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Need guidance for PC specs to run Adobe PS and LR

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by acnomad, Feb 21, 2016.

  1. acnomad

    acnomad Mu-43 Veteran

    284
    Jan 5, 2016
    Andy
    Seeking advice on specs for upgrading my desktop PC so that it can handle PS and LR reasonably fast. At the moment, I'm running an older Quad-Core clocked at 2.66GHz with 8GB RAM, Win 7 Pro 64-bit, 2 video cards and three monitors, and it is struggling a bit.
     
  2. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Is it a Q6600 processor?

    Anyway, any recent i5/i7 quad with 8+GB of RAM and SSD storage will perform well for LR.
     
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  3. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Rob
    I just did this. Upgraded to Skylake i5-6600 leaving a path for further upgrades. 16gb DDR4, 960gb SSD and a USB3 card reader. Graphics card is a Gtx 970. Not really necessary for Lightroom, but I also moved to 4K display and wanted a little extra horsepower. It's a nice card, not the highest end, but good value.

    LR is definitely snappier than it was on my q6600, 8gb system. I'm not sure I'd call it fast. I don't think LR is capable of being "fast" at the moment. Loads and exports are much, much faster. Most activities are faster, but not that different. The load and copy as DNG used to take forever. That at least is pretty fast now.

    I installed a corsair water cooler for the cup...an H90 I think it was. No harder to install than a air cooler, and cost about the same as a higher end air cooler, BUT that with the SSD makes the rig almost silent which I'm happy about.
     
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  4. acnomad

    acnomad Mu-43 Veteran

    284
    Jan 5, 2016
    Andy
    It's a Q8200, which I believe is on par with the Q6600 in terms of performance.
     
  5. acnomad

    acnomad Mu-43 Veteran

    284
    Jan 5, 2016
    Andy
    Would you say that the SSD and large RAM size are a must?
     
  6. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Rob
    A must? Hard to say. Ram usage does spoke sometimes. Hard to say what would happen if it ran up against a smaller limit.

    The SSD is definitely a benefit. The entire machine is much faster...startup, shutdown, loading programs. Of course internet access is still limited and I/o over the net to the file server isn't improved at all, but everything local is and I think, but can't prove with data, that the SSD is the biggest reason. For loading images, having a usb3 reader writing to SSD is night and day.

    My SSD is a sandisk 960gb that I paid $250 for. Not too bad. I think worth it. The 16gb memory was only $100, so little reason to go with less.

    The GPU was poor value for LR purposes. Just wasn't necessary. Neither was a new quiet case and PSU so I could have spent much less if I recycle some of the old PC.

    My recommendation...
    1) skylake i5-6600 cpu and motherboard. I7 is even better but not by enough to justify the $. Skylake a must IMO so you can get at least one more future upgrade without building all new again.
    2) 16gb or DDR4
    3) SSD - at least 500gb, but $100 more will get you to 960gb.
    4) USB 3 card reader.

    Those 4 thing will have the most impact. The rest you can reuse from your old PC if your not re-purposing it.
     
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  7. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    I find Lightroom isn't very well optimized, it doesn't seem to take use of the GPU to do calculation so graphics card isn't as important as it is for Photoshop or After Effects.

    I'm running a pretty modest build with a Q6600k (Corsair H100i GTX water cooler, with stock cooler it sat at 100c (2.6ghz thermal declock) and the limit to performance is how fast it could get rid of heat, with watercooling it sits at 38c and can run turbo continuously (3.9ghz)),
    32gb of DDR4 in a quad channel setup (not needed for Lightroom, however smaller amounts run into issues with AE just loading projects, let alone ram preview),
    Nvidia GTX 680,
    Samsung 250gb SSD as the boot disc, a second empty 1TB drive as scratch disc, and lots of network storage (Lots of western digital drives currently, WD20EARS, WD40EZRX, other random acronyms),
    I use Lexar usb 3.0 card readers which seem to do a good job (they just work?),
    A Steelseries large 6mm thick foam mousepad which is really comfortable and probably the most important part.


    The weakest link would appear to be the graphics card however I don't find that Adobe products stress it very highly and I haven't felt the need to upgrade it as of yet.
     
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  8. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    A recent i5 will have 2.5x the performance, and and i7 a little more. The memory and bus have much improved throughout as well.

    Regarding your other question, I think 16gb RAM is worth it, given the minimal cost - especially if added yourself.

    SSD for Windows, apps and LR catalogs will make a world of difference. But 240gb can easily cover that. Use regular disks for image storage.
     
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  9. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Definitely 16GB. Anything involving stacking, HDR, and panorama will benefit. If you hit the RAM limit it's terrible, like hitting a brick wall suddenly...
     
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  10. AlanU

    AlanU Mu-43 Veteran

    484
    May 2, 2012
    Download Macrium Reflex "free" (choice of many IT folks) and image your current hard drive. Buy a reputable SSD like Intel, Samsung or Sandisk Pro and load your image onto a new SSD drive. Remove your current 8gb ram and replace it with 16gb ddr3 (play it safe with your current mainboard). Double check that you have space in the area where the RAM slots reside on your board/computer case clearance. Some performance RAM you buy have glorified fancy heatsinks that get in the way of the installation!!

    That alone will help a lot. I've found that if your eligible to upgrade to win10 this will speed up the system vs Win7.

    If you image your drive you can put that image on your "new" SSD and then simply experiment with your new drive with Win10. This still leaves you with a fully intact original HDD.

    Since most programs still do one task at a time a current i5 Intel will work extremely well even with an on board gpu video card.
     
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  11. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    Doing a timelapse at 4k with even mild compositing (full res import, downscaling for final render) is something I wouldn't wish on my enemies, even with 32gb of ram you're going to hit limits you had never encountered before and probably start to question why you took on the project in the first place.


    Ram is cheap insurance against frustration, you won't even know that you're using it however you would know instantly if you didn't have it.
     
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  12. robcee

    robcee Mu-43 Veteran

    289
    Jan 10, 2016
    Toronto
    Rob Campbell
    SSDs are one of those transformational technologies. It's hard to believe the speed difference they provide. Just installing one of those in your current system (and transferring your OS and applications to it) would provide serious performance benefits (as @AlanU@AlanU says).

    I'd get a smaller SSD for OS and applications, 240-512GB and use that as my main drive, then have some slower storage installed for offline work. 2TB drives are dirt cheap these days.

    RAM is important, but once you hit 8GB, you're probably in comfortable territory. I'd recommend 16GB just because it's not that much more. But more is better just to avoid hitting your disk paging (which will be faster on an SSD, but still slower than RAM).
     
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  13. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Core 2 quad is just too outdated. Any money spent in the current system is money wasted. His processor is from 2007.
     
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  14. acnomad

    acnomad Mu-43 Veteran

    284
    Jan 5, 2016
    Andy
    Alan,
    I think everything you wrote would be good advice to nurse this rig for another year or two of use, but I'm overdue for a new build (the board is a 775 socket more than 7 years old, with no better processor options for it in production). If I had something less ancient, I'd do just what you suggested. Many thanks for the input.
     
  15. acnomad

    acnomad Mu-43 Veteran

    284
    Jan 5, 2016
    Andy
    First of all, thanks for all the replies - I know that Mu-43 is for photographers, not computer people, but I really do appreciate the advice from knowledgeable PC builders who are using their machines for our shared interest in photography, as opposed to "regular work" and gaming, neither of which mimic the computing demands of what we are doing, IMO. I'm making the assumption that a good build for PS and LR will more than suit my needs in terms of Excel, Word, etc., and I'm not a gamer.

    So here's a list of the common denominators culled so far from all of the thoughtful advice received so far. Please feel free to amend/append/modify:

    1. SSD for at least the OS
    2. 1TB or larger HDD for storage
    3. 8GB minimum RAM, but might as well go to 16GB. In either case DDR3
    4. QuadCore i5 is sufficient

    Assuming the above is reasonable, the biggest remaining questions for me are:

    1. Multi-monitor: I'm accustomed to using three or four, but that requires two video cards. Is that a reasonable feature to maintain?
    2. OS: I tried Win 8 briefly and returned to Win 7 Pro, but would consider Win 10 - what are the pros and cons?
    3. Sounds like many are using multiple HDDs. Up to this point, I've always used two internal HDDs (one for the OS, the other for file storage) and external flash for backing up. Any details on your thoughts in this area?
    4. I will have to change both the board and the processor. I see that the top rated Intel LGA 1150 chips are Devil's Canyon and LGA 1151 chips are Skylake. Are there other options I should be considering (i.e., -Gasp!- an AMD processor?
     
  16. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    I'm not even sure if you can build a system around DDR3 anymore? when I built this system around 8 months ago I was forced to get DDR4 as there wasn't any motherboards which would take a modern CPU and use DDR3... hence choosing a newer CPU mandated that I use DDR4.
    This was in Australia though, there might be mobos available in other markets which fill this gap? not sure...


    I use two 27" monitors about 2 feet from me, I find two is a good balance (I don't really have room for more) however use whatever works for you.
    Windows 10 is much faster than 7, it has far better ram management (I've noticed a big difference with being able to leave things open in the background as it purges ram to SSD and keeps the memory free for the active program).
    I try to keep only work I'm actually working on on the system, everything else gets pushed to storage (backed up/redundant raid etc). I think using an SSD for the OS and having a hard drive for storage makes a lot of sense (SSDs are small).
    AMD hasn't been worth considering in years (IMO).
     
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  17. sammykhalifa

    sammykhalifa Mu-43 Top Veteran

    762
    Jun 22, 2012
    Pittsburgh PA
    Neil
    However, an upgrade such as an SSD can be carried over to a new system. I know that I got probably an extra year and a half out of my old system just from that upgrade, and it's not like you have to throw away the SSD when you finally make the jump.
     
  18. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I'm a "computer people", so no problem! :)

    Very solid core system. Hard to go wrong there. If you get something with additional RAM slots (ie. 4 slots vs 2) then you could easily start with 8GB and see if you run out and add more later. But if you can afford it, just add it now.

    1. There is not reason you can't use multiple monitors. For regular desktop work, this is not taxing to the computer. If you are doing 3D gaming, you better spend $1000 on graphics cards for 4 monitors, but not for 2D photo and video editing. Many motherboards can support 2 just from the build in ports and a lot of low end gamer graphics cards have 3-4 outputs. SO it's not too hard to make that happen
    2. Windows 10 is the best and fastest OS right now and I would see no point in buying an OS from 2009 to run a computer from 2016. Especially with Skylake, Windows 10 optimizations seem to really improve performance.
    3. I personally run an SSD for OS, apps, etc., and 2 large hard drives for photos. THe second hard drive contains a replica of the first for backup purposes. I do not run them in RAID and do automated backup copy to the second drive nightly. I also make sure I have a recent copy of everything off-site.
    4. I would go Skylake. There's no cost penalty and you might as well run the latest so you can get 8 years out of your computer again! As I said, there are some performance benefits especially in Win10. I used to really like AMD, but they have not kept up in the high end. You won't save much money and you'll get worse performance and efficiency. I hope they catch up again, because I like when Intel has some competition.
     
  19. sammykhalifa

    sammykhalifa Mu-43 Top Veteran

    762
    Jun 22, 2012
    Pittsburgh PA
    Neil
    So do you recommending doing the "upgrade" from 7 to 10 at this point? I've been clicking through the "upgrade now!!!!!!!1" spam seemingly since the day I built my machine. :D

    I have a 4790k.