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I used to frequent madonion (now called futuremark these days) but the StackExchange community has been so helpful with my web development questions, I thought I'd give the superuser-section a try in regards to my hardware questions.

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I run Adobe's Creative Suite 5 (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Flash, etc...) with 2 or 3 of each open at a time. I've started running my own WAMP as I'm getting into PHP, and I quite frequently produce/edit music with a smidge of video editing here and there.

I'm curious if anyone has any insight on whether spending around $700 (I can sell my current hardware + a spare video card for about $250 to a friend) would be worth it, to go from my Q6600 2.4 @ 3ghz w/ 4gb ddr2, to a i7 920 2.67 @ 4 w/ 12gb ddr3...

I haven't formatted in a while, but I feel my machine getting sluggish--with dreamweaver, photoshop, itunes and 20 tabs open... it sometimes pauses for 3 seconds before a copy/paste command will go through, or it doesn't register my mouse movements in photoshop for a few seconds... and then ends up goes nuts, and I have to wait... and then undo. Very annoying.

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Basically, I just want to not be impulsive here (it being black friday,) and want some other opinions... this Q6600 replaced my dual-Opteron setup that died on me about 2 years ago... and I'm beginning to feel my computer get sluggish; still pretty good performance, but I like to blast iTunes, Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver w/ live code, Quicktime, run WAMP and have 40 tabs open.

I already had to upgrade my 7800GT to a GTX470 to run Photoshop CS5 (CS3 was the last generation that ran alright, seeing as all the successors required GPU acceleration for any sort of respectable performance.)

So to summarize...

For $500, would you upgrade from a Q6600 4gb ddr2 to an i7 920 12gb ddr3 ? I thought about just formatting my machine, getting a SSD hard drive and enjoying a hopefully noticeable $150 upgrade... but I'm not sure what to do.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

In a word, yes. The RAM alone should help speed things up, and the i7 is ridiculously quick, especially with that cache. SSD might not live as long as you'd like, considering the type of applications you run.

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I ordered the i7 950 along with 6gb of ddr3 (and of course a new motherboard, which ended up being more expensive than I thought)... after my friend buys my old rig, it'll end up costing me $430; not bad--I'll get the other 6gb of ram soon :) Thanks Randolph, and Newegg! –  Julian Lloyd Nov 25 '10 at 3:55

Refer to this. IMHO, I won't go for SSD but processor upgrade yes.

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Why not go for SSD? –  Mircea Chirea Nov 25 '10 at 5:39

Photoshop especially loves lots of memory, and i7 is stupidly fast per clock, let alone with 4 cores each being able to run two threads. A good SSD will also have a massive impact on the speed; I recommend OCZ Vertex 2 or Corsair Force - there use the SandForce controller, which is currently the fastest in random access, the life is not even remotely an issue.

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