Ad
Ad
Ad
Pages: [1]   Bottom of Page
Print
Author Topic: Need help with RAM choices  (Read 1585 times)
walter.sk
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1331


« on: September 28, 2010, 11:07:00 AM »
ReplyReply

I just got a new computer sent as a replacement for one that died.  It's running Windows7 64-bit on an i7 930 2.8MHz processor, and I use it mainly for photographic work with Photoshop CS5, Lightroom 2.7, several HDR programs and a bunch of plugins.  I am using a pair of 1Tb Western Digital Caviar Black drives for data and backup, and intend to get a pair of 2Tb drives of the same model, as the 1Tb drives are nearing their useful capacity.  The computer has 6 internal drive bays and a monster power supply and cooling system, so I know it can handle the drives.

The computer has only 3 slots for RAM, and it came with 6GB of DDR3 triple channel memory at 1333MHz.  The computer seems fairly fast, but if a memory upgrade would make an appreciable difference it would cost me between $300 and $350 depending on the speed.  The memory would max out at 12Gb.  Maximum speed the computer will handle is 1600MhZ.

I could get 12GB of 1333MHz DDR3 triple channel memory for $300, or 12GB of 1600MHz DDR3 triple channel memory for between $325 and $350.

How much difference would going from 6GB to 12GB at 1333MHz make?  And how much difference between 12GB at 1600MHz compared to 1333MHz?

Another question:  Dell does not give the voltage specification for its memory, but I believe it is 1.5 volts.   The memory that claims to be compatible is listed at 1.6-1.65 volts.  Would the difference produce enough heat to decrease the life of the memory and other components?  Is there a source where I could actually find the specs on the original Dell memory?
Logged
martinreed22
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 50


« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2010, 12:24:26 PM »
ReplyReply

Hi Walter,

Caveat: there are many subtle "gotchas" with trying to provide advice like this, but I'll have a go anyway Smiley

You mention three slots - I take it that is three free slots, for a total of six. That would be normal for a i7 930 system. So I am assuming 2GByte memory modules.

I very much doubt you will notice the difference between 1333 and 1600 memory. Due to the way PCs work (caching of data on the processor) the actual boost is nowhere near the ratio of the memory speeds. Also, unless you purchase a matched set of 12GB modules from new, and the board supports it, and the phase of the moon is correct, a 12GB system will probably not be ultra stable at 1600. This is true of many motherboards when you fill all the RAM slots (often stated in a tiny footnote in the manual).

Given your workload, you might benefit from 12GB over 6GB. It helped make my system run more smoothly when I was running everything at once. A simple check is to run Task Manager and watch the memory meter on the Performance tab as you run all your apps through a typical workflow. If it is running significantly over 6GB then extra memory may help. A little over is probably not relevant.

Unless the Dell motherboard is very non-standard (just possible as Dell do commission their own designs) then it should adjust to whatever voltage your memory needs (it is programmed in to the memory module). 1.5v vs 1.65v won't make much difference in the overall scheme of things. I would avoid memory that needs much more than that though as it will be aimed more at the overclocking community.

Running your system ("C:") drive off a SSD (solid state drive) can help make everything much more pleasant and responsive. As can organising various caches, temporary files and LR/ACR image previews to use a different physical drive from your actual image data.

You may affect your warranty through upgrading, not sure of Dell's current policy.

cheers, martin
Logged
walter.sk
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1331


« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2010, 01:11:14 PM »
ReplyReply

Hi, Martin.   Thanks for the reply.  It was very helpful.  I will take your advice about monitoring the memory meter in Task Manager before I decide to upgrade.

One thing, though:  there really are only 3 slots for RAM on the mother board.  I think it is made for Dell/Alienware, as other X58 boards all seem to have 6 slots.

I will consider a solid state drive.  I also am using a Caviar Black 750GB drive as a backup of my C drive, and I have Lightroom and CS5 using it for catalogues and a scratch drive rather than either my C drive or my data drive.
Logged
John.Murray
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 893



WWW
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2010, 02:43:58 PM »
ReplyReply

martin is right - other than latency, the difference between 1333 and 1600 will be minimal.  One of the advantages of the X58 chipset and is that the memory controller has been moved onto the CPU die itself, using an interleaved addressing scheme - this tends to minimze any memory clock speed differences.

you might want to monitor efficiency (right click the status bar of the image your working on) from within PS5:

http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/404/kb404440.html#main_Allocating_memory_with_64_bit_processors_in_Photoshop_CS5

anything much below 95-90% would indicate the need for memory or scratch upgrades
Logged

KenS
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 104


« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2010, 02:50:20 PM »
ReplyReply

Here's a somewhat 'old' but complete set of benchmark comparisons (including one for Photoshop).
Same conclusions as others have posted.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ram-speed-tests,1807-15.html

Ken
Logged
walter.sk
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1331


« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2010, 09:00:28 PM »
ReplyReply

Thanks, Ken & John, for the suggestions and the links.  The reading was instructive for me.  I will watch the efficiency rating in Photoshop, and if it stays at 95% or more I will save my money rather than increase the RAM.
Logged
KenS
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 104


« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2010, 10:49:32 PM »
ReplyReply

Walter,

I am planning on having a new computer built for me (possibly by Maingear) with the same hardware  that you already have, except I was going to get mine with 12 GB of RAM (1333 MHz!).  I have been wondering if that will be enough or is overkill, or not enough and I will also need a SSD for CS5 scratch.

It would be of high interest to me if you could let me know what your efficiency results are along with some information about what size files you process, what kind of processing you do, and where, if any your computer bogs down.

To be more specific, in my case I work mostly with 350 MB scans of 6x7 film, sometimes stitching two or three together for focus blends or panoramas.  I also have started experimenting (i.e. rented) a Canon 5D II and I am started to do exposure blends, focus blends, and panos which also stresses my current set-up.

Thanks for any info you can provide,
Ken
Logged
walter.sk
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1331


« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2010, 07:48:48 PM »
ReplyReply

I am planning on having a new computer built for me (possibly by Maingear) with the same hardware  that you already have, except I was going to get mine with 12 GB of RAM (1333 MHz!).  I have been wondering if that will be enough or is overkill, or not enough and I will also need a SSD for CS5 scratch.

It would be of high interest to me if you could let me know what your efficiency results are along with some information about what size files you process, what kind of processing you do, and where, if any your computer bogs down.

To be more specific, in my case I work mostly with 350 MB scans of 6x7 film, sometimes stitching two or three together for focus blends or panoramas.  I also have started experimenting (i.e. rented) a Canon 5D II and I am started to do exposure blends, focus blends, and panos which also stresses my current set-up.
I found that NewEgg sells a 12GB kit of 3 Kingston memory cards, DDR3 triple channel at 1333MHZ with the same specs as the 6GB memory in my current computer, for $270.  I got the part number from a tech at Kingston (KVR1333D3N9K3/12G,) and it has the same 1.5 volt spec as the memory I'm currently using.  My computer is a Dell/Alienware Area 51, and also came with a pair of nVidia GTX 460 video cards (1 GB each) in SLI configuration.  I didn't request that, but this was a replacement computer for one that I had real problems with for over 2 years, and Dell was very nice about this.  The 2 video cards are unnecessary for photo processing but I admit that I like to fly the Microsoft flight sim, which I can do now with all the graphic features maxed out and still get great frame rates.

Your files are much much bigger than mine.  I use an ancient Canon 1dMkii, and the converted RAW files are about 46mb.  Usually I end up with5 or more layers, greatly increasing the size.  I also do HDR's as well as thee occasional panorama, with file sizes reaching into 150-300MB.  I checked the efficiency reading working with my basic files with several adjustment layers, and it didn't drop below 100%.  I have6GB RAM and have let Photoshop allocate 71% of it.  I have a 1TB Caviar Black drive with a backup of my pictures, and I use that as a Photoshop scratch disk.

I am very pleased with the performance of this computer with Photoshop, although some things still seem to take a lot of time:  Merging 5 images to HDR, using Focus Magic (a deconvolution program) for capture sharpening, etc.  On the other hand, printing from Qimage, the files almost fly from the computer to the printer (an HP Z3100) compared to anything I have used in the past.

The little boy in me is nagging me to spring for the 12GB memory kit, and if I do give in, it will be for the 1333MHz rather than the 1600MHz, thanks to many of the responses in this thread.

Sorry for being so longwinded.
Logged
tived
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 691


WWW
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2010, 08:35:31 PM »
ReplyReply

Hi Walter,

Don't loose any sleep over the 1333 vs 1600 vs 2300 ram speed unless you want to show off in benchmark tests. The 1333 will offer you the most stability on your system. I would also check if your mainboard bios can be updated and see if it indeed do not support 3x 8GB (just in case :-) ).

The RAM issue, I only use a Canon 1DMkII, well, you using those files, probably at the same time while you are in Lightroom/bridge and Photoshop and maybe doing a Pano in your favorite pano program while you are also doing a HDR with ....(fill in gap)...  All this adds up, the more ram you have the more freely these programs can operate in harmony.

Regarding your Black Caviar 1TB drives, these are SATA-3 and the 2TB BLK Caviar are SATA-2. Not a big difference in performance but the 1TB's are faster. if you add more drives then use them as scratch disks and the new 2TB(2x) as Data storage in RAID-1.

I also want to second the use of an SSD disk as your boot disk to maximize the performance, I would do this before adding the RAM!!!! the HDD's are your bottleneck!!!

Best of luck with it :-) keep asking questions if need to

Henrik
Logged
Pages: [1]   Top of Page
Print
Jump to:  

Ad
Ad
Ad