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Old Nov 1, 2010, 08:24 PM   #1
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ati man
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Default Need feedback on $3000 Photo Editing/Gaming PC Build (New Pictures!)

Wow it seems like its many many years before I log on around here (last time was Jun 8th 2008!)

Anyways, looking to build myself a new Photo Editing PC. I'm looking to do some light gaming (mostly SC2/strategy/simulation stuff, I play FPS's on my 60" gaming setup in the other room). Anyways, I'm a professional photographer and the PRIMARY focus of this is going to be photo editing.

Already bought:

Antec 900 Case
2x2tb Hard Drives (storage)

Must Haves:

30" 2560x1600 Monitor (leaning toward the new Dell U3011, this will take up a bunch of my budget!)
A SSD (don't know which brand to pick, thinking about 128gb size)

What I'm leaning toward:

Intel i5-760 w/ CM Hyper 212+ Cooler and O/C'ing to 4.0ghz
16gb DDR3 Memory
A Gigabyte Motherboard with USB3.0
ATI HD6870

Any suggestions are appreciated. I'll be running mainly Photoshop CS4 and processing 12mp RAW files in large batches (I shoot mostly weddings and edit ~1200 or so RAW photos for each).


EDIT: System is built, scroll down to see the results!
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Last edited by ati man : Nov 16, 2010 at 09:20 AM.
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Old Nov 1, 2010, 11:22 PM   #2
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Looks like a good set of choices, although perhaps an i7 instead of an i5? Relying on an overclock to get the job done can be risky, better to start with the performance you want than hope for an long term stable OC, IMO.

Do you have backup and long term storage taken care of?
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Old Nov 2, 2010, 05:56 AM   #3
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Since you are looking for this as a work PC besides the gaming I would consider a 6 core processor myself. I mean in all seriousness I do not due more than light photo editing so I am not sure if the sofwtare will really benefit from the extra cores. However I know in heavy audio work they make a nice difference.
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Old Nov 2, 2010, 08:15 AM   #4
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I don't think CS4 scales beyond four cores, all the benchmarks for the X6's vs. the 760's favor the Intel proc (can o' worms I'm not going to open - compiler optimizations)
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Old Nov 2, 2010, 10:05 AM   #5
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But with a huge budget and such high end other equipment, you're shortchanging your build with an i5. Go i7 or X6.

There's lots of SSD options and this coming month should do good things for price. I would look for a current generation sandforce based drive, though an X25-M G3 (when released) or a drive running off SATA III would be a good choice as well. Just yesterday newegg had (briefly) a sale with a current generation 60GB sandforce for $60.... damn why did I have to miss it...


+1 on backup drives if it's an option. Maybe add another mechanical drive and go RAID.


My guess is that the current choice of GPU is overkill, and I suppose an i7 or X6 would also be, but there probably will be situations that will see benefits from it and your budget doesn't put on many constraints. I think going with tons and tons of RAM is a good bet though, and USB 3 for file transfers is a good plan as well. If the budget starts to get tight, I would drop the GPU a bit to get a better CPU in the name of productivity, of course at that resolution it may be difficult to game much with a lesser card... at least on current titles.
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Old Nov 2, 2010, 11:08 AM   #6
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I believe that this is among the few cases where a RAM drive can make a difference. This would mean more RAM.

Get a higher processor, for sure. For what you want and the budget you have I'd "waste" a bit there.

I think the 6870 is the right vcard. Any current game will feel okay there and it isn't expensive.
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Athlon64 X2 5000+ Brisbane (@13*201=2613MHz)
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Old Nov 2, 2010, 11:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caveman-jim View Post
Looks like a good set of choices, although perhaps an i7 instead of an i5? Relying on an overclock to get the job done can be risky, better to start with the performance you want than hope for an long term stable OC, IMO.

Do you have backup and long term storage taken care of?
Looking at most benchmarks for the i7's it looks like Photoshop really only cares about the number of cores and clock speed. It doesn't appear that the multi-threaded i7 does anything over the i5's. I'm just not convinced its worth the extra $200ish (between mobo and processor) to go to the i7.

Quote:
Originally Posted by caveman-jim View Post
I don't think CS4 scales beyond four cores, all the benchmarks for the X6's vs. the 760's favor the Intel proc (can o' worms I'm not going to open - compiler optimizations)
Yup, I'm definitely staying intel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaJMasta View Post
But with a huge budget and such high end other equipment, you're shortchanging your build with an i5. Go i7 or X6.

There's lots of SSD options and this coming month should do good things for price. I would look for a current generation sandforce based drive, though an X25-M G3 (when released) or a drive running off SATA III would be a good choice as well. Just yesterday newegg had (briefly) a sale with a current generation 60GB sandforce for $60.... damn why did I have to miss it...


+1 on backup drives if it's an option. Maybe add another mechanical drive and go RAID.


My guess is that the current choice of GPU is overkill, and I suppose an i7 or X6 would also be, but there probably will be situations that will see benefits from it and your budget doesn't put on many constraints. I think going with tons and tons of RAM is a good bet though, and USB 3 for file transfers is a good plan as well. If the budget starts to get tight, I would drop the GPU a bit to get a better CPU in the name of productivity, of course at that resolution it may be difficult to game much with a lesser card... at least on current titles.
The budget isn't that HUGE, remember $3000 includes the monitor. So that leaves me roughly $1500 or so for the PC. Doesn't look like the i7 can really give me much more in the way of photo editing performance.

I saw that sale for the 60gb SSD for $60. What a steal! I really think I want a 120gb SSD though, just so I have room for Win 7, PS, and a few games. I think photo editing might be sped up if I can keep a 30gb or so :working folder" for the current photos I'm editing before I send them to the storage drives for backup.

I bought two 2tb WD green hard drives (WD20EADS). I'm planning on putting them into Raid 1 (is that the instant backup one?). Is this possible? I've heard the WD Green drives making this a pain. Any one know more about this?

I don't think the vid card is over the top given that I'll be on a 2560x1600 monitor. I just want to be able to run strategy games and things on this pc (where the up resolution could really help). I'll play the FPS's and more casual games on my other comp.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Qualitier View Post
I believe that this is among the few cases where a RAM drive can make a difference. This would mean more RAM.

Get a higher processor, for sure. For what you want and the budget you have I'd "waste" a bit there.

I think the 6870 is the right vcard. Any current game will feel okay there and it isn't expensive.
How much ram is too much? I'm looking at maybe one or two of the 2x4gb gskill kits out there. Not sure if 16gb would really give me much more performance than 8gb.

Thanks everyone for the feedback!!
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Old Nov 2, 2010, 12:25 PM   #8
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If Photoshop uses the memory "normally", it will use a given amount (that might depend on the load) and, in case you have it or more, you'll get "normal" (high) performance, otherwise it will swap things to disk and performance will go down. But Idk how much memory is enough for Photoshop. You could start with 8GB and see if the disk becomes a bottleneck or not.

But I was suggesting a RAM disk. It is a sw that will set up a portion of the memory as disk, the fastest one you can get, much faster than any SSD. It's good for some programs coded to use the disk as buffer etc no matter how much memory is available. If you have 16 GB RAM and an ancient 4GB HD, the program will still ignore the RAM and use the HD. When I looked for one for a much lower target (benefitting the unmanaged memory in a 32bit system), I saw a lot of users doing this to speed up some apps for photo/video editing that work so, but Idk if Photoshop CS4 is one of them.
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Windows XP 32 pro, no CCC, ATi Tray Tools
Sapphire X1950pro 512MB AGP (580/702·2 MHz) with Accelero X2
CRT Nokia 446Xpro (19", 107 kHz) @ 1600x1200x75Hz (desktop) or 1280x1024x85Hz (games)
Asrock AM2NF3-VSTA (nForce3 250); [email protected] MHz (motherboard limitation, 3216MB/s up + 3216MB/s down)
Athlon64 X2 5000+ Brisbane (@13*201=2613MHz)
2x2GB Buffalo 2.1V + 2x1GB Kingston 2.0V, both DDR2-800 [email protected] 2*373MHz (2613/7) 4-4-4-12-2T 2.0V; dual channel enabled
56k modem, drives etc
Corsair VX-450W, one +12V x 33A rail, 81-85% efficiency
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Old Nov 2, 2010, 09:20 PM   #9
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Now that I'm convinced that I'm going with the i5-760 I'm leaning toward these two mobos: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813128425 and http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813128412 . Looks like the major difference is just the sata III. I'm not sure if thats really worth having on a board. Also looks like both can do the raid setup I want for the 2 2tb wd green drives that I bought. What does everyone think?
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Old Nov 2, 2010, 10:22 PM   #10
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I'm just saying that if you get the choice, a better CPU will help in batch conversions or heavy editing, while that GPU is essentially overkill for your work but too little power to run demanding games at that resolution (you mentioned simulations, flight sims?) I'll admit that most photo editing jobs won't need much CPU power, but if you're doing a mass conversion on photos (thumbnails, making them internet portable, applying the same basic changes to every one) the better CPU will give you better performance, probably quite noticeably if you're doing it to a whole batch of photos from a shoot.
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Old Nov 2, 2010, 10:22 PM   #11
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I think Western Digital don't support RAID on Green series drives, the firmware does screwy things. Be careful.
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Old Nov 3, 2010, 11:28 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caveman-jim View Post
I think Western Digital don't support RAID on Green series drives, the firmware does screwy things. Be careful.
I have read that... its unfortunate I'll look into it more... if not I'll be ok

Here's an update on what I think I'm buying:


Here's what I'm looking at ordering:

Qty. Product Description Savings Total Price
1

ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM



$18.99

1

HIS H687F1G2M Radeon HD 6870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity



$239.99

1

Arctic Silver Ceramique Thermal Compound


$5.49

1

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-8GBRL



$129.99

1

Intel Core i5-760 Lynnfield 2.8GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80605I5760


$208.99

1

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders



$99.99

1

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-G1 120mm "heatpipe direct contact" Long life sleeve CPU Cooler



$29.99

1

OCZ Vertex 2 OCZSSD3-2VTX120G 3.5" 120GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)


-$15.00 Instant
$30.00 Mail-in Rebate Card20-227-590

$234.99

1

GIGABYTE GA-H55N-USB3 LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI USB 3.0 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard


$104.99


Still looking into power supplies? Anyone know of any with a good deal?
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Old Nov 3, 2010, 11:36 AM   #13
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This is a good deal IMO
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817139009

I have two of these, been the best PSU's I've ever had.
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Old Nov 3, 2010, 11:51 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caveman-jim View Post
This is a good deal IMO
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817139009

I have two of these, been the best PSU's I've ever had.
That looks like a nice powersupply! Seems a bit overkill for what I'm doing though.

How about this one (SeaSonic S12II 520 Bronze 520W ATX12V V2.3 / EPS 12V V2.91 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply $59.99) . I think 520w will be enough to power this system, 5 year warranty and bronze are nice bonuses!
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Old Nov 3, 2010, 12:37 PM   #15
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The Seasonic is fine although if you plan heavy o/c (supposing that the CPU can do it) I'd try to get a 600W one of similar quality. Your rig would consume around 300W from the outlet at stock frequencies and voltages. If you have budget, overkill a bit on the PSU, double the consumption isn´t very excessive imo.

Change that mobo urgently! There's no reason to pair a mini-ITX mobo and an Antec 900. You need a full ATX board, always get one if you have room. Gigabyte has them with USB3, lower equal or higher prices and the same or more features (if the P55 chipset is superior to the H55, I'd get the former). That if you like Gigabyte specially, but any brand has similar stuff.
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Windows XP 32 pro + Windows Vista 32 Ultimate, CCC + ATi Tray Tools
Club3D HD4890 Superclocked Edition (950/1050·4) with Accelero S1 rev2 + Turbo Module (2 80mm low-profile fans w/o frame)
LCD Samsung SyncMaster T260 (26", 1920x1200)
Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P (socket AM3, chipset AMD-790FX)
Phenom II X4 955-BE @ stock
4x2GB Geil DDR3-1333 7-7-7-24-33 1.5V @ 1333MHz 7-7-7-24-33-1T 1.6V; dual channel enabled; unganged mode
Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 with gameport, AverMedia AVerTV Hybrid Super007
2x WD 640GB Caviar Blue (SATA) in RAID 0, DVD reader (IDE), 2 DVD recorders (SATA+IDE), floppy drive, card reader
Corsair VX-550W, one +12V x 41A rail, 81-85% efficiency



Windows XP 32 pro, no CCC, ATi Tray Tools
Sapphire X1950pro 512MB AGP (580/702·2 MHz) with Accelero X2
CRT Nokia 446Xpro (19", 107 kHz) @ 1600x1200x75Hz (desktop) or 1280x1024x85Hz (games)
Asrock AM2NF3-VSTA (nForce3 250); [email protected] MHz (motherboard limitation, 3216MB/s up + 3216MB/s down)
Athlon64 X2 5000+ Brisbane (@13*201=2613MHz)
2x2GB Buffalo 2.1V + 2x1GB Kingston 2.0V, both DDR2-800 [email protected] 2*373MHz (2613/7) 4-4-4-12-2T 2.0V; dual channel enabled
56k modem, drives etc
Corsair VX-450W, one +12V x 33A rail, 81-85% efficiency
190W maximum consumption from the wall (monitor apart)
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Old Nov 3, 2010, 01:40 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qualitier View Post
The Seasonic is fine although if you plan heavy o/c (supposing that the CPU can do it) I'd try to get a 600W one of similar quality. Your rig would consume around 300W from the outlet at stock frequencies and voltages. If you have budget, overkill a bit on the PSU, double the consumption isn´t very excessive imo.

Change that mobo urgently! There's no reason to pair a mini-ITX mobo and an Antec 900. You need a full ATX board, always get one if you have room. Gigabyte has them with USB3, lower equal or higher prices and the same or more features (if the P55 chipset is superior to the H55, I'd get the former). That if you like Gigabyte specially, but any brand has similar stuff.
Is it really necessary to have a power supply that can double what your system components can actually pull in? I figure its gotta to have a 100-200w over what you put in there (incase you want to upgrade later, and your not working your power supply too bad).

And WOW yes I do need to change that MOBO. I actually linked to the wrong one. There is a full sized one for the same price. Thanks for catching that! This is the one I meant: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813128425

Whats the difference between the P55 and H55?
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Old Nov 3, 2010, 02:15 PM   #17
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Well, there isn't a hell of a difference actually. I just knew that the P55 is somewhat superior but I didn't know in what . This is the best info I've been able to find:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...61,2514-6.html

So P55 adds 2 USB ports more, multi vcard support, two PCIe 2.0 lanes more and the Rapid Storage Technology, although H55 has support for the embedded GPU of some processors (not the i5-760 anyway) unlike P55. Imo the Rapid Storage Tech would be the most important bonus for you (although I don't know what does mean that exactly ).
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Old Nov 4, 2010, 06:35 AM   #18
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As for hard drives, I would suggest 2 in RAID-1 or 3 in RAID-5 since this is your work that will be on them. I picked up a Hitachi 2Tb drive a couple weeks ago (Deskstar 7K2000) and it seems to be a decent performer for a good price.

As for a RAM drive or another SSD for working space, after playing with images and videos on my own rig it seems that the hard drive speed will not be the limiting factor when doing filters and conversions, so I wouldn't bother.

My suggestion is a 128Gb SSD for the OS, apps and games, and then mechanical drives for bulk storage. I have a Kingston 128Gb drive (SSDNow SNV425) and it's doing quite well for me.
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Old Nov 4, 2010, 07:36 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbsboyer View Post
As for hard drives, I would suggest 2 in RAID-1 or 3 in RAID-5 since this is your work that will be on them. I picked up a Hitachi 2Tb drive a couple weeks ago (Deskstar 7K2000) and it seems to be a decent performer for a good price.

As for a RAM drive or another SSD for working space, after playing with images and videos on my own rig it seems that the hard drive speed will not be the limiting factor when doing filters and conversions, so I wouldn't bother.

My suggestion is a 128Gb SSD for the OS, apps and games, and then mechanical drives for bulk storage. I have a Kingston 128Gb drive (SSDNow SNV425) and it's doing quite well for me.
Sounds like a good plan. Unfortunately the drives (WD Green) I bought won't RAID nicely together

I am heavily leaning toward the 120gb OCZ Vortex 2 3.5" SSD. Seems to have very good reviews and should be a great fit in my system!
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Old Nov 4, 2010, 12:46 PM   #20
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Alright ordered three more components,

XFX HD6870, Corsair 550w PS, and the 3.5" OCZ Vertex 2 120gb SSD

Now I'm pretty much down to the Mobo, i5-760, Cooler, Ram, and Windows 7... all of which I know I'm leaning towards so I'll just wait a week or so and see if there are any good sales!
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Old Nov 15, 2010, 10:29 PM   #21
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Alright time for a big update!

Bought everything and I'm up and running. Overclocked to 4.0ghz at 1.295v stable! This think is awesome. Really gives me a TON of time back from waiting for my photos to edit.

Here are a few photos of the madness!


6870 and 120gb SSD






That massive COOLER


8gb DDR1333 Gskill


All put together


Attempting to keep a clean case




Up and going with the Dell U3011


Multitasking like a motha!

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Old Nov 16, 2010, 02:34 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ati man View Post
Wow it seems like its many many years before I log on around here (last time was Jun 8th 2008!)

Anyways, looking to build myself a new Photo Editing PC. I'm looking to do some light gaming (mostly SC2/strategy/simulation stuff, I play FPS's on my 60" gaming setup in the other room). Anyways, I'm a professional photographer and the PRIMARY focus of this is going to be photo editing.

Already bought:

Antec 900 Case
2x2tb Hard Drives (storage)

Must Haves:

30" 2560x1600 Monitor (leaning toward the new Dell U3011, this will take up a bunch of my budget!)
A SSD (don't know which brand to pick, thinking about 128gb size)

What I'm leaning toward:

Intel i5-760 w/ CM Hyper 212+ Cooler and O/C'ing to 4.0ghz
16gb DDR3 Memory
A Gigabyte Motherboard with USB3.0
ATI HD6870

Any suggestions are appreciated. I'll be running mainly Photoshop CS4 and processing 12mp RAW files in large batches (I shoot mostly weddings and edit ~1200 or so RAW photos for each).
An SSD RAID 0 should be in any $3,000 rig IMO
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Last edited by FX-Overclocking : Nov 16, 2010 at 02:43 AM.
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Old Nov 17, 2010, 12:12 PM   #23
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Default Photo Editing U3011 PC Build

Here are a few more pictures of my photo editing pc build. And click here to see my Review of the new Dell U3011 Photo Editing Monitor. Thanks again for everyone's input!
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