Question Help finishing out my system!

Aug 12, 2020
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Hi all -- thanks in advance to anyone who reads this and offers some feedback. I'm looking to finish out building a desktop PC. Originally I was just going to use this for a typical home office build but I've decided to make something a little more sustainable.

I am in a doctoral program so I'm doing a ton of research and running office software mostly. Not too hard -- but I frequently have 20-30 tabs open in chrome because of needing to reference articles. I'm assuming this is mostly a RAM issue so I'm looking at 32GB just to make it last a while. I also am very into photography and do a lot of heavy photo editing. My laptop is frequently quite hot and sounds like a jet taking off when I try to do a lot of this stuff at the same time so I want a beefy desktop that can handle it, but also has rooms for upgrade later on. I'm not a huge PC gamer (I know, I know, PC master race) but I wouldn't mind being able to handle some mid-tier gaming if the mood strikes. But my priority is something that's going to be able to handle running a ton of tabs at once while running some epidemiology modeling software, as well as being able to do some giant photo editing. I don't do a ton of video editing but since we're going all out maybe having a PC able to survive that would be great as well. I'd like something to remain relevant for a year or two but then be able to totally revamp once I'm done with school and have more $$.

I ordered a NZXT H510 case which just arrived and I love it. Because of reddit and tiktok I'm a RGB fanatic so I also ordered 3 140mm rgb fans and a 120mm rgb fan. I plan on doing 2 front 140s for intake, and a top 140 and back 120 for exhaust. I have a coolermaster evo 212 that I ordered in the past and never used, so brand new still. I also already ordered 2 SSDs. I have a thermaltake smart 700w 80+ I have a I have 2 lovely monitors, mechanical keyboard and awesome mouse. Awesome sound bar. So what I need help with is:

Motherboard / Processor Combo
RAM type & speed
Video Card (I have a GTX 1050 Ti 4GB currently).

The Video Card isn't a priority if the 1050 Ti won't slow down or negatively affect my photo editing.

Looking to keep these items under $500 if possible. If the consensus is that the graphics card is too terrible for photo editing then I can bump it up to $650-700 but preference would be to wait 6 months or so and buy a stronger video card at that time.

Again, thanks again to anyone who has some advice. I know this is kind of a messy post but didn't know where else to turn for help!
 
For what you are doing the 1050Ti will be plenty for a while. I would finishout the system like this:
PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 3.6 GHz 6-Core Processor ($174.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus ROG STRIX B550-F GAMING (WI-FI) ATX AM4 Motherboard ($209.99 @ B&H)
Memory: Team T-FORCE DARK Za 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4-3600 CL18 Memory ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic FOCUS 550 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply ($99.99 @ Best Buy)
Total: $594.96
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2020-08-12 16:21 EDT-0400

You will want to get a different PSU eventually as the Thermaltake Smart series aren't very good. I included a good PSU in this that would be useful for later.

If you were to use a less expensive, but still good, motherboard you could get the new PSU for only $10 over budget.
PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 3.6 GHz 6-Core Processor ($174.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: MSI B450 TOMAHAWK MAX ATX AM4 Motherboard ($124.99 @ Best Buy)
Memory: Team T-FORCE DARK Za 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4-3600 CL18 Memory ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic FOCUS 550 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply ($99.99 @ Best Buy)
Total: $509.96
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2020-08-12 16:21 EDT-0400
 
Reactions: punkncat
Are you near enough to a Micro Center to utilize their great pricing and combo bundle deals?
Totally worthwhile if you are close enough to one.

Would probably consider something like R7 3700X ($280), 32GB G Skill Ripjaws RAM ($109), and even though it's long in the tooth the B450 Tomahawk Max ($125 plus $20 off with the bundle) is a good motherboard.

I would keep the video card for now.
 

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