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RAM or GHz: Can Hardware speed up Studio 2011?
Thread poster: Jan Kruse

Jan Kruse
Germany
Local time: 00:48
Dutch to German
+ ...
Jun 19, 2013

Hello,

after installing Trados Studio 2011, I face some capacity problems with my laptop-pc. Sometimes it takes very long to open or safe projects or translation files, or perform other tasks in Studio, like starting the program, searching larger TMs, making new term entries...
Don´t think of periods long enough to brew more coffee here, but of those little delays, which can be annoying...

I don´t have these speed problems with Trados 2007 installed on the same machine, which is

Pentium Dual-Core CPU, 64 bit
2.20 GHz
3 GB RAM
Windows 7, SP1

Would more RAM speep up processes or do I have to think of a new laptop-pc with >2.5 GHz?

Thanks!
Jan


 

Jacques DP  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 00:48
Member (2003)
English to French
General answer Jun 19, 2013

Hi Jan,

I use Studio 2009, not 2011, and I have a very different setup anyway (working on a Mac with 12GB RAM), but in general I would guess that indeed adding more RAM will help! It's very cheap as well. The clock speed (GHz) by itself is not a very large factor, especially if you only go from 2.2 to 2.5.

PS: You may also want to look if your system uses the hard disk a lot when it becomes slow. If so then adding RAM is most likely to help. Given the ridiculous price, I would add a lot of it, not just 1GB.

[Edited at 2013-06-19 15:24 GMT]


 

Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 00:48
English to Russian
+ ...
Yes, but not as the first line of defence Jun 19, 2013

First of all, the clock frequency by itself says nothing. Pentium Dual Core is a pretty old CPU, and a new i7 would run circles around it at the same clock frequency. You need to look at the benchmark data for the specific CPU model, e.g. here.

Personally, I would suggest the following sequence of actions:
1. Reinstall Windows if you haven't done so in the last year or two. Repairing the installation won't help, you need to back up your data, wipe out the disk partition and install from scratch, then restore the data.
2. If it doesn't help, look at memory consumption (there are various tools avaiable on the net, but you can start from the Task Manager built into Windows) and watch out for intense paging activity (i.e. continuous disk thrashing while a process is busy doing something), which is a sign of insufficient memory. Generally, 3 GB should be enough, but if in your situation it isn't, add more. Remember that for anything over 3 GB you need either 64-bit Windows, or a special kernel patch for the 32-bit one (this one is unofficial and unsupported, but works fine, I've had it on my system for a couple of years).
3. If it still doesn't help, return the memory to the shop and buy a new computer.

[Edited at 2013-06-19 15:38 GMT]


 

Orrin Cummins  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 07:48
Japanese to English
+ ...
Don't forget about the HDD Jun 19, 2013

They are still quite pricey (in my opinion) for laptops, but I wonder if an SSD drive would make the most difference. Surely it would make more difference than +300Mhz. It seems to me that at some point the bottleneck is not going to be the CPU or RAM, but rather seek times to long-term storage - especially for disk-intensive operations like saving and opening files.

That said, my 2.4Ghz i5 laptop with 6GB RAM handles everything in Trados 2011 very fast (with only a 5400rpm HDD), so your issue might be more RAM related than anything. I really doubt that the CPU is the bottleneck though.


 

Jan Kruse
Germany
Local time: 00:48
Dutch to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I will try... Jun 19, 2013

Hi,

thank you very much for your quick replies. I will follow your advices step by step!

Regards,
Jan


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:48
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Maximum RAM Jun 19, 2013

Jacques DP wrote:
In general I would guess that indeed adding more RAM will help!


I'm under the impression that some applications have a maximum amount of RAM that they will use, regardless of how much RAM is actually available. The OP's question probably is: does Studio have a maximum RAM usage, and if so, what is it?

My computer has 6 GB of RAM, and Studio is sluggish on it. I have to minimise/maximise the window every time I go to another view in Studio, otherwise the display in Studio takes forever to refresh and I end up seeing some of the toolbars double.

Added:

I just did a quick test by creating a new memory and then importing 2 GB of TMX files into the memory. During that entire operation, Studio never used more than 150 MB of RAM, even though I have 6 GB of RAM. Studio did not take advantage of my extra RAM to perform the import task quicker. What's more, when I clicked "Cancel" in mid-import, Studio took several minutes to cancel the task and respond again. So, more RAM does not help with Studio, it would appear with this short test.



[Edited at 2013-06-19 18:26 GMT]


 

IrimiConsulting  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 00:48
Member (2006)
English to Swedish
+ ...
SSD is the way to go Jun 19, 2013

I strongly recommend switching to an SSD drive (solid state drive, i.e. no moving parts, faster throughput, shorter seek times). Regular hard drives are the only components in today's computers (apart from fans), and they are the bottlenecks in almost every modern computer.

Your computer will boot faster and open programs faster. You will not regret it, but it's not for the faint hearted (or computer illiterate).


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:48
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Faster opening versus faster operation Jun 19, 2013

IrimiConsulting wrote:
I strongly recommend switching to an SSD drive ... Your computer will boot faster and open programs faster.


Well, I don't know how often the OP reboots, but I don't reboot more than once or twice a day (maybe five times, on a particularly bad day). An SSD will reduce the boot time from e.g. 120 seconds to e.g. 60 seconds. That represents a saving of 2-3 minutes per day (or 5 minutes on a bad day). And the time spent waiting for the computer to boot up can be spent usefully and pleasureably in front of the coffee machine.

As for starting up programs, well, the "slowness" in a CAT tool often has to do with operation long after the program was started (moving from one segment to the next, doing TM look-ups, etc). It helps little if my CAT tool can start up in 30 seconds instead of 60 seconds if the performance of the program during translation is just as slow as always.


 

Orrin Cummins  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 07:48
Japanese to English
+ ...
It's all about moving data Jun 20, 2013

Samuel Murray wrote:

IrimiConsulting wrote:
I strongly recommend switching to an SSD drive ... Your computer will boot faster and open programs faster.


Well, I don't know how often the OP reboots, but I don't reboot more than once or twice a day (maybe five times, on a particularly bad day). An SSD will reduce the boot time from e.g. 120 seconds to e.g. 60 seconds. That represents a saving of 2-3 minutes per day (or 5 minutes on a bad day). And the time spent waiting for the computer to boot up can be spent usefully and pleasureably in front of the coffee machine.

As for starting up programs, well, the "slowness" in a CAT tool often has to do with operation long after the program was started (moving from one segment to the next, doing TM look-ups, etc). It helps little if my CAT tool can start up in 30 seconds instead of 60 seconds if the performance of the program during translation is just as slow as always.




It's not just opening programs and boot times, though. For example, consider the short test you mentioned above. You imported 2 GB of files into Studio (which means they had to be accessed on the hard disk), but Studio never used a lot of RAM. I cannot tell you exactly what goes on behind the scenes in Trados, but isn't it entirely possible that the reason that Studio didn't use a lot of RAM is that it was sitting there waiting for the slow HDD to provide the data?

Imagine that you have a very large bucket, a small bucket, and a sink. The large bucket pours water in the small bucket, which then pours water into the sink, with the goal of filling the sink with water. If each bucket poured water at the same flow rate, then obviously the small bucket would be the bottleneck in the whole operation, and the speed with which you could fill the sink with water would be limited by its size. But what if the large bucket pours water very slowly and the small bucket pours water very quickly? Then, the size of the small bucket is no longer important - increasing its size will not help you fill up the sink any faster. The only thing that you could do is to try to increase the rate at which the large bucket pours water.

This is, in essence, the idea behind an SSD drive. You target the slowest link in the chain for an upgrade to see the biggest improvements (mechanical parts will always move much slower than electrons). Still, the realized benefits of an SSD over mechanical hard drives will inevitably depend on the particular application and the types of operations it uses.

[Edited at 2013-06-20 04:21 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-06-20 04:43 GMT]


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:48
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
RAM too short Jun 20, 2013

Your safest bet is always to increase the RAM as the first solution. However, more memory is useless if your operating system cannot address it: check whether your OS is 32-bit or 64-bit. If 32-bit, check whether you can move to 64 bits in order to be able to address more memory, and then get more memory. Microsoft publish limits for phisical memory here.

Defragmenting your hard disk and see whether this improves things is also a good idea. Often your disk is fast enough, but is heavily fragmented so you don't enjoy its full speed. I find that Disktrix's UltimateDEFRAG is quite handy, although not freeware. It will defrag nicely for 30 days so that you can evaluate the improvement.


 

Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:48
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
UltimateDEFRAG and PC specs Jun 20, 2013

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Often your disk is fast enough, but is heavily fragmented so you don't enjoy its full speed. I find that Disktrix's UltimateDEFRAG is quite handy, although not freeware.


That's interesting, Tomás. Just wondering, do you have to tweak it much to get the spectacular results advertised on Disktrix's website or do you use "simple mode"?

Going back to the OP's question, I run Studio 2011 with an i5 processor and 4 GB RAM. I've had it for almost 3 yrs now and it's starting to show. It's definitely slow opening and processing very big sdlxliff files, although I almost never get out-of-memory error messages. I've read elsewhere that an i7 processor, 8 GB RAM and an SSD (where you should save your TMs) gives very good results with Studio.


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:48
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Good question Jun 20, 2013

Emma Goldsmith wrote:
Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:
Often your disk is fast enough, but is heavily fragmented so you don't enjoy its full speed. I find that Disktrix's UltimateDEFRAG is quite handy, although not freeware.

That's interesting, Tomás. Just wondering, do you have to tweak it much to get the spectacular results advertised on Disktrix's website or do you use "simple mode"?

We have been using the Auto mode, but in its options, disable the "Very fast placement" checkbox, or it will leave gaps in the disk. Also drag the Fast/Faster/Optimum slider to Optimum. That should yield a quite OK result.


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:48
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
SSD: are we recommending it too happily? Jun 20, 2013

In my opinion we are recommending SSD files too happily here.

While a SSD might be good for situations in which you do not write much to the disk, like installing an operating system or software, using it permanently for translation memories (which make intense use of indexes and databases and hence require numerous write operations for each segment you save) and CAT projects in general might quickly reduce the SSD's lifespan.

It is important to remember that SSDs have a limit in the number of writing operations, while a hard disk can be used for writing virtually forever, i.e. until some mechanical component breaks --something that happens really rarely; only twice in my 25+ years using numerous personal computers-- or until the disk becomes obsolete, or too slow/small for your needs. A disk that is regularly decluttered and defragmented will serve you for a long time, while an SSD's lifespan will depend on how intensely you use it.

When recommending the use of a SSD, I think it would be fair to mention that they are not comparable to hard disks, and that have their limitations.


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:48
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Booting time is irrelevant Jun 20, 2013

Samuel Murray wrote:
IrimiConsulting wrote:
I strongly recommend switching to an SSD drive ... Your computer will boot faster and open programs faster.

Well, I don't know how often the OP reboots, but I don't reboot more than once or twice a day (maybe five times, on a particularly bad day).

I agree. My main computer gets booted about twice per month.


 

Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:48
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
Agree: SSD with caution Jun 20, 2013

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

In my opinion we are recommending SSD files too happily here.

While a SSD might be good for situations in which you do not write much to the disk, like installing an operating system or software, using it permanently for translation memories (which make intense use of indexes and databases and hence require numerous write operations for each segment you save) and CAT projects in general might quickly reduce the SSD's lifespan.

It is important to remember that SSDs have a limit in the number of writing operations, while a hard disk can be used for writing virtually forever, i.e. until some mechanical component breaks --something that happens really rarely; only twice in my 25+ years using numerous personal computers-- or until the disk becomes obsolete, or too slow/small for your needs. A disk that is regularly decluttered and defragmented will serve you for a long time, while an SSD's lifespan will depend on how intensely you use it.

When recommending the use of a SSD, I think it would be fair to mention that they are not comparable to hard disks, and that have their limitations.


I agree: I had to replace my SSDs with conventional harddiscs after seeing that they deteriorated rather quickly. Things may have changed in the meantime, though (this happened some years ago).

My 64 bit PC has 16GB RAM and conventional HDs - no complaints about speed.

Indeed, with the SSDs, it booted a lot faster, but I agree with you here as well, Tomás: This is largely irrelevant. My PC is booted once every few weeks. Wakeup from hibernation was faster with SSDs as well, but indeed this is quite irrelevant as well.


 
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