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do i need more memory?

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May 8, 2007 9:44:22 PM

Hello,

I have CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)

320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

ASUS M2N-E Socket AM2 NVIDIA nForce 570 Ultra MCP

AMD X2 3800+

7600GT Video card.

When I use photoshop cs2 things can get slow at times, last week I had to touch up images that were 350mb in size and it took a while for the pictures just to open up. ( 20 seconds, maybe longer.. just a guess )

I was wondering if this was a ram problem or a cpu thing?? The Corsair ram is on sale at newegg for $109 after rebate ( 2 gig ) is this a waste of $$$

More about : memory

May 8, 2007 11:29:14 PM

The load time issue is mostly a hard disk issue; to improve this, get a pair of Raptors set up in a RAID 0 configuration.
Slowness in actually applying changes is more of a CPU and RAM issue. Unfortunately, in practice you can only go up to around 3GB without switching to a 64-bit consumer Windows (64-bit XP or 64-bit Vista). You've got more room to boost your CPU speed in the x2 line, and of course even more if you switch to Core2Duo.
May 8, 2007 11:57:30 PM

thxs for the reply... i have no clue how to set up a RAID 0 :?


as for the ram, i guess i shouldnt get the extra then. Is the 64 bit version of windows better? and will all my programs run on the 64 bit version?
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May 9, 2007 12:56:27 AM

DO NOT USE RAID 0.

Jebus - how long are you fools going to keep recommending stupid and dangerous solutions to problems which DON'T EXIST?

Honestly, RAID 0 is for idiots, fools and wankers ONLY - with the only exception being Mission-Critical servers that do 200,000 transactions per minute.

A domestic installation of RAID 0 (unless it is backed up onto a RAID 1 array) is by far the dumbest storage solution on the planet. Data safety is halved, speed IS NOT that much better; power consumption goes up dramatically, noise and heat increases; RAID 0 arrays can NOT be transferred between computers unless you are using a dedicated PCI card as your RAID controller (and given the maximum data rate on the PCI Bus is pathetic, as a speedy solution the PCI card option is limp.)

No - if you want faster disk access buy yourself a single Raptor drive and install that; you will then have all the advantages of RAID 0 (speed) but do not suffer the consequences of a disk failure in your RAID 0 array, and all the other disadvantages that go along with it.

No - stay away from any RAID solution except RAID 1 (cheap and reliable) or RAID 5 (bloody expensive but very reliable) - which is bloody great.
May 9, 2007 1:32:55 AM

Quote:
DO NOT USE RAID 0.

Jebus - how long are you fools going to keep recommending stupid and dangerous solutions to problems which DON'T EXIST?


im with you on that, raid 0 sux when you get problems, most likely reinstall, i have enough problems without adding crappy raid 0 to the list, i for one wouldnt touch it, for the OP, the problem is more likely that your PC is paging when it shouldnt, close all programs except photoshop, check task manager for memory usage, if its still slow then you need more ram, reason is the undo buffer for photoshop + a load of other buffers
May 9, 2007 6:08:11 AM

Quote:
... solutions to problems which DON'T EXIST?

It seems quite plausible to me that the OP wasn't lying, and thus that his disk->RAM transfer times would be reduced by (1) reducing hard drive seek time and (2) boosting hard drive sustained transfer rate.

Quote:
...Honestly, RAID 0 is for idiots, fools and wankers ONLY - with the only exception being Mission-Critical servers that do 200,000 transactions per minute.

I disagree. On modern desktop PCs, the biggest speed mismatch is between the glacially slow hard drive and the fast solid state components (RAM, CPU etc). Reducing hard drive access times and boosting sustained data transfer rates translates directly into noticeably shorter load/save times and a more responsive system.

Quote:
..A domestic installation of RAID 0 (unless it is backed up onto a RAID 1 array) is by far the dumbest storage solution on the planet.

Given the reliability of modern hard drives, I disagree.

Quote:
..
Data safety is halved,

True, but half of an enormous number is still an enormous number, thus this is not a significant problem. Personally, I've never lost data due to a disk crash over the dozens of drives I've used; maybe I've just been lucky. In any case, external hard drives (for example) are so cheap that there's no excuse for not backing up any valuable data, so the objection is moot.

Quote:
..speed IS NOT that much better;

False. Sustained hard drive <-> RAM throughput is roughly doubled, which should help out the OP's problem.

Quote:
..power consumption goes up dramatically,

False. RAID 0 uses the same power as two non-RAIDed drives. RAID 1 roughly doubles power consumption over two non-RAIDed drives.

Quote:
..noise and heat increases;

False (see above answer). RAID 1 boosts noise and heat.

Quote:
..RAID 0 arrays can NOT be transferred between computers unless you are using a dedicated PCI card as your RAID controller

Straw man, not quite correct to boot. It's a simple matter to copy the data from the RAID 0 onto some other storage, then copy from there onto the new RAID 0 array. Presumably step 1 is already being done (i.e. backups).
Even if you want to "plug n play" the array, it *will work* between MBs using similar/identical chipset controllers in addition to using the plug-in controller option.

Quote:
..(and given the maximum data rate on the PCI Bus is pathetic, as a speedy solution the PCI card option is limp.)

Even though this was a straw man, the PCI card approach probably does have enough bandwidth to handle the max throughput of one pair of Raptors; other buses such as PCI-express are also available.

Quote:
.. if you want faster disk access buy yourself a single Raptor drive and install that

I agree - this will improve performance over a standard hard drive.
Quote:
.. you will then have all the advantages of RAID 0 (speed)

As mentioned above, going to RAID 0 will improve the sustained data transfer rate substantially, which will directly address the OP's complaint.

Quote:
... RAID 1 (cheap and reliable) or RAID 5 (bloody expensive but very reliable) -....

Actually, RAID 5 is much cheaper than RAID 1 per byte, and not much more expensive in absolute terms, because in RAID 1 1/2 of the drives are used for data integrity, while in RAID 5 only 1/n drives are used for data integrity.
May 9, 2007 6:11:06 AM

Quote:
... for the OP, the problem is more likely that your PC is paging when it shouldnt,...

Since the OP is complaining about slow file loads, it seems likely to be a hard disk issue.
May 9, 2007 7:25:51 AM

I totally agree with Mondoman, with Raid 0 there is a significant speed boost. This has been the problem of hard drives, they are simply too slow compared to modern ram and cpu's. There is an even larger gain with Raid 0 raptors. Though my primary concern also is data safety, though this applies only to consumer desktop hard drives, as raptors are tough (supposedly).

Maybe the OP could open task manager, fire up CS2 then try to load the images and monitor the RAM usage, if it edges out the ram then the op needs more RAM. If it doesn't, at least maybe try defragmenting the hard drive. Trust me it helps a bit. Even if that still ends up too slow, try checking if background programs are slowing you down. If nothing really works, Raid 0 or a raptor sounds like the only real solution.
May 9, 2007 10:44:38 AM

ok, i opened a image with task manager open

before
total memoery - 2095516
available - 136920



after
available - 616116

I do have a lot of programs running in the background though... norton, windows defender, printer software, windowblinds and a few others
May 9, 2007 12:56:21 PM

Solid state drives should be available soon, hopefully. That might help you out, unless they are way too expensive.
May 9, 2007 1:38:56 PM

If task manager only shows ~136MB of memory available when you have the file open, then additional RAM will speed things up. Keep in mind with the 32 bit version of XP that you will not see all of the memory if you install 4 GB.
May 9, 2007 2:17:50 PM

Definately get more memory.

You will only see About 3.0-3.5gb when all 4gb is installed but don't fret.
The added memory will really help based upon those memory figures.

RAID 0 normally is not a recommended solution

HDDs are simply NOT that reliable.

In general, there is a 4% chance of failure the 1st 2 years.
After that there is about an 8% chance of failure every year.

If running RAID 0, you can about double the chances for failure.

The stated figures are loosely rounded estimates based upon the largest more comprehensive study ever undertaken in this manner.

http://209.85.163.132/papers/disk_failures.pdf

On top of these failures, RAID 0 has a chance for software failure and human error which raises the chance of problems even higher.

If you are a PC expert and willing to take these risks, feel free to try RAID 0. However, RAID 0 should not be used or considered by a casual computer user IMHO.
May 9, 2007 2:38:16 PM

i would suggest clean nig upu your system you say you have a few things running how many processes? mine is currently booting with 29 processes. which goes to about 35 after i get things rolling on it i would suggest you look at doing a tidy before spending more money. if things are really becoming a hassle try doing a full re install you'll love the speed bost.
May 9, 2007 2:38:58 PM

Quote:
DO NOT USE RAID 0. speed IS NOT that much better; power consumption goes up dramatically, noise and heat increases;


You've not been reading the Tom's tests then have you or you would have seen that 2 x WD Caviar SE16's in RAID 0 are substantially faster than a WD Raptor.

Power consumption on the HD's doubles as 1 disc x 2, but as HD's don't take a lot anyway....

Noise, I can't hear mine and my CPU runs at 40C overclocked to 3.0ghz on standard cooling. So not seeing these problems either.

As for reliability, in theory its halved but when was the last time you had a modern drive fail? Unless you go for extreme solutions such as the Raptor, reliability of most top brand drives is very good.

Norton Ghost takes care of any worries anyway.

@MrMJS,

Could be a ram problem. Suggest you go over what you did again this time with task manger up and see how many bytes you have free. This should give you your answer re the ram. I'd personally expect it to be a memory issue, becuase open 3 or 4 350mb images and your sysetm is low to out of memory. In theory it should release memory and refresh but this doesn't always happen efficiently.

PS If you're on a 32 bit system, you're more or less locked into 3Gb or less memory. Install more and your system will refuse to address it.
May 9, 2007 4:16:11 PM

Quote:

before
total memoery - 2095516
available - 136920

after
available - 616116


The 136920 is before you opened up CS2 right? If that's the case then you have too many programs loaded on memory. Try to turn-off things that you don't need. Norton for example is one processor and ram hog. Me, I only have 1 gb of ram but my available ram from a boot-up is around 300-600mb.

If the before is the memory you states is the one after you opened up CS2 and the image, then you need more Ram. At least 4GB or 3.5GB would be needed.
May 9, 2007 4:21:28 PM

Quote:
However, RAID 0 should not be used or considered by a casual computer user IMHO.



Raid 0 really is for performance considerations only. If you have Raid 0 set-up just install your programs there, NEVER important documents, images, etc. As programs benefit from the faster transfers and seek times. Your photos from your last vacation doesn't need that bandwidth :lol:  . Store important files on another hard drive or another set, preferably in a Raid 1 configuration.
May 9, 2007 4:23:45 PM

Quote:
...
HDDs are simply NOT that reliable.

In general, there is a 4% chance of failure the 1st 2 years.
After that there is about an 8% chance of failure every year....

The stated figures are loosely rounded estimates based upon the largest more comprehensive study ever undertaken in this manner....

HDDs, especially premium drives like the Raptors (which have a 5-year warranty), ARE quite reliable.
The study you cite, while very interesting, is for cheap drives, where "the disks were powered on, spinning, and generally in service for essentially all of their recorded life." This is of course a very different use regime from that of the home/office system. In addition, the study notes that "Failure rates are known to be highly correlated with drive models, manufacturers and vintages". I certainly agree that it's good to avoid the "cheap drive of the month", and it's nice to see that drive manufacturers are moving away from 1-year warranties toward 3-5-year warranties.

In any case, big drives are cheap enough that it would cost as little as $40 to add an extra internal drive (160GB or more) for frequent/automatic backups.
May 9, 2007 4:26:28 PM

Quote:
... If you have Raid 0 set-up just install your programs there, NEVER important documents, images, etc. As programs benefit from the faster transfers and seek times. Your photos from your last vacation doesn't need that bandwidth ...

Actually, the slowness of loading large photo files was the OP's issue. In his case, that's what he would want to put on the RAID 0 (probably along with his Photoshop swap space).
May 9, 2007 4:36:33 PM

No, it was likely not his issue.
The primary issue is insufficient RAM causing massive swapping.
May 9, 2007 4:40:29 PM

Actually this article covered wide array of types of drives. Some were in servers, some were in office desktops, etc.. etc.. etc...

Are some drives probably better than others?

Sure, I spent an extra $5 each on my HDDs to get the enterprise class with better warranty.
May 9, 2007 5:52:46 PM

i have 51 processes going right now :? but I have 1.28gb of ram available.. ill reopen the images and see where im at then
May 9, 2007 6:28:06 PM

ok, after i open the image i have a memory load of 86% with 275mb free
May 9, 2007 7:30:03 PM

Quote:
ok, after i open the image i have a memory load of 86% with 275mb free


So you're not running out of memory.
May 12, 2007 8:05:55 PM

so it must be either a slow HD or the X2 3800+ & 2.0Ghz
!