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#1
Hans van der Maarel

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I'm currently looking to buy a new computer which is to become my main workstation for the next 2 years at the least. Here's what the local (small) computer store can do for me:
Asus AMD S939 A8N-SLI SE mainboard
AMD Athlon 64 S939 3700 CPU
2 x 1 Gb PC400 DDR memory
Western Digital 250 Gb SATA w. 16 Mb buffer harddisk
Nvidia 6600 GT video card, 128 Mb

According to the guy behind the counter (quite knowledgable) a 256 Mb video card would only be useful for high-end 3D games, but I'm wondering whether or not it makes a difference for VNS or high-end graphics work (Photoshop, Illustrator).

Any thoughts? It's an expensive system, but I need to upgrade my current box.
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#2
Martin Gamache

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Hans,

A high end gaming 3d card will not make any difference for 2d work in PS or AI, it wont hurt but.... In fact for those apps...Matrox cards are known to be the best. I dont know about VNS though....

You may want to consider having more than one drive.. I would suggest two Raptor drives. One as your application/os drive and one as your scratch drive for PS and AI and for manifold. Those drives tend to be small (80GB) so you may want a third drive just for storage.


mg

#3
Hans van der Maarel

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Martin,

I have an external 250 Gb drive (USB2 and Firewire) for data storage, so the internal harddisk would only be for apps and temp space. Having a separate one just for scratch space does sound like a good plan though. FME is another temp-space-hogging app that I run often...
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#4
Martin Gamache

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Manifold and Photoshop really benefit from that setup. I use that approach now but with normal SATA drives. The Raptor drives are much faster (10k rpm) and apparently this adds quite a performance boost.

My preference is to have a third larger internal storage drive for files I am currently working with and to archive/backup everything to external drives for redundancy and to keep my desktop drives uncluttered.

#5
Matthew Hampton

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You probably won't see a huge advantage of a 3D card in your raster/vector apps but you will find that flying around the world in Google Earth will be noticeably faster.

Thats the whole magic with these geobrowsers is that most of the processing occurs on the graphics cards.

I have heard that Nvidia cards work better for Google Earth. Probably because they helped out in the early days of Keyhole.

co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com


#6
Hans van der Maarel

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I've heard stories that nVidia cards used to be better than ATI. Apparently ATI caught up with them, but given that all my video cards so far have been nVidia, I'm going to stick with that.
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#7
Rob

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Hans,

I'd think that extra video memory will be used by VNS for the OGL camera views and probably in SceneExplorer/NVexpress if you use those.

If you can afford it, do it now. Else a card like that can easily be upgraded when the time is right...

rob

#8
Lui

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I'm affraid that an extra video memory is not in use in VNS. In many (if not in all) 3D related software, an extra video memory is used for textures. In VNS textures are used only if you enable Ecosystem map in Overlay section of view preference. In VNS a good and fast OpenGL support is the most important. They said that nVidia has better OpenGL drivers. Well I'm working with VNS (as I type:-) and I have nVidia Quadro 980 graphic card with 128MB RAM. It works flawless.
What about dual core processor? With dual processor you can work with computer when VNS render. AMD 3800 X2 is cheap (well not expensive) and it'll perfectlly match with your motherboard. BTW you don't need the SLI version of ASUS motherboard if you don't intent to use two PCI-E graphic cards.

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#9
Hans van der Maarel

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What about dual core processor? With dual processor you can work with computer when VNS render. AMD 3800 X2 is cheap (well not expensive) and it'll perfectlly match with your motherboard. BTW you don't need the SLI version of ASUS motherboard if you don't intent to use two PCI-E graphic cards.


Yeah, I was wondering about dualcore. The price difference between that 3800 X2 and what's in there right now is not that high. The system as described, with a DVD and DVD writer but without screen, keyboard and mouse is about 1150 euro's (excluding sales tax). That is including assembly, a Windows XP Pro license and installation of that license. IIRC the dualcore would add about 150 euro's to that price. According to the guy in the store it really does make a difference. He's running it himself too and was very enthusiastic.

Also, I have to say, this price he quoted me is quite competitive with the prices of large (online) retailers. Not bad for a small shop in a small town.
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