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New computer or not


#1 User is offline   Hammy 

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 06:54 PM

My machine is ahh 5 years old and counting. Going on six i think...

Of course, a new machine starts up really fast...maybe 1-2 bars at the Windows screen pass by? Now... i'm at 10 bars that scroll by...and i'm wondering when it is usually time to upgrade?

I don't know if i'm really pushing my luck here because i wouldn't be able to hear the HDD making whatever strange noises it would make, so thats out.

I was told by other computer grus that a SSD might be the way to to have a few things on it, however....my 80 gig HD does get filled fast over the spam of a...err i mean span of a few months...Downloading Anime and all.

My original plan was to build a new rig with RAID HDD's on the latest SATA speeds. While I know SSD's are more pricey than a regular HDD, SSD's are better usually?

My main question is if i simply just buy a SSD and install it on this comp, would it make loading windows any faster or there are other things involved that make windows load slow? Such as aging ram / chipsets / vid card / cpu?

I'm just hoping to not have to spend an arm and leg on a new rig that'll do me good for another 5 years....unless i really have to...

Thanks in advance



#2 User is offline   Drew 

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 08:22 PM

Having no idea what your budget allows, as the Toy Rimmer and head geek at Ewa Beach, I would strongly recommend a MacMini. $699 US Dollars gets you a 320GB hard drive, 2GB RAM and an onboard optcal drive. For $20 more you can hook it up to HDMI interface on your TV. Not to mention the fact that there are very few Mac viruses out there so you don't need to run that unneccessary software. Just my 2 cents worth.
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#3 User is offline   Shark Bait 

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 09:57 PM

when u got your computer windows ran fine with the hardware you had. you haven't changed your hardware and you haven't changed windows so that means its something else. over time your computer gets filled up with ...crap...basically. what i would do if i were you id backup everything you need and do a completely fresh install of windows. essentially bringing your computer back to how it was when you first got it. That will cost you nothing to see if it fixes your problem. The second thing I would try is upgrading your memory. That may also help you run faster and is relatively cheap. If none of that gets you where you want to be THEN you can look at a new system.

As for the SSD stuff. I don't know. I don't know much about it. By what I have read though it doesn't seem worth it yet to me. Too expensive. Also SSD's that use flash memory have a limited number of writes over the life of the drive. SSDs based on DRAM do not have a limited number of writes. So u gotta watch what you get I guess. IMO it seems like SSD's are great...in a few more years. Like I said though, I don't know tons about them.

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#4 User is offline   ACFan 

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 10:59 PM

I agree with Surffie -- stay away from SSD drives for a couple more years until they finish getting the bugs worked out and hardware / os support is more widespread.
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#5 User is offline   Rilbur 

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 11:31 PM

The 'big advantage' of SSD drives -- the good ones, anyways, not the flash ones -- is that they don't have moving parts. This makes them vastly more reliable, mechanically speaking. They just won't break down as often.

For the time being, the price you pay, and the limited HDD space you get from them, makes them completely not worth it, IMO.



#6 User is offline   TomasG 

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 01:23 AM

I have been building my machines for quite awhile now, needing a new machine I didn't really feel up to building another one so I decided to buy one. This is what I bought: (it arrives this Thursday the 24th)

Processor & Memory:

* AMD Phenom™ II 1055T Six-Core Processor (2.8 GHz)
* AMD® 760G+SB710 Chipset
* 16GB DDR3 Memory

Drives:

* 2TB SATA II Hard Drive
* 22X DVD±R/RW
* Front Panel 19-in-1 digital multimedia card reader

Graphics:

* Integrated ATI Radeon™ HD 3000 series graphics from AMD

Communications:

* 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN

Audio:

* 8-CH High-Definition Audio CODEC
* Keyboard & Mouse:
* USB Desktop Keyboard
* USB Mouse

Expandability (total bays/slots):

* 2 x 5.25" Exposed (1x occupied)
* 1 x 3.5" Exposed (1x occupied)
* 4 x 3.5" Hidden (1x occupied)
* 1 x PCIe x16

1 x PCIe x1
* 2 x PCI



Ports:

* 8 x USB 2.0 ports (2 Front, 6 Rear)
* 6 x Audio ports
* 1 x DVI port
* 1 x VGA port
* 1 x HDMI port
* 1 x PS/2 keyboard / mouse port
* 1 x RJ45 network port

Operating System:

* Genuine Microsoft Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64-bit

Price tag $799.99


Now I can retire one of my older machines to just being for email. :)

Take Care
TomasG


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#7 User is offline   MotherHusky 

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 03:06 AM

View PostHammy, on 21 February 2011 - 06:54 PM, said:

My machine is ahh 5 years old and counting. Going on six i think...

Of course, a new machine starts up really fast...maybe 1-2 bars at the Windows screen pass by? Now... i'm at 10 bars that scroll by...and i'm wondering when it is usually time to upgrade?

I don't know if i'm really pushing my luck here because i wouldn't be able to hear the HDD making whatever strange noises it would make, so thats out.

I was told by other computer grus that a SSD might be the way to to have a few things on it, however....my 80 gig HD does get filled fast over the spam of a...err i mean span of a few months...Downloading Anime and all.

My original plan was to build a new rig with RAID HDD's on the latest SATA speeds. While I know SSD's are more pricey than a regular HDD, SSD's are better usually?

My main question is if i simply just buy a SSD and install it on this comp, would it make loading windows any faster or there are other things involved that make windows load slow? Such as aging ram / chipsets / vid card / cpu?

I'm just hoping to not have to spend an arm and leg on a new rig that'll do me good for another 5 years....unless i really have to...

Thanks in advance

One factor you should consider is whether or not you want to stay with your current operating system, or learn a new one. If you are on X86 platform, you are either running Windows or Linux. If Linux, you can probably keep your current distribution, though you may need to hunt down drivers. On Windows, you probably will NOT be able to keep XP, as your old system is most likely an OEM install, and none of the hardware manufacturers are supplying XP drivers any more.

If it were me, I would follow the instructions above about doing a complete re-install. However, I would also suggest not only upgrading the memory, but also the HDD, since you can do the new install onto a new drive almost as easily as onto the original. I would NOT go for RAID, as most of the Windows RAID options are SOFTware, meaning the CPU has to do the calculations and striping. Hardware RAID devices are available, but are much more costly. Get a 500G or 1TB hard drive, and a matching or larger size external drive for backup. That way, if you have a failure, the likelihood of total loss is minimized. If your machine is truly about 5 years old, you already have SATA, just that it may not support 3.0Mb speeds. Even so, all SATA drives are backward compatible, and will run on the older slower ports. Hell, I have SATA ports on a board from a build in 2003. If you ARE stuck with only IDE/PATA, then you will be limited to 500G Western Digital for a maximum hard drive.

If you're on a Mac platform, then you might as well go for it. A 5 year old Mac is most likely still PPC based, and the newer ones can run Mac OS-X, Linux, or Windows.

I also agree with the above comments regarding SSDs. They are way too expensive for the sizes they offer, although they are faster. They are best used for OS and program files that do not change, a write nearly once situation. So you will still need a conventional HDD as well. Or you could get the Seagate enterprise level combination drive that adds an SSD buffer with "smart" firmware to keep the most used files on the SSD. Again, not worth the additional expense, IMHO.

Fixing up your old computer will probably cost a little more than half what a decent quality new one would. So it really does come down to what you really want from it. Good luck.




#8 User is offline   Shark Bait 

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 06:33 AM

View PostTomasG, on 22 February 2011 - 01:23 AM, said:

I have been building my machines for quite awhile now, needing a new machine I didn't really feel up to building another one so I decided to buy one. This is what I bought: (it arrives this Thursday the 24th)

Processor & Memory:

* AMD Phenom™ II 1055T Six-Core Processor (2.8 GHz)
* AMD® 760G+SB710 Chipset
* 16GB DDR3 Memory

Drives:

* 2TB SATA II Hard Drive
* 22X DVD±R/RW
* Front Panel 19-in-1 digital multimedia card reader

Graphics:

* Integrated ATI Radeon™ HD 3000 series graphics from AMD

Communications:

* 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN

Audio:

* 8-CH High-Definition Audio CODEC
* Keyboard & Mouse:
* USB Desktop Keyboard
* USB Mouse

Expandability (total bays/slots):

* 2 x 5.25" Exposed (1x occupied)
* 1 x 3.5" Exposed (1x occupied)
* 4 x 3.5" Hidden (1x occupied)
* 1 x PCIe x16

1 x PCIe x1
* 2 x PCI



Ports:

* 8 x USB 2.0 ports (2 Front, 6 Rear)
* 6 x Audio ports
* 1 x DVI port
* 1 x VGA port
* 1 x HDMI port
* 1 x PS/2 keyboard / mouse port
* 1 x RJ45 network port

Operating System:

* Genuine Microsoft Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64-bit

Price tag $799.99


Now I can retire one of my older machines to just being for email. :)

Take Care
TomasG




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#9 User is offline   Hammy 

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 05:19 PM

wow...thanks guys for the fast response....kinda surprising lol...

Drew - Sorry but I really don't build Macs =P My budget for a nice rig...well... maybe about $1500, i really don't know yet because I want to try a reformat.

SG - doh! didn't think of that. clean wipe and re-install. It does make the most sense. I also have 2 gigs of Ram as I usually go overboard on Ram most of the times =)

AC and SG - ok, stay away from SSD's for now, not a problem lol

Even so the collective junk gets freed up, to date i've had a vid card crash upon start up at least 5 times since and thought it was normal. That's happened during boot up and once in a while during game play. The other issues were a BSOD related to windows and most common right now... my chipset fan is failing. I wonder if it's just the dust that i need to simply get a can of compressed air and air out the system. I'm really tempted to use my air gun, but that has moisture and water in it so that's out.

Besides, i was told that HDD's don't last for more than 5 years? I really don't know the actual life times of each component, but I guess it varies per person.

I'll keep updating this when i get to a reformat.



#10 User is offline   Rilbur 

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 11:42 PM

Quote

Besides, i was told that HDD's don't last for more than 5 years? I really don't know the actual life times of each component, but I guess it varies per person.


There will be a huge per-person variant in all hardware specs. A regular user can probably expect his CPU to last 7 years; a power user somewhat less, especially if they overclock. (As often as an overclocker upgrades anyway, the loss in lifespan from overclocking is probably a non-issue, amusingly enough). I don't know anything about HDD lifespans, but it's been a while since I had one die from use on me (not so long since I had one die from design flaw, though)



#11 User is offline   Iluvantir 

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 07:24 AM

Hammy - I am like you in that I've never used a Mac and am a little nervous of going over to one. For the price of $1500 I would expect you to get a fairly decent PC, but that price would not cover the same power for a Mac due to the difference in costs.

However, if you can find a Mac that would do the same as what a $1500 PC would cost, you'd find it far more reliable. And I have been informed that Macs last longer, don't go out of date as fast, can run the same as a PC these days and you'd be so used to it in a month or so that you'd wonder why you ever used a PC.

But, they cost, so let's look at what you have now.

It sounds to me like your harddrive needs cleaning out, and that your memory might need upgrading. Let's try the easiest first. I will list a few freeware programs that I have found work wonders:

http://www.piriform....leaner/download - CCleaner. This cleans all bits and pieces that get left over after you install or uninstall programs, when you delete items, etc. Cleans and repairs the registry, which can slow down your PC if not done often, and even defrags - but don't use its Defrag. For that, get:

http://www.mydefrag.com/ - MyDefrag - another free program, and fast as you could want. FAR better than the onboard defrag that comes with Windows, and even AC - a Die Hard Mac user - has used this on his Macs and says it's worth it. This is fairly cross perpose. I believe it even works on Linax (sp?).

Now, download those and use them, the CCleaner first, then the MyDefrag second.

However, as Sharky/Surfy said, if you've not run this type of stuff before or often, then you MAY need to save what you want saved to a seperate drive, wipe the PC completely and reinstall Windows to clean it up altogether. If that is what's needed, so be it - BUT, once you've reinstalled, put the above two programs in and run them regularly. CCleaner I use once a month. MyDefrag can be used daily, weekly or monthly - it has three seperare "Optimise" settings. It also has "Anilize" and plain "Defrag", but I use Opitmise. It orders your programs in the best way for your harddrive.

Also, get Anti-Spyware programs - like Ad-Aware and Spybot Search and Distroy. Both free and both have a brilliant track record for keeping little nasty bugs out of your system which can, as we know, slow things up and destroy everything.

Upgrades after 5 years isn't a bad thing, mate, but do the above first. If it helps but still could be faster, THEN you know you have to fork out the hard earned dollars for parts, or even for a new PC altogether - but I would, in that case, still recommend you go for a Mac. You'd not be disappointed. And this comes from a Die Hard PC user! :)

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#12 User is offline   Rilbur 

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 05:21 PM

Quote

However, if you can find a Mac that would do the same as what a $1500 PC would cost, you'd find it far more reliable.


That used to be true, but isn't anymore.

WARNING: TECHNICAL SHIT AHEAD! Windows Vista and Windows 7 solved the number one stability issue with windows -- third party drivers. I don't remember the exact number, but something like 80%+ of windows XP blue screen errors were caused by third party drivers (I don't have statistics regarding hardware faults, but I suspect hardware issues cause a good chunk of the remaining 20%). Microsoft got tired of being blamed for these, so starting with Windows Vista, they instituted new policies with a very Big-Brother like hand. If you want your drivers signed, you must provide them in both 32 and 64 bit versions (Windows XP had a 64 bit version which no one used because it didn't have any driver support). Additionally, they have to be constructed according to a very strict framework, which allows Microsoft to break them down into specific components, and then test each individual component to insure that no possible combination of valid inputs could cause an invalid output. As a result, if a driver had a problem that could theoretically crash it, that flaw can be automatically detected, and the certification denied. Finally, Windows Vista and above incorporate some additional technology that lets them recognize a driver problem and reset the driver without bringing down the entire OS (this is specifically for graphics drivers, which is why you sometimes see the screen 'flicker' to black momentarily, but I think they extended it to all drivers). This can still crash a program, but the result is that you aren't as likely to take the OS down.

As a technical / power user, I usually run into more than my fair share of blue screen errors. Windows 95, 98, 2000, and even XP, I had them all, and I crashed them all -- often. As of my upgrade to Windows 7, I have had exactly two blue screen errors, not counting a time when I had a hardware fault. I will concede that last year, around Novemberish, I had a series of blue screen errors despite being on windows 7, but those were not window's fault; my video card was going, and windows can't be blamed for that. All windows did was detect a potentially lethal problem and used the 'emergency break' to keep from damaging any hardware. If it hadn't done that, the video card could have taken my memory, processor, or who knows what else with it.

Two blue screen errors, in something nearing two years of use. I'd call that pretty damned impressive, especially since I am a power user. And it wouldn't surprise me if either or both of them came down to an accidentally flipped bit -- a 1 where there should have been a 0. As good as computer hardware is, it is still prone to that kind of error. Not often, but it does happen. Or maybe there was a minor power fluctuation, or a dozen other possibilities.



#13 User is offline   MotherHusky 

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 01:51 AM

Warning, more technical stuff:

I would also contest the reliability of Macs over Windows. I have several different machines running various flavors of Windows from 95b through Vista. And I have helped others with machines running 7 as well. Only one of my machines has any BSOD problems, a very custom built XP machine with an Athlon 2600, ATI All-in-Wonder 9000 AGP card, a 4 250G IDE JBOD, 2 SATA drives, 2 IDE DVD burners, Gigabyte motherboard with Firewire, multiple USB, Serial, Parallel, Wired AND Wireless networks, 2 Gb PC3200 DDR, and all overclocked about 5%. I would get a BSOD about once a month before I replaced the 600W power supply with an 850W unit. Now it only happens about twice a year. I built it strictly for digitizing video, from both composite and D8 camcorder inputs. I tend to agree that the primary reason for Windows problems has been drivers. I eventually gave up on the Gigabyte motherboard's built in Realtek sound, and added a Creative Sound Blaster about six months after I originally built the thing, because loading the Realtek drivers would instantly crash the system.

That said, I will move all my machines to Linux long before I'll ever move to Windows 7. The user interface that Microsoft has imposed as part of Vista and 7 is about the most useless thing I have ever seen. Even my Trash-80 was more useful than Vista and 7. At least with XP, users could disable the new interface features and restore the functionality of the 98/2000/Classic interface. Not so with Vista and 7. Microsoft is trying to out-Apple Apple. Quite frankly, if I wanted a Mac, I'd buy a Mac. I want an OS that is a useful tool, that can be configured the way I work, not vice versa. And given a specific amount of processor, memory, and stable drivers, an XP machine will run rings around one running 7. My Vista machine is a Phenom X3 8450 2.1GHz, 4G DDR2 800 memory, and Hitachi-LG 1T SATA 300 and still can't come close to keeping up with my XP laptop with Core 2 Duo 1.83GHz, 2G DDR2 667 and WD Blue 500G SATA 300. And an even higher spec i5 laptop I set up for someone recently ran even slower on 7 than my X3 on Vista. In fact, the Vista machine has trouble keeping up with the earlier mentioned home built Athlon at times, despite the Athlon's BSODs. So I will stick to repairing my XP machines or moving to Linux for new boxes. If I could get XP drivers for the Vista box (Nvidia chipset, Realtek on-board peripherals, Hauppauge tuner card), I'd move it to XP in a heartbeat, even 32 bit, and be much, much, much happier.

This post has been edited by MotherHusky: 24 February 2011 - 01:54 AM



#14 User is offline   Rilbur 

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 01:47 PM

Quote

The user interface that Microsoft has imposed as part of Vista and 7 is about the most useless thing I have ever seen.


To each their own; for myself, I think the new start bar interface is a fairly decent improvement. The only time it's not as good is if you're running a lot of copies of the same program, and that's the only thing you want to switch around inside.


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