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What am I doing wrong?

Last response: in Systems
January 5, 2009 1:29:40 AM

Hi everyone I have just found this website and I love it. I wish I'd have found it before I built my new system, but I guess it’s better late than never. I'm a photographer and graphic designer and I spend most of my time working in either Photoshop or Illustrator CS3. I've only recently started my business so money is tight right now but I had to get a new computer. I used some of the rom drives out of my old computer and bought the rest:
• AMD Ahtlon 64 X2 6000+ Processor ADX6000IAA6CZ - 3.0GHz, 1MB Cache, 1000MHz
(2000 MT/s) FSB, Windsor, Dual-Core, OEM, Socket AM2, Processor
• Masscool 5F9001B1H3 CPU Cooling Fan
• Asus M2N-SLI Motherboard - NVIDIA nForce 560 SLI, Socket AM2/AM2+, ATX,
• Audio, PCI Express, Gigabit LAN, S/PDIF, USB 2.0, Firewire, Serial ATA, RAID
• Corsair Dual Channel TWINX 2048MB PC6400 DDR2 800MHz E.P.P. Memory (2x 1024)
• EVGA e-GeForce 8400GS 512MB (459 MHz clock)
• Antec TruePower Trio 550: three +12V rails
• Hard Drives
500 GB SATA Western Digital Hard drive: WDC WD5000AACS-00ZUB0
160 GB IDE Western Digital Hard drive: WDC WD1600JB-00GVA0
80 GB IDE Western Digital Hard drive: WDC WD800BB-75CAA0
500 GB external Seagate FreeAgentDesktop drive
• Rom Drives
Dell: HL-DT-ST CD-RW GCE-8483B
Dell: 3.5 Floppy Drive
I know I need a better power supply, faster drives, more ram, and a better case but I’m not sure which I should purchase first. I’m also not sure how to make sure my system runs at its full potential. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance.

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January 5, 2009 1:51:18 AM

okay, your going to hate me, but for multimedia purpose the duo and X2s are rubbish becasue they can only do two things at the same time, a Qaud will do your deeds alot more better, a dual core is best for gaming any other purpose it should be quad core but never mind. the powersupply just seems alittle small for the amount you got on the poor thing but it looks to be a good brand so it should be fine. your HDDs are annying the WD SATA is fine but the IDE once will probley slow down the system, but than there is another problem, that mobo probley only has two SATA slots :\ but you could get a matching WD 500Gb and raid them less bottlelnects, that should speed it up after the system has been in use for a while. if you going to do 3D graphics the X2 might start to struggle along with the GPU.
Your ram should be fine depending on what OS you are using vista =3Gb XP =2Gb
a b B Homebuilt system
January 5, 2009 2:07:38 AM

The Antec TP trio while a little on the older side, is still an ok PSU. Your video needs are also lite, so I wouldn't spend the money on a newer video card either. Lots of ram is probably needed, but the CPU is the biggest problem that I see. I don't know if your motherboard will handle any of the quad or triple core CPUs, I'd look into those first.

What seems slow to you? Where do you spend your time waiting? The system overall is not bad for a low end workstation. If we knew where the slow downs happen, we'll have a much better idea as to what needs updating.
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
January 5, 2009 11:41:39 AM

As mentioned above, your biggest problem is the CPU. In order to upgrade the CPU you would also have to upgrade the motherboard, as your AM2 MB does not support Phenom.

You really don't want to be stuck waiting for tasks to finish on your computer. That's going to hurt your bottom line.

Here is what you should be shooting for today:
Intel Q9550
P45 motherboard
8 GB DDR2 800Mhz RAM (1.8V)
Vista 64 bit Premium, Business, or Ultimate

I could talk about cutting some corners, but my experiences in this area taught me that computer performance is just too important.

The large number of devices in your system are certainly a problem, and might be stressing your PSU.
January 5, 2009 1:25:39 PM

+1 to proximon's suggestions. That setup will really get you far. You can increase your work productivity having a better cpu and adding some ram which in the end pays for itself.

go with the asus p5q pro board. Probally best bang for your buck board.
a b B Homebuilt system
January 5, 2009 8:40:31 PM

You don't need a setup that high end. You could easily go with the Q6600 and 4GBs of ram. I doubt you'd notice the difference.
January 6, 2009 8:35:41 PM

Did anyone answer her question? She asked what to upgrade out of the PSU, RAM and drives. Could swear she said she already bought the rest of it.

I would say the PSU 1st. If it goes down, it could take all your bight new shiney pieces with it. Next would be the RAM. Nothing wrong with what you have, especially if you're running XP. I would however recommend adding 2 more gigs if you're running Vista, and at least 1 more for XP. Newer drives won't help out tremendously. I didn't look into the specs ont he drives you have, but I woulld load the OS on one, and all your programs on the fastest one you have. You can get a decent 500 GB 32 MB cache SATA drive in the $60 range.

Your case is dead last because it really doesn't matter unless unless you're out of room inside. Unless it's just plain ugly and ya don't like it. :) 
January 6, 2009 9:22:42 PM

I'm not currently working with video or animation so would I see that much difference with a quad core?
My mobo has 4 SATAs. I just used the hard drives out of my old computer till I can afford some new SATAs. I'm running XP Pro.

I planned on another 2 gigs of ram. I XP Pro won't recognize all 4 gigs. My mobo is an AM2/AM2+ socket so I could upgrade to something like the AMD Phenom X4 9950 Quad Core Processor HD995ZXAGHBOX - Black Edition, 2.60GHz, 4MB Cache, 2000MHz (4000 MT/s) FSB, Agena, Quad-Core. Do you think I'd see much difference if I just switched out processors?
I do a lot of multitasking and work on huge image files, usually at the same time. I'm having problems with my computer freezing up and then I have to wait at least 5 minutes or so to be able to start working again. Everything freezes.

My mobo will support Phenom as far as I can tell. Do you think Intel would be a better way to go? Is there a way I can formulate how much power my system needs?

a b B Homebuilt system
January 6, 2009 10:30:31 PM

Thunder, just because someone thinks they need to upgrade something first doesn't mean they are right. More so if they admit that they don't know it all. (no offense to the OP.)

Squared, you have a very high end (for AMD anyways.) dual core, so I'm not 100% sure how much better the quad will be. The 9950 will be faster, I have no idea on how much faster. I would love to learn what causes the freezing. It could be a ram/swap file issue, bad harddrive/controller, or yes, even a PSU issue. I would do some digging and see what you can find out. Check your temps, use Speedfan to read your smart values to see if your drives are reporting errors. You might even want to run memtest to see if your ram has errors, though I do suggest just getting 2x2GBs now while DDR2 is still cheap.
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
January 7, 2009 12:49:44 AM

Everything I can find on the ASUS board indicates it's not Phenom compatible. However, I can't confirm that with the ASUS support site because it mostly inaccessible right now.
a b B Homebuilt system
January 7, 2009 12:51:37 AM

I don't think the Nforce 5 series is. You'd need an Nforce 6 or better board. I'm pretty sure triple and quad cores is a no go without a new board.