Advice for new PC


I would like to switch to a new PC running Linux (away from Apple).

The most „challenging“ tasks I would like to use it are darktable and Blender. The latter one being the most challenging as it should not be too slow.

In addition, I do need a small form factor (such as mini itx).

Hence I assume a NVIDIA graphics would be a reasonable choice.

Any suggestions for a reasonable configuration? So far I only had Macs which made it quite easy to choose. In any case I am not afraid of building one myself.

Price limit would be about €700,- to €800,-

I assume this will be difficult.

Thanks a lot in advance.

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You might want to state your budget…that might determine what people might suggest…

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I did :wink: only forgot the currency symbol :see_no_evil:

About €700,- (or let’s say €800,-)

I bought a gaming rig advertised by a young guy locally who was heading to college. Nvidia RTX 2060 Super and asus b550M motherboard. Runs multiple instances of DT’s toughest modules with OpenCL very well for me. It’s standard tower size and had to figure out how to turn the disco lights off. Might be cheaper than building from scratch, not sure.


Hi @kichererbse!

I totally agree with @TonyBarrett: try to find
a second hand “last year’s” gaming computer.
The larger the case, the better (thus you have room
for improvements).

Otherwise I think it would be hard to meet your budget.

Have fun!
Claes in Lund, Sweden


When my machine rolled off the production line, Rick Astley was still in the charts!

You don’t need a state-of-the-art setup for standard photography workflows (that is, not unless you have something especially demanding in mind).

If you’re also planning to use it for things such as video editing and/or 3D modelling, though, you’ll definately need a bit more under the hood; in this case, a budget gaming P.C. is likely your best bet.

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Rick Astley was still in the charts!

With Never Gonna Give You Up?

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The Rickroll is calling. Rickrolling - Wikipedia

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That’s the one!

A small chassis has the power supply outside. I would prefer a bigger one with passive cooling to get a silent pc, but this could become outside your budget.

I’ve been looking to build a new system myself, but €800 is really tight my opinion. (Yes, you can get much cheaper systems, but not for Blender / Darktable / graphics…

Here is a list of parts I’m considering:

AMD Processor Ryzen™ 5 5600G - €144,90
MSI B550 Gaming Gen3 - €129,00
Kingston Fury Beast - 32GB (2 x 16GB) 3200 MHz DDR4 - €129,90
Zotac GeForce RTX 3060 Twin Edge OC - € 429,00
Case Antec VSK4000E-U3 - €54,90
Samsung 2000GB 970 EVO Plus - €199,90
Power supply Seasonic G12 GC-550 - €74,90
CPU cooler Gelid Solutions TANQUILLO REV.5 120mm - € 34,95

That’s €1.197 without monitor, keyboard, mouse…
You can of course try to reduce the price by only adding 16gb of memory, picking a smaller ssd, go with an older gpu like the rtx2060…

Darktable really gets a significant boost from enabling OpenCL. My linux system does not have a dedicated GPU, my Windows system does. If I have to wait 10 seconds each time I change a parametric maks, it become really tedious…



I am in the same boat as you, however my budget can be a bit more stretched, I think :wink:

Maybe read this Good site for non-gamer content creators, which is a real relief! Just keep in mind it is Adobe oriented, but to my knowledge are these workloads for Photoshop and LR quite similar to Darktable and Gimp.

Also have a look here and here

And if you cannot get enough, even more …

I think your proposed setup is rather good, but if your budget is tight you can go for 16GB ram and 1TB SSD. An internal 4GB hard-disk or less is cheaper and can store more content.
Your GPU takes a lot of your budget. You can do with less. GPU benchmarks in darktable to get an idea of the impact of a GPU.

Another option is to look for a second hand gamer setup or buy all hardware new except the GPU, and buy this one second hand from a gamer that has upgraded to yet another crazy expensive GPU.

Good luck. I know it is a time consuming exercise to separate the marketing talk from the real useful information.

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It’s worth looking into Arc when it comes to the GPU, they are cheap for what they provide as some benchmarks here have shown. Linux is still gaining support but it will only get better with time and when it comes to compute I doubt there’s any competition at their price range.

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Indeed, more info here Intel Arc Graphics A750 + A770 Linux Gaming Performance Review - Phoronix

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Thanks for pointing to this benchmark.
Just did a test on a couple of machines here:

  • My wife’s old laptop with a i3, no opencl: 95 seconds
  • My windows machine (4690k), no opencl: 20,3 seconds
  • My windows machine (4690k + 750ti), opencl: 12 seconds
  • My linux machine (i5 6500), no opencl: 18,5 seconds

Thanks for all the tips. I am still evaluating.

Just one more thing. I came across the HP Victus 16 with AMD Ryzen 5 and RTX 350Ti.

Has anybody experience with that (under Linux)?

I would consider also power usage… but it’s difficult to find out and compare.

If you are in europe, a friend of mine has bought his pc from csl at a really nice price from germany, search csl computer

And also… why windows if both dt and blender are running well or even better with linux?

Germany is perfectly fine. :grinning:

I actually want to run the system with Linux.

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Just came across the „Intel NUC 11 Enthusiast Kit NUC11PHKi7C“. It has an RTX2060 on board and a nice form factor. Would this be a viable solution for DT and Blender?

Just googled that one. Does it include RAM? I only see “up to”. Not quite in you originally stated price range either.

I was looking at hardware like GPUs last year and found that they are very expensive to buy standalone, but much cheaper when they are integrated into systems - especially laptops. Then I bought a Lenovo laptop (directly from Lenovo) for my work for 999€ and it runs darktable fine (never tried blender). It has a RTX 3060 onboard which wasn’t noticable in the price. That’s a Yoga Slim 7 Pro 16. Also comes with a very nice screen and keyboard. Some other candidates that looked very promising were called “ThinkBook” - they are cheaper than the "ThinkPad"s in some ways, but still have good hardware inside.

What I noticed though is that I really need to configure swap space, or the programs will just start crashing with 16 GB RAM, so 32 would be better. With swap it’s o.k., though.

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