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Help with new computer build

leonardotmnt

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I'm building a desktop mostly for Lightroom but for general use as well. I'm having a little trouble deciding on components and want to see if anyone can help me decide.

Case - Fractal Designs R4 or R5

PSU - Corsair RM550x

CPU - i7 6700 or i5 6600k or non k for the 6600. This is one of the things I can't decide on. Is the i7 worth getting over the i5? I don't mind paying more if there may be a benefit now or in the future. I usually keep computers for 5 or so years. What cpu should I get I the $300ish or under range?

Motherboard - Gigabyte GA-H170-D3HP if I go with the i7

Ram - probably G. SKILL 16 gb. Is it worth going with 32 or should I just see if 16 is enough first?

Video - for now I plan on going with onboard video and may consider a GeForce 960 GTX in the future. Or is that a bad idea and should I get the video card now?

My biggest dilemma is the cpu but any help with the rest of the build would be appreciated. Thanks!
 
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Lightroom's develop speed and a lot of other aspects depend on single core speed more than anything else, so the I7-6700 (+/-K depending on your OC plans, though that MB won't OC I think) will help. Is it worth the difference? I don't know really, but I went for the I7-6700K so I would not have second thoughts like "would it have been faster if". I believe, and various blogs seem to uphold, that the benefit of more cores drops off rapidly, and not much help over 4. I also found hyper-threading to hurt not help and keep it off.

For some operations - imports, mass updates, etc. having some fast disks for raw cache, preview cache, and catalog (in that order of priority) will help things run fast. It doesn't help significantly IMO for the most annoying aspects of performance - slider movement being smooth and ready to go when you select develop for an image for example.

The built in GPU may or may not be usable by LR, and may or may not help. A 960GTX will help a bit, probably over and above the built in GPU. I found it very hard to tell how much benefit you get from this (I went for a GTX970). The problem is that there are demonstrable cases where it helps a LOT, like grabbing the temperature slider and yanking it back and forth. Of course you don't do that in reality, and how much it helps for small adjustments -- not sure. not sure even after trying with and without. I got a good GPU for the same reason as CPU -- I just didn't want to wonder if I had done everything I could do hardware wise. But I would probably save this for later if budget constrained.

RAM - If you are not doing lots of merges to HDR or pano's, and not using Photoshop, I think 16 is fine. I have a very hard time getting LR to use more than about 8GB (and I have 64GB available because I sometimes us a lot of VM's). I would highly recommend two sticks not four, though, so you have an easy path to upgrade to 32GB if you need it. It will cost a bit more to have 2 sticks than 4 sticks.
 

leonardotmnt

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Thanks Ferguson. I've thought about the 6700k the cost difference with having to get a more expensive motherboard, cpu cooler, and the extra cost of the chip itself I'm not sure I want to go for it.
 
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The 6700"K" does no good if you aren't buying an overclocking MB, so you can save a few bucks with the 6700 itself- same speed if not OC'd. I buy overclocking chips but do not overclock them, for (possibly spurious) reasons of thinking they are more stable, and on the off chance I decide to overclock. You only need a fancy cooler if you are overclocking (and something like the Hyper 212 is perfectly adequate for air cooling for modest overclocking; I use them instead of the stock Intel cooler because they are silent at low speeds normally needed, and only $30).
 

leonardotmnt

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Yeah. If I went for the K I'd end up spending more for the board plus everything else so I'm not sure I'd like to do that.

If the i7 is better than i5 for Lightroom I think I'll stick with the 6700.
 
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Hopefully others will chime in but if you believe the online benchmarks floating around the I7-6700 is a bit faster than the I5-6600 (both non-K) but it is only like 3-4% on ones I just looked up. Though the 4GHz vs 3.4GHz has to stand for something. But general benchmarks say it is a pretty small amount. How much processor cache and other differences matter may overshadow, and not sure how that goes. My theory was "I7 is bigger than I5" probably is not scientific. :rolleyes:

And of course, whatever you buy will be superseded by a faster one just slightly after (sometimes before) you complete your build. :mad:
 

PhilBurton

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+1 to the idea of potentially upgrading to 32 GB of RAM.

I would go for a power supply more than 550W, especially if
1. You might overclock
2. You add a separate video card (!!)
3. You add more RAM or potentially more disk drives.

Another advantage of a larger power supply is that it tends to run quieter than a lower-rated power supply for a given power draw.

Also, this is a personal preference, but I have had extremely good luck for twenty years now with ASUS motherboards.

You don't mention SSD. An SSD will greatly speed up loading Windows and programs. If you keep your Lightroom catalog, cache, etc., on the SSD, that will also speed up operations. Get a normal HDD for bulk storage of image files. I like Hitachi brand drives. Other people like WD. Just avoid Seagate.

Phil
 
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I would stick to a modest graphics card unless you intend to drive a high resolution monitor. Lightroom may now have GPU acceleration, but I'm not convinced we've seen any benefits.

I'd agree about the power supply appearing small (900?), and going for SSD for drives containing Windows and your Lr catalogue. I recently switched to a 1Tb SSD and am delighted by the improvements in loading Windows and programs.
 

leonardotmnt

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I do have a 256 GB SSD that I'll put Windows and Lightroom on with the catalog and previews. Otherwise I'm using a 3 TB HGST drive for storage.

I may look at the 650w version of the PSU but from what I've read on review sites and calculators I've used, even with 32 GB ram and the 960 GTX I shouldn't need more than 550. You only really need much higher if you're running a gaming rig but I don't think I'll be doing much gaming these days. It looks like the 960 GTX only needs 120w of power and the i6700 uses just over 100w at full load.
 
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I remember going for 900 on a very weak basis that it was way more than I had before. Maybe there is a more precise way to decide!

256 isn't that big, though it depends how many programs you install and the number of photos you handle.
 
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Honestly (and to swim against the stream here a bit), I think people put in far larger power supplies than they usually need. For example if you are not buying a MB with overclocking capabilities, then... well, you aren't going to overclock.

I put in a LOT of stuff -- five SSD's, a GTX970, 64GB memory, the i7-6700K, an optical drive, 7 fans. I spec'd it out with a power supply estimator (I liked this one) and got a need for just shy of 500W. I got it all hooked up and measured the actual current draw on the INPUT side of the power supply (so including all the waste heat, etc.), and ran a stress test for the CPU (though not the GPU, it was on for two monitors though). I could not get the draw over 180 watts on the input side. Now if I really cranked in some gaming on the GPU, and hammered the SSD's really hard... sure, maybe I could possibly get up near the estimate. But my normal draw working was even lower than the 180W.

Before you jump above 500w, run an estimate. I bet you don't even hit 200W needed with what you mentioned so far. Now cutting it too close may not be a good idea either, you might add stuff. But going 2, 3, 4x your estimated max draw is just a waste of money better spent on quality.

On the other hand, I think people pay too little attention to quality of the PSU's. There are quite a few reviews out there that rate them by the quality (stability, noise-free) of their outputs, as well as interesting info like how they perform at small fractions of their rated output (which is where they live most of the time if you think about it). There are some real crappy PSU's out there, and some really high quality ones. If you think about it, it is much like the gas you put in your car, often ignored, used continually, and can cause ongoing wear and tear needlessly if it's bad gas.
 

reidthaler

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I have a Seasonic Photoshop. I think it's 460 or 480w. I think it's on it's 3rd build. I've had it since 2005
 
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