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Old 06-16-2010, 10:03 PM   #1
paul__dl
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calibre optimal system specs

Calibre is awesome software. But it doesn't seem to run very well on slow computers. This isn't surprising; I've been trying to manipulate a massive database of thousands of files in various formats with a 1.0 ghz Celeron and 1 gig of RAM in a flimsy netbook. It takes forever to do anything -- I got so frustrated that I backed up the database and then cleared it from my hard drive.

So I'm thinking of a new computer, and I'll be trying to get more value and performance by ordering the parts individually and assembling it all at home. I know... a little bit of what I'm doing. One of the significant functions for this new machine will be managing a very large calibre database -- sifting through and organizing files, format conversion so I can view files on the ipod, whatever.

Will I see a significant performance increase in calibre using a CPU with more cores? Does 32-bit vs. 64-bit matter? Is RAM important? Operating system -- can I do okay with Linux, or is one OS better than another for this?

Thanks.
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Old 06-17-2010, 12:22 AM   #2
Worldwalker
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Well, I have a 2.6 GHz AMD of some sort (built this comp so long ago I forgot what I put in it) on a mobo selected for its cheapness, 1 GB of RAM, running WinXP SP3, and I get excellent performance from calibre with a library of about 2500 books. I assume it would be even faster if I were running Linux, but my only Linux machine right now is my netbook, which runs ASUS's mutant custom Xandros (yeah, yeah, I know, put EEEbuntu on it, I will one of these days) and trying to install anything on that strange little critter is too much of a royal pain to make me want to experiment with calibre.
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Old 06-17-2010, 07:00 AM   #3
chaley
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Assuming a restricted budget, with a huge database prefer more memory over a faster processor. SQLite, the database that calibre uses, will cache information in memory if it can, increasing performance by orders of magnitude. In addition, calibre keeps a fair amount if its own information in memory, such as the info in the tags browser.

My guess is that any of the modern processors aimed for desktop/tower machines will do fine. You probably don't need to go over the price knee. Note though that increased processor speed will provide a close-to-linear improvement of conversion times.

On windows (and I think all the other platforms), calibre is a 32-bit app. On x64 machines it runs in compatibility mode. As such, calibre won't push you to 64-bit. What will certainly do so is more than 4gb of memory. What might push you is wanting to run something like Adobe CS5 in 64-bit mode. My wife has Photoshop on x64, and it seems to be faster than on x32. It certainly knows how to use the memory available to it.

If you intend to use the machine to play games, then different considerations come in to play. For example, the graphics card becomes extremely important. I have found the site http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/ to have good descriptions of various hand-constructed machines at different price points. The 'build your own' section is under articles/How to.

I built my latest machine early this year. I run Win7 x32, dual booted with Ubuntu 10 for testing calibre. Components are:
  • Intel Core i5 750 2.66GHz Socket LGA1156 8MB L3 (boxed)
  • Gigabyte GA-H55-UD3H H55 Socket 1156 8 channel audio ATX Motherboard
  • Crucial 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1333MHz/PC3-10600 Memory Kit CL9 1.5V
  • Western Digital WD5000AAKS 500GB SATAII 7200RPM 16MB Cache
  • MSI HD 4350 512MB DVI VGA HDMI Out PCI-E Graphics Card
  • Coolermaster Elite 330 Case With Coolermaster eXtreme Power 460W PSU
  • DVD, cables, fans, etc.

I don't play 3D games, so I low-balled the graphics card.
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Old 06-19-2010, 12:04 AM   #4
paul__dl
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very helpful advice, thanks. I have been using the charts and stuff at tomshardware for speculating... it's just now a matter of finding the time and motivation to focus on it.
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