The more work I do inside Virtual Machines, the more I think my PC is coming ripe for an upgrade. An addional factor is the amount of Photoshop work I've been doing lately, including our annual photo albums.
For Christmas each year, Abi binds a set of albums, and we fill them with a selection of the best photos we've taken of Alex and Fiona. I don't normally do much retouching of the images, but when Liza visited us earlier in the year, she enlightened me about the proper use of levels, curves, and colour balance. I've been practicing with these tools since then, and they are enormously useful. However, doing the photo albums is the first time I've used them for full-page, 600dpi print work. That means images of 6400 x 4100 pixels, and it doesn't take too many of them to kill teh snappy.
So I'm pondering a few upgrades for Frankenstein:
- AMD Athlon64 X2 (dual core) processor. Dual core is gooood. The 4400+ is the sensible choice, I think. The 4800+ is too expensive for too little added benefit. The 3800+ is cheaper, but given that the 4400+ has both a speed bump and twice the L2 cache, the cost difference is probably worth it.
- Asus A8N-SLI SE motherboard. A new CPU means a new motherboard, unfortunately. This one supports all the features I need, and is reasonably priced.
- 256Mb Gigabyte PCI-E Geforce 6600 with SilentPipe (GV-NX66256DP). A mid-range card, because I'm not overly concerned about gaming performance (although it should certainly be good enough for another year or so). However, a chunky integrated heat sink allows it to run without a fan. Another option would be the higher-spec 256Mb Asus PCI-E EN6600GT-Silencer, but I'm not sure if it's worth it. Given how I use the PC, less money on the graphics setup means more money to go on the CPU.
- 2GB DDR400 RAM. Lots of memory is gooood. 2GB would allow me to run several virtual machines at the same time.
Hmm. Next year...