[gis_info] GIS Computers & Laptops

Jayson Steele stealthgis at live.com
Thu Jun 27 10:33:47 PDT 2013

All this talk of Computer systems, DELL this, Lenovo that,
Toshiba, HP, SONY……….......

I decided to put in my 2 cents, so to speak. And give my advice to the
community in hopes that it will benefit a few people. Quick line about me: I’m a Gamer, I’ve been doing IT Support for over 15 years, and GIS
since 2005. 

To ALL, 


Remember were using GIS Applications that require a little
more performance than the average user in an office, more like a “Gaming” Level
Performance, so don’t go for cheap, you pay for what you get. You want a $500
dollar system, this day in age that’s fine; it can do GIS and CAD. If you add
$1K to it, it will do it very well for a lot longer.

I would try to stay away from the Main-Stream systems at the
store, they are generally built with cheaper large mass-produced products.
Fry’s Electronics at
least has enough of a variety to sport decent Off-The-Shelf systems. 

You should go to the company’s site, and “Choose” what goes into the system you’re
buying, make it how YOU want it for what YOU'RE doing.

Or have the ability to tell your IT folks that you want a much better system than
the secretary down the hall.

Custom systems are always better, you get to pick "Exactly" what goes in your system so then you can choose what brand of what goes in; what model, what features, what specifications, etc... Along with OEM OS’s that do NOT have a
company’s “Flavor” of the OS with their extra stuff on it.

Drivers from the manufacturer of the device are ALWAYS
better than the ones from the maker of the System. Like you have a NVIDIA
graphics card, go to NVIDIA for its drivers not HP, or DELL, or whoever.

Also, you can do a little system configuration to get some
more performance out of what you have. Look into “CACHE” settings, and where it
stores it. The internet can tell/show you how.

You may have a decent system already, but poor graphics, not
enough RAM, etc…..all it takes is one thing to make a system slow, or have
issues.  IE: You could have a nice Quad
CPU, 8GB RAM, SATA3 HD, and then use the built on graphics, guess what…….all
the graphics is now being done by the CPU and slows system performance down.

SSD’s are faster, and a little more durable, but if they
have an issue and break, data recovery is extremely difficult compared to a
normal Hard Disk. Another reason why I reccomend having multiple drives, and backing up data.

When picking out a system, don’t skimp on one piece of a
system, unless you plan on upgrading later.

OS and CPU’s:

If you plan on running x86 or 32-bit Windows, then the CPU doesn’t really

If you plan on running x64 or 64-bit Windows, then the CPU DOES matter.
Multi-core will work, but you want one that has 64-bit Architecture to utilize
the CPU and software that supports it to its full potential.

You can run a x64 OS on a 2-core 32-bit Architecture, it will split the data
stream in half.

If you run a x64 OS on a 2-core 64-bit Architecture, you will have 2 Full data

ALSO, if you run a x86 or 32-bit OS, It caps the SYSTEM RAM MEMORY
at 4GB, which INCLUDES the Video RAM.


I would recommend getting the “best” CPU the Mainbored Supports. (No need to
upgrade later)

If you have 4 slots for RAM, get the Fastest Speed it supports and 2 decent sticks
for now so you have the option to Upgrade Later to get the most from your current

Video Cards are always upgrading, you can get a decent one now, and a great one

For Hard Drives:

You want the OS drive to be LESS than 500GB, 320GB or Less is recommended,
because of how much the OS accesses the drive along with other applications,
anything larger is designed for a Storage Drive.

Also, Multiple Drives can drastically improve your performance, by disabling
the Page/cache Files on the OS drive and setting it for the second drive. Installing
your applications on the second drive, and using your working files on the
second or even a third drive will help as well.

Most of the time the CPU is “Waiting” for the Hard Drive to Read the data and
send it to the CPU, RAM is basically temporary storage that has a much faster
transfer rate to the CPU than the Hard Drive.Some LAPTOPS support TWO Hard Drives. Also for Laptop users, some have a built-on card reader, when you get a card for it get one with a HIGH Speed Rating for data transfer like CLASS 10 or UHS 1 or higher. You can get a 64+GB Card and use it as a second drive.

I have a “12 YEAR OLD” system, TWO Single Core x64 Architecture
CPU’s, 160GB HD for the OS and TWO 320GB HD's in RAID 0 (Striping, Both of them
act as 1 drive for Speed).  I have
upgraded the RAM, and replaced the Video Card 3 years ago. It is STILL just as
fast as some of the systems on the market today because of the setup and
configurations, even though it is "12 Years Old".

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <https://omls.oregon.gov/pipermail/gis_info/attachments/20130627/abd5677f/attachment.html>

More information about the gis_info mailing list