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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 9:59 pm 
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Roy, I'm after a fast general system which will include photo editing as a primary load. That is why I'm going heavy ram with a value-performance CPU. The biggest limit to computer responsiveness has been the hard disk pretty much for decades. SSDs might finally start to relieve that limit. I think Nostrum is thinking in a similar way to me.

This is not an extreme gaming box by any means, if I were still interested in that, I'd go for a higher CPU and the fastest GPUs money can buy. Plus I'd have to get air conditioning fitted in my house to keep it cool. I'm not returning to those days...

Elsewhere, I have now shopped around for the Intel X25-M G2. Only found two suppliers in the UK I've used before that list it at all. Price... well, much more than a regular HD of course but cheaper than previous generation models. No one has it in stock. Should I wait or order early...

Nostrum, even if I go for the 6 slot Gigabyte, it will have advantages over the older tri-channel versions as they have lower power consumption for pretty much the same performance level. Fair point on possibly trying 8GB for now (which is still more than double what I currently have) and possibly upgrade later as prices drop.

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Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 10:09 pm 
Dunno about the SSDs.. they've been around for a while now but the stocks are still non-existent. I don't know wether it's because they're immediatley sold out once the retailers get some stock or wether it's because they don't get any 80GB G2s at the moment in the first place. I must admit I'm not quite up to date with the current alternatives. ~3 months back, the intel G2 was clearly the way to go because it's future-proof and very VERY responsive (random access performance).

Yup, what you're saying about the RAMs is probably true, still a price advantage if you go for that board.. I personally just don't really trust "exotic" boards like that, they tend to have more problems than the 08/15 ones (read: 4slot dualchannel in this case). 8GB should really be plenty at the moment anyway


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 10:35 pm 
Nostrum,
800Mhz vs. 1600 MHz is obviously not the same - no matter what the cpu socket for current cores. The FSBs are fast and pcie/pci2 architecture has significantly sped up data transfers and bandwidth. CS4 runs more than fast enough even on my ageing core 2 duo. The only benefit of a significantly faster cpu is during video encoding etc. Yes, some stuff like fuid mask etc do require faster processing power, but the main performance gain is immedietely witnessed solely by the presence of faster RAM. I think the processor she currently owns is more than good enough for what she does/willing to do. Unless there's some really economical, ground-breaking breakthrough in computing AND software within a couple of years, I think all that is required to have a pleasant "photoshopping" experience is fast RAM, and if necessary, faster drives for use as cache or even system drive. If all ahe does is image editing, there is absolutely no need for a gfx card any better than a 1G GTS250. She won't notice ANY difference. And the price-difference between the 250 and 275 is almost good enough for getting some DDR3 power which WILL speed up things she does. And the need for cooling, although important, is more suitable for gaming environments. She can cut back a lot from from that. The only thing that can make a huge difference to insane "photoshopping" is fast, tons of RAM.

popo,
I know exactly what you're saying, and I still think that you can wait a little longer for upgraging your entire system. There are some really insane experiments/competition going on among intel/nvidia/ati, and it's likely that we're gonna see some significant improvement in cpu/gpu arena in about a year or so. You might feel tempted then, and I don't know, if you'd be comfortable doing that then if you invest too much right now. I think just a mobo and RAM upgrade (along with ssd if you like) will be sufficient to fullfill your needs atm. just my 2 cents ;)


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2009 7:29 am 
you DO know that FSB1600 RAM is pretty pointless? it's gonna be synced down to the CPU FSB anyway. And no LGA 775 CPU has more than a native FSB of 333 - which means as long as you don't overclock your system, theoretically, 667MHZ RAM is sufficent. Unless you run a different CPU FSP : RAM FSB ratio than 1:1, which usually destabilizes the system and is not to be recommended. So guess what, your FSB 1600 RAM is probably running @FSB533 or 667 :lol:. The architecture might theoretically ALLOW higher transfer rates, but they're not gonna be expoited with a core2 DUO / core 2 Quad anyway.. so "upgrading" the mobo to another LGA 775 socket with DDR3 support is an utter waste of money.

And yes, photoshopping can be done with a dualcore and a lower GFX card, no problem (I'm currently only running an E8500 and Radeon 4850 myself actually)... so an SSD and some more normal DDR2 RAM might allready improve performance a lot, I agree. But if you want to really upgrade the whole system for the years to come, the sensible thing to do is usually buying some upper midrange stuff (like the new core i7, a GTX 275 etc.). I don't quite see why one should wait at the current point - the new LGA 1156 socket has just been released and it's gonna be around for quite some time (as it's basically the replacement for the LGA775).

As far as CPU cooler is concerned, you can of course argue that one can make do with even the boxed cooler. But it's gonna be loud and you'll have zero overclocking headroom. On the other hand, if you get a decent cooler, you'll have a more quiet system and the possibility to get even more performance if the mood takes you.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2009 12:00 pm 
This discussion is going too off topic. But since you have raised the issue, let's finish it off quickly so popo can decide quickly ;)
First of all, the system bus frequency of my c2d system and Popo's Q6600 is 1066MHz. So you should not think that the memory speed will be limited to 300-400MZ. That's because it completes multiple data transfers per clock cycle. There are many good mainboards for the Q6600 cpu. Let's consider the Intel DX38BT. As you can see, it supports DDR3 1066 and 1333 MHz RAMs, and can perform at full speed according to the CPU FSB Speed, in this case 1066MHz. It's nothing new - intels "quad pumping" has been here for quite some time. Otherwise, why even consider 800MHz DDR2 RAMs at the first place if all you"ll get is 677MHz? Simply doesn't make sense, does it? You might ask, if popo's FSB is 1066MHz, then why opt for faster DDR3 modules? That's for time-proofing for the next couple of years or so, if she does go for a newer system. The PSU, RAM, SSD (if any), HDDs, optical drives etc don't really need upgradation every year isn't it? Since we agree that faster, more RAM can make quite a difference to her photoshopping experience, so my suggestion was to get a mobo and the RAMs, which she can enjoy for quite some time for what she does. And if in a few months or a year she does get a new system, she would be able to use these RAMS just fine with a faster cpu/mobo with better bus speeds etc. And fsb:memory-speed ratios vary across system to system; intel does support non 1:1s. The bottleneck of FSB (which intel is trying to overcome with the new bus architecture for i7 cores) was never an issue for AMD. They use direct link between the cpu and the memory interface.
I repeat again, nobody can stop you from buying anything, but tell me honestly, would you at all consider any upgrade (other than memory) if all you did in your pc was a little photo editing? I mean, no 3d at all. The upgrade from gts 250 to gtx275 would be totally useless, even if you got it for free. For cs4+plugins, popo's current system is just fine. If she upgrades right now, she will have to pay a LOT more that what it might cost her a few months later.

The cooler is always a good thing to buy. But what if your card doesn't heat up that much at the first place? Well, GTS 250 does that job perfectly well. I am not sure the 275 will be as "cool" or silent. My mood varies, but will popo ever frag us in a MMOFPS? I really doubt that...


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2009 12:48 pm 
riight, I think you're a bit confused by how CPU FSB and RAM FSB ratios etc. work... I found this quote in another forum, which I think explains it rather well (it's written with overclocking in mind though):

Quote:
You have three different things
First : Multiplier:
It works with FSB frequency to detemain processor speed
AS an example E8400 comes at default FSB=333MHZ and mutiplier 9
So processor speed will be 9X333=2997MHZ i.e 3 GHz
If you want to OC to 3.6 GHZ you have to change FSB frequency to 400
9X400=3600MHz
This will lead us to the second point
Second: FSB & 4 clocks
Due to the processors 4 clock technology if FSB is working at 400MHz frequency
the resulting FSB speed will be 4X400=1600
Now your motherboard must support FSB 1600 if you want to OC to 3.6 GHz
I have to say here if your mobo supprts 1333 only you should not have a problem
cause when you increase FSB frequency you have to increase voltage
By icreasing voltage you are pushing FSB to higher speeds
And you might be able to run it at 2000 even(Be aware of resulting high temps)
Now let's see how RAM will work
Third: DDR frequency
DDR frequency must be synchronised with FSB, How??
The very well known rule of DRAM:FSB ratio 1:1 is the easiest way
and it is valid when DRAM frequency = FSB frequency X2
However 1:1 is not the only ratio valid
They can work together under different ratios
1:1, 6:5, 5:4, 4:3, 3:2, 8:5, 5:3, and 2:1
Depends on mobo capability and bios
And the general equation is
DDR speed=2XFSB speed X N ( N is the ratio, 1/1, 6/5,....etc)
If you set your FSB=400
And your DDR is 800
they will be working 1:1


Now... to REALLY use 1600 RAM it would require overclocking your Q6600 to 400MHZ Base FSB (it's currently running at 266) AND setting the RAM:CPU ratio to 2:1. I think you will agree that this would be some very serious overclocking (I'm not even sure wether it's possible - I doubt it). That's assuming you have a mobo/bios which supports a 2:1 ratio and is able to run it stable, which I very much doubt as well.

Usually, what you have, is a simple 1:1 ratio. So no, for any normal user not interested in overclocking, any RAM higher than DDR800 is of no use other than giving the comfortable feeling that "you have some headroom if you once feel like overclocking the system".

Would I consider any upgrade if all I do was photo editing? No, personally I wouldn't. But popo asked for a good price/performance system and a new core i7 LGA1156 System would clearly be the way to go if one WANTS to upgrade. I agree that for now, an SSD + some extra RAM would probably suffice. But there's no reason to "up"grade the mainboard to use DDR3 RAM - it just won't be any faster. Just stick with the current RAM and buy another 4Gigs of the same RAM which is used at the moment.

Fair point of just getting a GTS250 though - that will easily do, yes.


Last edited by Nostrum on Sun Sep 27, 2009 9:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2009 1:25 pm 
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Roy, firstly I'm a "he" :P it feels really weird seeing you write "she"...

Do I absolutely need to upgrade? Nope. But like every other technology, there's always something better around the corner. You just have to make the jump now and then or wait forever.

My system has already been upgraded twice during its life, and I don't feel it worth upgrading further. It started with an E6600 when they first came out, moving to a Q6600 when they hit rock bottom prices. Ram similarly started with 2x1GB as it was still expensive at the time, moving to 2x2GB when prices dropped. I never touched the gfx, but with ever more software offloading to it, it will become more important again in the future. Replace the system HD with SSD? Basically that's a lot of small upgrades to do, I might as well build a new box.

I also see this as preventative maintenance. Computer kit doesn't last forever. In the past I've had one case of sudden mobo death without warning. Many cases of bad caps. One case of ram going bad after prolonged use, not to mention hard disks... I've had the system 2 years running almost 24/7. It had a good run.

I don't have a particular time scale to do all this, but it will probably be within the next 2 or 3 months to coincide with Win7.

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Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2009 8:17 pm 
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Thought I'd chip-in to mention I recently upgraded both my main desktop systems to 8GB (both currently running 64-bit Vista until Win 7 goes retail), and it definitely helps when doing heavy image or video processing. As popo mentioned, even if the app can't see the extra RAM, the 64-bit OS certainly can, and uses it instead of the disk when the app asks for virtual memory.

By the way, I'm also running Photoshop CS4 and the 64-bit version can use at least 7GB of my installed RAM, although I have it set to 4GB most of the time so not to hog.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 12:01 am 
Popo.......
I can't tell you how embarrassed I am. :oops: Don't know where I got that impression of you being "her". Very sory m8 :oops:

Nostrum,
What you should understand is that although the "base" cpu/ram/fsb clock frequencies are much lower than the rated numbers (10066MHz, 3.4GHz etc), what we should be actually looking into is the bandwidth, and not the base frequencies. A few years ago we had p3 cores running at 133MHz FSB and SDRAMs at the same frequencies. Then came the "pumping" of the fsb, where data was transferred twice per clock cycle in the fsb. And DDR rams were sending twice per memory clock too. So the effective data transfer rate was indeed at par with 266MHz and not 133 MHz. "Quad Pumping" and DDR2 doubled that too. And with the increase in the "base" clock frequencies and better bus architectures, it is now actually possible to achieve effective data transfers of 1066MHz or so in, say, the core2duo/quad systems. So even if the "base" RAM frequency or "base" FSB is, say, 333-400MHz, the effective data transfer rate (bandwidth) actually is 3-4 time that value - even taking into consideration the different "Base-memory-frequency:base-FSB" into account. That of course varies from system to system and it is wise to choose the proper combinations for the intended purposes. System performance varies quite a bit and that is a matter of market-research, including reading reviews and lurking in hundreds of oc-crazy-gamers' forums.
You may want to read these and quite a bit more before jumping into any conclusion right away:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pumping_(computer_systems)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Front_side_bus
A little older but useful article:
http://arstechnica.com/old/content/2004 ... 040710.ars

BTW, the 1600MHz DDR3 part was only a rough spec I used for comparing RAMs, not intended to specically use in the cpu/mb combo popo has right now.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:54 pm 
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Nostrum - Socket 1366 has nothing to do with older... its the high end socket. The 1156 is the lower end.

The 1366 is the equivalent of the older 771 socket really.

1366 is getting 6-Core Cpu's first, in both Core i9 and Xeon form.

the 1366 boards with the proper features can use Xeons and Core i7 and i9's with and without FB-DIMM's

Personally I plan on staying away from 1156.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 12:10 am 
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Here's my .2 cents. Get as much ram as you can afford, especially if you like to multi task. I've had 4GB ram for 2 years now and I can't really say that I wish I had my money back. Having the extra ram is nice when you have many things open at once.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 12:20 pm 
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I have been considering this further. Before I started photography, I probably would have bought all the components by now and already started the build. The short version is, I'm finding lens lust to be the stronger force, so am scaling back the computer upgrade plans for now to pay for more glass. More lenses are the bigger priority!

I have a spare box with some 775/DDR2 Gigabyte mobo in it. Can't remember exact model, it's one with 6 SATA connectors and part of their S3 series. Originally this was going to be a file server that never happened... I'm debating using that as a platform for a new desktop instead. I can raid bits from the current desktop to help keep costs down. I think I'd like a more up to date quad, but is the Q9550 going to be that much better than a Q6600 both at stock to be worth it? I will get new gfx which I still need to decide on. Will raid the 2x2GB from current desktop and add another pair to give it 8GB total (note to self: check mobo support). I'd still go for the Intel SSD.

Why not upgrade the existing box than build a new one? New one will have to be a clean install anyway, so there is no time saving there. I like to keep the current desktop as a spare while I transition everything over. Longer term I can sell it to recover some value. I have enough spares lying around to functionally replace anything I steal for the new build.

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Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 6:52 pm 
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Finalising plan now. I'll do a really minor update just to get the ram up. I'll leave the major upgrade for another year or so depending on how rich I feel. This means I can target much lower spec and cost for now.

I checked out my spare box. The motherboard in it is a Gigabyte GA-G33M-DS2R. As a quick check, I put the latest firmware on it, installed Win7-64 and it detects everything nicely.

The proposed final spec of new box will be:
Q6600 (moved from current box)
4x2GB PC6400 (half from current box, half new)
2x1TB HD raid 1 (giving up on SSD for now)
9500GT 1GB DDR2 passive cooled

I know the gfx is a lot lower than earlier suggestions, but I just can't find much higher spec ones which are cheap and quiet. The 9500GT will still be faster than the 7600GT I currently run, is dirt cheap, and should be silent as it doesn't have a fan on it :)

Now to move it from the current case its in into the one I will be using... this will be photo worthy :)

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Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 8:16 pm 
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You've got the right idea popo, save the money for camera equipment. You don't need much of a PC to process images, just a lot of ram and a decent processor. If you're looking to make great images you shouldn't spend any more than you have to on a PC.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2009 12:16 pm 
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Argh! I almost put an order in today. My supplier of choice recently changed systems, so I had to re-register. But that means they don't have my history any more, and for security I can't change the delivery details away from my home address on 1st order which is critical.

Time to look for the same from another supplier I guess...

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Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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