Solid system for large format photo processing: I need help

Building a new system? Need help choosing between parts? Then step in and let our trained gerbils assist you.

Moderator: JustAnEngineer

Solid system for large format photo processing: I need help

Postposted on Wed Jul 20, 2005 4:06 pm

Hi
I'm new here.
I need some help. Any suggestion: CPU, motherboard, graphic card, memory for large format photo editing.
Software: Photoshop , Windows XP
No games.
I would like to have: high quality colors, good image processing speed, stable system (graphic card for two monitors will be nice).
Thank you
Peter
kartuz
Gerbil In Training
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2005 3:09 pm
Location: Canada

Postposted on Wed Jul 20, 2005 4:33 pm

What sort of processing do you do? Do you run a lot of filters that take substantial amounts fo time? That sort of thing is important in figuring out what processor is best.

The big thing is to get lots of RAM, at least 2 GB, maybe a bit more (windows apps can (in most cases) only use 2GB at a time so any extra would just be for other stuff running at the same time). At this point there's little to distinguish graphics cards for 2D work. Any modern card should be fine. If you really want to split hairs, find a Matrox P-series or something, they have marginally better output circuitry.
...
mattsteg
Gerbil God
 
Posts: 15752
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2001 6:00 pm
Location: Applauding the new/old variable width forums

Postposted on Wed Jul 20, 2005 4:57 pm

What's your budget?

Welcome to the forums 8)
Last edited by Usacomp2k3 on Wed Jul 20, 2005 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Usacomp2k3
Gerbil God
 
Posts: 21240
Joined: Thu Apr 01, 2004 3:53 pm
Location: Orlando, FL

Postposted on Wed Jul 20, 2005 5:07 pm

Before anyone can make realistic recommendations they will need to know expected file sizes.

I shoot 645 and regularly work with file sizes up to 75 megs with a AMD 64+ 3000, 2 gigs or RAM, Raptors for system & scratch, Matrox G550 video card. Speed wise, that system is at the point of being just bearable as some processes take a couple of minutes to complete.

For file sizes larger then 75 megs a friend uses a dual processor AMD 3800+ . It now runs 4 gigs of RAM and 10,000 rpm Raptors for system & scratch. She also runs a Quadro video card. Her file sizes are up to about 250 megs -- around 6x9, 6x12, maybe 4x5 sizes (4x5 scan/file sizes can be much larger then 250 megs). She also says it's slow at times -- she wants to upgrade.

So first you gotta figure out your scan sizes then tailor a machine around it. One thing for certain though large format (sheet film) type photography is going to take a machine with a hell of a lot of grunt -- say dual processors, 8 gigs of ram, SCSI drives, Quadro card.

And in order of importance I believe the machine you're looking for will first need the fastest drives possible -- big files are going to run your scratch wild. Next comes RAM -- max it out. Then a processor and finally a 2D card.

Finally I might consider asking this question in Adobe's Photoshop forum:
http://tinyurl.com/9a4q as a second opinion -- from someone actually running very high end Photoshop machines -- is always nice to have.
Last edited by p645n on Wed Jul 20, 2005 5:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Rats in the hold.
Crews all dead.
I fear the end is near...
p645n
Gerbil Team Leader
 
Posts: 217
Joined: Mon Aug 19, 2002 2:46 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC

Postposted on Wed Jul 20, 2005 5:15 pm

p645n wrote:For file sizes larger then 75 megs a friend uses a dual processor AMD 3800+ .
No, she doesn't. You know why? Such a machine doesn't exist
p645n wrote:It now runs 4 gigs of RAM and 10,000 rpm Raptors for system & scratch. She also runs a Quadro video card.
As far as the quadro's concerned that's just thrown away money for photoshop unless it's one of the lowest end ones.
p645n wrote:One thing for certain though large format (sheet film) type photography is going to take a machine with a hell of a lot of grunt -- say dual processors, 8 gigs of ram, SCSI drives, Quadro card.
8GB ram? Maybe if you're running 4 copies of photoshop at once. A single running copy of photoshop will only use 2GB. Unless you're running a ton of stuff in the background that extra 6GB does nothing for you except empty your pocketbook. Quadros don't do anything for photoshop. They're just normal cards with big price tags and special drivers for high-end 3d programs.
...
mattsteg
Gerbil God
 
Posts: 15752
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2001 6:00 pm
Location: Applauding the new/old variable width forums

Postposted on Wed Jul 20, 2005 5:29 pm

mattsteg's right about the 3800 machine it's a dual processor 248 machine -- I think he's wrong about everything else though.

HEY mattsteg are you scanning and running medium / large format cause if you are you must be sprinkling fairy dust on whatever your running it on.

You need all the ram you can get two gigs WILL NOT MAKE IT WITH 200 MEG FILES -- 2 gigs doesn't make it with my 75 meg files. You need fast drives -- because you RAM out. With dual monitors you need a card that can refresh at at high resolutions. MY Matrox just barely can. Dual processors would be a huge help and since your spending the kind of money that you only want to do it once.
Rats in the hold.
Crews all dead.
I fear the end is near...
p645n
Gerbil Team Leader
 
Posts: 217
Joined: Mon Aug 19, 2002 2:46 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC

Postposted on Wed Jul 20, 2005 5:44 pm

p645n wrote:mattsteg's right about the 3800 machine it's a dual processor 248 machine -- I think he's wrong about everything else though.
That's amusing.
p645n wrote:You need all the ram you can get two gigs WILL NOT MAKE IT WITH 200 MEG FILES -- 2 gigs doesn't make it with my 75 meg files.
So. Beyond enough memory for your OS and whatever else is running to be happy you won't use any more. Windows applications only have a 2GB address space. There's no way around that (well, some specially programmed programs can run to 3GB if you also specially configure windows, but there are other problems associated with that.) Yes, it's worthwhile to load up with 3-4GB, but nothing beyond that is going to help, no matter how big your images are.
p645n wrote:You need fast drives -- because you RAM out.
I never said you didn't. You do.
p645n wrote: With dual monitors you need a card that can refresh at at high resolutions. MY Matrox just barely can.
Your matrox is also an ancient card. It has low frequency RAMDACs. The P series and Parhelia don't. They all have 400MHz RAMDACs on both heads. They can refresh just fine.
p645n wrote:Dual processors would be a huge help and since your spending the kind of money that you only want to do it once.
Yes, depending on budget and precise usage, dual processors or possibly more appropriately dual core make sense.

While you may have knowledge and experience related to photoshop, you're a little underinformed regarding computer hardware to be offering such advice.
...
mattsteg
Gerbil God
 
Posts: 15752
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2001 6:00 pm
Location: Applauding the new/old variable width forums

Postposted on Wed Jul 20, 2005 5:51 pm

Guys, lets calm down a little and see if we can help kartuz out..
Does anyone know if Photoshop has as 64-bit port?
Usacomp2k3
Gerbil God
 
Posts: 21240
Joined: Thu Apr 01, 2004 3:53 pm
Location: Orlando, FL

Postposted on Wed Jul 20, 2005 5:55 pm

No, as of now there is no 64-bit port, which is an absolute shame since photoshop is one of the few consumer apps that would benefit immensely from one.
...
mattsteg
Gerbil God
 
Posts: 15752
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2001 6:00 pm
Location: Applauding the new/old variable width forums

Postposted on Wed Jul 20, 2005 6:00 pm

Here's what I'd recommend:

A dual-Opteron board with a pair of single-core Opteron CPUs. Get a recent, NF4-based dual-Opteron board, like the ASUS K8N-DL, so you'll be able to upgrade to a pair of dual-core Opterons later, but for now, it's actually cheaper to get a pair of single-core Opterons than a single dual-core X2, plus this leaves you that upgrade path. It also leaves you with six DIMM slots, so you have room to add more RAM later.

4GB of RAM. Get four 1GB sticks. Yes, you'll have to run them at 2T, but you're not gaming with this machine (at least, that's not your excuse for spending this much on it :wink: ) and when it comes to things like Photoshop, there is no limit to the adage "it's better to have more memory than faster memory". If you do this in conjunction with the dual-Opteron board, hang 2GB off each CPU and you'll end up with twice the memory bandwidth as well (but don't forget, this requires purchasing registered memory!).

Windows XP x64: Do some research and make sure everything you buy has proper 64-bit drivers so you don't get left out in the cold, and this will do you well. Even if you use a 32-bit version of Photoshop, the 64-bit version of Windows is still better at allocating RAM between the OS and the different apps at the 4GB range and higher than the 32-bit version is (the regular 32-bit version of XP actually starts having problems with properly using more than 3.5GB of RAM), and that way when a 64-bit version of Photoshop is released (and it will be), you're just an upgrade away from using all 4GB there (and if you got the dual-Opteron setup, two additional sticks of RAM away from having 6GB or, depending on the availability of 2GB sticks then, even 8GB!).

Thus, a dual-Opteron board with 64-bit Windows is the most future-proofed upgrade path you can have. It leaves you with something at least somewhat affordable now, with a definite upgrade path to massively increase performance when you can financially justify it later (go from two cores to four total, and above the 4GB barrier when you need to, without having to throw away your existing investment).
danazar
Gerbil Elite
 
Posts: 569
Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2003 10:56 pm
Location: Earth, Sol

Postposted on Wed Jul 20, 2005 8:17 pm

Usacomp2k3
Gerbil God
 
Posts: 21240
Joined: Thu Apr 01, 2004 3:53 pm
Location: Orlando, FL

Postposted on Wed Jul 20, 2005 11:03 pm

Thank you for your help.
Max file size will be about 0.5 Gb and I'm going to spend $2000-3000 (monitors extra).
Thank you
Peter

p.s forum is great!
kartuz
Gerbil In Training
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2005 3:09 pm
Location: Canada

Postposted on Wed Jul 20, 2005 11:11 pm

mattsteg, please relax. this is the 3rd or 4th thread i've seen you blow up at people.. we are only talking about computers here.. no reason to get upset.
Science is forbidden. Laboratories manufacture danger!
sativa
Grand Gerbil Poohbah
 
Posts: 3045
Joined: Sun Apr 14, 2002 6:22 pm
Location: lafayette, la

Postposted on Wed Jul 20, 2005 11:13 pm

sativa wrote:mattsteg, please relax. this is the 3rd or 4th thread i've seen you blow up at people.. we are only talking about computers here.. no reason to get upset.
If someone with little to no clue tells me I'm "wrong" I'm damn well going to set them straight. The effort required to not spout out blatant falsehoods is minimal.
...
mattsteg
Gerbil God
 
Posts: 15752
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2001 6:00 pm
Location: Applauding the new/old variable width forums

Postposted on Wed Jul 20, 2005 11:17 pm

Ok guys. Lets see what we can do with $2-3k.

http://www.forum4designers.com/message271707.html

That's looks pretty relevant to multithreading functions of Photoshop.
EDIT: nevermind just a bunch of people bickering.
Usacomp2k3
Gerbil God
 
Posts: 21240
Joined: Thu Apr 01, 2004 3:53 pm
Location: Orlando, FL

Postposted on Thu Jul 21, 2005 12:57 am

mattsteg wrote:If someone with little to no clue tells me I'm "wrong" I'm damn well going to set them straight. The effort required to not spout out blatant falsehoods is minimal.


if you could point out where p645n spefically told you that you were "wrong" before you flipped your lid then i'll give you 100 millions dollars.

i dont know what happened in your personal life recently but you need to get a grip and relax when talking about computers online. seriously.
Science is forbidden. Laboratories manufacture danger!
sativa
Grand Gerbil Poohbah
 
Posts: 3045
Joined: Sun Apr 14, 2002 6:22 pm
Location: lafayette, la

Postposted on Thu Jul 21, 2005 12:59 am

p645n wrote:I think he's wrong about everything else though.
...
mattsteg
Gerbil God
 
Posts: 15752
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2001 6:00 pm
Location: Applauding the new/old variable width forums

Postposted on Thu Jul 21, 2005 1:05 am

mattsteg wrote:
p645n wrote:I think he's wrong about everything else though.


poor mattsteg. he said that after you took offense to his opinions about a photoshop computer. notice i specifically said "before you blew your lid" in my post. you blew your lid in your original response to him. your initial response to him was clearly filled with animosity. his response to your angry post did say 'i think he's wrong' but only after agreeing with you about something. hardly insulting.


like i said before, i dont know whats going on in your personal life but you have lost any respect i had for you as a representative of TR as a moderator. flame away.

in your initial response you act like he's attacking your family or something. you are talking about COMPUTERS. keep that in mind please.
Science is forbidden. Laboratories manufacture danger!
sativa
Grand Gerbil Poohbah
 
Posts: 3045
Joined: Sun Apr 14, 2002 6:22 pm
Location: lafayette, la

Postposted on Thu Jul 21, 2005 2:00 am

It's easy to confuse virtual address space with physical memory. Just because an app is limited to 2GB of virtual address space doesn't mean the system can't make good use of more than 2GB of memory. The OS itself is free to use the other 2GB in a 4GB system, as are other apps.

Adobe has a note revealing that the latest version of Photoshop (CS2) can take advantage of more than 2GB of virtual address space on versions of Windows where the /3GB switch is supported (XP SP2, x64, and the various server flavors). The note itself confuses virtual address space and physical memory (and is confused in other ways -- see, I said it was easy), but it seems clear that CS2 supports the /3GB switch, which would allow photoshop to use up to 3GB of address space. Having all of that backed by physical memory would of course be a good thing, and another 1GB for the OS is not unreasonable. And some memory is taken by IO and other memory-mapped hardware (though some mobos have BIOS options to juggle things around to plug those holes with RAM).

You would expect Adobe to be all over 64bit, given that both of their supported platforms are headed in that direction (and especially since the Mac is headed towards x86-64). But Adobe has had years to get rid of their own crappy virtual memory system (which is the only reason you need to specify "scratch disks") and hasn't done so, I'm not holding my breath. Keep in mind that whenever they finally make that jump, old filters and add-ons won't work (can't load 32bit DLLs into a 64bit process). Not a big deal, as long as you budget for that whenever the upgrade happens.
UberGerbil
Gerbil Khan
 
Posts: 9927
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2003 2:11 pm

Postposted on Thu Jul 21, 2005 5:44 am

Theres a few really good tidbits under that Adobe page. Firstly, on a 64-bit system photoshop will use up to 4GB of memory minus what the OS uses, secondly, it can use additional ram from 4GB up to 6GB as as a disk swap cache instead of writing it to disk directly. After thats its a waste though. But 4GB of ram is advisable together with Win XP-64 and a 64-bit CPU.

Then i found another tip that seems to be good.

The Bigger Tiles plug-in, which is located in the Applications/Adobe Photoshop CS2/Plug-Ins/Adobe Photoshop Only/Extensions/Bigger Tiles folder (Mac OS) or Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS2\Plug-Ins\Adobe Photoshop Only\Extensions\Bigger Tiles (Windows) is disabled by default. When you enable it by removing the ~ from the filename, then you increase the image tile size in Photoshop. You should only enable the plug-in if you have more than 1 GB of RAM installed.

If you enable the plug-in, then Photoshop redraws more data at a time because each tile is larger, and each tile is drawn, complete, at one time. Photoshop takes less time to redraw fewer tiles that are larger, than more tiles that are smaller. Because Photoshop redraws more data at one time, each tile it takes longer to be redrawn; so bigger tiles can look like they are redrawing slower, but they are actually redrawing faster than if the image had more smaller tiles.
Aphasia
Grand Gerbil Poohbah
 
Posts: 3355
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2002 6:00 pm
Location: Solna/Sweden

Postposted on Thu Jul 21, 2005 6:07 am

UberGerbil wrote:The OS itself is free to use the other 2GB in a 4GB system, as are other apps.
I was more amused by his 8GB suggestion than anything else. That's a lot of memory to use beyond the 2/3 GB limit. The thought of running ramdrives to at up the additional ram with adobe swap stuff occurred to me, but I wasn't aware that some plugins have separate memory space. Clever and useful. My google search that I made before posting turned up the memory techdoc for photoshop CS, which unlike cs2 apparently has no extra 64-bit abilities nor 3gb support. I apologize for that oversight, and for any animosity I may have caused or implied. I honestly don't see any animosity in my secong post in this thread, I was merely trying to clearly and succinctly sum up my differences in thought with p645n and why they existed. While the RAM thing discounted CS2 and the importance of windows' file cache, the rest was at least accurate.
...
mattsteg
Gerbil God
 
Posts: 15752
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2001 6:00 pm
Location: Applauding the new/old variable width forums

Postposted on Thu Jul 21, 2005 9:13 am

Hi
thank you again.
Please remove my topic. I don't want start any war here.
Thank you for everybody :D !
Peter
kartuz
Gerbil In Training
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2005 3:09 pm
Location: Canada

Postposted on Thu Jul 21, 2005 10:02 am

Hey buddy, just give us a chance :wink:

My suggestion would be to get a pair of opterons, 4x1gb ram, a 74gb raptor for scratch, and 4x200gb raid-5 for general use. Does that sounds reasonable?
Usacomp2k3
Gerbil God
 
Posts: 21240
Joined: Thu Apr 01, 2004 3:53 pm
Location: Orlando, FL

Postposted on Thu Jul 21, 2005 10:11 am

kartuz wrote:Hi
thank you again.
Please remove my topic. I don't want start any war here.
Thank you for everybody :D !
Peter
None of us want to start a war of any sort. I know I in particular just want to make sure that you base your decision based on the best and most accurate information possible. I understand we all live within budgetary constraints and just want to make sure you spend your money where it helps the most, rather than waste it on things like Quadros or memory beyond what is usable in a straightforward fashion. (Just for clarity when I said a bit more I was talking 3-4GB, with the 4GB being highly desirable. I was just trying to establish how much RAM the photoshop process itself can use, stuff beyond that is useful to a point, but eventiually you hit diminishing returns then nothing). If you have an otehrworldly huge budget you could of course load up on RAM, get a ramdisk program, and run your photoshop scratch space on ramdisks. This should be amazingly fast, but could also be glitchy and complicated. I have no direct experience in the area so I speak only of how things should be based on theoretical knowledge of the various en tities involved. The main advantage of a nice dual opteron board is that it can take more memory, or memory in smaller sticks, allowing either an easy future upgrade or reduced initial costs. At lower cost, you could probably get similar performance from a dual core a64 on a nice board. In any case, judging from the added capabilities under 64 bit windows, it appears that your best bet is opterons or athlon 64 X2 running Photoshop CS2 on XP64. This means that you're going to pay a bit more careful attention to your other components to ensure driver compatability. It appears that this is one of those times where riding the bleeding edge could pay off big in the long run, but when you do that sort of thing you've got to be especially careful with it.
...
mattsteg
Gerbil God
 
Posts: 15752
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2001 6:00 pm
Location: Applauding the new/old variable width forums


Return to System Builders Anonymous

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest