Studio and Processors/RAM
Thread poster: Huw Watkins

Huw Watkins  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:44
Member (2005)
Italian to English
+ ...
May 27, 2016

My PC died recently and, oddly, so did my laptop - all in the same week. I am therefore in the process of selecting specs to have a PC built for my translating work.

I was wondering if anyone knew much about the technical aspects of Studio and how well it works with multiple cores/threads and so on. The reason I ask is that I am trying to finalise my choice of processor, among other things.

Assuming we are talking latest generation (6 - skylake), if I go for an i3 e.g. the 6320, I get two cores at pretty high gHz frequencies (3.9 gHz) with 4 threads I believe. If I went for an i5, I'd get lower frequencies off the bat, but there's an automatic over-clocking built in that boosts speed as required (turbo frequency - they go from 2.7 to 3.3 on the i5 6400 for example). There are also 4 physical cores for the 4 threads.

I'm leaning towards the i3 because of the low power consumption (i.e. less heat), however would I be better with the i5 specifically for use with Studio? Is Studio code developed in such a way that it makes better use of multiple cores or would a faster single/dual core be better suited?

I ask partly because I am currently using a laptop on loan which has a 2nd gen i5 processor. It's a pretty well built and well maintained machine (borrowed it from a computer repair shop while my laptop is being fixed), but SDL Trados Studio 2014 is really pushing it. I notice that over time Studio keeps using more and more RAM to the point that it eventually crashes. There are 4GB onboard this which should be ample really (maybe not?). I do tend to use the DGT TMs (usually one per project) which are pretty big, an MT plugin, plus my own TMs. However this shouldn't be making Studio that resource hungry should it? It can easily be using 2+ GB of RAM and it used to use this on my PC too. Obviously I'll put at least 8GB in the new build.

Any thoughts from the more technically minded out there? I am a little limited in this respect.


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 19:44
Member (2004)
English to Thai
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Statistics of crashes of Studio May 27, 2016

I suggest you to observe reports on crashes of Studio. I roughly summarize as failure of RAM, Internet connection, TM searches.

Therefore, I am prone to larger RAM size, not processor performances. In fact, in my PC, 4GB RAM with Dual-Core CPU is sufficient for rather large volume jobs e.g. 1-2 GB file size projects and Trados Studio 2015.

Soonthon L.


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Walter Blaser  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 13:44
French to German
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Storage access speed is more important than the CPU May 27, 2016

Huw

In my experience as a long-standing user of Studio, I consider the disk access speed to be the most important component that influences performance.

Using a SSD instead of a magnetic hard disk can make a huge difference in response times. Ideally, if you buy a new computer, try to get a PCIe-based SSD and not one that is attached via the SATA interface because the PCIe-based ones are much faster (1-1,5 GB/sec. instead of 500 MB/sec.)

For the rest, I would make sure you have at least 4 GB of RAM, preferably 8 GB and personally, I would go for a core i5 and not an i3, which I consider a bit weak for this kind of professional usage.

Walter


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Huw Watkins  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:44
Member (2005)
Italian to English
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TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Walter May 27, 2016

Some sound advice there!

It hadn't even occurred to me to look into PCI Express SSDs, I was eyeing up the sata variety.

Anyway thanks again for your feedback.


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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 13:44
English to Polish
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... May 28, 2016

SSD for the system, programs and data (everything basically), and good RAM quality (for stability), speed and size. Notably, while you shouldn't need heatsinks on RAM the same way a gamer does, it could still be a good idea to get your memory with a decent cooling solution to avoid overheating and stability loss from long sessions.

Re: CPU, don't skimp in the motherboard first of all. CPUs are far easier to replace than mobos, especially considering that OEM licences for Windows attach to mobos. So a good mobo is your priority. As for the CPU, you can buy a top-of-line i3 or even the 'Pentium' first and switch to a top-of-line i5 or even i7 later, when they get cheaper and if you feel you need such an upgrade at all.

CPUs are more technologically advanced than software is, and CATs aren't the most advanced software out there.

FYI, my current CPU is a Core2Duo from 2008.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:44
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
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Storage speed far more important May 29, 2016

You are dealing with databases, and building fuzzy match candidates takes very many accesses to one or many translation memories. I would worry much more about data media access (fast hard disk or SSD) than the processor. What we consider today a regular processor is far more powerful than an expensive processor five years ago. If anything, I would also consider the speed of the memory system, caché, etc., but I also feel that does not have a big impact in our case.

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Huw Watkins  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:44
Member (2005)
Italian to English
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Thanks for all your feedback Jun 1, 2016

So SSD and RAM a priority over processor (without skimping there) - gotcha thanks.

I have been pricing up half decent Mobos (around the mid range of £50 to £70), processors, psu, and relatively high spec ram and am coming out at a very reasonable £250 to £300 price range including VAT. This increases up to £300 and over depending on the cpu. I have an SSD already purchased ready to go in, but would need to get a tower on top which is not expensive at all for a plain one.

Here are the specs for anyone interested:

Asus B150M-C motherboard.
Intel i3 6320 CPU. (3.9 GHz), considering i5 or i7, but honestly I think this 6th gen i3 is quite a beast in itself.
HyperX Fury series 8 2133 mHz RAM (8 gb card), possibly double up on those to 16gb (there are plenty of slots in the mobo). (DDR4)
Corsair VS550 psu.

The SSD I currently have is the Samsung 850 EVO 500gb.

That said I have also noticed the Intel NUC build-your-own barebones mini computers too. I've always quite liked towers because of the heat handling and you always get more bang for bucks with processors etc. But last year's 5th generation i7 nuc comes in at £366 (amazon warehouse deal). There is something about this little machine that appeals - it's portability for one. The basic kit is the unit itself (with fan and psu), mobo and CPU.

I assume it houses a laptop processor, but the RAM and M.2 PCi Express SSD would make it pretty fast (you buy those on top).

What do people think? It'll push the project price up a couple of hundred pounds, is it worth it?

There are ways to bring the price down - go for last year's i5 or match the price above with this year's i5.

This year's 6th gen i7 NUC is also out, but very pricey at the moment (over £550 for the barebones kit).

[Edited at 2016-06-01 13:33 GMT]


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Henning Holthusen  Identity Verified
Philippines
Local time: 20:44
English to German
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Careful with the SSD Jun 6, 2016

One thing that should be pointed out is that if an SSD experiences an unexpected power-loss event - i.e. if the power fails suddenly, or if you hit the reset button, or if the OS screws up somehow with the hibernation function etc. - this can corrupt and lock the SSD.

Good SSDs have some kind of power-loss protection, but to what degree varies greatly.
To my knowledge, Crucial is the only company that has a hardware-based (capacitor-based) power-loss protection. Samsung's is purely software-based.
Both of them only protect data-at-rest, not data-in-flight, so both of them still pose a (small) risk of data corruption, in particular if you do things like pull out the power cord during the boot-up phase.

Judging from the user reports on Amazon, it appears (as one would expect) that the risk of sudden SSD failures are lower for Crucial (e.g. the MX200) than for Samsung.

It is always absolutely critical to have a backup solution which regularly backs up your work to an external harddrive, as well as an alternate workstation which can be powered up ready to go in case something happens to your primary computer/SSD.
The overall failure risk for SSDs is still substantially lower than for mechanical harddrives.

You can check the number of unexpected power loss-events your SSD has experienced in the SMART log.

[Edited at 2016-06-06 13:50 GMT]


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Henning Holthusen  Identity Verified
Philippines
Local time: 20:44
English to German
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Intel SSD 730 even better Jun 6, 2016

I just checked and it looks like the Intel SSD 730 has even better power-loss-protection, with large capacitors protecting even data-in-flight.
It is substantially more expensive than a similarly sized Crucial MX200, though.


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Huw Watkins  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:44
Member (2005)
Italian to English
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TOPIC STARTER
Maybe go the whole hog then? Jun 8, 2016

Henning Holthusen wrote:

I just checked and it looks like the Intel SSD 730 has even better power-loss-protection, with large capacitors protecting even data-in-flight.
It is substantially more expensive than a similarly sized Crucial MX200, though.


Sounds like Intel is the way to go. I could always put the Samsung SSD I have in my wife's (or mine if I get a replacement) laptop (where sudden power drop offs are mitigated, on the whole, by the battery) and go for an Intel.

That said, maybe this is an opportunity to incorporate Walter's advice too and go for this, leap frogging the 730 to the 750:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Intel-SSDPEDMW400G4X1-400GB-solid-state/dp/B0153P9SEK/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1465406558&sr=8-4&keywords=Intel%20SSD

I may have to have another look at compatibility with the Mobo then in that case. Perhaps it's time to go back to the drawing board; scrap the idea of a Nuc and back to a beast of a PC tower.


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