Recommendations for a new photo editing computer (+ info on system performance)

Which option would be your pick?

  • Refurbished iMac 27" 5k (late 2015)

    Votes: 5 8.3%
  • iPad

    Votes: 1 1.7%
  • Macbook Pro

    Votes: 1 1.7%
  • New iMac 27" 5k (late 2019)

    Votes: 10 16.7%
  • Custom build PC

    Votes: 43 71.7%

  • Total voters
    60

pake

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I had an i5 with 32GB DDR3 and an oldish Radeon card & SATAIII SSDs. I spent a grand on my upgrade. i5 was replaced by a Ryzen 7 3700, the Radeon card by a Nvidia GTX1050 and the OS SSD by a superfast NVMe SSD. I also doubled the ram to 64GB and installed Win10 instead of the old Win7.

Guess what. The speed gains were minimal! Lightroom was barely affected. The zooming in/out was still sluggish (until I changed the previews to 1:1 but that eats HD space more). If I do lots of local adjustments, that image gets slooow to process. And what is the most annoying/disappointing thing is that my completely silent PC isn't silent anymore. The Ryzen cpu heats up in seconds! Even though I have a huuuuge heatsink and a quality fan the CPU temp rises to over 80 degrees (Celsius) while importing the files (with 1:1 previews) and the noise it makes is irritating. I've already tried two heatsinks, pastes & fans. I've also undervolted the cores. Nothing seems to help.

In my honest opinion, I wasted $1000 in my chase for more responsive Lightroom. At least the video encoding has gotten way faster but I only edit videos a couple of times a year so... Not worth the money.
 

wyk

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Oct 16, 2012
Messages
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Ireland
Èveryone I know swears by these coolers: https://www.userbenchmark.com/Deepcool-GAMMAXX-400/Rating/4063
Also, ya guys might want to try their benchmark program. It's small and you can compare it to other systems just like yours on line to see if you can tweak yours.

I just use an I-7 ZBook, 24 gigs of RAM, an old quadro 4K card, and a couple of Samsung SSD's.
My version of LR isn't new enough to run the benchmark the OP posted.
 

pake

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Teemu
Èveryone I know swears by these coolers: https://www.userbenchmark.com/Deepcool-GAMMAXX-400/Rating/4063
Also, ya guys might want to try their benchmark program. It's small and you can compare it to other systems just like yours on line to see if you can tweak yours.

I just use an I-7 ZBook, 24 gigs of RAM, an old quadro 4K card, and a couple of Samsung SSD's.
My version of LR isn't new enough to run the benchmark the OP posted.
The first cooler I tested on my new setup is the Gammaxx 300.
 

davidzvi

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4,124
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Outside Boston MA
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I'm running a little (by comparison) Noctua NH-U9S, no issues here. But I'm running an i5-8600k system and not Ryzen. One of my kids (well I guess not really a kids at 23) is looking at a Ryzen for a gaming system. I hope he doesn't run into this with gaming.
 

ac12

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Apr 24, 2018
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SF Bay Area, California, USA
I recommend a 2nd monitor for other than photos.
My issue is that a calibrated monitor is too BRIGHT for "normal" use, for me.
A photo has relatively little white (and LOTS of other colors), but many web pages and software (such as Word and Excel) have a LOT of white.
Looking at the white screen makes me feel like I am looking at a light bulb, and my eyes get tired fast.
As a result, I turned down the brightness of my monitor to a level where looking at the white screen in programs such as Word and Excel was tolerable. Then I calibrate the monitor at that reduced brightness.
The old orange on black screens were MUCH easier on the eyes.

I wish monitors would have a switch like I had on an old Sony CRT: normal and bright.
There I could calibrate the "bright" setting, and use the dimmer "normal" setting for non-photo work.
 
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
1,722
Location
France
First thing I do with a monitor is to lower the brightness, especially for photos.
If my monitor is too bright, outputs can be deceptive (especially prints).
I find 100 cd/m2 to be a pretty good value.
 

mcasan

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Joined
Feb 26, 2014
Messages
1,741
Location
Atlanta
Built a new machine with the intent of doing an OpenCore Hackentosh. Ended up running Linux Mint OS and using Linux photo apps such as Darktable, Raw Therapee, and GIMP.

CPU: Ryzen 3900x
Memory: 32GB GSKills 3600
GPU: Radeon 5700
Boot drive: Sabrent Rocket Gen 4 2TB
/home drive: Sabrent Rocket Gen 3 2TB
/home/.../Pictures drive: Sabrent Rocket Gen 3 2TB
backup drive: HGST HDD 8TB
Monitor: Dell UP-3216Q (used from ebay)
 

Darmok N Jalad

Temba, his aperture wide
Joined
Sep 6, 2019
Messages
1,107
Location
Tanagra (not really)
Real Name
Randy
Built a new machine with the intent of doing an OpenCore Hackentosh. Ended up running Linux Mint OS and using Linux photo apps such as Darktable, Raw Therapee, and GIMP.

CPU: Ryzen 3900x
Memory: 32GB GSKills 3600
GPU: Radeon 5700
Boot drive: Sabrent Rocket Gen 4 2TB
/home drive: Sabrent Rocket Gen 3 2TB
/home/.../Pictures drive: Sabrent Rocket Gen 3 2TB
backup drive: HGST HDD 8TB
Monitor: Dell UP-3216Q (used from ebay)
Hopefully that 5700 doesn’t give you fits. I noticed in Windows it messed up noise reduction filters in Darktable versus the RX 570 it replaced. Maybe it will play nicer in Linux Mint. Should be more than fast enough though!
 

doady

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
137
Location
Canada
My 11 year old Phenom II 945 X4 machine doesn't boot into Windows half the time now (just a black screen with a flashing white underscore) so I've been thinking of replacing it was a new one:

AMD Ryzen 5 3400G - $199 CAD
ASRock B450M Pro4-F - $120
Team T-Force Dark Z Gray 2x8GB DDR4 3200MHz CL16 - $85
Kingston A2000 250GB NVMe M.2 - $55

WD Black 1TB HDD - $95 (-5)
Corsair CX450M 450W Modular - $85
Cooler Master MasterBox NR400 Micro-ATX - $88
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-Bit English OEM DVD - $150 (-10)

Total - $877 CAD

Should be 2-3 times faster on the CPU side, and around the same on the GPU side (currently Sapphire 7850 1GB), but with 65W TDP instead of 255W TDP total. Reduced fan noise will be nice, and reduced power consumption could also offset some of the cost. I don't play AAA games anyways (because only indie games are worth playing on PC these days), so I'm not worried about that. I do wonder about Capture One Pro 20 though. And if I ever start recording video for E-M1 mk2, video editing could become an issue as well.

I will reuse the current DVD writer, because I am not throwing away all my old games, but kinda hard to find mATX case with a drive slot. It will be nice to finally have an mATX build instead of full ATX so I keep looking, but the NR400 seems okay.

With my system failing, of course reliability is a concern. I've read good things about ASRock motherboards and not so good things about MSI, for example. I've also started to wonder about SSDs and apparently the most reliable are the ones with SLC NAND, then MLC, then TLC. My current WD Black 640GB HDD is still working after 11 years, so I expect nothing less from an SSD. It will be nice not only to finally have the OS on an SSD, but also have two drives working in tandem.

I will wait until Black Friday or Boxing Day for discounts. If the total price is below $800 then maybe I will build. It's disappointing the price of 3400G hasn't dropped. The prices of HDDs have actually increased in recent years too.
 

BosseBe

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Joined
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Messages
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Stockholm, Sweden
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Bo
Is there a question in there somewhere?
This is what I am thinking of building to replace my 8 year old PC:

AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 3,6GHz Socket AM4 Box
Noctua NH-D15
ASUS ROG Strix X570-F Gaming - ATX / X570
Corsair Vengeance LPX Black DDR4 3200MHz 2x16GB (CMK32GX4M2B3200C16)
Samsung 980 Pro Series MZ-V8P1T0BW 1TB
ASUS RX 5500 XT 8GB Dual EVO OC
Seagate Barracuda Compute 4TB / 256MB / 5400 RPM / ST4000DM004
Toshiba P300 4TB (5400rpm / 128MB Cache / HDWD240UZSVA)
Fractal Design Define R6 / USB-C
Fractal Design Ion+ Nätaggregat / 80 PLUS Platinum / 560 Watt / Svart
Total about: $2200

This will last at least 8 years again I think.
The M2 drive is PCIe 4.0 so superfast, boot time will probably be single digit seconds I think.
This is also the reason for the 570 chipset.
The HDD's will be mirrored for a little extra security, that is also why it is 2 different manufacturers.
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2020
Messages
168
Location
Hoher Fläming, Germany
Is there a question in there somewhere?
This is what I am thinking of building to replace my 8 year old PC:

AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 3,6GHz Socket AM4 Box
Noctua NH-D15
ASUS ROG Strix X570-F Gaming - ATX / X570
Corsair Vengeance LPX Black DDR4 3200MHz 2x16GB (CMK32GX4M2B3200C16)
Samsung 980 Pro Series MZ-V8P1T0BW 1TB
ASUS RX 5500 XT 8GB Dual EVO OC
Seagate Barracuda Compute 4TB / 256MB / 5400 RPM / ST4000DM004
Toshiba P300 4TB (5400rpm / 128MB Cache / HDWD240UZSVA)
Fractal Design Define R6 / USB-C
Fractal Design Ion+ Nätaggregat / 80 PLUS Platinum / 560 Watt / Svart
Total about: $2200

This will last at least 8 years again I think.
The M2 drive is PCIe 4.0 so superfast, boot time will probably be single digit seconds I think.
This is also the reason for the 570 chipset.
The HDD's will be mirrored for a little extra security, that is also why it is 2 different manufacturers.
This looks well enough, some thoughts about it though:

You don't really *need* a more expansive X570 board if you are only planning to use a single M.2 drive anyway, in this case you could rather look at either an B550 board. The interesting thing about the (rather expansive) X570 chipset would be the vast PCIe 4.0 capabilities, quite some boards actually feature triple PCIe 4.0 M.2 slots, allowing for a very fast storage configuration. The B550 boards usually only bring a single PCIe 4.0 M.2 slot to the table, with the others being standard 3.0 slots.

In addition, while I am using an X570 board myself, I am not too sure about everyday performance gains regarding the fairly expansive PCIe 4.0 SSD like the Samsung 980. While they boast impressive numbers on paper and synthetic benchmarks, I personally only noticed very minor performance gains by switching from an old Corsair SATA SSD to a Samsung 960 EVO and finally Samsung 970 EVO Plus. It might be beneficial still for photo work, as long as your pictures remain on the SSD.

Also keep something in mind:
In exactly a week from now, November 5th, AMDs new Zen 3 generation (Ryzen 5xxx) will hit the shelves. While the newer CPUs will be a bit more expansive than their previous counterparts, the older models might also get a sale to get rid of existing stock like it happened when the current generation launched last year. So you might save a few bucks on the CPU by waiting a week or two. Or, since you getting a X570 board anyways, you might be interested to spend some more money on the CPU and get an 5800X.

Edit: On a more personal note, I would also think twice about getting a Seagate drive, at least in my experience those seem to be much more prone of malfunctions than some other brands like Western Digital.
 
Last edited:

BosseBe

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Bo
This looks well enough, some thoughts about it though:

You don't really *need* a more expansive X570 board if you are only planning to use a single M.2 drive anyway, in this case you could rather look at either an B550 board. The interesting thing about the (rather expansive) X570 chipset would be the vast PCIe 4.0 capabilities, quite some boards actually feature triple PCIe 4.0 M.2 slots, allowing for a very fast storage configuration. The B550 boards usually only bring a single PCIe 4.0 M.2 slot to the table, with the others being standard 3.0 slots.

In addition, while I am using an X570 board myself, I am not too sure about everyday performance gains regarding the fairly expansive PCIe 4.0 SSD like the Samsung 980. While they boast impressive numbers on paper and synthetic benchmarks, I personally only noticed very minor performance gains by switching from an old Corsair SATA SSD to a Samsung 960 EVO and finally Samsung 970 EVO Plus. It might be beneficial still for photo work, as long as your pictures remain on the SSD.

Also keep something in mind:
In exactly a week from now, November 5th, AMDs new Zen 3 generation (Ryzen 5xxx) will hit the shelves. While the newer CPUs will be a bit more expansive than their previous counterparts, the older models might also get a sale to get rid of existing stock like it happened when the current generation launched last year. So you might save a few bucks on the CPU by waiting a week or two. Or, since you getting a X570 board anyways, you might be interested to spend some more money on the CPU and get an 5800X.

Edit: On a more personal note, I would also think twice about getting a Seagate drive, at least in my experience those seem to be much more prone of malfunctions than some other brands like Western Digital.
X570 since I want to be able to add a second M2 drive later, I prefer to spend a little more from the beginning so I don't have to upgrade.
Thanks for the warning about Seagate drives, might start with the drives from my old PC at first and add more drives later.
All this is just academic right now as I probably will wait 6 months before I start on the new PC. But gathering information is good.
 
Joined
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Messages
168
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Owned? At least in my personal experience, all drives which ever died on me were Seagate, a friend of mine who works in an IT department also shuns them, same for one who used to work at a PC retailer for many years. But I don't want to start a discussion here, these experiences could very well be related to more or less personal bad luck.
 

Tywais

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Jan 23, 2014
Messages
310
Location
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Real Name
Mike
I just finished custom building a new computer and this is my rig. Top photo before cable management done. 2nd photo screen snap from video Less than $2000 USD

Component list (card in photo temporary and will switch with the below RX5700XT):

4-120mm Exhaust fans (Rear Case fan + 3 on liquid cooler radiator. Excluding the one in the power supply)
3 Thermaltake 140mm RGB intake Case Fans
ASUS ROG STRIX X570-E Gaming Mainboard
AMD RYZEN 9 3900X 3.8GHz (OC to 4.0GHz) 12 Core/24 Thread CPU
Samsung 970 EVO Plus NVME M.2 500GB SSD
Seagate Barracuda 2TB Hard Drive
G.Skill FlareX 3200 32GB DDR4 memory
Thermaltake S500 Mid Tower Case.
ASUS VGA Radeon RX 5700XT ROG STRIX GAMING Card
Corsair RM750 80+ Gold Power Supply
Corsair iCUE H150i RGB PRO XT Liquid Cooler

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 

felipegeek

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Joined
Jan 8, 2014
Messages
339
Location
New York, NY
Real Name
Felipe
I built my new system in the last month. It replaced a 7+ year old Intel Sandy Bridge with E3-1240v2 quad-core HT system that held up very well over the years. It started with 8 GB or RAM and ended up at 32. It started with 2 x 1TB 2.5 HDDs, then a 120GB->250GB SSD for boot and eventually got to 4 x 500GB SSDs and 1 1TB SSD added. Went through 3 Radeon graphics cards ending with an RX480.

The new rig is all new except for storage being reused.

Prices at time of purchase in USD (pre-tax):
$165 ASUS TUF GAMING X570-PLUS AM4 ATX
$199 AMD RYZEN 5 3600 6-Core 3.6 GHz (4.2 GHz Max Boost) Socket AM4 65W
$117 Crucial 32GB Ballistix DDR4 3200 MHz UDIMM Gaming Desktop Memory Kit
$120 WD Black SN750 1TB NVME PCIe 3.0 SSD
$60 Noctua NH-U12S SE-AM4 (a version only AMD mounting parts)
$109 SeaSonic FOCUS GX Series 550W 80 Plus Gold Modular ATX
$80 be quiet! Pure Base 500 Mid-Tower Case

After assembling the basics I was able to boot into the BIOS settings mode and update it to the current revision. The BIOS of the ASUS board is more graphic than I would like. I am a fan of simple and fast with the text-based interfaces that are easy to use with nothing but a keyboard. Gaming looks and GUIs are the thing now.

The be Quiet case is mid-ATX height and fits the full ATX motherboard without issue. Drive mounting is ok if you have a few drives. Since I have 8 2.5" drives four such mounting points did not really suit my needs. Two of the SSD are stuck on a chassis plate with 3M Command strips. The two 2.5" HDDs are on a 2-drive bracket inside one of the two 3.5" drive bays at the bottom of the case. This still leaves space for two more 2.5" drives with a bracket in the 2nd 3.5" bay. The motherboard also has a second unused NVMe slot. Not that I expect to keep increasing SATA drive count as I'm out of SATA ports anyway.

I actually cloned the drive my existing Windows 10 OS and associated data with Macrium Reflect free edition to an image file on an external hard drive. I was able to restore directly to the NVMe drive and to my surprise it booted without crashing. It effectively detected basic drivers for hardware. I cleaned up all the orphaned device entries and installed updated AMD chipset, SATA, etc. and ASUS drivers without issues.

The system is quiet, relatively power efficient at idle and pretty good when stressed out with torture test tools.
According to the new APC BBU's in-built draw indicator I don't think my system will pull more that 300W under any practical scenario

Running CPU torture test Prime95 with small FFT mode kicks it power draw from about 50W to 160W AC.
CPU temp goes from 35-40C to 74C. The Ryzen 5 3600 is rated to 95C max. After stopping the test the CPU temp drops rapidly to the 40s.
Adding MSI Kombuster GPU stress test at the simulteaus to Prime95 takes it to 275W peak with the AMD RX480 which runs around 55-60 C and ramps up to 90C under the test.

Overall, I'm quite pleased with the system.

Since displays were mentioned by some others I am using the same ones after the sytems change. A Benq PT2700SW ARGB gamut display that is about 3 years old now as my primary display and an HP ZR2440w display that is many years old and in good working order. It still calibrates for sRGB at 98-99%.
 

Danny_SWE

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Joined
Apr 30, 2013
Messages
1,578
Location
Sweden (Gothenburg)
Cool! I have been thinking of buying a new PC about a year or so. Read something that Intel might come with very interesting news next year so I though I better hold of a while longer :) bought a RX 570 card and bigger SSD and will survive the winter :)
 

BosseBe

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Aug 7, 2015
Messages
3,318
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Stockholm, Sweden
Real Name
Bo
I built my new system in the last month. It replaced a 7+ year old Intel Sandy Bridge with E3-1240v2 quad-core HT system that held up very well over the years. It started with 8 GB or RAM and ended up at 32. It started with 2 x 1TB 2.5 HDDs, then a 120GB->250GB SSD for boot and eventually got to 4 x 500GB SSDs and 1 1TB SSD added. Went through 3 Radeon graphics cards ending with an RX480.

The new rig is all new except for storage being reused.

Prices at time of purchase in USD (pre-tax):
$165 ASUS TUF GAMING X570-PLUS AM4 ATX
$199 AMD RYZEN 5 3600 6-Core 3.6 GHz (4.2 GHz Max Boost) Socket AM4 65W
$117 Crucial 32GB Ballistix DDR4 3200 MHz UDIMM Gaming Desktop Memory Kit
$120 WD Black SN750 1TB NVME PCIe 3.0 SSD
$60 Noctua NH-U12S SE-AM4 (a version only AMD mounting parts)
$109 SeaSonic FOCUS GX Series 550W 80 Plus Gold Modular ATX
$80 be quiet! Pure Base 500 Mid-Tower Case

After assembling the basics I was able to boot into the BIOS settings mode and update it to the current revision. The BIOS of the ASUS board is more graphic than I would like. I am a fan of simple and fast with the text-based interfaces that are easy to use with nothing but a keyboard. Gaming looks and GUIs are the thing now.

The be Quiet case is mid-ATX height and fits the full ATX motherboard without issue. Drive mounting is ok if you have a few drives. Since I have 8 2.5" drives four such mounting points did not really suit my needs. Two of the SSD are stuck on a chassis plate with 3M Command strips. The two 2.5" HDDs are on a 2-drive bracket inside one of the two 3.5" drive bays at the bottom of the case. This still leaves space for two more 2.5" drives with a bracket in the 2nd 3.5" bay. The motherboard also has a second unused NVMe slot. Not that I expect to keep increasing SATA drive count as I'm out of SATA ports anyway.

I actually cloned the drive my existing Windows 10 OS and associated data with Macrium Reflect free edition to an image file on an external hard drive. I was able to restore directly to the NVMe drive and to my surprise it booted without crashing. It effectively detected basic drivers for hardware. I cleaned up all the orphaned device entries and installed updated AMD chipset, SATA, etc. and ASUS drivers without issues.

The system is quiet, relatively power efficient at idle and pretty good when stressed out with torture test tools.
According to the new APC BBU's in-built draw indicator I don't think my system will pull more that 300W under any practical scenario

Running CPU torture test Prime95 with small FFT mode kicks it power draw from about 50W to 160W AC.
CPU temp goes from 35-40C to 74C. The Ryzen 5 3600 is rated to 95C max. After stopping the test the CPU temp drops rapidly to the 40s.
Adding MSI Kombuster GPU stress test at the simulteaus to Prime95 takes it to 275W peak with the AMD RX480 which runs around 55-60 C and ramps up to 90C under the test.

Overall, I'm quite pleased with the system.

Since displays were mentioned by some others I am using the same ones after the sytems change. A Benq PT2700SW ARGB gamut display that is about 3 years old now as my primary display and an HP ZR2440w display that is many years old and in good working order. It still calibrates for sRGB at 98-99%.
Since I am from Sweden and Fractal Design is a Swedish company I like to use their products.
IIRC, the FD Define 7 has room for 14 HDD/SDD. It is a little pricey at $200, but the performance and looks are great!
 
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