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Photography workstation: Xeon 1650 vs 2630?

Greetings,

I am building photography workstation for my spouse. Goals are:

a) Must: primary use-case: Lightroom + Photoshop (CC). No games
b) Must: handles ton of pics: we are at 1.5 TB of raw images now
c) Must: stability
d) Nice: future proofing: lasts for ~6-7 years
e) Nice: balance (see below)

Already have:

1) Case: Phanteks Enthoo Primo
2) PSU: Corsair AXi 760W
3) Storage, backup: bunch of 2TB spinning drives

Current thoughts:

4) Storage, system: Intel 750 Series 400GB PCI-E
5) Storage, photoshop scratch/lightroom catalog: same as above (second physical drive)
6) Storage, data: Samsung 850 PRO 2TB
7) Graphics: Quadro K2200

Need advise on:

8) CPU: I am thinking about Intel Xeon E5-1650 v3, Xeon E5-2630 v3 (both are in vicinity of $600). It would be fantastic if I could get away with Xeon E5-1620 v3 (~$300). I am primarily looking for stability here, but I do not want to end up with a build that is compute-bound, and have PCI-E SSD sit and wait for the CPU to catch up.

9) RAM: I know close to zero about the RAM in general and thus was thinking ECC, 2x32GB. Some questions that come to mind: how risky is it to start from 32GB and expand into 64GB. Not sure is Adobe can effectively use more than that today, but some future-proofing would be nice to have.

10) Motherboard: I guess this will have to wait for CPU + RAM selection.

11) If I am way off on storage selection - please do let me know as well.

Sincerely,
Evgeni
8 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about photography workstation xeon 1650 2630
  1. Some suggestions and thoughts:

    1. Get a fast processor.
    2. Get the max RAM now, that the motherboard will handle. Adding RAM later may create issues.
    3. When you setup Photoshop, you can specify the % of RAM that Photoshop can use.
    4. For storage - if you have a bunch of disks, consider a NAS system. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network-attached_storage
    5. Consider RAID1 (not RAID0) - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAID
    6. Expect some lags when using Photoshop - especially when using the 'Clone' tool. This is normal even with a large amount of RAM.
  2. In addition, also consider buying a gaming graphics card. All things color will be faster using the graphics card due to CUDA-accelerating, both Photoshop and Lightroom will benefit from one. You don't want or need a workstation grade graphics card, mainly because consumer applications work best with gaming rather than workstation type cards. You would have to spend 3-4x the amount to match the performance of a gaming card on a workstation card. Hopefully this was easy to follow.

    Edit: Sorry but I should note; Get a Quadro card if you are working with a 30-bit monitor. If not, definitely don't.

    All the best!
  3. Ubrales said:
    Some suggestions and thoughts:

    1. Get a fast processor.
    2. Get the max RAM now, that the motherboard will handle. Adding RAM later may create issues.
    3. When you setup Photoshop, you can specify the % of RAM that Photoshop can use.
    4. For storage - if you have a bunch of disks, consider a NAS system. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network-attached_storage
    5. Consider RAID1 (not RAID0) - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAID
    6. Expect some lags when using Photoshop - especially when using the 'Clone' tool. This is normal even with a large amount of RAM.


    Apologies if I was not clear. I am looking for specific guidance on:

    8) For the workload described (Lightroom with large catalog + Photoshop with 1-2 images actively being worked on): is E5-1620 much slower than E5-1650? If yes, will dual-E5-2630 perform way better than E5-1650?

    9) For the workload described: is 32GB will perform much worse than 64GB? Do I need to look for registered ram?

    11) For the workload described: is 2x PCI-E SSDs an overkill? Should I stick with SATA SSD drives? What about putting system on SATA, and scratch/catalog drive on PCI-E? If you are a photographer - what do you use?

    For the reference: our current machine is dual-xeon MacPro 2008, tricked out with SSDs, RAM, and graphics card. RAWs live on spinning drives and when I open RAW in Lightroom - it takes sweet 5-7 seconds to load detailed image. This is slow and why I am building new rig.
  4. Anonymous said:
    In addition, also consider buying a gaming graphics card. All things color will be faster using the graphics card due to CUDA-accelerating, both Photoshop and Lightroom will benefit from one. You don't want or need a workstation grade graphics card, mainly because consumer applications work best with gaming rather than workstation type cards. You would have to spend 3-4x the amount to match the performance of a gaming card on a workstation card. Hopefully this was easy to follow.

    Edit: Sorry but I should note; Get a Quadro card if you are working with a 30-bit monitor. If not, definitely don't.

    All the best!


    I looked at cards somewhat and decided on workstation card. The reason: quadro/firepro drivers enable compute cores (conveniently disabled in gaming drivers), plus overall stability. However, if someone tells me that K1200 will do just as well as K2200 for the workload mentioned - I'll go with that.
  5. Gaming cards > Workstation cards

    When it comes to this type of work. I believe you're overthinking this, K2200 is super weak, and no reason to spend that much money on a GPU for a photo editing rig. Quadros/FirePros aren't even the go to choice for pros in higher end software either. I would take Ubrales advice, no need to complicate things.
  6. http://cpuboss.com/cpus/Intel-Xeon-E5-1650-vs-Intel-Core-i7-3770K

    Take a look at the above comparisons. Compare different CPUs to determine which one is preferable.

    64 GBs of RAM is better than 32 GBs of RAM for Photoshop work. (I have 32 GBs which is the max that my motherboard will support) and I do experience some lags using the 'Clone' tool in Photoshop.

    Use an SSD for the OS and all your programs. Use SATA III HDDs for data storage. And of course, backup everything frequently and regularly!
  7. Best answer
    You are way overdoing it for a professional photo editing rig. Professional video editing rigs hardly benefit from more than 16GB of RAM let alone a photo editing rig. If you have a high budget I would recommend something like this if you find yourself needing more RAM you can add more:

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: Intel Core i7-5820K 3.3GHz 6-Core Processor ($378.99 @ SuperBiiz)
    CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D15 82.5 CFM CPU Cooler ($104.75 @ OutletPC)
    Motherboard: ASRock X99 WS EATX LGA2011-3 Motherboard ($257.98 @ Newegg)
    Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws 4 series 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR4-3000 Memory ($139.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Samsung 850 Pro Series 1TB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($456.99 @ Amazon)
    Storage: Samsung 850 Pro Series 1TB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($456.99 @ Amazon)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($68.89 @ OutletPC)
    Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 980 4GB Superclocked ACX 2.0 Video Card ($480.99 @ NCIX US)
    Case: Phanteks Enthoo Pro ATX Full Tower Case ($99.99 @ Amazon)
    Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA P2 850W 80+ Platinum Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($136.66 @ Newegg)
    Total: $2582.22
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-08-30 17:03 EDT-0400

    Even this is serious overkill.
  8. IntelTurtleFan said:
    You are way overdoing it for a professional photo editing rig. Professional video editing rigs hardly benefit from more than 16GB of RAM let alone a photo editing rig. If you have a high budget I would recommend something like this if you find yourself needing more RAM you can add more:

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: Intel Core i7-5820K 3.3GHz 6-Core Processor ($378.99 @ SuperBiiz)
    CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D15 82.5 CFM CPU Cooler ($104.75 @ OutletPC)
    Motherboard: ASRock X99 WS EATX LGA2011-3 Motherboard ($257.98 @ Newegg)
    Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws 4 series 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR4-3000 Memory ($139.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Samsung 850 Pro Series 1TB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($456.99 @ Amazon)
    Storage: Samsung 850 Pro Series 1TB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($456.99 @ Amazon)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($68.89 @ OutletPC)
    Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 980 4GB Superclocked ACX 2.0 Video Card ($480.99 @ NCIX US)
    Case: Phanteks Enthoo Pro ATX Full Tower Case ($99.99 @ Amazon)
    Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA P2 850W 80+ Platinum Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($136.66 @ Newegg)
    Total: $2582.22
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-08-30 17:03 EDT-0400

    Even this is serious overkill.

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    Yeah, even that was a serious overkill. Heavy browsing in Lightroom hardly pushes any of the cores above 30%, only 10-12G of RAM is ever reported used. Adobe CC'15 photography apps (Lr + Ps) are totally NOT taking advantage of available hardware - no prefetches, mo smarts, no nothing. Disappointed.

    Especially Lr - new rig is a bit more alive but the difference is negligible. Basically, it is the same performance as MacPro circa 2008. You might shave off few minutes during a busy day, but not even close to my original expectations.

    In retrospect - Core i7 4970K + Z97 + 32G (any) DDR3 would still be an overkill. Too bad, as the next time I am building new rig... well, call me back in 10 years or so.
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