Upgrading my current design machine

Hi everyone,

I am a graphic designer who is wanting better performance out of their current system. With the inclusion of multiple art boards in adobe illustrator my files sizes have greatly increased, which is putting a strain on my rig.

Current specs are...

os = vista 64

cpu = e2160 over clocked to 3.0ghz

cpu cooler = thermaltake bigtyp 120 vx
-> http://www.nzoczone.com/product_info.php?cPath=698_706&products_id=21985

ram = 4gigs ddr2
-> http://www.nzoczone.com/product_info.php?cPath=25&products_id=25929

mobo -> http://reviews.cnet.com/motherboards/asus-p5k-se-motherboard/4507-3049_7-32492048.html?tag=mncol;psum

gfx = 9800gx2

psu = 1000watt silverstone

hdd = seagate barracuda x2 500gb 32mb 7200rpm

I was thinking of getting another 4 gigs of ram and a q9550 and over clock it. This way I can keep my current cooler, mobo and ram.

I read that illustrator however does not benefit very much from quad core architecture. Instead higher clock speed is preferred. This got me thinking about getting an i7 rig and if it would be worth it in real world environments?

The last option I can see is to get some solid state drives -> http://www.nzoczone.com/product_info.php?cPath=20&products_id=34638
say 1 for the os, 1 for software and the other for my files being run by the software. This will most likely give me a boost when using the large design files that bring my computer to a crawl. I hear that they are still very much in their infancy and would out date very quickly with newer revisions down the line?

Any insight you could give me would be a huge help. I would love the best price/performance or something that would be relatively future proof for maybe 2 years.

Thank you for taking the time to read,

Best regards.
9 answers Last reply
More about upgrading current design machine
  1. which OS, with that much ram only a 64 bit OS will use it and will the software use it, higher clock speeds are better for software, and Adobe is hard on system resources. it eats a lot memory
  2. Hey thank you for the reply! Sorry that I did not state my os. I am indeed using vista 64. yes it is very ram hungry. Also since illustrator uses vector mechanics being able to calculate this requires a fast cpu, where as photoshop is more ram intensive (so I have been told anyway).

  3. More memory, and the much larger cache on the 9550 is going to make a big difference for you, even it you do not over clock the processor, you will see quite an improvement.
    My 2 cents, I would do exactly what you are talking about.
    I would not spend money on SSD's yet. They still have a ways to go.
    Do the processor/memory thing, and see how it works for you before you spend more on drives.
  4. You are in between a rock and a hard place. That mobo will only support 4gigs of ram. See specs here:

    So already you're already looking at a mobo/cpu/ram purchase. You're GPU, PSU, OS, and HDD are all able to be carried over. Case size?

    For what you do, I'd jump to the i7 920 with 12 gigs of ram. Looks like your kiwi? (that's not offensive is it?) Don't think your HSF will work though. If you're really attatched, an AMD 955 system will work better than what you have now.
  5. Thank you for the replys everyone.

    @ jitpublisher thanks for clearing up the ssd option and the difference of upgrading to a q9550

    @ skora

    I went back and dragged out my mobo box to see the specs and it turns out that my mobo is the asus p5k se
    -> http://reviews.cnet.com/motherboards/asus-p5k-se-motherboard/4507-3049_7-32492048.html?tag=mncol;psum
    this can hold the 8 gigs of ram. I am very sorry for mucking everyone around with mis information!

    I will indeed be carrying as much as possible over from my current system into the upgraded unit.

    This is my current case
    -> http://www.nzoczone.com/product_info.php?cPath=41&products_id=41167
    Its fits in my 9800gtx (just) and my huge (size wize) 1000wat psu (just again lol)

    And yes I am indeed a 'kiwi' (not offensive at all) stuck down at the bottom of the globe in winter atm =(

    So I can either get a q9550 and another 8gb of ram for a total of $502.84 (with my existing cooler)

    Or go for an i7 build with an...
    i7920 ->http://www.nzoczone.com/product_info.php?cPath=698_1&products_id=36377
    12 gb ram -> http://www.nzoczone.com/product_info.php?cPath=25&products_id=42120
    mobo -> http://www.nzoczone.com/product_info.php?cPath=27&products_id=30461
    for a total of $1252.1 (with stock cooler)

    so for over double the money I doubt I would be getting double the performance? I could maybe used the money saved to wait for a worthy solid state drive product?

    Thanks again every one!

  6. Double the performance, NO. Very little in computers ever scales that well. Since your board maxes at 8 gigs, I'd opt for the Q9550 and ram. Would you have to replace all of your ram, or can you add and fill open slots? Get another kit of the stuff you have already if you can.
  7. Hi there. I only have 2 of the 4 ram slots filled up. So I can indeed buy a second 4 gb kit to get up to 8gb total.

    With the money I saved I could buy a new monitor.

    In regards to monitors. If I ever got an sli mobo could I run 2 9800gx2 and have 6 monitors working at once? I currently have 3 screens running out of my single gx2. I was thinking there may be a software issue stopping that many or some kind of resolution cap for the gfx cards?

    Thank you for the great advice!

  8. I have no idea if a 6 monitor setup is possible or the software needed to run it. That sounds more like something a workstation card would be geared for and have drivers to support it. Gaming cards are getting out of their design purpose past 2 per GPU.

    As for your situation and SLI, you can't with that mobo. Now if you talk about getting a new mobo, the socket 775 line is done so it might not make sense to get the q9550 then. If sli is something you want the option of, then I'd pony up for the i7, or wait till q4 of this year and look at the i5 line. They will do either SLI or crossfire. AMD AM3 boards only do crossfire and don't have a SLI solution and I wouldn't go to an AM2+ for the same reasons to avoid a full socket 775 platform upgrade.
  9. Yeah I was seeing if the sli setup would be able to sway me to go the i7 rout. I think I will take the q9550 and another 4 gb of ram. Wait till maybe a better ssd product is available and spend allot on them as I can carry them onto a new build also.

    Thank you for all of your help! it is much appreciated.
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