I'm a graphic artist, as well as obviously a computer enthusiast, so hopefully I can give you some useful
info here on what will help in the real world
, and not just want gamers want
Go for the cheaper motherboard. It's already overkill, and aesthetically it looks a heck of a lot nicer (hey, shes a photographer right?
You can never ever have enough RAM for this stuff. If you cant source Samsung stuff, get something with tight timings and high capacities. High frequency is nice and all, but keep it in check with price.
As far as accessories, a DVD or even Bluray burner is real nice for artists and photogtaphers - lets us burn disposable digital copies of portfolios, etc.
Card Reader is a 100% MUST - but don't cheap out. Get a nice one. If shes anything like myself (when I'm actually doing photography), shes gonna be sticking a card in there a few times every single day. Cheap readers will give out after so many insertions. Poor durability contacts, etc.
GPU - Ditch AMD and pick up a Nvidia. I don't like it either, but some of these programs use CUDA. I'd suggest a mid range 600 or a high end 500 series. It would be awesome if you could do both (or a new quadro), to be strong with both CUDA and raw compute, but that's probably not an option.
Data drives - She will love you forever if you can give her 2 SSDs and 2 large platter drives. 1 SSD for the OS, one for all the editing software and their swapfiles, and the two large platters in RAID-1 for storage. Make sure you set everything up so files stay organized.
She probably won't even be using a mouse. If she's even slightly serious, she has a wacom tablet. I'm assuming she is if shes building a rig just for this. If she does use a mouse though, shes gonna want something with perfect tracking at low DPI. Not a single other thing matters. Intellemouse 3.0, deathadder, something along those lines. DPI
Keyboard on the other hand, she will be using quite a bit. I'd suggest getting her a tactile mechanical board. Cherry clears if you can find them, otherwise browns.
And now for the most important factor - Monitors! Yes, plural. She wants at least 2, even if the second one is a total piece of trash. If you can put all your toolbars, buttons, and other GUI stuff off on a secondary monitor, that allows you to work with your image in border-less fullscreen on the primary screen. I cannot even begin to tell you how important this is!
Now, while the secondary panel can be just about anything if need be, the primary panel MUST be a IPS panel. There might be one or two economically viable alternatives, but it's doubtful you will be able to source a high end VA or CRT (and even if you do, she will probably kick you in the nads for it) so lets just focus on IPS.
Unless she is working in a room with absolutely no lights, an AG coating is a must. Might not be popular around this forum for personal use, but it matters for imaging, trust me.
If a Dell Ultra Sharp is within budget, I'd suggest going with one. Preferably a 2560x1600. Ezio is great too, but stupid overpriced (even more so than the dells... speaking of dells, if she is a college student (or anyone you know is) you can get huge student discounts). If you really need to skimp on the monitor, pick up one of those korean panels from microcenter, monoprice, or ebay. Their colors kind of suck, as do their 16:9 aspect ratio, and they aren't adjustable, but they're STILL
better for this kind of work than any
TN panel. Do pick one with an AG coating though. There are other decent IPS panels that are in between the Korean panels and the ultra sharps in both price and quality. If you are looking at that price range, there are plenty of people on this forum who know more about individual panels than I do. I suggest making a thread about it specifically if needed.Edited by Zero4549 - 2/10/13 at 11:08pm