Buying ALIENWARE. Big PENTIUM decision...please help!

DanielKim

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Dec 18, 2001
Messages
65
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Seth, I apologize if I came off angry. Did not mean to.

Where SCSI shines is in durability and speed. IDE has pretty good speed, but nowhere near that of a 15k rpm ultra3 drive. Also, the mb/sec througput speed is only the theoretical capability of the bus, not the throughput of the drives. Most drives don't do 60 mb/sec anyhow, what's the point of faster bandwidth of SATA? The reason SCSI needs a fast throughput speed is due to the fact that you can daisy chain 14 drives to one cable. Also you can get a 64-bit SCSI controller to give you even more throughput with multiple channels.

SCSI durability rocks. I have an old 10k rpm 18 gig drive that refuses to die and i've gone through 4 ide drives since i've gone SCSI. Although the prices are MUCH higher and it's not for everyone, I like it


Ron, whatever setup you go with, be sure to take pics and let us know what you get so us geeks can get our fix
 

GregK

Screenwriter
Joined
Nov 22, 2000
Messages
1,053
Reaction score
369
Points
1,610
Thanks for passing on the article link Ron. Great stuff!

I have a gig of RAM and am running a 2.8ghz processor. When I am doing video editing, I use every bit of that CPU processor. A good CPU and lots of memory help with HDTV as well. WM9 HDTV at 720p plays OK on my PC, but on occasion WM9 1080p stutters or looses a few frames. Not good!!

If I try to do a component RGB NTSC captured (uncompressed NTSC video.. not lossy or lossless) I often loose frames. Rendering lossless is one thing, but real time uncompressed capture is quite another. This is where RAID or SATA drives would come in handy (for my situations).
 

Ronald Epstein

Founder
Owner
Joined
Jul 3, 1997
Messages
55,551
Reaction score
11,266
Points
9,110
Real Name
Ronald Epstein
Guys,

Thanks for all your help here.

I purchased a Dell Workstation last
evening. Will be here in 3 weeks as
the 24" Monitor is on backorder.

The specs are pretty much the same
as above IN BLUE
except instead of the 300GB
SCSI I put together two 146 GB Ultra
SCSI in a Raid O setup. This was
recommended by a forum member.

It is my *hope* that this dual-Xeon
processor with 2GB memory and SCSI drives
will be the ultimate dream computer.

All I want is for programs to fly open
without hesitation. I want to be able to
run 1-2 dozen startup programs at once that
include memory-hogging Windows graphical
enhancements like Window Blinds, Style XP,
Windows FX
and running utilities such
as Norton AV, Spysweeper, Cleansweep,
Weatherbug, Konfabulator, Trillian, Maxtor
Backup monitor...etc


See the situation here? So much I want
to run -- and I want to be able to do it
without any noticeable lag on my resources.

You think I'm going to be alright here?
 

Peter Kim

Screenwriter
Joined
Jun 18, 2001
Messages
1,577
Reaction score
0
Points
0
For those still looking for the ultimate machine, I came across these couple of tidbits while hopping links:

VoodooPC's OMEN d:221a

The config options on this beast are enormous...can simultaneously run 4 30" Apple Cinema Displays or a 46" Samsung Syncmaster 8ms Gaming LCD and support a 15000 rpm SCSI hard drive.

VoodooPC OMEN spec sheet

Also, while scanning Apple's own site (am considering upgradinig from my 3 year old iMac G4), I ran across this interesting test between top-of-line machines:

Power Mac G5 - Performance vs. the Rest
 

Andrew Pratt

Producer
Joined
Dec 8, 1998
Messages
3,806
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Wow Ron that's some machine
i'll be running 2Gig or DDR2 ram in my laptop as of monday
 

Max Leung

Producer
Joined
Sep 6, 2000
Messages
4,611
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Oh man, that machine is going to be louder than a JVC LCOS projector.


Performance arguments aside:

Intel = more heat, louder fans.
AMD = less heat, quieter fans.

Ron, I sincerely hope that your machine won't drive you insane with the fan noise - unless you are using watercooling - which will only make the machine moderately loud compared to an AMD one.

If you will put the PC in another room, then you should be fine.


BTW, with all those programs you are running, the Hyperthreading on the Intel cpu should help with responsiveness. Too bad you couldn't wait for the true dual-core processors from either AMD or Intel - they should fly when doing heavy multitasking!
 

Thomas Newton

Screenwriter
Joined
Jun 16, 1999
Messages
1,984
Reaction score
314
Points
1,610
Real Name
Thomas Newton
Ron,

I'm not sure why a program with a name like "Window Blinds" would require a really fast CPU. For a PC, I think of compute-intensive applications as being 3D games, MP3 encoding, MPEG-2 encoding, PhotoShop work, and the like.

For virus and spyware sweepers, the best solution is to run scans when you're not using the machine, like at night.

Are you seeing a performance problem once the system has started up (and is not in the middle of a virus/spyware scan)? Or is startup time the problem?
 

Ronald Epstein

Founder
Owner
Joined
Jul 3, 1997
Messages
55,551
Reaction score
11,266
Points
9,110
Real Name
Ronald Epstein
Thomas,

Bootup time is fine.

The overall problem I see is
system sluggishness when I run
all these programs in startup and
then run high-intensity programs
such as Photoshop or otherwise.

I *want* to run these programs at
all time, hence the reason for going
with a 2GB system.

As for speed....

I want programs to FLY open. On
my current P4 3.06 with 1GB Ram I
see hesitation when opening programs.
I would have hoped a dual-processor
would have become advantageous for
program startups and multi-tasking.

...now I am learning it may not be.
 

Thomas Newton

Screenwriter
Joined
Jun 16, 1999
Messages
1,984
Reaction score
314
Points
1,610
Real Name
Thomas Newton

A dual processor system can be advantageous for multi-tasking ... say, doing DV (camcorder) => MPEG-2 (DVD-Video) encoding on one processor, while leaving the other one available other applications.

Startup is pretty much serial; it depends partly on raw hard disk speed; partly on how much initialization the program does. (PhotoShop Elements does a lot of initialization; PhotoShop CE probably acts the same way.) For this, dual processors aren't going to help a lot.

One trick that people used to use for making programs fly open was to create RAM disks. You get a program that makes a piece of RAM look like a disk -- then you copy applications to it. The RAM disk is not a safe place to put your data, because it goes away when you shut down the computer or when power goes off. But RAM is thousands of times faster than any hard drive. (Back in the days when a MacPlus with no hard drive was my best home system, I had a floppy that would boot the system up onto a RAM disk. Any program that I could fit on it launched like greased lightning.)

RAM disks have fallen somewhat out of favor, but if you're willing to trade off some boot time for making programs open faster, you might want to experiment with one. (You should be able to experiment some with your current amount of RAM, although creating the RAM disk will probably hurt PhotoShop CE performance. If a RAM disk looks promising, buy new RAM for it so that PhotoShop CE can keep its current allocation.)

Other approaches to reducing startup time include:

1. Defragmenting your hard disk (if it has gotten fragmented).

2. Purchasing a faster hard drive (say, a 10K rpm SATA drive and controller), and moving frequently-used applications & data onto it.

When running PhotoShop CE, these things might also help:

3. Getting more RAM.

4. Putting your main paging file on a different physical hard drive than your applications and data.
 

Thomas Newton

Screenwriter
Joined
Jun 16, 1999
Messages
1,984
Reaction score
314
Points
1,610
Real Name
Thomas Newton
Forgot one:

5. Keep programs open. When you close the last document, just minimize the application, instead of closing it completely. This makes accessing the application again a lot faster.
 

Ronald Epstein

Founder
Owner
Joined
Jul 3, 1997
Messages
55,551
Reaction score
11,266
Points
9,110
Real Name
Ronald Epstein
I suppose I am looking for a
bottom line here....

Is the dual Xeon 3.2 processor system
as configured here going to be even slightly
more advantageous for me than a standard
P4 3.6 system?

The order is in -- I might be able to cancel,
but if there's reason enough to keep this
system I would love to do it.

Thanks everyone!
 

Chris

Lead Actor
Joined
Jul 4, 1997
Messages
6,788
Reaction score
0
Points
0

Of course, this largely depends on whether or not the apps are mutli-processor aware.. if you're using Ulead DVDWorkshop, as an example, this task will have no benefit from multiprocessor, whereas if you're using Adobe Premiere, it will.
 

Ronald Epstein

Founder
Owner
Joined
Jul 3, 1997
Messages
55,551
Reaction score
11,266
Points
9,110
Real Name
Ronald Epstein
Chris,

Sure....

1. Microsoft Office
2. Front Page
3. Email
4. Photoshop
5. Nero Burning Rom
6. Firefox
7. Adobe Photo Elements
8. Mailwasher

(Most I can think of offhand)


I realize that only Photoshop stands
out here as being the highest memory
hogging program, but my main purpose
is to increase software load times,
be able to mult-task faster and run
a large amount of startup programs
without sluggishness.

The main question is if 2 Xeon processors
will be a waste here and if I can do better
with one plain 3.60 P4.

Chris, greatly appreciate this help.
 

Chris

Lead Actor
Joined
Jul 4, 1997
Messages
6,788
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Oh one other thing:

Photoshop SE is enabled at it's core for Multiprocessor (good)
Photoshop SE2 is enabled for multiprocessor and 64 bit functions (AMD64, to a lesser extent EMT64)

Photoshop Elements is not multiprocessor enabled in the same sense.
 

Thomas Newton

Screenwriter
Joined
Jun 16, 1999
Messages
1,984
Reaction score
314
Points
1,610
Real Name
Thomas Newton

For PhotoShop, the dual CPUs may do you good -- not so much for launch time, but for performance once PhotoShop is up. For your other apps, what you have now is not broken (sorry!)

If you can fit your most commonly used apps into 1 GB or 2 GB of "disk" space, 4 GB of RAM and a RAMdisk utility program might be very helpful. Set aside 1 or 2 GB of RAM for the RAMdisk, give the system the rest, and watch out.

It's hard to say anything really bad about the 10K SCSI RAID array, but if your current system can take a lot of RAM, it might make sense just to get a second, 10K RPM drive for it.

I can see why you want to hang on to this system. We've been talking engine power -- and we've been picturing a full-size Ford/GM/Toyota type truck that needs to pull heavy loads, while you've been picturing a sports car that is fast, but that will never pull even a U-Haul trailer. Now you're looking at the shiny red truck, and the engine and the red
paint job are drawing you in for the kill.


If you want to go ahead anyway, it's your decision. Just be aware that a truck might be a great vehicle, and might even make you very happy, but probably won't if you buy it thinking that you're buying a sports car.
 

Ronald Epstein

Founder
Owner
Joined
Jul 3, 1997
Messages
55,551
Reaction score
11,266
Points
9,110
Real Name
Ronald Epstein
My head is spinning here. I feel
really disappointed, but at the same
time I am very grateful for what I
have learned here.

I dove into this Dell deal with advice
from others that the Xeon dual processor
was the BEST way to go and now I learn
that I'll probably never utilize that
power with the daily apps that I use.

I don't know if I can cancel the order.
I got a Dell Rep deal and it was done
through another party.

If I can cancel, I'll probably wait till
the Summer when the new dual-core processors
are released. I'll then buy a top-of-the-line
system and probably go as far as 4GB ram.

I'll let you know how I make out.
 

Chris

Lead Actor
Joined
Jul 4, 1997
Messages
6,788
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Ron-

I think you got a lot of advice, but it's very hard to build advice based on what a person is doing.

I have an office near here that we supervise that has everything from Dual G5 Macs to Quad Opteron boxes, so Via Epia workstations
I think the problem with computer technology in someways is that we've hit a performance threshhold where "the most powerful" is not necessarily "the most powerful" for what everyone is trying to do... and that makes things a bit more confusing to the end user.
 

Max Leung

Producer
Joined
Sep 6, 2000
Messages
4,611
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Hmmm, I found that startup times really don't have much to do with how fast your processor with.

For example, I had an old Athlon XP 2400+ machine, with 1 gig of RAM, that was very sluggish when booting. However, the software installation was quite old - almost two years old, and had tons of software installed and later uninstalled or reinstalled. A hard drive wipe and a fresh install of the same applications and it took only 30 seconds to boot versus the 2 minutes before!

A big factor is the order of application loading at bootup. Some programs check the internet for program updates, and often they delay the loading of the next programs in the startup chain until they finished their checks. Disabling these programs or forcing them to boot later helps a lot.

Right now I have a monstrous 15 icons in my tray icons - completely ridiculous actually - PlexTools, Nero, Daemon Tools, TheaterTek Autokiller, PowerStrip, Logitech iTouch, NVIDIA Settings, NVIDIA Audio, Nostromo Speedpad - tons of programs I don't use that much (except PowerStrip - I love it!). Yet my PC boots up very fast! And I'm running a "lowly" Athlon XP 3500+ with 1 gig of RAM and an aging 120gig Seagate drive. It's fast because my hard drive isn't very fragmented - when you install all your apps at once, there is no chance that it will get fragmented. Whereas if the hard drive gradually fills up, and you install new apps, they will get fragmented and load times increase.

So, IMHO, it won't matter what machine you buy - if you start from scratch when installing your OS and apps, it will be fast no matter what (although I haven't determined the best order of installing them to minimize boot times).

I think you will be fine in whatever choice you make, Ron.
 

Forum Sponsors

Forum statistics

Threads
343,726
Messages
4,688,151
Members
141,023
Latest member
salininbmagu