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Build

Vader's Chamber

by craigjohn

26
25 Comments

Part List View full price breakdown

Details

Date Published

Dec. 31, 2017

Date Built

Dec. 28, 2017

CPU Clock Rate

4.5 GHz

CPU Temperature While Idle

28.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

70.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate

1.257 GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

8 GHz

Description

First PC build ever - first time really using a Windows computer of any kind LOL

Yeah, I'm leaving the Mac/Apple platform after 30+ years. For me, there's zero justification to spend $3,000 on a 2017 5K iMac with the 4-core 7700k, 32GB of RAM, an 8GB RX 580 video card, and a 500GB flash drive, when I can build myself a new computer for significantly less - especially when I already have a perfectly good 27" color NEC MultiSync display.

Even worse, if I wanted 8-cores, which I do, I'd have to spend $5,000 on the base level iMac Pro. Or $4,400 on a similar build for the old 2013 Mac Pro 8 core with 32GB Ram. Oh hell no. Seriously. The little black 8-core 2013 Mac Pro with a 32GB RAM upgrade is still priced at $4,400 on Apple's website.

…I just spent $1,950 on this 8-core build. If I would have had to buy my boot drive, it would have driven the cost of my build to a skyhigh $2,075.

Purpose for this build:

This is a photography workstation on a moderate budget. I originally gave myself a rather nice $2,600 budget, but started whittling that away. I eventually settled on a ceiling budget of $2,000, and anything under that would be gravy saved. I really wasn’t sure what I was going to be able to build with $2,000.

After doing way too much research over the past few months regarding the AMD and Intel CPUs with Photoshop, Lightroom and Capture One Pro performance, I ruled out AMD for it's rather poor Photoshop performance. Many people would say the 7700K is the king of Photoshop, but the 7820x runs neck and neck with 7700k in general use, and leaps ahead for multithreaded tasks, including photomerge (which I do quite a bit).

I live with Capture One Pro. This is where 8 cores will help. Capture One Pro will utilize multiple cores easily. In fact, the 10-core performance of the 7900x is ridiculous. But it's a $1000 CPU, which means at $600, the 7820x becomes the Capture One Pro sweet spot. And for $400 (price I found on Amazon Prime over Black Friday), that makes the 7820x a no brainer.

While Capture One Pro makes good use of GPU acceleration, I didn’t want to give up much in the way of CPU performance, especially in terms of multitasking (exporting one or two jobs while working on the another). For that, I put less preference on the video card, as I still wanted to fall within my $2,000 budget. Besides, GPU acceleration is virtually nil for Photoshop, which I also use quite a bit. …We'll see if the modest RX 580 helps here for Capture One Pro. If not, upgrading the GPU will be infinitely easier than upgrading the CPU. I believe I'll be more than OK with the RX 580 and my 27" NEC display.

So far Capture One Pro exporting is crazy fast compared to my old 2009 Mac Pro. It takes 45 seconds to export 40 Fuji X-T2 RAW files to 100% JPEGs.

It takes my upgraded 2009 Mac pro (with a Sapphire HD 7950 Mac Edition) 2 minutes and 35 seconds to export the exact same files. So yeah.

The adjustment sliders are silky smooth with 7820x/RX 580 combo — it’s literally working in real time. My 2009 Mac Pro is herky-jerky. If I move an adjustment slider, I have to wait for the app to catch up. It’s always lagging behind.

Paging from one image to the next, in Capture One Pro, using the arrow keys or clicking with the mouse, takes a brief moment before the images initially snaps into focus. The old Mac Pro can take upwards of 10-15 seconds, especially as the catalog is building. Even a smallish catalog of 100 images. This new 7820x build, it's almost instantaneous - even when opening a new catalog or session.

That's pretty sweet.

Just for giggles, I ran the Keith Simonian Photoshop Radial Blur benchmark with both of my computers.

It took 6 seconds with the 7820x at stock speed, and 5.2 seconds at 4.6GHz OC'd.

My 2009 Mac Pro took 35.5 seconds. Yikes.

You can run that CPU benchmark here: http://ksimonian.com/Blog/2010/02/24/improved-photoshop-benchmark-cpu-speed-test-for-both-mac-pc-free-radial-blur-filter-test/

I really hemmed and hawed over the motherboard. I originally had my eyes on the Gigabyte Aorus Ultimate Gaming, then the Gigabyte Aorus gaming 3. Then thought about the $400 Gigabyte Aorus gaming 7. I also thought about the cheap MSI Raider ($195 USD), and the MSI SLI Plus ($220 USD). During Black Friday, the Aorus Gaming 3 was $185 USD, and the Aorus Gaming Ultra was $230 USD). But I still waited.

I was reading a few message boards where the 7820x was having issues with Adobe software. The Adobe message boards have a lengthy thread about his topic. Sounds like the new Adobe software wants more power, especially for the Turbo Boost 3 feature, so one workaround has been to turn off the Turbo Boost 3 feature. Not good, as that feature is one big reason why I wanted this CPU in the first place. That Turbo Boost 3 feature allows this 8-core CPU to perform as well as the 7700k in Photoshop. In fact, these power issues weren’t exclusive to the 7820x. It was also happening with the 7900x on up. Someone also chimes in with the 8700k. ...And I don’t expect Adobe to fix this anytime soon. They’re just slow.

As I was kept reading and looking at motherboards, I noticed ASRock quietly added a couple of new boards to their lists. These new boards updated the heat sink over the VRM, and they added a heat pipe from the VRM heat sink to a second heatsink behind the I/O panel. They also added a second 8 pin CPU power connector.

ASRock released the all new $190 USD Extreme4 in November, and added a second Taichi, the Taiche XE ($315 USD) with these new features. I also saw the Aorus Gaming 7 was sporting the same features, but Aorus gaming 3 and gaming Ultimate were lacking these. None of the ASUS boards had this, and a lot of people with these crashing issues were using ASUS boards. Some ASUS boards did have an extra 4 pin CPU power connector, but no VRM heat pipe.

I really wanted a third NVMe M.2 socket. But budget....so I settled for two NVMe M.2 sockets, and I took a leap of faith and went with the new release of the ASRock Extreme4. So far, when I’m running Photoshop, all is good. Even when popping open 50 hi-res JPEGs at once. My fingers are crossed the dual 8-pin power connect with the new VRM heatsink and heat pipe features help prevent adobe crashing issues.

Ever since I first saw the Meshify C, I've loved this case. Coming from the 2009 Mac Pro, and the fantastic venting, I didn't want a case with poor venting. The Meshify C nails this in spades, and it's a beautiful case to boot. When I saw the price fall to $70, I jumped on it.

And since I have this big window on the side, a figured I might as well go RGB, so I added G.Skill Trident Z RGB and Kraken x52 cooler. The 52 fits above my MOB, where as the 62 would have to be mounted to front of the case. I wanted three intake case fans there to suck in a ton of cool air.

At idle, my CPU is a nice 28-30F, and during my working load, it’s around 50-52F. I’m hoping that holds.

I overclocked my CPU to 4.6GHz, and there was minimal real world benefit. I shaved a two and a half seconds off the 40 file export (from 45 seconds down to 42.5s), and I save a half a second opening 50 JPEGs. So meh. For now I’m back to stock speeds, and prefer to keep things nice, cool and quiet.

Since I had a bit of money left over, I added CableMods to my build. Might as well make the build look as good as possible with this big window.

Later this year I'll be adding a pair of 1TB NVMe M.2 drive for my active jobs and a fast cache. Right now, I'm entirely happy booting and launching apps off my current Sata 6 SSD.

I should have bought my RAM back in July when I started putting together my various Parts Lists. I would have saved about $150 on this build.

Grabbing the Sapphire for $285 on Cyber Monday was luck. They sold out so quickly, and I've seen the price of this particular card for as much as $600, but it's usually been hovering around $400 -- give or take.

I’ll update the component reviews later on, when I’ve had more time to get into my daily workflow. I still need to calibrate my display for photo editing. Will likely happen this week.

EDIT! Slowly getting my desk put back together. Got my authentic cast Vader Helmet put in place. The cables poking out of the back of the case look entirely perfect. :D ...Will be swapping this ANH helmet with my ROTJ helmet when my RS Prop Masters Stormtrooper helmet arrives.

Cheers if you read this far. :)

c

EDIT (06/17/18): Added a 1TB Samsung 860 EVO SSD to the build for my active jobs. This still leaves 2 NVMe ports available, and another 2.5" drive spot in the case behind the motherboard. This will help speed up productivity a bit -- even if it's just ingesting a few thousand image files after a wedding.

EDIT (09/04/18): this build is still running smoothly. It's whisper quiet, even when I push the CPU during a large export in Capture One Pro, which will use all available cores with the 7820x. Wildly happy with this photo editing build.

Part Reviews

CPU

This CPU is a workhorse for multithreaded apps and multitasking. I built my workstation for photo editing, and the 7820x chews through anything I can throw at it, and it doesn't break a sweat. The high single core frequency is perfect for photoshop editing, while the 8-cores are ideal for Capture One Pro's multithreaded capability. This CPU, at $400-$450 hit the sweet spot for my needs.

CPU Cooler

I was tempted by the X62, but gave the X52 a shot, as it was small enough to allow me to mount it to the top of my Meshify C.

And BAM! It's working perfectly to keep the beastly 7820x nice and cool when I'm running a 1000 image export in Capture One Pro - and I'm overclocked to 4.5GHz. Best of all, the fans are nice and quiet. I never hear them spin up. :)

Definitely recommended.

Motherboard

So glad I waited to buy the parts for my build. The Skylake X cpus are power hungry, and they're known to run rather hot. Then when you watch this...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7BqAjC4ZCc

...and know board manufacturers were rushing the x299 boards out the door, you could understand why there would be problems.

Voila! In November, ASRock released this Extreme4 Board for $190 USD. It has a VRM heat pipe and dual 8 CPU connectors. These were two features I was really looking for when I was considering my x299 MOB.

Oddly enough, there were only a handful of x299 boards that had both. The Taichi XE (a new updated Taichi release) for $315 USD and the Gigabyte Aorus 7 for $400 USD. I didn't feel like spending that much on my board, as I did try to stay within a $2,000 USD budget.

This board is rock solid, the BIOS for a Windows user newb is easy to use and navigate. It's easy for overclocking. I have my 7820x running at 4.5GHz.

I wish this board had three NVMe M.2 slots, but I can easily live with two.

It has plenty of fan headers for me - I'm running with 4 case fans and two radiator fans.

I like the board has subdued RBG lighting. It's just enough to keep it interesting.

I don't need Wifi, so wasn't worried about the board having built in Wifi.

Plenty of USB 3 ports for me, as I won't be using all the ports at all.

Will give an update in another 6 months, or if something comes up before. As of right now, it's running rock solid.

Crazy good value for $190, IMO.

Edit (09/04/18): 6+ month update: This motherboard is singing along with zero issues. I've since built another photo/video editing workstation with this same motherboard and 7820x CPU. If you're planning an x299 build, I highly recommend this board.

Case

As soon as I saw the youtube reviews of this case, I pegged it for my build.

Easy to build in. Looks fantastic. I like the darker tempered glass -- lets you see just enough of the inside without being too much. Great ventilation. Keeps everything nice and cool.

The 3.5" drive cage in the basement is a nice thought, but with running cables from your PSU, and/or running a 360mm radiator or three 120mm case fans in a pull configuration, you can kiss it goodbye - unless you have a REALLY small PSU.

With the three 2.5" drive spots on the back of the case, as well as the NVMe slots on the newer MOBs, there's plenty of fast internal storage. I have a 4TB external USB 3 plugged in and tucked between the case and the wall.

Operating System

I can't believe I'm using Windows after all these years. I'm coming from OS X, have been using Macs for 30+ years. I had never worked with Windows in any setting whatsoever.

Overall, I'm far more pleased with the Windows 10 Pro than I ever expected to be. I was actually kind of scared making the move to Windows for my work.

But...I make it work for my needs.

Two things I wish were cooked directly into this OS:

1) "Columns view". It's so easy to navigate through a folder hierarchy in this manner, and transfer files/folder from one column to the next within a single window.

2) "Document previews". I like seeing an actual file thumbnail of the document I select, prior to opening. When I'm dealing with Thousands of images; it's far faster to find a specific file I want to duplicate, trash, transfer, back-up, archive, upload, etc. I've found a workaround, but it's an extra couple of steps that shouldn't be needed.

Beyond those two caveats, and they're nit-picky, I'm all good. :)

So far, Windows 10 Pro is rock solid, and I leave the OS running around the clock, with an occasional reboot.

Case Fan

I love these fans. They keep the air moving in and out of my case nice and quietly. I don't have the RGB color adjusted in any way, they're still set to their default blue color - which is fine with my build. I have my GSkill RGB memory set to blue, as well as the Kraken X52.

The fans are entirely silent.

Case Fan

I love these fans. They keep the air moving in and out of my case nice and quietly. I don't have the RGB color adjusted in any way, they're still set to their default blue color - which is fine with my build. I have my GSkill RGB memory set to blue, as well as the Kraken X52.

The fans are entirely silent.

Other

I'm coming from using the Mac over the past 30 years, and I'm now used to the slimline design and feel of the Apple Keyboard, I have no idea what possessed me to get this thing.

The keyboard looks cool, but it's large, clunky and loud. Worse yet, the keys are wobbly. Wobbly keys = no good.

This was easily my worst purchase for my build.

I'm giving it two stars, because, technically, it still works and functions like a keyboard.

Comments Sorted by:

IncognitoGamer123 2 points 15 months ago

Well, welcome to PC! Never seen an RX 580 paired with an I7 7820X tho. +1 on the build!

craigjohn submitter 2 Builds 1 point 7 months ago

After using this for the past 7 months, I can confidently say, this thing is chewing through photo editing with Capture One Pro and Photoshop. The 580 is perfect for this build. And now that the 8GB cards are back down to $230, they're a steal.

If I was gaming, I'd invest in a 1070 or 1080 at minimum.

sammys87gnxgta4 1 Build 2 points 15 months ago

I am really triggered by the fact you went with a 580 Nitro. but a nice build nonetheless.

craigjohn submitter 2 Builds 1 point 15 months ago

What has you triggered?

sammys87gnxgta4 1 Build 2 points 15 months ago

your graphics card. but I kid, the build is still really nice and is technically better than my 8600k and 1080 that I have. which I will be posting soon

craigjohn submitter 2 Builds 1 point 15 months ago

If I was a gamer, my build would have been different.

For the most part, photo editing doesn't leverage the GPU. If you're strictly an Adobe photo editing user, then the 1050ti would be plenty.

AMD and Capture One Pro seem to work well together, and I didn't have the budget to spend $500 on a Vega 56...so RX 580 it is. :D

sammys87gnxgta4 1 Build 1 point 15 months ago

Ah I see, thanks for clearing it up then, good luck for photo editing and stuff!

fn230 9 Builds 2 points 15 months ago

Good pics, good quality build, and strong description.

nalex1214 1 Build 2 points 15 months ago

+1 for the description. :)

Really cool build. Nice job!

blinko07004 2 Builds 2 points 15 months ago

Drop a 1080ti in there for heavens sake;D

craigjohn submitter 2 Builds 1 point 15 months ago

If I had the money. :p

blinko07004 2 Builds 1 point 15 months ago

Then give me that rx 580 i still am struggling with 970's

craigjohn submitter 2 Builds 1 point 15 months ago

Ahem. I don't have the money. LOL

blinko07004 2 Builds 1 point 15 months ago

Just kidding m8 nice build with nice rgb:)

gomoku 1 Build 2 points 15 months ago

I’m in the same boat as you. I also ditched my apple after over a decade of apple fandom. The hardware is just no longer what it used to be. Nice build, I’m sure you will be as happy with it as I’m with mine.

enjoy!

u_meron 2 Builds 2 points 15 months ago

Very Very nice build!

acehutu 1 point 15 months ago

I'm considering the motherboard that you used in your build because I don't want to spend too much. How has it been treating you so far?

craigjohn submitter 2 Builds 2 points 15 months ago

Outstanding. So far no issues. Bios seems easy enough for a first time PC builder. Overclocking had plenty of options. Plenty of fan headers for my case.

I can say I’m really glad I waited with my purchase, and found this board. Been reading the horror stories from other X299 users having trouble keeping their CPUs stable...

I believe the initial MOB may have been rushed out, and these newer board designs flush out some of the power draw and vrm heat issues.

acehutu 2 points 15 months ago

Alright, sounds good. I ordered it. Nice build by the way, I'm also building for the first time :)

acehutu 1 point 15 months ago

I just received my motherboard and I have a question. Is it okay if I PM you?

craigjohn submitter 2 Builds 1 point 15 months ago

For sure.

saporob 1 point 15 months ago

You could save a lot of cash buying a 2600 MHz memory without led.

craigjohn submitter 2 Builds 1 point 15 months ago

I would have saved $30 back in November.

For $30 I wanted the RBG, since this case has a tempered glass window. And I chose this case because of the excellent ventilation.

2600MHz memory wouldn't offer any noticeable speed benefit over 2400MHz. I doubt I'd feel a big speed difference between 2400 and 3200MHz.

If Fractal offered the Meshify C without the window, I would have likely gone with non-RGB CPU cooler, a non-LED video card, and non-RGB ram. That would have likely saved me a $100-$150.

The big savings I hit was buying the 7820x on Black Friday for $400, and the video card for $285 on Cyber Monday. Video card pricing right now is absurd. Last I saw, my Radeon RX 580 is going for $500-$600. Yikes! And it's the same for the GTX 1060 and 1070 - all overpriced and out of stock.

EDIT: Yeah. If I was building my computer right now, I could save a good chunk of change with non-RGB memory. Or, I could spend nearly the same for 3600MHz G.Skill Trident Z RGB.

I hate the volatility of computer components right now. LOL

coffeemaker 1 point 4 months ago

Very impressive build. Also enjoyed reading through your journey of Bye Bye Apple :)

I'm in the process of upgrading my current 5yo+ PC, used for amateur graphic design, photography and video editing. I am married to the complete Adobe Suite <sigh> (Photoshop/Illustrator/Lightroom, and sometimes editing vids in Premiere/AE). Also, I'm playing here and there with Blender for 3d modeling and object tracking.

Currently, I'm still struggling with choosing the CPU. I know that I don't want to deal with all the overclocking hassle. Seems like too much (or am I wrong?)

Since you own the i7-7820x and I understood that you don't overclock by default, do you have an opinion on this CPU compared to the i7-8700?

I know that basically it's 8C/16T vs 6C/12T but do you think it REALLY makes a difference with the above usage of the Adobe Suite? The price difference between them is still high (around 150$) and getting an 8 core CPU in a midrange price can be with the i7-9700 (8C/8T - no hyper-threading) but I'm not sure it's the right choice.

Would appreciate your honest opinion or links to other knowledge sources. Thank you!

craigjohn submitter 2 Builds 1 point 3 months ago

Wow! Sorry I missed this message. Not sure how far along you are in your build, but... here's my two cents...

I went with the 7820x for the extra few PCIe lanes (24 vs. 16 in the 8700k).

For single threaded Adobe tasks, in theory, the 8700k will be faster. Not sure if it's significantly faster, but probably a good 5-10% depending on the task. In reality, you're talking about 4.5GHz (7820x) turbo boost, vs. 4.7GHz (8700k) turbo boost. To me, that's a pretty much a wash. No real world significance.

For multithreaded, the 7820x should be, in theory, faster than the 8700k. But probably only a few percent.

For Premiere Pro, you can look at these numbers by Pudget Sound System...

https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Premiere-Pro-CC-2017-1-2-CPU-Performance-Core-i7-8700K-i5-8600K-i3-8350K-1047/

And it's pretty much a push.

For Photoshop, there's this...

https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Photoshop-CC-2017-1-1-CPU-Performance-Core-i7-8700K-i5-8600K-i3-8350K-1057/

Charts are one thing, using during real world work, I doubt you'll notice a significant difference.

It will come down to price and PCI lanes. I got my 7820x on sale for $380 on Black Friday. It was stupid to pass that up.

As for overclocking, I have all 8 cores clipping along at 4.5GHz. ...and it's pretty sweet. :D

Get a good radiator, and you'll be good to go. The NZKT Kraken X52 v2 is the smallest I'd go if you want to overclock - and that's what I have.

I've done builds for the people with Deepcool Captain 240x, and it's OK. It's not nearly as efficient as the NZXT. But budget dictated a less expensive radiator. The Corsair H100i V2 also lags way behind in cooling efficiency compared to the Kraken X52 v2. But the buyer didn't want RGB - even though he could turn it off, it he didn't wan the Kraken - which was a bit of a mistake. It was tough keeping his CPU cool running at 4.3GHz on all cores.

If I was building an Adobe suite workstation today that included video editing, I'd probably go with this...

https://pcpartpicker.com/user/craigjohn/saved/#view=d6bgwP

wanting the 1070ti for the GPU horse power.

...though I'd RGB it to death. LOL

The reason I'd go with the 7820x, is I don't know enough about the 9900K, and haven't read about it's performance and thermals. I know what I'm getting with the 7820x, and it's a killer CPU. This ASRock board and the 7820x were tailor-made for each other - especially with that heat pipe. I don't see the heat pipe on the Extreme4 board for the 9900K, and that worries me a bit, considering it's an 8-core CPU.

Hope that ramble helped. LOL