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Need advice on updating old workhorse machine

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Denis Danatzko
Need advice on updating old workhorse machine
on Feb 16, 2012 at 10:04:03 pm

I own a custom-made, vendor-built computer that I bought brand new as a turn-key solution back in 2006. (Between purchase price of the software, dual monitors, and the machine itself, it was VERY expensive at the time).

I am most familiar with Adobe's CS and I know I desperately need to upgrade to CS 5.5 (am currently running CS 2), unfortunately I don't have the money even for the VG's DIY 9 build that is so tantalizing.

Here's what I have now:
- double dual-core AMD Opteron 275 processors
- a Tyan "Thunder" series mobo (unfortunately I don't remember the exact model but I DO know it uses a 940 socket, needs ECC memory and is capable of running a 64-bit OS)
- nVidia Quadro FX 1500 display adapter
- dual Sony monitors (DVI)
- 4 GB of RAM (though it's using only 2.75 GB due to 32-bit Win XP Pro)
- it's supposed to have 1.5 TB internal RAID (per "Control Panel/System Properties/Hardware/Device Manager - SCSI and RAID Controllers" uses RocketRAID 222x SATA Controller), but I don't know how to confirm, check, or maintain the RAID.

I don't know the speed of the drives I have (suspect they're 5,400 RPM), but not sure and don't know how to confirm that.

I have the complete CS 2 Production Studio Premium and also run Edius Neo 2.5/Booster to edit AVCHD footage. (Neo came with my Panny HMC-150). I also run Flash 8 Pro.

There are also a few additional adapter cards, i.e. FW and USB for more ports at the rear, and a variety of USB and FW peripherals such as 2 WD MyBook Studio Edn. II, a ShuttlePro 2 editing controller, and more.

The machine is connected to a wired home network, with a WD MyBookWorld networked drive and a switch between it and the router, (though I suspect that may not matter with regard to what parts I can update).

Is there anything I can do to breathe some new life into this old warhorse...(at least enough to adequately run Adobe CS 5.5)...until I can afford something like the VG's DIY 9 build?

I got 1 suggestion to install Windows 7 Pro (64 bit) and increase the amount of RAM. I'm willing to go through re-installing everything, providing any changes are likely to work and keep this thing breathing, but I fear my Quadro FX 1500 card might still slow down editing/rendering, and I don't know if a newer card will even fit any of the slots. I don't even know if this machine can handle current 7,200 RPM drives.
(How can I tell)?

As you might have guessed, I'm not very knowledgeable about hardware, (off the top of my head I don't know the difference between PCI and PCIe), but I'm not afraid to open the machine and replace parts. I just don't know what new parts will work with the old ones I have.

If needed before recommendations can be made, I'll gladly supply more info.

All credible input/suggestions are welcome. If the VGs want to reply themselves, I'd certainly welcome that.

Thanks for reading.

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Anto Pigna
Re: Need advice on updating old workhorse machine
on Feb 17, 2012 at 6:03:06 am

+1 for new Operative System and increase amount of RAM, this is the quickest and cheapest upgrade also taking in consideration that you didn't tell motherboard model.

I could do a search among 940 dual sockets but that would result in a huge waste of time.
This web page shows at least six models:

You should know exactly what is the motherboard model.
Why don't you load into the BIOS and take note of your components?

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