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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am need of a new machine as mine is starting to struggle with the graphics work I am doing...running out of RAM even though I have 2GB is the main problem. I use Photoshop CS and Macromedia Studio and want something that won't crash under heavy load / flash up 'out of RAM' when I really don't need it. I am thinking of two routes but could do with some guidance on what to look at if anyone can help?

How much RAM will a modern Laptop of a decent / high spec take? Is 2GB the limit?

Is processor speed that important if I have a ton of RAM? Current PC is a 2.8Ghz so will I notice a 1.8Ghz Laptop being alot slower?

Is a high level graphics card going to help me or is that just for games?

Core Duo chips 'appear' slower - 2.14Ghz for example when I already have a P4 2.79Ghz...but is the Core Duo going to be faster than mine?

Thanks in advance
 

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Some of the highend laptops geared towards gaiming will take upto 4 Gb of RAM. But in my experience a laptop is always slower than a corresponding desktop pc. If you go for one of the new Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 or above you will get a large amount of l2 cache which will help speed up the response of the system. The more ram you can slap in the better as this will have to reduce the chance of the system needing to put things in the page file on the hard drive. If you are using large files you might also want to look into getting a couple of fast hard drives and arrange them in RAID 0. If it is purely for non-gaming stuff then it might be a good idea to look at matrox graphics cards. I would also recommend using a monitor with a DVI connection.
 

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I'd say move away from the laptop path. With a desktop, with loads of ram, a new dual or quad processor and a Western Digital Raptor drive you'll be away.

Won't cost half as much as a laptop either, which is a bonus.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the info.

I am looking at Laptops as I move between sites reguarly and carting a desktop around is getting annoying....but the price of a powerful laptop is a problem. Another idea was something like the Sony All In One Vaio Desktop units, but there is a 2GB RAM maximum. I won't be playing games at all, but need plenty of RAM...something small form factor would be cool but not sure where to look
 

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Ok, get yourself a Dell Optiplex SFF desktop. They really are tiny. I can't tell you how easy they are to upgrade though as I just get them in factory standard form and never upgrade them.

Or a Dimension 5150c and spec it up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Whats the 'Core Duo' stuff about? The chips 'appear' slower - 2.14Ghz for example when I already
have a P4 2.79Ghz...but is the Core Duo going to be faster than mine? Dell want ?388 extra for a Core Duo 2.66Ghz so I assume they must run faster than a P4 2.79Ghz...
 

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The core duos have two processors so in theory can do twice the work. I only have 1Gb of RAM and I never get close to running out of ram. Are you telling the programs to use the hard drives for memory space? It is worth having a decent graphics card that can take care of a lot of the work for your system. If you want a laptop and want to go down the graphical processing route why not look at a Mac Powerbook?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thats interesting...I only really have trouble when I am using Photoshop and have an A3 page open or a couple of A4 layouts - 175MB file size, sometimes it takes ages to render a text move or new shape, and then just gives up with 'out of RAM'. At which point I cannot even save it, have to reboot. Even when there is 2GB on here!...I was wonder if its because the HDD is nearly full (85GB drive with 900MB of space)?

Would like aMac but never used one at length.

Maybe I don't need the power I think I need then and could get something suitable? A good Duo processor with 2GB of RAM might do the job?
 

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if you are looking at desktops and want an upgrade path I wouldnt advise the Dell route, they aint built for upgrading usually.

There are lots and lots of high end laptops on the market these days, most good spec (and brand) laptops come with 1gig RAM as standard. Most laptops can also be upgraded. I cant imagine you will need more then 2 gig of memory.

It alls biols down to budget really, decide on how much you want to spend, then go from there. A decent laptop along the lines you are talking is ?1k

The same spec desktop would be ?700 ish id imagine. I priced up a really nice laptop last week and was pleasantly surprised what you can get (high end) laptop wise for the cash, 2 year warranty was included as well.

PM me if you need any help
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Forgive my ignorance but is it the 'Your system is running low on virtual memory' message that you're getting?
Yeah, it will warn me with that first but then in Photoshop I will literally get a sorry pop up while its trying to render something, and simply say 'Out of RAM' . Then I am screwed, have to reboot. Doesn't happen everyday, but enough to be annoying. Have to make sure I don't open too many art files at once.
 

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I cant think of any compatability issues you would have with a Mac unless you are using AutoCAD.
Most graphics studios use Mac which must say something.
Also in the 18 months of owning my Mac its not crashed once!
Ross
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I cant think of any compatability issues you would have with a Mac unless you are using AutoCAD.
Most graphics studios use Mac which must say something.
Also in the 18 months of owning my Mac its not crashed once!
Ross
Seriously considering a Mac actually, never had one though so all feels a bit alien! I know its what all graphics firms use so its the way I should probably go, just don't know what I am looking at spec wise etc as its all different
 

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This is my first Mac and I can honestly say I cant see my self buying a Windows PC again. They are so easy to use and they just work
If you want a lap top I would imagine you would need a Mac Book Pro. These are running Intel core 2 duo processors. You can also run Windows on them now, if you really want to.

Ross
 

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The core duos have two processors so in theory can do twice the work.
Not quite, they're a single socket CPU but have two cores, usually running at half speed - i.e. 2 x 1ghz cores. The trick comes where the OS can see two distinct processors and, if using multithreaded apps, they can split themselves between the cores. Normal apps will use both as if they're one (if that makes sense). It's a good solution if you're running an virtualisation software btw.

If you go down the Dual Core route think about 64bit architecture, as it may future proof any kit for a year or two.

For the record - this server is running an AmD Sempron dual core 64 bit CPU and it makes life easier with per proc. licensing etc.
 

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Macs are more user friendly than they ever have been with the new OS... i'd say they're even more straightforward than XP for a new computer user.

Powerful, more aggressive memory management, cool functional STABLE operating system... and whether you go for a Powerbook, Mini, iMac or Powermac, they all look cool as a cucumber.

The reason most design houses use them, like we do, is that they are stable, reliable, dont die a death when you have more than a couple of apps open (normally have 4-5 apps open at work at once, and VERY intensive ones... Indesign, Photoshop, Illustrator etc).

Try PC World, they normally have them running to have a play on, definately worth a look, although you do pay the premium for one. And minus the Powermac, its best to spec them up to what you want when you buy it, as changing the ram can be a pain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Macs are more user friendly than they ever have been with the new OS... i'd say they're even more straightforward than XP for a new computer user.

Powerful, more aggressive memory management, cool functional STABLE operating system... and whether you go for a Powerbook, Mini, iMac or Powermac, they all look cool as a cucumber.

The reason most design houses use them, like we do, is that they are stable, reliable, dont die a death when you have more than a couple of apps open (normally have 4-5 apps open at work at once, and VERY intensive ones... Indesign, Photoshop, Illustrator etc).
Seriosuly considering the Mac route now...usually run Photoshop, Fireworks and Dreamweaver at once and if I have some big files open in PSD it takes forever to render and / or hangs. What sort of processing power would I need with a Mac, same as for a PC? Looking at a 17"-20" IMac, want to spend ?1k but will I have enough power? The desktop pro stuff is a bit beyond what I wanted to spend. Most of the IMacs seem to come with 1GB RAM, you mentioned this is hard to upgrade?

Any info appreciated
 

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Thats interesting...I only really have trouble when I am using Photoshop and have an A3 page open or a couple of A4 layouts - 175MB file size, sometimes it takes ages to render a text move or new shape, and then just gives up with 'out of RAM'. At which point I cannot even save it, have to reboot. Even when there is 2GB on here!...I was wonder if its because the HDD is nearly full (85GB drive with 900MB of space)?

Would like aMac but never used one at length.

Maybe I don't need the power I think I need then and could get something suitable? A good Duo processor with 2GB of RAM might do the job?
for the moment.... up your page file size to 6gb (or something equally silly), but also make the minimum size the same, alot of resources are wasted increasing the page file size on the fly whereas if you spec the minimum to be already huge it should speed things up massively, also if you have a spare second hard drive fit it as drive p or what ever and stick the page file on there on its own, and remove the page file from the other drives.

also shut down any virus software and related services when doing graphics manipulation... theis will help more than new machine will

also look at streamlining XP make sure firefox isn't chewing ram and run the xp classic interface.... a bit of Os maintenance done properly could speed you up alot for what would be an hours work... ps how many processes are running
 

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sorry re read your post... your hard drive is full.... get that right down... it need space to swap and to defragment so its no writing aat various cluster or reading from multimpale clusters . and get your page file on its own hard drive...

or swap to a nice raid sata array

all your problems are with configuration and OS maintenance (lack off) If I could spens a few hours with that PC I would have it flying again... it should be plenty powerfull enough.

Ps how many apps are running in task manager?
 
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