Ideal Access machine (1 Viewer)

Alc

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We use a purpose built database to track referrals made to and from one of the Canadian banks. Most of the time, it works perfectly, but once a month I have to compile a table of all accumulated data, from which reports can be VERY quickly pulled and sent all over the country. This process involves queries on queries on queries, so is very time consuming. At present, I've got the compilation process running as fast as I can, following tips from this forum and other places, but it still takes up to six hours to complete (down from ten).

My manager has given me the go-ahead to source a laptop soley for storing this database and particularly for running this monthly task. Obviously, there will be other benefits, but that will be the actual intended use.

As someone who knows nothing aout such things, of you Access experts out there were to given the following remit, what would your suggestion(s) be:

The laptop
1. Should start up as quickly as possible.
2. Should be capable to executing Access queries as fast as possible.
3. Should open the other Microsoft Office products and allow them to run as fast as possible.
4. Will not need to provide internet access, allow video or music playback, permit game playing. In fact will not use anything that doesn't involve the Microsoft Office suite of products.
5. Will not need to connect to a network of any kind.
6. Should allow transfer of data to and from it via a USB/Flash drive, for making back-ups, etc.
7. Should have as long a battery life as possible.
8. Should allow backups of the database to be burned to Rewritable CDs.
9. Costs up to a maximum of around $1,000 Canadian.

What sort of processor should I go for? Memory? RAM? Software (other than MS Office)? CD Burner?

I have a vague idea about all of these terms, but I've never tried to 'build' a task-specific device before and I don't want to pay for, or use up memory on, a load of software/applications I don't need.

Any help gratefully received and please remember you're speaking to an idiot ;).
 

gemma-the-husky

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I suspect they will all be much of a muchness.

As much memory as possible for this.

What version of access are you using?

Don't know what others think but personally, i reckon a fast machine with XP might outperform W7, if you are on A2003. You may even have something lying around the office.
 

Alc

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Thanks for the reply.

The problem with the ones we have 'lying around' here is that they have to be up to corporate standard with regards to anti-virus software, etc. The more of that they have installed the slower the damn things run. I've gotten around it a little, by using an old laptop at home. The software is at least two years out of date - from a corporate standpoint - but it runs much faster than the one I use in the office. Since I never connect it to the network, this works fine.

I just figured, if I'm being allowed to buy one specifically for running Access, maybe there was something specific I could look for which would boost that but people might usually avoid, if it slowed down internet access, video games, or whatever.

Oh and yes, I much prefer XP over Windows 7. We are using Office 2003 SP3 and I can't see us upgrading any time soon.
 

Banana

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I would think that the purchase consideration would be basically same as a database server for a big iron software. Namely, you may find a system with fast disk subsystem better suited than one with monster processor & boatload of RAMs. I'd wager that an Access (as well as any other database software) benefits more if it gets to run off a SSD, RAID or other enhancements that basically results in moving more data faster on/off the hard drive.

Bandwidth is another thing, though I believe you can only max out at a 1000 Gigabits ethernet since I strongly doubt Access supports spreading the work across more than one interfaces as some of big brothers does. But it'd be a pity if you only had 100 Gigabits.

RAM is the next thing - more you have of them, the bigger recordsets can be without wigging out with a swap file.

As processor usage goes,I'd think Access is comparatively low-powered because most of time it's twiddling its thumb for the data to come in from hard drives or network lines.

HTH.
 

Alc

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SSD or RAID.

The number of interfaces will be exactly one. The idea is to update using this lone machine, as and when changes are necessitated, then to give everyone their own local copy. One person makes the changes, everyone can pull information out.

Lots of RAM.

Got it, thanks.:D
 

Galaxiom

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This process involves queries on queries on queries, so is very time consuming.
I may be wrong but I saw somewhere that Access optimises the processing of queries on queries across the whole job so maybe it is not necessarily such a bad thing.

However if you are writing temporary tables, updating tables or you don't have enough RAM to hold the recordsets without using the swapfile that will definitely slow things to a relative crawl.

I would be curious to have a look at the nature of the job and what you have done to optimise it if you would post a link to the relevant threads.
 

rainman89

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I would definitely recommend running off of a SSD if you are looking for speed. The boot time alone makes it worth it
 

Alc

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I would be curious to have a look at the nature of the job and what you have done to optimise it if you would post a link to the relevant threads.
I'd love to, if I can find them again. :(

The changes were made over the course of a year or so and I pulled 'facts' from so many sources I'm not sure I'd know where to begin.

I do remember one on here about ensuring there are indexes on all tables involved (I inherited this database and it's not constructed in what I'd think of as a usual way). There was another about avoiding sorting data until the end, that helped speed things up a lot.
 

nahc

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I bought an Asus G73jh laptop (in June 2010) which came with 80GB SSD, a second 500 GB hdd, 8GB Ram (upgradable to 16 GB) Intel I-7 quad core processor. In other words, a gaming machine (the Asus ROG machines) Look at any of the Gaming machines. They have boatloads of Ram, speed and processing power. They have very high end graphics cards as well, which is the only feature, not really needed by Access. My laptop ran about $2500 from Power Notebooks online. It came installed with Windows 7 Pro, and Office Pro 2010.

Get the highest capacity SSD you can. My 80 GB is filling up fast with cursed Windows and Office updates. (8 GB so far --just updates mind you--) I think 160 GB SSD would be adequate with the 500 GB second hdd. (I'm assuming Windows 7 Pro or higher, and Office 2010)
 

Lightwave

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SSD or RAID.

The number of interfaces will be exactly one. The idea is to update using this lone machine, as and when changes are necessitated, then to give everyone their own local copy. One person makes the changes, everyone can pull information out.

Lots of RAM.

Got it, thanks.:D


Alc

Just for the record RAID and SSD are two separate things

RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) is the way storage is organised where as SSDs (Solid State Drives) are an alternative to HDDs (Hard Disk Drives) which are both the actual storage.

You can actually setup SSD in a RAID architecture.

So it would never be SSD or RAID it would be HDDs or SSDs setup in a RAID or a NON RAID architecture.

To a certain extent its irrelevant though because laptops don't normally come with RAID storage.

I personally have heard nothing but good things about SSDs over HDDs so I'm keen to go with an SSD next time. I am told SSDs are going to transform storage but there may be reticence for major providers to push SSDs because they have so much manufacturing tied into the production of HDDs

On the downside SSDs are said to be more expensive / and have lower capacities. Chances are this likely to be more of an issue if you are doing media / graphics. You can get hybrid systems.

RAID can be used to guard against disk failure in very important server applications and it can be used to maximise speed of service for Input / Output for hard disks drives with applications which need greater speed. To do this they often use stripping which is a technique unlikely to make such a difference when using SSDs because of the fundamental difference in the way the two types of storage work.
 
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nahc

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Lightwave said:
I personally have heard nothing but good things about SSDs over HDDs so I'm keen to go with an SSD next time. I am told SSDs are going to transform storage but there may be reticence for major providers to push SSDs because they have so much manufacturing tied into the production of HDDs
There's a tremendous performance increase with SSD. But they are still relatively expensive. In a world of Windows 7 (or higher) and Office 2010 (or higher), where you are given no choice on where to install updates, be prepared to have 10-40 GB dedicated to updates. If you have the Page File on the C: drive, and System Restore etc, also active, then alot another 40 - 80 GB of space. Amazingly, Windows and Office installation files will only use about 15-20 GB of storage. That is why an SSD C: drive needs to be relatively large. I'm squeaking by with 80GB, only because I don't have the page file on C:, nor do I have System restore active. (I make image backups instead) Plus I install EVERYTHING possible on the 500 GB D: drive. That is why I recommended at least 160 GB SSD for a modern system. Those are running close to $300 right now.
 

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