15 Replies Latest reply on Oct 26, 2012 3:19 PM by John T Smith

    Advice on upgrades to a 5 year old system

    MoonKlash Level 1

      Hi there,

       

      I mostly use my PC for editing in Premiere Pro CS3 although I do play the odd game. Unfortunately performance isn't great in Premiere or games (possibly due to the Quadro graphics card).

       

      I'm considering either upgrading the CPU from an Athlon X2 6000+,  or buying a new motherboard and a few other innards. I was was wondering if you would mind giving me some feedback as to whether this would improve performance significantly and if it's worth it?

       

      I'm based in the UK and I've jotted down some prices against the kit I'm considering, however don't let it put you off offering advice about the tech if you're in a different region :-)

       

       

      Current spec

      Mobo: Asus M2N-SLI Deluxe

      Processor: Athlon X2 6000+

      RAM: Corsair 6GB DDR2 Memory

      Video: Quadro FX 4600

      HDD: S-ATA 72000rpm 250GB (if I've remembered right)

      OS: Windows 7x64

       

       

      Option 1: Upgrade with the existing motherboard

      Keep the above spec but upgrade the CPU to an AMD Phenom II X4 945 (£65). I wouldn't want to do more as the motherboard is old so I'd have to be equally old kit. I'd also probably not get an SSD as the motherboard only supports S-ATA 3Gb/s and I gather the latest kit is much improved.

       

       

      Option 2: Upgrade with a different motherboard:

      Mobo: M5A78L-M/USB3 (£65) or M5A97 (£30)

      Processor: AMD Bulldozer FX-Series FX-8120 Black Edition (£118)

      RAM: 16GB DDR3 1066 (£55) or 8gb (£40)

      HDD: Possibly intall an SSD

      Windows 8: x64 (£25)

      - And then sell the existing motherboard, CPU and RAM.However this will probably be too expensive for me at the moment.

       

      Mobo

      I know the more expensive motherboard would be better but would I really see a difference if I opted for the cheaper one? I'm trying to stick with Asus if possible as I've been really impressed with this model - it's lasted for years and I still have a few upgrade paths available.  Most stable mobo I've ever bought.

       

      Memory

      I'm taking into consideration Premiere CS3 is 32 and so would only see 3GB. Originally I was going to try and use my existing DDR2 till I realised it wouldn't be supported.

       

      Graphics

      I could either keep the existing Quadro FX 4600, or I could replace it with a mid-range GeForce GTX 650 1024MB GDDR5 (£80). With the improvements in technology, is the Quadro still a good card to have or would a GeForce be any better (and also open up the possibiity of some light gaming?)

       

      I originally purchased the Quadro for animation in Maya along with editing in Premiere and Photoshop, but I've not had the opportunity to do that so whilst I'd like to keep the option open, it's not essential. Any thoughts?

       

      Hard drive

      Windows 7 currently tells me that the hard drive is the slowest component in the system but I'm holding off getting an SSD as I've concerns I'd run out of space on the one I could afford if I bought it as a primary drive.

       

       

      Or I may end up leaving it alone if it doesn't look like it's worth upgrading the existing system and I can't afford to build a new one. What do you think?

        • 1. Re: Advice on upgrades to a 5 year old system
          Harm Millaard Level 7

          Option 1 and 2 are bad options. Option 3 OTOH is much better:  Intel i7-3770 or better, 16 GB+ memory, GTX 660 Ti video card and at least 3 spearate SATA 7200 disks or better. That is if you upgrade to CS6 at the same time.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Advice on upgrades to a 5 year old system
            MoonKlash Level 1

            Thanks Harm! That would be a fantastic system, unfortunately well beyond my budget though (as is CS6). I really don't have much to work with, hence why I've limited the options to very low spec machines :-(

             

            On the other hand, Premiere Pro CS3 doesn't run perfectly under my current setup, but it does run. Would upgrading to a Phenom II X4 945 or building something newer (but still very cheap) not make much difference?

            • 3. Re: Advice on upgrades to a 5 year old system
              John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              >Premiere Pro CS3 doesn't run perfectly under my current setup, but it does run

               

              What does that statement mean... what are your problems?

               

              Also be aware that an AMD does not have some of the hardware commands that an Intel CPU has, so video editing is NEVER going to be very fast with an AMD... which means you need a completely new system with a different kind of motherboard

               

              Plus, it is not until CS5 that PPro makes use of the power of selected nVidia cards, so your current card has very little to do with video editing besides "simple" display to your monitor

               

              >HDD: S-ATA 72000rpm 250GB

               

              Presuming you really mean you have only one 7,200 rpm hard drive, the best thing you can do is add a 2nd 7200rpm hard drive for all video data

               

              Trying to use only ONE Hard Drive for Video Editing
              .
              You are a music conductor, with a baton that you use to point to various parts of the

              orchestra... this is like Windows pointing to various parts of the hard drive to do

              Windows housekeeping or to load program segments for various functions
              .
              Now, at the same time and with the same hand... while still using the baton to conduct

              the orchestra... pick up a bow and play a fiddle... this would be doing something with

              your video file at the same time as all the other work
              .
              You as a person cannot do both at the same time with the same hand
              .
              A computer is a LITTLE better, in that it can switch from one kind of task to another

              very quickly... but not quickly enough for EASY video editing
              .
              You need AT LEAST two hard drives (separate drives, never a partition

              http://forums.adobe.com/thread/650708 for more) with Windows (or Mac OS) and software

              on your boot drive, and video files on a 2nd drive so the boot drive is not slowed down

              by trying to do everything
              .
              Partition = Crash http://forums.adobe.com/thread/957286

              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Advice on upgrades to a 5 year old system
                MoonKlash Level 1

                Sorry John, I should have been clearer - I actually have 5 hard drives, all 72000rpm.

                 

                The ones used for Premiere:

                C: Windows 7 x64

                E: Where I save renders

                F: Project Files, Assets

                G: Scratch

                 

                Thank you for all the helpful advice though - appreciate the comments!

                 

                I'm sure many of the issues I have are largely related to running CS3 on Windows 7 x64 - instabilities, very slow to render, the occasional crash, nothing I can't handle but things it would be nice to address. The solution to most of that is to upgrade, but that's well beyond my budget. However I figured a hardware could be cheap, speed up rendering, and potentially also allow me to do some light gaming without making Premiere any less stable.

                • 5. Re: Advice on upgrades to a 5 year old system
                  John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  OK... information is always good, so people may give better answers... so, on to CS3 problems

                   

                  1st... right click the program icon and tell Win7 to use WinXP compatibility mode to run the program

                   

                  2nd... if that does not work AND if you have Win7 64bit PRO or higher try Microsoft's Virtual XP

                   

                  This is only ONE example of using Virtual XP http://forums.adobe.com/thread/702693
                  -And a Tutorial http://windowssecrets.com/newsletter/using-windows-7s-xp-mode-step-by-step/

                   

                  Also... in general... upgrading your current hardware is really not cost effective

                   

                  EXCEPT doubling your 6Gig to 12Gig of ram (if possible with your motherboard) would allow Win7 64bit (even if not the Pro version) to "breath freeer" and provide the full 3Gig to CS3 that it is able to use

                   

                  But first check your compatibility settings

                  1 person found this helpful
                  • 6. Re: Advice on upgrades to a 5 year old system
                    Starmore369 Level 1

                    Overall in my opinion you should consider an upgrade to ensure you have the highest increase in performance along with flexibility at continuing to upgrade.  The bigger question is which upgrade to make Intel or AMD.

                     

                    I would not advise upgrading to a faster CPU in the current socket. Regardless so focus on rebuilding the core of your system. Additionally regardless of the build an SSD is a huge improvement to the overall responsivness of your systema nd should be strongly consider as part of a core rebuild.

                     

                    The real question to awnser is whether you go with a budget Intel based board and budget CPU ( but have the flexibility of upgrading to a much faster CPU later ).

                     

                    The other option is as you noted a solid platform based on current AM3+ with a new CPU. You will see a nice bump in performance across whatever you are doing while still having headroom to improve performance via CPU replacement or minimal OC.

                     

                    If you want any option for Intel a budget solution is noted below.

                     

                    Intel - P8Z77-V LK or LE

                    CPU i3 3220 which will run circles around what you currently have but give you flexibility at upgrading to a much faster cpu at a later time.

                     

                    If you do go the route of AMD your choice of the M5A97 or M5A97 R2.0 are solid and have UEFI's that are reliable, compatible and already optimized for Win 8 should you adopt it at a later time. The FX processor while not as fast as the higher end i5 and i7 is a strong multi core CPU with support for all current instruction sets inlcuding AVX. Depending on the processing it is on avg 2 to 4 times faster processing than your current CPU. As such it is solid choice to consider especially if you are trying to save some money.

                     

                    Memory will be the same regardless as they are both DDR3.

                     

                    Hope this helps. Enjoy the rest of your day!

                    • 7. Re: Advice on upgrades to a 5 year old system
                      MoonKlash Level 1

                      Thanks John, as always your answers are incredibly helpful! I've never really trusted virtualisation for applications like Premiere and it probably won't be an option if I upgrade to Windows 8 as they've removed XP mode, which was a bit shortsighted of Microsoft in my view (but apparently down to changes in how the virtualisation works rather than outright laziness). But no matter - I'd prefer to improve the hardware anyway. To be honest, I hadn't realised how far behind I'd fallen - this setup has been so stable (apart for CS and Windows 7 compatability issues) that I'd almost forgotten how quickly technology develops!

                       

                      It's Master Collection CS3 I'm using and as I tend to only use Dreamweaver, Premiere, Encore and Photoshop it's not so bad for the most part. I've had Encore stop working a number of times but I can cope with that. I am running in Administrator and XP compatability mode, although there are a few programs I tested that won't run  (but not ones I need).

                       

                      Originally I'd only planned a processor upgrade as I figured a new CPU would be cheap and wouldn't need many hardware changes (I love the fact that despite buying my motherboard in 2007 I can still upgrade to a newer CPU all these years later - bit of a fan of how AMD have managed to achieve future processor compatability done with the AM2, AM2+, AM3 range).

                       

                      Checking my memory usage during a render, it tends to be the processor that is driven hard. 6GB gives Premiere the max 3GB it can handle (being 32 bit) and the rest goes to the OS.

                       

                      Not looking forward to finding out what further parts of the suite stop working in Windows 8 I have to say - I've done some testing and for the most part it's okay, but I wouldn't be surprised if I end up dual booting....

                      • 8. Re: Advice on upgrades to a 5 year old system
                        MoonKlash Level 1

                        Thanks Frogo, that's exactly the type of advice I was hoping for! When I have a moment I'll put together a budget for an Intel platform to see how the specs compare for the same price. From my last few builds (which were admittedly a while back) I've found I can usually get a bit more power out of the AMD system I'd build than I could with an equivilent budget for Intel. I really love the fact AMD make their sockets compatible with future processors via BIOS updates - I was quite surprised when I found my motherboard supports the Phenom II X4 945 - although I suspect I'd lose performance on an AM2 socket with an AM3 processor? I know people generally recommend Intel for this kind of work thoughit's a shame AMD always seem to be a couple of steps behind.

                         

                        It's a shame I can't use my existing DDR2 RAM in the new system. I know it would slow things up a bit but when I started this I hadn't factored in needing to replace this, figuring I'd be able to swap at a later date.

                         

                        I heard SSD makes a difference - I hadn't realised how much by, interesting. I'll look at that.

                         

                        I guess the other thing I need to decide on is the graphics card. I've just looked at the GTX 660 Ti - those start at reasonable prices, although more than I plan to spend in this build. I guess I could stick with the Quadro FX 4600 for now and replace this later. Alternatively I could sell it. It looks like the sell price for this on eBay is around £50 at the moment, so I could buy one of the following for the same/double that amount from my local store:

                        MSI GeForce GT 630 4096MB GDDR3 - £56.99 inc vat

                        Novatech GeForce GTX 640 2048MB GDDR3 - £76.99 inc vat

                        Novatech GeForce GTX 550 Ti 1024MB GDDR5 - £79.99

                        EVGA GeForce GTX 650 1024MB GDDR5 - £89.99

                         

                        I haven't had a chance to read up on changes in graphics cards so I don't know if these are better, or if it's wise using a GeForce rather than a Quadro in this type of setup. I'm not even sure which is more important these days - RAM or speed. Guess I have some research to do!

                        • 9. Re: Advice on upgrades to a 5 year old system
                          MoonKlash Level 1

                          I've carried out some of that research on the graphics card and I get the impression getting a low cost (less than £100) but modern GeForce wouldn't have much of an advantage over my current Quadro FX4600. Looks like I'll probably keep the graphics card for now till I've a bigger budget and focus on the motherboard, memory, processor and SSD. :-)

                          • 10. Re: Advice on upgrades to a 5 year old system
                            Alex - DV411 Level 2

                            I've never really trusted virtualisation for applications like Premiere and it probably won't be an option if I upgrade to Windows 8 as they've removed XP mode, which was a bit shortsighted of Microsoft in my view (but apparently down to changes in how the virtualisation works rather than outright laziness).

                            Some flavors of Win8 now have the ability to run virtual machines of any kind (as long as they are compatible with Hyper-V) and that includes XP.  You can also boot from a VHD which I think it's pretty awesome.

                             

                            That said, I am with you on no virtualization for Premiere.

                            • 11. Re: Advice on upgrades to a 5 year old system
                              John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                              >editing in Premiere Pro CS3

                              >modern GeForce wouldn't have much of an advantage over my current Quadro FX4600

                               

                              A "modern" nVidia card will have NO advantage for CS3... as I said back in #3 it is not until CS5 that the GPU is used for anything other than simply sending the video to the computer monitor

                               

                              Once you have CS5 or later, look at http://www.pacifier.com/~jtsmith/GPU.HTM and the CS5 Benchmark http://ppbm5.com/ to see what people are using

                              • 12. Re: Advice on upgrades to a 5 year old system
                                MoonKlash Level 1

                                Sorry John, I miss-read your original reply. I've read up on it now and I understand about GPU acceleration. A more modern version of Premiere would certainly make a difference in a number of areas, and I'm keeping an eye out on eBay for a cheap upgrade to CS5/5.5/6 from my current Master Collection CS3 or even a standalone version of just Premiere.

                                 

                                I also read up on processors and looked at some processor benchmarks just before you posted the links above - see what you mean about an Intel system, quite shocked about the performance of Bulldozer. As Intel would go over my budget and it sounds like Piledriver should be out soon I think it may be more prudent to wait a little longer and see how prices change / what the Pilerdriver benchmarks are like.

                                 

                                The benchmark link you've provided looks very interesting - I'll be studyiing that in depth later.

                                • 13. Re: Advice on upgrades to a 5 year old system
                                  MoonKlash Level 1

                                  Ah - interesting. With Windows 7 we could download the XP Mode files (and therefore license) but it doesn't sound like that'll be possible in 8, although I'm guessing an easy answer would just be to take a copy of the files in 7 before upgrading.....

                                  • 14. Re: Advice on upgrades to a 5 year old system
                                    RjL190365 Level 4

                                    In addition, had you gone with Bulldozer, you would have needed a new motherboard and new RAM anyway. This is because Bulldozer (FX-series) CPUs have 942 pins while Socket AM2 has only 940 pins. As a result, the Bulldozer CPU is physically incompatible with your current motherboard.

                                    • 15. Re: Advice on upgrades to a 5 year old system
                                      John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                      >keeping an eye out on eBay for a cheap upgrade

                                       

                                      Do be VERY careful on eBay http://forums.adobe.com/message/1636890

                                       

                                      Also read about License Transfer http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/152/tn_15281.html