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Blond & 26. Can I build my own computer!

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by folkartfox, Apr 20, 2004.

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  1. folkartfox

    folkartfox Thread Starter

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    Blonde & 26, doesn’t mean I cannot build a power computer from scratch, does it! Sure, I may need help, but few novices are willing to go the extra mile to save a few dollars and hopefully get a power horse of a machine, right! I’m good with my hands, I can do this!
    I found your forum surfing one day, and thought, here is a place to run-by-some-thoughts on how my new dual processor should be put together. I hope I am right!
    If you Pros can lend a hand, your input is appreciated.
    I use Windows XP now along with Office 2003.
    I asked CompUSA technicians about what system they would use. They have confusing opinions, so I need input from someone who has experience in building a computer. I work alone so, no “IT” help around here.
    I use photos and graphics, a lot, as you can guess by my screen name, followed by AutoCAD, PhotoShop, CorelDraw and Web programs like FrontPage & Macromedia. These are real power hungry programs. Some programs need to be opened at the same time and I may need to be on the Web at the same time also, and my current Dell P-III Workstation 420 with 512 Rambus memory, working under WIN XP Pro is crashing or just sitting there every 45 minutes or so. It’s impossible to achieve any work no matter how I tweak the memory and hardware. It’s impossible to run Norton Internet Security in the background. The machine just sits there, waiting for a shot & a beer or something! I had to remove the program just to keep working. It’s unfortunate for me that the folks at Dell suggested this machine 3 years ago, but my Dell was not a good match from day one.

    This is what I have surmised thus far.
    1- I can’t decide whether dual AMD’s, dual 2.8 Xeon’s or higher, or a single 3.4c P-4 is best, and what would be the plus’s or minus’s of these choices in processors? In other words, what is best for my performance work load given the info above? Intel sent me a note and suggested that Xeons are capable of uniprocessing, dual processing and multiprocessing whereas the P-4 is only capable of uniprocessing! Sound like Xeon’s are what I should use because of the multiple programs and programs open at the same time? I don’t know anything about AMD’s processors. I also need to run Anti-virus software and would like Norton Internet Security running in the background along with Netphone and Microsoft Outlook.
    2- I was thinking two 73GB SCSI Seagate Cheetahs @10 or 15K in raid 0 configuration or two Seagate 80GB SATA’s @7200K in raid 0 configuration? And a third larger SCSI or Serial ATA hard drive for files. I have an external 7200 Seagate hard drive for additional storage. My thoughts with the dual processors is that, faster hard drives are better? I am finding that there are problems with finding SCSI, dual processor supported motherboards, however!
    3- Motherboards are really confusing, there are so many variations. I thought the Intel E7505 chipset was a good filtering choice, however most motherboards use Serial ATA drives. I am having trouble finding a suitable SCSI, dual Xeon, Raid capable board without an integrated graphics card that will work in a mid-extended ATX or full tower chassis?
    I looked at Supermicro-X5DAL-TG2 but there are to few PCI slots, no SCSI controller but it supports Raid 0 and has the E7505 Chipset. Abit-WI-2P doesn’t support SCSI and I cannot figure out what the Intel chipset is, but there are more PCI slots available. A suggestion as to what board would be a good fit for performance work would be appreciated!
    4- I have settled on 2 GB memory in two slots, so I’ll have room for two to six more GB’s depending on which motherboard I finally choose. Does this sound reasonable?
    5- I think I can afford a 3-D Wildcat VP990 Pro graphics card with 256 MB memory if it would be compatible with the above hardware?
    Thanks ahead if you are skilled enough to help me with these very technical issues.
    The Folkartfox
     
  2. dustyjay

    dustyjay

    Joined:
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    12,661
    First Name:
    Jay
    Is there a specific reason why you need a dual processor machine? It wont really make your system faster. Except in areas where programs call for dual processors I believe. And you could save a ton of money building a single processor rig with blazing fast components! If it is speed you are after that is.

    Edit: ok I just read your thread a little more carefully. If you start with a good motherboard (and who said dell made good motherboards?) and a fast processor add the proper type of Ram @ say 2Gb, then add your fast HD's I think the Seagate SATA drives would probably work well for you, and Broadband, you could probably do a whole lot of multitasking and make it work for you.
     
  3. 1394

    1394

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2004
    Messages:
    30
    As far as dual processors go dual Opteron if you can. Dual opties would be amazing. I am not sure if there is a dual FX mainboard but if there is that would be an awesome choice too. Anyway, generally speaking I would say look to Gigabyte for good motherboards. nForce chipsets are really nice.

    For RAM, try to go for dual channel RAM if you can, it is much much faster and more efficient.

    As far as video card, holy crap that thing is a beast. Maybe a bit of overkill, actually. Then again I suggested dual opterons so, go for it.
     
  4. folkartfox

    folkartfox Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2004
    Messages:
    8
    Intensive Graphics & CAD-Folkartfox’s 2nd query
    Thanks for the quick, informative response to my last question Dustyjay. I am still wrestling with the Dual Xeon v/s single P-4 processor among other things in my soon, “build from scratch computer, SCSI-SATA? Workstation project.” (See: “Blonde & 26…under Hardware, April 20th for my situation”)
    1-What would the second Xeon processor “add” to the dual processor array? By “add” I mean what would it do…overall?
    2-Would you know how dual Xeons would improve “performance” (by “performance I don’t mean just speed, but the ability to keep multi, high graphics programs open without the computer crashing, or just sitting there, like on a coffee break! This means more to me than blazing speed! I don’t play computer games, I design in CAD, FrontPage, Adobe, CorelDraw, etc. and the ability to have multi programs open along with Web access is the top priority. I am assuming that supporting uniprocessing and dual processing have to do with multiply programs and processes running at the same time in the background like anti-virus, NIS and Outlook while you work in several large graphics programs.
    3-I thought the uniprocessing, dual processing or multiprocessing that Intel suggests the Xeon’s are capable of supporting would be a good match for my new system. Reading the on-line info at “Tom’s Hardware Guide” suggests the AMD processors may be a better match? OH, so confusing! And another article I viewed April 21st suggests that the Intel Motherboard Chipset E7505 that Intel thought would achieve a good match with the Xenon’s in a dual processor Workstation was not that good of a match. Oh, so confusing!
    4-Finding a dual processor SCSI motherboard with Raid is very difficult. There are so few to choose from I am considering that this may not be the proper way to go. If there was a demand for dual processors and they performed, then the industry would have many dual motherboards, wouldn’t they, or am I missing something in my analysis?
    5-I hope these are not vague questions. I hope I am not rambling on. I just want to get it correct!

    Thanks ahead of time,
    Folkartfox
     
  5. Rockn

    Rockn

    Joined:
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    21,334
    A dual processor setup isn't going to get you a whole lot of extra horsepower unless the application and the OS can offload processes once one gets overloaded. Dual CPU's will generate twice the heat so cooling is extremely important. XP Pro does support dual CPU's but has a lot of overhead with the GUI and other candy coated AOLish crap that you really don't need. I would suggest Windows 2000 Pro because if the hardware is stable it will run forever. You can always buy a dual motherboard, only install once CPU and see if it meets your needs, if not add another. Memory and hard drive speed and transfer rates will get you more performance than a dual CPU setup. Get the fastest memory and hard drives that the MB will support. Hard drives of the SATA variety will give you just as good performance as SCSI in a RAID setup. Data corruption and loss is also a caveat for people running RAID arrays, if one drive goes the array is done for (all data gone) so a good backup system is a must. Video cards with large amounts of fast memory will also help offload some CPU processing. If you don't need sound don't get it, especially on the motherboard. Dump all of the firewall stuff or just keep it off of the internet and disable it all and your performance will improve.
     
  6. Gibble

    Gibble

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2001
    Messages:
    27,087
    "Data corruption and loss is also a caveat for people running RAID arrays, if one drive goes the array is done for (all data gone) so a good backup system is a must."

    ...depending on what elvel of RAID you run...

    RAID 0: Striping
    Writes across both drives, you get high performance, but if one drive dies, everything is gone.

    RAID 1: Mirroring
    Data is written to both drives, so you won't lose information if one drive dies, but you effectively cut your storage space in half, to gain that ability. Writes are slower, reads are ussually faster.

    RAID 3: Striping and Parity
    Data is striped across multiple disk (Like in Raid 0) but they have a parity disk so if one drive dies, you don't lose any data (two drives die and you are toast...)

    RAID 5: Striping and Parity
    Similar to RAID 3, but Both data and parity are striped across multiple drives.

    RAID 10: (RAID 0&1)
    It is essentially RAID 0 (striping) but a mirrored (RAID 1) set of drives are kept as copies of each drive in the RAID 0 set.

    There are RAID levels of 2,4,6 and 7, but they are rarely used.
     
  7. Rockn

    Rockn

    Joined:
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    True, but I don't consider mirroring actual RAID. Striping any data over multiple drives is a crapshoot if you don't plan on doing any sort of backup and it will crash eventually. I personally don't use a RAID setup of any kind on my home computers and with a fast hard drive with a large cache suits my needs just fine. A backup system of some sort is a must regardless of what you use. Another thing to consider is restoring data in a RAID array if you ever do need to restore. If you have to it is a tricky proposition for a novice so do research on your backup solution and choose carefully.
     
  8. Gibble

    Gibble

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    Well if you don't consider RAID 1 to be RAID, then you definitely can't consider RAID 0 to be RAID...since it isn't REDUNDANT in any way shape or form...(ie, it can't withstand the loss of a single drive...)
     
  9. folkartfox

    folkartfox Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2004
    Messages:
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    Thanks Rockn for the reply.
    Your saying that Raid is not necessary. I do have a small server that I back up to and keep my large files on! I thought that the Raid array, according to the Intel information page was a way of gaining power from the DDR memory and the "Hyperthreading" features in both the Xeon & P-4 processor(s) that I am considering?
    I have had enough problems with this computer to look forward to another set of problematic outcroppings concerning hard disks if a Raid array is that problematic!
    Thanks,
    folkartfox
     
  10. folkartfox

    folkartfox Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2004
    Messages:
    8
    Intensive Graphics & CAD-Folkartfox’s 2nd query
    Thanks for the quick, informative response to my last question. You guys & gales are great! I am still wrestling with the Dual Xeon v/s single P-4 processor among other things in my soon, “build from scratch computer, SCSI-SATA? Workstation project.”
    1-What would the second Xeon processor “add” to the dual processor array? By “add” I mean what would it do…overall?
    2-Would you know how dual Xeons would improve “performance” (by “performance I don’t mean just speed, but the ability to keep multi, high graphics programs open without the computer crashing, or just sitting there, like on a coffee break! This means more to me than blazing speed! I don’t play computer games, I design in CAD, FrontPage, Adobe, CorelDraw, etc. and the ability to have multi programs open along with Web access is the top priority. I am assuming that supporting uniprocessing and dual processing have to do with multiply programs and processes running at the same time in the background like anti-virus, NIS and Outlook while you work in several large graphics programs.
    3-I thought the uniprocessing, dual processing or multiprocessing that Intel suggests the Xeon’s are capable of supporting would be a good match for my new system. Reading the on-line info at “Tom’s Hardware Guide” suggests the AMD processors may be a better match? OH, so confusing! And another article I viewed April 21st suggests that the Intel Motherboard Chipset E7505 that Intel thought would achieve a good match with the Xenon’s in a dual processor Workstation was not that good of a match. Oh, so confusing!
    4-Finding a dual processor SCSI motherboard with Raid is very difficult. There are so few to choose from I am considering that this may not be the proper way to go. If there was a demand for dual processors and they performed, then the industry would have many dual motherboards, wouldn’t they, or am I missing something in my analysis?
    5-I hope these are not vague questions. I hope I am not rambling on. I just want to get it correct!

    Thanks ahead of time,
    Folkartfox

    Rockn, That's a good idea. Just install one processor on a dual motherboard and see if it works for me.
     
  11. folkartfox

    folkartfox Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2004
    Messages:
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    Gibble,
    I have a SCSI 36GB single Seagate hard drive now. Most files are on a small server. If I use Raid 1-mirror, then I would have two copies of the files and a third saved copy on the server. This would probably slow the system down, right, as you indicated since your copying twice on the mirrored drives. Is the suggestion that Raid is not necessary sound reasonable to you. Since I will have the option to do it either way, what is the prudent choice given that performance with the multiple open programs, is essential.
    Thanks,
    Folkartfox
     
  12. Gibble

    Gibble

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    27,087
    As long as your backing up your work, there is really no need for RAID at all.
     
  13. kingcobweb

    kingcobweb

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Messages:
    28
    Honestly, I don't think you really need as good as system as you're talking about. A 64-bit AMD, $100-range Asus, 2 gigs of 400mhz ram, Windows XP Pro and a decent video card will do you just great. Those $500+ video cards are almost exclusively for gaming; image quality for things like Photoshop will be barely improved at all, if any. This kind of system will run you about $2000+ and last you a loooooooong time.
     
  14. deHakkelaar

    deHakkelaar

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2004
    Messages:
    161
    1- I believe AUTOCAD users prefer using SMP (Synchronous Multi Processing) because AUTOCAD makes use of this feature like hyper threading and of course its just simply adding up CPU power.
    SMP splits up a task & hands over 1 part to 1 CPU & 1 to the other.
    Example : Single CPU performs a task in 6 seconds ,
    if the task (code) is split in half , it could be that 1 CPU finishes his part in 4 second & the other CPU in 2 seconds ,
    which means the complete task is don in 4 seconds but after 2 seconds the second CPU's resources are free & can start accepting new tasks already.
    Simplified :)

    2- stability of SMP I don't know about but 16 way (CPU's) Intel based servers are common in the server world with all sorts of OS's.

    3- Make sure its a 64 bit board.

    4- RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Drives) meaning RAID 0 isn't redundant :)
    Industry don't like RAID integrated on the system board because its an expensive technology so if the RAID part is broken , you'll have to replace the mobo too.
    PCI-X is a technology where you can hot replace (system still running) a PCI card like a RAID controller , if you got 2 of um connected to 1 array you're redundant on the controller end.

    SCSI data rates go up to 320Mb/s & 640 is in the make I believe.
    SCSI hard disks are available with 20.000 RPM's & i believe SATA drives are starting to sell with 10k RPM's.
    Combine this with striping , large cash and you'll leave SATA far behind.
    If you'r going for 3 hard disks , RAID5 is an option because you can make 2 array's (sort of partition)
    1 for your OS & 1 for DATA
    You can loose 1 hard disk & still keep on working ,
    replace the defective hard disk & the RAID is rebuild automatically.
    Loose the controller , replace it & with a lot of controllers you just simply load the configuration from the disks.
    With RAID 5 storage room is calculated like this :
    total storage = (number of drives times capacity single drive ) minus capacity of 1 drive
    Drives need to be identical & you can ad drives with ease as long as they are added to the data array.

    5- these are no vague questions folkafox , every time I buy a new system its a study into technology :confused:
     
  15. darkelf_18

    darkelf_18

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2003
    Messages:
    509
    Since your into graphics and that kinda stuff, have you thought of getting a Mac? Most ppl that do that kinda thing prefere them over PC's. Or try for one of the nice AMD 64bit procs, as MS is coming out with the new 64bit OS. Might as well prepare for the future.
     
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