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Dell Precision 690 rebuild - best video card?

Apr 7, 2012 6:25 PM



Many thanks in advance for all of the effort in answering all of our questions. Though I have never posed a question here before, rest assured that out of courtesy, I have researched my questions to the best of my abilities both here and on the web. Unfortunately I still am concerned about the specifics of each system and hence my questions.


All of that said, the following is the Dell beast which I would like to upgrade. It is essentially new and was purchased for a song through a bankruptcy.


Dell Precision 690 - Current Config.


- 750 watt chasis

- MY171 A01 Board

- Xeon 5355 2.66ghz Quad Core (x1)

- 4gb memory (4x 1gb)

- Nvidia Quadro NVS 285 gpu

-Win XP 32bit


Proposed changes:


- 2nd Cloverton Xeon 5355 2.66ghz

- 16gb additional memory for a total of 20gb (4x 4gb) (will mixing 4x 1gb and 4x 4gb cause issues?)

- new video card to facilitate 3-4 monitors. No gaming but Autocad, CS5 and video editing.

- will upgrade all of the drives 2x ssd (1 for OS) and (1 for programs and scratch disk) and 2x sata drives for storage.

- Win 7 64bit


Thank you for your time thus far, my two questions are;


(1) Will the proposed system satisfy my requirements for Autocad, CS5 and video editing (no gaming)


(2) What is the best gpu which will meet my needs and be compatible with this "older system" I would rather spend a bit more to ensure that I will always have ample video processing power but not sure if I need to purchase a true "workstation card" for $2k!!


Thank you so much again.

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 7, 2012 6:55 PM   in reply to fishsbc

    Do not know if the power supply will support it but the new GTX 680 is a moderately low power card (195 watts) high performance GPU. I am not sure of the requirements for AutoCad but for CS5 Premiere it is the best choice much better than any Quadro card.  You really need to get a power supply requirements calculator and figure that out.  It can support 3-4 monitors.  Forget the SSD scratch disk, bad choice, plan on getting several good 7200 rpm hard drives.  I would just throw out the 1 GB modules and you might want more memory as 8 GB per CPU (2 GB per core) is not 1st class

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 7, 2012 11:25 PM   in reply to fishsbc



    You have a much bigger problem. A single Xeon E5355 on a 771 socket mobo with 4 x 1 GB memory is dead slow and so outdated, it dates back to 2007, 5 years old, that it makes no sense at all to buy a 5 year old CPU to add to the one already in the system. Even with dual CPU's and 16 GB it would still be very slow, think around 20 - 40 times slower than a modern fast system. Both investments have to be depreciated fully in 6 months time when you realise you need a new system.


    IMO it is an utter waste of money to upgrade such an old system. Much better to start thinking about a new system now. If you decide to go that route, I suggest you get a GTX 680 video card, that supports three monitors. For ideas about building a new system, look at Adobe Forums: What PC to build? An update...

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 8, 2012 7:09 AM   in reply to fishsbc

    I also agree with Harm in that any upgrades to that old Dell workstation is a waste of money at this point. A second Xeon E5355 CPU, even used, costs much more money than is justified by the performance improvement it offers: A single E5355 goes for more money than a new i5-2500K CPU. What's more, it requires fully-buffered DDR2 RAM, which is now no longer cost-effective (and likely astronomically expensive): 16GB of DDR2-667 FB-DIMMs needed for that system now costs $400. That's a total of at least $650 for such an upgrade. And even upgraded to the max with two CPUs, 16GB of RAM and a fast GTX 560 Ti GPU, that system will only be about as fast as a PC with a single i3-2120 CPU with 8GB or more RAM and the same GTX 560 Ti GPU. This is because the Xeon E5355 dates way back to the very first of the Core 2 Quads, the Q6600 and Q6700, with their 65nm process technology. The end result is that you would have had to spent at least an additional $900 in upgrades just to bring its performance on a par with an entirely new $600 system. (And that's not to mention that the Quadro NVS 285 is now almost worthless, especially since it is essentially a GeForce 6200 that's been repurposed for business use.)


    As such, I'd recommend repurposing that Precision 690 as a home server, and getting a new PC with a much more up to date fast CPU (i7-2600K or higher) as your editing system.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 8, 2012 7:14 AM   in reply to fishsbc



    In this case (in regards to your new laptop), the GT 525m is the weak link: It has only 96 CUDA cores, slow DDR3 VRAM and only a 128-bit VRAM bus. As such, it is roughly comparable to a desktop GeForce GT 430.

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