The translator's computer for 2017
Thread poster: Algis Masys

Algis Masys
Local time: 18:12
Member (2009)
English to Lithuanian
May 3

Hello colleagues,

so after 7 years of reliable work my old custom-built workstation (X6 1045t + 16 GB RAM) is maxed out and getting slow. I'm considering an upgrade: a new motherboard + CPU + RAM.

Obviously, no less than 16 GB RAM, but what kind of CPU? It seems that Studio is only using one CPU core, so should I think about something that has good single-thread performance for a decent price?

Or maybe the idea of a partial upgrade is no good? In the market there are "true" off lease workstations for reasonable prices, such as HP Z820. Usually those have plenty of reliability and upgrade potential (e. g. up to 512 GB of RAM), so might last for another 5 years or so.

What would you recommend? Thanks!

P. S. I already have a laptop for travel, the docking station and etc. This is about desktops.

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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:12
English to Spanish
+ ...
HPZ600 here May 4

I still run all my Windows applications on an 'old' Lenovo IdeaCentre 310 (I think) that I purchased new in 2011. It runs on 16 GB of RAM, has one 1 TB internal HDD, and also runs 2 external USB drives (3.0 USB).

I did buy a reconditioned HP Z600 desktop tower, a beauty. Love the modular design; that's what I call intelligent interior design. But this is my backup desktop system and I have yet to use it, since the Lenovo is still working fine (i7 Intel processor).

If you run Windows 7 Pro, operating Trados SDL, Dragon NaturallySpeaking dictation software or other CAT tool, plus multitab browsing and MS Office applications, 16 GB of RAM should be more than enough. More RAM doesn't necessarily translate into faster or better performance. And a 1 GB video card is a necessity.

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Roy OConnor
Local time: 03:12
Member (2009)
German to English
Are your drives slowing you down? May 4

About 8 years ago I configured my own PC using an Intel Core 2 Quad 9300 with a striped and mirrored RAID array of hard discs. A recent clean install of Windows 10 was successful. Studio 15 runs fine and I will be changing to Studio 17 soon.

So in your case I reckon you have plenty of CPU power for translation operations. I should take a look at your hard discs to see if you can improve things there. Office-type specifications are normally OK for translating, unless of course you want to play a video game or watch a film while you work!

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Algis Masys
Local time: 18:12
Member (2009)
English to Lithuanian
SSD and RAM May 5

I doubt the drives are slowing me down: the system disk is a fast Intel SSD, and the regular HDDs are basically used for backup. However, when I work in Studio 2017 and larger PDF files, my laptop with i7 3720QM feels *way* faster (load times, pretranslations, auto-populations), so I was thinking that it's related to single thread / core performance, or just a better system design (hats off to mobile workstations). The same is with XTM - the difference between the two PCs is really noticeable.

Speaking about RAM, surprisingly the hoggers are browsers. To work on a specific project, I always have to have several browsers (not tabs) active, so the Firefox + Chrome alone end up using multiple gigabytes of memory. If you keep Gmail tab on for a while it can end up in 800 MB or even more.

There is this old joke about the 747:

– What is the takeoff distance required for a 747?
– It will take the whole runway.

So the browsers are pretty much the same. No experience with Dragon NS though: it is useless for my language.

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Cristiana Coblis  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:12
Member (2004)
English to Romanian
+ ...
New system May 5

For what is worth, I would go for a new system and have someone build it to your specifications. There's nothing like a custom built desktop.
We run several desktops and laptops in the house and the difference in speed and general running is very noticeable between systems built 3 years ago and systems built now. The difference comes from everything, including processor, SSD, RAM; cooling etc.
I use Intel processors on all computers and I noticed a significant difference between gen 5, gen 6 and gen 7 processors.

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