OK, I'm in the market for a new desktop, but I'm not really a "computer guy" so I have no idea how to choose between the various options. I need the system to run ArcGIS 9.0 and extensions. ArcGIS is a very processing intensive program, probably comparable to a lot of the high-end games out there. My laptop chokes on ArcGIS on a regular basis (it has 1GB of RAM and a 1.4GHz AMD Athlon XP)--it's unstable and SLOW.
I'm looking at getting a Dell with as much RAM as possible, but I can't decide on the CPU. Options are as follows:
Pentium® D Processor 830 with Dual Core Technology (3GHz, 800FSB) [add $80]
Pentium® D Processor 820 with Dual Core Technology (2.80GHz, 800FSB) [Included in Price]
Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor 640 w/HT Technology (3.2GHz, 800FSB) [subtract $120]
Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor 630 w/ HT Technology (3GHz, 800FSB) [subtract $150]
Any thoughts? I usually run multiple applications (ArcGIS and Adobe Illustrator, for example), so I'm leaning towards the Pentium D 820, which I understand handles multiple applications better than the Pentium 4. It costs $120 more, though--I'm not sure if it's worth it.
I'd go 64bit.
either hold out till it's really mainstream or just go and do it now,.... everything will be 64bit real quick (IMHO)
no it won't be quick. a very select few software programs mainly photo and video suites will take advangte of 64bit and computer games will start to go 64bit but not all at once.
64bit xp is still slower in benchmarks then 32bit xp (windows)
some things use it now some don't. If your getting a new one I would go with a 64bit depending on how quick you upgrade.
get the 2.8 dual core.
You would be even better off seeing if you can get an Extreme Edition of some kind, I think that one of them would be better for your applications.
Xeon for the truely hardcore apps.
I would HIGHLY recomend checking with the software company and see what they suggest.. whether amd or intel, Dual core or HT. They will know best
You will need a good graphics card with a lot of RAM that is OpenGL compliant. Check with the software vendor for recommendations.
Any reason for not using an AMD dual-core processor? It kicks Intel ass on a regular basis, you know...
I have a Pentium D (dual core) 2.8 with a gig of ram in an HP... it is QUICK!!!
I've heard that, but I'm looking at Dells and they don't have an AMD option. Any other makers you'd suggest?
The Extreme Edition costs $1100 extra. No thanks.
ESRI (maker of ArcGIS) has the following on their Web site:
Best Performance Configuration
- PC with a fast Pentium chip 800 Mhz Minimum (1.0 Ghz recommended or higher)
512 MB RAM Minimum (1 GB RAM recommended).
- An OpenGL graphics card is recommended to optimize performance in ArcScene. Texture mapping will be better optimized using an OpenGL graphics card with 32 MB or more of on-board texture memory.
- Installation on a fast, NTFS (New Technology File System) hard drive is strongly recommended for the Desktop Application.
For processors, they recommend "Pentium or Xeon Processors (i.e. Intel Workstation or Server)"
Build it yourself
Dells, HP, etc are good for budget systems but since you're looking at something high end you'll be better off building it yourself
64 Bit is a good choice despite was previous replies have said
There are already ALOT of applications running 64 bit. - And obviously 32 bit apps run on 64 . . so your 32 applications will run -
Over all system speed/stability/reliablity doesnt depend 100% on the processor
Ram - Video card - Harddrive - CD Roms - All of these are much slower than your processor
Get some decent ram - 4000 or better - with decent timing (shoot for 2.5 timings)
You said you usally run multiple applications at the same time? - And 64 Bit processors do that very well being that they have wider (and more) pipe lines to your ram (memory)
You will also need some decent Video processing power - I would either get a motherboard that has PCI express (much faster than AGP) Or get an SLI setup (dual PCI express) and you can run dual video cards (bascially twice the performance) - sort of like running two processors - If your NOT going SLI - Get a 256 mb video card or higher - If your doing SLI - You can settle for 128
Nvidia Geforce 6800 rock - I have a 6600 and it kicks some butt as well - Both are SLI compatable
And last - for a decent speed harddrive - Ive you have the money - Get a 10,000 rpm harddrive for your games,special applications . . etc . . . and a normal 7200 RPM harddrive for the rest of your files (mp3s . . .videos. . . etc. . etc.)
And last - I would also pick up windows 64 - Hardware is being more and more supported - And the OS actaully runs pretty stable (for me anyways) and it will multitask MUCH MUCH better than 2k or XP - and all (well most anyways) of your 32 bit apps will run in windows 64
Thats just my thoughts -
I'm running ArcGIS 9.x on a AMD Duron 1.8ghz machine I built last spring, but I'm primarily using it as a learning/dinking station, rather than a full fledged GIS data processing station. I don't know whether Arc currently benefits much from dual-core machines, I've only ever used it on single processor machines. Most of the information I've found refers specifically to Itanium processors, so...not being current on Intel terminology, I don't know if the Pentium D is related.
IMHO, all of your choices have the 800 mhz FSB, all are at or around 3ghz...I'd say any of them would be perfectly acceptable. On the other hand, $120 is pocket change when you're speccing out a scientific workstation.
Does Dell let you specify ECC ram? I recommend it heavily for any scientific application. I know some motherboards "support" ECC but don't actually use the feature...and I don't know where Dell stands on the issue.
I don't think anyone has mentioned this yet. Dell and the other major retailers will rip your head off when it comes to their RAM prices. Order your computer with the least they have available, and get the rest from www.crucial.com. Save you a bundle right there.
You would be better off getting good ram like Mushkin or OCZ, will blow away anything that Crucial makes.
64 bit is not always or usually faster. Pure 64 bit code requires larger data structures, and that fills up the CPU cache faster; effectively the cache size is reduced. It can be useful for dealing with very memory-intensive programs, say those that can require more than 2 GB of memory. And if you're going to do that you should get lots of physical memory, something in the 2-4 GB range.
It did strike me that Dell was charging quite a bit to upgrade RAM. I'll check out the link--I've had issues with using aftermarket RAM in my laptop, though. It freezes pretty regularly.
I don't know what ECC RAM is, but it's not among the choices Dell offers--this is what I'm looking at getting: "2GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz- 4DIMMs"
The only part of that I understand is 2GB. The rest is Greek to me.
I'd agree that $120 is chump change--I think I'll go with the Pentium D, just because I do tend to run lots of programs at once (gotta listen to streaming radio while I work with ArcGIS, plus have Word open, plus Firefox, plus Illustrator, etc., etc.).
That means means that there is 4 sticks (4, 512mb sticks that is) of 533 MHz DDR2 memory. They charge more for the same amound of ram in 2dimms because the individual sticks are bigger - 1 gig each. having 4 dimms will make upgrading in the future more difficult, because you will have to replace one or two sticks with bigger ones.
It wont make a performance difference really in getting the 4 dimms over the two.
i have the current fastest intel mb and a 3.2 pent d dual core, 2 gigs fast memory, raptor 10k sata drives, ati 850x pcie vid card with 256 megs memory
this is a nice system. i built it from parts less than 2k before the monitors (i have several flats).
about 64 bits. my hardware (mb and cpu) will run 64..
i also have the microsoft universal subscription via a corporate mutil license deal. i have ALL the software MS makes except for the multi cpu stuff that runs on very high end hardware and that stuff you have to get from the hardware vendor because it is special to whatever the platform is.
i have all the 64 bit ms stuff. i don't run it. its sexy.. however there are very few 64 bit device drivers. and in reality very few 64 bit apps right now. if i was running pure production db app i would prolly run 64 bit win2k server and 64 bit sql server... but even then i would be very limited to my hardware currently...
and this system runs fast and runs lots of apps simultaneously fast. and i dont' overclock.
so i would get a hardware base that could run 64 bit but stay on 32 bit until the stuff really hits mainstream UNLESS you have a very specific purpose and all the hardware and software required...
Good advice, if the software you want to run isn't coded for 64bit, then spending the extra $$ won't make much of a difference.
What is the setup you run now that works well?
That's the problem, my laptop doesn't handle ArcGIS well at all. It's really slow and it crashes regularly. My work computer runs it OK--a bit slow when doing serious geoprocessing, though. It's a pretty new Dell--I believe it has a 3.2GHz Pentium 4 processor and 1GB of RAM. It's OK, but I'd prefer something better.
I have no idea what this 64bit vs. 32bit talk is about. Can someone clue me in? I assume the Pentium D would be a 32bit?
It sounds like you need top notch performance. Countless reviews indicate the Athlon 64 X2 dual core is MUCH faster and uses less power than the Pentium D. Read some of the below reviews.
**ExtremeTech: "The Best Desktop Processor Yet: AMD's Athlon 64 X2"
"The shocking part is this: Even with liquid cooling and a 25% overclock, Intel's best dual-core chip can't come close to matching either AMD's best single core or dual-core chip in game benchmarks. The differences are quite astounding, and AMD's best efforts surpass the massively overclocked Pentium by as much as 20% in some cases. If you compare CPUs running at their standard clock rates, AMD simply crushes Intel."
FX-57 predicted to dominate gaming: "Almost all currently shipping games are single-threaded. AMD has even given guidance to this end stating that... when the FX-57 is introduced, that new single-core chip will be tops in current games. Our data shows that this is indeed the case."
"AMD Smokes the Competition. What can we say, except 'Wow!'"
"What we're looking at here is a clean sweep. We can find a couple of edge cases – mostly synthetic benchmarks—where Intel's dual-core desktops outpace AMD's new Athlon 64 X2. We're more concerned with real applications, and when it comes to those, we have a hard time finding any situation where a dual-core Pentium comes out ahead of a dual-core Athlon 64. Even in most single-threaded apps, AMD takes the cake. Games are an absolute blow-out, with the Athlon 64 X2 handily outstripping even a liquid-cooled Extreme Edition dual-core Pentium overclocked by 25%. And it's not just games: The X2 beat the massively overclocked Pentium in DivX encoding and LightWave rendering, and basically tied it on the 3ds max SPEC APC test."
"If the smoking performance wasn't enough of an advantage, consider that moving to a dual-core Athlon 64 most likely will not require a new motherboard. Most Socket 939 motherboards made in the past year or more adhere to the 80-amp spec given by AMD, and they should be able to handle the dual-core CPUs with only a simple BIOS update."
PC Mag: "AMD's X2 May Rock Dual Core World"
"Our initial testing of the AMD white box shows the X2 to be a real powerhouse, and the fastest CPU on the market. The two cores boost performance admirably. Stay tuned to PCMag.com to get the test results and final word on dual core AMD Athlon X2."
**PC World: "First Tests: AMD's Dual-Core Chip Delivers Real Power Boost"
"Our exclusive tests show this CPU is faster than Intel's dual-core Pentium EE 840... we found that it beat Intel's dual-core Pentium Extreme Edition across the board."
"The AMD unit truly showed its prowess on the multitasking portion of WorldBench 5, where its 6-minute, 44-second time was 3 minutes, 42 seconds faster than the Athlon 64 FX-55 systems' average and about 3 minutes faster than the dual-core P4 reference PC. It also performed well with multithreaded applications such as Windows Media Encoder and Roxio VideoWave."
"Though games have yet to be optimized for dual-core--that's coming at the end of the year--we saw no real performance degradation with the new chip."
"AMD has made claims that its dual-core processors were built from the ground up for the technology, while Intel's were rushed to market. In this particular case, Krewell tends to side with AMD. He says it was clear from early presentations of its Opteron chips (ones code-named Hammer in particular) that hooks were in there for a second processor core."
CNET: "AMD's dual-core CPUs come out swinging"
"The results are dramatic. AMD's new dual-core Athlon 64 X2 4800+ CPU hands the company a decisive victory over rival Intel; a system from AMD using the X2 4800+ bested an Intel-submitted PC with the Pentium Extreme Edition 840 (PEE 840) on every one of CNET Labs' dual-core benchmarks. With four Athlon 64 X2 chips announced today, AMD gives consumers greater dual-core CPU choices than you get with Intel and its lone PEE 840. What's more, the Athlon 64 X2 chips work with existing AMD motherboards, providing DIY consumers flexibility in bringing dual core to their current platform without having to overhaul the entire PC, starting with the motherboard."
InfoWorld: "AMD and Apple are made for each other"
"AMD’s processors performed rendering for the new all-digital Star Wars flick. Yoda is now working for AMD’s marketing department (sell you an Opteron, I will)."
"Think about the events that unfolded since Opteron and G5 hit the scene, once again, within a few days of each other. The guys who drew the road maps for Itanium and Xeon were invited to a meeting behind Intel’s executive woodshed."
EDN: "A Dual-Core Dynamo: The Athlon 64 X2"
AnandTech: "AMD's Athlon 64 X2 4800+ & 4200+ Dual Core Performance Preview"
"Now armed with final silicon, our stance on AMD's Athlon 64 X2 doesn't change at all - AMD clearly has the faster overall dual core desktop solution, but at a price that will be out of reach for most users."
On AMD's early-reviews strategy: "AMD appears to be joining in on Intel's game and is lifting their NDA on Athlon 64 X2 performance today, instead of waiting until June as they had originally planned to. Note that the timing of today's article doesn't mean there's any change in the Athlon 64 X2 release or shipping schedule, the CPUs still won't be available until Q3 or Q4 of this year, but AMD appears to want to get performance numbers out there as soon as possible; given the impressive performance we previewed in our first article, it's not much of a surprise from AMD."
On power consumption: "Surprisingly enough it is; clock-for-clock, the Athlon 64 X2 will consume less power than a 130nm Athlon 64, and less than 20% more power than a 90nm Athlon 64."
Tom's Hardware: "AMD's Dual Core Athlon 64 X2 Strikes Hard / Here Comes The King: Athlon 64 X2 Reviewed"
"If your applications benefit from dual core processors - see our benchmarks - the Athlon 64 X2 is superior to the Pentium D 840 in a vast majority of our benchmarks. In addition, it is not any slower than its single core counterpart Athlon 64 4000+."
"Here's the bottom line. If we had to recommend a single core processor, the choice would depend greatly on the type of applications in use. But in the dual core arena, though, there is not much that speaks for Intel: go with the Athlon 64 X2."
Power Consumption: "The performance drawback on Intel's side is something we would absolutely be willing to live with for the sake of the multi-tasking experience, and we don't really expect the Pentium D to have any trouble being accepted by the market. However, there is something that we can't really tolerate: the Pentium D system manages to burn over 200 watts as soon as it's turned on, even when it isn't doing anything. It even exceeds 310 W when working and 350+ W with the graphics card employed! AMD proves that this is not necessary at all: a range of 125 to 190 Watts is much more acceptable (235 counting the graphics card). And that is without Cool & Quiet even enabled."
**[H]ardOCP: "AMD Athlon 64 X2 Preview"
"Where AMD differs a tremendous amount from Intel in the dual core department is that AMD did not just "glue" two of their high performance processors together. In fact, if you talk to Fred Weber, AMD CTO, he will tell you that AMD has been planning for dual core CPUs for a long time and the fact of the matter is that AMD's superior dual core design backs up that statement."
"...the Athlon 64 X2 is already supported by nearly every 939-pin motherboard already on the market. We are told that most 939-pin motherboards will only need a simply BIOS flash to make the AMD Athlon 64 X2 compatible. We are currently running our Athlon 64 X2 on a production ASUS A8N-SLI motherboard with nothing more than a BETA bios. So many of us will see an upgrade to dual core with little more than the purchase of a processor."
"If that were not enough, AMD has done some very slick things with Athlon 64 X2 power consumption, much as we have seen them do with their low power "mobile" processors. The power consumption is low enough for the dual core technology that no heatsink updates are needed, so most Athlon 64 thermal solutions currently on the market will fare just fine."
"Certainly you can see above how the Athlon 64 X2 is firmly retaining AMD’s gaming crown even in the dual core processor realm."
"I could not find anywhere that I saw a real world difference in computing experience provided by dual core HyperThreading compared to our dual core AMD X2."
"Let’s focus on what AMD has accomplished with the Athlon 64 X2. AMD has finally come to terms with Intel’s HyperThreading advantage. In this, they have not only matched the tangible end user single core HyperThreading benefits, but have also surpassed them by far in terms of true multitasking performance."
"On the dual core front, when you look at AMD’s flagship Athlon 64 X2 side by side with Intel’s flagship Pentium Extreme Edition 840 with HyperThreading, the obvious HyperThreading advantages seemingly disappear. In comparing single threaded applications, the Athlon 64 X2 4800+ shines over Intel’s 840 in our benchmarks. Keep in mind that most of us today are still very much in the world of single threaded applications and this makes the Athlon 64 X2 that much more attractive."
"The Bottom Line
"AMD’s Athlon 64 X2 is currently leading the pack in the world of dual core computing."
"Combine the overall AMD Athlon 64 X2 mega-multitasking-performance with its subtly increased power needs and its compatibility with current 939-pin Athlon 64 motherboards and AMD has what amounts to a silicon homerun with the bases loaded."
Tech Report: "AMD's Athlon 64 X2 processors / The dual-core desktop battle is joined"
"The X2 offers an infusion of creamy multitasking smoothness and nearly twice the peak processing power of an Athlon 64 FX-55."
"As advertised, both X2 models deliver power consumption comparable to their single-core predecessors, at least according to these system-level numbers. Unfortunately, the Pentium D and XE chips don't fare so well. The systems based on these chips suck up over 100W more than the systems based on the competing X2 processors."
"If you must pay more for some reason, the Athlon 64 X2 4800+ will give you the best all-around performance we've ever seen from a "single" CPU. The X2 4800+ beats out the Pentium Extreme Edition 840 virtually across the board, even in tests that use four threads to take best advantage of the Extreme Edition 840's Hyper-Threading capabilities. The difference becomes even more pronounced in single-threaded applications, including games, where the Pentium XE 840 is near the bottom of the pack and the X2 4800+ is constantly near the top. The X2 4800+ also consumes considerably less power, both at idle and under load."
"...the performance picture for Intel's dual-core chips isn't quite so rosy..."
Compared to FX-55: "The X2 4800+ gives up 200MHz to its fastest single-core competitor, the Athlon 64 FX-55, but gains most of the performance back in single-threaded apps thanks to AMD's latest round of core enhancements, included in the X2 chips."
AMD model numbers growing old: "Speaking of model numbers, AMD has apparently foregone a perfect opportunity to throw out its "clock speed equivalent" rating system that's increasingly less relevant over time—especially now that dual cores are the order of the day. Take the Athlon 64 X2 4800+, for example. The 4800+ is literally a pair of K8 cores running at the same clock speed as a single Athlon 64 4000+, but it only gets a model number increment of 800. Too modest? Perhaps, but who's to say? Does a bear pope in the woods? A question can be hard to answer when it makes no sense."
4200+ is "sweet spot": "Let's start by talking about the Athlon 64 X2 4200+. This CPU generally offers better performance than its direct competitor from Intel, the Pentium D 840. Most notably, the X2 4200+ doesn't share the Pentium D's relatively weak performance in single-threaded tasks like our 3D gaming benchmarks. The Athlon 64 X2 4200+ also consumes less power, at the system level, than the Pentium D 840—just a little bit at idle (even without Cool'n'Quiet) but over 100W under load. That's a very potent combo, all told."
Firing Squad: "MD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ Processor Preview"
On AMD's early-reviews strategy: "Announced more than a month ago, there’s still no evidence of a boxed dual-core product from the Pentium D or Extreme Edition families. In fact, the only readily available dual-core hardware currently selling is AMD’s Opteron 800-series."
"...the ability to pace the fastest gaming chip on the market and enable the absolute best threaded performance currently available makes the 4800+ a valuable jewel indeed."
"So, at the end of the day, AMD’s dual-core desktop chip offers the most elegant design, the smoothest upgrade path, and without question, the best performance... AMD knows it has the upper hand here and is asking a premium price in response."
Xbit Labs: "AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ Dual-Core Processor Review"
"Keeping in mind the price of the new Athlon 64 X2, we have to admit that these CPUs can so far be regarded as one more excellent choice for wealthy hardware enthusiasts, just like Athlon 64 FX. Those who care most about the performance in applications other than games will definitely pay due attention to the new AMD Athlon 64 X2 processor family."
Sudhian: "AMD Athlon 64 X2: Sunnyvale’s Dual Core Desktop"
"If AMD’s success with the Athlon 64 architecture has proven anything, its demonstrated Sunnyvale’s ability not only to hold on to existing market share and product capabilities, but to exceed their own past standards and meet Intel face-to-face on the performance battlefield. Measured in terms of its raw performance in the $500+ market, the X2 is a fabulous achievement, and yet another gauntlet flung down in front of Santa Clara. The X2 series may be the strongest product launch I’ve ever seen from Intel or AMD, precisely because it offers such significant performance boosts in certain areas, while costing very little in standard desktop single-threaded apps."
Hot Hardware: "AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+: Dual-Core"
"The AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ was an excellent performer in virtually every category. Throughout our entire suite of benchmarks, the Athlon 64 X2 4800+ was consistently ranked at the top of the charts, either matching the performance level of a similarly clocked Athlon 64 4000+ in the single-threaded tests, or outperforming every other reference system in the multi-threaded tests."
"After spending some time evaluating the Athlon 64 X2 4800+, there is no denying the power of this processor. It's simply the fastest all-around CPU we have ever tested. Higher-clocked single-core processors like the Athlon 64 FX-55 may be a bit faster for gaming (for now), but that advantage is completely over shadowed by the X2 4800+'s performance in every other category in our opinion. The Athlon 64 X2 4800+ also requires less power than Intel's dual-core Pentium-D, it runs cooler, and even in its infancy the X2 seems to be highly overclockable. AMD seems to be in an excellent position based on our early findings with this new high-end desktop processor."
SimHQ: "AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 4800+"
"while SimHQ has not conducted any direct comparison testing between AMD and its competitor's parts for a specific article, we could not help noticing that the 4800+ significantly outperformed Intel's fastest single-core CPU, the P4 3.73 EE, in the lower resolutions of every game in our benchmark suite."
SimHQ: "Dueling Cores"
"The Athlon 64 X2 4800+ absolutely dominated the similarly-priced Pentium Extreme Edition 840 in SimHQ's two Falcon 4 tests, and outperformed even Intel's fastest single-core, the 3.8GHz 670, in non-threaded games such as Pacific Fighters and Chaos Theory."
AMDZone: "Athlon 64 X2 4800+ Review: Dual Core Hits The Desktop"
"We know it runs surprisingly cool, and we know that there are obvious performance benefits."
Techware Labs: "AMD X2"
Lost Circuits: "AMD Athlon64 X2 "Toledo"
"There is no doubt, though, that HyperThreading cannot be a true substitute for symmetric multiprocessing..."
"The Athlon 64 X2-4800+ is a very smooth operator. There seems to be ample reserves for about everything conceivable that a normal or advanced or even a computer power user would encounter in daily tasks."
"In conclusion, the Athlon64 X2 is another intriguing proof of the engineering prowess of the AMD team that opens new horizons in more than one aspect."
Motherboards.org: "AMD Vesus Intel Battle of the Dual-Core CPUs"
"AMD just plainly took the lead and won a clean victory across the entire spectrum of tests in this head-to-head battle of the Dual-Core CPUs."
GameSpot: "AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ Preview"
SharkyExtreme: "Athlon 64 X2 4800+ Processor Review"
"There is no question that AMD has hit the bull's-eye with the Athlon 64 X2 4800+. This processor offers a superb combination of high-end gaming performance, multi-threaded speed, and desktop multi-tasking, all in a package that can run on current Socket 939 platforms. The Athlon 64 X2 4800+ owns the media encoding and multi-threaded tests, and is only a hair behind the 2.6 GHz Athlon 64 FX-55 in pure gaming performance. AMD's marketing for the X2 line should be "No Concessions" because at worst, you're still getting 2.4 GHz Athlon 64 4000+ performance, while at best you're running at the bleeding edge of desktop performance."
Linux Hardware.org: "Battle of the High-End CPUs"
"The FX-57 is the highest priced processor here, but seeing as it is the fastest single-core processor available, you're paying a premium for the very best."
"If you still want the fastest in dual-core, AMD does have that locked up, but you'll pay for it."
ExtremeTech: "The Duality of Being"
On the X2 4800+: "One of the best desktop CPUs, if you can find one. Performance on a wide range of applications is superb, but you may need to take out a second mortgage."
"If you're planning on building a solid, all-purpose system for serious content creation, then the X2 is a great processor choice, but then, so are Intel's dual-core CPUs—if all you plan on doing is content creation. When you fire up high-performance PC games, the X2 leaves Intel's dual-core CPUs in the dust."
SimHQ: Dualing Cores
The Athlon 64 X2 4800+ absolutely dominated the similarly-priced Pentium Extreme Edition 840 in SimHQ's two Falcon 4 tests, and outperformed even Intel's fastest single-core, the 3.8GHz 670, in non-threaded games such as Pacific Fighters and Chaos Theory.
TacticalStrat: You're my hero!
You wouldn't happen to work in South Austin too by any chance?
Unless I missed it--
You have a Laptop that exceeds the minimum (and recommended) and recommended specs for the program?
I'm not a Tech Geekie...however, I play on the internet occasionally.
That being said, What programs are you running at the same time? What loads on startup?
I use Tune-Up utilities to help control what starts up when the computer is turned on. I am sure there are other things out there that do a similar job.
Even with a new, high powered computer, you may have issues--the Dell that the wife and kids use back in Chicago came with a bunch of Junk that loaded on startup. I cleaned it out, and it ran much faster.
Might not be a hardware issue--although a new system may improve the speeds a bit, might be a software issue. If you have a bunch of stuff running in the background, it can suck up processor power and memory.
Check that first..
How about this:
AMD FX55, $811 from Newegg.
NVIDIA 6800 Ultra $399 Monarch Technologies, or BFG 7800GTX $472.50 (Newegg)
2GB Corsair Value Ram, $212 from Newegg.
Western Digital 74GB Raptor hard drive, $175 Monarch Computers
You'd have to research which motherboard you want, and/or if you want ECC memory. I think this'd do for you. I didn't see any mention of the softwar being multi-threaded/multi-processor capable.
I've never even thought about building a computer--how difficult is it? Like I said, I'm not really a "computer guy," but I wouldn't mind learning more about them since I do seem to spend half my life working on them.
I noticed HP offers an AMD option: AMD Athlon(TM) 64 X2 3800+ dual-core - 2.0GHz. So this 2GHz CPU would be faster than the 2.8GHz Pentium D? Unfortunately, for the same options as the Dell, it costs about $400 more, a big chunk of that being the monitor (Dell is offering a "free" 19" flat panel). Another reason I want to dump the laptop is the small monitor--it's much nicer doing GIS on a big screen. And I want a flat panel because my work space at home is pretty cramped. A CRT would take up most of my desk.
Anyone know of a good, cheap flat panel (19" or bigger)?
It is not difficult at all to build your own machine. Very easy. There are plenty of guides around the internet that can show you how to do anything in the build.
As for that processor mentioned, yes, that 2 Ghz processor will be faster than the 2.8 Ghz Pentium D. Clock frequency is not everything.
As for a flat panel, I would not reccomend anything other than a Samsung, as far as quality goes, and they have some fairly inexpensive ones. The Samsung 913-V is about $299 at newegg, a little less after a rebate. -
I don't think my laptop has a lot of unnessary junk on it--I clean it up pretty regularly. I think I'm just pushing it to its limits.
You're correct that ArcGIS isn't multithreaded--I didn't think about that. I did find this little tidbit, though: "Although ArcGIS is not multi-threaded, you could still benefit from dual-CPU machines as you may run several instances of ArcGIS simultaneously or alongside other applications."
I do often run 2 or 3 ArcMaps and ArcCatalog simultaneously, plus all the other apps I mentioned earlier, so I still think a dual-core CPU will be worth the money.
The system I use for the serious number crunching:
Dell Precision 530 Workstation
Dual P4 2.8GHz Xeon HT CPU's
1.5GB 800MHz ECC RDram ( This is my only bitch, as RDram costs like $350 / GB )
Dual 36GB 10K RPM U160 scsi HDD's
250GB HDD in external USB2 housing for backups and finished work.
BenQ 16x dual layer DVDR/W
Nvidia Quadro4 900 XGL DVI dual head
Dual 17" LCD's
My desktop is 2560 x 1024 spread accross both LCD's.
It is sooo handy to be able to run one app filling one LCD and having the second for all other active windows.
I use it for SolidWorks/COSMOS, AutoCAD, and Video editing & encoding.
Warning: Using dual screens is addictive.
BTW - Dell does have a clearance dept to sell off prebuilt systems that had the orders cancelled. You might score a deal there. Dell US Outlet Sales (Precision Workstations)
ECC RAM is Error Correcting Code Random Access Memory. It is basically the same as your standard (non-ECC) memory, but with extra error checking and corrections built into the RAM to prevent hangups as a result of various problems in the data. It is slightly more expensive than non-ECC RAM and has a slight performance loss due to the extra error checking. It is usually used in servers and high-end workstations where reliablity must be as close to 100% as possible.
Do some hard core research on Tech stuff! Heres some good places to stART www.anandtech.com/
Also use www.tomshardware.com/index.html
These have good articles on Hardware performance. Also lookng at your proggies specs is a good idea. Most programs have to be made special to take advantage of newer optimizing technology.
First, stay away from Dell. Cheapest hardware they can slap together and crappy tech support.
You can build your own system here at TigerDirect.
TigerDirect Build To Order
I've got 2 SystemMax systems and they run very well. My only tech support problem was handled immediately and correctly.
Even if you clean up the system on a regular basis--a lot of programs install some kind of a Quick Start program--even ones you use on a regular basis.
Not saying that the New, High Tech stuff won't help--it almost undoubtedly will--just that you should check things out--a LOT more stuff starts on computer startup than you would think--my Father In Law has me look at his computer on a regular basis--I can almost always speed it up by cleaning out the Startup files.
Ok, i feel like i can offer you some good advice here. I currently run ArcGIS 9.0 on a P4 Presscot at 3ghz with 1gb or RAM. This is my laptop and she runs fine.
The Dual Core option sounds interesting, however i don't know if ArcGIS is a multithread application. Going 64bit won't help you any because ArcGIS is not 64bit.
Out of your choices i'd take the P4 640 w/ 3.2 or a Dual Core. he dual core will onlyu help matters, but a normal P4 640 would run it just fine.
I normally run ArcGIS, ArcCatalog, and ArcScene at the same time, pluse a host of other programs and have no bottlenecks.
Intel processors means you have to use DDR2 RAM = $$$$
The 'dual core' intel chips are half assed attempts
I'd go with the AMD 64 X2 (dual core)
check newegg.com for prices and such.
Dell sucks unless you get the XPS series. $1500-2000 +++
And check out the 7800 Nvidia 256MB video card- you can run two video cards in tandem if you have the cash....(and PCI Express slots)
Between the choice of the AMD X2 3800 and Intel 820/30, I'd get the AMD. It consistently does better than the Intel, and it uses alot less power.
See here: techreport.com/reviews/2005q3/athlon64-x2-3800/index.x?pg=1
Get what you really need, and don't let the flat panel freebie sway your decision. You need performance more thanyou need a pretty display.
Heck, if the budget will allow it, get the X2 4200 or 4600.
OK, now you all have me thinking. I quickly priced some components at Newegg.com and it looks like I could build my own puter with an AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400 for almost the same price as a Dell with a Pentium D 820, and that includes a 19" Samsung flat panel monitor and the same video card as the Dell, plus a slightly bigger hard drive. Granted, I'd have to put it together myself, but it doesn't look that terribly difficult. Am I fooling myself?
Here's what I priced--I chose most of the parts based on price and good reviews at Newegg:
(1) ±$50 case
(2) Motherboard : $85 MSI RS480M-IL Socket 754 ATI Radeon XPRESS 200 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
(3) Processor : $545 AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ 1GHz FSB Socket 939 Dual Core Processor
(4) Memory: $181 CORSAIR ValueSelect 2GB (4 x 512MB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM Dual Channel Kit System Memory
(5) Video Card: $159 eVGA 128-A8-N343-AX Geforce 6800 128MB DDR 8 X Video Card
(6) Hard Drive: $123.50 Maxtor DiamondMax 10 6L300R0 300GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache IDE Ultra ATA133 Hard Drive
(7) Sound Card : $12.45 AOpen Cobra AW850 4 Channels PCI Interface Sound Card - Retail
(8) CD-ROM/DVD : $40 SONY Black IDE DVD Burner Model DWQ28A - OEM
(9) Keyboard & Mouse : Already have
(10) Operating System: $120 Microsoft Windows XP Media Center 2005 - OEM
(11) Monitor : $280 SAMSUNG 913V-Black 19" 12ms LCD Monitor
Total is about $1596, not including S&H. Am I missing anything major? Is there any incompatibility among the parts above?
The socket 754 system does not support dual channel memory. So you would not be able to run the memory in dual channel. The motherboard socket must match your CPU, So you need to find a motherboard that is Socket 939 and dual core compatible. If the RAM is 400Mhz PC3200 RAM, it will not run at full speed with four sticks, unless you over clock, I recommend getting two 1GB sticks. I also recommend moving to a PCI-Express graphics card and have a motherboard that supports it also. AGP is now obsolete and for sake of upgradeablity in the future, PCI-Express is a good investment. Unless you want the Media Center features, I would get Windows XP Professisonal to cut down on the extra clutter. Please check your IM.
The AMD 64 is nice and fine. But with XP still in BETA stages for the 64 bit version, and the fact that ArcGIS isn't 64 bit software, it's really a waste of money. Remember, the change from 16bit to 32bit software didn't happen overnight. So neither will 32 to 64.
Also, research the chipset the motherboard has and see if it is sufficient for your needs. If you'd like some help let me know what your budget is and i'll do a system sheet for you with all the info on it.
I really think the 64bit chip is overkill right now. YMMV.
List looks good - just be sure to get extra case fans.
Remember todays Computers use almost as much power as a hair blow drier, and really put out the heat.
In winter I can heat my home office with the output of my RAID arrays and a few PC's.
Windows XP 64-bit is not in the beta stage and has been released.
I'd suggest you also benchmark ArcGIS to see what resources its using. Is it maxing out memory? Pegging the CPU? Overloading the graphics subsystem? You can probably tell a lot by just popping up the system performance do-hickey and checking what the CPU load and memory performance is like. (ctrl-alt-del, system performance tab.)
It's almost certainly 32-bit code, so it's likely that it's limited to 2 GB of memory (unless they're playing some programming tricks.) You aren't likely to see much improvement by having more than about 3 GB of physical memory in the box, unless you're running multiple instances.
You missed a couple things. First, the socket 754 board won't work with an X2 CPU. You need a compatible Socket 939 board. (see here at AMD for compatible motherboards): www2.amd.com/us-en/Processors/TechnicalResources/1,,30_182_869_9460%5E9461,00.html?1117786543.
I second the idea to get a PCI-Express motherboard and video card.
Definitely get the 2 x 1GB memory sticks vs 4 x 512. You didn't get a power supply.
Here's an alternate system:
AMD X2 4400 $545
Motherboard: MSI Neo4 Platinum $125
Memory: 2 x 1 GB Corsair Value Ram $212
Video card: BFG 7800GTX, $515
Case: Pick one that has a side fan opening, and a front one (preferably 120mm).
Powersupply: Antec 550w www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16817103931
Hard drive: depends on what capacity you need. I'd get: 1 Western Digital Raptor, 74Gb. It's VERY fast. If you need more storage, get a second slower drive, and put your operating system/main use programs on the Raptor. $175 Raptor + whatever else you get.
Sound: not needed, as the motherboard has onboard decent sound.
DVD-Rom. your choice is okay. $40
Operating system: Win XP Home w/SP2, $91.25.
Or if you go to Monarch Computers, they can build you one up...see here: www.monarchcomputer.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv. A suitable system from them would be more expensive than doing it yourself, but...peace of mind.
Your system looks like a gamers dream machine. For GIS work there is no need for a $515 video card. That is severe over kill. XP Home is crap in this environment. XP Pro is what he needs to run. That Raptor is also a bit overkill for this application. A standard 7200 rpm drive would suffice. I mean while your at it why not recomend he spend a few grand and build a SCSI based system?
Ok Saguaro. If you want some advice from someone who runs the same software as you, IM me and i'll give you what in my opinion you need to run it succesfully. I disagree heavily with alot of the advice given so far so i am just going to back off. IM me if you need anything or want some advice.
Being as I don't have a solid understanding of what the software needs, I had to guess. I figured that the program was graphically intensive. Perhaps he can downgrade the video card. I don't know his work evironment, so choice of OS is up to him. As for the Raptor, I disagree. It makes the whole system alot snappier and more responsive than a regular 7200rpm drive. I suggest that Saguero go here and decide for himself which he wants: www.storagereview.com/php/benchmark/compare_rtg_2001.php?typeID=10&testbedID=3&osID=4&raidconfigID=1&numDrives=1&devID_0=259&devID_1=269&devCnt=2
Being as I don't know whether the software will utilize the hard drive like a regular office type program, or more like a file server, it's hard to say which will be better for him, hard drive wise. But in my experience for gaming and home use, the Raptor is excellent.