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Old 08-25-2011   #21
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Default Re: PC Upgrade advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cross_ View Post
The HD6570 that coatesy mentioned is ca. 3 times as fast and at $70 a worthwhile upgrade. For earlier versions it does not matter but Adobe's CS5 versions rely a lot on the GPU so speed upgrades make sense.
It is 3 times as fast for games perhaps but for Photoshop it makes no sense. To test my hypothesis that the HD3000 is more than enough for Photoshop, I've done some of my own testing using this method and the findings surprised me quite a bit .



The tests were performed with WiFi disabled, no other programs running than Photoshop and I had also disabled any gadgets that were running on my desktop. The tests with Intel Turbo-mode enabled were done three times and I took the best times. To disable Turbo-mode, I disabled Intel SpeedStep(tm) via the bios of my system which is a Dell XPS15 (LX502) with a Core i7 2630QM @ 2.0-2.9 GHz, built-in Intel HD3000 GPU, Nvidia GT525M discrete gfx card that has 1MB of on-board memory, 6GB of DDR3 memory and a 120GB OCZ Vertex3 MAXIOPS that has my OS (Win7 HP), Photoshop CS5 and is used as the scratch drive. When using the Nvidia gard, I configured Photoshop to use the CPU to the maximum of its capabilities. I closed down Photoshop after each test and after each GPU settings change.

From my own testing it appears the best results come from disabling OpenGL in Photoshop . I tested and re-tested but the figures are correct. I need to test this on my desktop with the E8400 to see if it has to do with the Optimus technology perhaps that is built-in to the laptop because this is very counter-intuitive. But again, the figures are correct and speak for themselves. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that the actual hand-over of data from computer-memory to the GPU, is causing the delay whilst not offering any benefit.

Also, GPUs are not suited for most tasks that Photoshop does because of the way they are designed. GPUs work on a block-level and not on a per pixel level like CPU's can. That is why on gfx cards they try and dazzle us with the number of shaders that are available, each shader being like a CPU that is able to perform one or few tasks on a block of data and only on the entire block. That is my understanding anyway.

Even if we just look at the differences in time between the HD3000 and the GT525M, they are negligible in my opinion. The only BIG difference comes from enabling the Turbo mode on the CPU, so getting a faster CPU offers more benefit than getting a faster GPU. So I would use that $70 and put it towards a (bigger) SSD or a faster CPU.

Other tests on the net seem to confirm that GPU acceleration is not really useful at this point. Check this review that says that only for video-encoding it can offer a benefit.

Quote:
(I am still not convinced that more than 512MB VRAM makes sense but maybe that's because none of my monitors is even capable of going to 1920x1200)
As I said earlier, it only makes sense with certain games on a resolution of 1920x1200 or higher.
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Old 08-25-2011   #22
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Cool Re: PC Upgrade advice

Quote:
I need to test this on my desktop with the E8400 to see if it has to do with the Optimus technology perhaps that is built-in to the laptop because this is very counter-intuitive.
Here are the results of an Intel Core2Duo E8400 @ 3.0 GHz (stock speed) and @ 4.15 GHz (overclocked) together with an ATi HD 4350 Silent/512MB.



(I have an HD4870/1GB here on my desk but it's a bit of a hassle to swap the 4350 with the HD4870 so unless it's vital to do the testing I rather not )


The results on the E8400 a) aren't as consistently in favour of CPU or GPU and b) the differences are still very small. My money would still go towards a faster CPU and/or SSD.

This is the overview with all 4 set-ups, but put your reading glasses on:



BTW, here is the Google Doc for all to view: https://spreadsheets.google.com/spre...yUzRoZkE&hl=nl
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Last edited by Rogier; 08-25-2011 at 09:50 AM.. Reason: Added link to Google Document
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Old 08-25-2011   #23
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Default Re: PC Upgrade advice

Well that's one hell of a detailed test.

Thanks for that.

One question about the motherboard I am looking at, the Gigabyte Z68AP-UD3P

It doesn't have a DVi port on it, so if i went without a graphics card, would I have to buy a DVi to HDMi cable to connect my monitor to the motherboard.
It's an NEC Multisync 2490WUXi
Would there be any loss in picture quality

Thanks

Graham
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Old 08-25-2011   #24
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Default Re: PC Upgrade advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by coatesy View Post
Well that's one hell of a detailed test.

Thanks for that.
LOL! Well, I might have gone overboard just a tad but I was curious to see what difference a GPU really makes and now I know: naught!

Quote:
One question about the motherboard I am looking at, the Gigabyte Z68AP-UD3P
Are you sure that's the right model? I can't find it on the Gigabyte site and when I search Google, this topic on the forum is the first hit .

Quote:
It doesn't have a DVi port on it, so if i went without a graphics card, would I have to buy a DVi to HDMi cable to connect my monitor to the motherboard.
According to the Gigabyte site for the Z68 series, it does have a DVI port (all Z68 models do). So it's important to double check the motherboard model.

Quote:
It's an NEC Multisync 2490WUXi
Would there be any loss in picture quality
Nah, only if you go from analogue to digital or vice versa you would have a loss in picture quality. So going from VGA -> DVI could mean a loss in quality, but going from DVI -> HDMI or vice versa will be fine as it stays digital.
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Old 08-25-2011   #25
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Default Re: PC Upgrade advice

Sorry a typo error.
It's a Gigabyte Z68XP-UD3P
GIGABYTE - Motherboard - Socket 1155 - GA-Z68XP-UD3P (rev. 1.0)


I priced up the components separately from a couple of different places
If I got the Gigabyte board 132.82
I5 2500K 3.30ghz 159.98 Not Overclocked
Kingston Hyper X Blu 16GB = 95.98
Corsair A50 23.78
That is 412.56
The overclocked bundle I was looking at is 429.18 but only has 8Gb Ram

Would it be better to buy separately and overclock at a later time

Thanks again

Graham
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Old 08-25-2011   #26
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Default Re: PC Upgrade advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by coatesy View Post
Sorry a typo error.
It's a Gigabyte Z68XP-UD3P
GIGABYTE - Motherboard - Socket 1155 - GA-Z68XP-UD3P (rev. 1.0)
Ah, thought so. In any case, there is DVI on the motherboard so no special cable required to connect it to your NEC.

Quote:
The overclocked bundle I was looking at is 429.18 but only has 8Gb Ram

Would it be better to buy separately and overclock at a later time
So where's the SSD? Seriously, you need an SSD to experience the 'holy f*ck' sensation of booting for the first time. In fact, I've got my laptop for a few months now and I am *still* impressed by how fast it boots.

Personally I would not be concerned about the memory as I've yet to experience running out of it with a measly 6 GB (Gb = GigaBIT, GB = GigaBYTE). I would rather go for the overclocked system with one year warranty instead of messing about with overclocking it myself. And don't take this the wrong way but you don't strike me as the [s]geek[/s] person who likes to spend hours squeezing the most out of his CPU? If you do see that as a challenge, by all means OC yourself .
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Old 08-25-2011   #27
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Default Re: PC Upgrade advice

You are right about the geeky person.
I just want something quick so I can get through hundreds of photos quicker.

Another question, (You will get bored of my asking soon )
Solid state Drives. I don't know a lot about them
Would 120gb be enough and what make do you recommend.
You mentioned trimming. Is that like Defragging on a normal hard drive.
I always keep my photos on separate drives from the os, but if was to save things on the ssd like docs or photos, could I just copy them to the other drives then delete from the ssd.
Also Bridge and Photoshop creates a cache which gets larger over time. Can I just delete the caches from the ssd then use the trim function.
There are lot of tests on the speeds of ssd's but not many answers to questions like this.
Sorry if I sound a bit stupid but any advice would be a great help.

Graham
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Old 08-25-2011   #28
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Default Re: PC Upgrade advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by coatesy View Post
You are right about the geeky person.
I just want something quick so I can get through hundreds of photos quicker.
Right, so don't look at how much they charge you extra for the overclocking and enjoy your new system!

Quote:
Another question, (You will get bored of my asking soon )
We're not there yet .

Quote:
Solid state Drives. I don't know a lot about them
I'm no expert on them but I've got two that I use and have experience with and I read a lot of stuff about them.

Quote:
Would 120gb be enough and what make do you recommend.
For your OS, Photoshop and a few other programs that will be plenty. I have a 120GB OCZ Vertex 3 MAXIOPS in my laptop for exactly that configuration and I've got like 40GB spare. I have an additional 500GB traditional HDD (the one that came originally with my laptop) that I use for storage.

On my desktop system (with the E8400) I have a 40GB Intel X25-V that I only use for OS and only the most vital programs (including Lightroom and Photoshop I must say) and that leaves me with about 8GB left. It works but I would prefer a little bit more headroom although I cannot substantiate that with any arguments .

The Intel X25-V was the first SSD that I bought and it is known as a drive that reads data fast but writes not so fast. Still, it is (was) a good bargain and it did speed up my boot time. Which wasn't bad to start with, as my previous OS drive was a 150GB Velociraptor which is now the drive I store my photos on for fast access.

Anyway, the key question is whether or not I can recommend the OCZ Vertex 3. To be honest, no. It works okay for me and the speeds are phenomenal but the issue of the
does sometimes occur when I wake up my laptop from sleep mode. I have to say that since the latest firmware (1.06) that has not happened anymore (running for two weeks now). OCZ confirm there is an issue but they blame it on bad drivers from motherboard manufacturers, from Intel and/or bad cables and the root cause they suspect to be the hot-plugging capabilities of SATA in combination with Intel CPUs. Apparently if you turn that off in the BIOS, the problems (BSOD) do not occur anymore. They specifically mention issues with the Z68 chipset. No matter how you turn it, I cannot recommend this drive to you without at least you being aware of the above problems.

Actually, all manufacturers have issues, even big names like Intel. So why on earth am I still recommending an SSD to you?! Why? Because they are seriously FAAAST and as long as you don't store anything on there that you don't mind losing, you're fine. All drives come with warranty for enough years and it's a myth that they wear out really quick because controllers these days have all sorts of tricks to spread the wear over all memory cells. And should a drive fail, the data is still on the memory chips as flash memory is used and that doesn't require power to keep its state (1 or 0). Compared to regular HDDs, it's easier to recover data from an SSD then an HDD.

Which one should you get? That questions makes me scratch my head and pull a difficult face. Personally I would go for the Intel SSD 510 120GB but that is only because the other names in the test that I linked to earlier like Patriot, Kingston and so forth are not that easy to get here in the Netherlands. But maybe I'm not looking hard enough (I said I wasn't an expert, haha). Intel is big name however so that's what I'm hiding behind. Should my OCZ Vertex 3 MAXIOPS die tomorrow, however, I would get another OCZ Vertex 3 MAXIOPS no doubt as I'm very impressed by the speeds.

I'm hoping I've helped you a bit but I'm afraid I might've even scared you off? Think of it this way, if SSDs really were shite, they wouldn't be so popular, would they now? I waited a long time as well before I got my first one but now that I've seen the performance enhancement, I can never go back to regular HDDs as boot drives.

Quote:
You mentioned trimming. Is that like Defragging on a normal hard drive.
Also Bridge and Photoshop creates a cache which gets larger over time. Can I just delete the caches from the ssd then use the trim function.
You don't have to do anything, a modern OS (Windows 7 and the latest Mac OS (Lion)) and the latest drives do this automatically when you're drive is not used. So no manual intervention required like I have to on my Intel X25-V.

Quote:
There are lot of tests on the speeds of ssd's but not many answers to questions like this.
Sorry if I sound a bit stupid but any advice would be a great help.
No bother, we're here to help each other on the forum right? It would be stupid to not ask for help or information because then you'll never know.

One last thing on SSD drives: do NOT assume that if the 240GB version of a certain brand/model has great read/write speeds, that the 120GB or smaller have similar speeds. In fact, the smallest drives are often the slowest because they have less memory chips in them and/or the controller does not use all memory lanes at once so speed can be greatly impacted. As a rule of thumb you can assume the 240GB drives will be faster than the 120GB drives and the 120GB drives will be faster than the smaller drives than that. The exception to the rule is the OCZ Vertex 3 MAXIOPS as the 120GB MAXIOPS version is faster than the 240GB version .
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Old 08-25-2011   #29
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Default Re: PC Upgrade advice

My head is spinning
I'll have to read it a few times to take it all in

I've searched for ssd's and found this one which has good reviews

Crucial RealSSD M4 128GB
Sequential Read (up to): 415MB/sec (SATA 6Gb/s)
- Sequential Write (up to): 175MB/sec (SATA 6Gb/s)
- Random 4k Read: 40,000 IOPS
- Random 4k Write: 35,000 IOPS
- PCMark Vantage: 55K HDD Test Score
- Interface: SATA 6Gbps / Backwards Compatible 3Gbps
- Native TRIM support
- Seek Time: .1ms
- Slim 2.5" Design
- 100.5 x 69.85 x 9.5mm
- Lightweight: 75g
- Operating Temp: 0C ~ 70C
- Storage Temp: -40C ~ 85C
- Low Power Consumption: 150 mW in operation, .85 mW in standby
- Shock Resistant up to 1500G
- RAID Support
- MTBF: 1.2 million hours
- Limited 3-Year Warranty

It's only 140.00 approx so it's in my budget.
The 256GB look nice but far too expensive
What do you think.

One more thing ,he says

My current pc has a OCZ Mod Xstream 700w power supply

I might sell my whole system as it is and will need a new power supply
Is 700w enough.

Graham
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Old 08-25-2011   #30
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Default Re: PC Upgrade advice

As of late OCZ has gotten a bad reputation for its SSDs. Until they fix their quality control issues the advice I have seen across various hardware forums is to stay away from them.

coatesy, 700W is going to be fine in most cases (unless you hook up half a dozen hard drives and a power hungry graphics card). I have had 500W supplies in most of my systems and never run into stability issues with that.


Nicely detailed testing Rogier. Thanks for that!
I thought Adobe had implemented most of their filters and adjustment layers as shaders by now but rereading the documentation I guess not. Only the UI uses OpenGL, so zooming, panning, and a couple other things will be faster.

Quote:
Also, GPUs are not suited for most tasks that Photoshop does because of the way they are designed. GPUs work on a block-level and not on a per pixel level like CPU's can. That is why on gfx cards they try and dazzle us with the number of shaders that are available, each shader being like a CPU that is able to perform one or few tasks on a block of data and only on the entire block. That is my understanding anyway.
There are vertex shaders and pixel shaders. Pixel shaders can operate on individual pixels. I have not done any shader development in the past 4 years and I remember in the early days it was kind of kludgy, but either way, most Photoshop filters could be done on the GPU but apparently are not.


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