 AM.
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:47 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowlCat View Post
Don't think so cause I don't know what that is.
http://www.microcenter.com

They usually have in-store specials on CPU/motherboard combos that are significantly cheaper than anywhere else.

If I'm not mistaken, they have a store in Tustin, CA. It might be worth checking their sale paper to see if it would be worth a trip (if you live in Pasadena it would probably be what, about an hour drive or so?).
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:04 PM   #12
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Default Wow! Thank you so much!!!

Thanks everyone!

That is MUCH less expensive than I expected. Enough so that a Quadro 4000 card isn't out of the question. That's great.

I didn't think three HDD's would fit in a mini-ITX case. That would give me a drive for OS, Storage, and Rendering. Also great.

However, this year I switched from a D700 into a D800 for studio work. This thing shoots 36MP per shot. That's a 24MP jump from the D700!

That really was the impetus for wanting a new computer. The camera's files are so gigantic, it really slows down work flow.

Would two SSD's significantly improve load speeds? I assumed they would which is why my parts list only included SSD-HDD's.

If so, would this make sense:

OS - 180 SSD-HDD
WkFlo - 512 SSD-HDD
Storage - 2TB

(Backup - 2TB)
I backup with an external drive now. It would be nice to have an internal drive instead (I think).

Time is money (really, it is), and waiting for a 1500-shot shoot, to load drives me batty. If I could have all the data I am working with on a particular day (or month) on a WrkFlo drive, and also have one HDD for storage, (and a mirror drive for backup), that would be brilliant!

But the truth is, I don't know if what I just wrote would have the effect I am hoping for; SPEED. I do know it will run the price up significantly. Cost to benefit, does it make sense?
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:12 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowlCat View Post


But the truth is, I don't know if what I just wrote would have the effect I am hoping for; SPEED. I do know it will run the price up significantly. Cost to benefit, does it make sense?
How big is a working set like that in GB? Because you basically need an SSD that is that size + OS + Apps + other stuff. There is definitely value in making sure your primary SSD is large enough for the task at hand for speeding up your workflow.

32MP is 100MB or so raw size? (24 bit colour?). So 150GB sound about right for 1500 pictures?
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:48 PM   #14
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That sounds about right.

Would four HDD's (2 physical, 2 SSD), fit in the prodigy case?

If so, what size PS would fit and support a 4 HDD miniITX?

Last edited by HowlCat; 01-10-2013 at 02:49 PM. Reason: Spelling error
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:47 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfenn View Post
No Geforce 600 series cards are certified for Premiere CS6, so you will have to step back to the 500 series if that's important to you and you don't want to buy a Quadro.
Adobe Photoshop CS6 GPU Acceleration

Even though not on the officially supported list, GTX 600 series works just fine as do Radeons.

Photoshop Help / Photoshop CS6 GPU FAQ

The new "Mercury Graphics Engine" that Photoshop CS6 uses supports OpenCL. It no longer uses CUDA. Thus (in theory) any graphics card that supports OpenCL will be of benefit. From the rough overview afforded by the Puget Systems' benchmarks, looks as if point of diminishing returns is around GTX 650/Radeon 7750, after which spending more money doesn't get a whole lot more performance.

Good start. I would make some changes and clarifications.

Crucial Ballistix Sport 16GB low profile costs a bit more but uses lower voltage and is super low profile.

Radeon 7750/7770 or GeForce GTX 650/650Ti, whatever fits budget. I would either go with the cheapest 7750 or the fastest 650 Ti. Probably the cheapest choice unless someone else can dig up benchmarks to suggest otherwise.

System won't use much power. For an ATX PSU I would get something like the Seasonic G 360W. It is short (to fit in small cases), efficient and still more power than needed.

Case is tricky to recommend because if you want to go small, you start getting really specific about what you need to fit. A "perfect" case doesn't exist, because that would be aluminum, use smaller than ATX PSU and hold exactly the drives needed along with the graphics card.
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:09 PM   #16
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Thanks zap! That's helpful.

I actually had read that article from Puget, but didn't want a dispute erupting, particularly since you guys are trying to help me. Maybe I am overly sensitive - photo forums can be brutal. I've learned to just say thank you and let my imagination manage any disagreement.

I didn't know about the OpenCL (or did I? Hmmm?). I haven't upgraded to CS6 yet, I am waiting to upgrade on the new computer.

I had originally chosen the Nvidia 680. I can't remember where, but I'm sure I read an article suggesting it was an Adobe Certified card (maybe something in there about OpenCL too?). Cost/benefit to the difference between the 650 and the 680? Future proofing comes to mind...I think your sig has something to do with that.

Lastly, I had followed-up with this: (apologies for quoting myself)

OS - 180 SSD-HDD
WkFlo - 512 SSD-HDD
Storage - 2TB
(Backup - 2TB)
I backup with an external drive now. It would be nice to have an internal drive instead (I think).

If I could have all the data I am working with on a particular day (or month) on a WrkFlo drive, and also have one physical HDD for storage, (and a mirror physical drive for backup), that would be brilliant!

Cost to benefit, does that make sense?

Last edited by HowlCat; 01-10-2013 at 11:36 PM.
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Old 01-10-2013, 07:39 PM   #17
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Whoops, I missed your comment about the diminishing returns of cards qbove 650. I assume that applies to a Quadro 4000 as well. That's surprising.

Still curious about the rest though.
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:13 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zap View Post
Adobe Photoshop CS6 GPU Acceleration

Even though not on the officially supported list, GTX 600 series works just fine as do Radeons.

Photoshop Help / Photoshop CS6 GPU FAQ

The new "Mercury Graphics Engine" that Photoshop CS6 uses supports OpenCL. It no longer uses CUDA. Thus (in theory) any graphics card that supports OpenCL will be of benefit. From the rough overview afforded by the Puget Systems' benchmarks, looks as if point of diminishing returns is around GTX 650/Radeon 7750, after which spending more money doesn't get a whole lot more performance.
Sure, pretty much anything will more or less work, but the OP is seriously considering a Quadro. To me that means that certification is important to him. He also mentioned video editing (Premiere CS6 -> MPE), and no 600 series cards are on the Premiere CS6 support list. For that reason, I would stick with the GTX 570 and the higher-capacity power supply.

OP, you certainly have the budget left over for a 512GB scratch SSD if you want one. It would certainly speed up your workflow, but I can't hazard a guess as to the magnitude of the improvement without knowing more about what exactly you do.
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Old 01-11-2013, 12:26 AM   #19
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Thank you all for your thoughtful answers!

About the GPU - I think what was being referenced was this article:

http://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/art...celeration-161

The test conclusions are:

From our testing, we can now confidently state that even though the NVIDIA 600-series and Intel HD 4000 graphics are not on Adobe's compatibility list, GPU acceleration in Photoshop CS6 works great on those cards. So, contrary to the compatibility list, there is no reason to use an older generation NVIDIA GTX 580 since the current generation NVIDIA cards performs as well or better.

Also, this article also explains how to "mock" certification by unlocking and modifying the Adobe approved list in any given computer:

http://www.studio1productions.com/Ar...remiereCS5.htm

Last edited by HowlCat; 01-11-2013 at 12:54 AM. Reason: amending a double post - where's the delete button?
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Old 01-11-2013, 12:28 AM   #20
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Last question (hopefully) - can I fit four HDD's in the Prodigy case?
  • Two SSD's 128GB & 512GB
  • Two physical 1TB each

Last edited by HowlCat; 01-11-2013 at 12:57 AM.
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Old 01-11-2013, 06:25 AM   #21
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Last question (hopefully) - can I fit four HDD's in the Prodigy case?
  • Two SSD's 128GB & 512GB
  • Two physical 1TB each
It depends on whether you need to remove the drive cage to install your chosen graphics card.

However, the nice thing about SSDs is that if you have enough physical space for them in the case you can just tape or velcro them down to any available surface. It wouldn't be pretty, but it would be functional.
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Old 01-11-2013, 03:05 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steltek View Post
...the nice thing about SSDs is that if you have enough physical space for them in the case you can just tape or velcro them down to any available surface. It wouldn't be pretty, but it would be functional.
HA!

Well...I do have velcro in the studio. I'm not sure folks would be comfortable if it was attached to the computer though.

Agents and models (not to mention the husbands of gals in for boudoir sessions), tend to judge competency by equipment. It shows in the pre-session interview:

"Are you using L glass?"
No, I soot Nikon

"How many shots are you bracketing?" None. We will shoot RAW and white balance with a tethered computer.

"Have you upgraded your camera in the last few years?"
Ummm...funny you should ask :-)


Quite annoying. Anyway, I think hearing, "hey is that your hard drive sticking out of your computer?"

Would lead to the repeated answer, "no, I'm just glad to see your wife"

That could be trouble. Thanks for thinking of it though.

Last edited by HowlCat; 01-11-2013 at 03:16 PM.
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Old 01-11-2013, 03:13 PM   #23
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Out of curiosity how come no one is recommending Vishera? Wouldn't PS love those 8 cores?
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Old 01-11-2013, 03:52 PM   #24
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So here is the build figured after swapping a few parts from mfenn's list.

I am ready to pull the trigger and buy the parts. I've highlighted changes in purple. Would really like to know if I set myself up for any problems, size or compatibility-wise.


  1. GIGABYTE GA-H77N-WIFI LGA 1155 Intel mITX--$119.99--Motherboard
  2. Intel Xeon E3-1230 V2 Ivy Bridge 3.3GHz---------$239.99--CPU
  3. EVGA GeForce GTX 680 2GB----------------------- $469.99--GPU
  4. Crucial Ballistix Sport 16GB (2 x 8GB)-------------$87.99--RAM
  5. Plextor M5P Series PX-128M5P 2.5----------------$124.99--OS HDD
  6. WD VelociRaptor WD1000DHTZ 1TB---------------$219.99--Source HDD
  7. Plextor M5P Series PX-512M5P 2.5----------------$439.99--Render HDD
  8. SilverStone Fortress Series FT03B Black---------$169.99--Case
  9. Rosewill Tachyon-650 @ 50 Degrees 80 PLAT.----$144.99--PSU
  10. Panasonic UJ240 6xBlu-ray8xDVD/RW---------$69.00--Bluray
TOTAL - $2,086.91 (10 Items)

Last edited by HowlCat; 01-11-2013 at 08:07 PM.
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Old 01-11-2013, 09:25 PM   #25
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double post

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