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Old September 23rd, 2008, 10:38 PM   #1
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Considering hardware upgrade.

I’m considering upgrading my CPU & Memory.

Currently I am using an Intel LGA775 socket Core 2 Dual running at 2.0G.
The memory is 3G with FSB of 800.

I am thinking of going to a Core 2 Quad @ 3.0G and FSB of 1333 on the Ram.
The motherboard is P5K Premium “Black Pearl Edition” by Asus.

Below are some of the specifications from Asus.

- Support Intel® next generation 45nm Multi-core CPU
- Intel® Core™2 Quad / Core™2 Extreme / Core™2 Duo / Pentium® Extreme / Pentium® D / Pentium® 4 Processors
- Support next generation 45nm muti-core CPU
- Intel® P35 chipset
- Dual-channel DDR2 1066/800/667 MHz
- Dual Gigabit LAN
- WiFi-AP
This motherboard supports the latest Intel® Core™2 processors in LGA775 package. It also can support Intel® next generation 45nm Multi-Core CPU. With new Intel® Core™ microarchitecture technology and 1333 / 1066 / 800 MHz FSB, Intel® Core™2 processor is one of the most powerful and energy efficient CPU in the world.

Native DDR2 1066 Support
To attain top performance, ASUS engineers have successfully unleashed the true potential of DDR2 memory. While in DDR2 1066 mode, ASUS´s exclusive technology offers a choice of FSB 1333 - providing great performance for 3D graphics and other memory demanding applications

So, considering the cost of the CPU 3.0G & 4G of 1333 memory I’m wondering if it is worth the cost? 2G to 3G & 800 to 1333 fsb.

FYI – the OS is XP Pro (64bit).

Thanks for your thoughts.

Don
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Old September 23rd, 2008, 11:00 PM   #2
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I would honestly say no at this point, but that's contingent upon a few factors.

#1) Do you use this system for your living where time is of the essence? In other words, if you're maching performed 15% faster, would it make a positive financial impact on you?

#2) What editing software are you using? Not all will utilize the the quads the same.

#3) I find that when you have something that works, you should stick with it about as long as you can until the upgrade you make will produce a profound difference. That difference can either be in performance (good) or more importantly functionality. If you drop a load of cash on a box and you can now do things you couldn't before, that's a good sign. In this case, you'd probably be upgrading for performance only.

Might be better to wait this upgrade out...

Jon
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Old September 23rd, 2008, 11:54 PM   #3
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Jon

Thank you.
#1. No, just a hobby
#2. Vegas Pro
#3. This system dose normally work well (probably should not say that).
My biggest problem seems to be that every once in a while I lose drive "C". which of course is kind of a pain.
I think I was feeling like I should wait; besides I normally change systems every 18 months. Which means I only have 12 more to go.

thanks again Jon
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Old September 24th, 2008, 01:09 AM   #4
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No problem Don.... I too use Vegas 8 Pro and though Vegas *does* take advantage of all 4 cores, it does not really make great use of the extra memory. So you'd mostly see a performance advantage in rendering times and that's about it.

I think you are best off holding off...
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Old September 24th, 2008, 01:19 AM   #5
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Hi Don,

I'm not sure if I'm following your question. From my understanding you are looking to upgrade your CPU from a 2.0GHz Core 2 to a Quad core. What CPU are you specifically looking at? You mention that the CPU you're looking at is spec'd at 3.0GHz so are you talking about the Q9650? If so you will be spending a lot of money for a CPU that you will not be able to take full advantage of with your current MOBO and especially if you will be only running 2 ro 3 GB of RAM.

In any case your MOBO will only support up to 1066 DDR2 so you should be looking at some configuration of PC8500 RAM. As far as how much, with the price of RAM now I would go with two 2GB sticks at least. If you could afford 4 I'd go with that. You want to purchase them in either 2 x 2GB or 4 x 2GB so you can actually take advantage of the DDR (Double Data Rate). This means that you to have matched pairs of RAM. If you have 3GB I'm assuming you'd have 2 x1GB + 1 x 1GB or 2x2GB + 1x1GB. In either case you RAM will not function in DDR mode.

I would differ from Jon's oppionion on the upgrade (no offense intended). The cost of the Q9550 is down to $329 regularly and on sale $299. 2x2GB or PC8500 (1066FSB) RAM is going for $80. With your current system you will most likely not be able to effectively edit HDV or AVCHD. Vegas does take advantage of all four cores so there will be a really big boost in performance. I was on a dual core machine and then I put my current editing rig together with a quad core & 8GB RAM. On one of my HDV videos I had to render, it went from a 27 hour render to 6 hours.

Only you can assess whether it is worth it to upgrade but I know for me, every minute spent waiting to render is a another minute lost of editing time. I don't produce videos for my main job but as a hobby and I do create DVD's for a few projects for sale, so there is a realized cost for me of having a slower machine.
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Old September 24th, 2008, 01:44 AM   #6
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Hi Don,

I'm not sure if I'm following your question. From my understanding you are looking to upgrade your CPU from a 2.0GHz Core 2 to a Quad core. What CPU are you specifically looking at? You mention that the CPU you're looking at is spec'd at 3.0GHz so are you talking about the Q9650? If so you will be spending a lot of money for a CPU that you will not be able to take full advantage of with your current MOBO and especially if you will be only running 2 ro 3 GB of RAM.

In any case your MOBO will only support up to 1066 DDR2 so you should be looking at some configuration of PC8500 RAM. As far as how much, with the price of RAM now I would go with two 2GB sticks at least. If you could afford 4 I'd go with that. You want to purchase them in either 2 x 2GB or 4 x 2GB so you can actually take advantage of the DDR (Double Data Rate). This means that you to have matched pairs of RAM. If you have 3GB I'm assuming you'd have 2 x1GB + 1 x 1GB or 2x2GB + 1x1GB. In either case you RAM will not function in DDR mode.

I would differ from Jon's oppionion on the upgrade (no offense intended). The cost of the Q9550 is down to $329 regularly and on sale $299. 2x2GB or PC8500 (1066FSB) RAM is going for $80. With your current system you will most likely not be able to effectively edit HDV or AVCHD. Vegas does take advantage of all four cores so there will be a really big boost in performance. I was on a dual core machine and then I put my current editing rig together with a quad core & 8GB RAM. On one of my HDV videos I had to render, it went from a 27 hour render to 6 hours.

Only you can assess whether it is worth it to upgrade but I know for me, every minute spent waiting to render is a another minute lost of editing time. I don't produce videos for my main job but as a hobby and I do create DVD's for a few projects for sale, so there is a realized cost for me of having a slower machine.
I guess this boils down to the cost vs time factor I brought up before. I suppose this could also be down to how much does $400 mean to you. For some people $400 is a drop in the bucket, for others it's a months worth of food.

With any Core 2 Duo and 2Gb of RAM, you're going to be able to edit HDV and AVCHD on the Vegas timeline just fine. Preview performance (unfortunately) is *not* going to dramatically improve however rendering performance will. Garret didn't mention if he was on a dual-core pentium or AMD machine and if you were on one of those types of processors, I would recommend the upgrade. But you are on a Core 2 Duo and these processors are in a completely different league than the Pentium Dual Core's or the AMD X2's.

Your rendering time would likely be nearly halved with the upgraded hardware. You'd probably see a noticable (although not earth shattering) improvement in the editing process. Your risk would be the instalation of the new hardware and the potential headache's associated with the upgrade and the problems that make come. For one example, is your power supply good enough to supply a Quad. Do you have enough air flow going in your case, etc. These small but often overlooked details can lead to massive headaches down the line and have you wishing you'd saved the $$, the time and just stuck with what you had.

Jon
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Old September 24th, 2008, 01:51 AM   #7
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Here is another thought.....

Save the $$ now, and begin to prepare for 64-bit computing with Sony's release of Vegas 9 which will probably come in the next 60 days (yes, I know 8.1 now is 64-bit - but it seems buggy).

Prepare to build yourself a completely new rig from the ground up to run aside your existing editing machine. Build this rig around a few upgraded technologies.

#1) Vista 64-bit Ultimate along with the 64-bit version of Sony Vegas 9
#2) A fast 3.0+Ghz Quad Core Intel CPU
#3) 8 Gb of RAM
#4) A Western Digital Veloiraptor system drive
#5) A RAID 0 - 2 drive array with 1.5 - 2TB of total space.
#6) Dual 24" Monitors @ 1920x1080 for the ultimate editing experience

A system purchased all at once of the above will frankly probably truly take you to the next step in your hobby rather than the incremental upgrade headaches.

Just a thought..

Jon
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Old September 24th, 2008, 04:29 AM   #8
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My older machine, which is still in my network, is a Core 2 Duo. Preview and editing of HDV with your current machine wouldn't be too bad but you will have to lower the preview resolution or you'll get choppy playback. I don't work with much AVCHD but from what I have had to I wouldn't want to work with it on anything but a Core 2 Quad based machine.

Without know your exact CPU I would guess that you wouldn't have any problems with your powersupply or venting since the new 45nm chips consume less power and run a lot cooler than the older Core 2 Duo's. Your MOBO is actually not too bad and I've build a couple of Quad Core machines off of the P5K's. They worked without a problem.

I still think your current configuration of 3GB of memory is odd because it isn't allowing you to take advantage of the DDR. Your memory is probably running at 400MHz. A very inexpensive upgrade could be to get matched pairs (or 4 1gb matches). You're running 64bit OS so you will be able to take advantage of all 4GB.

Please dont' think I'm trying to convince you to upgrade. I actually have the opposite view. When I start looking at CPU upgrades I usually evaluate whether a full system rebuild is a better route. But your MOBO was actually designed to run the new Intel CPU's.

In your situation, since your machine is being used for a hobby, is it performing in a way that is preventing you or discouraging you from doing more editing? If it is, you should consider whether an upgrade or new system is worth it. If it isn't, just stick with what you have. Computers and computer components will continue to improve and get cheaper as time goes on. You'll be able to get components with the same speed or power for half the price within 6 to 8 months.

Jon, I haven't heard of any Vegas 9 announcements. Is there something out there on it or is this speculation? I haven't loaded 8.1 yet because of it's lack of 32bit plug in support. Any word that a newer version supporting 32bit plugins would be great news.
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Old September 24th, 2008, 10:20 AM   #9
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Jon, I haven't heard of any Vegas 9 announcements. Is there something out there on it or is this speculation? I haven't loaded 8.1 yet because of it's lack of 32bit plug in support. Any word that a newer version supporting 32bit plugins would be great news.
Pure speculation on my point. I've upgraded each version of Vegas since 5 and every year in the Fall they come out with a new one + I've read others comments in forums (mostly around here) about Vegas 9. It would *seem* Sony is on the same product path of a new version a year, particularly considering Adobe just released CS4, you'd think they would want to release a new version as well.

To your point that things will either be half price in 6-8 months (or twice as fast), I essentially agree. And I think giving Vegas a little more time to mature on a 64-bit platform and work out some "bugs" would make the most sense. Again, to your point about 32bit plugins, I'm sure by the time Vegas 9 eventually does make it's way down the pike, plugins will better support the 64-bit application and OS. So I think - at this point - waiting makes more sense..

Jon
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Old September 25th, 2008, 06:35 PM   #10
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Jon & Garrett

Thank you both for your commets.
I did not go into a full description of my system because I was only thinking of upgrading my cpu & ram.

This current system is based on Silverstone products (case & psu).
The psu is a 650W type, which I may be pushing towards it’s limit.
As far a cooling goes, I use of course the cpu fan, plus 5 other fans of the 4” varity all turning about 3000 rpm. A little noisy but not bad at all.
As far as hard drives go, I have two 500G in RAID 0 giving approximately 1T.
Plus a 320G & 160G drives I use for other applications.
I use a dual boot system between XP & XP (64).
I have some software and hardware which will not work under 64 bit and still work well so I do not plan to replace them.
Monitors – dual 22” which I normally run at 1680 x 1050.

Garrett, I’m interested in your commit –
“2 x1GB + 1 x 1GB or 2x2GB + 1x1GB. In either case you RAM will not function in DDR mode”
Why would they not function in DDR2 mode ? They are both macthed pairs. Is there a way I can tell?

What prompted me thinking of upgrading the cpu & ram was the MOBO manual.
If I’m reading the manual correctly it will support ram at 1333
“While in DDR2 1066 mode, ASUS´s exclusive technology offers a choice of FSB 1333”
Although this requires a jumper setting change on the MOBO, I don’t see that as a problem.

Jon – the system you described sounds interesting. I do use Western Digital, but can’t remember which ones right at this moment.

Don
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Old September 25th, 2008, 07:12 PM   #11
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Hi Don,

In your original system post you mentioned that you had 3GB of RAM. I'm assuming (and everyone knows what happens when I assume, I'm usually wrong) that you have 3 1GB sticks. The ASUS board has 4 memory slots so that would mean you have channel A both slots used and one slot on Channel B. In order for you to be using DDR you would have to have an additional 1GB (matched to the other 1GB stick) in the second slot of Channel B.

So what is happening if you only have 3 sticks of memory is one of your channels will be operating at single rate which would push all of your memory into Single Data Rate. You may have 2 1GB and 2 x512MB but that would be somewhat unusual.

If you've got a Silverstone PSU it probably has a single rail so you'll be able to get all of the juice out of it. You didn't mention which graphics card you have so I can't really estimate your current ower usage but it should be ok if all you did was swap your current CPU for one of the new quad cores.

You're thoughts about just upgrading your CPU and RAM if you want to do an upgrade isn't off. The ASUS MOBO you have is a very good board and very stable. As far as cooling the new 45nm quad cores run a lot cooler than the old Q6600 or Q6700. I've even set some up with the stock cooler. I usually recommend going with an upgrade CPU fan but if you aren't going to OC the chip the stock fan works fine. It really comes down to whether your current machine is performing acceptably. Will you see an increase in speed if you upgrade the CPU and RAM? Yes. Will it be worth the money? That depends on what type of video you're editing.

BTW, I see your up in Rohnert Park. I'm down in Novato. Not too far south from you. I do custom system builds as a side thing so if you need any help keep me mind.
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Old September 25th, 2008, 08:03 PM   #12
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Yeah, your system looks pretty good and everything Garrett said is true... I think this boils down to how much $400 means to you.

What garrett was referring to was whether the RAM would run in Dual-Channel mode rather than in single channel mode. Dual-Channel is *much* better which is why you see ram almost exclusively sold in matched pairs nowadays.

To find out what you have going, download a program called CPU-Z. Do a google search on that or CPUID and you should be able to find it. Slick little program that you run and it tells you a lot about your system.

My opinion is that *if* you are running memory in dual channel mode, regardless of what speed and size you have, I think you should stick with the status quo on the RAM and go with the CPU upgrade only. Vegas really doesn't care about RAM or RAM speed nearly as much as CPU horsepower and as discussed previously, you will see a noticable jump there.

If in Single Channell Mode, I don't think I'd mess around with trying to match what you have, I'd pull all the sticks and just replace them with 4 Gb of $100 RAM.

Jon
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Old September 26th, 2008, 05:46 PM   #13
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Garrett & Jon

Ram – it is 2x1 and 2x512. The 512 were a hold over from previous systems.

From CPU-Z

CPU
Clocks (Core # 0)
Core Speed 1204.5 Mhz
Multiplier x6.0
Bus Speed 200.7
Rated FSB 803.0 Mhz.

Memory

DRAM Freq. 401.5 Mhz (Hmmmm…. Looks like you were correct)
FSB:DRAM 1:2
CAS# Latench (CL) 5.0 clocks
RAS # to CAS# Delay (tRCD) 5 clocks
RAS# Precharge (tRP) 5 clock
Cycle Time (tRAS) 18 clocks
Command Rate (CE) 2T
Channels # Dual
DC Mode Symmetric

Memory Slot # 1 & 2
DDR2
1024 Mbytes
PC2-6400 (400Mhz.)
Corsair CM2X1024-6400

Memory Slot # 3 & 4
DDR2
512 Mbytes
PC2-6400 (400Mhz)
A-Data Technology

This is a bit of surprise to me I thought that the memory had an 800 Mhz. Buss. Well at least they are all matched at 400. Am I reading this correctly?
Garrett – when you build a system what brad memory do you use?

The video card is a G-Force 8600 GTS.
HDD – 1 x 80 G, 2 x 160G, 1 x 320G, and 2 x 500 G, 1
I have both RAID 0 & 1 set up 500G & 160 G.
I don’t over clock; I would rather let things run at their intended state, besides I don’t think I know enough to do it. Oh yes also a LiteON DVD burner.

As far as editing goes, I’m using a Canon Gl-2 and don’t plan to change anytime soon. It really is all I need. But I do try to keep the computer somewhat up to date. Perhaps what I should also do is to get rid of some of the smaller drives and go a little bigger. I use both XP and XP Pro in a dual boot system. Assigned to 2 different drives and as you know when you have to start over from scratch (HDD failure) XP (original) will not recognize anything over 160G (if I remember correctly). But that’s another decision.

As far as my system goes, overall I’m happy with it. But as we all do, I would like to cut down the rendering times. But then again it still runs a lot faster than I can type!!
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Old September 26th, 2008, 09:42 PM   #14
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It looks like you are ok. Your RAM *is* at 800Mhz because it's really running at 400Mhz double sided... so everything looks fine. Your CPU looks to be running too slow though but I have a feeling you ran this and you have speedstep or something going on.

If you are editing on a GL-2 that means you are working in standard definition. I believe you really probably dont' need to upgrade.

I think your system appears to be running just fine, I personally would stick with it, put the $$ under the mattress and prepare for a bigger upgrade down the road

Jon
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Old September 27th, 2008, 09:02 AM   #15
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Jon

I noticed the processor speed also. I thought that perhaps it because it was dual core - each running at 1 = 2 - but from what you say I guess not.

I don't know what speedstep is so if it's running it is not something that I installed.
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