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#1
LenHoffman

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I would like to ask for some suggestions on specs for a new system we want to buy for our office.

As some of you may remember from some of my earlier post that the system i have been working with is pretty much maxed out and running slow - listed below are most of the programs that will be used on the new system on a regular basis.

- ArcGIS/ ArcInfo
- Adobe IllustratorCS2
- MaPublisher
- AutoCAD
- Autodesk Map
- Microsoft Programs (Excel, Word, Office, etc.)
- Additional Adobe Products

Not sure if we will end up getting PhotoShop, Flash, or other CartoGraphic enhancing products in the future or not but would like to have the space availiable if it does come to that.

I am pretty sure that I would like to get at a minimum of 2 gig maybe 3 gig ram

I'm not the most computer spec understanding user out here so I'm not sure which is better ddr or sdr for ram

ALL comments are welcome and appreciated
I'm not sure what our spending cap is so I would like to receive various options.

It was just mentioned to me that we would like to have a system that could be running processes on at least two maybe three of these programs at the same time with a good rate of speed.


Again thank you all for your time and knowledge,

Linwood

#2
Hans van der Maarel

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Be sure to get a system with lots of RAM (2Gb at least) and a good graphics card (256Mb of graphics memory would be advisable). Never settle for shared ram/graphics memory.

If you have the option of checking out the case before buying it, do it and check whether things like front usb/firewire ports are easily accesible (DELL cases are sometimes a bit clumsy in this respect).

Make sure the power supply and cooling are sufficient. This can save you a lot of headaches.
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#3
frax

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I think that most systems on the higher end are ok. Just make sure you have plenty of ram, like hans said. You are doing some stuff that is resource intensive but nothing extreme (like rendering or games).
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#4
Hans van der Maarel

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Somehow the words 'big and bad' come to mind... <_<

Don't be afraid to buy a somewhat less high-end pc and then upgrade the appropriate bits yourself. Example: The flyer for a local office supplies store today listed 2 pc's. A 999 euro one and a 699 euro one. The only difference was that the 699 one had half a gig of ram vs 1 gig in the 999, which had an additional 160 Gb of disk space (the 699 had 200 Gb)

For 300 euro's, you can very likely upgrade it to 1.5 Gb, which would serve your needs better than the 160 Gb of extra disk space.
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#5
Martin Gamache

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You might want to consider dual processors and Win 64 bit system. Manifold and Photoshop can take advantage of 64 bit and Photoshop can take advantage of dual processors. Overall multi-tasking will be improved with the dual processor.

Memory management is an issue and you may want to investigate the way your hard drives are wired to talk to the machine..i,e, raid arrays. This can drastically improve performance as do faster hard drives.

I am investigating a new system now to last me for the next 3+ years and will definitely go with a 64bit machine as it is likely thst more and more apps will be designed to take advantage of it. Dont know about ESRI apps...maybe one of our new ESRI members can provide us with some insight into future/current 64 bit compatibility.

mg

#6
Lou

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At my day job, I work on a dual Xeon 3.6GHz with 3GB of RAM with a 256MB NVIDIA Quadro FX3400 video adapter. There isn't much that can be tossed at this machine that it can't chew through (and in a hurry). It is a Dell Precision 670 Workstation and ran about $4K about 6 months ago. I have all the ESRI software, Adobe CS2 and Macromedia MX apps in use and often several of them at the same time. The 3 drives are SCSI, 80/320/320GB but I don't have a RAID array. I do suggest making your OS drive separate from your apps/data/workspace and ensure it is as fast 10K rpm as you can make it. The bus architecture on a workstation level machine can make a difference as Martin mentioned about configuring drives and memory, etc. But I have left it to the engineers at Dell to worry about that and it seems to exceed all expectations as far as performance. This machine is very quiet too...this may not sound like much but it runs cooler than my last workstation, and I can barely hear it. The design of case for firewire, USB, and drive bays (DVD/R drives) in this larger case is well done where on smaller case models they do leave room for want of a better layout of the ports/connections.

However, I just didn't have that much $ to spend on my replacement system for my personal graphic design and cartography business...I just ordered a new Dell XPS system it is on its way to me as I type this (should have it in the next day or so)...It has been a few years since I last purchased a personal computer...I have been working on a Dimension 8250 (single processor 1.75GHz/1GB RAM). When I went to start spec'ing out a machine last week, I found that there were many more options for processors, hard drive configurations, etc.

When I started to research the difference between single-processor, dual-core processor, dual-core Extreme Edition, and dual-core processors for the Pentium line, I got lost real quick. I did not to go for the 64-bit now (due to my lack of knowledge, and price), and prices have fallen almost in half for the pro-sumer hardware market while prices remain higher on the workstation end. I found that for the basic apps that I run (see above) the single-processor dual-core (Pentium D and D/Extreme Edition) was really where the $ savings/ ^ performance are. The dual-core technology puts two 'cores' on a single silicon wafer allowing for 75% increase in processing speed without the heat and bottleneck of the motherboard having to route traffic to a different slot to process. This is a hardware managed process not software and therefore allows most apps to take advantage of the enhanced throughput...I can't remember where the following basic explanation came from...but here it is...

"Dual processor setups were the only way to go for many years if you were in need of serious computing power. Architects, engineers, graphic artists, and even gamers desiring the ultimate in power could utilize a dual processor setup. In such a setup each core is able to perform computational tasks so long as the application supports two processors. These processors communicate with eachother through a bus on the motherboard in their sharing of loads. Intel and AMD have both realized the performance limiter in any dual processor setup was the communication lag between the processors. Each company has sought to eliminate that lag by encorporating another processor on the same die, thus eliminating 99% of the lag time in communication...The move to dual core brings all of the benefits of a dual processor setup and also the elimination of considerable bottlenecks and latency. While Intel's dual core processor comes in two varieties the Pentium Extreme Edition and the Pentium D, AMD's dual core will arrive under the name AMD 64 Athlon X2."

Just FYI - I ordered 2GB of RAM in the new system...I made the mistake of ordering 4GB on the aforementioned day-job workstation...to find that the XPPro OS can't recognize more than 3GB regardless of the config, and most apps can't take advantage of more than 2GB of RAM.

I will be glad to post an update once the new machine is up and running if anyone is interested.

#7
Hans van der Maarel

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Lou,

I will be glad to post an update once the new machine is up and running if anyone is interested.


Please do. I'm planning to retire my current pc by the end of the year so any real-life reports on new hardware are very welcome.
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#8
Martin Gamache

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Just FYI - I ordered 2GB of RAM in the new system...I made the mistake of ordering 4GB on the aforementioned day-job workstation...to find that the XPPro OS can't recognize more than 3GB regardless of the config, and most apps can't take advantage of more than 2GB of RAM.


Lou, hence the advantage of the 64 bit system, I believe (if I am correct) that it can use up to up to 8Gb of RAM but in fact the software (windows 64) canin theory go up to 128GB !!!. I also believe photoshop (my #2 RAM hog) can take advantage of whatever is on board. I dont know about Manifold which is the main hog.

Thanks for the info about the dual core vs. dual processor. I did not know about this.

Info on Manifold and 64bit computing

Photoshop and 64 bit processors




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