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I was told RAM, then another says its my Video card, what do you think

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 25, 2011 12:27:34 AM

AMD Athlon x2 5600+
4GB DDR2
Windows 7 64 bit
EVGA GeForce 9400gt 1gb ddr2

I primarily work on editing photos from various shoots (Wedding, events, parties etc..) on Lightroom 3. The problem is, it’s taking a good time for the photos to load. It takes about 5-8 seconds for a whole image to show at 100%. These are files from a D7000 camera which puts out about 8-12mb jpegs. While 5-8 seconds may not be a long time but when I have 500-1000 images, its annoying :-(

My questions is, what can I do to decrease loading time of each image. I was told by a friend that my RAM is good enough for the program but I need to get a better video card. He suggested something along the lines of 1gb DDR3 and above. Is this the best way to go??

I went to my local Fry's store and I was told it was my RAM and that I need 8gb. DDR2 ram is so expensive and for that price, I can get a new video card.

Please advise. Thanks for your help!

More about : told ram video card

August 25, 2011 1:08:15 AM

DDR2 is outdated that's why its going to cost so much more. When your loading the image are you loading it off of a flash drive from the camera? Try moving the photos to your harddrive and see if they load faster that way.
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August 25, 2011 1:17:44 AM

You're upload RAW files? I'd suggest going with SSD's. Once they're in the drive, they load up soo fast, and SSDs also contribute to faster overall performance of your computer. RAM will let you do more but not faster
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August 25, 2011 1:24:01 AM

The images are imported to my hard drive first then loaded to Lightroom. My had drive is 7200rpm with 32mb cache.
Someone suggested to upgrade to SSD too but that's way out of my budget right now. Maybe that is what I need to do.
Do I need a better video card though?
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a c 173 U Graphics card
August 25, 2011 1:24:33 AM

Overclock the cpu and yes very much upgrade your boot drive. Use the mechanical drive for every day use and a cheap ssd for the pagefile will make a nice difference or one expensive ssd for everything.
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a c 107 U Graphics card
August 25, 2011 1:37:54 AM

the processor is slow and only dual core. SLOW, SLOW, SLOW. The ram.... i "re-size" textures for some of my projects. doing this sometimes 4gig of ram isn't enough. I find my "standard" 7200rpm hard drives are okay for this. I do however use high cache HD's and high cache multi core processors.

I use/used xp 32 and 64bit. 6core processors(amd) ..... 64bit W/HD on it crashed. Moved work to 32bit...... the change in 4-8gig ram was noticeable for me. I also had some stumbles and warnings from software about ram issues. not enough....
I also use ddr2 800 for these machines.
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a b U Graphics card
August 25, 2011 1:38:10 AM

And I would say your CPU is holding you back. I wouldn't go out and get an SSD just to make photos load faster. I think a newer CPU would help, but I don't know anything about your motherboard.
In WIN7, 4 gb of ram is plenty for most tasks. I am a gamer, but I do lots of other stuff too and 4 gigs has served me well for everything you can imagine. I used to have a quad core, but now I am running a $70 triple core and everything is fast and easy.

I just can't see sinking much money into this aging platform. Your system is outdated and updating is gonna be problematic for the reasons already suggested; DDR2 ram is getting scarce and expensive, your options are limited and you don't have access to new tech such as SATA3 and USB 3.0.

So I would look at upgrading your CPU if possible and then save for a system upgrade. If the motherboard is AM2+, there's a good possibility it could take a AM3 CPU with a BIOS update.
I would suggest an SSD boot drive, but not for an aging system with an old athlon dual core.
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a c 199 U Graphics card
August 25, 2011 1:48:34 AM

I agree with buzznut. Your CPU is really slow. The video card is the least of your worries for this application. More RAM wouldn't hurt, but the CPU will be much more important.
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August 25, 2011 1:53:33 AM

But it seems what you said above you can still do work just slowly, but your 4gb RAM is actually impeding you from doing your job properly, whereas the others are just slowing. I'd rather up the RAM right now so you can do you job even if its slower, that way you get many clients and earn the big greens to up to any system you want. But you can't go beyond 4gb in 32 xp, you have to go to 64 to use your extra above 4
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August 25, 2011 1:54:56 AM

Faster upload directly from camera I would suggest you use a fast flash memory card for your camera instead of memory sd cards.
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August 25, 2011 1:58:37 AM

Thank you so much to all your replies!!! I will certainly be doing my homework. I do realize that it's old and probably better just to bite the bullet on a new system and not have to worry about it for a while. Thanks again!!
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a b U Graphics card
August 25, 2011 4:14:40 AM

STOPOT said:
But it seems what you said above you can still do work just slowly, but your 4gb RAM is actually impeding you from doing your job properly, whereas the others are just slowing. I'd rather up the RAM right now so you can do you job even if its slower, that way you get many clients and earn the big greens to up to any system you want. But you can't go beyond 4gb in 32 xp, you have to go to 64 to use your extra above 4


Yes,but the ram upgrade is not going to help more than a new CPU. Plus as discussed previously, the DDR2 ram is not getting cheaper, its getting more expensive. All these suggestions for more ram, SSDs and whatnot won't make his aging athlon any faster.

Besides now is a great time to do a system upgrade. DDR3 ram is cheap enough for anybody to get 8 gigs. Both AMD and Intel have affordable CPU's and platforms, and even performance from a $60 graphics card is pretty damn good. Dumping a bunch of money in a 3-4 year old system that is reaching obsolescence is not a wise investment.
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August 25, 2011 5:16:10 AM

I was referring to his statement of ". i "re-size" textures for some of my projects. doing this sometimes 4gig of ram isn't enough." he need to at least be able to do his job. But I agree with you, he really need to upgrade his system overall
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August 25, 2011 6:05:08 AM

Since you work with big image files, I can assure you that the hard disk and RAM are the most important hardware to look for. Even tho DDR2 is outdated, adding more RAM and a SSD will get you far more performance than any other hardware change (besides a refresh of the whole system). I've made PDF files that when done account for about 125MB. Those PDF were made using only a few hundreds of small but quality images, and I needed more than 4GB of RAM just to get the job done without Windows crashing/freezing.

Windows loads every image file from the hard disk, then send them to the RAM, which the processor needs to process those. It then writes work in progress in the temp folder on the hard disk. So these 3 hardware are the most important for that kind of task.

Of course if you got some money to spend in a new system, you'll get a better experience overall, but the same rules applies: focus on SSD, then RAM, then cpu. When you know these parts you'll get, look for the rest accordingly to your wallet.
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August 25, 2011 9:21:42 PM

photoguy said:
AMD Athlon x2 5600+
4GB DDR2
Windows 7 64 bit
EVGA GeForce 9400gt 1gb ddr2

I primarily work on editing photos from various shoots (Wedding, events, parties etc..) on Lightroom 3. The problem is, it’s taking a good time for the photos to load. It takes about 5-8 seconds for a whole image to show at 100%. These are files from a D7000 camera which puts out about 8-12mb jpegs. While 5-8 seconds may not be a long time but when I have 500-1000 images, its annoying :-(

My questions is, what can I do to decrease loading time of each image. I was told by a friend that my RAM is good enough for the program but I need to get a better video card. He suggested something along the lines of 1gb DDR3 and above. Is this the best way to go??

I went to my local Fry's store and I was told it was my RAM and that I need 8gb. DDR2 ram is so expensive and for that price, I can get a new video card.

Please advise. Thanks for your help!



I also do a lot of photo editing on a similar level to yourself (1000s at a time, from a 5D using Lightroom 3). I actually do my editing over a network from a NAS and I don't have your loading issues. Obviously an SSD is desirable, but I wouldn't say that is your main problem.

I run 8 GB DDR2 on a Q6600 - no overclocking (yet). So I would say from a pure upgrade point of view, you want to bump up to 8 GB minimum, and then next would be the processor.

However you will (and obviously are) find it difficult to upgrade that system. So as many have said here, it would behoove you to build a new system. If you need to build a budget system, you would do fine building a system with an i3-2100 on an H67 board - but pack it with 8-16 gb ram.
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