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 Post subject: quiet dark room
PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2005 7:55 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2003 6:02 pm
Posts: 345
Location: Hudson Valley, NY, USA
That is, a quiet digital darkroom.

Another one of those A64, 90 nm systems. It is not to be Silent but just as quiet as performance and cost will permit. It will not be on 24/7 but only when in use. It will not be in the bedroom or even on the same floor as the bedroom :)

The size of my files will be an important consideration. I am looking at 11.6 meg RAW (out of camera) files that will convert to 23 meg TIFF files for PhotoShop input. The 35 mm film scanner I am looking at will produce 41 meg files at its highest resolution. Once I start PhotoShopping them and have several layers working they could get quite large. Panoramas? I have no idea how large they could be. This will have an effect on the RAM and Hard Drive parameters.

I have three concerns:

1) Will the Matrox P650 video card play well with the other components? I don't see why not as it is a regular 8X AGP. Has anyone had problems with it?

2) Should I start with 2 x 512 meg of RAM (thinking of regular Crucial) or see if the budget can be pushed to support 2 x 1 GB (PDP has them at about the same price each as the two Crucial sticks) right from the start? this would avoid having 4 x 512 down the road.

3) The Hard Drive setup will probably start with two drives and grow into a three drive system, plus a Drive in a Box for offline backup (USB 2.0 or Firewire).
I am planning a 74 GB Raptor partitioned as C: for Windows and Apps (~25 GB) and another partition for the RAW downloads from the CF cardreader and work in progress in PhotoShop.
Another large SATA drive (undecided as to exactly what right now) partitioned for the PhotoShop scratch disk, PhotoShop completed images, storage of original RAWs and TIFFs, and a "Ghost" type image of the C; drive. I can see this drive growing into two as the file count grows. Could a RAID drive actually help in working with files of this size?

HARDWARE:

Antec 3000-b case

Enermax EG475P Noisetaker PSU - fan swap down the road?

ASUS A8V Deluxe motherboard

AMD A64 Winchester 3500+

Thermalright XP-120

Nexus 120 mm fans for CPU, inlet/HDD cooling and perhaps for exhaust

Crucial PC3200 2 x 512 or
PDP PC3200 2 x 1 GB

WD Raptor 74 GB

another large SATA drive (160 - 250+ GB)

Plextor DVD burner, single layer is fine, I don't want too much data on each disk

Matrox P650 video card - fanless

AcoustiPack BQE kit to help with the Raptor

USB 2.0 powered Atec card reader with Firewire passthru for 3.5" drive slot

USB 2.0 powered flatbed scanner (own it already), the 35 mm film scanner is 120v powered

The Wacom tablet is also USB powered.

Win XP Home

Thanks for any opinions,
Jim

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 Post subject: Re: Matrox P650
PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2005 8:10 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2004 3:54 pm
Posts: 9
Location: USA - Orlando, FL
Jim,

I don't have a P650 but have a G550 by Matrox. The cards work fine with most other components and software. The G550 is a 2d card primarily so I don't get much 3d performance out of it... but it does very well at accelerating 2d.

The Antec 3000b case is very nice. I just bought one and the construction quality is very high. I have very few complaints and I'm sure it will meet your needs.

- Waterstar [Ray]


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2005 12:30 am 
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Posts: 1443
Location: Turkey
Jim,

Couple of ideas on disk use:

I very much doubt that your CF reader will provide the data transfer speed to match the Raptor. Why not use the extra partition for the scratch disk as that's going to be the one with the highest disk access?

I suppose your system will be one of the few cases where a RAID setup makes a real difference. Personally, I haven't had too many drives fail on me so a RAID-? (insert raid version to mean the type where you use two disks for double the transfer rate) shouldn't be too worrysome as you already plan on a seperate hdd box (I'll be assuming huge capacity :) ) And when software does crash the disk, NTFS usually makes sure that you're properly f*&$ed anyway...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2005 1:22 am 
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Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2003 1:54 am
Posts: 444
Location: Isle of Arran
Sounds similar to the system I'm planning for this month, about which I wrote in this thread - there's some really good advice there about memory types.

I was going to say that you system sounds like one where RAID would increase the hard-drive speeds, but burcakb got there before me. Still, nice to have my thoughts confirmed!

Here's a good thread on another forum that I found about RAID:

RAID FAQ

Sorry if it's teaching you how to suck eggs.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2005 7:24 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 23, 2002 6:33 am
Posts: 8636
Location: Sunny SoCal
Matrox 650 has driver issues (black screen on boot :) )with Win XP sp2, at least it did a few months ago when I was playing with it.

If you'll be using sp2, you should do a little research on that issue. Maybe Matrox has released new drivers or firmware to fix that problem.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2005 7:52 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2003 6:02 pm
Posts: 345
Location: Hudson Valley, NY, USA
Ray - Thanks for the 550 note. I know about the 3-D, but the only games I play are Minesweeper and Hearts. What I want is High Quality 2-D and perhaps a dual monitor setup next year with a small LCD to hold tools, profiles etc. and have the whole CRT for the image.

burcakb - No, no it's not that I think the CF cardreader will have Raptor speed :) I want to have the new files in a "fast" location to start working with them. A big help for PhotoShop (after 1 GB of RAM) is to put the scratch disk on another physical disk from the PS program.
I think I will start with the one 74 GB Raptor and consider RAID-0 once the new system starts to feel slow but thought I would seek the opinions of the folks here.

Cams - I already have your thread bookmarked! Saw it and thought I was going to get a lot of my questions answered there, hence my "Another A64, 90nm system." I rather agree that I will not get much out of "Premium" RAM and would probably do better with More RAM. But 2 GB does seem to be the practical maximum.

Ralf - That may be what I recall reading about. Off to search on the Matrox forums and check driver dates, etc.

Thanks all.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2005 8:51 am 
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Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Posts: 12058
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Ralf Hutter wrote:
Matrox 650 has driver issues (black screen on boot :) )with Win XP sp2, at least it did a few months ago when I was playing with it.

Not any more -- I'm using a P650 with a fairly recent driver (maybe a month) and SP2. No problems. It IS faster than a 550 or 400 Max. Very nice. :)

Personally, I'd never put a Raptor in my PC. Way too much work to make it quiet enough... But if you're set to do it, I'd suggest suspending it or placing it on foam inside a Smart Drive enclosure or similar somewhere near direct intake fan airflow. The PC case damping kit is not really going to help.

You don't need 470W (nowhere close) -- and if you're thinking a fan swap mod in future, the Seasonic Super Silencers 400 or 460 are quieter from the start and required only one fan change.

Here's some counter advice re- RAID. Not worth the trouble IMO. I used to do a lot of DTP / image processing for print (BIG files) and while RAID did provide a small speed advantage in opening huge files (>100mb) the extra noise and higher failure possibility of RAID-0 was not worth it to me. Work smartly with the 2 drives you already have -- things you already mentioned like optimal size partitions for Windows, the fast scrath cache for PS, etc -- and it will be plenty fast.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2005 1:42 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2003 6:02 pm
Posts: 345
Location: Hudson Valley, NY, USA
Thanks Mike,

That saved me a bit of worry and I will look for a late 2004 driver for the P650.

Now to find a good price on the Seasonics.

RAID-0 is something I am not really thrilled with, one of the reasons I went with the 74 GB Raptor. If you do not think it was wonderful with those pre-print files I don't think I would see much either.


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