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Best hard disks and LCD monitors for panoramic performance

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  • matt_nolan_uaf
    Hi. I asked my local computer store to spec out a $5000 PC and prioritize fast disk drives. My hope is to be able to process 16 bit 11,000 x 5500 sphericals
    Message 1 of 14 , Nov 30, 2007
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      Hi. I asked my local computer store to spec out a $5000 PC and
      prioritize fast disk drives. My hope is to be able to process 16 bit
      11,000 x 5500 sphericals in a few minutes and 5GP panos in an hour or
      so, though I may be dreaming. I include their parts list below and
      ask a few questions to the group:

      - These 15,000 RPM SAS disks seem to be the fastest around. Is it
      possible to be so fast that the increased speed cant be used? Is
      this even close to that? Or is there something even faster (or
      another component that makes them work faster) that I should consider?

      - LCD monitor -- they included a cheapo monitor here. Does anyone
      have a recommendation for a monitor that is optimal for panoramic
      photography? What specs should be considered minimum?

      - Other comments on components below?

      Whatever I buy, I'll certainly try out Milko's speedtest and let you
      know the results.

      Thanks,
      Matt




      INTEL S5000PSLSASR SERVER MAINBOARD
      http://www.intel.com/design/servers/boards/s5000PSL/index.htm
      INTEL SC5299BRPNA WORKSTATION CASE W/ 650W PSU
      2x STT 2GB DDR2 667MHZ ECC FB SAMSUNG MODULE RAM
      2x SEAGATE CHEETAH ST3146855SS 146GB 15K SAS 3GB/S
      http://www.seagate.com/docs/pdf/datasheet/disc/ds_cheetah_15k_5.pdf
      2x 750GB 7200RPM SATAII SEAGATE HDD
      2x INTEL XEON QUADCORE E5345 2.33GHZ 8MB CACHE LGA771 CPU
      XFX 8600GT 512MB PCIE VIDEO CARD DUAL HEAD
      PHILLIPS 20X DVD+-RW IDE OPTICAL DRIVE
      STARTECH 2 PORT FW800 1PT FW400
      WINDOWS VISTA ULTIMATE X64
      22IN ACER LCD 700:1 5MS WIDE SCREEN
      LOGITECH KEYBOARD AND OPTICAL MOUSE
      1 YEAR WARRANTY PARTS AND LABOR
    • steven morton
      I would suggest taking a look at Eizo (pronounced a-zo) monitors http://www.eizo.com/ Cya Steve
      Message 2 of 14 , Nov 30, 2007
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        I would suggest taking a look at Eizo (pronounced a-zo) monitors
        http://www.eizo.com/

        Cya
        Steve
      • mrjimbo
        Th emachine sound spretty good. You may want to back off Vista and go with the 64 bit XP Pro.. Other forums have indicated that many things as in printers and
        Message 3 of 14 , Dec 1, 2007
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          Th emachine sound spretty good. You may want to back off Vista and go with the 64 bit XP Pro.. Other forums have indicated that many things as in printers and software are not yet working on this new operating system.

          Jim
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: matt_nolan_uaf
          To: PanoToolsNG@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Friday, November 30, 2007 11:59 PM
          Subject: [PanoToolsNG] Best hard disks and LCD monitors for panoramic performance


          Hi. I asked my local computer store to spec out a $5000 PC and
          prioritize fast disk drives. My hope is to be able to process 16 bit
          11,000 x 5500 sphericals in a few minutes and 5GP panos in an hour or
          so, though I may be dreaming. I include their parts list below and
          ask a few questions to the group:

          - These 15,000 RPM SAS disks seem to be the fastest around. Is it
          possible to be so fast that the increased speed cant be used? Is
          this even close to that? Or is there something even faster (or
          another component that makes them work faster) that I should consider?

          - LCD monitor -- they included a cheapo monitor here. Does anyone
          have a recommendation for a monitor that is optimal for panoramic
          photography? What specs should be considered minimum?

          - Other comments on components below?

          Whatever I buy, I'll certainly try out Milko's speedtest and let you
          know the results.

          Thanks,
          Matt

          INTEL S5000PSLSASR SERVER MAINBOARD
          http://www.intel.com/design/servers/boards/s5000PSL/index.htm
          INTEL SC5299BRPNA WORKSTATION CASE W/ 650W PSU
          2x STT 2GB DDR2 667MHZ ECC FB SAMSUNG MODULE RAM
          2x SEAGATE CHEETAH ST3146855SS 146GB 15K SAS 3GB/S
          http://www.seagate.com/docs/pdf/datasheet/disc/ds_cheetah_15k_5.pdf
          2x 750GB 7200RPM SATAII SEAGATE HDD
          2x INTEL XEON QUADCORE E5345 2.33GHZ 8MB CACHE LGA771 CPU
          XFX 8600GT 512MB PCIE VIDEO CARD DUAL HEAD
          PHILLIPS 20X DVD+-RW IDE OPTICAL DRIVE
          STARTECH 2 PORT FW800 1PT FW400
          WINDOWS VISTA ULTIMATE X64
          22IN ACER LCD 700:1 5MS WIDE SCREEN
          LOGITECH KEYBOARD AND OPTICAL MOUSE
          1 YEAR WARRANTY PARTS AND LABOR





          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Carel
          Matt, Even the fastest mechanical HD will probably be slower than the solid state disks that are coming out in the coming months. The biggest bottleneck for
          Message 4 of 14 , Dec 1, 2007
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            Matt,

            Even the fastest mechanical HD will probably be slower than the solid state
            disks that are coming out in the coming months. The biggest bottleneck for
            stitching is the scratch disk and I always hear a LOT of activity from the
            HD head when it is reading and writing large files during stitching (even on
            a dedicated scratch disk, brand new, freshly formatted and empty).

            Alternately you could set up a RAID for your scratch disk with a bunch of
            regular SATAII drives, which should be faster than one superfast single
            drive and in the long run may be cheaper.

            Stay away from Vista. In tests it appears to be twice as slow as XP on the
            same machine:
            http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=204203975

            Carel Struycken

            --
            View this message in context: http://www.nabble.com/Best-hard-disks-and-LCD-monitors-for-panoramic-performance-tf4927301.html#a14107686
            Sent from the PanoToolsNG mailing list archive at Nabble.com.
          • AYRTON - avi
            ... GET a MAC ! So easier :-) ... AYRTON 21-9982.6313 www.ayrton.com Ladeira de Nossa Senhora, 214 / sl. 101
            Message 5 of 14 , Dec 1, 2007
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              On 12/1/07, Carel <cs@...> wrote:
              >
              > Stay away from Vista. In tests it appears to be twice as slow as XP on the
              > same machine:
              > http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=204203975

              GET a MAC !
              So easier :-)

              >
              > Carel Struycken


              AYRTON 21-9982.6313 www.ayrton.com
              Ladeira de Nossa Senhora, 214 / sl. 101 www.vrfolio.com
              Outeiro da Glória - RJ - 22211-100 - Brasil www.vr-images.com
              Panoramas do Rio de Janeiro www.rio360.com.br
            • Mark D. Fink
              Interesting timing on your link Carel. I just did one last email check before creating an image of my hard drive before downgrading to XP. :o) Mark
              Message 6 of 14 , Dec 1, 2007
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                Interesting timing on your link Carel. I just did one last email check
                before creating an image of my hard drive before downgrading to XP. :o)



                Mark

                www.pinnacle-vr.com <http://www.pinnacle-vr.com/>

                www.northernlight.net <http://www.northernlight.net/>





                -----Original Message-----
                From: PanoToolsNG@yahoogroups.com [mailto:PanoToolsNG@yahoogroups.com] On
                Behalf Of Carel
                Sent: Saturday, December 01, 2007 12:46 PM
                To: PanoToolsNG@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: Re: [PanoToolsNG] Best hard disks and LCD monitors for panoramic
                performance




                Matt,

                Even the fastest mechanical HD will probably be slower than the solid state
                disks that are coming out in the coming months. The biggest bottleneck for
                stitching is the scratch disk and I always hear a LOT of activity from the
                HD head when it is reading and writing large files during stitching (even on
                a dedicated scratch disk, brand new, freshly formatted and empty).

                Alternately you could set up a RAID for your scratch disk with a bunch of
                regular SATAII drives, which should be faster than one superfast single
                drive and in the long run may be cheaper.

                Stay away from Vista. In tests it appears to be twice as slow as XP on the
                same machine:
                http://www.informat
                <http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=204203975>
                ionweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=204203975

                Carel Struycken

                --
                View this message in context: http://www.nabble
                <http://www.nabble.com/Best-hard-disks-and-LCD-monitors-for-panoramic-perfor
                mance-tf4927301.html#a14107686>
                com/Best-hard-disks-and-LCD-monitors-for-panoramic-performance-tf4927301.htm
                l#a14107686
                Sent from the PanoToolsNG mailing list archive at Nabble.com.





                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Carel
                ... I have both a MacBook Pro and an XP system, and although not completely up to speed on the Mac side yet, I dont understand what all the windows/Mac
                Message 7 of 14 , Dec 1, 2007
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                  AYRTON - avi wrote:
                  >
                  > On 12/1/07, Carel <cs@...> wrote:
                  >>
                  >
                  > GET a MAC !
                  > So easier :-)
                  >
                  >

                  I have both a MacBook Pro and an XP system, and although not completely up
                  to speed on the Mac side yet, I dont understand what all the windows/Mac
                  bickering is about. Both operating system have their annoyances and both
                  first need to be wrestled to the ground before they become usable. Windows
                  explorer seems to work a lot faster than Finder or any of the 3rd party
                  improvements and I have not found a way to quickly look at raw thumbnails
                  yet from within Finder. Adobe Bridge is way too slow for that and misses the
                  convenience of a generic file manager such as Windows Explorer.

                  Carel Struycken
                  --
                  View this message in context: http://www.nabble.com/Best-hard-disks-and-LCD-monitors-for-panoramic-performance-tf4927301.html#a14109006
                  Sent from the PanoToolsNG mailing list archive at Nabble.com.
                • panotools@360image.de
                  Hi Matt, ... I can confirm that. With all the talk on I/O speed lately I did install a hardware Raid0 (striping) with the 2 (80 gig) scratch discs i had
                  Message 8 of 14 , Dec 1, 2007
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                    Hi Matt,
                    >
                    >
                    > Alternately you could set up a RAID for your scratch disk with a bunch of
                    >
                    I can confirm that. With all the talk on I/O speed lately I did install
                    a hardware Raid0 (striping) with the 2 (80 gig) scratch discs i had
                    running with my dedicated stitcher box. I also moved the enblend
                    ,smartblend and autopano plugins to those discs. Turns out that the
                    speedtest files where finished at 1 min 25 sec as compared to 1 min and
                    55 sec before. It does not sound like much, but its an improvement of
                    35% with the same hardware as before. Not bad for a single core 2 ghz/
                    3gig ram AMD box. It took less than 10 minutes to do...

                    In case some testers want to do that and redo a a speedtest you are
                    invited to send me your results.
                    http://www.360image.de/test/smallfoot.htm

                    Cheers, Milko
                  • John Riley
                    I just bought a dual drive enclosure on ebay that I plan to use as a dedicated RAID 0 scratch disk for stitching. Does anyone have recommendations on how
                    Message 9 of 14 , Dec 1, 2007
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                      I just bought a dual drive enclosure on ebay that I plan to use as a
                      dedicated RAID 0 scratch disk for stitching. Does anyone have
                      recommendations on how large the disks should be as a minimum? Since
                      I won't be using it for storage, I imagine it doesn't need to be
                      huge, but how big is big enough, give or take?

                      John

                      John Riley
                      johnriley@...
                      jriley@...




                      On Dec 1, 2007, at 8:38 PM, panotools360imagede wrote:

                      > Hi Matt,
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > Alternately you could set up a RAID for your scratch disk with a
                      > bunch of
                      > >
                      > I can confirm that. With all the talk on I/O speed lately I did
                      > install
                      > a hardware Raid0 (striping) with the 2 (80 gig) scratch discs i had
                      > running with my dedicated stitcher box. I also moved the enblend
                      > ,smartblend and autopano plugins to those discs. Turns out that the
                      > speedtest files where finished at 1 min 25 sec as compared to 1 min
                      > and
                      > 55 sec before. It does not sound like much, but its an improvement of
                      > 35% with the same hardware as before. Not bad for a single core 2 ghz/
                      > 3gig ram AMD box. It took less than 10 minutes to do...
                      >
                      > In case some testers want to do that and redo a a speedtest you are
                      > invited to send me your results.
                      > http://www.360image.de/test/smallfoot.htm
                      >
                      > Cheers, Milko
                      >
                      >
                      >



                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Sacha Griffin
                      Then it would be driven by price. They usually only make one size in large production the budget price. Smaller drives are just fractionally cheaper, and the
                      Message 10 of 14 , Dec 1, 2007
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                        Then it would be driven by price.

                        They usually only make one size in large production the budget price.
                        Smaller drives are just fractionally cheaper, and the drive just above it is
                        very expensive.



                        I think the price points are best around 250 gig. If its not for storage..
                        anything you buy will be overkill.



                        Sacha Griffin
                        Southern Digital Solutions LLC - Atlanta, Georgia
                        www.southern-digital.com
                        www.seeit360.net
                        www.ezphotosafe.com
                        404-551-4275
                        404-731-7798

                        _____

                        From: PanoToolsNG@yahoogroups.com [mailto:PanoToolsNG@yahoogroups.com] On
                        Behalf Of John Riley
                        Sent: Saturday, December 01, 2007 10:43 PM
                        To: PanoToolsNG@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: Re: [PanoToolsNG] Best hard disks (RAID array question)



                        I just bought a dual drive enclosure on ebay that I plan to use as a
                        dedicated RAID 0 scratch disk for stitching. Does anyone have
                        recommendations on how large the disks should be as a minimum? Since
                        I won't be using it for storage, I imagine it doesn't need to be
                        huge, but how big is big enough, give or take?

                        John

                        John Riley
                        johnriley@chesnet. <mailto:johnriley%40chesnet.net> net
                        jriley@uscupstate. <mailto:jriley%40uscupstate.edu> edu

                        On Dec 1, 2007, at 8:38 PM, panotools360imagede wrote:

                        > Hi Matt,
                        > >
                        > >
                        > > Alternately you could set up a RAID for your scratch disk with a
                        > bunch of
                        > >
                        > I can confirm that. With all the talk on I/O speed lately I did
                        > install
                        > a hardware Raid0 (striping) with the 2 (80 gig) scratch discs i had
                        > running with my dedicated stitcher box. I also moved the enblend
                        > ,smartblend and autopano plugins to those discs. Turns out that the
                        > speedtest files where finished at 1 min 25 sec as compared to 1 min
                        > and
                        > 55 sec before. It does not sound like much, but its an improvement of
                        > 35% with the same hardware as before. Not bad for a single core 2 ghz/
                        > 3gig ram AMD box. It took less than 10 minutes to do...
                        >
                        > In case some testers want to do that and redo a a speedtest you are
                        > invited to send me your results.
                        > http://www.360image <http://www.360image.de/test/smallfoot.htm>
                        .de/test/smallfoot.htm
                        >
                        > Cheers, Milko
                        >
                        >
                        >

                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • matt_nolan_uaf
                        John, I m certainly no expert, but from what I ve been reading, the smaller the disk is physicall, the faster it will be. Also, it is possible to partition
                        Message 11 of 14 , Dec 2, 2007
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                          John,

                          I'm certainly no expert, but from what I've been reading, the smaller
                          the disk is physicall, the faster it will be. Also, it is possible
                          to partition the disks such that you define the innermost part of the
                          disk as a separate partition and just use that as your scratch disk
                          (called quarter stroking). The speed increase is several fold
                          because the arm has to move much less, and is a much cheaper solution
                          apparently than by so-called very fast disks, where the spec speeds
                          are average for anywhere physically on the disk. But if you have the
                          money, then buying 'very fast' disks (like SAS Cheetah 76GB) and
                          quarter stroking those might be the best you can do. But from what
                          I've read recently, using iRAM disks in RAID 0 is a factor of 10,000
                          faster than the fastest disk, but I've never tried it.
                          http://www.tomshardware.com/2005/12/05/hyperos_dram_hard_drive_on_the_
                          block/page6.html

                          -Matt

                          --- In PanoToolsNG@yahoogroups.com, John Riley <johnriley@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > I just bought a dual drive enclosure on ebay that I plan to use as
                          a
                          > dedicated RAID 0 scratch disk for stitching. Does anyone have
                          > recommendations on how large the disks should be as a minimum?
                          Since
                          > I won't be using it for storage, I imagine it doesn't need to be
                          > huge, but how big is big enough, give or take?
                          >
                          > John
                          >
                          > John Riley
                          > johnriley@...
                          > jriley@...
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > On Dec 1, 2007, at 8:38 PM, panotools360imagede wrote:
                          >
                          > > Hi Matt,
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > > Alternately you could set up a RAID for your scratch disk with
                          a
                          > > bunch of
                          > > >
                          > > I can confirm that. With all the talk on I/O speed lately I did
                          > > install
                          > > a hardware Raid0 (striping) with the 2 (80 gig) scratch discs i
                          had
                          > > running with my dedicated stitcher box. I also moved the enblend
                          > > ,smartblend and autopano plugins to those discs. Turns out that
                          the
                          > > speedtest files where finished at 1 min 25 sec as compared to 1
                          min
                          > > and
                          > > 55 sec before. It does not sound like much, but its an
                          improvement of
                          > > 35% with the same hardware as before. Not bad for a single core 2
                          ghz/
                          > > 3gig ram AMD box. It took less than 10 minutes to do...
                          > >
                          > > In case some testers want to do that and redo a a speedtest you
                          are
                          > > invited to send me your results.
                          > > http://www.360image.de/test/smallfoot.htm
                          > >
                          > > Cheers, Milko
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          >
                        • verifone411
                          Regarding Raid setups. For the original image location and the final finished file location. Does this matter? Should either of these placed on different
                          Message 12 of 14 , Dec 12, 2007
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                            Regarding Raid setups.

                            For the original image location and the final finished file location.
                            Does this matter? Should either of these placed on different disks?

                            disk 1 original images
                            disk(s) 2 temp disk
                            disk 3 final image

                            I doubt readyboost would help any in vista eh? There would be no easy
                            way to go back to xp pro 64 I have vista home premium. If I am going
                            to stick with Vista should I upgrade to the better version of vista? I
                            have a 64 X2 Dual Core 5200+ 2.6ghz and I do not know if it is
                            optimized for 64 bit.

                            Thank you

                            KieranMullen
                          • Georgia Real Tours
                            ... Naturally, the answer depends on your raid setup. ... Might not be so hard, actually, but I d recommend going to the 32-bit XP Pro. There s some nasty
                            Message 13 of 14 , Dec 12, 2007
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                              On 12/12/07, verifone411 <kieranmullen@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > Regarding Raid setups.
                              >
                              > For the original image location and the final finished file location.
                              > Does this matter? Should either of these placed on different disks?
                              >
                              > disk 1 original images
                              > disk(s) 2 temp disk
                              > disk 3 final image

                              Naturally, the answer depends on your raid setup.


                              > I doubt readyboost would help any in vista eh? There would be no easy
                              > way to go back to xp pro 64.

                              Might not be so hard, actually, but I'd recommend going to the 32-bit
                              XP Pro. There's some nasty problems in 64-bit XP, mostly in regards
                              to software issues and driver issues. And in my opinion, the
                              advantages of Vista are outweighed by the shortcomings of that
                              operating system.


                              > I have vista home premium. If I am going
                              > to stick with Vista should I upgrade to the better version of vista? I
                              > have a 64 X2 Dual Core 5200+ 2.6ghz and I do not know if it is
                              > optimized for 64 bit.

                              I seriously doubt you have a 64-bit Vista, but you might. Take a look
                              at this site: <http://www.windows-vista-update.com/Windows_Vista_64_bit.html>
                              for much better info on both Vista and XP and 64-bit.

                              Another option to consider is a Linux distribution (aka 'distro') and
                              install on it a virtualization solution such as VMWare workstation.
                              You can run essentially any other operating system (even Mac, though
                              with some issues) inside a virtual machine, and I'd wager that you
                              could run XP Pro 32-bit inside that vm faster than you could run Vista
                              with Aero directly on the hardware, especially with a distro that has
                              a small footprint in terms of memor and cpu requirements. In my
                              opinion Linux offers the best utilization of your machine's 64-bit
                              dual-core heart. That's a very respectable piece of hardware you
                              have, by the way. Might as well use it to its fullest extent.

                              Obviously, you would initially want to make the machine dual-bootable,
                              or even tri- or quad-bootable if you have sufficient harddrive space.
                              Do that and you'll literally have the best of all worlds and you can
                              have the freedom to choose the best solution available to you at the
                              time you need it.

                              Go ahead... your machine can take it. ;c)

                              Cheers,
                              Robert~

                              --
                              Mid GA: 478-599-1300
                              ATL: 678-438-6955
                              garealtours.com
                            • mrjimbo
                              Howdy, I agree with Robert about staying off Vista.. As far as the Linux suggestion if your comfortable with taking that on go for it.. If that would all be
                              Message 14 of 14 , Dec 13, 2007
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                                Howdy,
                                I agree with Robert about staying off Vista..
                                As far as the Linux suggestion if your comfortable with taking that on go for it.. If that would all be new business for you ..Stick with XP pro..

                                As far as the 64 bit OS.. their are many benefits to it but primarily that's the only way you can address more then 4gb of ram.

                                As far as your raid set up.. either I missed info in an earlier post or you haven't gotten their as yet..

                                Basically their are two kinds of raids... at a high level.. Hardware Raids and Software Raids... The hardware version typically costs more but generally are more trouble free. Beyond that you have to decide upon the interface. Today SCSI is still the fastest over Sata, or firewire I would not suggest considering anything using usb.. I have one machine set up which stripes to two disks for speed followed by mirroring to two more for redundency using 320 SCSI. That for me has proved so far to be my favorite set up. It was a bit spendy. It has proven to be secure and relatively fast. I have two other harware raids using 800 firewire.. Their ok but they are tempermental. I am gearing up to do another workstation and I'm going to replicate the SCSI set up but use Sata with the fastest Seagates I can acquire. Also note I don't have any OS on these drives They are for working jobs and current file and or jobs. One more thought...if you can afford to use a drive bay with trays do so.. Make sure to get an extra set of trays right from the get go.. Down the road when you've filled the drive or drives you can just start using another set to continue..

                                jim
                                ----- Original Message -----
                                From: Georgia Real Tours
                                To: PanoToolsNG@yahoogroups.com
                                Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2007 2:17 PM
                                Subject: Re: [PanoToolsNG] Re: Best hard disks (RAID array question)


                                On 12/12/07, verifone411 <kieranmullen@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > Regarding Raid setups.
                                >
                                > For the original image location and the final finished file location.
                                > Does this matter? Should either of these placed on different disks?
                                >
                                > disk 1 original images
                                > disk(s) 2 temp disk
                                > disk 3 final image

                                Naturally, the answer depends on your raid setup.

                                > I doubt readyboost would help any in vista eh? There would be no easy
                                > way to go back to xp pro 64.

                                Might not be so hard, actually, but I'd recommend going to the 32-bit
                                XP Pro. There's some nasty problems in 64-bit XP, mostly in regards
                                to software issues and driver issues. And in my opinion, the
                                advantages of Vista are outweighed by the shortcomings of that
                                operating system.

                                > I have vista home premium. If I am going
                                > to stick with Vista should I upgrade to the better version of vista? I
                                > have a 64 X2 Dual Core 5200+ 2.6ghz and I do not know if it is
                                > optimized for 64 bit.

                                I seriously doubt you have a 64-bit Vista, but you might. Take a look
                                at this site: <http://www.windows-vista-update.com/Windows_Vista_64_bit.html>
                                for much better info on both Vista and XP and 64-bit.

                                Another option to consider is a Linux distribution (aka 'distro') and
                                install on it a virtualization solution such as VMWare workstation.
                                You can run essentially any other operating system (even Mac, though
                                with some issues) inside a virtual machine, and I'd wager that you
                                could run XP Pro 32-bit inside that vm faster than you could run Vista
                                with Aero directly on the hardware, especially with a distro that has
                                a small footprint in terms of memor and cpu requirements. In my
                                opinion Linux offers the best utilization of your machine's 64-bit
                                dual-core heart. That's a very respectable piece of hardware you
                                have, by the way. Might as well use it to its fullest extent.

                                Obviously, you would initially want to make the machine dual-bootable,
                                or even tri- or quad-bootable if you have sufficient harddrive space.
                                Do that and you'll literally have the best of all worlds and you can
                                have the freedom to choose the best solution available to you at the
                                time you need it.

                                Go ahead... your machine can take it. ;c)

                                Cheers,
                                Robert~

                                --
                                Mid GA: 478-599-1300
                                ATL: 678-438-6955
                                garealtours.com




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