Question New Photography system - what do I want, what can I take with me?

James Blonde

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My current system is an i5 3570K (unclocked), MSI Z77 motherboard with 32Gb RAM, Corsair HX750 PSU, MSI GTX 1070, a 1Tb Samsung SSD, 256Gb Sandisk SSD + 4 various sized other hard drives. These are in a Define R4 case.

I think I need to blow my system away - I've just bought a new large format printer, my USB ports seem very flakey (they're not recognising my colormunki screen calibrator), I think my print and screen profiles are all over the place, and I think I'd probably benefit from a clean system. I used to do this once a year or so, but haven't done it since I installed Windows 10. I'm going to have to find all of the OS and other software, which is going to be a bind.

As a result, now might be the time to upgrade.

I am a photographer, so using Photoshop / lightroom / other photography tools. I'll be doing a fair bit of large format printing. I may move into video or vlogging at some point, but know nothing about my requirements for that yet. I do some gaming too. I'm currently driving 3 fairly generic screens (2 x 22" Samsung and Acer, 1 x 27" Asus), all at 1920 x 1080 maximum, but again, I need to upgrade at least one of those screens for my photography. In fact screens are probably also on my list of requirements. Do I need 3? Possibly not - most of my work is on 2 of them - I tend to sit to one side of the desk, meaning the 3rd isn't used much at all. I've never really gamed on more than 1 monitor anyway, despite always thinking I might.

I think I'm looking in the i7 or i9 range (8700K, 9700K, 9900K - that sort of thing). What would you recommend?

I know I'm going to also need a new motherboard, RAM and a cooler - any recommendations there too? Beyond that I'm unsure if the components I have are going to be worth transferring? Am I going to need a new case for example? I do use the front USB posts (2 x USB3, 2 x USB2), but that seems very flaky - don't know if I've pulled connections out or broken wires trying to get them back in. I'm assuming my GTX 1070 will be fine, I'm assuming my PSU will be fine, and I'm assuming the newish 1tb SSD will run the OS, but I might be behind the times here - it's been a long long time since I paid enough attention to PC components?

I want a good system that will last me a long time. I actually don't feel like the current system is holding me up horribly, other than in rendering 100% image previews in lightroom.

Hope you can help and point me in the right direction! :)
 
I'm partial to the 9700K because its almost as fast as the 9900K but runs cooler. If you are going to be doing high volume work, you could spend more. You'll need to replace your RAM with DDR4, probably 32GB again. I haven't studied the MB's lately, but much of the expense now goes toward RGB lighting and such. Maybe an Asus Strix?
Perhaps a new 27-32 inch AdobeRGB monitor. You could go sRGB, but since you are doing your own printing, I'd tend toward AdobeRGB. NEC makes some nice ones, but you'll want the Spectraview software and calibrator with them, even if you have the Colormunki. Look at Eizo too, but its generally more expensive. Dell make some nice ones at a lower price point- what you mostly give up is screen uniformity. There are other brands too. Use your old monitor for gaming. I don't know if you can replace your USB ports or not. Maybe a Fractal R6/R5 or a Fractal Meshify C. Nothing wrong with hard drives, but I'm trying to gradually move toward an all SSD system myself.

https://www.pugetsystems.com/recommended/Recommended-Systems-for-Adobe-Lightroom-Classic-CC-141/Hardware-Recommendations


https://www.pugetsystems.com/recommended/Recommended-Systems-for-Adobe-Photoshop-CC-139/Hardware-Recommendations
 
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James Blonde

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Thanks Bearmann! :)

I saw some benchmarks and reviews suggesting the 8700K was very close on performance but was cheaper, ran a lot cooler, and was easier and safer to overclock, but those articles all appear to be about 6 months or so old - have things moved on since then? Obviously there were concerns about temps back then, but haven't seen many / any newer reports? I guess I'd probably be watercooling now anyway - not something I've done before, but seems sensible.

Asus Strix is one motherboard I'd seen that looked like it probably had sufficient ports, though couldn't see how many SATA ports were on board? Yes, I was thinking 32Gb DDR4, not sure how much a difference speed makes, but then 3200mhz isn't breaking the bank in the grand scheme of things.

I'll probably deal with the monitor separately - I'd seen some nice consumer level Eizo's a couple of years ago (in fact we had them installed as standard desk monitors at my day job, not in a creative industry) but again, I'd guess things have moved on significantly, and if I want to take this seriously it makes sense to spend effort / money there.

Oh, I should probably have said I've got to sneak this past the wife...! :ROFLMAO: not that I think she'd notice a new case, but.... that's probably the only reason I was looking to keep the case I've got (though it is a good case I think?)
 
You're welcome. I have the R5, so I like that series if it has the working USB ports that you want. The 8600K is excellent, but the 9600K's 2 extra cores may help with previews and the Z390 MB's usually come with more USB 3.1 type 1 ports on the MB. Not a huge difference, though.
I meant to suggest the Noctua D15 or U14s or U12A. 6 year warranty. Expect to replace your AIO's every 3 years or so. I don't think RAM speed makes much, if any, difference in Lightroom/Photoshop.
I would contact Fractal and see if the ports can be replaced.

*Actually, from what I have read you can use an 8600K on a Z390 MB.
 
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James Blonde

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Tennis2 - UK.

Budget.... hmm... not really got one! I'm kind of aiming for that sort of spec for as good a price as I can that'll last as long as it can. Monitor not part of the budget, so can be added on (possibly at a later date, possibly now)

Bearmann - may be in a bit more of a hurry than that, unless the rumours are something worth waiting for - I know it's always the case that there is something new just around the corner which so frequently stops me hitting buy! :p
 

James Blonde

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Think I've come to a conclusion about monitors - kind of anyway.... I'm going for quality over quantity, and will go back to 2 monitors, but get 2 good monitors, rather than the 3 cheap ones I currently have. What's forced this is my immediate need is for a calibrated monitor. I can't do that without a working USB / Colormunki, so I've bought a Dell UP2716D in the hope that if I start off with a well calibrated monitor, It'll buy me some time. This seems to be the go to photography monitor. It's 100% Adobe RGB which is a big plus that I've not seen for a similar price elsewhere, so I can use that for editing. Any good for gaming? Anyway, this leaves me with a second monitor, which I guess would be more gaming focussed, but obviously if it's any good as a second photography monitor, all the better. Any suggestions? In the 27-32" range.

As for the system, having just watched the new Hardware Unboxed processor review, they're going with the 8700K as their (sensible) gaming processor of choice, so it may be that's the sensible option for me too, unless there is a compelling reason to look at something else....? That then dictates everything else I think....

Any thoughts?
 
I think the 8700K is good. It's neck and neck with the 9700K in Lightroom/Photoshop. Would pair it with a Z390 board for the additional USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports.

I'm not an expert on gaming monitors, but I noticed that if you upgrade to the 30 inch Dell, the response time drops from 14 ms to 8 ms, plus you get that extra vertical resolution.

Addendum: Well the refresh rate is not so great on the 30 inch Dell, so you'll probably want a separate monitor for gaming.
 
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James Blonde

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As I think I said earlier, the reviews online all seemed to be old but and raised concerns about temps and being able to cope with the heat of the 9700K and 9900K. I'm guessing the world has moved on in the 6 months between? Or is good cooling beyond just the processor cooling still a must? It's not something I've ever spent time considering - just shut the case up and let whatever fans were already installed do their thing! Oh sure, I'd love one of those fancy illuminated custom loop water coolers looking awesome on my desk, but...! :D

Yep, I think I was probably aiming for a Z390 motherboard - seemed the more forward looking option if I decide to change something later.

and monitors - I used to play a lot of flight sims, and always thought I'd get back into that (hence the 3 monitors) but it's just never happened and I mostly play on 1 (central 27" Asus) monitor. The one on the right I do work on, the one of the left.... well... right now it's blank! I guess I "store" things on there? 2 will do, and a gaming monitor as the other monitor makes sense - it's going to be a decent sized, good quality monitor anyway, I don't think I'll be losing anything, and 3 monitor sales will part fund.
 
Well, the 9700K is not that hot because it lacks the hyperthreading of the 9900K. You'll need decent cooling for the CPU no matter what you choose, esp. if you overclock it. What are you using now? The R4 has good cooling, but a silent case is always warmer because it's closed off so the sound doesn't escape. I use 3 fans in my R5 (as much for aesthtics as cooling), but you don't need to add a third fan until you test your system with the new CPU. I'm using a Noctua D15, but with only one fan. I took the second fan and made it a case exhaust. I put the two included Fractal fans on the front. Of course you could use a 240 or larger AIO for the CPU- it's just not my style due to risk of leaks, approx 3 year lifespan for the pump, possible pump noise, etc.
 
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James Blonde

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I'm using 1 front, 1 rear (the fans that came with the case), and a stock CPU cooler on my unclocked 3570K. I'd kind of factored in something along the lines of a Corsair Hydro cooler, but hadn't considered anything beyond that, and know nothing about (processor or case) cooling beyond air needs to go in and come out, as I've not really needed to till now.

I keep leaning towards keeping the Define R4, but I've got an old HP Proliant Microserver running Windows Home Server 2008 (I think!) I've been using as a NAS / Plex Media Server which is starting to get a bit long in the tooth, and only has VGA output, which isn't immediately compatible with my new monitors. Maybe I keep my 3570k system in the R4 case, minus graphics and hard drives, and swap in the microserver hard drives, use the on board graphics, and keep it as my "server"? Bit OTT perhaps... Can't really hide that from my wife mind you...! :D

Monitors - the Dell is fantastic - I think that'll stay. I bought an Acer Predator Z35 (XZ350CU) 35" monitor as an experiment. This might have been a mistake - I thought it was 1440p, but it's a 1080p. its colour space isn't really high enough either I don't think, and one of the games I've been mucking around with wants to default to the Dell monitor, so not sure whether there are likely to be resolution compatibility issues with this screen. So I think it might be going back. However I have to admit I'm liking the size and widescreen format. Any recommendations at that sort of size, or would I be better sticking with standard format 27-34"? Maybe I should take the monitor question to a new thread...?
 

James Blonde

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OK, daft question, I think I need to move more quickly on this than I originally thought. Will a new system recognise the original systems OS drive? Or do I need to find my Windows 10 key and other software? I was planning to blow it all away at some point in the near future, but don't have time to do that right now.
 

menlui

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I've gone with 9700k water cooled, 32GB 3200Mhz ram, I've put 2 monitors in, the BenQ is a 4k 60Hz monitor that's a good mid-tier photo/video editing monitor and the LG 2k 144Hz for gaming on the 1070. I included the Rmx 650w as although the HX750 is great its nearing the end of its life (~7 years old?) so this should last at least another 10 years.


PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel - Core i7-9700K 3.6 GHz 8-Core Processor (£372.94 @ CCL Computers)
CPU Cooler: Corsair - H115i 104.65 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler (£127.99 @ Amazon UK)
Motherboard: Gigabyte - Z390 AORUS ELITE ATX LGA1151 Motherboard (£165.01 @ More Computers)
Memory: Corsair - Vengeance LPX 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4-3200 Memory (£189.39 @ Amazon UK)
Case: NZXT - H500 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case (£72.45 @ CCL Computers)
Power Supply: Corsair - RMx (2018) 650 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply (£89.99 @ CCL Computers)
Monitor: BenQ - EW3270U 31.5" 3840x2160 60 Hz Monitor (£389.00 @ Amazon UK)
Monitor: LG - 32GK850F-B 32.0" 2560x1440 144 Hz Monitor (£479.98 @ Ebuyer)
Total: £1886.75
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-04-02 12:39 BST+0100
 
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menlui

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That's great what did you go with?

I picked the 9700k because there's very little price difference and they about equal in performance but the extra cores will help with photo/video editing as not all software uses hyperthreading well.
 

James Blonde

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All of the above, except the case, but that'll have to go back as the case I bought won't take the number of 3.5" drive's I've got! Doh! Will also get monitors later
 

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