This is my first computer build. My 2009 Sony Vaio AW290 laptop was dying so I needed a replacement. And Sony no longer makes computers so all support is finite. I decided on a DIY desktop after years of laptops because I could get way more bang for the buck and have the flexibility for future incremental upgrades.
This machine was assembled primarily for use as a MS Office workstation and for photo editing. I use Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop (plus plugins: Nik, Topaz) along with Photomatix and PTGui to merge full frame raw images to HDR tiff files and then stitch to spherical VR panoramas. It takes a bit of processing power to perform these tasks and my old machine was pushed to the limit. The heavy lifting took a lot of time.
Old Sony Vaio AW290JFQ: Chipset: Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T9550 RAM: 4 GB upgraded to 8 GB Storage: 1 TB HDD upgraded to 1.5 TB Graphics: Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT Display: 18.4” 1920 x 1080
New Machine: Chipset: Intel Core i7 8700K RAM: 32 GB Storage: Samsung Evo 970 500 GB NVMe, WD Black 4 TB HDD Graphics: EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 SSC 6 GB Display: 27” 2560 x 1440
Most everything went together seamlessly and everything works! I searched for articles and videos for building a top flight photo/video editing machine and found two sources that were instrumental in my parts selection and build. The first is ‘The Ultimate PC Build for Photography Needs’ by Nasim Mansurov at PhotographyLife.com. It is very detailed and informed most of my parts decisions. The second is ‘The Ultimate Video Guide to Building a Photo and Video Editing Desktop Computer’ by Lee Morris at Fstoppers.com. There is both an article and a 42 minute video which was very helpful. Even if you are mostly into gaming, these resources will still be helpful because many of the parts will serve the gamer well.
I was concerned about the three case fans maybe being too noisy and the CPU fan not being up to the task. So far the machine runs quiet and cool. I built this PC to get the most performance for the buck for my end use and without spending more than necessary. My photo processing time is way faster than the old machine! It is a joy to run. Oh, I also run MS Flight Simulator and its way more responsive as well. Bottom line, I’m really happy with the computer and the peripherals.
PS: The All Weather Nightfighter handle is lifted from the aircraft industry and essentially means a machine that can fly and do battle no matter what the conditions. And that’s what I believe I have with this build.
I considered the ASUS ROG Strix Z370-E Gaming motherboard but went for the Maximus Hero X because of the added USB ports as I have a several external hard drives for photo storage. I appreciated the included SATA cables that let me hook up my optical drive and the 4TB HDD. Nice board!
Actually the ones I have are the Ballistix 32GB Sport LT Series DDR4 2666 MHz UDIMM Memory Kit (2 x 16GB, White) from B&H. I couldn't find the 2666 MHz in the PCPartPicker parts list
This thing is fast! Perfect for all my applications software and my Lightroom catalog.
I've got my monitor connected to this video card with a Display Port cable and there are two more available Display Port connections to accommodate up to three monitors.
This is a great modular case that has lots of flexibility for component placement and plenty of room to maneuver during the build. The two metal handles on top were much appreciated during the move from the build area in the garage up to my second floor office.
This is a first class power unit that comes with every power cable you need, at least everything I needed with several left over.
I was equivocating between a 24" monitor and a 27". Since this seemed like a great value for a 27" with 2560 x 1440 I went for it and I'm glad that I did. The monitor tilts and swivels on the stand which rotates on a lazy susan turntable. The resolution is wonderful.
A young guy at Fry's turned me onto this mouse, praising the ergonomics. I agree! It feels great in the hand. It's good looking and has a solid build.