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That behavior is not normal. Your specs exceed mine, yet I've worked with much bigger projects and had no issues at all. Something else is going on, though I admit I'm at a loss to suggest what.
Okay, just for fun, I'll take the other side here. If you read the other threads here, I think you'll find that your problem is very, very common, to the point that I *would* call it normal.
Your system specs are low, and I think it's a miracle Jim can get smooth performance from a system that's even lower. But good for him.
In your case, I would strongly recommend breaking your project into one project per song. Premiere really bogs down as you increase the number of assets and edits. I recently did a sports music video with four songs, and ended up breaking the project into four pieces just to get it to run stably. It's really based on the way CS3 handles memory, which is to say poorly, and you don't have much of it anyway.
The best way to do this is to do a series of Save Ases, and rename each new project as the individual song titles. This way you will copy all the assets. Then delete all but the one sequence from the project panel in each project. At that point you could also delete all the unused assets, but you say you want to have access to all of them so I wouldn't do that.
Then as each song is finished, you could import the completed timelines into a new master project and arrange them as you like. Or you could export each timeline into a separate completed clip and then import the finished clips into a new project. The latter is more steps to do but requires the least horsepower from Premiere when finishing the project.
But I *still* want to know Jim's secret...
You can switch the lights on and off twenty times, hold your tongue a certain way, or save every two seconds BUT you can expect crashes if you don't care for your system. Try driving your car without regularly checking air and fluids, it will run towards grief and it sounds like the sirens are calling you! OPTIMISE YOUR SYSTEM -
I guarantee you see improved performance! If you're optimised maybe you'll squeeze it all in the way you want. Have a good one!
One project per song would no doubt make it run zippier, but there is a big tradeoff for me. I'm using clips from a common collection for all the songs, but I'm trying to avoid duplicates, so I'm using the "Find:" line in the project pane to check for multiple instances of the same named clip. You can read about that in another recent thread of mine here .
I have nine of the twelve songs in one project now, and I can usually work for about a half day before I have to reboot because something got strange or too slow (in that time I may start up AE or Photoshop for something, but unless I'm feeling bold, I shut down PPro so that I don't have two big Adobe products open at once). Realtime preview is a bit choppy if I add visual effects, but I can live with that. I agree with Adam that separating them would be better for speed, but Jim gave me hope that perhaps I can make it to 12 without it all falling apart. So perhaps someone has ideas about how to improve memory usage?
Or as Jim wondered, perhaps I have some other problem besides just memory - in particular, when it stops doing 20-min. auto-saves and then crashes later, is that someone others have experienced? (I tried searching, but didn't find anything.) The first time it happened to me, the crash happened with no message at all - PPro just suddently disappeared (I had just asked the titler to open). The second time (a week or so later), I had asked it to save, and it looked like it saved (progress bar did its thing) and then I got the message where it offers to send the error data to Microsoft. When I reopened PPro, there was nothing about an abnormally closed project, so I just tried opening my project - it opened okay, but it was quite old, so the save didn't really happen. Both times, I then looked at the Auto-save folder, and the saves had been happening every 20 minutes until about an hour prior to the crashes. (I used the newest Auto-save version, did a Save As, and redid the lost hour of work.) Weird, huh!
Oops! Our posts crossed in the mail - I didn't see Jarrod's before I sent mine. Anyway, that's a good article - everyone getting ready to buy a machine for video editing should read it! (Your lead-in sounded a bit critical, as if you were certain I abused my system, but I looked past that to the main point, and then at the end your post was more positive-sounding.)
I've known most of the principles all along, but they were good reminders, and nice to have it all in one place as a checklist. My system specs look fine as far as I understand (I don't know some small details, like whether my graphics card is Adobe-recommended, but I haven't had any graphics-related problems on this machine). My project is on a second internal hard drive (Dell didn't understand why I insisted on ordering my box with two disks instead of one larger one, but I knew!), and my clips are on a USB2.0 1TB drive (RAIDed to be 500GB with auto-backup, whichever RAID number that is - I forget the numbers).
Most of the other points looked good, too, but... ZAMMO! I got hit with #3 - I hadn't been thinking about fragmentation (don't ask me why - it should be obvious), and the drive that my project is on turns out to be pretty fragmented. I will remove some things to free up some space, back up irreplacable data (esp. my precious project) elsewhere, and run defrag tonight while I sleep.
I have always done #5 (avoid nonessential processes) religiously, to the point where my husband is amazed at how fast that machine boots and how few processes are running. I don't even use virus software on that machine - I keep it tight behind a firewall, and use a different machine for all email and web access. I have even managed so far to avoid getting Windows Genuine Advantage - I know I have a legal copy of Windows, so I don't need MS to check it for me continually. (That does mean that I can't install SP3 or WMP 11, but that's okay.)
Two questions about #7, virtual memory (I don't know why there isn't a #6 - go figure!). I had heard that it's fastest and cleanest to have the paging file be a fixed size, i.e. set the minimum and maximum size to the same number. But that article says to set them differently. If I have the space, why set the minimum lower? Also, they say it should be no bigger than twice the size of the physical RAM. Mine was previously set that way, but when my system started to tell me periodically that I was running out of memory, I set it way higher (8GB) hoping it would help. Is that simply wasteful, or worse, somehow a problem, and therefore I should set it back to 4GB?
Dandy, don't forget @end#3, also - run the Error-checking tool before running Disk Defragmenter. I bet this enhances performance out of sight, then with the time you would have lost go see Clint Eastwood's new film 'Grand Torino', you'll get where I'm coming from. If you're system is optimised I'd suggest pushing it as far as it will go. Keep it as one file until the opted system just can't take it further, keep backups and only split it up if it won't go whole. That's my thoughts anyhow. As for your last #7 ques you could probably open a new topic for that particularly, I'd go with Adobe advise but opinions would no doubt differ. You've only got 2Gb of RAM, if your system takes it, check the handbook, invest in as much as you can. Bumping it up to 4Gb gives you about 3.4Gb but I reckon it also helps to RAM that puppy home.
> Dandy, don't forget @end#3, also - run the Error-checking tool before running Disk Defragmenter.
Roger that. (I might use my extra time differently, though - I have a lot of higher priority things than movies piled on my plate right now, and the movie probably isn't even in Japan yet. :))
> You've only got 2Gb of RAM, if your system takes it, check the handbook, invest in as much as you can. Bumping it up to 4Gb gives you about 3.4Gb but I reckon it also helps to RAM that puppy home.
When I bought this machine 3 years ago, 2GB of RAM was considered extravagant - how times have changed! Your point is well taken, but my slots are full, and I'm not even sure the machine would take higher density cards even if I was willing to spend the money to replace them.
Couple of things: An external USB drive for video files is a really bad idea, one that you didn't mention before. That can seriously hang up your system. You'd be better off with the project file and all assets on the internal drive #2.
Also, make sure that when you go back to your auto-saves, you show the file details and pick the one with the latest timestamp. The autosave number is not indicative of which one is the latest. I have mine set for five minutes, but that's just me.
> You'd be better off with the project file and all assets on the internal drive #2.
But then reality strikes. For one-off assets that are specific to a project, I always do that. But I am selecting clips from a huge collection of nature and other general topics that I have shot and organized over the last four years and will use many times. It would be extremely cumbersome to put copies on the internal drive of the ones I use, because before I'm done I have tried and rejected many clips, so I would have to copy, import, try, copy others, import, try, etc., and then figure out which ones I didn't use at the end and delete them again, because there's no way they would all fit (some are long clips that I speed up for timelapse, so there are a lot of big files).
> Also, make sure that when you go back to your auto-saves, you show the file details and pick the one with the latest timestamp.
Yup, I know. It cycles through the numbers 1 through 5 over and over.
> I have mine set for five minutes, but that's just me.
I think that would drive me batty, because it interrupts my work and takes about 10 or 15 seconds. I might bump it up to 15 minutes. But the problem is when it stops doing the saves altogether, and doesn't tell me that something is wrong.
>It would be extremely cumbersome to put copies on the internal drive of the ones I use
Get a big internal drive and just keep them all there at all times.
Will you buy me one? ;)
I have edited to/from externals on the laptop with no problems. However, I found that both USB 2 & NAS were just too slow for me. When I'm on a roll, I don't like to have to pause and wait for things to catch up. It worked, just no where close to Real Time. Matter of fact, it made Island Time seem quick.
Went to FW-800 for all externals and now SD material works at almost the same speed as from the internals on the workstation. I'm sure that the difference could be measured, but to the human at the keyboard, it seems Real Time. Using eSATA would problably get you up to the speed of the internals, and quicker than the FW-800. Caveat: if one did go with either FW-800, or eSATA, a card with multiple controller chips would be a big plus, rather than daisy-chaining drives.
On the laptop, I do similar to you, in that many common Assets are on a 2TB external - copies of all of my SFX, motion backgrounds, Menus from Encore and my SmartSound collection. No problems. That drive is W:\ in the OS of all of my computers, so it shows as that drive letter, where ever it's plugged in. Same for my X, Y & Z drives - same on all OS's. The rest of my externals have floating drive letters, because they are just for archiving.
As for Jim's comment, post #10, Fry's (Western US) was running a sale on WD internal 1TB's ATA-300 for US$169. I'd wager, depending on things like VAT, one could find even better prices. One can never have too much internal HDD space. If it's out of the budget today, wait a week, as it'll drop in price.
You can get good 1TB drives for under $100 at Newegg. I saw three credible choices at that price point yesterday.
You guys are both quoting U.S. prices - nothing is that cheap in Japan. But point taken - drives are not the biggest expense in the computer. In the past I have always outgrown the general specs of my video machine at about the same time as I outgrow any easily replacable parts, but three years is still new to me (maybe not to you guys) - I'm still content with the computer overall, and in fact, it's still under warranty (Dell gave me four years), so it seems a shame to replace a good part of it (one of the hard drives), but I suppose it is worth considering at some point. I don't make money doing video (I do it for Christian mission work), so all equipment purchases come out of my pocket, and it's not a particularly deep pocket. So I use my equipment longer than most of you before I replace it.
As for speed differences, I hadn't really noticed a measurable difference (okay, I haven't actually measured anything, so let's say, a difference that bothered me) between editing video that was on my internal drive and video on my USB drive. At first I was afraid to try capturing to it, but when I did try, I discovered that it has no trouble. Realtime preview from either drive looks fine when there are no effects and choppy when there are. I actually thought it would be better to have more separate drives than putting everything on one big one. For example, when I'm encoding for DVD, the project and files specific to it (things I made just for it) are on V: (my second internal), my common clips are on T: (my external), and the resulting MPEG2 and audio files go on D: (partition of my boot drive, where I also put my Encore projects). I use D: because at the higher compression those files are not as drive intensive, and because my DVD burner is on the same controller as V:, so when I burn from D: it spreads the load. But that's all what I figured out in my head - I have not done any controlled comparison tests of speed between different methods. A relevent point is that I'm doing only SD 4:3 - my cameras are older than my computer, but they still have plenty of life left in them (although I've had to replace the heads twice), and when I do make the move to HD (possibly 2-3 years from now), naturally I will need new computer hardware top to bottom.
FW-800... never heard of it (I don't read a lot about new computer technology until I'm getting ready to buy), but I just now learned that it's a newer faster IEEE1394. I fairly recently bought the external I have, which is only USB, and my computer doesn't have either FW-800 or eSATA on it (and apparently it needs to be part of your mother board or something - when I search for products with those interfaces, I see lots of cables and drives but no cards), but I'll store the information away for the future.
>so it seems a shame to replace a good part of it (one of the hard drives)
Don't replace it, just add another bigger one. Use the current one for something else. There are plenty of uses for additional drives.
1. System - OS and Programs, nothing else.
2. Projects - project files, maybe scratch disks.
3. Media - this will be the new, larger hard drive.
The above are really a good minimum to work with. If you have more...
4. Exports - whatever comes out of the program for further use.
5. Images - ISO files from Encore as a Master copy.
6. Scratch - separate the scratch drives from the Project drive.
FW-800 is IEEE-1394b (notice the letter "B," at the end). It is slowly replacing IEEE-1394 (usually, the "A" is omitted). It is in spec., twice as fast. In the real world, it is faster, but exactly how much depends on a lot of variables. eSATA is faster still, but is not everywhere, like IEEE-1394b. It's still probably a bit more expensive, but comes with a performance enhancement.
Jim's idea is a good way to go. Add, as many, and as large as you can.
Just got an update on another thread (not in Japan, sorry), but NewEgg had some trusted mfgr. 1TB exteranals (do not know the connecton(s) for these), at < US$100. Bogus! I have 9 1TB externals, that I paid from US$350 down to US$250.
PS I like Jim's suggested usage too.
I only have two normal spots for hard drives - that's why I said "replace". And the manual only talks of expanding to use the second of those spots for an additional hard drive, but I ordered it with two to start with. You can imagine a PC that can hold six? That would redefine the word "tower case", I think!
But I do have one vacant narrow (about one inch tall) front-access drive slot, and peering at my mother board I see two more connections that look like they could be for cables to hard drives. I'm not very familiar with the new way of connecting hard drives - I'm from the old school, when ribbon cables with multiple connectors proceeded from the drive controllers, but apparently the new way requires dedicated connections. In fact, I need to correct a statement I made in an earlier post - it was my previous computer where I added my own second hard drive and carefully planned which controllers ran which drives (in those days, both hard drives and disk drives were run by the same controllers, so you arranged them by which ribbon cable you used and how you set the master/slave switches). This system I haven't messed with other than to replace things on warranty when they broke (this box has been a bit of a lemon, so it's good that I have a long warranty). But perhaps if I buy a hard drive that fit in that slot and has the same kind of small (not ribbon) connector as this mother board uses, it might work. I have no idea whether there are master/slave switches or other whatnots on this new kind of drive or if you just buy a cable and plug it in, but I'm sure I could figure it out. New possibilities to ponder.
I know this thread may be gradually rambling off-topic, but can you quickly tell me if there are any limits on the size of internal hard disks (or the sum total of all in the box, or something) these days? There definitely used to be such a limit based on the mother board, but the last time I actually had to deal with that issue was a long time ago, back when Windows still ran on top of DOS (and the limit I was bumping into was 40MB!) - a lot has changed since then. If it's mentioned in my PC's manual I can't find it, but then, the manual is in Japanese, which is a severe handicap for me... ;)
Bill's post came in while I was writing. You have 9 (count 'em, nine) 1TB drives? Wow. My husband and I considered it a momentous day when I bought this one! I named the drive label "Tera" and the drive letter T:, and my husband teased me for a while calling me the "wife with the terabyte drive", as if that was a category of super-geek. But now the 500GB of usable space (I'm running it in RAID 1) is getting tight, so it's no longer amazing to think of "terabyte" as a unit of measure for the hard drive space of mere mortals. If I get a third internal drive that can hold all my stuff, I guess I could turn off RAID on this one and use it for backup of the others (although making the backup might take a week!).
>FW-800...is slowly replacing IEEE-1394
Careful Bill. 1394b may be getting more common in externals, but most mobos still come only with 1394a, and all camera use only 1394a.
Plus, there can be compatibility issues between the two, so that your 1394a devices may not work with the 1394b driver, meaning you may have to uninstall and reinstall the appropriate driver every time you want to switch form a 1394b device (HD) to a 1394a device (camera).
You are correct on that. My IEEE-1394b's are from a PCIe card on the workstation and an ExpressCard on the laptop. By the time that MoBo's include these, it'll be up to IEEE-1394Z! And yes, one STILL needs FW-400 for the camera. You augment, not replace.
So far, I have been lucky with these. Even going back to my 5 year old Toshiba laptop, the FW-800's have worked fine along with the FW-400's. However, YMMV.
You gave me a chuckle with "Tera." I like that and needed a little laugh this AM.
There IS something to be said for "Full Tower" cases.
>You augment, not replace.
I actually had to replace. I could not install both drivers with my mobo, so if I wanted to go from an 800 external to my 400 camera for capture, I'd have to uninstall the 800 driver and load the 400 driver. Then do the reverse to get full speed from my 800 external.
Yet another reason why eSATA may be the best choice.
Sorry to change the subject back, but... stupid Defrag routine! I cleared out some of my drive (moved files to other drives) until it was about half full, and ran Defrag three times. It is no longer moving anything, but most of the big video files on that drive are still fragmented all over the disk. If Defrag was just a little bit smarter, it would see that it could move just a few of those red stripes over and have room to put the big files contiguously, but it's apparently not that smart. Is there a way to determine which files are still fragmented? I'd happily move another file if I knew that it was one of the ones causing red stripes to be sprinkled all over the disk, but I don't have a lot of room elsewhere, so I can't move a lot - if I accidently copy a file that Defrag arranged nicely into a fat blue area, that won't help.
I would suspect that my project file was successfully defragged, simply by the fact that it is relatively small. And the video clips I'm using on this project are all on the other drive. But it would still be nice to finish the cleanup.
EDIT: Never mind - I just discovered that the answer to my question is page two of the printed report. Duh!
While I wait for one more try at defragging after several iterations of moving the worst offenders elsewhere and running it again, with not much progress (this is my last attempt, as my other drives are full), I'll write about other news. I just called Dell, and they told me that I cannot improve my hard drive situation on this - I cannot have more than two drives, and the max capacity overall is 500GB (which is what I have), so I also can't replace one of my existing ones with a larger one. My machine also doesn't support adding a card for eSATA or any other faster method than USB for communicating with an external. He simply suggested that I get a better (i.e. newer) computer, which of course I can't afford. This one was almost cutting edge when I bought it.
Interesting, regarding the defrag process, it seems that although it apparently can't move around the fragments (red stripes) to make bigger spaces, it can move contiguous files. It's still going, but I can see that so far what it has done this time is move one really big blue area to two other places - apparently that was two files, so it moved them to separate places to make a wider open spot. But it's still dumb - it didn't put those files in the smallest open spaces that they would fit in, but in parts of larger spots, which means that it will still have trouble finding contiguous space for the big mamas that remain. When I reorganize a closet, that's not how I do it! In fact, if Defrag worked the way I do closets, it would have succeeded the first time...
It managed to get rid of the last of the red stripes, but it says it's only 48% done, and now says that it is "compressing files" (translation from the Japanese). But I don't ever set any of my drives to use Windows file compression. Does anyone know what in the world it might be compressing?
Clint Eastwood said to the mong, Tao aka Toad, in 'Gran Torino' - "Hey Zipperhead!" - Did you remember to do the error checking before the defrags?. IF you did, semper fire - any redlines in the defrag after this just indicates dates you poured champagne over the keyboard, aka Electric Dreams. If you did, go back to work, if you've still got problems - run home to call Tech support, they should be able to help you out!.
Yes, I did the error checking first. I don't know what it found, because I checked the two checkboxes that permit it to fix stuff if it needs to, and went to bed when it got rolling - in the morning it had completed booting and had no report or anything for me. Then I proceeded directly to start defragging.
My redlines were caused not by champagne-induced bloodshot eyes, but by ten large video files that were spewed all over the disk. Very little was defragged until I started moving files elsewhere to get them out of the way. All is blue and white now (the champagne hangover is over), so now I will begin the long process of moving the files back that I stowed elsewhere.
But my question was about "compressing" - what did it need to compress for an hour after it defragged? It's done now, but I'd like to know what it was doing. I printed the final report, but there is no mention of compression. Trust me - I don't choose to compress my drives.
> I just called Dell, and they told me that I cannot improve my hard drive situation on this - I cannot have more than two drives, and the max capacity overall is 500GB (which is what I have), so I also can't replace one of my existing ones with a larger one. My machine also doesn't support adding a card for eSATA or any other faster method than USB for communicating with an external. He simply suggested that I get a better (i.e. newer) computer, which of course I can't afford.
Sounds to me like the guy at Dell just wants to sell you another system. I don't believe that you can't add another drive. Most pc have more than 2 of the 3.5 inch drive bays in the chassis. And even if that were true, then you should have at least one pci or PCIe slot for for an adaptor card. That could be anything you want...esata, usb, firewire external drives, or anything else for that matter. If it doesn't, then you hardly got cutting edge system.
Can you tell us which dell system you have?
It's called a Dimension 9150, but that number designation may be unique to Japan. I think the motherboard is a DXP051 version A05 (based on others on the internet - I couldn't find that spec in the manual). My tower has two of the bigger drive bays (which are both occupied with DVD drives) and two smaller ones (one has a card reader, but the other is available). And there are multiple card slots open. But the Dell guy seemed to be saying that it wasn't an issue of physical space, but of compatibility - what looked to me like 3rd and 4th SATA connections, he said are for drives like floppies and CD drives (although I thought those devices would be the old ribbon-type connections, as the two DVD drives in it now are), and when I asked him about adding an eSATA card, he said it wouldn't work in that computer (perhaps too new a technology for that motherboard or other parts of the system? or perhaps it was a driver issue - I don't know). The guy could have been mistaken, but I doubt the purpose was to sell me a new PC - he's in tech support, not sales. And he didn't just give me an answer off the top of his head - he put me on hold to check. But there is always the chance of miscommunication - I'm learning these new terms in English by talking to you guys and reading stuff on the web, and then I have to try to talk to Dell about it in Japanese.
On defragging, I have found that the module in Windows does just an OK job. I use Diskeeper and it is about 10x faster and 3x more thorough, than Windows. It will also defrag, as you go, but I have all of my copies set to manual - I want nothing working in the background, no matter how safe the mfgr. tells me it is.
Even the old Norton Systems Works defragging module was much better, than Windows (IMO), but Diskeep beats that, by a mile.
PS Jim and I were just getting started! Now you have spoiled our fun by dragging us back to YOUR problem. [Grin]
a search of dell website shows you have 4 sata drive connectors on mb. you have 2 external 3.5 bays and 2 internal. your existing drives take up the 2 internal and you say you have a card reader in one of the external. that leaves one bay you could use. your pc can support an external drive as well. esata is fastest. cd and floppy drives are usually ribbon type,althought newer cd drives use sata connections. can't hardly find a floppy drive now...who needs it?
All this is off track of your original problem.
I went back and reread all your post. Correct me if I'm wrong but you have 2 internal drives and a 1 terabyte usb ext drive. Right?
You have done your error checking and defrag on all your drives?
How about your system drive (usually c) what is the free space? or even, what is free space of each of your drives?
I don't think you have a terribly large project. That should not be an issue.
What is your project? standard def DV or other?
Just a note on Defrag.
Although I agree with Bill Hunt that there are better tools for defrag than Windows' own tool, I'm doing it without any defrag tool (except for the c drive).
I use the biggest drive I have, either inside the PC or an external. The drive I want defrag'ed, I'll just copy all the content to the big drive, make sure all is there (on the big one), then delete (Shift Delete, so it doesn't put anything in the Recycle Bin) it all from the drive I want defrag'ed, and then copy it all back from the big one, check if it's all gone well, and finally delete it from the big drive.
I agree with you Dag. This approach is possibly faster and will definitely optimize your disk even better than Diskeeper or Defrag can.
Thanks for the thoughts about defragging. I don't have anywhere near enough extra space to juggle whole drives like Dag does, but I can definitely imagine that if I did, it would be faster than Windows Defrag, and perhaps than a third-party tool. Anyway, as Phil says, let's get back to the topic.
> I went back and reread all your post. Correct me if I'm wrong but you have 2 internal drives and a 1 terabyte usb ext drive. Right?
Right. Project file on the non-system internal, clips (in this case) on the external. (For projects that use video specific to that project, the video would also be on the internal.)
> You have done your error checking and defrag on all your drives?
I haven't done it to my system drive or my external, only my project drive. Why? Because (a) it took me all day yesterday (off and on - I was also out a lot) to get the one drive defragged; (b) I won't be able to defrag the external because it's too full; (c) those drives are not nearly as bad as the one I just did. I'll do my two partitions on the other internal when I have time, but I have to get this project done in the next couple days.
> How about your system drive (usually c) what is the free space? or even, what is free space of each of your drives?
Right now (having not yet moved all the video files back to V: as I plan to), C: (system partition) has 10GB free, D: (Encore projects and miscellaneous - a partition on same drive with C:) has 14GB, V: (internal drive dedicated to PPro projects and accompanying video) has 129GB, and T: (external, with large collection of reusable clips) has 76GB free.
> What is your project? standard def DV or other?
SD 720x480 NTSC.
I was busy with other things all day today, so I haven't really tested the system to see if it's faster and/or more stable after defragging the worst disk, but I'll let you know. I'll also try calling Dell again and hopefully get a different person, to see if I get a different answer about adding additional internal drives.
>I'll also try calling Dell again and hopefully get a different person, to see if I get a different answer about adding additional internal drives.
Just try to get any computer-geek (not meant in a bad way) to have a look inside your box. He/she will in a snap tell you the real story.
Believe me, I wish it were that simple! But I'm as close to a geek as it gets around here - everyone I know asks me questions, not the other way around. (I may sound clueless about hardware, but (a) the last several years while PC hardware has changed a lot, I have not really paid much attention, focusing on software, video, and web development, and (b) I don't know current terminology without reading up on it, because there is no one to talk "shop" with. I have a BSEE, but PCs weren't even invented when I was in school!) Hey, Dag, wanna come to Japan and look at my computer? ;-)
Also, I have heard that Dell is often kinda proprietary with the way they do their motherboards, so you can't always tell by looks what the PCs are really set up to do.
Anyway, I have to finish this current project, and then I go on a month-long trip, so I can't let the deadline slip. So I'm not buying any hard disks this week, and probably am not even defragging any more drives. But that will be a good test - if I can get through this week without more of the instability problems I was having, it probably means that my fragmentation of my project file had been causing problems. I appreciate the encouragement that I shouldn't have to break this kind of project up into smaller pieces - that would have been really inconvenient.