Building a new machine

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Buzz Foster, Aug 1, 2006.

  1. Buzz Foster

    Buzz Foster Second Unit

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    I'm really behind the times, yet I actually haven't even decided if I need a new machine. But I have been looking, and I have some questions.

    1) Of the "new" generation of processors (64 bit), what do the different ones do? I see dual core AMD processors, but I don't know what they do, or if that is useful for me.

    2) Is my Athlon XP+ 2400 333 FSB system really all that out of date? As long as it runs, do I really need to worry about it?

    3) How much better are these systems at handling large amounts of RAM? Is more simply better?

    4) How outdated is my GeForce Ti 4200?

    5) How good are newer monitors and printers at color calibration?

    6) Is there any significant advantage of SATA over ATA100 or ATA133?

    7) What I am interested in doing is graphics and video work. If I build a new system (Big if, still), then I would be using a lot of video editing and image editing software. Right now, I use Adobe premiere 6.5 and Corel 11. How much of a boost will I see in performance for these types of applications, and what type of processor should I be looking for to handle them?

    Whatever knowledge you guys can toss my way would be apprecated. Digging around on newegg, I came up with a possible combination of parts:

    AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ (Manchester core)
    ASUS A8N5X Nforce4 Motherboard
    Crucial Technology 1GB 184-Pin DDR SDRAM (x4)
    Maxtor MaXLine Pro 500 7H500R0 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache IDE Ultra ATA133 (x2)or...
    Maxtor DiamondMax 11 6H500F0 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA (x2)
    EPSON Stylus Photo R2400 and maybe...
    A pair, or possibly a triplet of Viewsonic 19" LCD monitors. I have no idea about anything involving LCD monitors, so I have not even given a suggestion here. If I go with a triplet of monitors, I would also need a graphics card to handle that.

    My CD-R is fast enough as-is, but my DVD-R is a whopping 4x, so it could use an upgrade. I figure I can probably buy a combo unit that will equal the 52x of my CD-R and handily beat the 4x DVD-R, but I haven't really looked too hard. Other than that, I have my Zip drive and my floppy to carry over. I would probably turn my old system into a network file storage.

    The printer is for doing larger format prints of digital photographs, possibly for amature shows. We have a lot of those things here in New Mexico, and I thought it could be fun to enter some shows. I have other friends who have. Anyway, am I looking in the right direction?
     
  2. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    Right now the Intel Core 2 Duo's are leading the way from a performance stand point so I'd look into those over the AMD's. Also for video work RAID is your friend so make sure which ever mobo you go with it has onboard RAID support for SATA (easily found). SATA is nice if only b/c its cables are easier to work with and they are slightly faster.
     
  3. Buzz Foster

    Buzz Foster Second Unit

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    So far, I haven't run into any issues where RAID was a necessity for video. At least, i don't think I have. How would RAID help?
     
  4. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    RAID gives you much more speed for reading and writing to the drives. Do you need it? No you can get away with a regular 7200 RPM drive but once you've played with RAID its hard to turn back.
     
  5. Rommel_L

    Rommel_L Second Unit

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    Buzz,

    1) 64-bit will only be beneficial if you're using 64-bit OS and 64-bit programs. Dual-core will be beneficial if you're a multitasker.
    2) Compared with current technology, it is on the very low end of the spectrum. You won't feel the performance hit if you're just light tasks like web surfing, email, word, etc...
    3) As of now (WinXP / XP Pro), 2GB is the sweet spot for high cpu-intensive games, programs and multitasking and 512 as the minimum.
    4) Very, compared to current technology...
    5) Check out Dell's flat panels. They come in either 4:3 or 16:10, user's preference...
    6) There is considerable significance in performance if handling very large files.
    7) There will be a significant boost in performance compared to your old rig.
    - solid cpu choice
    - get a mobo that supports SATA 3Gb/s
    - memory is fine
    - good choice of SATA drives
    - need to get good psu (I suggest taking a look at Seasonic S12 series, very quiet)
    - getting a video card with a performance similar or better than nvidia 7600gt (just in case you want to upgrade to Vista when it comes out next year)
     
  6. Buzz Foster

    Buzz Foster Second Unit

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    Are Asus boards still solid choices? I don't need the highest lightning-speed performance (as apparent by my still mostly-satisfied status with my current system), but I want something stable. The A7N8X is what I use now, and I really like it.
     
  7. Jassen M. West

    Jassen M. West Supporting Actor

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    It seems that money is no object but the AMD chips are getting cheaper by the minute. So if you don't need to join the e-pissing contest the AMD 64 X2 4200 should be perfect. Multitasking will be nice with the 2 cores. I run Illustrator and Photoshop at the same time with no hiccups while switching. 2GB is a must for graphics/movie editing.

    I do see the board you are going with is a socket 939, if you plan on upgrading over the next few years you might want to look into Socket AM2, that would also mean a switch to DDR2 RAM. If you use a computer until its dead then don't worry about the new AMD socket.
     
  8. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    If you don't need a new PC right now, you might give it a few weeks. CPUs are undergoing a sea-change with the introduction of the new Intel Duo Core 2. AMDs have just plummeted in price by up to 60%, and I've seen speculation they will have to further reduce price to remain competitive.

    Similarly motherboards for the new Intel chips are only available from Intel; more are yet to come from other vendors.
     
  9. Rommel_L

    Rommel_L Second Unit

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    It's still a solid choice, especially you're not going to OC...
     
  10. Buzz Foster

    Buzz Foster Second Unit

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    It's looking like it will be another month or so before I build a new machine. I am down to 2 processors, the AMD Athlon 64 X2 4600+ Windsor 2.4GHz, or the AMD Athlon 64 4000+ San Diego 2.4GHz. My instinct is to go dual-core, knowing that I can upgrade processors later, but the single-core chip is actually faster. Decisions...

    I need a triple monitor option. Ideas?
     
  11. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

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    Dual core is only useful for multitasking if the tasks are long running (not if you simply have multiple tasks up at the same time).

    On the other hand, DC will show a performance boost if you are using multithreaded applications. (I haven't checked, but I have to assume Vista is multithreaded.)
     
  12. Buzz Foster

    Buzz Foster Second Unit

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    I don't intend to jump to Vista any time soon.

    The primary applications I will be using are Adobe Premiere 6.5, Ulead DVD Workshop 2, and various audio and vidoe encoders/transcoders. I do play occasional games, and if I can get three 19" widescreen monitors going, I will be rockin'!
     
  13. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

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    Adobe Premiere 2.0 is multithreaded, and they recommend RAID0. I couldn't determine from their site what was up with the 5.5 version. (Everytime I thought I was close it bounced me to Premiere 2.0; then my sandwich ran out ...)

    My opinion, if you are doing serious video editing, go for both the dual core and the raid; niether ups the price that much at this point.
     
  14. Buzz Foster

    Buzz Foster Second Unit

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    Price is a wash. I don't know how 6.5 compares with the new premiere, or if it uses multi-threading.
     
  15. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    Most good encoders are multi-threaded. (Some even support Hyperthreading, so you can actually see near 100% processor utilization instead of a disappointing 55%. But HT is basically dead, now that there's real multi-core.) Get the dual-core.

    You mean the OS itself, like being able to use Explorer while it's copying a file? Because Windows has supported threaded applications for a long time, which is what really matters.
     
  16. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Even if you don't get a new PC, at least buy a $35 DVD burner (typically 18X burn speed nowadays). That's a lot of bang-for-your-buck right there. I'm partial to NEC DVD burner drives.
     
  17. Buzz Foster

    Buzz Foster Second Unit

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    Yeah, I got that new Plextor already, the PX-760A.
     
  18. Buzz Foster

    Buzz Foster Second Unit

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    Here's my newest wish list. I upped the processor and went dual core AMD.
     

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