Help with Build for Graphic Designer


Dec 10, 2006

I would like to build a new system for my wife who is a graphic artist. She mainly uses Photoshop and Illustrator. This computer will not be used for gaming and will not require SLI!

I plan on using using the i7-2600k CPU. I will also outfit the system with an SSD and an HD. I mainly need suggestions for:


Looking to spend about $800-$1000 total (before monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc.). Planning on using Win7 Home Pro as the OS.

Price is not extremely important, but I'd like to stay within the above range if possible, and not spend money on features that will not be used (such as SLI, etc.).

Also not sure if I should get a CPU cooler and overclock...

I will purchase the components this week from Newegg, so if anyone finds good deals there, I'd be very appreciative. Thanks for any advice.


Nov 18, 2008
A i7 2600k might be too expensive for that budget, but squeeze it in if you can. The i5 2500(k) is a similar CPU without hyperthreading and is about $100 cheaper. The i7 will only be about 10% faster in most instances. If your case can fit it, you should buy a heatpipe cooler with 120mm fans like the Cooler master 212 or Xigmatek Gaia because it will be much quieter than an intel fan that ships with retail box CPUs

Also look into Intel's Smart Response SSD Caching for Z68 chipset if you don't want the hassle of a dedicated SSD for the OS and a traditional spindle drive for storage.

You can spend a lot on a motherboard but something like this should be fine.

Get a total of 8GB or 12GB of 1600MHZ RAM in 4GB modules. 8GB is only $60 or so. Windows Home Premium supports a max of 16GB.

GPU - Get whatever or use the GPU built into the CPU for starters. This will only work on H60 and Z60 chipset series motherboards.


Dec 10, 2006
Below are the components I ended up choosing.

In the end, I went for the i5 2500k. I built my own machine last year and used a Vertex 2. I've been happy with my computer so far, and was initially going to use the Vertex 3 for this build. However, I read about many BSOD issues with OCZ, and I chose the Crucial M4 instead.

I have not placed the order yet. Comments are welcome. Thanks!

CPU + HDD combo = $280
Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz
Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200

Motherboard = $129
GIGABYTE GA-Z68A-D3H-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX

SSD = $140
Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2CCA 2.5" 64GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

PSU = $85 - $15 Rebate = $70
CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX650 V2 650W ATX12V v2.31/ EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS BRONZE

RAM = $49
Kingston HyperX 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model KHX1600C9D3X1K2/8GX

Case = $59
Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid

Cooler = $28

OS = $92
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM

Total = $847 $58.99 FREE SHIPPING
Antec High Current Gamer Series HCG-520 520W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V v2.91 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply $114.99
ASRock Z68 PRO3-M LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard $349.98 FREE SHIPPING
Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I72600K
Patriot Signature 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory with heatshield Model PSD38G1600KH $27.99 FREE SHIPPING
COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 $72.48
Sony Optiarc CD/DVD Burner Black SATA Model AD-7260S-0B - OEM
Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

Total: $624.23 *not including shipping <---- review of that board <----- a better look at that board <---- Advantage of Z68 boards <----- review / benchmarks Intel HD3000 on die graphics