I was just told that I'd be throwing good money after bad by upgrading this motherboard. I had no idea picking out a new system would be so difficult. If I may share with you my current system config for comments and feedback:
Processor Quad-Core Intel® Core™ i7 930 2.80GHz 4.8GT/s QPI 8MB L3 Cache (VT)
Motherboard MSI X58 Pro-E - ATX - Intel® X58 Chipset
Memory 3 x Crucial 2GB PC3-10600 1333MHz DDR3
Chassis Antec Sonata III 500 - ATX Mid Tower - 500 Watt Power Supply - Black - Silent Design
Power Supply Included Power Supply (Chassis must include power to select this option)
Hard Drive 500GB SATA 7200RPM - 3.5" - Seagate Barracuda® 7200.12
2 x 1.5TB SATA 7200RPM - 3.5" - Seagate Barracuda® 7200.11
5.25" Bay Samsung 22x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer LightScribe (SATA)
3.5" Bay 19-in-1 3.5" Card Reader (Black)
Video Card ATI Radeon HD 4650 1GB GDDR2 PCI Express 2.0 (1xDVI, 1xVGA, 1xHDMI)
Peripherals Cyber Acoustics 2pc Speaker System
Operating System Microsoft Windows 7 Professional (64-bit)
Software Symantec Norton Internet Security 2010
Warranty Three Year Warranty with Advanced Parts Replacement
Printer: Epson 3880
Monitor: NEC MultiSync P221W-BK 22" Widescreen LCD Computer Display
NAS: NETGEAR ReadyNAS NV+ 4-Bay w4 Western Digital Caviar Black 1 TB Bulk/OEM Hard Drive 3.5 Inch, 32 MB Cache, 7200 RPM SATA II WD1001FALS
I'll use this as a general purpose machine for home. Lightroom and Photoshop will be the primary software needs. MSOffice and iTunes will also be used a lot.
I'd appreciate any comments that would help optimize this system for photography work.
I would suggest upgrading that system to a new motherboard etc is not necessary, however there are some key things you can do to speed things up quite a lot (IMO).
1. Add more memory to bring it to 12gb
2. Add 1, preferably 2 more hard drives. On Drive 1, more the windows swap file to it, on drive 2, put the Photoshop, Bridge etc Cache (exclusivly).
Personally I used 10,000 rpm western digital Raptors for these to drives, and it works a treat. In an ideal world where money is no object, create Raid 0 stripes of multiple drives for the Photoshop Cache.
3. Stick the lightroom library, and its previews on a different drive to the raws. I don't have any definitive reason for why this is better, but it appears to me to run faster on my system after I moved the preview cach to a different drive. (Caveat: I moved it from a 1.5TB raid 1,to a WD Raptop, so it could be just the drive).
Moving swap file away from OS, and Cache files away from both of them, allows the system to utilise more disk paths when doing VM swaps, caching, OS operations etc. Without going into the nuts and bolts, it lessens the amount the drive head needs to fly around the disk, doing 3 diifferent things at once. Moving Swap away from OS can generally see a good 20% improvment in system performance in my experience.
Adding more memory is, well, just always good. You can never have too much Ram on a 64 bit system IMO. More memory means less paging. (The system pages even if you think its not, when it still 'seems' to have free memory). Photoshop especially gobbles up ram, never mind things like PTGUI.
I run 12gb, processing 1dS-3 files, and regularly max out the 12gb ram with multi layered files, and especially stiching pano's.
Hope this helps.