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Author Topic: Advice on new computer build for Photoshop, please!  (Read 10204 times)
Jim Gronau
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« Reply #20 on: January 22, 2014, 03:46:38 PM »
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Hello again,

After pondering everybody's generous comments and doing a second round of research, here's my new, more modest proposal.  I have an uneasy feeling about locking myself out of 64GB of RAM for the lifetime of this computer, but I also have an uneasy feeling about spending all that money on a CPU, motherboard, and RAM that might be considerably in excess of what I need.  I've also written off the possibility of a 10-bit monitor by downgrading the GPU (I'm sure 10-bit will be par for the course next time around; so I'll get the necessary components then).

Anybody notice any incompatibilities or bottlenecks?

Once again, thanks so much for your very helpful comments.

CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor
Motherboard: Asus Z87-PRO ATX LGA1150 Motherboard
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Z Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3-1866 Memory
Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 128GB 2.5" SSD
Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 256GB 2.5" SSD
Storage: Western Digital Black Series 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM HDD
Video Card: ASUS GTX760-DC2OC-2GD5 GeForce GTX 760 2GB
Case: Fractal Design Define XL R2 (Black Pearl) ATX Full Tower Case
Power Supply: SeaSonic X Series 850W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply  Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 (OEM) (64-bit)
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Steve Weldon
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« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2014, 04:14:17 PM »
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I think this much more matches your stated work flow.  All quality components which would play nicely together.

I would consider adding a CPU cooler, one of the higher rated types with (2) 120mm or larger fans.  Set at a moderate airflow appropriate for your workflow it will be a great deal quieter than the stock CPU fan that comes wit the CPU..   If you do, make sure the heat sinks on your RAM modules allow for enough clearance.

One more thing, if you're not going to over clock go for the 4771 CPU and save yourself $30 or so.. The ONLY difference is you can't over clock it.

You'll need a DVD/R/RW player at a minimum.  $14 or so for Lite-on brand which are fine.    Consider  a blu-ray player if you think it will be useful.
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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2014, 04:51:47 PM »
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I would agree with Steve on a better cooler as the Intel stock cooler can be loud especially under load.  I have the Enermax ETS-T40 and it's silent and has a much bigger heatsink and fan than the Intel.  Installation is pretty easy as well.  The only question I might have is the case.  Do you really need the XL size?  The Define R4 is smaller and has plenty of space for your components.  I have an Arc Midi R2 and it runs silent even though it doesn't have the foam insulation. 
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Jim Gronau
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« Reply #23 on: January 22, 2014, 06:04:55 PM »
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Thanks, Steve and Alan.

Thanks for pointing out that I forgot to include a DVD reader/writer!  I had one in my original list; not sure when it dropped off.

I don't plan on overclocking, so the 4771 would seem reasonable.

I wondered about the included CPU cooler; I'll look for a third-party that won't collide with my RAM.

Good point also about the case.  I think the regular Black Pearl would probably be fine.

Again, many thanks!
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Jim Gronau
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« Reply #24 on: January 22, 2014, 06:07:11 PM »
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Oh, forgot to say: for another $50 I could get the Asus Z87 Expert mobo, which includes Thunderbolt, unlike the Pro that's on my list.  I'd never even heard of Thunderbolt till a couple of days ago.  What do you think, is it something worth getting now?
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Torbjörn Tapani
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« Reply #25 on: January 22, 2014, 06:24:35 PM »
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This is just nitpicking here but I saw this article on hard drive failure rates and Hitachi seems to be the best. WD is also good but from a much smaller sample.

http://blog.backblaze.com/2014/01/21/what-hard-drive-should-i-buy/
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Steve Weldon
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« Reply #26 on: January 22, 2014, 06:29:34 PM »
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Oh, forgot to say: for another $50 I could get the Asus Z87 Expert mobo, which includes Thunderbolt, unlike the Pro that's on my list.  I'd never even heard of Thunderbolt till a couple of days ago.  What do you think, is it something worth getting now?

I made the mistake of thinking after our discussion on Thunderbolt you would have spec'd that MB.. so yes, for $50 get it.  Unless it brings you close tot he Gigabyte UD7 in which case I'm more fond of Gigabyte products AND it will work in a Hackentosh system (so will all the components you've selected) so if you ever wanted to run OsX you've be set.  You can't do that with the Asus board.  

Thunderbolt is "the interface of the future" we're told.. (by Apple most recently) but with the recent inclusion on PC MB's I suspect we'll see a lot more of it..

So change:

1.  A TB MB  (Gigabyte if you're even remotely considering running OsX)

2.  CPU Cooler.   Nocturna 14's are great. Easy mounting system.

3.  DVD R/RW

4.  More modest case size.  If you're changing case size give Lian Li another look.  

5.  4771 CPU

6.  CHECK memory heatsink clearance with whatever CPU cooler you choose.



Might as well draft up a new list.. Smiley
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D Fosse
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« Reply #27 on: January 23, 2014, 12:29:23 AM »
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This is just nitpicking here but I saw this article on hard drive failure rates and Hitachi seems to be the best. WD is also good but from a much smaller sample.

http://blog.backblaze.com/2014/01/21/what-hard-drive-should-i-buy/

Even more nitpicking: Statistics cannot predict the random behavior of a single individual unit. It doesn't work that way. You need statistically significant numbers, which means enough that some units do fail. Until then, failure rate is non-applicable.

There used to be a lot of discussion about the increased failure risk in a RAID0 array. Yes, if you have an array of a hundred disks or so. With two or four, you just don't know and that's all you know. Just as with a single disk.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2014, 02:40:48 AM by D Fosse » Logged
Steve Weldon
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« Reply #28 on: January 23, 2014, 02:59:49 AM »
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And then we'd have to further segregate by speed, capacity, controller runs,  and more.

The truth is, when a significantly poor batch of had drives hit the supply chain it doesn't take long these days to be  identified and the drums to start beating across the blogOsphere..

 I think it's safe (even statistically) to say the OP's choice of a WD Black 3tb model will  serve him well.


Still, if he's worried about HDD failure on the whole (we all should be) the OP would be well served to buy TWO of these drives ad run them in a RAID1 for 100% redundancy.  This is a common strategy among the tier one builds I and many others do for the working data drive.  100% redundancy for the cost of a single HDD is a no-brainer.  But since I've already mentioned it in previous threads and the OP didn't adopt it in his build list tells me he'd rather not for whatever reason..

It's always tough to know where to draw the line on a build if cost is a concern and for most it is.
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Jim Gronau
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« Reply #29 on: January 23, 2014, 10:04:43 AM »
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Ha ha, and here I thought I was finished!

Okay, having (re)read a bunch of stuff about the processors, I'm going with the 4770K - supposedly for some people the 4771 has better security, but for mortals like myself it can actually make security more complicated.  I have enough complication already.

I looked at the Gigabyte motherboard, and while it might have more connectivity than the Asus, I think the Asus has enough for me (yes?), and the latter also has a couple of features I like the look of that the Gigabye lacks: a button to give you access to the BIOS (or UEFI or whatever it's called now) despite blink-of-an-eye boot-up times, and the debug LED display that tells you what isn't working (I see I called that "degug" in an earlier post - sorry).  I will get the Expert version of the Asus Z87, though, to get Thunderbolt.

I confess I had hoped to live my entire life without finding out what a RAID really was, but I researched it and I agree.  I'll get a second HDD and do a RAID 1.

Nobody suggested I should get two 256GB SSDs instead of one 256GB and one 128GB, but I'm going to anyway.  Anybody think that's a bad idea?  One will be for OS and programs, the other for LR catalogue, PS scratch disk, etc.

Since I'll now have two HDDs and two SSDs (and maybe I'll add a third some day), maybe I'll stick to the XL Black Pearl case, rather than the non-XL one.

Somebody pointed out to me that on the Intel site, for the i7-4770's "Memory Type" it gives "DDR3-1333/1600."  What, if anything, does that mean for my choice of RAM (G.Skill Ripjaws Z Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3-1866)? It says the same for the i7-4771, btw.  Should I get the 1600 version of the Ripjaws instead?

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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #30 on: January 23, 2014, 01:02:25 PM »
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Since I'll now have two HDDs and two SSDs (and maybe I'll add a third some day), maybe I'll stick to the XL Black Pearl case, rather than the non-XL one.
You don't need to.  The Define R4 has the same number of drive bays, 8 as the XL case and also has two other SSD mounts (I think they are under the motherboard IIRC as it's the same layout as my Arc Midi R2).  What you are getting with the XL case is more 5 1/4 inch drive bays but you are only going to use one of those so why pay for the extra height???
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Steve Weldon
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« Reply #31 on: January 23, 2014, 01:33:02 PM »
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Ha ha, and here I thought I was finished!

What you're trying to do is build a computer by using democracy.  Might I suggest a representative republic actually works better as pure democracies have never really proven their worth.

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Okay, having (re)read a bunch of stuff about the processors, I'm going with the 4770K - supposedly for some people the 4771 has better security, but for mortals like myself it can actually make security more complicated.  I have enough complication already.

Where do you come up with this stuff?  Security?  Are you talking about the locked vs. unlocked multiplier?  I've already told you, the ONLY difference between the two is the ability to over clock, and the machine over clocks by manipulation of this multiplier.  But it has zilch to do wit security.   If anything the 4771 would be more secure for the "mortals" because they couldn't get their fingers inside to over clock..



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I looked at the Gigabyte motherboard, and while it might have more connectivity than the Asus, I think the Asus has enough for me (yes?), and the latter also has a couple of features I like the look of that the Gigabye lacks: a button to give you access to the BIOS (or UEFI or whatever it's called now) despite blink-of-an-eye boot-up times, and the debug LED display that tells you what isn't working (I see I called that "degug" in an earlier post - sorry).  I will get the Expert version of the Asus Z87, though, to get Thunderbolt.
[/quote]

Both the gigabyte and the asus have the one button access to the BIOS, a debug light, and an instant boot (which no one uses if they have even half a clue), so for every reason you've listed they're the same. 

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I confess I had hoped to live my entire life without finding out what a RAID really was, but I researched it and I agree.  I'll get a second HDD and do a RAID 1.

I'm stunned.  You were given advice by people who do this every day professionally, you then researched it.  And agreed?  What happened?   Grin

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Nobody suggested I should get two 256GB SSDs instead of one 256GB and one 128GB, but I'm going to anyway.  Anybody think that's a bad idea?  One will be for OS and programs, the other for LR catalogue, PS scratch disk, etc.

What was suggested was that you find out how big your LR scratch disk would be, and then double that so you'd also have room for a cache and/or scratch disk.  A 256gb for your OS/Program disk is actually a very sound capacity.. most people even if they load their system with programs will use about half of that.. but with your page file (if you choose to use one), growing library folders (if you use them), the other half is usually enough.

The second SSD is what's in question and it depends on what you'll use it for.  LR library and PS scratch disk was recommended.   This is why you need to have some clue to the size to choose one with more than a smidgen of applicability..

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Since I'll now have two HDDs and two SSDs (and maybe I'll add a third some day), maybe I'll stick to the XL Black Pearl case, rather than the non-XL one.

Have you read the specs on both?   Keep in mind that SSD's don't actually require a drive bay.  You can effectively use Scotch thick double sided tape to put them almost anywhere in the case the cables allow.  k

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Somebody pointed out to me that on the Intel site, for the i7-4770's "Memory Type" it gives "DDR3-1333/1600."  What, if anything, does that mean for my choice of RAM (G.Skill Ripjaws Z Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3-1866)? It says the same for the i7-4771, btw.  Should I get the 1600 version of the Ripjaws instead?

Not necessarily.  What you really want is the fastest memory your motherboard will support in its Profile 1 position, yet still be in the sweet spot of market costs.   Both 1600 and 1866 are equally reasonable choices (sometimes you get lucky) so go with the one your pocketbook likes the most.  Actually difference in use will never be noticed.
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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #32 on: January 23, 2014, 03:13:04 PM »
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A 256gb for your OS/Program disk is actually a very sound capacity.. most people even if they load their system with programs will use about half of that.. but with your page file (if you choose to use one), growing library folders (if you use them), the other half is usually enough.

Keep in mind that SSD's don't actually require a drive bay.  You can effectively use Scotch thick double sided tape to put them almost anywhere in the case the cables allow.  k

LOL, I have a 128GB Samasung 840 Pro as my OS & program drive.  With Win7, Microsoft Office, Adobe LR, PS, Dreamweaver, Acrobat Reader, as well as a few other assorted programs; I'm not even using 50% of the drive (used space is 49GB; just checked).  I was trying to keep costs down a little bit rather than going to a 256GB system SSD.

Both the Fractal Design cases he is considering have SSD drive spaces right beneath the motherboard which offers another option for mounting giving him EIGHT bays for hard drives!  The eight bays are in a group of 3 & 5 and the 5 bay drive holder can be removed until it's needed, improving cooling (which is what I did).
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Steve Weldon
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« Reply #33 on: January 23, 2014, 04:34:58 PM »
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LOL, I have a 128GB Samasung 840 Pro as my OS & program drive.  With Win7, Microsoft Office, Adobe LR, PS, Dreamweaver, Acrobat Reader, as well as a few other assorted programs; I'm not even using 50% of the drive (used space is 49GB; just checked).  I was trying to keep costs down a little bit rather than going to a 256GB system SSD.

Both the Fractal Design cases he is considering have SSD drive spaces right beneath the motherboard which offers another option for mounting giving him EIGHT bays for hard drives!  The eight bays are in a group of 3 & 5 and the 5 bay drive holder can be removed until it's needed, improving cooling (which is what I did).

My 256gb Vertex 4 stays about about 60% usage but I have two CS suites installed, LR, Capture Pro, and more.. with 10gb's of Outlook files, 10gb's of ebooks and various PDF's I've collected., and some other stuff.  I should off-load the ebooks/PDF to other storage but like the OUtlook files, I enjoy the superfast indexing as I'm often searching for tidbits to use in my ramblings..   But considering todays prices vs. 3 years ago ($150 vs. $799!!!) its' entire reasonable considering the level of this build.

i.e. the case..  Ya, not sure who's advising him.  Often on a forum you get several pretty knowledgeable guys trying to help, but who they're really listening to is young nephew Todd and the reason they're here (on the forum) is to keep young Todd honest.. meanwhile this "advice" no one on the forum is advocating keeps rearing it's ugly head..   

Someday someone will say up front "umm.. hey guys, I don't know (or trust) you from shinolah, but I've known young Todd since my youngest sisters daughter got knocked up and "there's Todd!" and, well, anyway - he's had a computer class once in high school and is on his second PC and he's advising I get this here system..  Whaddaya think?  Tell me if young Todd is out of line with his recommendations and even though he didn't know enough to prevent making the big mistakes in the first place, I'll run your suggestions by him and let's hope he does better next time, maybe run it by his hockey coach who's teaching the computer class.. okay?"

I'm telling you, we'll see this some day..  Cheesy
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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #34 on: January 24, 2014, 10:25:52 AM »
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My 256gb Vertex 4 stays about about 60% usage but I have two CS suites installed, LR, Capture Pro, and more.. with 10gb's of Outlook files, 10gb's of ebooks and various PDF's I've collected., and some other stuff.  I should off-load the ebooks/PDF to other storage but like the OUtlook files, I enjoy the superfast indexing as I'm often searching for tidbits to use in my ramblings..   But considering todays prices vs. 3 years ago ($150 vs. $799!!!) its' entire reasonable considering the level of this build.
If I was going to do a new build today I would get the 256GB Samsung 840 Pro and a second one for LR catalogue. 
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Jim Gronau
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« Reply #35 on: January 24, 2014, 11:35:45 AM »
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I'm reasonably certain that I don't have any neices with illegitimate children. Smiley  My research sources for this build are entirely electronic: internet forums and manufacturers' websites.  FWIW, the caution about security and the i7-4771 is from http://www.tomshardware.com/answers/id-1822876/4770k-4771-difference-price-performance-ratio.html.  Here's an excerpt: "The 4771 is designed for a cloud/server environment and has special technology built into the chip for this purpose [including] Trusted Execution Technology TXT . . . [which] might actually cause you some security headaches."  And then again it might not, I suppose.  And the same post goes on to say that in other ways, the 4771 is more secure. 

Good to know the 1866 RAM will work fine.  Most of what I'd read either seemed to just assume it would be okay, or didn't address the question.  One post on one forum said it was a problem; I'm glad it's not.

Nice also to know the smaller Black Pearl case will work.  Not only is is a bit smaller, but it's also quite a bit lighter (which is maybe why the shipping is less - another bonus).

And thanks for the affirmation about the 2nd 256GB SSD.  I think 256GB is about right for a Photoshop scratch disk for my usage; I've never used Lightroom, so I'm grateful for that input.

I think I'm ready to go ahead and order this stuff.  Many thanks, gents, for your wisdom, courtesy, and patience!
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Steve Weldon
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« Reply #36 on: January 24, 2014, 11:51:15 AM »
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If I was going to do a new build today I would get the 256GB Samsung 840 Pro and a second one for LR catalogue. 
I'd get a 256 Samsung Pro and a  1tb Samsung Evo for my LR catalog (kinda big)..
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Steve Weldon
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« Reply #37 on: January 24, 2014, 12:08:47 PM »
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I'm reasonably certain that I don't have any neices with illegitimate children. Smiley  My research sources for this build are entirely electronic: internet forums and manufacturers' websites.  FWIW, the caution about security and the i7-4771 is from http://www.tomshardware.com/answers/id-1822876/4770k-4771-difference-price-performance-ratio.html.  Here's an excerpt: "The 4771 is designed for a cloud/server environment and has special technology built into the chip for this purpose [including] Trusted Execution Technology TXT . . . [which] might actually cause you some security headaches."  And then again it might not, I suppose.  And the same post goes on to say that in other ways, the 4771 is more secure. 

Good to know the 1866 RAM will work fine.  Most of what I'd read either seemed to just assume it would be okay, or didn't address the question.  One post on one forum said it was a problem; I'm glad it's not.

Nice also to know the smaller Black Pearl case will work.  Not only is is a bit smaller, but it's also quite a bit lighter (which is maybe why the shipping is less - another bonus).

And thanks for the affirmation about the 2nd 256GB SSD.  I think 256GB is about right for a Photoshop scratch disk for my usage; I've never used Lightroom, so I'm grateful for that input.

I think I'm ready to go ahead and order this stuff.  Many thanks, gents, for your wisdom, courtesy, and patience!

1.  Nephew Tom is a good family member to have.. ;o)

2.  As long as your MB supports 1866 in it's XMP profiles in tihe BIOS you'll be able to use the 1866 speed independently of of your main clock speed (whether you over clock of not).. and not be forced back to the 1066 default.

3.  Ya, dual 256gb SSD's will give you that extra SSD to set up in a variety of ways to experiment with how it benefits the most for your work flow.. and the size will keep you for some time.

4.  Do let us know how it turns out for you.  I'm especially interested in how your expectations are met and if there's any areas you wish performed better. 
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« Reply #38 on: January 24, 2014, 03:42:15 PM »
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4.  Do let us know how it turns out for you.  I'm especially interested in how your expectations are met and if there's any areas you wish performed better. 
+1; I think you will really enjoy building in the Fractal Designs case.  Cable management is a dream and you will be pleased with its silent operation!
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« Reply #39 on: January 30, 2014, 07:10:38 PM »
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Is a 256 gb SSD really enough for system and programs? I have only my os and installed programs on my c drive and it has 225gb on it. Adobe Creative Suite takes up the most of it.

I thought it was better not to overload an SSD.

I'm not an expert - just curious.

Sharon
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