hardware performance

what sort of performace would i get (in %, roughly) for upgrading from 1) diamond viper 330 to viper 770.
2) ide harddisk to scsi harddisk in win98 (just normal desktop usage)
roylamAsked:
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simonetConnect With a Mentor Commented:
1) Depends a lot on the software. If the software is optimized for the 770, you can get over 100% increase in performance. However, I am not talking only about the factor frames/second. I am talking several factors together that will benefit from the 770 features:

Better rendering engine: better handling of lights, meshing, shading, texture, shapes, etc.

If the software is not optimized for the 770, you'll still get a huge increase in performance, due to ***most*** of the factors above. After all, the 770 is a lot faster than the 330 and the 550. However, the software will not be able to use 770-specific rendering features, which would contribute to a much larger increase in performance.

2) My both HDs in my main machine are SCSI, and I wouldn't trade them for any IDE HD, even if the IDE HD is 4x the capacity of my SCSI HDs. There are several factors that have made me a "preacher" (!) of the SCSI technology:

- While some IDE HDs manufacturers claim that they can reach 33 MB/s, that is burst (peak) speed: the IDE HDs cannot sustain that transfer rate for more than a few milliseconds. OTOH, SCSI HDs can sustain transfer rates of up to 80Mb/s, depending on what SCSI technology you choose (there are currently about 5-6 variants of the SCSI technology)

- SCSI hard-drives are much more reliable: there are much less data errors (in both reading and writing) in SCSI hard-drives than in IDE hard-drives. IDE HDs spend a long time doing error-correction. Even though there is error-checking mechanisms on the SCSI technology, the need for error-correction doesn't happen as ofter as with IDE.

- 1 SCSI controller can control up to 14 devices (depending on the SCSI type). Thus, you do not spend your money on the SCSI controller only for the HD: the same controller also goes for the scanner, CD-R(W), Zip drive, Jaz Drive, etc, etc, etc. All SCSI devices are faster than their parallel/Atapi/IDe counterparts. For instance: the SCSI ZIP drive is over 10x (TEN TIMES!!!!) faster than the parallel Zip drive (I have a parallel ZIP drive at work and a SCSI ZIP drive at home and I have benchmarked both).

- The only advantage IDE HDs have is the price, because they are often 1/2 the price of an IDE hard-drive. But I consider that an excellent investment, and that pays off very quickly when you compare the increase in the overall performance of an SCSI-based system with an IDE-based system.

- The SCSI interface releases the CPU for other tasks. This means that all transfers to/from SCSI hard-drives (as well as Zip drive, Jaz, CD-ROMs, etc) do not need the CPU. Thus, the CPU is free to perform other tasks. IDE hard-drives depend heavily on the CPU, so the system is often "busy" during data transfers. This also contributes to a huge increase in performance on SCSI-based systems.

My main machine (http://www.bhnet.com.br/~simonet/machines.htm) even though is not a high-end machine anymore, still delivers top performance thanks all disk-devices being SCSI (except for one of the CD-ROM drives).

I hope this has shed some light on your decision! Feel free to ask for further explanation if you find it necessary.

yours,

Alex
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roylamAuthor Commented:
alex,

thanks very much for your response.

i've checked your machines.  in fact i've a similar machine.
my machine:
PII 233Mhz , 128 Mb sd-ram
diamond viper 330
6.4Gb fireball HD
32x cd-rom
ISA soundblaster 64 AWE

i'm looking for a way to upgrade my machine such that i don't spend too much money for the extra top-end price while still get significant performance. ie best price/performance.

what do you think i should upgrade?

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simonetCommented:
You have a very good configuration there.

My only suggestion is a new motherboard and CPU.

I also would run a benchmarking tool on the HD to see how it's performing.

Again, even if the HD is still delivering what it promissed,  if you have the money, get a SCSI HD. Only then you'll feel the difference and know what I am talking about.

Back to the motherboard and CPU, the fastest the better, and the price is the only limit. If you use Windows NT, consider a dual or quad-processed system (based on the P-II or P-III).

If you go for the Pentium, be aware that the XEON series deliver much better performance than the regular Pentium II/III, due to the faster and much larger L2 cache.

That's the only thing I'd change on it. But then if you're into games, adding a Voodoo or TNT-based 3D Accelerator (like the Diamond Monter 3D and the RivaTNT, respectively) can mean a great deal of improvement in performance. After I bought a Diamond Monster 3D-II, I starting seeing games with different eyes!!!

So, again, change only the mb and CPU. If you have $$$ to spare, go for a SCSI HD and 3D card as well!

Here's a site where you can find great reviews of hardware, video-cards, etc. They also have good guides on upgrading machines and related subjects:

www.tomshardware.com

Yours,

Alex
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roylamAuthor Commented:
thanks very much for your detailed explaination.
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roylamAuthor Commented:
alex,

just a little update for my upgrade progress.  i went to a retailer and asked for a celeron 466, an converter and a viper 770.  

just celeron 466 and the converter would cost ~ A$210+A$15
but the salesman offered a 'special' deal to me,
1) a brand new Intel CC820 133MHz Motherboard, plus
2) a celeron 466 and
3) a converter

for just A$300 if i trade in for my ASUS P2L97 motherboard and my good old PII 233 MHz.

what do you think of the deal?

roy
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