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Seeking advice to optimise my system

Last response: in Overclocking
March 9, 2010 9:26:29 AM

I use my PC for producing creative graphics on a voluntary basis for charities. I have limited time in the evenings after work so need my system to be very fast and very stable. It's a "production" machine rather than gaming.

I'd like your view on what I can do to speed up and optimise my system further and identify any bottlenecks. My key concerns are below.

Key hardware components:
Intel Core i7 920
6Gb Corsair RAM
256 Gb Corsair SSD
1.5 Gb NVIDIA Quadro CX

Software I use:
- Windows 7 Ultimate
- Autodesk Maya 2010 (3d CGI)
- Adobe Creative Suite 4 (suite of graphics applications covering print, web and video) - my video production is HD resolution animation streamed via YouTube.

My key concerns:
- Was it really worth buying an SSD? I know SSDs are really fast and transferring large amounts of data but unsure if they run my applications faster? Should I get a 1000 RPM hard drive instead?
- Do I have sufficient RAM? I performance gadget in Windows 7 shows RAM usually sticking around 41% - but my computer crashed yesterday for the first time with the Blue Screen. I think because I had a LOT of applications open at the time. I'd like to be able to work with everything open.
- Do you have any recommendations for software that runs in the background to track performance of all my components which I can then analyse over a weeks's worth of data to see where potentially there might be bottlenecks?

Many Thanks and Kind Regards.
a b K Overclocking
March 9, 2010 12:23:30 PM

Your system looks great you should not have any issues with bottlenecking 6GB of ram should be plenty of ram so that shouldn't be an issue. Your SSD will help windows load alot faster and whatever programs are on it will load a hell of alot faster then a conventional drive. Stick with the SSD a 10000 rpm drive will be considerably slower then a SSD.
March 9, 2010 12:51:38 PM

Although I should also mention that although I use SSD on my operating drive, my "data" drive (sometimes do work off the "data" drive when tweaking historic projects etc) is just a normal 1TB 7,200 rpm hard drive (eSATA I think).

I've just been reading up on RAID configurations. Is this worth implementing? My objective is to gain faster speed rather than backup contingency in case of mechanical hard drive failure.
a b K Overclocking
March 9, 2010 1:44:30 PM

A raid array will definatly speed up things just make sure you research on it to learn the setup.

There are at least nine types of RAID plus a non-redundant array (RAID-0):

RAID-0: This technique has striping but no redundancy of data. It offers the best performance but no fault-tolerance.
RAID-1: This type is also known as disk mirroring and consists of at least two drives that duplicate the storage of data. There is no striping. Read performance is improved since either disk can be read at the same time. Write performance is the same as for single disk storage. RAID-1 provides the best performance and the best fault-tolerance in a multi-user system.
RAID-2: This type uses striping across disks with some disks storing error checking and correcting (ECC) information. It has no advantage over RAID-3.
RAID-3: This type uses striping and dedicates one drive to storing parity information. The embedded error checking (ECC) information is used to detect errors. Data recovery is accomplished by calculating the exclusive OR (XOR) of the information recorded on the other drives. Since an I/O operation addresses all drives at the same time, RAID-3 cannot overlap I/O. For this reason, RAID-3 is best for single-user systems with long record applications.
RAID-4: This type uses large stripes, which means you can read records from any single drive. This allows you to take advantage of overlapped I/O for read operations. Since all write operations have to update the parity drive, no I/O overlapping is possible. RAID-4 offers no advantage over RAID-5.
RAID-5: This type includes a rotating parity array, thus addressing the write limitation in RAID-4. Thus, all read and write operations can be overlapped. RAID-5 stores parity information but not redundant data (but parity information can be used to reconstruct data). RAID-5 requires at least three and usually five disks for the array. It's best for multi-user systems in which performance is not critical or which do few write operations.
RAID-6: This type is similar to RAID-5 but includes a second parity scheme that is distributed across different drives and thus offers extremely high fault- and drive-failure tolerance.
RAID-7: This type includes a real-time embedded operating system as a controller, caching via a high-speed bus, and other characteristics of a stand-alone computer. One vendor offers this system.
RAID-10: Combining RAID-0 and RAID-1 is often referred to as RAID-10, which offers higher performance than RAID-1 but at much higher cost. There are two subtypes: In RAID-0+1, data is organized as stripes across multiple disks, and then the striped disk sets are mirrored. In RAID-1+0, the data is mirrored and the mirrors are striped.
RAID-50 (or RAID-5+0): This type consists of a series of RAID-5 groups and striped in RAID-0 fashion to improve RAID-5 performance without reducing data protection.
RAID-53 (or RAID-5+3): This type uses striping (in RAID-0 style) for RAID-3's virtual disk blocks. This offers higher performance than RAID-3 but at much higher cost.
RAID-S (also known as Parity RAID): This is an alternate, proprietary method for striped parity RAID from EMC Symmetrix that is no longer in use on current equipment. It appears to be similar to RAID-5 with some performance enhancements as well as the enhancements that come from having a high-speed disk cac

Yes it will be worth it if you are looking for the redundancy and speed aspect.