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improving the performance of my PC

 
 
LouisB
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      10-15-2006
Just wondered if anyone had any advice on how to improve the processing
power of my PC.

I've got a fairly high-spec PC built around a Shuttle frame. It includes a
P4 3.0Ghz processor and 1GB of fairly fast RAM. I recently added a top end
graphics card (Geoforce 7900GT with 256MB ram). I don't know how fast my
hard disk is but it is a fairly decent Maxtor 160GB unit.

Anyway, I've never been too impressed with the processing speed when using
Photoshop CS2 and now with the new Lightroom Beta 4 it is pretty poor.
Question is: can I improve what I've got, either by tweaking the system
configuration or changing some of the components. I'd have expected a 3GHz
unit with 1GB ram plus the graphics card I've got to be pretty decent.

Any views would be helpful (other than get a Mac 'cos I can't right now!).

LouisB
------
"I'm a half-wit. I sold the other half on e-Bay"


 
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David J Taylor
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      10-15-2006
LouisB wrote:
> Just wondered if anyone had any advice on how to improve the
> processing power of my PC.


Before you can improve it, you need to find out where the bottlenecks are,
and then tackle those. Are you running out of memory? Check the Windows
Task Manager, Performance tab, Physical Memory, Available. Or listen to
your hard disk! Is the CPU stuck at or near 100%? What happens with less
resource-intensive software such as Paint Shop Pro (say V9)?

David


 
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Bill Crocker
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      10-15-2006

"LouisB" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:5arYg.139247$(E-Mail Removed) .uk...
> Just wondered if anyone had any advice on how to improve the processing
> power of my PC.

[clipped]
> LouisB



When editing photos, close any other applications that may be open such as
your web browser, email, chat, etc.

Delete your Temporary Internet files in your web browser, as well as any
other temp files, and other files you created that you no longer use, or
need.

Uninstall any software/programs you don't need/use.

Check your StartUp folder, and delete any programs in there you don't need,
or recognize. Normally it should be empty, but many programs like to add
useless junk that you don't need.

Defragment your hard drive (weekly).

If you're using Norton Anti-Virus, consider replacing it with something
else. Norton is a resource hog and will slow down any computer. I tested
several and my choice is Trend Micro's PC-cillin Internet Security Suite.

Photoshop prefers, and almost requires a scratch-disk. A scratch-disk is
preferably a separate unused physical hard drive. If your computer only has
one hard drive, then you should buy a second one. It doesn't have to be
real big. In the Preference settings of Photoshop, it will allow you to
change the drive letter for the scratch-disk. When processing large photos
this will help a lot.

Robert Redwood's web site has an excellent explanation of a scratch-disk.
Here is the link:

http://www.easyelements.com/scratch-disk.html

Hope that helps!

Bill Crocker


 
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Gary C
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      10-15-2006

"Bill Crocker" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed). ..

>
> Photoshop prefers, and almost requires a scratch-disk. A scratch-disk is
> preferably a separate unused physical hard drive. If your computer only
> has one hard drive, then you should buy a second one. It doesn't have to
> be real big. In the Preference settings of Photoshop, it will allow you
> to change the drive letter for the scratch-disk. When processing large
> photos this will help a lot.



Why not a separate partition on the 160gb hard drive?


 
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Matt Clara
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      10-15-2006
"Gary C" <Clem_Kadiddlehopper@Crazy_Googinheimer.com> wrote in message
news:s%rYg.14974$(E-Mail Removed) om...
>
> "Bill Crocker" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
> news:(E-Mail Removed). ..
>
>>
>> Photoshop prefers, and almost requires a scratch-disk. A scratch-disk is
>> preferably a separate unused physical hard drive. If your computer only
>> has one hard drive, then you should buy a second one. It doesn't have to
>> be real big. In the Preference settings of Photoshop, it will allow you
>> to change the drive letter for the scratch-disk. When processing large
>> photos this will help a lot.

>
>
> Why not a separate partition on the 160gb hard drive?
>
>


Because that's still one drive, and you can only seek out info or write to
it one item at a time. By adding a separate drive you double that ability,
to a certain extent. I would further add that Photoshop should be installed
on a drive separate from your operating system.


 
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bmoag
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      10-15-2006
For scratch drives: a separate hard drive is best but a separate partition
on one hard drive will also improve performance. Hardrives have mulitple
platters and read/write heads.
No program that most of us will use is as sensitive to added RAM as
Photoshop. If you go from one gb to two gbs of ram you may be able to time
the difference with your wristwatch. The differences are particularly marked
if you work on files 30mbs and up or have two (or more) images and programs
open at the same time. Even Bridge counts as a second imaging program (it
eats quite a bit of memory and resources in itself). If you like to use an
external converter, and Lightroom counts as that (among other things), at
the same time the differences in time to transfer images between programs is
more dependent on memory than CPU speed.
Until CS3 goes multi-threaded there is no real advantage to a dual-core cpu
in itself, other than that the newer core dual Intel designs, are much more
efficient than prior Intel single or multi-core cpus at a given clock speed.
Actually, the Intel CPUs kind of stunk but now actually outperform AMD
chips.
As for Macs: Powerpc Macs are slower than Wintels at nearly every (not
every) PS operation. There is not a native version of of CS2 for the Mactel
so the PPC version has to run via kludge emulator or you have to install
Winxp and dual boot to windows to run a native version of CS2. Or you can
run a software WIndows emulator and get the same kludge level of performance
as the Mac PPC emulator. At that point you have a moderate performing PC
purchased at stratospheric Mac prices with the dubious Mac warranty plus
purchased and installed Windows. What a freaking bargain. They ought to
throw in an SUV.


 
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LouisB
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      10-15-2006
Would a dedicated USB 2 external hard disk be suitable? I'm just thinking of
the bottleneck created by the USB port, even though it is the higher
performance 2.0? I could add an external USB2 disk but I'm not sure if the
shuttle will take a second internal hard drive.

LouisB


"Matt Clara" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed). ..
> "Gary C" <Clem_Kadiddlehopper@Crazy_Googinheimer.com> wrote in message
> news:s%rYg.14974$(E-Mail Removed) om...
>>
>> "Bill Crocker" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
>> news:(E-Mail Removed). ..
>>
>>>
>>> Photoshop prefers, and almost requires a scratch-disk. A scratch-disk
>>> is preferably a separate unused physical hard drive. If your computer
>>> only has one hard drive, then you should buy a second one. It doesn't
>>> have to be real big. In the Preference settings of Photoshop, it will
>>> allow you to change the drive letter for the scratch-disk. When
>>> processing large photos this will help a lot.

>>
>>
>> Why not a separate partition on the 160gb hard drive?
>>
>>

>
> Because that's still one drive, and you can only seek out info or write to
> it one item at a time. By adding a separate drive you double that
> ability, to a certain extent. I would further add that Photoshop should
> be installed on a drive separate from your operating system.
>



 
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Rudy Benner
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      10-15-2006

"LouisB" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:BruYg.151025$(E-Mail Removed) k...
> Would a dedicated USB 2 external hard disk be suitable? I'm just thinking
> of the bottleneck created by the USB port, even though it is the higher
> performance 2.0? I could add an external USB2 disk but I'm not sure if the
> shuttle will take a second internal hard drive.
>
> LouisB
>


That is what I am using and it seems to be pretty good. Its my old 40 gig
IDE drive that I recently replace with a 160 gig. Bought a case/power
supply, VOILA.

I am SURE 40 gig is enough for a scratch drive.

The small 2.5 inch USB HDs are not nearly as fast.

Shows up as WDC WD40 0BB-75CAA0 USB Device. Its optimized for performance
rather than plug and play (don't turn it off or disconnect it).

I also have a 120 gig drive for media (images, video). When rendering video,
it REALLY makes a difference.


 
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=?iso-8859-1?Q?Rita_=C4_Berkowitz?=
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      10-15-2006
Rudy Benner wrote:

>> Would a dedicated USB 2 external hard disk be suitable? I'm just
>> thinking of the bottleneck created by the USB port, even though it
>> is the higher performance 2.0? I could add an external USB2 disk but
>> I'm not sure if the shuttle will take a second internal hard drive.

>
> That is what I am using and it seems to be pretty good. Its my old 40
> gig IDE drive that I recently replace with a 160 gig. Bought a
> case/power supply, VOILA.


You would benefit 10-fold by putting that on your IDE controller instead of
using USB2 or Firewire for this purpose. You are realizing very dramatic
losses in performance by using USB2. She would be better off using no
"scratch" disk if she has to go the USB2 route.







Rita

 
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Alan Meyer
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      10-15-2006
I think some of the advice given here is a little too drastic.

Deleting temporary internet files and uninstalling unused software
should have no effect at all unless you're low on disk space.

Defragmenting is worth trying, but with NTFS it rarely makes
much of a difference, and doing it weekly is unlikely to have
any significant effect.

Buying a scratch disk seems to me expensive (more in time
than money) and may or may not help. However it's nice
to have a second disk for other reasons. You can backup
your photos and other important files from the first to the
second disk so if the first crashes you haven't lost everything.

I would go with David Taylor's advice and find out what the
real problem is before you try to solve problems that you may
not even have.

Windows task manager is not a great performance analysis
tool, but it's better than nothing. Bring up the TaskManager
while you are running Photoshop and finding it slow.
Look at processes and find the Photoshop process. It will
have whatever name the Photoshop executable uses. Click
View / Select columns and pick some columns to examine.
You might want to see I/O reads and writes, memory usage,
CPU time, Page Faults (number of times it tries to find data
in memory and couldn't - having to go out to disk for it.)

You may discover that you are memory limited. Clearing
out all of the files from your hard disk and buying a scratch
disk won't help you one bit. You need more memory.

You may discover that you are CPU limited - in which case
you've hit the wall. You wont' get any better performance
until you buy a new CPU or switch to a faster program.

You may find you are doing large numbers of I/Os, but are
not memory limited (page faults and memory usage are low).
In that case, you may benefit from a second disk (but not
a huge amount I think). If you do get a second disk because
that really is a problem, get the fastest one you can find.
But don't expect miracles. This may speed things up but,
unless your current disk is a dog, it won't turn a turtle into
a rabbit (I need one more animal to really mix that
metaphor :^)

Finally, check the Photoshop configuration setup. I don't
use Photoshop, but in the GIMP, you can specify how much
memory to use and how many copies of past edits to keep
in memory. PS may have similar controls. See if you are
taking advantage of all the memory you have. You may be
able to dramatically improve performance without any new
hardware at all.

Alan

 
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