10 Replies Latest reply on Oct 16, 2014 12:14 PM by Ed2149

    SDD vs RAM Upgrade

    Ed2149 Level 1

      I have read around this topic based on the fantastic input I have had on this forum, tweakers page and elsewhere but just want to make sure my understanding is correct before I move forward. Looking at buying either HP Z420 E5 1650v2, 16GB 1866 DDR3 RAM, 1TB HDD or Dell Precision T5810 with the newer E5 1650v3, 16GB 2133 DDR4 RAM, 500 GB HDD. Both would have GTX 970 added by myself, a second 7200 HDD for media cache and second ethernet adapter. All projects, assets, previews will be on a media sever (hence second ethernet adapter).


      Now while my heart says go for the HP because I have used them before for years without issue and I believe that historically they have a better track record in the edit world than the Precision range (though that may not be the case today), I have also been told they have better cooling which might be important with a GTX in there. However my head says that it makes more sense to buy the newer components in the Dell, newer is better right and the pricing ironically is not all that different?!


      One factor that might swing it however is the price of upgrades. If I was to have any pennies left over would I be better off adding more Ram up to 32GB or get SSD for system drive? My understanding is that the RAM would be more beneficial as it will allow balance out against of the hex core CPU, where as the SDD will not dramatically affect software performance only boot and launch times of the apps. If this is the case then the price of DDR3 RAM might be the decider as it is so much cheaper than DDR4 which is probably priced beyond my means for any extra at this time, unless of course the DDR4 in the Dell represents enough increased performance over DDR3 that the 16GB will do the job and then I can add more later on down the line when prices come down.


      Need to work this out asap so thanks in advance for all and any help!

        • 1. Re: SDD vs RAM Upgrade
          TimvandenOever Level 1

          As important as ram might be, I wouldn't build a single system without at least an ssd for OS, throw in your editing suites there as well and it should be very rewarding when you see how fast your computer seems in comparison to one on spinning disks only. I'll argue though that if you do get one just for those purposes and you are penny pinching, a consumer ssd might suffice just the same. In the future when you start replacing hdds for ssds in your work flow you'll definitely want to stick to the more enterprise ssds for read/write speeds where it matters.

          • 2. Re: SDD vs RAM Upgrade
            Bill Gehrke Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            My son who has to deal with many units from both vendors says the the HP DOA rate is much higher than Dell.


            Check the power supplies in both units to make sure you can add your GTX 970, now it is very low power compared to the previous generation but some time these vendors scrimp to keep the cost down

            • 3. Re: SDD vs RAM Upgrade
              Ed2149 Level 1

              Thank Bill and Tim for your replies.


              I have always wanted machines with SSD but I thought that the route of additional RAM in a hex core machine would be more 'balanced' and bring out the best usage of the cpu, where as nice as an SSD is for snappy loading times it did not have that much affect on how Premiere and After Effects would work, unless the media cache was in it in which was the increased speeds difference would be a benefit. Reading your comments I will definitely look at that again on the tweaker's page and elsewhere to check this. The GTX 970 I am looking at has a single additional 6 pin which is provided on both machine's PSU as standard so that should not be a problem.


              Also great to hear about the positive experiences for Dell as they are new to me for this kind of work but apparently they have improved a lot over the years and have to say with the newer tech and competitive pricing I a tempted.


              Thanks again.

              • 4. Re: SDD vs RAM Upgrade
                JFPhoton Level 3

                ....things have changed very quickly over the past few years.  High quality SATA III SSDs have come down a LOT in price, while their PERFORMANCE has skyrocketed. For video work, the Samsung 850 Pro series SSDs are IDEAL and currently the best performing, and most reliable.......BLOWING AWAY traditional HDDs in speed and reliability. A close second is the much cheaper Crucial M550 series SSDs. Choose from these 2 SSDs ONLY.....they both feature controllers that are IDEAL for "incompressible data" like digital video, which means that they can read AND write close to the SATA III theoretical interface speed of  600MB/sec. Other,cheaper SSDs use "Sandforce controllers" which may give lower write speeds,or, inferior "steady state" conditions.

                   These SSDs DO NOT suffer from LATENCY,like conventional hard drives do, OR, " fill degradation"....where the data transfer rate of the disk gets CUT IN HALF when the disk is full. PLUS, you have to "defrag" the disks. You may view the Haswell E benchmark test results posted on this forum by Eric Bowen which shows his test machine........his drive system is a Crucial M550 SSD.  Unless you need HIGH SPEED ACCESS to a MASSIVE amount of data, ( where you would employ an expensive RAID solution with HDDs ), SSDs are the WAY TO GO. With the new X99 motherboards......depending on which one you get.....you MAY be able to setup 2 of these quality SSDs in a RAID 0 for the OS, programs, and page file only,THEN, a SECOND RAID 0 for media, projects, cache files, and all else. Conventional large HDDs can then be added for archiving and backup. Using a single HDD in your workflow that is running at 7200rpm may top out at only 130 MB/sec. transfer rate....why do that to create a bottleneck when 2 SSDs in RAID 0 could be OVER ONE GIGABYTE PER SECOND !!!!

                • 5. Re: SDD vs RAM Upgrade
                  Ed2149 Level 1

                  Thanks for the additional info on SSD, great to know and I will continue to read up.


                  After consideration today I am now leaning towards looking at the older generation of workstations such as an HP Z420 with the 1650v2 with 16GB of DDR3 1866 RAM and an SSD. My reasoning for this is the money saved by getting the slightly older tech in the HP as opposed to the Dell T5810 means I can probably afford an SSD for the system drive straight off the bat, Additionally then the upgrade path on RAM will be significantly cheaper being DDR3 vs DDR4 so I will be able to make the step up to 32GB sooner. Although I originally thought it would be important to try and buy into the 'latest and greatest' tech, it would seem from reading Eric's benchmarks (and trying to interpret them correctly!), that though there is a undoubtedly a performance gain esp with the DDR4 RAM, performance per £ may still sit with the older set up for those on a budget, esp when working in HD as opposed to 4K +.


                  Thanks again for all the help.

                  • 6. Re: SDD vs RAM Upgrade
                    ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                    Keep in mind as production for DDR4 ramps up the availability for DDR3 will shrink which means higher pricing especially since the Desktop and Mobile platforms still use DDR3. The price difference Ivy-E and Haswell E builds is around $600 to $1000 on average right now. However the performance potential and upgrade options are far higher on the Haswell E platforms. DDR4 performance difference with DDR3 is more than enough to justify the cost difference due to ram being the primary bottleneck point for GPU acceleration currently. DDR4 has alleviated that. Also keep in mind Ivy E hardware is basically EOL at this point. That means replacement components are going to get very difficult to find within a couple years. Factor all of that in before deciding and maybe take a look at the desktop platform if busget is to limiting for a solid Haswell E build.



                    • 7. Re: SDD vs RAM Upgrade
                      Ed2149 Level 1

                      Hi Eric,


                      Thanks as always for your input. I have been reading your test results from the newer gen. CPU's and DDR4 RAM, and that was what originally swayed me to try and push my budget to include these developments. Sadly however I have hit the financial wall and can not leverage any more money from my boss for this upgrade so I am at the point of having to swap and sacrifice components to try and balance these computers as best I can.


                      Rightly or wrongly I had been focusing on trying to achieve a hex core cpu as a first priority, as I figured that it is something that will be most heavily set in stone as I am unlikely to ever change it. From this I figured that dropping GPU from the listed Quadro line to the GTX range for a newer 970 has been an excellent piece of advice. Due to budget RAM is restricted to 16GB at the moment, and though I know it is not really enough to get the best out of the CPU it at least leaves an upgrade path for the future. Lastly for drives (and I know that is the wrong way to look at them), while I would have liked SSD for the system even that is now looking at being beyond my budget, but I am hoping that adding a second HDD for the media files cache and the fact we have invested in a dedicated media server (Small Tree) should give us acceptable performance, again with an upgrade path for the future.


                      I would love to be able to expand my horizons and look at desktops to open up the options of i7's and stretch budgets etc however my company is insisting that we buy from one of our preferred supplies so it has to be either Dell or HP. I have also really struggled to find a custom builder in the UK with experience of workstations as those I have all seem to be gaming focused which makes me nervous.


                      In this situation would I be better sacrificing my chase for CPU cores and going with a quad core Dell T5810 1620v3, with 16GB DDR4 RAM, 500GB HDD (maybe might stretch to SSD if I do this but assume not), to get into the new tech or is this going to be just as limiting for the future of the computer as having an older gen. Hex 1650v2?




                      • 8. Re: SDD vs RAM Upgrade
                        TimvandenOever Level 1

                        Have you looked at some 'gaming orientated' pc's at those vendors? I mean I can understand you don't want a ridiculous alienware monstrousity, but a 5820k is probably on par with an E5 1650 v3 for a lot cheaper (not that the 5820k is limited by 28 lanes, that shouldn't be a problem if you're only going for one card). With that processor you would still get the x99 chipset and ddr4 ram? Perhaps based on pricing for such systems you could go with an ssd and 32 gbs.


                        I understand it might be hard to justify towards your boss that it's marketed as a gaming rig, but in reality most of the extreme gamer pc's are way overkill but actually spot on for editing on most points. If I'd get a gaming pc I'd just go with a simple i5 without HT or even a simple 2 core G3258. That being said I'm happy I'm building my own pc this week so I don't have a silly clown case with a window and all that nonsense.

                        • 9. Re: SDD vs RAM Upgrade
                          ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                          The V3 build is the only one of those 2 you want to consider. The V2 build is legacy and not worth the money at this point. If you plan to upgrade as soon as the budget is available then I would recommend the V3 build with the 16GB of ram with the knowledge performance will be limited to some extent by the amount of ram. I would also state that to whoever is making these decisions at the company. You cant buy solutions that are not ideally configured and expect the ideal performance for many editing workflows. I find it interesting that they will invest in a media server unit from Small Tree whose products are normally not cheap but wont spend the budget on the editing system to have an ideal configuration for the purpose. I would only get the Desktop Quad Core system if the V3 system wont see upgrades for quite some time. Never buy based on upgrade paths that are farther out than a year or so. To many things change in the market for that to be a major consideration.




                          • 10. Re: SDD vs RAM Upgrade
                            Ed2149 Level 1

                            Hi Eric and again thanks for your input.


                            I completely take on board what you are saying and it is good to hear as that was my conclusion as yesterday I placed the order for the v3's. After playing with the budget I managed to get the hex core and even the SSD's thanks to some great pricing by Dell.


                            I agree the media server is a big investment but I believe it's greatest value comes from the ability to change our company workflow from localised storage which has become hugely restrictive as the company has grown both in size and output. I look forward to having access to all our media on computers that can keep up!


                            Though I have marked this answer as being correct I would like to thank everyone who advised on this and my other threads for the collective knowledge that has helped me get to this point with what I think is a decent solution that will serve us well into the future.