XP System Recommendations?

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BobH

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My current system is a few years old, and it just doesn't have the horsepower to run Lightroom as quickly as it should. It's obviously time to upgrade...

I'm wondering what I should look for. Will a "gaming system" also work well in this application? For example, would I be better off getting a Del XPS system or a would one of the Precision Workstations be better? Keep in mind that money definitely is an issue here, and the few times I priced out a Precision workstation system they seemed to quickly get out of my budget.

Anyone have a suggestion for a good system at a fair price? I know I can't buy a $5'' box, but the top of the line gaming box for $8k isn't in the picture either...
 
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My system specs below - laptop mindyou - runs like a charm (at the moment). Media/gaming edition with what was at the time, the best video card.
 
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BobH

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I'm looking for a new desktop machine, as I want to be able install raid in it.

Doing some more research, I've got a couple of issues I don't really know the answer to, and I'm wondering if anyone here has any input.

1) Will the 64 bit version of Windows make any improvement?

2) Does LR and/or CS3 support dual processors? I was looking around the Dell website and found that I can get a dual processor Precision workstation for less than what they want for the mid-range XPS gaming systems. Would there be any significant advantage to one over the other? There's not much use in having dual processors if the software doesn't support it...
 
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As I understand it, the 64 bit Windows version of Lightroom when 2.' is released should make a substantial difference in the memory management, so which sounds like a good reason to go down that route. I'm not THAT familiar with the whole Win-64 debate though, so perhaps someone would like to comment?

It does support multiple processors, particularly when doing a large export or suchlike.
 
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BobH

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Thanks Victoria

I've been researching this some more, and it sounds like the main issue is that the 64 bit OS strictly enforces the driver validation requirement, thus there are lots of devices out there that don't have 64 bit drivers, especially consumer grade stuff like the moderately priced printers etc.

I've found a local custom builder that has been very helpful and informative.

Right now I'm looking at going with a quad core system, Q955' processor (the best non-extreme quad core out there at the moment), 4 gigs of ram and a terabyte of storage in a Raid configuration.

The quad core should make it a viable system for at least a couple of years.

I'm probably going with XP pro for now, and will upgrade to the 64 bit version of Vista once it's stable and I'm convinced it's worth the hassles.
 
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Sounds like a sensible option Bob
 
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BobH

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Here's what I've come up with:

Q955' processor (Quad Core, 2.8 hz)
4 gigs ddr3 ram
2x 98'' gtx graphics cards

15' gig raptor 1'k drive for windows
1.5 TB in a RAID ' arrangement for data

Vista Ultimate 64 bit OS (at least to start, if I can't get it working I'll do 32 bit)

Anyone see any issues with that system aside from price?
 

Brad Snyder

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You'll probably have to upgrade the fuel from coal tho'. :cheesy:

No, looks good. I know a guy on another forum, who is always (annoyingly) spec-dropping (like name dropping), with a very similar system. He has 96 GB of RAM. I don't think the Vista 64 can use it all as main mem, so he has some (most?) of it configured as a ram-drive, where he moves his LR working files.
 
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BobH

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Brad Snyder;14'67 said:
You'll probably have to upgrade the fuel from coal tho'. :cheesy:

Actually it's oil fired, I'm on the west coast. :)

The "steam powered" is chosen for two reasons. It is an old system, but I also operate steam locomotives on the weekend, so it's an apt analogy.

No, looks good. I know a guy on another forum, who is always (annoyingly) spec-dropping (like name dropping), with a very similar system.

Well, I'm going to try and not do that. I'm hoping for a good system, but I don't think it's too extreme. I'm not going to overclock it at all, and no water cooling or window and LED case lighting.

He has 96 GB of RAM. I don't think the Vista 64 can use it all as main mem, so he has some (most?) of it configured as a ram-drive, where he moves his LR working files.

::Blink:: 96 GB?!? How do you even do that? I think mine has 4 slots, so I can easily upgrade to 8 gigs from 4. But how would I ever get to 96?

Even if I could find a way to cram 96 gigs into my machine, I hate to think about what 96 gigs of DDR3 would cost! Why not go with a solid state drive instead if you have mega deep pockets.
 

Brad Snyder

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BobH;142'5 said:
::Blink:: 96 GB?!? How do you even do that? I think mine has 4 slots, so I can easily upgrade to 8 gigs from 4. But how would I ever get to 96?

Even if I could find a way to cram 96 gigs into my machine, I hate to think about what 96 gigs of DDR3 would cost! Why not go with a solid state drive instead if you have mega deep pockets.

I think he's running one of the Windows Server OSs as a workstation. I haven't paid that much attention because his signal-to-noise ratio is pretty low, and he's kind of abrasive as well.

[Off-topic, bad moderator (slap)]
I love the old steam gizmos. The local county fair hosts a few antique traction engines every year. My first career was in power generation, and I've worked with most fossil fuel technologies. My problem is I'm a sparky, and while 1'',''' volts doesn't scare me, I'm extremely leery of pressure. I swear I can just see the micro-cracks propagating as I walk by.
 
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BobH

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OK, here's the latest revision:

Qx965' processor (Quad Core, 3.' hz)
4 gigs ddr3 ram
98'' gtx graphics cards

15' gig raptor 1'k drive for windows
1.5 TB Data Disk (2 x 75', non-RAID)

Why the changes? Q955''s just aren't available yet. I've got a project coming up on 5/31 that I'd really like LR to run at a decent speed for. It's my best client, and I want to get things done for him in a timely manner. I was tired of waiting for the Q955', but didn't want to settle for the 945'. I talked to my supplier and said "Hey, I'm spending big bucks, can you cut me a break on the Extreme processor? (Some folks thinks "Extreme" refers to the processor speed. That's not correct, it actually refers to the PRICE of the processor. :)) He knocked $3'' of his list price on the 965' since the 975''s are out now and 965' prices have dropped, I gulped a bit and said "Go for it..."

Going to a single 98'' GTX is purely a budget measure, I can always drop a second one in later for an SLI config. Then again, I'm doing digital imaging, not playing Crysis, so FPS isn't that big a deal.

Dropping RAID was also a budget compromise. My supplier really doesn't like RAID and he strongly suggests using a RAID controller card if you insist in it. From what I've read elswhere, I think he's right. The more I thought about having 1.5 TB of data all in one array, with double the normal chances of failure, the less I liked the idea. (RAID ' isn't RAID at all, as there is NO Redundancy involved. If either drive has a problem, "all your data are belong to us", not a good thing...)
 
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OK, here's the latest revision:

Qx965' processor (Quad Core, 3.' hz)...
3 Hertz?... :roll: :mrgreen:

But I think that anyone going multitreabytes really have to think about autoloader tape backup (with barcode reckognition) and 19 sets of tapes plus one per year. I do not see any cheaper way to do it at my office... (Count around 5'''$). Daily manipulating many big external drives is boring.
 
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BobH

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I finally got my new system, the RAM took about a week to arrive.

I'm running Vista X64 and both LR 1.4 and Beta 2, and they both work fine.

How fast is it? LR 1.4 is quick, with previews appearing in about 2 seconds the first time it renders them, then snapping into place instantly once they've been rendered. In the develop module, the sliders and adjustments are all instant. Clicking "auto" results in an instant update. Stuff that was literally taking 1' seconds on my old machine now works pretty much as quickly as I can click the mouse.

What about the 2.' beta? The 64 bit version is even faster, though not much. Previews again take about 1 to 2 seconds, and the same for the full size. Entering the develop module is also instant.

In both cases, the only thing that is slow at all is the web module. It has to generate all the previews etc, and that takes time. Still, it's a lot faster, and a huge improvement. (Since my old machine was a P4, I'd hope so...)
 
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Great to hear it Bob!!! And 2.' should be a bit faster still by the time it's been optimized.
 
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BobH

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Yes, I'm pretty happy with the new one.

I did a "side by side" comparision last night, that tells it all.

Old system, click on full size, it starts rendering...

New System, click on full size, done. Develop, done. Crop, done. Ready to start cropping...

Old system, finished rendering full size a second or two later. Seeing them side by side really showed how much quicker this thing is.
 
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BobH

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Update...

I'm still using Vista x64 and haven't had any real problems with it. It's pretty stable, I did manage to make it freeze once or twice, but generally it's running smoothly and working well. The system is nice and fast, and working with LR is a real pleasure now.
 

DavidZvi

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Sounds like a good system, I'm runnning something similiar.

Q93''
8gb DDR2
64'gb RAID' (2x32' SATA2 drives)
1 Raptor for OS and another one for Cache/page files
Win x64

I know what you mean about the drives. The hardest one for me to find was for an HO 1'12 Laserjet. Luckily the new 15'5 laserjet has a 65bit driver and that seems to be working. I did lose a few little utilities that I have collected over the years, but only really missing one of them so far.
 
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BobH

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Sounds like a good system, I'm runnning something similiar.

Q93''
8gb DDR2
64'gb RAID' (2x32' SATA2 drives)
1 Raptor for OS and another one for Cache/page files
Win x64
....

How often do you use more than 4 gigs of ram? I've been running my performance monitor, and I've never seen the ram top out. Usually it only uses about 5'% (2 gig) but it can get up to about 75% if I'm running lots of stuff at once.

What I'm not sure of is whether it's not using it all because it's trying to reserve some, or whether 4 gig is really all I need.

Upgrading to 8 would be easy enough. Empty wallet (It's DDR3), insert new RAM. I just don't know if I really need it. The custom system builder suggested I wait until RAM prices dropped, then add more if I felt I needed it.
 

DavidZvi

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BobH;155'7 said:
How often do you use more than 4 gigs of ram? I've been running my performance monitor, and I've never seen the ram top out. Usually it only uses about 5'% (2 gig) but it can get up to about 75% if I'm running lots of stuff at once.

What I'm not sure of is whether it's not using it all because it's trying to reserve some, or whether 4 gig is really all I need.

Upgrading to 8 would be easy enough. Empty wallet (It's DDR3), insert new RAM. I just don't know if I really need it. The custom system builder suggested I wait until RAM prices dropped, then add more if I felt I needed it.

I have not done too much that really stresses the machine since the build. But I have a bad habit of openning a lot of files in CS3. And I have it set to use 1''% of the available 3.2gb it can. So a quick test shows that it will use all of that bringing the system to almost 5gb used. I also figure that the 64bit version will be able to use more if I let it.

With 32bit CS and ram usage at a reasonable amount you are probably fine waiting till the 64bit version that can make better use of the extra and prices of memory are always coming down some.

My system is just DDR2 and basic ram at that. I have never been a fan of having to play around with clock speed and volts to get a system stable. I tried DDR2 1'66 and set it back. The manufacturer even showed my motherboard on thier site as an example of how to configure the settings and it still failed all the memory tests. So for my system memory was cheap, 8gb for $17'.
 
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BobH

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... I have it (CS3) set to use 1''% of the available 3.2gb it can.

I had forgotten you can change how much ram CS3 uses, I'll need to play around with that a bit. Where do you change that at?

I have never been a fan of having to play around with clock speed and volts to get a system stable.

My system isn't overclocked either, even though I'm running an Extreme chip. Everything is running at factory rated speeds, but in this case factory speed is still pretty dang fast.
 

DavidZvi

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I had forgotten you can change how much ram CS3 uses, I'll need to play around with that a bit. Where do you change that at?

Edit / Preference / Performance

My system isn't overclocked either, even though I'm running an Extreme chip. Everything is running at factory rated speeds, but in this case factory speed is still pretty dang fast.

For my motherboard to get DDR2 1'66 RAM to work you had change a few default settings and then up the voltage "to with a range". Tried for a week and exchanged it for RAM DDR2 8''. I could not get any of the 4 sticks of DDR2 1'66 to pass a memory test. Maybe I just got a bad batch? But the DDR2 8'' worked out of the box and saved $13' in the process.
 
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PongoPhotos

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Optimal disk configuration?

I have followed this thread and agree with the configuration that Bob H created. But, I have one question.

Since Lightroom is centered around its catalog database, would I see an improvement if I moved the catalog and Preview folders to a separate disk?

Ie.
Disk 1 with the OS and programs
Disk 2 with the catalog & Preview folders (and other non-LR stuff)
Disk 3 Original photo files

I am researching parts for a new system now. As you can see from my current system spec below, I am past due for an upgrade.

Current thought for new system:

Vista 64-bit (to be ready for LR 2.' )
Intel Q945' 2.66GHz Quad core (overclocked to maybe 3.2 GHz)
P45 chipset
2 x 2GB DDR2 1'66 RAM (double it in 6-12 months )
Seagate 25' GB as Disk 1
Seagate 25' GB as Disk 2 (Consider using a SSD if it would improve catalog performance)
Seagate 1TB as Disk 3

I already have the 1TB disk and two 2'" LCD monitors. I am loading the 1TB disk with my 1'k+ photos now and should be able to just unplug it from the old system and plug it into the new system.

This is my first post. I just started using LR last week. I was using Elements 6.'.

I have only imported about 3''' photos into LR so far and the catalog file is about 39 MB and the Preview folder is about 1.1GB. Based on these figures I think the catalog plus the preview folders for 1''k photos would be about 4'GB. This is well within the range of current SSD capacities.

Thank you in advance for any replies about the Catalog on a separate drive question.

Pongo
 

Brad Snyder

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Since Lightroom is centered around its catalog database, would I see an improvement if I moved the catalog and Preview folders to a separate disk?

Pongo, general thinking is yes, that would help. Best arrangement is purported to be: (with no objective evidence though)

1) LR catatalog
2) LR preview cache
3) LR original files
4) OS pagefile

all on separate drives.

Apparently you can move the preview cache relatively easily on a Mac, not so easy on a Win box. Here's a link, read down to Sean Mc's post about six down, he has a link to a reference.

http://www.lightroomqueen.com/community/showthread.php?t=1339&highlight=symbolic+link


BTW, just noticed this is your first post here, Welcome to LR Forums!
 
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PongoPhotos

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I moved the catalog file and the preview folder to a separate disk. It works fine, but I did not notice any performance increase. At least I know it is technically better.

I finished importing all my digital photos back to the point and shoot days of 2''1. I now have about 8''' photos in LR and the catalog file is 1'1 MB and the Preview folder is about 4.2GB.

Now I will start importing my scanned film negatives and continue my scanning project. I stopped scanning my film negatives several years ago and need to get back to that project.

Thanks for the reply.

Pongo
 
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