Building a PC for photography, light gaming, social networks...

Solid Zane

Sep 27, 2011
Be warned, I like to write, this is gonna be a lengthy post...

Hello, I'm new to the site and was looking for info on building a new desktop with the primary function being Photography and photo editing with Photoshop CS5...

I do plan on doing some gaming, but not too much... America's Army, Diablo 2/3, Sims 3... And basic everyday things like word processing, listening to music, some movies (DVD and Blu-Ray...) And of course the ever addicting Facebook... lol...

I've read a few different threads on the subject in general, but they were all at least a year old... So I'm looking for newer hardware, newer opinions etc... Even some older Hardware if it is good...

Initially I hadn't planned on building a PC. I had first looked at Best Buy with a Dell desktop running intel i5 and I think 2TB hard drive, I forget the other specs and model... Then I was looking at the HP H8-1040 (

It wasn't until last night that I thought about building a computer myself and thereby meeting a goal that I set when I was 12 (Now I'm 21, almost 22)... lol (Also, I'll have help in the actual building of the PC, my cousin builds them all the time, I just want to get as many opinions as possible...

My current budget for the entire project is fairly flexible. I was planning on that HP which is $1200 without a monitor and speakers... I am managing to save about $300 every 2 weeks towards this build with around $900 to spend right now...

Like I said, My budget is pretty flexible but I would like to remain in the sub $2000 range...

Before looking through newegg for hardware I did some research on just what I'll need, as far as compatibility and such goes. I then filled a tentative shopping cart with some of the required components... I'm missing things like the hdds, RAM, etc... but I'd like to get opinions on my current “build”

Case: Rosewill Smart One:

MoBo: MSI P67A-G45:

CPU: Intel i7-2600K:

GPU: MSI R5770 ATI 5770:

Audio: Creative X-Fi Titanium:

DD: Sony bd/dvd/cd, brn/rd:
Windows 7 64 bit... Probably Home Premium...


Rosewill 74-in-1 intrnl card rdr:
1, 1.5, or 2 TB HDD (undecided brand/model)

500GB WD HDD (If it still works...) [Came out of a My Book external which failed on me a month ago...]
Seagate GoFlex 500GB External

LG - 21.5" LED HD:
Logitech Wireless Mouse and Keyboard (Already have)

Some surround sound speaker system (Eventually... Not a priority, headphones are good... lol)

I might get a wireless adapter/card/whatever you call it... The router is by the TV and PS3, nowhere near where the desktop would go...

So... Again, I know it was a long post, but thanks so much if you read through it... What do you think? Please, any and all comments are much appreciated. Hardware suggestions too. Don't like something on my list? Please recommend something else!
Thanks again!


Since you are doing photo editing, you will want a really good monitor. IPS panels are the only way to go because of their great color reproduction.
Unfortunately they also cost quite a bit more than the TN panels normally on the market.
Basically you have 2 good choices atm: HP ZR24w $379 and Dell UltraSharp U2412M $349.

For CS5 usage you probably want to go with Nvidia graphics since there are some CUDA supported features in it.

You won't need a sound card unless you are an audiophile. Obviously it would improve the sounds, but you get pretty decent stuff these days from the mobo build in audio.

You are best off using your PS3 for bluray playback, or get a separate bluray player for it, since for PC's you need a SW for the playback which costs between $60-90 ( Power DVD 10/11 Ultra )

so here is what you will need:

CPU: i7 2600k ( as you listed ) $314.99
CPU cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212+ for example $26.99
Mobo: P67 or Z68 motherboard - in the $120-150 range the one you picked is fine. $134.99
Memory: Corsair/Gskill/Kingston/Mushkin 2x4GB 1.5V CAS9 1600Mhz $51.99
GPU: Going with NVidia for this GTX560Ti is probably just fine $230 ( before $20 MIR ) - several models available at about this price
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB $59.99
DVD: Asus/Lite-On/Samsung/Sony 24x DVD Writer $20 or the Bluray for about $80
Case: The one you listed works fine, but this has so much variation in quality and pricing so just listing that $49.99
PSU: Since you don't game much you probably won't need to worry too much about SLI or such, so 500-650W PSU will work fine.
Corsair TX650/HX650, XFX Core 550W/650W, PC Power&Cooling Silencer MarkII 650W. Pretty much between $60-100 depending on choice, sales and rebates )

OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit OEM - $99.99 normally, might be on sale for $79.99 occasionally.

$1148 with bluray drive and $100 PSU

+Monitor Dell UltraSharp U2412M $349.99

Total: $1498.92

Those will get you a working system, everything else is extras.
SSD ( OCZ Vertex 3 120GB, Crucial M4 128GB around $200) , Sound card ( X-fi titanium around $100), Card reader (around $30 ), Wireless adapter ( around $30 )

But all those will still nicely fit to $2000 if you so desire.

Solid Zane

Sep 27, 2011
I could have sworn I posted a reply... Anyways, thank you so much for the quick reply and the suggestions... Based on your modified list here is what I'm looking at...

CPU: Intel Core i7-2600K Quad-Core
CPU Cooler: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus 120mm
Motherboard: MSI P67A-G45 (B3)
Graphics Card: ZOTAC GeForce GTX 560 Ti
Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium
Wireless Internet: Linksys WMP600N a/b/g/n
Power Supply: PC Power and Cooling Silencer Mk II 650W
RAM Memory: CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3
Hard Disk Drive: Seagate Barracuda Green 1.5TB 5900 SATA 6.0Gb/s
Disk Drive: Sony Black Blu-ray Burner
Media Drive: Rosewill 74-in-1 3.5" Internal Card Reader
Computer Case: Rosewill Smart One ATX Mid Tower

Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Still undecided on a monitor... Not sure I want to spend quite that much on the screen... I picked out a different HDD, switched to a different blu-ray drive (still sony)... Same case... Stuck with a sound card... Picked a wireless card... I'll admit that I'm a little stubborn when it came to the case and burner... but I'm still open to suggestions and critiques...

This list makes a $1583 desktop before current discounts and rebates... Again, I'm still considering monitors... Maybe even a Solid State Drive... I keep reading that they improve boot up times... What are their other benefits exactly? Actually, never mind, I'll just google it... lol


Oct 21, 2009
"Still undecided on a monitor... Not sure I want to spend quite that much on the screen... "

Since you said your priority is photography/editing pictures, it's ironic that you're willing to spend extra on other parts (cough*soundcard*cough) rather than on a high end monitor that will actually be more useful (and important) for your needs. I'd even recommend gettig one of those digital color calibrator.

Solid Zane

Sep 27, 2011
After all the reading and looking that I did... I never noticed that the motherboard has an optical out... Which is what I would probably use for a surround system... Perhaps I will drop the sound card... Simply means more space between graphics and wireless card... or an extra space for something else... Still considering... But probably will lose the sound card... Thanks for the extra nudge my cheesy friend... lol...

Solid Zane

Sep 27, 2011

I failed to mention that I'm also trying to "future-proof" the machine... I know that there is really no such thing as really being "future-proof" but I want it to survive at least another OS change or 2... That is of course assuming all the hardware gets updates for compatibility... Either way, When the times comes I want to only replace a few parts vs the whole setup...