Upgrading..... recommendations???

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markvan
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Upgrading..... recommendations???

Postby markvan » Wed, Feb 04 2009, 8:54AM

I am looking to upgrade my computer, to get ecabinets running as faster. Just wondering what others users have experienced with their systems..

Is there something available above and beyond the recommended system as posted below that I should look into? I don't keep up with the latest computer technology so have no idea what's available/ what works better than this or that. Perhaps a new generation of video cards have come out or something since these recommendations were posted...

I am looking for specifics so that I can get a quote to compare what different options will cost....

Is this still the best system to get? Or can you recommend some changes? I am guessing that variations in graphics cards are going to make the biggest overall difference, because of the rendering..... So what cards should I look into?

* Dell Precision Workstation 390, or
HP xw4600 Workstation
* Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6700
* Windows® XP Professional (32-bit)
* 2GB, 667MHz, DDR2 SDRAM Memory
* 160GB SATA Hard Drive
* 256MB PCIe x16 nVidia Quadro FX3500 Graphics


Thanks.

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Gary Puckett
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Re: Upgrading..... recommendations???

Postby Gary Puckett » Wed, Feb 04 2009, 9:06AM

Have you checked and seen what the recommended system cost. The video card is very pricey .

Gary
HP Pavilion
Vista home Premium 64bit S. pack 2
AMD Phenom-X4
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1 TB/To Hard Drive
Nividia GeForce 9800 GT

markvan
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Re: Upgrading..... recommendations???

Postby markvan » Wed, Feb 04 2009, 9:34AM

Yes,

I've got some ball park prices.... I am just making up a list of options to get quoted to see which which route I end up going. The video card alone could cost more than the rest of the system combined. Which is why I am looking for opinions as to what is available, and how much improvement am I going to see....

I've been so busy with quotes lately that I would like to speed things up if I can.....
Last edited by markvan on Wed, Feb 04 2009, 9:37AM, edited 1 time in total.

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DanEpps
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Re: Upgrading..... recommendations???

Postby DanEpps » Wed, Feb 04 2009, 9:34AM

markvan wrote:...Is there something available above and beyond the recommended system as posted below that I should look into? I don't keep up with the latest computer technology so have no idea what's available/ what works better than this or that. Perhaps a new generation of video cards have come out or something since these recommendations were posted...

...Dell Precision Workstation 390...


The Dell PWS 390 no longer exists. They are now called PWS T3400, T5400 and T7400 with the larger numbers being higher-performance.

You can defrinitely get higher-performance video cards. Dell offers the nVidia Quadro FX5800 with 4GB dedicated graphics RAM, in either single or dual configurations. This card is VERY expensive though, single card is $3580 and dual is $6600!

Gary Puckett wrote:Have you checked and seen what the recommended system cost. The video card is very pricey...


It is not the price but the performance of the system that is important. You can certainly buy a cheap system and eCabinets MAY run on it, but it definitely will not run WELL. It is very important that one purchase a WORKSTATION CLASS computer and not something from Best Buy, Office Depot or Wal-Mart. In order to get a true workstation class computer, you will have to stay with Dell, HP or IBM.

The graphics adapter is, regardless of what some users may say, very important to the performance of eCabinets. You must get a decent, workstation class graphics adapter with primary support for OpenGL and not DirectX. Decent performance can be had without getting a second mortgage but you can certainly spend a bundle if you wish (see above). Could I (or you) tell the difference in $6600 worth of graphics adapter versus, say, $740 (for the nVidia Quadro FX3700 with 512MB)? Maybe, but probably not.

Don't succumb to buying a cheap system unless you are willing to endure terrible performance. Treat your purchase of a computer system just as you would with any piece of shop equipment--buy the best, most capable that you can afford.

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DanEpps
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Re: Upgrading..... recommendations???

Postby DanEpps » Wed, Feb 04 2009, 9:47AM

To add to my previous response, consider the old proverb "For Want of a Nail."

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.


This proverb has been around in many forms for centuries, and describes a situation where permitting some small undesirable situation will allow gradual and inexorable worsening.

Apply this analysis when buying all shop equipment, including the computer system you will use to design everything you build. Buying cheap or less than capable equipment often results in the added expense of replacing it sooner than is necessary.

After all, isn't your craftsmanship worth using the best tools to produce it?

Nemanja Vujkovic
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Re: Upgrading..... recommendations???

Postby Nemanja Vujkovic » Wed, Feb 04 2009, 10:42AM

makvan
Have you considered building your computer. It will take a litle bit of your time, but you should save some money. If you know a little bit about computers, you can easily built one that is going to perform better than dell or hp and cost less at the same time. Just something to think about.

Nemanja

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Re: Upgrading..... recommendations???

Postby markvan » Wed, Feb 04 2009, 11:43AM

Thanks for the reply's guys....


I was planning on having a local computer store whom I deal with, build the system for me, swapping over things like hard drives, cd-rom's etc. from my existing unit.

So I guess that my next question would be is what would be considered to be a 'workstation' class computer? If I know specifics I can just tell them what I need and they will build it as required. I'm assuming that a workstation class is just a more powerful system, faster CPU more/faster RAM etc....

Thanks again for the help.

markvan
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Re: Upgrading..... recommendations???

Postby markvan » Wed, Feb 04 2009, 2:19PM

One last question....

Would a good quality video card, the kind in most stores typically sold for high performance games offer comparable performance to the nvidia quadro 3500? Nvidia also offers these types of cards, are they totally different?

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DanEpps
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Re: Upgrading..... recommendations???

Postby DanEpps » Wed, Feb 04 2009, 4:44PM

markvan wrote:One last question....

Would a good quality video card, the kind in most stores typically sold for high performance games offer comparable performance to the nvidia quadro 3500? Nvidia also offers these types of cards, are they totally different?


No...a gaming card has primary support for DirectX and only secondary support for OpenGL (which eCabinets and other technical programs use). Make sure it is an nVidia Quadro and not a GeForce. The GeForce is a gaming card while the Quadro is a technical workstation card.

markvan wrote:...So I guess that my next question would be is what would be considered to be a 'workstation' class computer? If I know specifics I can just tell them what I need and they will build it as required. I'm assuming that a workstation class is just a more powerful system, faster CPU more/faster RAM etc...


A workstation class, or even a gaming computer, is far more powerful than a business or home computer. It all starts with the motherboard design. The processor varies widely but most workstations now use Xeon processors. Another thing that differentiates workstations is the speed of their RAM and hard drives, with the fastest workstations having 15K RPM drives and DDR3 RAM. You will find any number of gaming motherboards that will suffice but don't use a gaming video card as you will see a big difference there.

Another thing to remember is that this is an integral shop tool, not a play thing for the family to browse the internet and grab every virus available. Get a separate computer for home/internet use.

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Dean Fehribach
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Re: Upgrading..... recommendations???

Postby Dean Fehribach » Thu, Feb 05 2009, 8:52AM

Any computer purchaser must realize that at some point, increasing power by 10% will increase cost more than it is worth it. What I usually ask friends, relatives, coworkers, et cetera is this, "How much can you afford?" At that point, you start making decisions on purchasing that faster graphics card in exchange for a smaller hard drive or do you get that Xeon processor instead of Core 2 Duo and sacrifice that sweet 24" flat panel?

While I recommend the Quadro FX series of cards (others will argue they just aren't worth the expense over the GeForce), I highly recommend avoiding the ATI FireGL series.
Dean Fehribach
I.S. Mgr., Thermwood
Dell Workstation T1650 / XEON E3 / 8GB RAM / 1GB nVidia Quadro 600 / Windows 8 Pro x64

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DanEpps
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Re: Upgrading..... recommendations???

Postby DanEpps » Thu, Feb 05 2009, 10:29AM

Dean brings up a very good point. I tend to look only at the technical aspects when discussing things of this nature.

In computers, as in all things, there is a point of diminishing return when comparing cost to value/usefulness. Obviously, the dual 4GB video card I noted above for $6600 fits into this category. That is why I asked the rhetorical question "Could I (or you) tell the difference in $6600 worth of graphics adapter versus, say, $740 (for the nVidia Quadro FX3700 with 512MB)? Maybe, but probably not." These are indeed questions you must ask yourself when commiting to any large purchase.

Under most circumstances it is easy to determine the cost/value ratio...not so much in computers. Take the recommended specs, look at what is available and comes close to or exceeds those specs, then temper it with your budget. It used to be simpler--do I REALLY need that super-fast DVD burner? Now, DVD burners are $30 so that doesn't come into play any more.

Memory and hard drive size used figure prominently into the equation--they were expensive. Now, both RAM and hugh disk drives are cheap. About all that is left in the really expensive category is video cards and comparing them technically versus "real world" is getting more difficult every day. :shock:

markvan
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Re: Upgrading..... recommendations???

Postby markvan » Thu, Feb 05 2009, 11:34AM

Thanks guys,

I purchased the Nvidia Quadro fx3500 (256mb) off ebay. The price was right at $197 with shipping, so now I just have to wait for it to arrive and I can continue building the rest of the computer. Unfortunately my existing setup has an AGP slot so I will be pretty much starting from scratch, but the improved performance should be worth it. The seller has 8 more available at that price, so I was tempted to get 2, (which would still be less than 1 card @ retail), to hook up in SLI... but I figure I'll try it out with 1 and see how that works..... This will still be a big improvement from my current set up.


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