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Author Topic: Need advice to upgrade my PCs Mainboard, CPU and memory  (Read 5792 times)
Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« on: November 02, 2013, 08:30:10 AM »
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Hello everybody!

Working with 4000 ppi scans from my MF film work my PC is choking quite a bit.
My files sizes go up to 10 gigs when using multiple layers, working with Photoshops Large File Format.

In the moment I have an Asus Mainboard P5Q, 8 Gigs RAM and a Quad Core CPU from the pre-I3/I5/I7 time (Q6600).
Graphics card is a Radeon HD 6670.
I am using a 64 Gig SSD for acceleration purposes (PS 6 workdisk, system cache files on Windows 7 64 bit)

I am thinking of adding another SSD and upgrading Mainboard, CPU and Memory, maybe graphics card.

Some specific questions:
- Should I go for 16, 32 or 64 Gigs of RAM? Which type/brand of RAM?
- Processor: i5, i7 ? Which type and features give me what?
- Mainboard: I have no clue what to look for, only that ATX form factor fits my current rig.
- Firewire: Would e good to have for my scanner, but I can add a card later if necessary.
- Second SSD: Size? Brand?

I have not set an absolute cost limit, but would like to stay below 1500 Euro, better around the 1000 Euro range.
Any recommendations on what to replace would help greatly to spend my money efficiently and not for useless stuff would be appreciated.

Thank you very much
~Chris




« Last Edit: November 02, 2013, 12:59:27 PM by Christoph C. Feldhaim » Logged

armand
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« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2013, 07:26:57 PM »
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I have no specific advice but I can add some perspective (just in case).

I have a very similar system: Asus P5Q-Pro, Q9550, 16 GB RAM, and SSD as the system drive. I am looking maybe to buy a new laptop (it's probably going to be a new Macbook Pro, even if I have no interest in switching to MacOS they are the best laptops), so I was curious what's the performance of my system, processor mainly. I ran Geekbench and the single core is 1658 and multicore is 5777 (all this with antivirus, etc running in background). The single core is worse than even the new Airs, the multicore is comparable to the 13" but about half of the 15".
Your processor it's probably not much better than mine, so if you use more processor intensive tasks I would look at something at least as powerful as the new processors from Macbook Pro 15". 16 GB RAM is adequate for my files than can go to 0.5 GB (it's used up to 70-80%) so I would look for about 32 GB if you can.
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armand
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« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2013, 08:03:41 PM »
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You made me curious and I just looked in Newegg.
While there are boards that theoretically support 64 GB I didn't find 16GB sticks of RAM so you cannot really fit more 32 GB (on a Haswell board), at least not at a reasonable cost.

A quick configuration, almost top of the line would cost: Haswell proc 300, Asus motherboard 300, 32GB RAM 300. You can add GPU (I guess one generation older might make sense if you are not gaming) and another SSD (256-512 GB + 200-400).

Another idea would to look at the previous gen Intel proc as the new doesn't look that added that much performance.
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degrub
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« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2013, 08:26:12 PM »
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Intel Sandy-bridge or ivy-bridge core i7 quad or hex core, 32-64 GB corsair ddr3 1600 memory, ASUS motherboard (ws - workstation version if you want firewire on board),  sata III ssd os drive, scratch drive, working drive, windows 7 pro 64 bit, pretty much any pci-e 2 video card with at least 512mB memory if you are only doing stills.

Should be a good starting point. Not a lot of difference in cpu between sandy to haswell, so you have some budget flexibility. Memory size and sata III ports and ssds will make more difference. PS can use 6 cores, but it depends an what you are doing if it will make a difference.

Wikipedia has a good set of tables outlining all of the cpu options for each generation.
Frank
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Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2013, 02:35:30 AM »
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Thanks !
Thats a good starting point I think.
I'll do some digging now.
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armand
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« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2013, 11:27:06 AM »
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Here is some extra food for thought. It relates to Mac but you can from here the difference in processors: http://browser.primatelabs.com/mac-benchmarks
If you look also here: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1653728 there are some user tests for the new iMacs that have the desktop version of the Haswell.
To my surprise the desktop version of Haswell doesn't really seem to add more than 10% relative to the laptop version.

I also built a pretty good configuration on Newegg, starting from scratch. In the attached photo there is missing a 512 GB Samsung 840 Pro (for about $430), the total being a higher than expect 2000-2100$. If you don't need the storage, have the case and power source, etc you can easily get it under 1500$. You can also choose a cheaper motherboard that doesn't have thunderbolt (save 50 there).
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Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2013, 11:40:52 AM »
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I am still wondering if I should go with a 6 core machine or 4 core and a graphics card like an Nvidia Quadro 2000. All in all I should get a good setup within my price range. I also will definitely opt for a mainboard which allows a possible 64 Gig of Ram (8 slots), though I will start with a 32 Gig Quad kit.
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armand
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« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2013, 12:33:29 PM »
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I thought I couldn't see any of the consumer boards that can support 64GB and one of the newer processors, meaning you could go up to Ivy Bridge-E.

see these:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131802
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131801
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131800

and the processors:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007671%20600458197&IsNodeId=1&name=Ivy%20Bridge-E


I have much interest in your result as I am in a similar position. Considering I will not get a big improvement from the desktop over a maxed out Macbook pro unless I really go up a lot on the budget I'm still on the fence. It's not that much a question of budget but practicality and maximum return. I don't feel for MacOs but Win 8 doesn't do anything for me either. And it's much easier to resell the laptop when going for an upgrade  Wink

Another configuration (from scratch) makes up for about $2500 (already has 64 GB RAM, adding 6-core or higher graphic card will increase it, subtracting things you have will get it lower but I doubt it will be under $1500).
« Last Edit: November 04, 2013, 12:37:15 PM by armand » Logged
Steve Weldon
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« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2013, 01:14:19 PM »
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Perhaps the most important things out of the way first because they're often not included in initial estimates.  A quality power supply (Seasonic Gold or Platinum) and UPS device.  Absolute musts.

The new Gigabyte Z87 Chipset motherboard:  GIGABYTE Z87X-OC   This is a $200 motherboard of very high quality and will OC great if that's your thing.  If not, the power regulation reinforcements are desirable for any system.   I have the GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force which adds more ports but is twice the price.  If you don't need that number of ports then the $200 version is great.  This MB has 2 FW 400/800 ports.

The Haswell 4770k is great if you plan to OC, if not the 4771 (exact same speeds/specs as the 4770k, but cannot be OC'd) will save you $40 or so.  Haswell gives you about 10% faster performance across the board, but uses even less power generating less heat.  It's incredible how cool a system you can make with this CPU and a decent cooler.   I use the Nocturna NH-U12P SE2   Very quiet and cools great.  My idle temps are right around 23-25c.  Pushing the system using Furmark for instance and you won't see 50c.

At current RAM prices 32gb isn't really excessive for still imagery and is a fair amount for video rendering.  But if you do a lot of video go for  64gb and the six-core processor Ivy-E.  I like simple lifetime warranty memory from Crucial when possible:  Crucial Ballistix Tactical Low Profile 32GB Kit (8GBx4) DDR3-1600 1.35V UDIMM 240-Pin Memory Modules BLT4C8G3D1608ET3LX0   The profiles for 1600 are bullet proof at stock and any OC speeds.  You can buy faster RAM but I consider 1600 the sweet spot at current prices.

If budget is at issue the built in video of the Haswell's is fine.  You can run two 30" monitors if you must.  But if you want performance and speed, especially when rendering video.. I chose this new card from Gigabyte: very quiet and again in the sweet spot of price/performance:  Gigabyte GTX 770 GDDR5-2GB 2xDVI/HDMI/DP OC WINDFORCE 3X Graphics Card GV-N770OC-2GD

Add a 256gb Samsung Pro 840 (currently the top SSD performer depending on which benchmarks most closely match your personal work flow) and you're still south of your budget.  A 512gb Samsung Evo makes for a great work drive but will take you over budget.


And a surprising benefit of these exact components?  They are 100% compatible for a Hackentosh dual boot..  just sayin..


Good luck.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2013, 04:01:15 PM by Steve Weldon » Logged

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Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2013, 03:29:02 PM »
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Thanks a lot for all the advice - now I've some things to think about.
Definitely helpful posts

Thanks a lot
~Chris
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armand
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« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2013, 05:13:50 PM »
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You made me go back to the days when I was reading and preparing weeks to months to build a computer, haven't done it for many years now.

And while we are at it here is what you can expect from a 6 core i7-4930K on the motherboard that I selected earlier and with 64 GB RAM: http://browser.primatelabs.com/geekbench3/172328 . Competitive to a entry level 8 core Mac Pro (the older ones) on the multicore and much better on the single core.
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Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2013, 05:19:20 PM »
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Thanks for that comparison.
I thought I'd go for a 6-core Sandy Bridge - don't want to waste money for a later upgrade and I can still add a Quadro later (if necessary - I doubt it - I don't liquify that much ...)
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armand
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« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2013, 05:29:04 PM »
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I don't know how are the prices in Europe but in US on Newegg (my usual go to site) there is minimal difference price wise between a 6 core Sandy Bridge-E and Ivy Bridge-E

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116939
vs
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116492
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Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2013, 05:31:17 PM »
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I'll check again before I finally buy.
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Steve Weldon
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« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2013, 12:55:50 AM »
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Thanks for that comparison.
I thought I'd go for a 6-core Sandy Bridge - don't want to waste money for a later upgrade and I can still add a Quadro later (if necessary - I doubt it - I don't liquify that much ...)

For comparison this is a newly built (not yet tweaked) standard clocked Haswell build.  Not that much less than the six-core with twice the memory.

You don't say what you process the most of, but if you process mostly images you wouldn't realize much if any benefit going to the six-core Sandy-E.  In fact, if it meant not getting the graphics card you would probably get less performance overall when compared to the Haswell WITH the graphics card.. because the graphics card power is used more evenly across the board than are the last two cores of the Sandy - E..

Something else.. you said yo were using the 64gb SSD for "acceleration purposes.." Not sure what that means.  A work drive?  Cache drive?  Light system drive?  I dunno..  But if you're not using it for a system drive then for sure get at least a 256gb Samsung Pro 840 for use as a system drive and use your current SSD for a light wokr drive or whatever.

Looking at your current system overall.. you're going to be stunned by either a Haswell 4 core or a Sandy E 6 core.   It's hard to guess, but your current system is probably in the 5000-6000 realm.  So don't think you need to get the 'most' powerful to get stunning performance.   My previous system, a 5 year old 950 Intel with 12gb or RAM and a 6870 video card, and 256gb SSD (older generation).  I routinely processed 5d2 and 5d3  200-400 image sessions without bottlenecking to point it slowed my personal work flow.  It wasn't bad for video either.    It scored 10,xxx points on this benchmark..  A quad core ivy Lenovo 530W I just built with 32gb of RAM and nice video card was in the 13,500 realm.  So 18,770-22,770.  You're off the chart. 

Good luck..
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Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2013, 03:12:53 AM »
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I was thinking 6 cores because I see my current 4 cores choking at operations like blur, sharpening, size changes and such. The Quadro if I'm not mistaken would help with certain filters, but I don't know which, just of liquify - which I hardly use - I know of. it just makes sense to me go for the cores now and update the card later (if at all) and not ugrade the CPU later to 6 cores and throw away the old one. Just don't wanna waste money.

Do the math: Scanned at 3x16=48 bit per pixel, 4000 ppi, 6x7 cm negatives - my Tiff files with dimensions of something like 9400x11000 pixels are in the 100 MP range, so 600 Megs for an unprocessed Image without layers. What I do is the usual tone adjustmants, Soft Light Layers, Luminosity masked layers, localized adjustments and such. The files easily reach 6-10 gigabyte in size. I'd prefer to keep the layers and not to flatten all time to save space. They are printed at about 300 ppi, 24x28 inch wide.

The current only SSD in my system houses the /temp file folder, the ready boost cache, the swap file and the Photoshop working directory - but I often run out of space - its too small. I want to give Photoshop a dedicated drive.

I'm quite sure that the planned upgrade with blow away my old machine - looking forward to it. In the moment - waiting for Photoshop operations to finish I am browsing the LuLa forums, reading about the new Nikon DF, reading about Fuji-X+metabones speedbooster+old Minolta glass and this kind of stuff.

So - what I need is a lot of memory to avoid swapping operations and a CPU which can handle the operations, especially certain brushes in PS lag behind when I draw.
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Steve Weldon
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« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2013, 07:32:02 AM »
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With your explanation, which is very useful, I just can't see the  Haswell "choking."  It will plough through your files like a hot knife through butter, especially with an adequate video card.

If you had said your budget was unlimited and money wasn't an issue, then sure, get the six-core for the small advantages it may offer in your current operations and possible future operations you have yet to detail.   But I do think the Haswell/32gb/770 combination will perform better overall for the operations you detail, but sure.. it's easier to add a video card to boost performance but maybe not cheaper depending on the card.  Do you buy a $350 770 of a $500 790 a $750 Quadro 4000  or a $1800 Quadro 5000.. just to be sure.

And there is always the 8 core Xeons, duals if dare.. Smiley

What we're really talking about is where the point of marginal returns are related to cost of a machine designed to process still files related to speed..

You know, it might be educational for all of us if you created an action for Photoshop CC and put up a file.. and let us run that action for you.  Get some hard numbers on exactly how much time we're talking about?  Then you could make an informed decision based on fact and recommendation.  It might help others out too.

Back to your SSD's.    This is another area where steep gains can be made..  But one which that pesky point of marginal returns cautions.  Conventional use for imaging is to use a 256gb fast SSD w/TRIM for your system drive where the 256gb number leaves at least half the disk free to designate for caches.  And then another, perhaps slower more economical SSD as a work drive for current files.  I do this myself with a Synology 1813+ hooked up to my LAN ports for archiving at 120-140mbps.   One could go further:  If a Lightroom user a dedicated cache/preview SSD speeds things up.  Some don't mind the cost of putting  two SSD's in a RAID 0..

One more consideration while we skim this topic:  Heat Kills.  Noise Deafens.  Manufacturers always knew this but because design all too often butted heads with performance they didn't talk a lot about it  I don't particularly like Apple's new Pro design, but it really makes sense from the heat and noise perspective. Taking all but two SSD's out of case means either a TB or LAN array depending on need.   Haswells are very cool CPU's even when compared to Ivy'.  By keeping the mechanical hard drives out of the case, or even limiting it just one, you can easily run a sub-30c machine at idle and sub-50c loaded.  With a well designed case (I prefer Lian-li) and cooler you can have all that with very little noise. In fact some would say it's silent depending on how good their ears are.

We live in good times with even better choices in technology.
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armand
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« Reply #17 on: November 07, 2013, 02:17:52 PM »
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Btw, did you try overclocking? Inspired by this thread I just gave it a try (first time ever overclocking) and I got mine to 3.96 GHz (from 2.83) just by increasing the FSB, everything else is on auto. On Geekbench that's a 38% increase and the proc temp stays under 30 at idle and only very short bursts to 52-53 Celsius when Photoshop does a pano. I guess I could still push it but I can see the difference already.
If this works for you it should buy some time until you find cheaper stuff (or the next best thing is on the market).

PS. for me it means I might buy a new printer instead, one that can actually print on thicker canvas.
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Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #18 on: November 07, 2013, 02:22:07 PM »
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Btw, did you try overclocking? Inspired by this thread I just gave it a try (first time ever overclocking) and I got mine to 3.96 GHz (from 2.83) just by increasing the FSB, everything else is on auto. On Geekbench that's a 38% increase and the proc temp stays under 30 at idle and only very short bursts to 52-53 Celsius when Photoshop does a pano. I guess I could still push it but I can see the difference already.
If this works for you it should buy some time until you find cheaper stuff (or the next best thing is on the market).

PS. for me it means I might buy a new printer instead, one that can actually print on thicker canvas.

I leave overclocking settings to "auto" in BIOS.
I never benchmarked it.
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« Reply #19 on: November 07, 2013, 05:23:21 PM »
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Btw, did you try overclocking? Inspired by this thread I just gave it a try (first time ever overclocking) and I got mine to 3.96 GHz (from 2.83) just by increasing the FSB, everything else is on auto. On Geekbench that's a 38% increase and the proc temp stays under 30 at idle and only very short bursts to 52-53 Celsius when Photoshop does a pano. I guess I could still push it but I can see the difference already.
If this works for you it should buy some time until you find cheaper stuff (or the next best thing is on the market).

PS. for me it means I might buy a new printer instead, one that can actually print on thicker canvas.
Armand -  There seems to be a general consensus among those who use this forum to not over clock.  I have but don't any longer because I get 95% of what I need from the stock speeds of current chips.  In my opinion their reluctance is roughly 50% grounded in fact, 50% misunderstandings.  Let me explain.

The longevity of a electronic component is dependent to the greatest extent on two factors, heat and stable power.  Unfortunately as we over clock heat increases across the board (just not the places with sensors, though a decent MB will have 12-15 sensor points) and power becomes less stable.   A lose lose for the sake of a few faster clock cycles.

However, if you are careful and purchase a motherboard designed for over clocking it will be fortified to withstand a great deal more heat, and their power regulations circuits are also beefed up.  Add a top quality power supply, like designed video card, a top CPU cooler, and a CPU that does well over clocking (some over clock better and safer than others) and with the understanding you'll be upgrading every 3-4 years and not trying to push it's use long after that..and you can over clock with relative safety.

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