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Beta testing Windows 7 - Part7 (Photoshop Benchmark)

With the Windows 7 test system running, it's time to see what it can do. Keep in mind that the total cost for just the hardware (less the Antec Skeleton case) was around $525. I went over to Adobe and downloaded the 64-bit trial version of Photoshop CS4. The following is an excerpt from Adobe's knowledge base article '64-bit Operating System benefits and limitations in Photoshop CS4 (Windows)'

Opening 32-bit and 64-bit versions

Photoshop installs a 32-bit and a 64-bit shortcut into the Start Menu. If you need to manually run the application, the 32-bit version is the photoshop.exe file, in the Program Files (x86)/Adobe/Adobe Photoshop CS4 folder, and the 64-bit version is the photoshop.exe file in the Program Files/Adobe/Adobe Photoshop CS4 folder.

Third party plug-ins

Third party plug-ins written for 32-bit versions of Windows will not work when you run the 64-bit version of Photoshop. If you need to use plug-ins that haven't been updated, run the 32-bit version of Photoshop. When you are done using the plug-ins, close the 32-bit version, and run the 64-bit version. Contact the plug-in manufacturer for information about any updates.

Processor speed and Photoshop operations

Although the 64-bit version of Photoshop will speed up some operations, it won't speed all of them, nor will it speed the operation equally. Generally, operations will run approximately 8-12% faster. Overall, processor speed is not the main advantage of using the 64-bit version.

RAM use

The primary advantage of using the 64-bit version is to access amounts of RAM beyond what Photoshop can access when the 32-bit version is run. You can take advantage of more than 4 GB of RAM only when you are on 64-bit Windows, using 64-bit Photoshop. If you use files large enough to need more than 4 GB of RAM, and you have enough RAM, all the processing you perform on your large images can be done in RAM, instead of swapping out to the hard disk.

This table lists the amount of RAM available to Photoshop with the different versions of Windows:


Photoshop Version

Windows Version

Maximum amount of RAM Photoshop can use

32-bit

32-bit

1.7 GB

32-bit

32-bit

3.2 GB

64-bit

64-bit

as much RAM as you can fit into your computer

Now with the two different versions of Adobe Photoshop installed (32-bit & 64-bit) it was time to find a benchmark test. I found DriverHeaven Photoshop Bench V3. I ran the tests as instructed and here's the results:


DriverHeaven Photoshop Bench V3

Intel Core2 Quad 8400

Intel Core2 Quad 8400

64 bit

32 bit

Texturiser

1.5

1.8

CMYK

1.2

1.3

RGB

1.4

1.5

Ink Outlines

20.4

21.0

Dust & Stratches

2.0

2.0

Watercolor

20.3

21.0

Texturiser

1.6

1.6

Stained Glass

13.3

12.6

Lighting

1.8

2.0

Mosiac

9.5

13.0

Extrude

83.4

98.4

Smart Blur

58.9

58.1

Underpainting

21.7

24.1

Palette

17.2

18.4

Sponge

28.3

28.4

Total

282.5

305.2

As you can see, the 64-bit version was, on average, 7% faster than the 32-bit version. To compare the results of the Windows 7 test system with other systems, please click here and look for my name 'Scott St. Gelais'.

I have now shown you the pros and cons of 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Adobe Photoshop CS4 running on Windows 7. Which version would you choose?

Till then,
Scott


Beta testing Windows 7 - Part6 (software overview)(Video)

In this video, I give an overview of the key features that I built the Windows 7 test system to evaluate, Quad-cores, 64-bit operating systems / applications and Virtualization Technology (Virtual Machines).

Till then,
Scott

Beta testing Windows 7 - Part5 (BIOS and installation)

I finished assembling the Windows 7 test system in about three hours. The wring for the Antec Skeleton case proved to be a challenge. But I was ready for it, as the Antec P-180 I have also has a unique wring layout (the power supply is located at the bottom of the case, instead of the top, as with most mid-tower designs).

Click here to see it in operation

I was a little taken away the first time I started it up. The 250mm multi-led fan on top does a great job of cooling and looks very cool when running. Still photos just cannot capture the look of this system in operation. So I am creating a video of the system running and will post the link here to it on YouTube when it's finished. The first thing I did was go into the system BIOS.

Windows 7 test system BIOS screen 1

The Main screen shows that the Intel Core2 Quad Q8400 processor has 64-bit architecture and Core Multiplexing Technology is enabled.

Windows 7 test system BIOS screen 2

The Security screen shows that Intel VT and Intel VT for Directed I/O is enabled. We are ready to load up Windows 7 RC1. I booted to the installation DVD, started the install and had it done in about 20 minutes.

Windows 7 test system System Properties dialog box

The System properties dialog box shows the system type as the 64-bit version. I am ready to load some software.

Till then,
Scott


Beta testing Windows 7 - Part4 (Antec cases)

Antec cases have always been a great investments, as I have owned several. They range from ...

Antec AT Server Tower
a old Antec AT Sever Tower, circa '97-98,
Antec Mid-tower
Antec Mid-tower
Fuax Stone and Chalkboard
of course the Faux Stone and Chalkboard is one,
Antec P180
and my Antec P180, with dual air-flow chambers

I guess it won't be a surprised when I tell you I decided to go with Antec. Their designs are terrific. And the latest one is sweet. It's called the Skeleton. Click here to see it in operation.

Here's the specifications on it:

Case Type Open Case Design
Color Metallic Silver
Dimensions 13”(H) x 14.8”(W) x 16.5”(D)
33.02 (H) x 37.6 cm (W) x 41.9 cm (D)
Weight 15.5 lbs / 7 kg
Cooling 1 x Super Big Boy 250mm Multi-LED Fan
1 x 92mm Hard Drives Fan
Drive Bays 2 x Quick Release 5.25” Bays
2 x Quick Release 3.5” Bays
4 x Externally Mounted 3.5” Bays
Motherboard Size Mini-ITX, MicroATX, Standard ATX
Front I/O Panel 1 x IEEE 1394 Firewire
2 x USB 2.0
1 x eSATA
AC’97/HD Audio In and Out

It's build time.

Till then,
Scott

Beta testing Windows 7 - Part3

Well, I went shopping and here is what I came up with. I like to utilize local vendors when ever possible, but this system had a processor requirement that I could not find cheaply from my favorite vendor. I wanted a Quad-core processor that has Virtual Technology (VT). I also want to be able to assign programs to cores (very cool!). I did a little research and found the Intel Q8400 processor a good match. It has Quad cores, Virtual Technology and was the cheapest I could find in-stock locally. My first stop was at Fry's Electronics where I picked up a ...

Intel Q8400
Intel Core 2 Quad Q8400

I then went over to my friends at Technology Partners Inc. where I picked up the rest of the components (less the case, that's coming). Here's the list of parts:

Intel DG41RQ Motherboard
Intel DG41RQ Motherboard
Buffalo DDR2 PC6400
Buffalo DDR2 PC6400 Memory (2gb x 2)
Microstar NX8400GS
Microstar NX8400GS Video Card
Western Digital 3200AAKS
Western Digital 320 gb Hard Drive
Liteon 24x DVD-RW
Liteon 24x DVD-RW
iMicro 500 watt Power Supply
iMicro 500 watt Power Supply

All these components have standard specifications, except for the motherboard. Taking in to consideration that I am going to use a 64-bit operating system, I need to have a larger amount of memory. By using a 64-bit operating system, I am also getting past the 4 gigabyte memory limit that plaques 32-bit. The Intel DG41RQ has a maximum memory capacity of 8 gb (2 x 4gb). Since 2gb modules are rather inexpensive, I decided to go with 4gb of memory (2 x 2gb) for right now.

Since Windows 7 is built on Windows Vista, finding drivers was simple. Both manufacturers, Intel and NVidia, both have Windows 7 32 and 64-bit drivers on their web sites.

I guess it's time to built this system. But I still need a case. I think I'll go see what Antec has been up to.

Till then,
Scott

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