Digital Photography Powerhouse ~ $2000-$3000


May 31, 2011
Approximate Purchase Date: Within one month

Budget Range: (e.g.: 600-800) $2000-$3000

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Digital Photography (PS, Lightroom, etc)

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: NewEgg

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: Intel processor, smaller Mid-Tower or Micro ATX (would LOVE to get everything into a micro atx)

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: MAX

Additional Comments:

-This is NOT a gaming PC. Absolutely no gaming will be done with this machine; it's going to be a professional DP powerhouse.

-Ideally I'd like 16GB of ram and enough space to maybe have 2 3TB drives in RAID1 (I have a DROBO that I will be hooking up as well with over 100,000 RAW image files). 2 DIMMS of 8GB would be ideal, so I can have the option of upgrading

-I also plan on purchasing a 256GB SSD startup/applications drive for quicker startup and Photoshop performance

-I would like a small enough case that will fit on TOP of my desk, not under. I'm constantly plugging things in to my machine so I want easy access to all the ports. Micro ATX would be killer but I could work with a smaller mid-tower.

-Graphics Card: I don't need a gaming card like a GTX 580 or anything. I want something that will run multiple large monitors and is suited for professional DP work.

Any photo geeks' opinions would be a bonus! Thanks guys!


CPU: i7 2600k $314.99
Cpu cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO $34.99
Mobo: Asus Maximus IV Gene-Z $169.99
Memory: Corsair LP 2x4GB 1.5V CAS9 1600Mhz x2 $103.98 ( $51.99 each ) need low profile or no heatsinks due to case design.
GPU: MSI TwinFrozrIII 6950 1GB or 2GB, not a big difference as gaming is not important $259.99 for 1GB
Optical: Sony BD writer $94.99
HDD: Pick the HDD's you desire, it will fit 2 just fine. (~150-200 each i guess ) leaving them out for this calc
SSD: Crucial M4 256GB $387.99
Case: Silverstone Temjin TJ08B-E MicroATX $99.99
PSU: Seasonic X Series 650W or 750W whichever is cheaper. $139.99 ( X750 still on sale today for $129.99 )
One 120mm exhaust fan <$20

Total: ~1650 with shipping w/o hdd's. (~2000 including the HDD's).

You may need some display port to DVI converters for the monitors, but it should have the connectivity and juice to run many displays.
Until they come down in price 8GB memory modules are just not worth it. When the prices come down to reasonable amounts it will be cheaper to replace all 4 sticks.



May 31, 2011
Ok I've been thinking a lot about this and I'm going to go with a mid-tower ATX so I can have more room for expansion. The Corsair 600T looks really nice as it has plenty of room for extra HD's and has extremely easy access (I don't want to deal with screws because I'm going to be in and out of the machine all the time swapping HD's).

I've also been reading on DPReview that the preferred GFX card for DP is the Nvidia Quadro series. Anyone have any experience with these? I'm willing to spend the extra $$$ for quality.

I also read on DPReview that different MoBo's are better for SSD speeds; is this true?


Well obviously you can get an NVidia card instead, but you need to do some research on what kind of graphics acceleration your programs use. Otherwise you don't really need much for graphics performance. And there really is very little difference in the 2d image quality.

Quadro cards are preferred because they are dubbed the 'professional cards' which in practice means that they may have a few more quality components than the high end consumer cards, and usually more graphics memory. They have also been optimized for the the applications utilizing stuff such as OpenGL so they perform much better in those workloads than consumer cards. However they also cost about 4 times as much. Which in your case most likely is not worth it.

Couldn't find anything for lightroom in the form of cuda support for example. Thus there would be no improvement for performance.
For photoshop there might be something, but you will do pretty good with a strong CPU like i7 2600k.

But yeah if you want more expandability, by all means get a bigger case like the one you listed.

Then change the mobo to: Asrock Z68 Extreme 4 or even Extreme 7.

The rest of the build still remains the same.