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Where is the bottleneck?

Last response: in Components
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September 22, 2009 5:13:07 PM

I'm trying to find where the slowest component in my system is, perhaps someone here can help me find it.

Here's my machine specs:

I have a supercharged version (i upgraded my own parts) of an HP Pavillion P6110f

Original HP Motherboard made by Asus FSB 800/1066/1333
Intel E8500 3.16ghz Processor FSB 1333mhz
6gb of DDR2 SDRAM (800mhz)
Maxtor 640GB Harddrive 7200RPM (not sure if its 1.5gb/s or 3.0)
Gigabyte Nvidia GeForce 9500GT OC version
Power Supply is 450w

I am trying to arm this box to the teeth. I know I should build my own system from scratch, not try to update a pre-built system, but it is what it is.

Where's the bottleneck? What components should I consider upgrading to make this machine faster? Any and all considerations!

More about : bottleneck

September 22, 2009 5:28:11 PM

Depends what you use the PC for! For gaming I would look at changing the GPU. Also is your OS 64bit?
a b ) Power supply
September 22, 2009 5:30:32 PM

The 9500GT graphics card is a "piss poor" excuse for a graphics card because it's overpriced for it's weak performance...worthless for modern games at good settings/higher resolutions.

Upgrade your graphics card/GPU.

I suggest an ATI 4870 1GB or GTX260 sp216 for ~$150
or something cheaper but also good, such as a 4850 or 9800GTX/GTX+/GTS250 for ~$100
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September 22, 2009 6:02:23 PM

To further clarify:

Windows Vista Home Premium 64bit OS
The hard drive is 3.0gb/sec
Graphics card isn't an issue, i don't play any real games.

The case is a micro ATX mid tower, so bigger graphics cards although will work, will really cramp the case.

I use my computer for audio editing. I record bands on a very regular basis and i was thinking about making this computer my studio computer. Therefore I need information processing power to be primary. Lots of audio rendering and real time plugins running.
September 22, 2009 6:05:07 PM

And to further add. I'm willing to entertain the idea of buying a new case all together and new motherboard. I can take the guts from this guy and put them on the new motherboard into the new case. That could open me up to being able to overclock the processor as well as expand the setup... Not sure if i want to go that route though, for now lets see what i can do to help my existiting setup.
September 22, 2009 6:36:50 PM

You say you use it for audio editing? That's processor-intensive! You really don't need 6 gb ram, or maybe you do, but if you want faster processing you need a CPU upgrade.

HOWEVER

It depends on what audio software you are using. Does it know how to use multiple cores?

You can check that by giving it a task to render and looking at the CPU usage under Performance tab (Ctrl+Alt+Del > Start task manager > Performance).

If the CPU is at 100% then it knows how to use multiple cores. If it's at 50% (plus or minus 5% then only one core is working, so upgrading your cpu is pointless).

If your software is multicore-compatible, then check out some mid-ranged quad cores and a decent cooling solution.
September 22, 2009 6:54:13 PM

I use Adobe Audition 2.0

I believe its multi core supported, i know the 3.0 version most certainly is. Perhaps I'll update my software to the newest version to see if that improves too. I rendered down a file and saw CPU 1 at 8-12% while CPU 2 was almost maxed out. So it almost sounds like the program isn't using multicore support.

Let's pretend it is, is the next step quad-core? Is there anything else i can do for my computer to speed it up? i've heard sometimes a 10,000rpm hard drive helps.
September 22, 2009 7:57:55 PM

I was thinking that, but I've heard that SSD's die out after a while, there are only so many read/write times before they aren't usable anymore. I don't know if that's all talk but it made me lean away from it.
a b ) Power supply
September 22, 2009 8:41:31 PM

You just use it for video editing? Get a decent aircooler and overclock your cpu.
September 22, 2009 8:43:51 PM

Thats' true, MLC drives have 10 000 times write times but they have wear levelling feature which spreads writes over the celss making sure each cell gets written equal number of times. If You take 160GB SSD and write 160GB data to it everyday(which I really doubt) it will take 10 000 days or 27 years for it to wear out. Wear levelling will not work 100% accurately and some cells will not get rewritten because they will contain system files that never change and are never deleted. So lets say You can cut that time in half-13years still longer then you posibly want to use it. If that is not enough You can go for SLC SSD which has 100 000 write times making it last 10 times longer. Just disable pagefile and automatic defragmentation to avoid unnecessary writes.
September 23, 2009 12:41:22 PM

Not bad. Now I'm starting to warm up to the idea of a solid state drive. So lets say I buy a decent 160GB SSD. Should i load my OS on it and run everything off it? Or should i used the SSD strictly as a file retrieving system for my audio files?
September 25, 2009 3:23:11 PM

Not to beat a dead horse. So is the consensus that my hard drive is my slowest processing component for shear speed on my computer? Or anything else?
September 25, 2009 4:36:00 PM

I think your system is quite fine especially that you confirmed that you're not using massive application that demands resources on your GPU (which I agree is the poorest among your components).

About the SSD, are you thinking of using that for morethan 10 yrs? Technology is fast changing, maybe after a year or 2 there could be huge developments in hard drive and it would be imperative for you to change again.

The thing is... SSDs are current in "testing stage" now, there are still revisions being made, let it sit for more time. Your system looks fine, man.

Save your money for future upgrades.
October 5, 2009 1:12:42 PM

Just for kicks, i took some of the advice on here and just bought an MSI Geforce N250GTS graphics card. I have a feeling it will blow my current card out of the water. What do you folks think of those cards? The GTS250?
October 16, 2009 6:57:19 PM

Well, i went ahead with the MSI NGTS250 OCv2 512mb card. It really rocks compared to the 9500GT. Yes yes I know the GTS250 is considered by most to be a medium level card. Since I'm not playing many graphics intense games (I only really dabble in Halo 2 on PC) This card does all I need it to. Amazing how there is no skipping or fragmenting.

Now if only i could find the PLL on my Asus motherboard built for HP, I made the stupid mistake of buying an HP and then modding it out. I should have just started from the ground up. I know its next to impossible to mod an HP. I have found similar PLL's to my board and if i try to adjust the FSB in that SetFSB program, i lock my computer up.

shucks...
!