Tyan S2895 unhappiness

Discussion in 'Tyan' started by Richard, Jan 28, 2007.

  1. Richard

    Richard Guest

    It's been just over a year now that I had this very expensive computer
    built for me and frankly it has been very disappointing.

    The board is fitted with a pair of dual core Opterons, 6G of ram, four
    of the fastest Seagate SCSI drives, and a pair of Raptors in a raid 0
    configuration to provide a scratch disk for Photoshop CS.

    This computer was built to just run Photoshop as fast as possible, but
    it has not lived up to expectations. It is a dual boot with XPPro32 and
    64. I generally run it in 64 bit mode. I find that when doing tasks,
    it often simply seems to stop running Photoshop and two entries then
    appear in the task manager window showing both 'not responding' If one
    waits some minutes the situation will generally correct itself. Very
    frustrating when one has a deadline to meet.

    I am also experiencing instances of warning of a failed write, and this
    sometimes happens when saying a file. There is then nothing to be done
    but to close down and loose ones work. Sometimes the only way out is
    to simply turn off the power. I often find that when closing down
    after a session that it will not close down after getting to the closing
    down screen.

    The computer has been back to the builders but they cannot find anything
    wrong with it.

    Any help would be very much appreciated.

    Many thanks
     
    Richard, Jan 28, 2007
    #1
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  2. Richard

    Richard Guest

    In his posting of Sun, 28 Jan 2007, Richard writes
    Just as a follow-up. I'm using the on board SCSI. Photoshop is being
    used with no added plug in filters and no additional fonts, so it should
    have every chance to perform well. No other applications are running
    when PS is working.

    Thanks if you can help me.

    Cheers
     
    Richard, Jan 28, 2007
    #2
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  3. Richard

    Paul Guest

    Can you reproduce the problems on demand ? If you could, then you could
    give your builders a demonstration. And then they couldn't claim there
    was nothing wrong. A second thing that would help, is recording exact
    error messages, collect evidence from the Event Viewer (where the
    errors may also be logged).

    A dual socket system is certainly more complicated, so you pay for
    the performance, with a machine that takes more effort to operate.
    And I suspect you've already learned a lot about operating your
    machine, so I'll be repeating things you already know. Note that
    the following has nothing to do with your error conditions, but
    is just for performance tuning.

    1) Have you installed Dual Core Optimizer ? This may not make any
    difference to you, but you should investigate why it is necessary.
    At this point, I don't know how many cores you have on the box.
    And I'm not a dual socket expert, so I don't know under what
    conditions this should be used. The second link is an (unnecessarily)
    long thread about optimizing Athlon64 systems with more than one
    core - it has been some time since I've read it.

    http://www.amd.com/us-en/Processors/TechnicalResources/0,,30_182_871_9706,00.html
    http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=81429&page=23
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/896256/en-us

    2) Do you know what "affinity" is in a multi core environment ? That
    is for forcing an application to stay on one core. Some applications
    only play nice, when you hit them with a hammer. So far, I've never
    seen affinity and Photoshop used in the same breath, so knowing
    about affinity may be more applicable to other applications you're
    using.

    3) In terms of RAM configuration, I'd be investigating what memory config
    allows the fastest timing and clock to be used on the RAM. On Athlon64
    systems with unbuffered memory, this would be two sticks per processor
    socket. This allows DDR400 rate to be used, and Command Rate 1T setting,
    for best memory bandwidth. Registered systems may be different, in terms
    of being adversely affected by four sticks per socket. I don't know
    if you use Command Rate 2T with four registered sticks or not.

    You might also want to read this article, which discusses various
    interleaving options. At least one interleaving option should be
    disabled for best performance.

    http://www.digit-life.com/articles2/cpu/rmma-numa.html

    In terms of places I'd go looking for help (either passively or
    actively) are:

    http://forums.2cpu.com (This one is populated by people who use dual
    socket motherboards. To use the search engine,
    you have to register. They also use fancy storage
    subsystems, so RAID questions are also a reason
    to visit there.)
    http://www.k8we.com (I discovered this one, from reading 2cpu.com.
    I don't know if there is anything of value here
    or not. The threads I see there now, seem to
    involve slapping 8800 video cards on your
    motherboard.)

    http://www.adobeforums.com (I don't understand how this forum works, but
    at least you'll find some Photoshop users here.)

    As for your problems, everyone has their own favorite approach to
    problem solving. If I was a Photoshop user, being paid for the jobs I can
    complete, then my first priority would be building an environment,
    any environment, that works. Playing with more exotic setups, I'd leave
    for the weekend. So, in your shoes, I'd be looking for a RAM configuration,
    OS choice, which doesn't piss off the I/O devices. To me that implies:

    1) Drop down to 4GB total RAM. 2x1GB per processor.
    2) Disable memory hole.
    3) Use WinXP 32 bit edition. With luck, Photoshop gets 3GB max. Tune
    memory utilization for less than that.
    4) Now maybe the drivers for WinXP will work a bit better, using the
    same crappy environment everyone else is using. A 64 bit environment
    and I/O drivers, are not always the best of friends.
    5) Or alternately, find someone who knows how to fix 64 bit systems
    and get dual socket motherboards to work :)

    I understand Photoshop has a tuning parameter, which is how much RAM
    to grab. It could be that some of the problems are related to memory
    management, but I don't know enough about Photoshop and your other tools,
    to even guess at what to do. And as is usual with Photoshop questions,
    a search engine seems to be useless for finding solid tech info
    on Photoshop. If I wanted to know how to use a filter, or to use
    layers, I could probably find an answer. But computing related issues
    seem to be almost invisible when I search for them.

    I don't see a SCSI card mentioned in the K8WE manual, so I assume
    it is something you've added. When you get delayed write
    failures, are they occurring on the SCSI side or on SATA ?
    What SCSI card have you got ? And what is the model number
    of the Opterons you are using ? A Google search using the
    name of the SCSI controller, might turn up something.

    Paul
     
    Paul, Jan 29, 2007
    #3
  4. Richard

    BC Guest

    Dear Richard and Paul,

    models S2895UA2NRF and S2895UA2NRF-RS have built in SCSI:

    Integrated SCSI Controller (option)
    • LSI 53C1030 U320 SCSI controller
    - Two U320 68-pin SCSI connectors
    - Connected to PCI-X Bridge B

    http://www.tyan.com/products/html/thunderk8we.html

    From Adobe's web site:

    ***
    High-capacity RAM compatibility

    Make the most of systems running 64-bit processors. Photoshop CS2 can
    address approximately 3.5 GB of RAM on a Power Macintosh G5 running Mac
    OS X, a Windows XP 64-bit Edition system running an Intel® Xeon™
    processor with EM64T, or an AMD Athlon™ 64 or Opteron™ processor.
    ***

    I do not see any mention of a 64 bit compatible version of PSCS2 on
    their web site: just Win2K and XP SP1 and 2....

    Looks like there will *not* be a 64 bit version for a while:

    http://blogs.adobe.com/scottbyer/2006/12/64_bitswhen.html

    Lots of discussion there....

    http://news.com.com/2061-10791_3-6146229.html

    Hmm, I do NOT run CS2 (um, Elements? Sorry....) but could it be that
    the problem is in Adobe's program not taking advantage of the resources
    available to it, and not the Tyan? That's the impression I get from
    reading some of these articles....

    So, as Paul mentioned, maybe checking in to a Photoshop forum and
    comparing notes there would be of benefit.

    HTH and good luck,

    BC
     
    BC, Jan 29, 2007
    #4
  5. I'm wondering why you think this is a hardware problem. I see similar
    problems with other programs on my dual Opteron (XP64, S2892, not dual
    core, and not nearly as loaded as yours). I also saw similar things on
    my last computer, which was an Asus with an Athlon 64 and Win2K. Based
    on what I see I would expect this to be either a problem in Photoshop
    itself or a driver issue. One possibility is that the hardware is
    outrunning the software. We had that problem back in the K6 era (or
    maybe it was K5). Windows had software timing loops that were OK for 66
    MHz, but didn't work at 100MHz. AMD caught a lot of flack and had their
    reputation damaged, but it was Windows that needed to be, and was,
    fixed. I'd like to think that programmers learned a lesson and now use
    'test for finished' methods rather than software timing loops, but I
    doubt that that is the case.

    Martin
     
    Martin Shoemaker, Jan 29, 2007
    #5
  6. Richard

    BC Guest

    Dear Richard,

    looks like tweaking CS2 is quite an art.

    From Adobe's web site:

    *Troubleshoot system errors or freezes in Photoshop (CS2) on Windows XP*

    http://store1.adobe.com/cfusion/knowledgebase/index.cfm?id=327946

    Perhaps a triple boot system?

    Possibly a clean install of XP32, with minimal drivers and add ons, like
    the above article mentions would allow CS2 to work a bit better.

    Paul mentioned 4GB of RAM, 2G per processor: the most any of my machines
    has is 2GB, but, I read of a lot of issues with people trying to use
    even 4G, and being frustrated by their inability to do that. Maybe the
    hardware is exceeding the software's abilities with that much RAM?

    HTH,

    BC
     
    BC, Jan 29, 2007
    #6
  7. Richard

    Richard Guest

    In his posting of Mon, 29 Jan 2007, BC writes
    Guys

    My apologies for the delay in getting back to you all and thanks for
    your suggestions. I am fighting some deadlines at the moment so it may
    be a day or so.

    Cheers

    Richard
     
    Richard, Jan 30, 2007
    #7
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