Also, AMD processors work great.
The biggest thing (regarding abnormal performance) is how well Lightroom likes your hardware/software configuration, which unfortunately is not very predictable.
i.e. some people on high-powered computers cut through raws like butter, other people with the same hardware have the worst performance of all...
So, sometimes it's the hardware/drivers, and sometimes its software/services/config/order-various-software's-are-installed kinds of issues, when performance is abnormal I mean.
Also beware: Lightroom does some things fast and other things slow, due to software design/implementation, even when it's operating at peak performance level.
But in general, it sounds to me like you are on the right track. Except, if you are most familiar with Macs, consider getting a Mac, and vice versa (cost difference should be the least of your concerns, unless you don't value your time much, or user experience...). From the best I can tell, performance problems are not identify-ably better or worse on one platform versus the other - somebody please correct that statement if it's wrong.
I bought a quad core mac mini server in January to get the quad core & dual 7200rpm HDD (I upgraded one to a SSD) & obtained 8GB RAM separately to upgrade myself - LR4 runs fine on that. It replaces a 9 year old dell PC running XP.
Still using the 17.5" dell monitor from my old PC - will upgrade this at some point to a larger screen - probably one of the Dell 23" ones
Thanks guys! Actually this is going to have OS X on it, so I guess you could call it a Hack Pro. Pretty reliable and easy to do these days!
My outstanding questions at the moment are as follows:
- Is the GPU indeed unimportant when it comes to LR and PS, i.e. a $50 unit will due?
- Is spending an extra $140 more on an i7 over an i5 quad going to be beneficial, and if so, how?
- Disk configuration. I need help with this. Is spending the $$$ on a 128GB SSD for boot, cache, catalog & previews going to help with speed? Should I consider striped RAID for traditional disks? Etc. etc...
Now about the monitor, as I would like something at least somewhat good. The screen on my MBP is beautiful aside from the fact that it's glossy. But for a desktop it's been my understanding that a Dell 2407WFP, 2408WFP or the NEC PA241 would be a fantastic choice. Does anyone have any comments on these, whether it'd be better to spend $600 on the NEC instead of $300 on the Dell (used prices), or whether there are different monitors I should consider?
The information at this post should be helpful:
The OP at the above link is building his own system, but the configuration information is relevant to any OEM system, PC or Mac.