I have been delving into PC hardware questions this week due to unforeseen PSU toasting, and am now getting more confused by the day (some say it is because I am a Mac user...) about what is important and not important in the eternal question of SW speed and viewing pleasure. And yes, I have trawled the newsgroup archives and that makes it all the worse :-)
The starting points are these:
- I have been tempted to get the FX1000 card (as is is somewhat reduced in price at the moment for SW users) in order to solve my annoying window slowdowns with my Ti4600 (which I do like...except for this issue) Note: I have tried softquatro and it did not work too well for me - I would prefer reliable....
- Also thought while I am at it just plug in a new faster AMD CPU to get a little kick. Not very expensive, so why not? From an Athlon 1.7 to a 2.6. (2.6 being the max for this MOBO) However, the MOBO would not be optimal, but it would work.
- I am so pissed about the homebuilt cheapo solutions I got an offer from Dell for a Precision 360, 3.0Ghz/1Gb RAM, FX1000, 80GB. (strangely it has a 250W PSU when the Nvidia card says it needs 350... But they certify it!).
- I am in the tail end of a project that is very curvy, not many components, but they are complicated and feeling slow on my machine now (especially rebuilds in 2004).
So now, not really wanting to run out and buy a new computer when the last one is only a year old, I was thinking the graphics card and chip would be a compromise and improve my speed and windowing issue. And for timing this may be best as the dell takes a few weeks to build.
Now the problem is this. I thought I would be clever and run the SW SPECapc to see how my workstation measures up to others, specifically the Dell 360. Now I have always felt specs are not very useful, but now that I have run it and looked at the Dell SPEC scores, I am really wondering if I understand them, and how, if at all, they might influence my choices.
I ran the spec on my system, maybe not absolutely as they say, but I rebooted and ran it on SW2003sp3. My system is: ASUS MOBO, Athlon 1.7Ghz/1GB RAM, Ti4600 (and now a brand new over spec'd 400w PSU!) My scores for 5 tests:
Test Total 269 Graphics 47 CPU 137 I/O 85
Now, if I understand, that means the graphic card is fast (excluding the window slowness issue I assume), that the processor is a dinosaur, and the I/O could be better. Right?
But I would have assumed that the DELL with the much faster processor and MOBO and the FX1000 would be MUCH better (precision 360 3.2Ghz / 1GB RAM, FX1000). But these are the SPEC scores (1 not averaged) from the website:
Test Total 235 Graphics 99 CPU 68 I/O 68
So what looks good is the processor and to a lesser degree the I/O. But the graphics looks worse than on my score.
After looking at old threads and SPEC scores, I am only more confused. Based on this I would be most inclined to only upgrade my processor and try really hard to make the SoftQuatro work. Or the next option of Processor and FX1000 (for more stability peace of mind).
However, the Dell does not look as interesting as I imagined it might.
So A. am I missing something in my feeble interpretation of what is important? (even if I do nothing I would like to understand this better)
B. If you were in my shoes what would you do? (and no, drinking is not an answer :-)
Thanks to all who jump into the fray!