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My brother wants to build a PC mainly for amateur (raw) photo editing in Lightroom/Gimp and video editing in Davinci Resolve. Currently lightroom is painfully slow on his old T520 thinkpad and Resolve wont even start. The goal is to get those applications running well enough for hobby projects (short 1080p Videos, etc.) without spending too much money.

The recommendations for Davinci Resolve are mostly a GPU with 2GB ram, since most the calculations are done on CUDA, and 16 GB of ram.

We have so far settled on the following:

  • GTX 1050 TI
  • 16 GB ram (DDR3/DDR4? Depends on the choice of the CPU I guess)
  • SSD

The big question is which CPU. The market looks pretty confusing to me, and I also don't really know what specs we need. We went through some benchmark lists and found the following ones to look interesting:

Intel Pentium G4560 (~68€):

2 Cores (+ HT), 3.5 GHz, DDR4-2400

AMD A10-7870K (~110€):

4 Cores (no HT), 3.9 GHz, DDR3-2133

AMD FX-8350 (~103€):

8 Cores (no HT), 4.0GHz, DDR3-1866

It looks like the last two (especially the FX) are older higher-end models. I know cores and GHz isn't everything, but I have no idea which one is ultimately faster (is AMD still considered the less efficient architecture?).

The first two have an internal GPU, since we have the 1050 Ti this is not required but I guess it doesn't hurt.

Maybe important: the Pentium has hardware support for encoding/decoding of different codecs like h264, jpeg, etc. Not sure if Lightroom and Resolve make use of that?

Can anyone please recommend me a good CPU? Of course, if none of the above is a good choice, a different one is ok too.

(Fun fact: last time I build a pc it had an Athlon XP 2800+ and 1gb of ram, I think a lot has changed since...)

  • So your budget is around 100 EUR (or maybe more like 200 EUR for combined RAM + CPU, because DDR4 is more expensive), is that correct? What country do you need shipping to? Is overclocking an option? – timuzhti Dec 12 '17 at 4:47
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    Also, I would recommend an Athlon X4 over an APU if you're going in that direction, as the iGPU is useless in your case, it would be cheaper, and there would be no competition for thermal/power limit. – timuzhti Dec 12 '17 at 4:54
  • Thanks! The budged is not strictly 100€ for CPU + RAM. 100€ would be nice, but if 150€ or 200€ would make a huge difference in speed, thats fine too. I need shipping to germany. – Johannes Dec 12 '17 at 10:17
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    Are you willing to buy used? If so, I would strongly recommend a used 1156/1155 build: you'll manage a 4c/4t CPU for very little. For example, you could get an X3430 for €20.88, an Asus P7H55 for €69.36, and overclock it to 3.5GHz+. You'll also be able to use cheaper DDR3, which is good as DDR4 prices have skyrocketed recently. – JMY1000 Dec 13 '17 at 6:40
  • @JMY1000 very interesting, though I have no clue about overclocking. The thing about used is warranty, my brother is no tech expert, so he wont be able to troubleshoot and fix things himself. Thanks for the suggestion anyway, I will have a look at some used processors! – Johannes Dec 13 '17 at 18:49
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I would strongly recommend against anything below the latest generation of the Intel Core i5 lineup for graphic intensive workflows, even my (admittedly 5 year old) Intel Core i5-4570 struggles from time to time with Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Pro.

I would highly recommend the CPU linked below if your budget will stretch for that.

AMD Ryzen 5 1500X

Just to note, this uses the AM4 socket, so you would be looking at more expensive DDR4 RAM rather than DDR3, as this is the memory type that the processor supports.

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Video editing favours CPUs with a relatively high core count but also good single threaded performance. I'd recommend a Ryzen 5 1600 but if that's too expensive for you, I think you should go with a quad core Core i3 or a Ryzen 3. I'd recommend the 8100 model as its price won't be much higher than 100$.

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  • I would strongly recommend against anything below i5 for graphic intensive workflows from the Intel range, even my (admittedly 5 year old) i5-4570 struggles from time to time with photoshop and premiere. I would highly recommend this cpu here if your budget will stretch for that. – Edward Nunn May 13 '18 at 18:33
  • Welcome to Hardware Recs! Can you add why you recommend the Ryzen 5 1600 to your answer please? This will help others looking for something similar. – Cfinley May 14 '18 at 15:38
  • @EdwardNunn Can you add an answer with your recommendation? Comments are temporary and are not the best place for answers, let alone comments on another answer. – Cfinley May 14 '18 at 15:42
  • The reason I recommended the Ryzen 5 1600 is because it has six cores and twelve threads (as I mentioned in my answer, multithreaded performance is important), it has good single threaded performance, as well, which is important too, its price isn't very steep and last but not least, it will be upgradable as it has been stated that AMD will continue to support the AM4 socket for a couple of years. – kostas5m May 14 '18 at 19:30

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