9 Replies Latest reply on Nov 3, 2008 3:43 PM by Harm Millaard

    Still in a quandary about hardware specs. What do you think?

    Harm Millaard Level 7
      I need to build a new system as editing machine for CS4. Everything is more or less clear as to what I need, there are only two issues remaining:

      1. How much RAM to install, and
      2. Disk setup.

      As always there is the balance between performance and costs. Since this is not "an unlimited means available" type of machine, you will not see much esoteric components, like SSD raids or nVidia Quadro CX card. It is a dual E5472 Harpertown system (8 core), running Vista 64 Business.

      1. How much RAM would be a good balance in price/performance? 8 or 16 GB? We are talking about Kingston Value Ram DDR2-6400 ECC FBDIMM, either 4 x 2 GB ( 420) or 4 x 4 GB ( 650), with the possibility to double memory in the future. If you do not make a habit of continuously switching between PP, AE, EN, PS etc. and are mainly using only 1 application at the time, I wonder if there is a noticeable performance gain to justify the additional cost. The choice is obvious if the total cost of the machine would not be stretching available means. So what do you think?

      2. Main storage is 8 x WD Caviar Black 1 TB disks in raid50 for media, renders, scratch etc. But what about the boot disk? Either a 300 GB WD Velociraptor ( 240), or 4 x WD Scorpio (7200 RPM) 160 GB in raid10 ( 250), using on-board ESB2 chipset.
      While we are at it, does it make sense to add 4 x WD Scorpio 250 GB in Raid5 (on an Areca ARC controller with free ports) only for pagefile, projects and temporary export. Final export will be transferred over the network to a burning machine for DVD's. Backups of projects is to external USB disks and on a separate machine over VPN.

      The case has room for 8 hot swappable 3.5" disks and 8 hot swappable 2.5" laptop disks plus another disk and a DVD/BR burner internally. There are still 4 external eSATA ports available for future expansion. Foreseen video card is ATI 4870 512MB. Network is currently a 1 Gb connection, but can be enhanced to 2 Gb with 2 NIC's.

      Look forward to your reactions.
        • 1. Re: Still in a quandary about hardware specs. What do you think?
          Jeff Bellune Adobe Community Professional
          Hi Harm,

          I have a new system. Maybe my configuration will help you decide on yours.

          Vista 64 Business
          Dual E5420 Xeons
          16 GB RAM
          2x500 GB Seagates in a 1 TB RAID0 for Source Media
          2x500 GB Seagates in a 1 TB RAID0 for Projects/Renders
          3x500 GB Seagates in a 1 TB RAID5 for Daily Backups
          1x500 GB Seagate System Disk
          1x500 GB Seagate Data/Photos Disk
          1x160 GB WD System Backup

          The RAID5 and the Data/Backup disks are in a hot swappable 5-disk bay. Archived projects and some Data backups are saved on SATA disks in external USB enclosures.

          Video card is an Nvidia GTX 280. All of it runs on a 1000-Watt Power Supply with custom cooling and fans for the CPUs and the case.

          I'm not finished installing all of my production apps yet, but what I do have installed flies with the 8 cores. I have yet to stretch the RAM, but when I get CS4 installed, I plan to have Pr, AE, Ps, En and AME open most of the time, since most of my work is done via Dynamic Link. I expect the 16 GB will come in handy then.

          HTH,
          -Jeff
          • 3. Re: Still in a quandary about hardware specs. What do you think?
            Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant
            Harm, my system has one of the new VelociRaptor 150 GB drives ($160 @newegg) as the OS/Applications disk since this is the fastest SATA disk available. I am skeptical on running any form of RAID for the OS as if there is a problem there it is difficult to diagnose as many boot type tools cannot handle a RAID OS configuration. I have a friend that twice now had to start over with a RAID 1 OS disk.
            • 4. Re: Still in a quandary about hardware specs. What do you think?
              Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant
              continued---had to take a break and walk the dog.

              As far as a faster paging file, I do not think that with a 64-bit OS, 8 GB or more of RAM and generally a single application running that there should be much paging.

              As soon as I can afford it I think that I will get an nVidia Quadro FX1700 since it is "CUDA" enabled and be able to tell if it helps any of my benchmarking, but then that is not helping you right now.

              That is quite a case, my I ask for the name and part number?
              • 5. Re: Still in a quandary about hardware specs. What do you think?
                Dag Norum Level 2
                Harm,

                Sorry, way OT, but...

                >running Vista 64

                Have you by mistake gotten into one of those bars in Amsterdam where they serve their "drinks" rolled up in thin paper?

                Dag
                • 6. Re: Still in a quandary about hardware specs. What do you think?
                  Harm Millaard Level 7
                  Bill,

                  The case is the Supermicro SC743TQ-865SQ and the storage bay for the 2.5" disks is the Addonics AE4RCS25NSA (2.5 Disk Array 4SA)

                  Thanks for your remark about the difficulty of troubleshooting boot arrays. That might be an advantage for the Velociraptor.

                  Dag, no. I don't make the mistake of visiting Amsterdam, unless it is absolutely necessary, like visiting the IBC, let alone visiting those bars. I came to realize that Vista has grown up a bit with SP1 and with full support for 64 it now makes a bit more sense than XP64. It does imply a couple of days tweaking Vista (= removing 'features') to make it work decently, but after that is accomplished I will make a slip streamed DVD version for future installs, so that is a one time investment. With recent enhancements in Nullsoft that is easily accomplished, including all intermediate patches and 'Patch Tuesday' versions.
                  • 7. Re: Still in a quandary about hardware specs. What do you think?
                    Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant
                    Harm and Dag

                    I have been seriously thinking it might be a good time for me to start exploring Windows 6 (??) 64-bit also (I hate the "V" word). But mine would have to be dual-boot.

                    There is a interesting article in the November 2008 issue of PC World that is a starting point of 12 "V" features "You Don't Need And How To Turn Them Off".

                    I like that Addonics unit--thanks
                    • 8. Re: Still in a quandary about hardware specs. What do you think?
                      Dag Norum Level 2
                      Harm,

                      Thanks! You have probably been the one most appreciated "words", from my point of view, when it comes to reluctance against Vista. So far Vista for me has been a new "maked-up" version of ME (and god dang it, ME was BAD, did I say terrible BAD?).

                      So, seeing that YOU can find Vista to be able to "tame", as I found XP to be, that's good news.

                      Yup, maybe even I will look into ista (not using the "V", for you Bill!), oh well, maybe I get there at SP2...

                      Dag
                      • 9. Re: Still in a quandary about hardware specs. What do you think?
                        Harm Millaard Level 7
                        Some little things like standard support for LBA64 and GPT right out of the box helped to pull me across. Additionally there is now a lot of info available on tweaking the OS and getting rid of all the garbage that is installed automatically. Basically the OS is not so bad, it gets seriously hampered and bogged down by things like Aero and the Sidebar and the ridiculous UAR management, which even Micros**t has now acknowledged to be a mistake.