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upgrading system to speed up 3-D prog...

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Ross Orton
Posted on Sunday, September 26, 1999 - 3:23 pm:   

I'm looking for advice in upgrading my computer for speeding up the 3D programs I run. I'm not into games; I use high-end software such as AutoCAD 14, World Construction Set (visualization program which uses Open GL), and Photoshop. Currently my system includes:
Pentium 200 MMX
32MB SDRAM 10ns 4x64 DIMM
ATI "3D Xpression" video card with 2MB EDO (PCI)

When rendering scenes or working with large Photoshop files, my computer CRRRAAAWWWLS. After hours of research I'm thinking of upgrading to a Diamond Viper v550 video card (128 bit nVIDIA Riva TNT; 16MB 125 MHz SDRAM); and adding 128MB PC-100 16x64-8 unbuffered DIMM. Any thoughts on if this is the best way to speed things up? When going with SDRAM, is going with a name brand worth the extra $50 or so? Should I get ECC or not? Thanks for your time in helping me out!
Sincerely, Ross
win
Posted on Sunday, September 26, 1999 - 3:23 pm:   

auto cad is a very memory intense program. i've seen the recommendation of at least 256 megabytes ram. i have a super seven board that will do it. the ram speed needs to be -7 or better for pc-100 for this particular board. i had to pair the sticks. to get my computer to boot up and work properly. running a fic pa-2013 en version 1525. an amd k6-2 400mhz processor. micron ecc memory @ -6 speed. i know this is an older board, but i won't upgrade until the usb part of it is fixed. this will have to come from via technologies. the chip is the problem. then everything will work ok.
tom
Posted on Sunday, September 26, 1999 - 3:23 pm:   

As I just upgraded the ram on a AMD-K6 233 to 128mb
from 32mb, I'll say it deffinitly helps.
But if you stay with the pentium 200 CPU you cant
use the PC-100 (6NS OR 8NS) SDRAM.
You'll have to stay with pc-66 (10ns) SDRAM.
Some of the ATI video cards were able to except
either a 2 or 4 mb ram upgrade.
Then there is allways the option of overclocking if
your MB is capable of it.
you can probably get a MB with a AMD-K6 450 for $150.oo
or less, that would love PC-100 (6ns) SDRAM.
As for the ECC ram, I personally shy away from it
as the error correction cost more and it can be a
pain in the ___.
The other gentlemen who answered you had good advice
also.
depova
Posted on Sunday, September 26, 1999 - 3:23 pm:   

Definately the ram upgrade will help. It's also very much worth paying the extra $50. You think your system runs slow now you should see it with cheap ram. You'll be looking at lockups and all kinds of errors. The only other possible problem I forsee with the ram is you have down that the ram you have is 10ns and the ram you would put in is 8ns. Now sometimes different ram speeds can cause lockups and errors but considering it's only 2ns different it probably won't be a problem.

3d Accelerant wise the v550 is about the best for it's money in the opengl department. The only thing is they discontinued the pci version so it might be difficult to find one you can use with your board. You could probably get one from Diamond Multimedia themselves but who knows.
Barry S
Posted on Sunday, September 26, 1999 - 3:23 pm:   

Adding extra RAM is a definite must-have. Especially for the programs you are using.
Both Photoshop and Autocad really take advantage of extra RAM.

Just as importantly, a faster processor will really help.
Might be an idea to look into a upgrading to a Pentium II or AMD K6-2 if you are on a budget.
Also, get a motherboard with an AGP slot and get yourself an AGP video card. This will also help.

Another consideration is your hard drive. If your current drive is not Ultra-33 (aka Ultra-DMA, Ultra-ATA) capable then upgrading to a drive that is can help give an extra boost.
Ross Orton
Posted on Sunday, September 26, 1999 - 3:23 pm:   

Thanks, all, for your advice. I just ordered the Diamond Viper v550 PCI video card (for only $75 after a Diamond mail-in rebate!)from www.clubcomputer.com.
I borrowed a friend's 32MB PC-100 SDRAM to see if it would cause any conflicts with the 32MB 10ns SDRAM that I'm now using. No apparent problems, so I'm going to order a 128MB PC-100 - maybe even two of them. I figure that when I upgrade to a new motherboard & PCU in a year or so that I can swap them over.
Looking forward to less waiting, Ross

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