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konut
2006-03-27, 21:45
I have just purchased a Toshiba A105-S2712 http://www.officedepot.com/ddSKU.do?level=SK&id=628458 laptop for use with a Maxtor 250gb, 7200 rpm HD, in an external FW enclosure, as a combination ripper and server for a SB3. The computer came with 512mb of RAM. I can get 2gb of RAM for $184 or 1gb for $92. I've read that RAM above 1gb doesn't really contribute that much to improved performance and speed. Would running plug-ins influence this decision at all? How much RAM should I get?

Michaelwagner
2006-03-27, 22:33
I run slimserver on 2 different machines, a desktop and a laptop, at different times. Both machines have 512Mb. It runs fine with 512Mb. I have another machine with only 128Mb, and it died the one time I tried it.

I'm curious to know why you'd chose a laptop for this. I run it on a laptop because I need a portable system for one application, but it wouldn't be my first choice. Slower hard disks, more brittle hardware, etc.

ceejay
2006-03-27, 23:55
I have just purchased a Toshiba S105-2712 http://www.officedepot.com/ddSKU.do?level=SK&id=628458 laptop for use with a Maxtor 250gb, 7200 rpm HD, in an external FW enclosure, as a combination ripper and server for a SB3. The computer came with 512mb of RAM. I can get 2gb of RAM for $184 or 1gb for $92. I've read that RAM above 1gb doesn't really contribute that much to improved performance and speed. Would running plug-ins influence this decision at all? How much RAM should I get?

Presuming Windows XP?

Mine has 384MB, and its fine until I start running other stuff that eats memory (softsqueeze, musicmagic) when I can get swapping (though it continues to function). I'm sure 512 will be fine.

Ceejay

konut
2006-03-28, 05:56
Running Windows XP Home, I would have preferred Professional, I chose a laptop for size and quietness. Actually I was seriously considering an Intel MacMini, but, as I've never owned a desk top, I don't have a monitor or keyboard and this seemed more of a cost effective solution as well as the peace of mind of using EAC instead of the OSX wannabees. Swapping is what I'm concerned about particularly when running the examples you cite as well as using Foobar and the like.

Michaelwagner
2006-03-28, 06:45
Laptops have slower, sometimes very significantly slower, hard disks. Therefore, in a laptop, everything you can do to avoid input/output, not just swapping I/O but everything, is important. Not just for performance, but also for heat.

Inside a closed box with a whimpy fan, the more time you can run without touching the hard drive, the better off you are.

So you'll want to use the in-storage option for Slimservers database. That takes up some room. You'll want a luxurious I/O cache size.

I run on a 512MB laptop, but if I were buying a new one now, I might upgrade a size to the 1GB.

I'm not sure where the idea came from that memory above 1GB can't be used effectively. It might be true. I don't know. I've never heard it.

But I think you won't need it.

steelee
2006-03-28, 12:06
Windows 2000 had issues addressing ram above 1GB......Xp can address 4GB

Michaelwagner
2006-03-28, 18:24
What sorts of problems? According to MS KB, it works:

http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/platform/server/PAE/PAEmem.mspx


With Windows 2000 Professional and Server, the maximum amount of memory that can be supported is 4 GB (identical to Windows NT 4.0, as described later in this section).

[...]

The maximum amount of memory that can be supported on Windows XP Professional and Windows Server 2003 is also 4 GB.

konut
2006-03-29, 06:57
Laptops have slower, sometimes very significantly slower, hard disks. Therefore, in a laptop, everything you can do to avoid input/output, not just swapping I/O but everything, is important. Not just for performance, but also for heat.

Inside a closed box with a whimpy fan, the more time you can run without touching the hard drive, the better off you are.

So you'll want to use the in-storage option for Slimservers database. That takes up some room. You'll want a luxurious I/O cache size.

I run on a 512MB laptop, but if I were buying a new one now, I might upgrade a size to the 1GB.

I'm not sure where the idea came from that memory above 1GB can't be used effectively. It might be true. I don't know. I've never heard it.

But I think you won't need it.

I got this particular laptop because it had a 533mhz front side bus and 2mb on die cache as well as a 5400rpm HD as opposed to a 4200. But my external HD has a 7200rpm HD. Should I copy XP to the external and boot off it? Or should I install Slim server on the internal and just put the Flac files on the external?

Mark Lanctot
2006-03-29, 08:05
I got this particular laptop because it had a 533mhz front side bus and 2mb on die cache as well as a 5400rpm HD as opposed to a 4200. But my external HD has a 7200rpm HD. Should I copy XP to the external and boot off it? Or should I install Slim server on the internal and just put the Flac files on the external?

No, the external drive has a weak link: its interface, either USB 2.0 or Firewire. As fast as those are, they are significantly slower than the hard drive access speed and would probably be slower than even a 4200 RPM HDD.

Best to install the OS and SlimServer on the internal HDD. It's fine to put the music on an external drive. In fact this makes it very flexible as you can use high-capacity, standard-sized HDDs and it's easier to change if you have to. The external drive access speed is more than adequate for lossless streaming. Even USB 1.1 would have no problems.

Michaelwagner
2006-03-29, 08:26
What he said.

In fact, I'd put the default Slimserver directory on the internal, and in that directory a link to the external.

In one situation, I stream (MP3s) using a USB 1.1 disk. It works fine.

Mark Lanctot
2006-03-29, 09:18
As a comparison:

Streaming, worst-case scenario, uncompressed .WAV: 1440 kbps (that's BITs per second, not BYTES). This will be higher for 48 kHz sample-rate material but that's very rare.

USB 1.0: 1.5 Mbps, that's 1536 kbps, which would barely handle .WAV but is very, very old now.

USB 1.1: 12 Mbps, 12 288 kbps, 8.5X faster than needed.

Firewire, IEEE-1394a, S400 spec: 400 Mbps, 409 600 kbps, 284X faster than needed.

USB 2.0: 480 Mbps, 491 520 kbps, 341X faster than needed.

There are even faster Firewire implementations coming, IEEE-1394b, S800 spec, 800 Mbps and S1600 spec, 1600 Mbps.

Then on to hard drives:

Typical 4200 RPM HDD transfer rate: 20 MB/s (megaBYTES) = 160 Mbps = 163 840 kbps, 114X faster than needed. My statement that USB 2.0 was slower than a 4200 RPM drive was incorrect, but in practice you won't achieve 480 Mbps on USB 2.0. I have an admittedly cheap USB 2.0 external drive that transfers at 850 - 900 MB/min = 14 MB/s = 113 Mbps. Indications are that Firewire S400 will be closer to its spec due to better implementation and should be faster than USB 2.0.

Typical 5400 RPM HDD transfer rate: 40 MB/s = 320 Mbps = 327 680 kbps, 228X faster than needed. Amazingly still slower than what USB 2.0 is capable of, although this would be doubtful in practice.

Typical 7200 RPM HDD transfer rate: 50 MB/s = 400 Mbps = 409 600 kbps, 284X faster than needed. I'm quite surprised that this is still lower than the USB 2.0 spec, but again, these are real-world numbers. It's funny to think that we now have SATA II interfaces capable of 300 MB/s with a drive that transfers about 50 MB/s. ;-) The high-end 10 000 RPM WD Raptors are about 70 MB/s and 15 000 RPM SCSI drives only achieve 80 MB/s. This further reinforces my belief that the hard drive is the slowest part of any computer - by several orders of magnitude!

Sorry if it seems like I'm beating a dead horse here, but I've never crunched the numbers myself and it led to a few suprises, namely that 480 Mbps for USB 2.0 is actually very fast.

P.S. All HDD performance data taken from storagereview.com.

Michaelwagner
2006-03-29, 18:17
This further reinforces my belief that the hard drive is the slowest part of any computer - by several orders of magnitude!
As it has been for several decades.
Actually, the gap has been widening.
The performance cost of a page fault (relative to the other hardware speeds) was higher now than it was in 1975.
I seem to recall that the same is true for the cost of a CPU cache miss, although the disparity is not as high.

And I'd be surprised at real world sustained data transfer rates from any hard drive of 50MB/s. Except from the cache. Which is typically today 8MB, so even if the cache contained everything you wanted and nothing you didn't want, you'd clean it out in 1/6th of a second.

Then you're on to using the mechanical part of the disk. Depending on rotational speed, number of bytes in a cylinder, etc, you can fairly easily (with the relevant stats from a particular disk) figure out theoretical peak data transfer rates. When I did this a few years back, they were *way* slower than the numbers on the box. Almost enough to consider it false advertising.

JJZolx
2006-03-29, 20:14
I have just purchased a Toshiba A105-S2712 http://www.officedepot.com/ddSKU.do?level=SK&id=628458 laptop for use with a Maxtor 250gb, 7200 rpm HD, in an external FW enclosure, as a combination ripper and server for a SB3. The computer came with 512mb of RAM. I can get 2gb of RAM for $184 or 1gb for $92. I've read that RAM above 1gb doesn't really contribute that much to improved performance and speed. Would running plug-ins influence this decision at all? How much RAM should I get?
Are you planning on using the laptop while it operates as a server? If so, I'd probably up it to 1GB. If not, you should be fine. I doubt that you'd have a need for much beyond 1GB unless you're really doing a lot on the laptop. From the Satellite A105-S2712 spec sheet below, it looks like you have two memory slots and they're probably both are occupied since they're dual channel SDRAM. This means that to upgrade to either 1GB or 2GB you'll have to toss your current 512MB.

http://www.csd.toshiba.com/cgi-bin/tais/su/su_sc_outFrm.jsp?moid=1209140&ct=DS&soid=1250685&BV_SessionID=@@@@0056559369.1143687025@@@@&BV_EngineID=ccchaddhgjehhdhcgfkceghdgngdgmn.0

Make sure you buy (guaranteed) compatible memory, two modules. I'd be a leery of anything you can't return. Notebook memory can be particularly tricky to buy, so I'd go through a memory manufacturer's web site and use the online guide (most have them - you choose the manufacturer, then the product line, then the model) to find the parts you need.

Here's Crucial's offering:

http://www.crucial.com/store/listparts.asp?Mfr%2BProductline=Toshiba%2BSatellit e&mfr=Toshiba&tabid=AM&model=Satellite+A105+Series&submit=Go

Here's one I found by following Kingston's configurator:

http://www.buy.com/retail/product.asp?sku=10398857&SearchEngine=PriceGrabber&SearchTerm=10398857&Type=PE&Category=Comp&Gad=0&dcaid=15890

konut
2006-03-29, 20:36
Toshiba sells Kingston memory. The Kingston site, on the page devoted to the A105 S2712, had a graphic detailing that the 2 slots did not have to both be filled by symmetric pairs. The customer service rep I talked to today at OEMPCWorld told me that Kingston does not actually manufacture memory, just certifies it and puts their sticker on it. I was assured that I would be able to use the 1gig stick with one of the 256meg sticks for a total of 1.280gb. Of course it comes with lifetime warranty. Will let you know if this works or not.

Michaelwagner
2006-03-29, 21:19
Cool! Keep us informed.

Mark Lanctot
2006-03-29, 21:24
And I'd be surprised at real world sustained data transfer rates from any hard drive of 50MB/s.

Yeah, getting that number was a bit tricky. Storagereview.com quoted sequential transfer rates as a maximum and minimum, like this: http://www.storagereview.com/articles/200601/250_3.html I kind of eyeballed it and estimated 50 MB/s. Note that the top maximum is 71.3 MB/s and the lowest minimum is 37.4 MB/s, so 50 MB/s overall average seemed reasonable to me.

Getting back onT, anything above USB 1.0 is fine for streaming applications. I wouldn't load an OS on a USB 1.1 drive though.

JJZolx
2006-03-30, 15:41
Toshiba sells Kingston memory. The Kingston site, on the page devoted to the A105 S2712, had a graphic detailing that the 2 slots did not have to both be filled by symmetric pairs. The customer service rep I talked to today at OEMPCWorld told me that Kingston does not actually manufacture memory, just certifies it and puts their sticker on it. I was assured that I would be able to use the 1gig stick with one of the 256meg sticks for a total of 1.280gb. Of course it comes with lifetime warranty. Will let you know if this works or not.
It will work, but you'll take a performance hit. By using different sized modules you give up dual-channel memory access.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dual_channel

From the Toshiba spec sheet:


Memory
- Configured with 512MB DDR2 SDRAM (both memory slots may be
occupied)
- 512MB(min)/2048MB (max), 512MB, PC4200 DDR2 533MHz
SDRAM, dual-channel support requires two memory modules of
same capacity and clockspeed

konut
2006-03-30, 15:59
This will be an interesting experiment then .Not that I do any intensive computer work, First I'll try the 1gig stick by itself. Then add a 256 stick and see what happens. If I don't like the results I'll just go ahead and order another 1gig stick. Thanks for the links JJZ.

konut
2006-04-20, 13:25
I received the 1 gig chip and when I open the laptop to install , lo and behold, there was a single 512 stick in there, but it would not boot with the 1 gig stick or any combination of the original. Kept getting a blue screen error about non AGPI compliance. So I called the called the company and had them send 2 identical 512 sticks. Those would boot, but after a period of time, I'd get a variety of different crashes. So I sent all 3 sticks back and am just using 512 now. At some point I'll try Toshiba for an identical 512 stick.