help? PC Specs for A7Rii

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by Yohan, Dec 29, 2017.

  1. Yohan

    Yohan TalkEmount Veteran

    353
    May 21, 2012
    Vancouver, BC
    Yohan
    hello everyone,

    I need some advice regarding PC specs as I'm not computer saavy. I'm looking to upgrade my 2012 15" MBP. It is struggling with my new A7rii files. Thinking about getting a desktop PC this time for cost/performance.

    Is it true Lightroom likes high processors with high clock speed while the graphics card is only used to accelerate certain functions? My budget is pretty limited and I'm wondering if this PC could handle the files with the latest Lightroom Classic with a 4K monitor I already have. A lot of my search is led me to gaming PCs. I don't play games and I don't want to spend more than I have to.

    I'm mostly looking for something in the CAD 1000-1200 range. Is this unrealistic? Open to alternatives and suggestions on minimum specs for smooth operation. I could always upgrade parts in the future.

    Thank you!
     
  2. AlwaysOnAuto

    AlwaysOnAuto TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Feb 17, 2015
    One of the best PC's we ever had was a gaming PC on clearance sale that I bought rather spur of the moment. Didn't know it was a gaming PC when I bought it until I got home and googled it. Turned out to be one of the previous year's best gaming machines. So what I'm saying is, don't discount the fact a PC is a gaming machine, especially if it's priced right.
    Good luck, I'll be watching this thread.
     
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  3. Yohan

    Yohan TalkEmount Veteran

    353
    May 21, 2012
    Vancouver, BC
    Yohan
    Yeah, fair point. I guess I'm wanting to pay for components that will run LR well with large files and 4K monitor regardless of gaming PC or not. But I don't want to pay for components that are necessary for gaming that may be overkill for photo processing.
     
  4. Deadbear77

    Deadbear77 TalkEmount Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 14, 2012
    Northeast Ohio
    Kevin
    I have a 2012 Mac mini with 16gb ram. Runs like a champ with my 7Rii and 7ii
     
  5. bdbits

    bdbits TalkEmount All-Pro

    Sep 10, 2015
    Bob
    As with all RAW photo editing apps, you want to make sure you have plenty of RAM and a large drive, preferably an SSD (solid state drive). I went from 8M to 16M last year and it made quite a lot of difference (though I have 24M files and use Capture One and not Lightroom). When I went to SSDs a couple of years ago, it also sped up the entire system and software quite a bit. Both RAM and SSDs are relatively cheap upgrades and can do wonders.

    From what I have read on LR performance, Adobe does not take full advantage of GPU/video card capabilities or multiple CPU cores. Supposedly Adobe is working on these problems, but for now this would suggest that you want a fast processor more than heavy-duty graphics. Still it makes sense this would steer you toward gaming machines, which are configured for performance. They will also have at least decent graphics cards that may prove beneficial if Adobe gets its act together in that respect. Make sure you get plenty of RAM and use an SSD (solid state drive).

    If you are technically inclined, it is not too difficult to build a decent computer. It also makes it easier to upgrade later. I did this a few years ago, spent a bit more to get a decent graphics card, and have upgraded RAM and storage since then (monitor too but I digress). It is still running fine for everything I do. I recognize this is not everyone's cup of tea. If you do want to do this, I highly recommend pcpartpicker.com for help. They have some great tools to help match everything up and get the best prices.

    In the Windows world, your budget should be able to get you a pretty decent box with plenty of punch for editing your photos, particularly if it is a desktop.
     
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  6. WNG

    WNG TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2014
    Arrid Zone-A, USA
    Will
    If you are about to invest on a powerful enough system and coming from the Apple domain to the PC one, I'd be leery of buying a prebuilt system from such an outlet, as the specs don't reveal what exactly you are getting component-wise. And quality and performance can vary a lot. Especially when you're spending $1000. I'm not sure how the prices differ between USA and Canada on computer components, knowing that you guys have additional import duties.
    But I'd spend the time and research into building your own system. Or at least finalize the list of desired brands and models for a system. Any good computer specialist or geek friend can put it together. Thanks to the standardization, and breadth of components in the PC universe.
    A gaming computer will be one of better graphics and calculation speed. But be careful, simply popping a higher end graphics card into a mediocre PC system and a retailer can deem it a gamers PC and charge you for it.

    A high end gaming graphics card (1080Ti) will cost $500 USD on average. But that level of power really only translates to better rendering times if you are doing a lot of 4K video work. A high core-count CPU as well.
    Adobe software usually responds better to higher clock speed than more cores, especially photo editing. Software must be coded from its conception to take advantage of the multi-core and multi-thread technology. Some have, most don't, so single-threaded performance is still paramount. With that, I'd stick with an Intel CPU. The listed PC uses a previous generation i5. It's capable of the task, but if you are spending money on new... look into an i7 or current gen i5 8xxxx.
    Look into getting a name brand gaming motherboard, possibly from Asus, MSI, etc. The reason being that they are equipped with BIOS/UEFI with CPU overclocking features. Most of today's CPUs are overclockable and it will gain you extra performance reliably.
    8 GB of RAM is the minimal amount to get your system through. But you really should have 16 GB for Lightroom/Photoshop work. Windows 10 needs 3 GB minimum just to run!
    The SSD offered in that system is pushing it size wise. 256 GB is a better size for a OS disk and work scratch disk. You don't want to fill up a SSD too close to its capacity. It's a performance and reliability issue. Also, while searching for the ideal motherboard, you should look for one supporting M.2 with built-in slots. These SSD drives are faster, smaller, than the 2.5" SATA SSDs. By abandoning the SATA interface bottleneck, the speed and bandwidth is dramatically better.
    A secondary storage drive is usually the configuration these days. But a 1 TB drive will fill up quickly. HDDs are relatively cheap now, and I wouldn't install anything less than 3 TB. A 4 TB HDD is under $100 USD. Remember, ARW files are quite large. (And do consider a back up strategy!)
    Be sure to spec the motherboard with the I/O you desire....USB C, 3.1, 2.0, 1 Gb ethernet port(s), WiFi, HD/digital audio. Enough PCI-E expansion slots for your needs.
    There should be at least one high bandwidth PCI-E port for your relatively fast graphics card.
    Select a desired high quality case to your liking and taste. The one used in the ad seems to resemble a sub $50 generic available on Newegg.com.
    Also, select a name brand, reliably spec-ed power supply. This is another area pre-builts skimp and hide the cheapness.
    If you like Legos, you can put together you own PC. It's pretty straight forward. There is a lot of info, advice, and tutorials online and on youtube. LinusTechTips is a great channel. And he's a fellow Canadian. :)

    Bear in mind, with the power available from current CPUs and GPUs, the future is going toward virtualization. You can have one desktop box running multiple virtual environments.
    This means, you can run iOS and Win 10 simultaneously, and Linux, networking systems, gaming, streaming video, etc.
    HTH.

    PS> If you 2012 MBP is not equipped with a SSD, then you should swap out the old and slow HDD and replace it with a SSD. You'll breath new life into it. And if it's a 4 GB RAM model, bumping it to 8 GB will drop the rendering times.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017
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  7. Yohan

    Yohan TalkEmount Veteran

    353
    May 21, 2012
    Vancouver, BC
    Yohan
    Will, thanks for the thorough response. I did upgrade to SSD and 8GB RAM already but the MBP still struggles. I wonder if I should look into diagnosing my MBP prior to investing in a new computer. Just assumed the computer being 5-6 years old is why it's slowed down.

    Thanks Bob. I stumbled across that site but there were too many parts I didn't know anything about and I left quickly. Perhaps building my own is the best way to go.. I'll take some time researching.
     
  8. bdbits

    bdbits TalkEmount All-Pro

    Sep 10, 2015
    Bob
    You might want to check out their "build guides" as a starting point and tweak until you get something you are happy with. Or look at the completed builds section. In both sections they have filters and a price slider to help narrow things down.

    One thing to note is that it is an enthusiast site. So what their users - who contribute builds - call a mid-range system is actually usually very capable for the rest of us. When I built mine 3 years ago, I started with a lower end build and beefed up a few things. Price-wise, it was still on the lower end of the site's typical builds, but it performs very well for me 3 years later. I only play a few games and it still does fine with them, and really well on almost everything else.
     
  9. sam

    sam TalkEmount Regular

    121
    Nov 23, 2015
    Ontario
    sam_men
    I know I will be in the same boat in a few months when I pick up my A7R2.
    I have built many systems over the years just for photography work and separate systems for video work.
    Now that both types of media are merging into one camera, and with the speed of some computer components, it doesn't make sense to have so many computer systems in the house, also the WAF,(wife acceptance factor). I have mostly been using laptops the past few years, so my old desktop systems, (much older than 6 years), have sat collecting dust. They still function with all my older cameras, so the old software which can't be updated still works with them, which is why they are still around.
    I know that they won't be able to handle the new media, so I have resigned myself to that fact, which makes parting with them easier.

    As as been described, I went through a lot of research to build the systems, and it was worth it. Build what you can afford with the thought of being able to upgrade parts as finances become available.
    From what I have seen from my geek gaming friends, they also use their gaming systems for their photography and video editing.
    Blazingly fast, compared to my laptop and older desktop systems.

    Don't look to buy a "slim" desktop, buy a full size tower.
    My slim units, although fast and small, have been relegated to home theatre status. I would not be able to upgrade them enough for media work.
    So, as my gaming friends have done, I will be saving my Canadian dollars for a good system for media, with the thoughts of upgrading components when money permits.

    Retirement is still quite a ways away, but i will want a system that will take me almost there. I don't see another upgrade in my camera equipment for a while. A hobby once again, but plans to get back into the business of both photography and video editing.
    I still have legacy equipment that I want to work with, so the system needs to connect to some old gear. Yeah, legacy equipment.
    So, until the new system is built and gone through the testing phase with the old gear and new software can do what the old software was capable of, the old computers will be around.

    Do what you can with your old computer, but know when to call it a day.

    Most of all, enjoy making photos.
     
  10. SamSS

    SamSS TalkEmount Veteran

    224
    Oct 11, 2014
    Go for an i7 desktop cpu. One, two or even three older/previous generation of i7 is still very good.
    Motherboard, decent after market cpu cooler, power supply, 16GB ram or even 32GB, 256GB SSD, one 4TB HDD (add more if needed later), DVD drive and a computer case.
    If you're going to have a 4K monitor, may require an expensive GPU (graphic card). Otherwise, a GT560ti gpu can be had cheap and plenty powerful for all monitor resolution at & below 2560x1440.
    Price those together should be within your budget.
    Build your own computer is rewarding and fun. But overclocking is addictive and was my hobby 8 yrs ago.
     
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  11. bdbits

    bdbits TalkEmount All-Pro

    Sep 10, 2015
    Bob
    To anyone wanting to build a computer...a major CPU-level flaw was leaked today. I have heard rumors about an undisclosed bug being furiously worked on over the last few months, but it was not supposed to be public until next week. There are ways to mitigate it through kernel-level patches to operating systems. Mac and I believe at least some Linux distros have already put theirs out, and MS was supposed to be releasing one today for Windows 10 and next week for Windows 7. (Not seeing it on my Windows 10 box yet.)

    The bad news is that the fix can cause a 5-30% slowdown and that Intel CPUs are quite a bit more vulnerable, but I've also read the patches may also slow AMD CPUs at least to some degree. It has also been noted that typical end-user workloads will probably hardly notice it; data centers may be another story (think cloud services). I would guess graphically-intensive things like photo editors are probably not going to see much affected, unless they are also disk-intensive. It remains to be seen, though. I guess if I was putting together a build, I would either wait a week or so for the dust to settle and see if there are implications, or look at an AMD Ryzen or Threadripper build over Intel.

    At one point today, Intel stock was down 7% and AMD up 10% but both have throttled back some. Lots of speculation going on there, I suspect. We will see what happens over the next week.
     
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  12. sapoeijoek

    sapoeijoek TalkEmount Regular

    95
    Oct 22, 2017
    Texas
    Edwin
    You have plenty to spend. Go mini, I mean small form factor pc, it’s cheaper like my recently built system. Spent around $820.
    This is the specs.

    MB Asrock H270m itx
    CPU i7 6700k
    MEM 2x 8gb Geil evo potenza ddr4 2400mhz
    SSDs Sandisk ssd plus 240gb for Operating System
    Intel pro 2500 480gb (storage 1)
    Western Digital black 2.5” 1tb (storage 2)
    PSU Corsair 450 sfx
    CASE Coolermaster elite 110

    You can get the different brand of SSDs or rams but make sure you get ddr4 2400 memory and 3D nand instead of tlc nand ssd.
    So with that configuration, photoshop and lightroom run very smooth and fast. Open, edit, import etc almost instantly. In photoshop, to save a huge complex edited A7 raw file with layers to a 829 mb photoshop file takes only around 15 seconds. To open it takes about 8 seconds!
    Hope this help.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2018
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  13. WNG

    WNG TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2014
    Arrid Zone-A, USA
    Will
    I concur with Bob, given the disclosure of the Kracken/Meltdown bug, if you're investing on a new system build, make it an AMD Ryzen architecture. Threadripper for the highest performance. All Intel CPUs are affected seriously, while the new AMD CPUs aren't. Those hunting for a new laptop, good news...Ryzen mobile CPUs are hitting the market now.
     
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  14. sapoeijoek

    sapoeijoek TalkEmount Regular

    95
    Oct 22, 2017
    Texas
    Edwin
    But Lightroom and Photoshop aren't optimized for multi-core cpus like Ryzen so we won't see a benefit from having 8 cores with threadripper or hyper-threading. It's the frequency aka clock speed that makes a diffrence. For now until Adobe recodes their softwares, Lightroom and Photoshop love the highest frequency possible cpus.

    Screenshot-2018-1-17 Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 AMD Ryzen 7 1700X 1800X Performance.png
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2018
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  15. bdbits

    bdbits TalkEmount All-Pro

    Sep 10, 2015
    Bob
    It's true that Lightroom is poorly coded and hardly takes any advantage of multiple cores (or GPUs for that matter), which is where AMD CPUs shine. Rumors say Adobe is working on this, which might flip the tables some time. If you use other editing software, you might find things are a bit more competitive on the performance side. The extra cores will also allow you to run multiple applications with better performance, provided you have sufficient RAM.

    Speaking of which, regardless of CPU, you should have as much RAM as you can realistically get, at least 16G. Sufficient RAM and a good SSD can have more impact than the CPU.

    I wonder if anyone has run benchmarks with the mitigating patches installed yet? That might be interesting.
     
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  16. Yohan

    Yohan TalkEmount Veteran

    353
    May 21, 2012
    Vancouver, BC
    Yohan
    I didn't feel fully confident building my own. Ended up with this PC. This was on Boxing week pricing into January for CAD1299.99. It's running quite well so far. Windows 10 is not bad either.
     
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  17. bdbits

    bdbits TalkEmount All-Pro

    Sep 10, 2015
    Bob
    Congratulations.
     
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  18. AlwaysOnAuto

    AlwaysOnAuto TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Feb 17, 2015
    Yeah, congrats!
    That looks like a pretty nice machine from where I'm sitting.
     
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  19. orlcam88

    orlcam88 TalkEmount Regular

    51
    Dec 24, 2017
    Long Island, NY
    Nice! one thing you should do when you get LR is to increase the cache to around 20gb. That with your machine, it should be fast enough. Go to Preferences -> File Handling. There are other performance tips but cache is the biggest improvement.
     
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  20. sapoeijoek

    sapoeijoek TalkEmount Regular

    95
    Oct 22, 2017
    Texas
    Edwin
    The pc looks cool! And it has enough power to kick adobe in the b*** :026:

    Or setup a RAM disk and move all the caches on this disk for extra kick.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
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