PC Computer choice (early 2013)

TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
edited December 2012 in General Discussions
Ok so I'm getting ready to buy a new PC and am in a bit of a quandary - Do I stick with Intel i7 or the Xeon (1 or 2) lower end class of processors?

The main thing I want to get is at least 24gb of ram - i7s are easy to get that in a reasonable price - Xeon is much more expensive.  Anyone know if the boost of the Xeon is that much more over a fully decked out i7?  

BTW I'm looking to rig the machine out to use for 4-5 years and keep it under $3,000.

(Please no "buy a mac" comments - just not going to happen.)

Post edited by jonnyapple on
D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
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Comments

  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 981Member
    Well according to the benchmarks only a couple of the Xeon CPUs beat out the highest I7 chips.  Check out the Intel Core i7-3930K @ 3.20GHz.

    Seems reasonably priced and in the top 15 for fastest CPUs.  Your RAM is going to be based on the motherboard so just get a more recent one and it should handle that much.  DDR3 RAM is getting fairly cheap now...I wouldn't be surprised if DDR4 RAM came out soon.
    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    Just buy a Mac :-P

    Seriously, the Xenon is already many years old. If you are looking for a 4-5 year investment I'd consider the i7. The memory architecture is much better on the i7, larger cache, faster clock. Probably slightly better at PS and LR. If you put non-ecc memory in the xenon memory costs should be the same.

    In the end it's not a huge performance difference, I'd let cost be the main driver.
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited December 2012

    I have an i7 3.4 GHz  and 12 gb ram use I it for PS and LR it flies

    faster than 2 Xeons @2.26 GHz on old computer

    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,005Member
    edited December 2012
    Xeon processors are deigned for high end work stations, so unless you are planning on running a multi-CPU (dual-socket) system with over 32GB of RAM there is no reason to go that route. At this time there is no reason to use a Xeon, unless you need a 12-16 core system (two 6 or 8 core Xeons).

    Any modern quad core Core i5 or Core i7 processor with a clock speed of 2.7Ghz or higher will be more than good enough for any photo editing software for years to come. For photo editing RAM is far more important, max your system out and you'll be fine.
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,072Moderator
    Don't forget a high end graphics card - I don't know why that hasn't been mentioned - a better graphics card gave my system a similar boost to going SSD.  YMMV
    Always learning.
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    Thanks for the quick advice!  After pricing everything and giving myself a crash course on processors, I went with an i7 over the Xeon.  (BTW-Xeon is not old - it is a trademark name, there are many new processors and new ones are still being developed.)  Interestingly, I found many sites stating that the Xeon was a waste on photography and basic video that photographers will do and is not any faster than the 2nd gen i5 processors.  They really are for 3d rendering, and high end video renderings.

    If you were interested, here's what I ended up with: 

    Dell OptiPlex 9010 Minitower
    Windows 7 pro
    Processors3rd Gen Intel® Core™ i7-3770 (Quad Core, 3.40GHz, 8MB w/HD4000 Graphics)
    Memory32GB, NON-ECC, 1600MHZ DDR3,4DIMM
    Graphics CardsDUAL 1GB AMD RDN HD 7470FH,w/VGA
    Boot Hard Drives128GB 2.5" SATA 6Gb/s Dell Solid State Drive
    Second Hard Drive Options500GB Hybrid 2.5" SATA 6Gb/s with 4GB SLC NAND Flash
    1394 FireWire Adapter1394 FW Controller Card, Full Height
    Removable Media Storage Device8X Blu-ray Disc (BD-RE) Burner, w/Media Card Reader, no Media
    Dell UltraSharp U2711 27-inch Monitor (looks like I won't be getting that Sigma 35mm 1.4 this year)

    Dell had a huge sale ($1,300 off on everything) and I couldn't pass up the deal.






    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,072Moderator
    "Dell had a huge sale ($1,300 off on everything) and I couldn't pass up the deal."

    So how much did you pay for that bad boy Tao?
    Always learning.
  • studio460studio460 Posts: 205Member
    edited December 2012
    While a bit off-topic, I thought I'd conserve on thread-count, and post this here . . . I've been thinking of a new PC also. Although we're currently an all-OS X household, I may buy a PC laptop for a single reason: other than the older 17" MacBook Pros, the only currently offered laptop I can insert a CompactFlash card into directly, is a Lenovo ThinkPad X230. This is one of just a handful (if that), of computers that still have an ExpressCard slot (into which you can stuff a CF card adapter). Here's what I've been looking at:

    1. Lenovo ThinkPad X230 with 3rd-generation i7-3520M with Lenovo Cherry 54mm ExpressCard adapter.
    2. Polywell i7 SFF (small-form factor)

    The Polywell brand, I just discovered. They're noted for their lack of pre-installed bloatware, and their no-nonsense, performance-driven servers and SFFs. They make models in a variety of case configurations (SFF, rack-mount, etc.) with many CPU options.

    Although the ThinkPad X230 has been very well-reviewed for its robust build and solid performance, it's not a touch-screen computer. Windows8 is kinda neat, and buying a non-touchscreen computer now seems a bit anachronistic. 

    [FYI--For those considering some of the new tablet PCs, Microsoft's more-powerful, i5-driven Windows Surface Pro tablet PCs (which run "real" Windows8, as opposed to WindowsRT which is designed for the current crop of ARM-powered Microsoft Surface tablet PCs) are coming in mid-January ($899 for 64GB; $999 for 128GB).]
    Post edited by studio460 on
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    Notes on some things if people are wondering why I got what I did:
    • Dual video cards (4 monitors) was only a $40 upgrade.  (I don't "game" at all so much more would be a waste and I could not find any noticeable performance boost for photography with faster cards.)
    • Processor with discrete graphics - that was the only choice
    • HDs - These were the largest choices given.  128gb SSD does scare me a bit for the boot drive being small - the hybrid 500gb drive with Nand flash, was the largest drive I could select for the main file drive.  Nothing faster was available but another 128SSD.  I'll probably add another SSD in the future.  
    • 1394 FireWire Adapter - There are some good cheap External drives that use fire-wire yet - and they are just as fast as most of the current USB 3.0 drives.  (That was an interesting fact to find.)
    • Blu-ray Burner - going to use for back ups of old-no longer needed files.  Odd how many companies don't even offer one.  With 30-pack of 25gb disks going for $27 = $0.036 per gb that is the cheapest storage available.  
    • Upgraded to a Broadcom NetXtreme 10/100/1000 PCIe Gigabit Networking Card - Cousin who is a networking engineer says to always do that - so I did. 
    A couple of things I was looking for but was not available on this selection:
    • It was kind of odd that there was no way to get a 10k or 15k drive or 256gb SSDs even though they were offered on other systems (mainly Xenon Workstations.)   I would have preferred a 256ssd for files and a 10k drive for the boot drive, but that wasn't in the cards this time.  
    • Thunderbolt - not available yet.
    • Faster i7 - I chose the fastest available to choose from.  All companies had this processor as the fastest option.  Not sure what that is about.
    • Bounced between this and a Laptop - decided that with tablets, ultra-books, etc. would probably do what I wanted for being mobile if I needed it.  Laptops also age much quicker than Desktops.
    That's pretty much all of my thoughts on it.  If you have any questions let me know!

    Thanks again for the help!



    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    edited December 2012
    "Dell had a huge sale ($1,300 off on everything) and I couldn't pass up the deal."

    So how much did you pay for that bad boy Tao?
    $3,090 shipped!

    ------------------------------------
    While a bit off-topic, I thought I'd conserve on thread-count and post this here . . . I've been thinking of a new PC also. Although we're currently an all-OS X household, I may buy a PC laptop for a single reason--other than an older 17" MacBook Pro, the only laptop I can insert a CompactFlash card into directly is a Lenovo ThinkPad X230, which is one of the few computers that still have an ExpressCard slot (which you can stuff a CF card adapter into). Here's what I've been looking at:

    I have used Lenovo for work laptops in previous life jobs and I loved them and I too looked at them because you could put CF readers in them.  Their W-series workstations have the high end monitors and color sensors for graphic work.  95% of the color gamut as well, which most laptops have only 86%.  Lenovo does have "bloatware" but it is all very useful and doesn't bog the machine down much.  When it came down too looking at actual speed specs, USB 3.0 readers were almost as fast as the slot readers so I ended up debunking my own thoughts on that.  

    I'm sure thunderbolt readers will be out soon, and will be even faster.  
    Post edited by TaoTeJared on
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,005Member
    Only using SSD's? Personally I'd just use an SSD for a boot drive/scratch disk and an HDD for storage. SSD's may be fast, but the price per GB is still very high.

    I still find it interesting that people buy branded PC's, when you can build your own with the same parts for less, and you don't have to deal with all the crapware that OEM's install by default in their special copies of windows.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • studio460studio460 Posts: 205Member
    edited December 2012
    Yeah, it's a tough call, Tao. I've been wringing my hands over this decision for weeks. I can't seem to decide what I want (of course, the problem is--I want it all). First, I was going to buy a 13" MacBook Pro to replace a broken netbook . . . then an Air. Then I remembered how I wanted to edit in the field without having to remember to bring a card reader--so then came the Lenovo. And, since you've used ThinkPads before, you know how nice they are to work with (for anyone who hasn't used a ThinkPad, don't confuse ThinkPads with Lenovo's utter-crap line of consumer netbooks and laptops. The ThinkPad line of laptops are top-notch). Then . . . all the sizzle of Windows8.
    Post edited by studio460 on
  • studio460studio460 Posts: 205Member
    edited December 2012
    True, you can build a killer i7 PC, still with "branded" components, and come out way ahead in both price and performance. I had a killer motherboard all spec'ed out a few months ago. I believe it was this one:


    It had everything: on-board Thunderbolt, USB 3.0, SLI, etc. I would've basically purchased all of the components from NewEgg, then paid a local PC Warehouse to build it for me (the fee is nominal). But then you have the burden of all the systems integration and potential compatibility issues with various chipsets, etc. Still, I go back and forth on this issue, too.

    Then, I found the HP Desktop Elite 8300 series of Windows8 PCs in cool-looking SFF form-factors that seemed pretty nice. Pair one of these with one of HP's reasonably priced, 10-point touchscreen monitors, and you're all set:


    Decisions, decisions . . .
    Post edited by studio460 on
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    I still find it interesting that people buy branded PC's, when you can build your own with the same parts for less, and you don't have to deal with all the crapware that OEM's install by default in their special copies of windows. 
    Ha!  I find it interesting that people still want to bash their head into a wall by trying to build their own machines.  I have built 20 machines before - Never again.  And that was when there were only just a couple of choices of everything out there to worry about compatibility issues.  Interestingly I did "add to cart" options while I was reading up on them - if I did the same machine myself, I would not have saved a dime with the Dell sale.  If you like building machines, or if you keep up with everything enough to do so, it is a good way to do it.  For me, it just gives me a headache thinking about it.  

    SSDs -  With a D800 raw files, it eats hard drives for breakfast.  The faster the better.  A 128gb drive is only 4 32gb cards = about 2 big events/2 weeks of work.  The prices are dropping, and the system will only have 3gb connections left, so that will drop the price some.  
    ---------------

    Studio you are in the same boat I was in.  I wanted to get the machine on this years taxes so that finely pushed me.  I'm not a huge fan of Dell and was going to get a similar Lenovo, but with that type of deal, I couldn't pass it up.  
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member

    Beware  if  switch from Mac to PC or visa Vera unlike lightroom, Photoshop is not cross platform and you have to buy new software

     

  • studio460studio460 Posts: 205Member
    Yup, Tao. I was too slow. I passed up on Lenovo's generous 20% holiday discount on ThinkPads, thinking there would be a similar, and on-going after-Xmas "sale." Nope. The ThinkPads are now only 12% off. Had I pulled the trigger before Xmas, I'd be playing with my new X230 right now, happily inserting CF cards from my D3s into it!
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,005Member
    @Tao: I never had to bash my head to build a PC, but then I keep up to date on that kind of stuff. Even though I am a Mac/Win user (I dual boot my iMac to get both worlds), I still have the itch to build a machine I could put 6-8 drives in, rather fuss around with the array of external 1 and 2 TB externals I have.

    I'm not sure what I like more, the building or the final product. :D
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    Just for fun's sake...a Mac with server and monitor...32 GBmemroy plus three hard drives...about $7100.  Same performance on a PC should be half.
    Msmoto, mod
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,072Moderator
    "Dell had a huge sale ($1,300 off on everything) and I couldn't pass up the deal."

    So how much did you pay for that bad boy Tao?
    $3,090 shipped!
     

    Ay Caramba!  I hope that includes the four screens too?
    Always learning.
  • studio460studio460 Posts: 205Member
    edited December 2012
    Yeah, I think I balked at building my Asus super-computer, because by the time I stuffed it with an embarrassing amount of RAM and SSDs, it came out to nearly $3K. So, then I looked back at the sub-$1,000 Polywell SFFs and HP Elite SFF i7 PCs. As long as you populate your RAM and SSDs with after-market parts (yet, still, quality-branded parts), you can get a decently fast third-gen i7 PC for just over $1,000 (more, with SSDs).

    But, in retrospect, it's too bad I was gun-shy about the Lenovo ThinkPad X230, because that's really all I need. At only $1,138 or something like that, I would've had a CF-card ready, third-gen Core i7 laptop. Add another $250 of after-market RAM, and I would've been off to the races.
    Post edited by studio460 on
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,005Member
    edited December 2012
    Just for fun's sake...a Mac with server and monitor...32 GBmemroy plus three hard drives...about $7100.  Same performance on a PC should be half.


    The difference is you don't buy a Mac to save money, but rather to save yourself from the headache that is called Windows. :-p If I didn't need Windows I wouldn't use it, because stuff crashes all the time, even in Windows 7. Although the OS itself is solid enough, the app designers appear to very lazy in coding, because apps crash constantly, and that's everything from browsers to games.
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member

    I am clearly doing smoothing wrong

    My PC ( Windows 7) does not crash, but then I dont use it for  games

    and  I don't have any problems with my D800 ether :)

     

     

  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,005Member
    I've only had one BSOD in Windows 7 in the last few years, in fact I prefer it to Mac OS in many ways (but not in others), so don't get me wrong. Maybe it's just the apps I use, but they do crash a lot, meaning one or two times a day at least.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    The difference is you don't buy a Mac to save money, but rather to save yourself from the headache that is called Windows. :-p If I didn't need Windows I wouldn't use it, because stuff crashes all the time, even in Windows 7. Although the OS itself is solid enough, the app designers appear to very lazy in coding, because apps crash constantly, and that's everything from browsers to games.
    Now that is funny - I have had Vista for 5 years - never crashes, can't even remember the last time something did crash.  Now when I go over to my mothers iMac, it crashes or something crashes all the time.  I think your windows crashes because it is on a mac ;)

    Ay Caramba!  I hope that includes the four screens too?
    Nope, but one color correct 27" monitor!  For what I got, it was a hell of a deal.  
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,005Member
    edited December 2012
    @Tao As noted before, it isn't windows that crashes, but the apps. Vista was far worse, at least at the beginning than Windows 7, but then Win 7 is just Vista SP3 1/2.

    The hardware has nothing to do with crashing, the parts are no different that a premium PC (lack of USB3 aside). That being said, you might not be too far off the mark, as some issue could arise due to poor, and un-updatable drivers. My PC build from a few years ago was more stable, in some respects but the same apps are crashing on a regular basis. Which is why I feel that the app programers themselves are lazier on the windows side. Apps that run without a hitch on XP Pro have been somewhat troublesome since I updated to Vista and Win 7. Yes they are older programs, but I still need to use them, as new versions are not being released.
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
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