Please advice for mobo choice / Photo Editing PC

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Thomas
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Please advice for mobo choice / Photo Editing PC

Post by Thomas » Wed Nov 25, 2015 10:45 am

Hi there,

I've been out of the PC loop for some years now, however it's time for an upgrade, because my Photo edit software crashes / wants more memory. And since I'm on DDR2 etc., it dont make sense to add more memory.

Currently, I'm looking at a Intel i5 6600K + 16 GB RAM. I'm however in doubt about the mobo - I believe it should be a Z170, buch wich variant?

Asus Z170A seems like a solid choice, but would a ASUS Z170-P D3 be sufficient?

Looking at my needs:

M.2 for fast SSD
6 x SATA
Integrated Graphics, aka no gaming.

I'll stick to Asus due to fan control.
USB 3 would be nice, but I dont need it for now. I believe DDR4 would be a good choice, in case I need more RAM down the road.

In order to overclock the CPU, I think I should go with a Z170 board. But which?

The Photo software is CaptureOne Pro 8. It benefits from separated disks for the Photos and another for the database, and probably a SSD is best for the DB.

This is the current PC, from which the PSU + case will be reused.

AMD Phenom II 925
Gigabyte GA-MA78G-DS3H/IGP
Kingston 6GB
Antec P180
Seasonic S12 380/S-Flex
Crucial C300 64
2 x Samsung F2 EcoGreen
Last edited by Thomas on Thu Nov 26, 2015 12:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

Abula
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Re: Please advice for mobo choise / Photo Editing PC

Post by Abula » Wed Nov 25, 2015 12:03 pm

Thomas wrote:but would a ASUS Z170-P D3 be sufficient?
Probably not. The mobo has only 4 sata ports, and in most cases using the m.2 disables some sata ports, so you will need to go into a higher board like the Z170-A you were considering.

quest_for_silence
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Re: Please advice for mobo choise / Photo Editing PC

Post by quest_for_silence » Wed Nov 25, 2015 1:07 pm

Thomas wrote:Integrated Graphics, aka no gaming.

Then consider also a Broadwell LGA1150 CPU (i5-5675C), if priced favourably.

Thomas wrote:I'll stick to Asus due to fan control.

It's a good choice, but ASRock is also worthwhile, as well MSI with PWM fans.

CA_Steve
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Re: Please advice for mobo choise / Photo Editing PC

Post by CA_Steve » Wed Nov 25, 2015 3:31 pm

You might want to look into CaptureOne Pro's spec's a little more. By enabling Open CL, you can use the gfx processor to greatly accelerate the image processing. I don't see the Nvidia 9 series cards listed - probably best to contact them for an updated list.

Thomas
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Re: Please advice for mobo choise / Photo Editing PC

Post by Thomas » Wed Nov 25, 2015 11:51 pm

Thanks for all the replies 8)

Regarding ASUS Z170-P D3 and 4 SATA - oups my bad, I overlooked that. Good thing though, it helps narrowing it down, thx.

About LGA1150, I prefer LGA1151 because of DDR4. Not that I think I'll notice any difference, but DDR4 will be avaible for longer and for better prices, than DDR3. In case I need more than 16 GB later on...

I did a Asrock build once, and I found it quite limited in BIOS options. That was probably 7-10 years ago, though.

MSI with PWM, that sounds interesting, I'll check them out.

I've seen the CaptureOne specs, but I think the use of a GFX processor, is a very ambitious solution, and I dont aim that high. In that case, I think I would be better of with a i7 CPU, and then maybe slap in a GFX later on.

This one "...in most cases using the m.2 disables some sata ports..." is not so great, I have to check the manuals for the boards I'll look at.

Questions:

According to a couple of reviews on the Asus Z170-A, it feels cheap and flimsey. That dont sounds promising for using a Tower cooler, like Ninja?

I think I read once around here, that OC and undervolting works fine in combination. Can that be done directly in the BIOS now a days, or is it still needed with a utility of some kind?

MSI boards, do they have good PWM fan control without using software like speedfan?

Abula
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Re: Please advice for mobo choise / Photo Editing PC

Post by Abula » Thu Nov 26, 2015 7:26 am

Thomas wrote:According to a couple of reviews on the Asus Z170-A, it feels cheap and flimsey. That dont sounds promising for using a Tower cooler, like Ninja?
What feels flimsy? the heatsinks? the PCIe slots? the memory, i find dificult to categorize a board as filmsy, its not like a case, but there are other options from Asus like their Maximus or Saberthooth, but at the expense of more $$$$, weather its worth it.... really depends on the user.

And about the Ninja, i doubt the mobo has any impact, the holes are standard, so it shouldn't feel different nor less secure than another motherboard, personally i think the Z170A looks like a good balance of price and offerings, but you are the only one that will have to live with your choice and its your money, so chose what you think would be best for your build.
Thomas wrote:I think I read once around here, that OC and undervolting works fine in combination. Can that be done directly in the BIOS now a days, or is it still needed with a utility of some kind?
Most manufactuers offer software based overclocking, its not the best imo, most of the time it overvolts more than it should, as they have to cover almost any CPU binning, that said is not so bad either, just not what i would do. That said, my days of overclocking are over, personally i value more less heat and noise than a marginal performance boost, today CPUs are very capable, and probably more than what the average user needs, but at the same time there are poeple like you that do use them for heavy task like editing, where you might use more than the average user, still here i would recommend you check if you benefit from hyperthreading, as the i7 6700K is a beast, with its 4.0ghz base clock and hyperthreading should be a very capable CPU, if not also keep open to something like X99 + i7 5820K, another really good combo for editing, the only downside is no iGPU so you will need to get a dedicated GPU, weather its worth it or not depends on your budget and power needs.
Thomas wrote:MSI boards, do they have good PWM fan control without using software like speedfan?
MSI bios fan control is very good, specially on the CPU_FAN1 and CPU_FAN2, two independent PWM headers (you need 4pin PWM fans), the lowest allowed is 12.5% and in increments of 12.5%, meaning 12.5%, 25%, 37.5%, 50%, 62.5%, 75%, 87.5%, 100%. Fans like Noctua PWM have very good range of operation on PWM, usually the go extremly low, as low as the MSI can go, and ends up with 200rpms or less, where in most cases is not needed to go that low, but its nice to know that you can. But be carefull not all PWM fans are equal, as with 3pin, all fans have different range of controls, some go lower than others, for example while i like a lot Noiseblocker M12-S1, i dislike their M12-P, their lowest PWM is around 650rpms (if i remember correctly), and this is at 0% PWM, the MSI can only go to 12.5%, thus ending with like 850rpms idle, something that to me its not needed. Overall for people looking PWM fans i recommend Noctua, and Thermalright is also very good with their TY147A, Scythe is also a very good option.

But to do this you will need to change all your fans to PWM, and second to grab a PWM fan splitter (two suggestions Swiftech & Cryotech), that could end up very expensive depending on the fans you chose, but also its very steady, easy to manage and is not OS dependent as you all are doing via the bios, and best of all, its minimalist, no resources spend on extra software or that might conflict with another driver/software.

That said, Asus not only has the best software control with FanXpert, but they seem to be doing a lot of bios upgrades, toward giving more control to the users that don't like software based, all their headers seems to be switchable on the bios (voltage controlled or PWM, in the past was only the CPU_FAN header that could this), this alone gives you a lot of flexibility into using whatever fans you like and own. How good, i cant say, i only seen some reviews where it looks very promising, but i haven't tested my self.

My recommendation is to go with Asus, specially since you are planning on reusing your P180, not sure if you are planning to re use the fans, but certainly with the Asus mobo you dont need to, weather the fans are good to continue its up to you. But there are better 120mm 3pin voltage controlled fans tonally speaking than pwm, fans that i recommend is Scythe Gentle Typhoons (any RPM with asus fanXpert should drop very low), Noiseblocker M12-S1 one of SPCR favorites, it drops around 400rpms with fanXpert, and even at 600-700 is still very quiet, at 850rpms (their max) they are still quiet but noticeable, and last one of SPCR user favorites Nexus 120mm, their latest Nexus Basic seems to be a very good fan overall, probably not as good as the other two, but their price is half, you can read much more about them in SPCR Fan Roundup #6: Scythe, Noiseblocker, Antec, Nexus, Thermalright.
Last edited by Abula on Thu Nov 26, 2015 7:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

CA_Steve
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Re: Please advice for mobo choise / Photo Editing PC

Post by CA_Steve » Thu Nov 26, 2015 7:39 am

Thomas wrote:I've seen the CaptureOne specs, but I think the use of a GFX processor, is a very ambitious solution, and I dont aim that high. In that case, I think I would be better of with a i7 CPU, and then maybe slap in a GFX later on.
Okydoke. A moderate Gfx card may half your processing time with the i7. As you say, it can always be added.
Thomas wrote:I think I read once around here, that OC and undervolting works fine in combination. Can that be done directly in the BIOS now a days, or is it still needed with a utility of some kind?
The amount of flexibility depends on the specific CPU generation and part. There's not much in the Skylake i7. I think you'll be able to underclock the i7 by 0.05-0.1V at stock speeds or get a 5% OC at stock voltage (~1.2V). YMMV. You can do it in the BIOS.

quest_for_silence
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Re: Please advice for mobo choise / Photo Editing PC

Post by quest_for_silence » Thu Nov 26, 2015 9:48 am

Thomas wrote:About LGA1150, I prefer LGA1151 because of DDR4.

The Broadwell sports a far better IGP (Iris Pro), that's the relevant main selling point.

Thomas wrote:I did a Asrock build once, and I found it quite limited in BIOS options. That was probably 7-10 years ago, though.

Currently ASRock bios fan control is among the best ones for Intel, and it was so since the series 87 chipset (while their Formula Drive suite probably isn't in the same league of ASUS AI Suite/FanXpert. On AMD boards your mileage may vary.

Thomas wrote:According to a couple of reviews on the Asus Z170-A, it feels cheap and flimsey. That dont sounds promising for using a Tower cooler, like Ninja?

It's a non-issue, it doesn't matter at all: in september I mounted a Ninja 4 on an ASUS H97 Plus which is even more cheap/flimsy, without any issue.

Thomas wrote:I think I read once around here, that OC and undervolting works fine in combination. Can that be done directly in the BIOS now a days, or is it still needed with a utility of some kind?

It have to be done directly in the BIOS, though I don't think Skylake will let you undervolt that much: in my experience Sandy Bridge undervolted more than Ivy, and Ivy more than Devil's Canyon, I guess Skylake could follow the same pattern, though I never used the "Adaptive voltage" power scheme offered as an option by ASUS motherboards (I always used their "Offset" power scheme).

Thomas
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Re: Please advice for mobo choice / Photo Editing PC

Post by Thomas » Sat Nov 28, 2015 10:08 am

Wow, lots of good advices and suggestions here, thanks :-)

A challenge about this build, is that CaptureOne system requirements/recommendations range from a very basic Intel Core 2TM Duo/4GB based system to a Core i7/16GB + GFX R9 290 (Windows) with a minimum of 2Gb RAM.

I dont doubt the first is way too small for my need/temperament and the latter is too expensive. So what middle-of-the-road-solution, should I aim for?

From my budget perspective, the Core i5 6600K is fine, and I believe the power will be sufficient. And if not, I have the OC and optional GFX as a backup plan, without having to sell the i5 and loose money on that.

Also, it seems that the i5 series is using less electricity, than i7.

Hmm, maybe I should send PhaseOne/CaptureOne an e-mail and ask how much could be gained by stepping up to i7 6700K or a X99 + i7 5820K combo.

Fans: I know I'm sensitive to tonal noise quality, so after reading the above about fans, I'll stick with 3 pin voltage regulation. With the (older) 3 PIN Nexus and Schyte fans I've tried, 450-500 RPM is very nice to my ears, they are so quiet that I only hear them at late night, where the house is extremely quiet. And even then, I only hear them if I actively listen for them.

This point to Asus Z170A, and the comments about it's that flimsey nails it for me. What I was concerned about, was if the PCB fiber was so thin, that it would be stressed by a tower cooler, like the Ninja.

If my current fans cant be regulated down to 400-500 with the Z170A, I'm willing to buy new ones. After all, the current ones are well used :-)

Speaking of CPU cooler, I havent decided yet, but I'm primarily considering the Ninja or Scythe Big Shuriken 2 Rev.B.

OC/undervolting: It appears that modern CPU's are so good at automatically lower voltages, that utilities like K10stat aint needed? And OC can be done from the mobo/BIOS?

Regarding "The Broadwell sports a far better IGP (Iris Pro), that's the relevant main selling point." Is this in terms of 2D or 3D? I dont care for 3D performance :-) Also, I wont use it much for video/movies. It's solely 2D programs, like internet, word processing and the likes, and of course photo editing.

Thanks again for all the help :-)

Abula
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Re: Please advice for mobo choice / Photo Editing PC

Post by Abula » Sat Nov 28, 2015 11:31 am

Thomas wrote:Hmm, maybe I should send PhaseOne/CaptureOne an e-mail and ask how much could be gained by stepping up to i7 6700K or a X99 + i7 5820K combo.
This is a good route, i doubt we will see much improvement on future gens under similar price points, i expect next repacement of 6700K to be very similar, probably 100mhz base and 200mhz turbo extra (if they did what happen with devils cannon, that seems very likely), overall as we have gotten in the past 4 gens, 5-10% increases, which is making the upgrade cycles not worth it. Write to them to see what benefits you might get, specially if it support hyperthreading and the gains on your specific programs. Same can be said about the 5820K, i doubt we will see an 8 core entry level in the next two or three gens, i expect to continue 6 cores and to give them 100 or so mhz increases to say "its an upgrade"... but overall i think both CPU wont get worthy upgrades in the short term, but its worth to see if either would help you do your editing faster or not, and weather its worth the extra investment.
Thomas wrote:This point to Asus Z170A, and the comments about it's that flimsey nails it for me. What I was concerned about, was if the PCB fiber was so thin, that it would be stressed by a tower cooler, like the Ninja.

Speaking of CPU cooler, I havent decided yet, but I'm primarily considering the Ninja or Scythe Big Shuriken 2 Rev.B.
I would go with Ninja4, its a superior heatsink with bigger area of dissipation, that at the end will allow you to keep the fans at lower rpms, thus lower noise should be expected from the Ninja4 on load than the Shuriken. There are diminishing returns, not always bigger is much better, but i dont think its the case here, the Ninja4 should be a better pick overall noise and temp wise. But then again there are some poeple that have issues having a big tower over their motherboard, i personally never understood this way of thinking, have build tons of PC, never had an issue.
Thomas wrote:Fans: I know I'm sensitive to tonal noise quality, so after reading the above about fans, I'll stick with 3 pin voltage regulation. With the (older) 3 PIN Nexus and Schyte fans I've tried, 450-500 RPM is very nice to my ears, they are so quiet that I only hear them at late night, where the house is extremely quiet. And even then, I only hear them if I actively listen for them.

If my current fans cant be regulated down to 400-500 with the Z170A, I'm willing to buy new ones. After all, the current ones are well used :-)
Asus fanXpert should be able to drop very low, very close to what the fans can reach by design, there is a slight bump that FanXpert does usually to have some margin of error and avoid the fans stoping due to be to close to the limit, but its very little, in my experience less than 50rpms. Now about PWM or not, the Asus seems to be very flexible in the bios, allowing to change individually each header (from PWM to Voltage controlled, and vice versa), so try what you have and test whatever you want, at the end you should be able to mix and play around whatever condition you end up with.
Thomas wrote:OC/undervolting: It appears that modern CPU's are so good at automatically lower voltages, that utilities like K10stat aint needed? And OC can be done from the mobo/BIOS?
You can still tweak the voltages, but intel does a pretty good job, how much will you gain will depend on the binning of the CPU, in my experience is low enough to be not worth it, but each cpu is different so feel free to test and draw your own conclusions on the binning lottery.
Thomas wrote:Regarding "The Broadwell sports a far better IGP (Iris Pro), that's the relevant main selling point." Is this in terms of 2D or 3D? I dont care for 3D performance :-) Also, I wont use it much for video/movies. It's solely 2D programs, like internet, word processing and the likes, and of course photo editing.
Well certain programs can take the advantage of things like QuicSync, and a Broadwell CPU will be more capable on this type of scenarios, something that you might want to ask PhaseOne/CaptureOne.

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Re: Please advice for mobo choice / Photo Editing PC

Post by quest_for_silence » Sat Nov 28, 2015 3:29 pm

Thomas wrote:Regarding "The Broadwell sports a far better IGP (Iris Pro), that's the relevant main selling point." Is this in terms of 2D or 3D? I dont care for 3D performance :-) Also, I wont use it much for video/movies. It's solely 2D programs, like internet, word processing and the likes, and of course photo editing.

I don't know your specific application but, broadly speaking, the IrisPro should stand out over regular GT graphics with OpenCL-enabled application and GPGPU calculations: https://software.intel.com/en-us/articl ... s-graphics (so I guess you'd better ask your software vendor). Moreover it will enable using 30-bit color monitors, if that matters.

CA_Steve
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Re: Please advice for mobo choice / Photo Editing PC

Post by CA_Steve » Sat Nov 28, 2015 8:49 pm

Hmm, maybe I should send PhaseOne/CaptureOne an e-mail and ask how much could be gained by stepping up to i7 6700K or a X99 + i7 5820K combo.
Or, at least ask them if there's a benchmarking site that's captured the differences between CPUs and what happens when you use Open CL with a GPU.

Just looking at your current Phenom CPU and Skylake...if your app scales CPU performance similar to s/w like Cinebench, and if there aren't other components in the critical path, you can expect a ~2.5 improvement in processing speed going from the Phenom to the i5-6600k. The i7-6700k makes this a 3.2x improvement.

boost
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Re: Please advice for mobo choice / Photo Editing PC

Post by boost » Sun Nov 29, 2015 6:59 am

Abula wrote:Thomas wrote:
This point to Asus Z170A, and the comments about it's that flimsey nails it for me. What I was concerned about, was if the PCB fiber was so thin, that it would be stressed by a tower cooler, like the Ninja.

Speaking of CPU cooler, I havent decided yet, but I'm primarily considering the Ninja or Scythe Big Shuriken 2 Rev.B.
I would go with Ninja4, its a superior heatsink with bigger area of dissipation, that at the end will allow you to keep the fans at lower rpms, thus lower noise should be expected from the Ninja4 on load than the Shuriken. There are diminishing returns, not always bigger is much better, but i dont think its the case here, the Ninja4 should be a better pick overall noise and temp wise. But then again there are some poeple that have issues having a big tower over their motherboard, i personally never understood this way of thinking, have build tons of PC, never had an issue.
Be careful with Scythe coolers and Skylake! Scythe is replacing their mounting hardware fot Socket 1151. The current version can put too much pressure in the CPU and damage it. The Ninja 4 is still a good cooler. If you get it, you should contact Scythe asap and they will send you a new set of screws for Socket 1151 installation. The reason is, the PCB of Skylake CPUs is much thinner than previos generations: 0.78mm compared to 1.12mm.

Ken5d
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Re: Please advice for mobo choice / Photo Editing PC

Post by Ken5d » Sun Nov 29, 2015 10:29 am

boost wrote:Be careful with Scythe coolers and Skylake! Scythe is replacing their mounting hardware fot Socket 1151. The current version can put too much pressure in the CPU and damage it.
Wow. Thanks for this! I had no idea; hadn't read that anywhere. I've already purchased a Scythe Kotetsu for my upcoming Skylake build (all I'm missing now are the mobo and cpu). So I will write to Scythe immediately.

Thanks again; great info.

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Re: Please advice for mobo choice / Photo Editing PC

Post by Ken5d » Sun Nov 29, 2015 10:55 am

Thomas wrote: Currently, I'm looking at a Intel i5 6600K + 16 GB RAM.

M.2 for fast SSD
Based on what I've read, you'd be better off saving your money and buying a high end SATA SSD (e.g., Samsung 850 Pro) rather than paying the premium for an M.2. If you want to pay a premium, then an i7 over an i5 will probably give you more of a performance boost than an M.2 vs a SATA SSD. It's just unfortunate that at the moment, the Skylake i7-6700K is in such short supply that it's premium is too much. I'm waiting for the supply to catch up; hopefully that will happen in December.

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