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Computers and The Internet This is the place to ask questions and discuss the complex world of computer and internet issues.

PC for photoprocessing

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  #11  
Old 29-07-06, 19:46
Leif Leif is offline  
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Blimey. If you intend to keep that PC for a while, then as others have said, you really need to get some more memory. I used to have a similar spec machine, and I increased the memory from 512MB to 1GB, and the result was a massive speed increase.

Several colleagues built their own machine. They said it did not really work out cheaper, but they got the components they wanted. However, one had some problems with faulty components, which had to be exchanged. And he concluded that he could have done as well buying from someone like Mesh. Companies like Mesh and Watford allow you to choose from a range of components, which they assemble for you. It's probably the next best thing to self-build.

Leif
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  #12  
Old 29-07-06, 21:07
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nirofo nirofo is offline  
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Hi Stuart R

Based on the specs you gave earlier your motherboard will support:

1.0Gb of PC133 unbuffered RAM, (2x512mb RAM Sticks). Ebuyer 512MB PC133 168pin SDRAM Memory Module, £78 for 2.

Up to AMD Athlon 1400 (200mhz FSB). EBays probably your only hope here, expect to pay £20 to £25. Make sure it's guaranteed working.

It has onboard 4x AGP graphics chip with no slot for a separate AGP card, this steals from your memory total, you would need to install a PCI Graphics card with it's own built in memory to go separate. Try the £27.57 Hightech 9250 128MB 64bit PCI from EBuyer.

It supports up to Ultra DMA/100, large drives can be used with appropriate drive overlay. The Hitachi Deskstar T7K250 160GB 7200RPM ATA/133 8MB Cache - OEM again from EBuyer is a good drive at £38.58.

It only supports USB1, to use USB2 you need to install a separate USB2 PCI card with the necessary driver software. These cards are cheap, try the 4 PORT USB 2.0 PCI CARD WITH 1 X INTERNAL PORT at £3.98 from EBuyer.

It has built in reasonable quality audio, just add powered speakers, or play back through your HiFi unit.

If you increase the memory to max you will probably need to upgrade your power supply, here's one that will do the trick - Casecom Silver 500w ATX Power Supply at £13.99 from EBuyer.

Based on your spec the computer is easily upgradeable and would show a decent performance gain if it was maxed out using similar components to those indicated above. Whether it's worth spending the money on components that are rapidly becoming obsolete is debateable, for approx £185 you would have a useable computer capable of handling large graphics files, rendering may still be slower than the top spec PC's but what's the rush anyway!

Heres a web address for the motherboard manual, bios and sound driver updates are also available.

ftp://dlsvr02.asus.com/pub/ASUS/mb/s.../a7svm-103.pdf

ftp://dlsvr02.asus.com/pub/ASUS/mb/s...-vm/1006vm.zip

ftp://dlsvr02.asus.com/pub/ASUS/misc.../s71812wxp.zip

nirofo.

Last edited by nirofo; 30-07-06 at 02:58.
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  #13  
Old 30-07-06, 10:10
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Gidders Gidders is offline  
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I was considering going down the self build route as I'm thinking the time has come for an upgrade and CS2 & Bridge struggle a bit - particularly Bridge when asked to cache 100+ RAW files that have just been uploaded (currently using AMD Thunderbird 1Ghz with 1Gb RAM).

I have two local PC shops (dont expect "proper" advice in PC World) who have been recommended to me. I went into one about a week ago and they are happy to either build to my spec or design & supply components for me to build - am I'm just waiting for them to come back to me with a recommendation and prices. I'm thinking of building something around an AMD Athlon 64 3500+/3800+ socket 939 but need a recommendation of motherboard - anyone any suggestions what might have good compatibility

Also this shop is recommending IDE hard drives rather than SATA - anyone got views on that

Then yesterday I went into the second shop. Their approach is either they will build for me, or if I have a list of components they will supply (although they admitted that I would be able to source more cheaply off the net), but they won't recommend a spec. Apparently they use to but have got into problems when a customer had a faulty motherboard or damaged it through mis-installation (who knows which) so now they don't. Me thinks they are touting for the build business themselves but no. His actual recommendation for a non games machine with primary power application being Photoshop/Bridge was a Dell Dimension 5150 Pentium dual core 2.8Ghz processor, 512 Mb RAM (yes would need to increase to 1/1.5Gb £25/50), 160Gb SATA hard drive (would want to add a second 160Gb ~£40 300Gb ~£70)& 256Mb graphics, DVD writer, 7 x USB - £520 with 3 year ON SITE warranty. He reconed that he could not built to that spec for that price and even then I would only have a 1 yr warranty!

So now I'm in a bit of a quandry. The self build route has attractions, pay for just what I want, use some of existing components (eg Hard drives) to keep initial cost down, potentially could upgrade processor/mobo and leave everything else to a later date but then the 3 year on site warranty has got to be worth something

Decisions, decisions
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Last edited by Gidders; 30-07-06 at 10:13.
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  #14  
Old 30-07-06, 10:31
Leif Leif is offline  
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"Also this shop is recommending IDE hard drives rather than SATA - anyone got views on that"

Sounds like they have some old motherboards that support PATA rather than SATA lying around. My understanding is that SATA drives are faster, due to faster i/o to and from the motherboard, and I think that you can add more. With PATA you are usually limited to a total of four internal optical/hard drives.

Nirofo makes some very good points and it might be the route to take. But also check out what new systems you can get for the price i.e. ~200. Sometimes obsolete systems are available very cheaply.

Leif
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  #15  
Old 30-07-06, 14:22
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Hi Gidders

Here's a list of components that won't cost you an arm and a leg and will give you a reasonable spec, this is for box only, no monitor, no mouse, no keyboard! All the components were sourced from EBUYER.COM, quick find codes are included. I have built many computers to this spec for various types of work including serious graphics manipulation, all work well with no speed bottlenecks.

nirofo.
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Last edited by nirofo; 30-07-06 at 20:27.
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  #16  
Old 31-07-06, 17:11
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R2didi2 R2didi2 is offline  
 
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Hi Stuart R

You asked:
"One of the things is to change your pagefile so that it is the right size for your memory - the default is often not. You can get quite a leap in performance if you do this." - how do I check this please.

I am not sure which operating system you are running, but for Windows XP, NT, 2000, etc., right click "my computer", select "properties", click the "Advanced" tab, under "performance" click "settings, then select the "Advanced" tab. Then you should see the current pagefile size under "Virtual memory". If you need to change it, then click "change" but bear in mind the following:

1. Windows Help says: "For best performance, do not set the initial size to less than the minimum recommended size under Total paging file size for all drives. The recommended size is equivalent to 1.5 times the amount of RAM on your system. Usually, you should leave the paging file at its recommended size, although you might increase its size if you routinely use programs that require a lot of memory."

2. You can mess your machine up if you are not careful - so take good care when changing any of these settings that you are certain it is appropriate to do so, and that you are changing it to an appropriate value.

Press F1 for Windows Help and type in "virtual memory" as the search string and this will give you a lot more information. There are lots of conflicting opinions about optimising virtual memory - Google is a good resource.

Hollis_f is right to recommend you buying more RAM and I agree with all that nirofo says too. It won't likely be worth changing your virtual memory unless you buy a new PC because the default settings you already have set are probably already adequate for the RAM you have.

I hope that helps!
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  #17  
Old 31-07-06, 17:16
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R2didi2 R2didi2 is offline  
 
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Gidders

I agree with Leif that anyone trying to persuade you to go PATA rather than SATA is simply trying to shift older motherboards that don't support SATA!

I use SATAs in all my machines and favour the Maxtor Diamondmax SATA-300 drives (I have 4 x 300 Gb). They are a bit pricey, but they are so fast I am quite happy to pay extra. However, they can be a bit temperamental and will, from time to time, throw up errors which I have so far been able to fix using chkdsk. I just make sure to keep them regularly defragmented and they work fine.

Cheers
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