New Computer Time

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Cyclohexane
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New Computer Time

Post by Cyclohexane »

Hey guys,
My computer is acting horrible and I’m looking to upgrade. I built this machine about 5 years ago, leave it on 24 hours a day, and play a lot of games in the high resolution so I guess that is to be expected.

I purchased my video card at CompUSA. Many of you may be aware that they shut down stores all over the country. Well, Houston was one that shut down. Fortunately, I purchased the warranty with the card and since they are no longer in the area, they are going to not only send me a replacement, but send me the comparable replacement of today. That means I will be receiving a high end PCIE video card.

When I built my computer, PCIE did not exist, or was not popular. I still have an AGP motherboard. I plan to just make this a spare computer and get me a new motherboard / processor. I did a ton of research 5 years ago before I bought the machine but I’m fairly certain all that information is outdated and worthless now.

I have an AMD processor which I have been very happy with, but I understand that Intel is making a better processor now.

1.) What is the best gaming processor available?

2.) Should I look into a motherboard that can support two processors and two video cards? If I do this, will I be able to run the machine with just one? I can upgrade later, but I am not so sure the wife is going to let me go wild on this machine.

3.) Should I go with Vista? I’ve heard horror stories of upgrading Vista on top of Windows XP, but for a newly built system with Vista freshly installed, good idea or bad? I like the idea of running DX10 and using 64 bit technology. I want this machine to last 5 more years into the future and I plan to purchase a motherboard that can at least support 4GB of RAM.

Any advice you guys can give will be appreciated.

Thanks!
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Re: New Computer Time

Post by I__CHAOS__I »

well, I'm no expert myself but I did some research a while back when I gathered my new PC

I have a quad core which has very good reviews for gaming

Whatever you do, do NOT have a VISTA OS just yet, wait at least one more year or so... this VISTA could very well end up like their Millenium
XP is the way to go imho.

In the end it kinda comes down to your budget. Memory is cheap nowadays, so 3 or 4 Gig is a must have. The key part is the video card though, and that's where the cost is...
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Re: New Computer Time

Post by Highlander999 »

I would love to help but you would probably find better advice from a donkey :oops:
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Re: New Computer Time

Post by StrokeyBlofeld »

Ok. I'll give a quick answer to a few of your questions then I'll come back with some more detail for you.

You need to identify your exact requirements for a custom build, that way you get what you need without comprimises.

Do you do video editing? Do you need dual screens? Are you using it as a server for other computers or using it to host anything?

Intel make the best CPU at the moment, and for the forseeable future too. It is highly unlikely that a dual CPU setup would benifit you enough to warrant the extra $$$, the difference is pretty significant in cost.

If your really looking to futureproof then you'll be looking at a board that will support the new DDR3 ram modules, although they are still pretty expensive compared to DDR2 so you need to weigh up the cost in your decison here too. Remember to buy RAM in matched pairs or kits for better performance and reliability. Also check your motherboard for compatability, some can be funny about module sizes and makes. Be sure the RAM slots don't have restrictions on module type, ie: DoubleSided/SingleSided.

At the moment, the best single graphics card set-up is Nvidia, but if your looking for a dual graphics card set-up then ATI's crossfire outperforms Nvidia's SLI configuration.

SATA is the way to go for drives now (sure you already know this), so disc drives and hard drives should all be SATA. Newer drives now offer 32mb cache, so look out for these. I remember you saying you have a lot of media stored, so it may be worth your while going with 4 SATA drives in a RAID 0/1 set up. This will give you slightly better drive performance and also provide you with a back up should one of your main drives fail.

If your looking to utilise 4gb of RAM or more, then you will need a 64 bit OS. XP comes in a 64 bit version, but in my opinion if your going to buy a 64 bit OS then you should be looking at Vista. You may hear other people saying "don't get it" etc, but there is nothing wrong with it.... seriously there isn't!

A small minority of users will moan about it, like anything. But I read a lot of computer forums and know a lot of people who in to computer technology and can assure you that it is fine. The Ultimate version doesn't offer anything really worth having that the Premium version doesn't have, so it's not worth paying the extra $$$ as it's nearly double the cost.

You will also have to look at cooling. If you've never dabbled in water cooling, then don't! Also, DO NOT buy a water cooling kit, as these suck. The only way to get decent water cooling is by designing it yourself and buying the seperate parts.
You'll need a decent case to ensure decent cooling (also make sure your case will take a high end graphics card as they are pretty long and some cases won't fit them in).
Don't rely on a supplied heatsink with your CPU, go for a decent after market cooler such as a Freezer Pro. Most cases will come with a couple of standard fans, send a little on more fans and get filters too to stop the inside of your system getting too dirty/dusty.

I hope these few points have helped, let me know if you have any specifc questions.

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Re: New Computer Time

Post by Cyclohexane »

[quote=""I__CHAOS__I""] The key part is the video card though, and that's where the cost is...[/quote]
Well, thanks to a generous CompUSA warranty program, I’m getting a top end video card for free (well, I paid ~$45 for the warranty but that’s giving me $450 credit).


[quote=""StrokeyBlofeld""]
Do you do video editing? Do you need dual screens? Are you using it as a server for other computers or using it to host anything? [/quote]

1.) I do video editing but not so often as I play video games. Even with my current setup, I can edit movies without it taking all day.

2.) I do want duel screens. I do not have it now at home, but I have them at work. It sounds unnecessary until you use them. It really is nice. Plus, I’d like to get my Flight Simulator on dual monitors, that will be fun. That will be a future add-on.

3.) I do not plan to host anything but I will have 3 computers in the house and I plan to link up at least two of them (via wireless-n). Sometime late in the year, I plan to get a laptop for traveling as well but that’s later.


[quote=""StrokeyBlofeld""]
Intel make the best CPU at the moment, and for the forseeable future too. It is highly unlikely that a dual CPU setup would benifit you enough to warrant the extra $$$, the difference is pretty significant in cost. [/quote]

OK, single it is. Should I pick my video card out first, then design the rest of the system around it?

[quote=""StrokeyBlofeld""]
If your really looking to futureproof then you'll be looking at a board that will support the new DDR3 ram modules, although they are still pretty expensive compared to DDR2 so you need to weigh up the cost in your decison here too. [/quote]

This is good information. Are the DDR3 modules highly superior, or just moderately better but much more expensive? I have not started looking at prices yet, I just learned today that CompUSA is going to take care of me. I’m waiting for a follow-up email to see what they are offering as a comparable replacement, then negotiate…

[quote=""StrokeyBlofeld""]
At the moment, the best single graphics card set-up is Nvidia, but if your looking for a dual graphics card set-up then ATI's crossfire outperforms Nvidia's SLI configuration. [/quote]

Well that hasn’t changed then. I’m currently using an Nvidia and been very happy; able to play most video games in medium setting with no lag on a 5 year old machine.

[quote=""StrokeyBlofeld""]
SATA is the way to go for drives now (sure you already know this), so disc drives and hard drives should all be SATA. Newer drives now offer 32mb cache, so look out for these. I remember you saying you have a lot of media stored, so it may be worth your while going with 4 SATA drives in a RAID 0/1 set up. This will give you slightly better drive performance and also provide you with a back up should one of your main drives fail. [/quote]

4 drives? I regularly use an external hard drive for backup. I have even went so far as to open a bank safety deposit box and store an extra drive there with all my pictures I refresh every year or so.

[quote=""StrokeyBlofeld""]
If your looking to utilise 4gb of RAM or more, then you will need a 64 bit OS. XP comes in a 64 bit version, but in my opinion if your going to buy a 64 bit OS then you should be looking at Vista. You may hear other people saying "don't get it" etc, but there is nothing wrong with it.... seriously there isn't!

A small minority of users will moan about it, like anything. But I read a lot of computer forums and know a lot of people who in to computer technology and can assure you that it is fine. The Ultimate version doesn't offer anything really worth having that the Premium version doesn't have, so it's not worth paying the extra $$$ as it's nearly double the cost. [/quote]

That’s what I’ve gathered from talking with people at work. What I do not understand is all the different versions available. Is Ultimate what you suggest?


[quote=""StrokeyBlofeld""]
You will also have to look at cooling. If you've never dabbled in water cooling, then don't! Also, DO NOT buy a water cooling kit, as these suck. The only way to get decent water cooling is by designing it yourself and buying the seperate parts.
You'll need a decent case to ensure decent cooling (also make sure your case will take a high end graphics card as they are pretty long and some cases won't fit them in).
Don't rely on a supplied heatsink with your CPU, go for a decent after market cooler such as a Freezer Pro. Most cases will come with a couple of standard fans, send a little on more fans and get filters too to stop the inside of your system getting too dirty/dusty. [/quote]

I’ve never done water cooling so I guess I’ll stay away from this. I do plan to buy a pimped out case with handles and a strong power supply. I will also look into Freezer Pro as well.

Thanks for the tips!
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Re: New Computer Time

Post by Comadevil »

[quote=""Cyclohexane""][quote=""I__CHAOS__I""] The key part is the video card though, and that's where the cost is...[/quote]
Well, thanks to a generous CompUSA warranty program, I’m getting a top end video card for free (well, I paid ~$45 for the warranty but that’s giving me $450 credit).
[/quote]
Sounds nice. If u want t top high end graphics card then Nvidia is the way to go.

[quote=""Cyclohexane""]
[quote=""StrokeyBlofeld""]
Do you do video editing? Do you need dual screens? Are you using it as a server for other computers or using it to host anything? [/quote]

1.) I do video editing but not so often as I play video games. Even with my current setup, I can edit movies without it taking all day.

2.) I do want duel screens. I do not have it now at home, but I have them at work. It sounds unnecessary until you use them. It really is nice. Plus, I’d like to get my Flight Simulator on dual monitors, that will be fun. That will be a future add-on.
[/quote]
With a high end graphics card u get for sure dual screen. even (some) low priced graphics cards can do this already.



[quote=""Cyclohexane""]
[quote=""StrokeyBlofeld""]
Intel make the best CPU at the moment, and for the forseeable future too. It is highly unlikely that a dual CPU setup would benifit you enough to warrant the extra $$$, the difference is pretty significant in cost. [/quote]
[/quote]
OK, single it is. Should I pick my video card out first, then design the rest of the system around it?
[/quote]
U should pick CPU and graphics card and then design the rest around it. CPU should be at least dual core and because of video editing u should even think about quadcore, because it increases performance there. In games right now dual core is sufficient because games don't support quadcore right now.


[quote=""Cyclohexane""]
[quote=""StrokeyBlofeld""]
If your really looking to futureproof then you'll be looking at a board that will support the new DDR3 ram modules, although they are still pretty expensive compared to DDR2 so you need to weigh up the cost in your decison here too. [/quote]

This is good information. Are the DDR3 modules highly superior, or just moderately better but much more expensive? I have not started looking at prices yet, I just learned today that CompUSA is going to take care of me. I’m waiting for a follow-up email to see what they are offering as a comparable replacement, then negotiate…
[/quote]
Here u can read something about DDR3 vs DDr2
http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardw ... r3/13.html

I don't think that the performance increase is really much. and DDR2 is really low on price (30 € for 2GB module here). And if u have 4 GB or 8 GB of memory, i don't think that u need more memory during the time u own the computer.

And u can never be sure if u have a future proof comp, specicifications sockets etc. can change very fast. Usually the cost in "futureproof" technologies isn't worth it because of one thing changing futureproof is over. And u have kids, if u need something new, give the old things to kids (at least when they need a comp)


[quote=""Cyclohexane""]
[quote=""StrokeyBlofeld""]
At the moment, the best single graphics card set-up is Nvidia, but if your looking for a dual graphics card set-up then ATI's crossfire outperforms Nvidia's SLI configuration. [/quote]

Well that hasn’t changed then. I’m currently using an Nvidia and been very happy; able to play most video games in medium setting with no lag on a 5 year old machine.
[/quote]
I think single top card is the way to go. Crossfire and SLI have usually higher power consumption and don't perform well on every game.


[quote=""Cyclohexane""]
[quote=""StrokeyBlofeld""]
SATA is the way to go for drives now (sure you already know this), so disc drives and hard drives should all be SATA. Newer drives now offer 32mb cache, so look out for these. I remember you saying you have a lot of media stored, so it may be worth your while going with 4 SATA drives in a RAID 0/1 set up. This will give you slightly better drive performance and also provide you with a back up should one of your main drives fail. [/quote]

4 drives? I regularly use an external hard drive for backup. I have even went so far as to open a bank safety deposit box and store an extra drive there with all my pictures I refresh every year or so.
[/quote]
RAID IS NO BACKUP. It keeps ur system running if one drive fails and keeps the data which would have been lost, but it doesn't help u if viruses destroy data, an electricity surge destroys all disks etc. They are many other ways of data loss except failing drives. A real backup is only if u make it on an external device which is only connected to comp and electricity during backup and restore.


[quote=""Cyclohexane""]
[quote=""StrokeyBlofeld""]
If your looking to utilise 4gb of RAM or more, then you will need a 64 bit OS. XP comes in a 64 bit version, but in my opinion if your going to buy a 64 bit OS then you should be looking at Vista. You may hear other people saying "don't get it" etc, but there is nothing wrong with it.... seriously there isn't!

A small minority of users will moan about it, like anything. But I read a lot of computer forums and know a lot of people who in to computer technology and can assure you that it is fine. The Ultimate version doesn't offer anything really worth having that the Premium version doesn't have, so it's not worth paying the extra $$$ as it's nearly double the cost. [/quote]

That’s what I’ve gathered from talking with people at work. What I do not understand is all the different versions available. Is Ultimate what you suggest?
[/quote]
Ultimate is only for geeks like me :twisted: who run an Active Directory at home and wants to have everything of the home premium. For the average user Home Premium is the way to go because it supports all multimedia stuff and other things which home users like. Business and enterprise support Active Directory which companys need. They don't have the ability for DVD playback etc. Ultimate is the combination of Business and Hoem Premium
If u have a XP licence already u can use this and buy an Home Premium licence 64 bit which u can use later.
With XP u can utilize only 3,2 GB RAM. or u even install both xp (first) and vista, so u can do most with vista und use other programs/games, which don't work with vista 64 bit with XP

[quote=""Cyclohexane""]
[quote=""StrokeyBlofeld""]
You will also have to look at cooling. If you've never dabbled in water cooling, then don't! Also, DO NOT buy a water cooling kit, as these suck. The only way to get decent water cooling is by designing it yourself and buying the seperate parts.
You'll need a decent case to ensure decent cooling (also make sure your case will take a high end graphics card as they are pretty long and some cases won't fit them in).
Don't rely on a supplied heatsink with your CPU, go for a decent after market cooler such as a Freezer Pro. Most cases will come with a couple of standard fans, send a little on more fans and get filters too to stop the inside of your system getting too dirty/dusty. [/quote]

I’ve never done water cooling so I guess I’ll stay away from this. I do plan to buy a pimped out case with handles and a strong power supply. I will also look into Freezer Pro as well.

Thanks for the tips![/quote]
[/quote]
The cooler coming with a boxed cpu is suifficient. I use it myself. Though of course u have some better results with a Freezer Pro etc.

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Re: New Computer Time

Post by ruminator »

Don't go for the absolute top - try a Geforce 8800 GT card, Core 2 Quad Q6600 processor with 775 socket motherboard - say an MSI P35 or Asus P5N. 500 GB hard drive should be fine with some 800 MHZ RAM - min 2GB for Vista.

This should run all games on the market at high settings and will cost you less than £500, assuming you don't need a new case, DVD drive etc.

If you are buying new I would recommend Vista, just not sure about upgrading for it on an existing system.
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Re: New Computer Time

Post by StrokeyBlofeld »

In reply to some comments posted:

You can never completely futureproof, but this is all depending on what cyclo's budjet is. In my opinion, the extra cost of DDR3 isn't worth it until prices drop in 6-12 months.

I would suggest a single card Nvidia set-up too. Might be worth looking at the 9xxx series costs at time of buying, but you can get an 8800GT with 1024mb for under £200.

Coma, are you confusing what I have said here? RAID 0 is a striped set-up, splitting all data written equally between the discs, this is particularly usefull in performance for video editing.
RAID 1 is a mirrored set-up, COPYING all data from the main drive to a 2nd drive thus providing an exact copy of the drive should your main drive fail, how can this not be a back-up?
A RAID 0/1 set-up would use 2 discs as the main drive, splitting data between the 2, then the other 2 discs would make an exact copy of those 2 so if there is any main drive failure you don't lose your data.

Yes, the cooler supplied with the CPU is sufficient, it is designed to be. If you want your CPU running at about 40 or 50 degrees, bumping up the temperature in your case as well, it will be fine. If you would prefer your CPU to be running at 25 to 30 degrees, buy an after market cooler.
We are talking about spending a fair amount of money (£700+), why would you not spend an extra £20 on a decent CPU cooler???

Ruminator, those are fine parts you have listed, but without a budget it is impossible to say what are the best parts for cyclo to buy.

Also cyclo, be sure to choose a "tried and trusted" power supply, I cannot emphisise this enough. Your putting power though a lot of $$$'s worth of parts, and you need to be sure it's not going to damage anything.

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Re: New Computer Time

Post by Comadevil »

[quote=""StrokeyBlofeld""]
Coma, are you confusing what I have said here? RAID 0 is a striped set-up, splitting all data written equally between the discs, this is particularly usefull in performance for video editing.
RAID 1 is a mirrored set-up, COPYING all data from the main drive to a 2nd drive thus providing an exact copy of the drive should your main drive fail, how can this not be a back-up?
A RAID 0/1 set-up would use 2 discs as the main drive, splitting data between the 2, then the other 2 discs would make an exact copy of those 2 so if there is any main drive failure you don't lose your data.
[/quote]
No i am not confusing this. this i know quite well, RAID 1 is designed for system stability, IT IS NOT DESIGNED FOR BACKUP. This is a common misunderstanding. Many think with RAID 1 data is safe but it isn't. Because u can lose data to more than just a failing hard disk. E.g. if one file gets corrupted it also gets corrupted on the mirror drive --> data is lost. Virus destroys data, it is also destroyed on the mirror drive. There are many more examples.
And for recovering such lost data, u have a backup (if u made one)


[quote=""StrokeyBlofeld""]
Yes, the cooler supplied with the CPU is sufficient, it is designed to be. If you want your CPU running at about 40 or 50 degrees, bumping up the temperature in your case as well, it will be fine. If you would prefer your CPU to be running at 25 to 30 degrees, buy an after market cooler.
We are talking about spending a fair amount of money (£700+), why would you not spend an extra £20 on a decent CPU cooler???
[/quote]
Hmm. i have cooler temperatures then u are stating here. Depends also on the graphics card if it blows the air out of the case or just cools the graphics card. My 7900 GTO is a double slot card which blows the air out of the second slot. But of course coolers like the Freezers Pro are better. This i don't deny. Usually after market coolers are also more silent. But this doesn't bother me.

@Cyclo: List ur requirements and budget and u get a proposal for a nice system at a reasonable price.

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Re: New Computer Time

Post by StrokeyBlofeld »

I understand what you are getting at here coma, but it is basicaly a back-up of the main drive so that if the main drive fails, you can continue working on your computer without having to recreate your drive from an external back-up, perhaps I didn't explain what I meant correctly.
From what I gather (previous things cyclo has said in other threads) he has plenty of back-up storage that he uses to back up his system regularly.
A raid choice offers him instant back-up on his computer should a drive fail. Yes, it is susceptable to viruses as you say, but I would still choose to run a RAID 0/1 array as well as an external back-up.

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Re: New Computer Time

Post by StrokeyBlofeld »

If you have cooler temperatures than I have stated with a stock cooler, what CPU are you using and what are you using to measure the temps coma?

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Re: New Computer Time

Post by Comadevil »

[quote=""StrokeyBlofeld""]I understand what you are getting at here coma, but it is basicaly a back-up of the main drive so that if the main drive fails, you can continue working on your computer without having to recreate your drive from an external back-up, perhaps I didn't explain what I meant correctly.
[/quote]
U see, system stability :D U can continue to work without setting up the system again.
If u would tell a n00b that RAID is backup most will believe u and don't bother with external backup

[quote=""StrokeyBlofeld""]
but I would still choose to run a RAID 0/1 array as well as an external back-up.[/quote]

Here i have another opinion. RAID 1 is ok with me but Raid 0? 2 more drives who consume power without much improve except if u have big data files, and 4 drives are costly.
Well i used RAID 1 in my server but gave it up. I do more backups.

Edit: CPU Temp: 28-29 with the cooler running around 1000 rpm.
I have a Core2Duo E6400 2,13 GHz
Used Asus Probe II which gets all data for ASUS Boards ( i have a P5Wdh Deluxe)

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Re: New Computer Time

Post by StrokeyBlofeld »

The RAID 1 suggestion was because cyclo does video editing.

As for your temps, that's pretty impressive for a stock cooler. Here's a good temp monitor core temp I use, although the Asus one isn't all that bad.

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Re: New Computer Time

Post by Comadevil »

Hmm, seem the sensor is near the CPU. CoreTemp shows 40 degrees.

Well at least now i have an excuse to get the HyperTX2 out of my server because the mainboard isn't able to control a 3-pin fan. So i bought now a Arctic Freezer Pro 64 PWM for it (14 € by the way) and when i have it the HyperTX2 will move to my desktop. The P5WDH can control fortunately a 3pin fan

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Re: New Computer Time

Post by I__CHAOS__I »

which language are you guys talkin? ;)

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