Question Build me a high-ish end photo editing rig (or suggest a pre-built one) for a professional sports photographer

Raswan

Senior member
Jan 29, 2010
688
6
81
Hi all,

Built many a gaming PC in my life, but never one for photo editing. Helping out a friend here. Focus on more cores? Higher clocks? RAM? Fastest possible storage? I have little idea. He's only used pre-built rigs before. Bonus points if you can aim us at a pre-built system that gets the job done so I don't have to build it.

Budget is $1700-2k. All photos, as I understand it, get put on a NAS once processed, so a single, fast NVME is all he needs for onboard storage. Thanks all!

To the questions:

1. What YOUR PC will be used for. That means what types of tasks you'll be performing. PHOTO EDITING BY A PROFESSIONAL, HIGH-VOLUME SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHER.

2. What YOUR budget is. A price range is acceptable as long as it's not more than a 20% spread. $1,750 TO 2K.

3. What country YOU will be buying YOUR parts from. UNITED STATES

4. IF you're buying parts OUTSIDE the US, please post a link to the vendor you'll be buying from.
We can't be expected to scour the internet on your behalf, chasing down deals in your specific country... Again, help us, help YOU.

5. IF YOU have a brand preference. That means, are you an Intel-Fanboy, AMD-Fanboy, ATI-Fanboy, nVidia-Fanboy, Seagate-Fanboy, WD-Fanboy, etc. NOPE

6. If YOU intend on using any of YOUR current parts, and if so, what those parts are. MONITOR, KEYBOARD, MOUSE. NEED EVERYTHING INSIDE THE TOWER. NO OPTICAL DRIVE NEEDED.

7. IF YOU plan on overclocking or run the system at default speeds. NO

8. What resolution, not monitor size, will you be using? 1440P

9. WHEN do you plan to build it? LATE SPRING 2022
Note that it is usually not cost or time effective to choose your build more than a month before you actually plan to be using it.

10. Do you need to purchase any software to go with the system, such as Windows or Blu Ray playback software? WINDOWS
 

Tech Junky

Senior member
Jan 27, 2022
843
272
96
Do you want a pre-built or DIY?

I did a 12700K / 16GB DDR4 / dual 1TB SN850's from the ground up for $1500. Retail would probably be closer to $2K

Since we're talking images / raw sizes can be huge so, data transfer might be a priority as well. Editing can be handled easily by the CPU but, do you want a beefy GPU for video processing as well?
 

OlyAR15

Senior member
Oct 23, 2014
799
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Who is going to do the support? Since this is a professional, I'm assuming that his livelihood is at stake, so downtime costs money. If this is the case, then a pc from a company that can provide quick support is probably more important than just getting a bunch of parts and slapping it together.

Also, specifically which programs will be used?
 

Raswan

Senior member
Jan 29, 2010
688
6
81
Do you want a pre-built or DIY?

I did a 12700K / 16GB DDR4 / dual 1TB SN850's from the ground up for $1500. Retail would probably be closer to $2K

Since we're talking images / raw sizes can be huge so, data transfer might be a priority as well. Editing can be handled easily by the CPU but, do you want a beefy GPU for video processing as well?
Pre-built would be preferable. He uses lightroom, don't know how much that particular program is GPU heavy or not. I like the SN850. The 12700k you've found to be enough?
 

Raswan

Senior member
Jan 29, 2010
688
6
81
Who is going to do the support? Since this is a professional, I'm assuming that his livelihood is at stake, so downtime costs money. If this is the case, then a pc from a company that can provide quick support is probably more important than just getting a bunch of parts and slapping it together.

Also, specifically which programs will be used?
Yeah, a good point. He uses lightroom. I'm thinking at minimum a nice fast cpu, 32 gigs of great ddr4, and the fastest m.2 that will fit in that budget. How much GPU should I look for? A 2060 enough? Intel or AMD build?
 

Tech Junky

Senior member
Jan 27, 2022
843
272
96
I recall getting into a debate with someone over Lightroom and it didn't seem to be too GPU intensive. The person was looking for a laptop for this sort of this stuff. Unfortunately I can't go back to that thread since they shutdown the forum.

If you can pull an inventory off the existing PC it might help. Any current processor should be able to handle it though. M2 should be Gen 4 for speed like the SN850 but also have room for storage (3.5 drives) for inactive files. GPU though can be pricey unless you find a good deal on eBay or something or it accounts for about 25% of the budget or more.
 

UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
15,770
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Yeah, a good point. He uses lightroom. I'm thinking at minimum a nice fast cpu, 32 gigs of great ddr4, and the fastest m.2 that will fit in that budget. How much GPU should I look for? A 2060 enough? Intel or AMD build?
Which GPU doesn't make much a huge difference for Lightroom, although Nvidia GPUs seem to be the best option.

Either the Ryzen 5900X ($380) or the Intel 12700K ($330) are probably the best $/performance CPUs to build around. If you want to go bigger, the Ryzen 5950X ($550) or the Intel 12900K ($605) are options (although the 16 core 5950X is slower in Lightroom than the 12 core 5900X).

https://www.pugetsystems.com/recommended/Recommended-Systems-for-Adobe-Lightroom-Classic-141/Hardware-Recommendations
 
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Raswan

Senior member
Jan 29, 2010
688
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Which GPU doesn't make much a huge difference for Lightroom, although Nvidia GPUs seem to be the best option.

Either the Ryzen 5900X ($380) or the Intel 12700K ($330) are probably the best $/performance CPUs to build around. If you want to go bigger, the Ryzen 5950X ($550) or the Intel 12900K ($605) are options (although the 16 core 5950X is slower in Lightroom than the 12 core 5900X).

https://www.pugetsystems.com/recommended/Recommended-Systems-for-Adobe-Lightroom-Classic-141/Hardware-Recommendations
Thanks very much for the help. Going with a 2060, the 12700k, a Samsung 2280, 32 gigs of ddr4 3200 ram, and the $300 ASUS TUF z690 plus for a mobo. As always, you've all been a great help.
 
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Raswan

Senior member
Jan 29, 2010
688
6
81
Hey, one last question--how do folks handle the problem of RAM slots getting in the way of a beefy cooler these days? Just remembered my last build with a noctua cooler ended up where the furthest left RAM slot got in the way of the fan that was supposed to be on that side.
 

lakedude

Platinum Member
Mar 14, 2009
2,481
213
106
Hey, one last question--how do folks handle the problem of RAM slots getting in the way of a beefy cooler these days? Just remembered my last build with a noctua cooler ended up where the furthest left RAM slot got in the way of the fan that was supposed to be on that side.
51Ra-P2GD+L._AC_SY355_.jpg
 
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UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
15,770
6,769
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Hey, one last question--how do folks handle the problem of RAM slots getting in the way of a beefy cooler these days? Just remembered my last build with a noctua cooler ended up where the furthest left RAM slot got in the way of the fan that was supposed to be on that side.
Just look into the RAM clearance specs when deciding on what cooler to use with whatever RAM modules you select. Unless the modules have abnormally high heatsinks, many coolers shouldn't have too many problems. Although as you can see in the 2nd picture, they had to mount one of the fans higher than the other one in order to clear their RAM.

https://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/noctua_nh_d15s_cpu_cooler_review,5.html




https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/zalman-reserator-3-max-dual-nzxt-kraken-x61-noctua-nh-d15,4000-2.html

 
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Raswan

Senior member
Jan 29, 2010
688
6
81
Just look into the RAM clearance specs when deciding on what cooler to use with whatever RAM modules you select. Unless the modules have abnormally high heatsinks, many coolers shouldn't have too many problems. Although as you can see in the 2nd picture, they had to mount one of the fans higher than the other one in order to clear their RAM.

https://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/noctua_nh_d15s_cpu_cooler_review,5.html




https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/zalman-reserator-3-max-dual-nzxt-kraken-x61-noctua-nh-d15,4000-2.html

Thanks, makes sense. I feel like with all the new fancy lights and heat spreaders on ram modules these days, it's a problem we never had to deal with in olden times.
 

bigboxes

Lifer
Apr 6, 2002
34,383
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This was done a year ago in my current main rig. Like UsandThem said, I had to move one of the fans for ram clearance. No big deal.



 

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