Build a PC for photo editing?
I posted this on Reddit and ADV as well, but the former only got one reply. I'd be interested to hear what y'all think. I did some searching here, but had no luck. Shamelessly pasted verbatim:
I'm looking at building a photo editing (no video editing, no gaming) PC for personal use. Not a heavy duty user processing thousands of photos, but also don't have much patience for slow machines. Mostly I go take photos from time to time--maybe 20 to 50 before culling--then import the raw files, edit in Capture NX-D, then finish up in Photoshop Elements.
I've been using Turbo Future's page as a guide and right now have this list:
Processor: Intel Core I7-8700k
CPU Cooler: NZXT Kraken X62 Rev 2 (Overkill? Egregiously so?)
Motherboard: Asus Prime Z370-P ATX LGA1151
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB (2x16GB) DDR4-3000
Case: Fractal Design Define R5
Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA P2 650w 80+ Platinum
For hard drives, I've got an old HP laptop that I upgraded fairly recently with two Samsung SSD 850 EVO 500GB drives. Is there any reason that I can't use these in the new build? Will the OS and software swap over well?
Any thoughts or comments/critiques on the build are definitely welcome.
What else will I need to buy aside from a monitor? Do I need a video card? GPU? Anything else? The folks at ADV believe that a GPU is a requirement, but the Turbo Future guy believes the opposite. Hmmm.
If you're not doing games, video editing or mining bitcoin, it's possible that the built-in Intel HD graphics processor will meet your needs. Why not try it and see? You can always add a graphics card later if you need it. I'd also start with 16GB of RAM and only go to 32 if you end up swapping a lot.
I wouldn't assume that you can move the software unless you have the original installation disks and the licenses permit moving to a new machine. It may work, but it may not. I'd be especially concerned about the OS if your old machine came with an OEM license. I know I've seen software utilities that facilitate moves, but I don't have any personal experience with any.
In my humble opinion, editing photos isn't that much of a difficult task for most more-or-less modern PCs. For example, I'd consider an i7-8700k already way oversized for this task.
Important I think is fast disk I/O (so yes, solid state drives are a must), enough RAM (I'm with Richard as to say 16GB is enough) and most post-processing software these day make good use of the GPU, so I would definitely go with a low- to mid-range dedicated graphics card. I've seen ON1 Photo RAW run on my Intel Integrated graphics chipset, and it was horrible. I don't know how it is with Adobe software, but my guess would be they also use a dedicated OpenCL graphics card if you have one. I use Affinity Photo, and it also performs much better on the dedicated GPU.
I would invest the savings from those component in a good (preferably wide gamut, calibrated) monitor, because that is what will give you the good and usable results in the end!
Of course, if you have other use cases with that machine other than photo editing, with computers it's a little like with cars: There's nothing better than engine displacement other than more engine displacement ;-)
As a reference: I had a good enough editing experience with a 2014 Core i5 dual core (mobile version), 16GB RAM, a 2GB Nvidia GPU (also somewhere around 2014 or even 2013), two SSDs and all that in a laptop PC (Lenovo Thinkpad e540). Except for the display, which was as sh** as could be.
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Hi, my two cents in addition to what already told. I'm not an expert on specific components, I rely on specialists when I build the PC, but I can tell you some things that I learned.
As already said, 16 GB ram is enough. You can always add it at a second time if you want.
SSD hard drive is a must, it really makes the difference, more than a bigger RAM. You can use those you already have. This for the OS, while for a second HD for data storage you can also use a normal one.
Graphic card: I don't know for Capture, but PS uses dedicated graphic processor for Open CL, wide gamut monitor, etc. If you think to work always in sRGB with no wide gamut monitors, you can use a normal card. But if you think to use Wide Gamut monitors and you want to use all the all the features of PS, you must use an NVIDIA Quadro or an AMD FirePro (maybe there are others, I don't know). You can also use a basic one, you don't need an expensive high-end card. See attached screenshot (Photoshop Preferences -> Performance) from my laptop where I'm writing now (all my PCs has Quadro graphic cards). Here I've the Quadro 1000m that works fine on laptop. Laptop is from HP with a similar features to that of kurzvorzwoelf
Monitor: even if you now only use sRGB, a good idea would be to take it Wide Gamut. One day you might want to use a larger color space and then you're ready! If you don't want to spend too much on a Nec Spectraview or Eizo, you can buy a little cheaper Dell or find one used. 24-inch is fine, clearly more is better.
Independently from the monitor you'll buy, use a calibrator like i1 Display Pro or a Spyder
Hope this infos will help.
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> Hi, my two cents in addition to what already told. I'm not an expert on specific components, I rely on specialists when I build the PC, but I can tell you some things that I learned.
> * As already said, 16 GB ram is enough. You can always add it at a second time if you want.
> * SSD hard drive is a must, it really makes the difference, more than a bigger RAM. You can use those you already have. This for the OS, while for a second HD for data storage you can also use a normal one.
> * Graphic card: I don't know for Capture, but PS uses dedicated graphic processor for Open CL, wide gamut monitor, etc. If you think to work always in sRGB with no wide gamut monitors, you can use a normal card. But if you think to use Wide Gamut monitors and you want to use all the all the features of PS, you must use an NVIDIA Quadro or an AMD FirePro (maybe there are others, I don't know). You can also use a basic one, you don't need an expensive high-end card. See attached screenshot (Photoshop Preferences -> Performance) from my laptop where I'm writing now (all my PCs has Quadro graphic cards). Here I've the Quadro 1000m that works fine on laptop. Laptop is from HP with a similar features to that of kurzvorzwoelf
> * Monitor: even if you now only use sRGB, a good idea would be to take it Wide Gamut. One day you might want to use a larger color space and then you're ready! If you don't want to spend too much on a Nec Spectraview or Eizo, you can buy a little cheaper Dell or find one used. 24-inch is fine, clearly more is better.
> * Independently from the monitor you'll buy, use a calibrator like i1 Display Pro or a Spyder
> Hope this infos will help.
thank you so much sdb its good help for me.....
Moving your SSDs from a laptop to a desktop is a major no-no, unless you are going to re-install the OS. The drivers are so significantly different, and the hardware is so significantly different, you are going to be much better off re-installing Windows once you have the SSDs in the desktop. Yes, it's a pain. yes, we all hate to do it. But it is the best (and probably only) way to do it correctly.
I'll just jump in here with a new question.
I, too am building a new system and while my catalog will remain on an internal ssd drive, Because my existing internal 1TB raid is getting full, I'm considering moving my photo storage to an external USB 3.1 (version 1) hard drive. Does this make sense? It will certainly ease the heat and noise made by those two spinning drives. (And naturally, backups are in place on various other media.)
Thanks for any answers!
^ Yes, it makes sense to keep your long-term storage external. I have a working directory on my machine's SSD drive--along with all the software and LR catalog--but once I'm done processing, everything goes to two synched external drives. Over the years I have had failures of external and internal drives, but have never lost any data because of redundant backups.
Thanks Richard. I'm curious about your processing workflow. Do you have a just one folder on the SSD for incoming and then move the processed files to the external drive from within Lightroom?
It's a little more complicated than that, but more or less. I have three folders on my machine, all of which are managed by Lightroom. Raw pics are imported from my camera to LRWorkingPics. I do my culling and post processing there. I also have a folder named LRTemp, which is where I put the final jpgs that Photoshop produces. I later import them into LRWorkingPics. Finally, I have LRDone, which is where I accumulate the final raw and jpgs--I only rarely hang on to the PSDs. LR manages all the moves among these folders. Once I have about 4GB in the LRDone folder, I create a new folder in my external photo archive and use LR to move all of them there. Then I synch that drive to a second external drive. If I ever lose my primary E: drive, I can always mount the other one as E: and LR will not know the difference.
HTH. It probably sounds more complicated than it is in practice--I have macros stored in PS to automatically handle the saves so I don't have to think about it.
That sounds like a good system and not horribly complicated. I think it's a good compromise - using the speed of the internal SSD and the capacity of an external drive.
I have a simpler approach which I mentioned in a different thread, but I'll reiterate. I keep my OS and applications on an internal SSD, and my Lightroom catalog and raw cache on a separate internal SSD. However I store my images on external 7200 RPM drives and work on them there. I have compared this with temporarily storing my imports on SSD for processing but could not see any difference in speed. The key here is that you're leveraging off of LR's sophisticated caching design and using the SSD storage for the most critical functions.
Richard has pointed out that import/export speeds are probably slower, but I've not had any issues with that. Plus, any time you may save in import/export operations are going to be given back when you need to move the shoot to external storage using that approach. I'm an event photographer and my shoots typically contain between 2,000 and 3,000 images, so performance and simplicity of workflow are both very important to me. I too make backups of my external drives which can easily be swapped in if necessary.
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That depends on your keeper ratio. 90% of my shots go to the bit bucket and never see a hard drive. You're probably a better photographer, so it might be a wash for you. Your scheme does have the virtue of being simpler and is worth considering for that reason alone.
Good point, Richard. I rarely delete anything, although that's got nothing to do with my photography skills. My typical events get culled down to an average of 150 finished images before I'm done.
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I ordered my computer yesterday and today I got a good Black Friday deal on a 2TB external drive.
My new system is the best I could put together to stay under the price so I can write off all in one year (very important).
i5 9600k / 16GB Ram / NVidia GTX1050ti graphics / 500GB M2 SSD, plus 2-256GB SSDs from my existing computer
Currently I have my OS on a 128GB SSD which always gets full. The new configuration will use a 256GB for the OS and program files, 256GB for Lightroom catalog and Photoshop swap files and 500GB for Data and Lightroom processing area. Original files will be stored on the 2TB external drive and then synced to my NAS. I already keep a backup of all of my RAW files in the cloud.
This should take care of me for a few years - by the time that 2GB drive gets full it will be time to replace it anyway.
I'd say just make sure to back things up on more than one drive. Just had a very nerve-racking and expensive situation when my "all eggs in one basket" external HDD fell off the desk...
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Ow, that hurts!
The first thing I did when I set up the drive was stick it to the top of my computer with double-stick tape. I was a Computer professional for over 25 years - I know just what can happen... And all my pictures (and Lightroom Catalog!) are backed up on other dirves and/or in the cloud.
I am now maybe the most backed up photographer in the world. I've got hard drives stashed all over the house, cloud services, etc. It's funny, friends tell me "you've got to have a backup" and I'm like "You THINK that. I KNOW that!"
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I just built a new rig recently but went a little crazy. I wanted something that could handle video editing without flinching (this rig SURE DOES that all right).
32GB DDR4 Memory
1TB M.2 SSD (OS)
2TB M.2 SSD (Storage)
GeForce 1070 Video Card (this was existing, i used to play video games, no longer)
And like the OP, i'm a big Fractal Designs fan. R5 for me also. In fact, all of my machines and servers use the R5. It's just full of space, cable management is easy and talk about soundproof, WOW
Works great. The processor and SSD's give me almost no lag when scrubbing videos. Photo editing was never an issue on my old i7 processor.
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