Description

My first build ever.

I had very simple goals for this build. Because I do a lot photo editing throughout the year with Adobe Lightroom my main goal was fast file access. This was relatively easy, but expensive $$$. To that end I choose the Gigabyte Gaming 7 motherboard for its dual M.2 support and 2 512GB Samsung NVMe M.2. I am using one for the c:\ (OS and app installs) and one for the E:\ for Adobe catalogs, cache, scratch disk and for my current working set of photos. I configured Adobe Lightroom to use 100GB for the cache on the E:\ Drive, thus plenty of room for 1:1 previews. I went for 16GB of RAM to help the photo editing as well. I am sure 8GB would have been fine but the price of RAM compared to the SSD storage was such a small factor i said what the heck. The Asus Pro Art monitor has fantastic color. This is one area that i resisted the urge to pay up for the 27 inch version. Some day I will revisit this but for now the 24 does the job.

My second goal for this build was quiet operation. Thus the EVGA 970 SSC video card, it shuts the fans down when not under load. The Corsair power supply also has quiet operation when not under load. The Define R5 case has great sound dampening and the choice to NOT include any mechanical hard drives also helps keep the machine running as quiet as possible.

My third goal was to build a Steam gaming computer. The EVGA 970 SSC does just fine for gaming and although the monitor is not specifically designed for gaming it holds up fine. The gaming is more for my boys than it is for me so i didn't feel the need to go for a dual 980 setup.

I added in a 1TB Samsung EVO SSD for additional storage. I use this drive for the Steam library as well as Lightroom exports, finished photo sets and eventually catalog exports when i start to need room on the M.2.

note: I had posted this build previously under a different title, this is the final configuration with new pictures.

Part Reviews

CPU

No problems with this CPU. Its fast and the benchmarks were fine. I have moderately overclocked to 4.4GHZ

CPU Cooler

I followed the crowd in this choice. Plenty of great reviews. No clearance issues installing 4 RAM modules on the motherboard.

Motherboard

What a great motherboard. No issues at all with the build, once i figured out the CPU power was not optional. What can I say, this was my first build ever. I plugged in the first M.2 and got the machine up and running and Win 10 installed before i tried installing the other drives. This approach worked without a hitch.

Storage

Super fast. Blew away the benchmarks and there is no waiting for anything.

Video Card

Love it. Quiet when not under load and performs fine.

Case

Nice and quiet. Solid case with easy cable management. Very simple to build with this case. I originally wanted to build with the blackout edition of this case but there were none in stock when I purchased the parts from the local Micro Center. This was the only part that I had to compromise, because of availability. I am very impatient, I was determined to get everything that day and start the build that same day, so one compromise didn't deter me.

Power Supply

A bit of overkill for my build, but its still a great PSU.

Monitor

Love this monitor for photo editing.

Speakers

Nice speakers. small footprint with great sound.

Comments

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

M.2 is key.

Nice build. ._.

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

Seems like the Gigabyte-GA-Z170X-Gaming makes a good combination with Corsair AX series PSU's a lot of people are using it. The PSU ins't necessarily overkill, you can feel free to add another 970 in the future with that wattage. Nice m.2 array, +1

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

what a piece +1

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

That dual m2 ssd setup is dad to the bone. I didn't realize that motherboard had that available. Very nice.

Gooberdad thumbs up

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

You can get motherboards with a triple M.2 but there isn't much left for sata drives if you max it out.

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

Asrock z170 extreme7+ I believe

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

Great build, I have the same motherboard, I love it!

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

Do you have any M.2 installed?

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

Not yet, how good are they?

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

I was checking out how close the M.2 headers are to the CPU and the GPU, I wonder if that will have heat issues.

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

No heat issues for me. Only slightly over locked cpu 4.4 ghz. Fast , very fast. If your current C drive is already SSD I hear you might not notice the speed increase. I went from a mechanical HD to the m.2 the speed increase was awesome.

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

I went from HDD to Hybrid State Drive (fast) and now I have SSD (very fast). I would like an M.2 as well. I have 2TB on the hybrid with everything saved on it and windows and the games on SSD. I'm not sure if I need the extra space, but I prefer speed.

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

Have a look at my build, you'll laugh when you see my braided cables. I like to be different!

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

I have a synology NAS for extra storage. It's the slim model, supports 4 2.5 drives, I use WD RED 1TB for all 4 and configured them RAID 5. Tiny footprint gives me about 3TB of long term raid 5 storage. Back all of that up regularly just to be safe.

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

How silent did your build work out in the end?

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

Funny story... My office is in the finished basement. The office sits right next to the utility closet/area. This closet/area had a broken door, and the noise from the furnace was coming into the office unabated for years. I turned on the computer and all I could hear was the furnace. I had to fix the door to enjoy the how quiet the pic is. It's not silent, but sitting in my chair with the pc under the desk I cannot hear it.

  • 30 months ago
  • 1 point

This is great!

I'm thinking of a similar setup for light room as well. I found a lot of similar recommendations from this site (https://photographylife.com/the-ultimate-pc-build-for-photography-needs-skylake-edition) so nice to see that it actually works!

I don't think I'll be able to afford the 2 x M.2 set up just yet and might just go with one M.2 SSD for now. Was there a reason you put the catalog on a separate drive? Or was it just to be able to use the full 512GB capacity rather than sharing it with the OS?

Also when configuring this set up on PC Part Picker I noticed this error: "The motherboard M.2 slot #0 shares bandwidth with a SATA Express port. When the M.2 slot is populated, one SATA Express port is disabled."

Just want to make sure: Does sharing the SATA Express port affect the speed of the drive and/or its performance?

Thanks again for sharing this!

PS. Is there anything you would do differently now?

  • 30 months ago
  • 2 points

the dual m.2 drives is overkill. i should have gone with c:\ M.2 d:\ Samsung SSD e:\ 7200 hard drive

One of my design goals was silence and adding a spinning hard drive would have gone against that goal. i should have sacrificed a little noise for a little savings.

yes, i wanted to keep all of lightroom work isolated on its own drive.

i forget the actual details but sharing bandwidth means, if you plug in the m.2 you lose the ability to use the sata port

so if you have a lot of sata to plug in, the use of m.2 could be an issue.

  • 30 months ago
  • 2 points

i also wish the 1070 video cards were out at time of my build. the 970 still works unfortunately so no justification for me to buy a 1070

  • 37 months ago
  • 0 points

They way you spent your money here... Just.. No.

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

How was it a bad spend? If it works for what he needs then its perfectly fine.

Because I do a lot photo editing throughout the year with Adobe Lightroom my main goal was fast file access

Stating that most of the money used to ssd's was indeed justified.

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

Spending $919 on SSD's. Come on.

He could've gotten a 980 Ti, 1 TB Samsung SSD, and a 128GB Samsung SSD and a Caviar Blue 1TB HDD for less than he spent on all the SSD's.

  • 37 months ago
  • 2 points

Adobe Lightroom hardly ever uses the graphics card for optimizing its workload so spending more on the 980 TI is not a great use of funds.

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm sure the system you spec-ed out would be good enough for many apps, but if you have ever used Adobe Lightroom you might agree with the M.2 decisisions.

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

If it works for him and he was comfortable with the amount he paid there is no issue.

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

Not fast enough. Mechanical spinning HDD not part of my design. I leave those in the NAS.

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

I admit, m.2 is not for the builder on a budget. But when you have little patience like me, it's money well spent

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

Well said, sir.

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