Computer shopping

A forum to ask questions, post setups, and generally discuss anything having to do with photomacrography and photomicroscopy.

Moderators: Pau, rjlittlefield, ChrisR, Chris S.

Posts: 1653
Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 1:33 pm
Location: near Portland, Maine, USA

Post by DQE »

Just a suggestion - I use custom PC shops to develop an upper limit to the cost and configuration for a given target level of PC performance.

This site lists their most reliable components, which may be of some help in looking at other companies' configurations:

Puget Systems also has some recommended photo editing configurations, from distant memory. I am looking at some of the unusually quiet configs myself, hoping to reduce the ambient noise level around my PC, when I decide to upgrade.

Also see this company for examples of some of the highest performing (expensive) PCs. I would probably buy one of their rigs if I had unlimited money. Liquid cooling should quiet the system down, too!

I realize these expensive PCs are not of primary interest to this thread, but I think they provide some interesting information as well as an upper limit to what one might spend on a PC.

"Diffraction never sleeps"

Chris S.
Site Admin
Posts: 3599
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 9:55 pm
Location: Ohio, USA

Post by Chris S. »

Planapo wrote:Currently looking around for a new desktop computer myself. . . . What motherboard, processor, memory and other components should an of-the-shelf system have nowadays, so that it can be used for efficient photo editing? I think stacking including creating stereos with Rik's ZS are the most demanding tasks I am going to do with my computer. . . .--Betty
Betty, it's hard to give general answers to this question, since there are many ways to skin a cat--if you ask five knowledgable system builders, you'll likely get six or seven opinions.

I just PM'd you an offer to send you my parts list from a recent, very successful build. Am also happy to send this list to anyone else who PMs me with an email address. Again, please let me stress that this recipe is not by any means the only good approach. I'll also mention that if you and I were talking directly, I'd learn what you have for a monitor (or monitors), your budget, etc., and might make adjustments accordingly.

Chris R's approach of finding a custom shop for building is great--if you can find a really good custom shop that will do all this (including, as he mentioned, data migration and "soak" testing) for £100, this is a very fair price. But in my experience, really competant and fair custom shops are frustratingly hard to find. And the Dells, Gateways, Compaqs, Lenovos, etc. of the world leave me underwhelmed.

If anyone reads my recent parts list and wants to discuss it, I'm happy to do so. There are good reasons for choosing each part, but they can become the subject of long discussion. Such discussions might not be of general interest, and might best be handled offline.



Posts: 237
Joined: Sun Apr 25, 2010 2:50 pm
Location: Cambridgeshire UK

Post by dunksargent »

Have you considered another Mac eg maybe a refurbished iMac from Apple Refurb Store ... s/mac/imac

Recently I managed to get a discontinued 24" model with a decent NVIDIA GeForce GT 130 graphics card with £700 discount off previous new price.


dunk in Peterborough UK
And now for something completely different.

Posts: 323
Joined: Sun Dec 03, 2006 7:07 pm
Location: Albany, Oregon

Post by svalley »

This is the system I recently put together. Prices may have changed a little.

It screams through big image stacks using Zerene Stacker PMax at about 1.5-2 seconds per frame.

New Imaging System Computer:

Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD5 Motherboard $289.99 + $8.50 shipping -$15 mail-in rebate Total = $283.49 ... 6813128422

Intel Core i7-930 2.8GHz 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 Quad-Core Desktop Processor $294.99 ... -_-Product

2X CORSAIR DOMINATOR 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model TR3X6G1600C7D G $254.99 X 2 = $509.98 ... -_-Product

PNY VCQFX1800-PCIE-PB Quadro FX 1800 768MB 192-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 Workstation Video Card $449.99 + $6.98 shipping Total = $456.97 ... 6814133272

CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply $109.99 - $10 mail-in rebate Total = $99.99 ... 6817139006

COOLER MASTER HAF 932 RC-932-KKN1-GP Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case $159.98 + $24.99 shipping Total = $184.97 ... 6811119160

4X Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST31500341AS 1.5TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive $109.99 X 4 = $439.96 ... 6822148337

Prolimatech Megahalems Intel CPU Heatsink (LGA 775 / 1366) $64.99
FrozenCPU Deluxe Heatsink Lapping Kit $10.99
OCZ Freeze Extreme Thermal Compound $6.99 = Total $82.97 see below ... ml#options

Noiseblocker NB-BlackSilentFan XLP 120mmx25mm Ultra Quiet PWM Fan - 1000-2000 RPM - 14-31 dBA $16.95 + $82.07 from above = $99.92 + $10.86 shipping Total = $110.78 ... d=mbriUrm8

LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 24X DVD Writer $31.99 ... 6827106335

Hardware Total = $2413.12 NEC P221W-BK-SV Monitor? $750.00

"You can't build a time machine without weird optics"
Steve Valley - Albany, Oregon

Posts: 54
Joined: Mon May 03, 2010 8:05 pm

Post by Thunder »

In the price range you are looking at with monitor is what the 21' iMac costs, at least here in N.E Ohio. $1,500

Mine is the 3 gig intel pros 4 gig memory expandable to 8 with a tera HD

Screen is a LED back lit. I am an art major and left P.C's simply because of all of the problems that I had over 10 years with them. CS5 for the Mac is 64, and I will have a copy shortly and will let you know what I think. There are many that love the P.C and God bless them, I can only speak from my own experience.

But what ever you choose, I wish you the best, and hope that you find the most bang for your buck.

Post Reply Previous topicNext topic