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Last post Author Topic: Time to reinstall Windows? Or get a new desktop?  (Read 15182 times)

superboyac

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Time to reinstall Windows? Or get a new desktop?
« on: September 09, 2008, 01:14:57 PM »
Well, it's that time for me again.  I built my current desktop back in December 2001.  It's my workhorse, it's lasted fine all this time, but maybe it's time for a new one.  I know I need to either reinstall XP or get a new desktop PC.  The reason for this is that I upgraded my AV software and it's not working due to some conflicts and I can't figure it out because I have sooooo much software installed.  I want to start fresh.

I haven't kept up with hardware, I rarely do.  What is the latest cpu specs?  Usually with the CPU, I don't get the very latest because it's price is so much, but I'll get the highest priced mid-level chip.  Basically, I look at the prices and get the one right before the big jump in price for the latest-greatest chip.  That usually ensures me a good 5 years or more of solid performance.  I'll probably get a 1TB Seagate drive.  Video cards I know nothing about...I'll just get something decent.  I don't do anything graphic intensive.  Do you guys normally use the built in motherboard sound cards now?  I have my pro sound card for my musician stuff, but for regular audio, should I just use the motherboard audio?

How about cases and fans?  Can anyone point me to a good tutorial about how to place fans on cases and what cases are good?  I never do this part right, I just stick fans around.  There's gotta be a method to it.

cranioscopical

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Re: Time to reinstall Windows? Or get a new desktop?
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2008, 02:24:19 PM »
FWIW I just used this Antec case which has the benefit of a half-decent power supply and attention to noise reduction. I found its options for fan placement to be quite good.

superboyac

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Re: Time to reinstall Windows? Or get a new desktop?
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2008, 03:36:08 PM »
I like that case, it's nice and simple.  I need to think about how many 5-1/4 slots I need.  I think 3 should be enough right?  Nobody uses the 3-1/2 disks anymore, so this will be my first computer without it.

Where's the cheapest (but reliable) place to buy chips and motherboards?  Usually, I just go to Fry's.

40hz

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Re: Time to reinstall Windows? Or get a new desktop?
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2008, 05:15:35 PM »
Where's the cheapest (but reliable) place to buy chips and motherboards?  Usually, I just go to Fry's.

Fry's is very good. For online I usually wind up at NewEgg.com. They're not always the absolute cheapest, but their service is good. For memory try Crucial over at http://www.crucial.com

I've also had good luck with these guys: http://www.monoprice.com for cables and accessories.

Be sure to post a picture when you're done! :)

Lashiec

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Re: Time to reinstall Windows? Or get a new desktop?
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2008, 05:31:05 PM »
2001? Get a new computer ASAP :)

I suggest you look around a few hardware sites, particularly system guides to make yourself an idea of what you want in the system, but CPU-wise, it's either a dual core or a quad, preferably an Intel chip. Your criteria for choosing a chip is anything you need to get a good one, as long as the model number has a leading 7 or an 8 (dual core) or a 9 (quad core) as those are the newer ones, using a 45 nm process, which means better performance, less heat, etc. Plainly speaking, they're better.

The videocard thing depends if you're into gaming. If you're not, you could get something mid-range, but new enough to have the logic that helps with video decoding (if you're into HD playback and such).

Sound, yeah, for general playback, the motherboard chip should be enough, unless you use a nice speaker system, in which case it would be nice to have a decent soundcard for better quality.

Fans is generally a complex issue once you start using too many around the case, but the bare minimum is one in the front sucking air, and another in the back expelling it.

Shades

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Re: Time to reinstall Windows? Or get a new desktop?
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2008, 06:25:04 PM »
You can "refresh" your system without losing your setup of software. How?

Check the following link written by our famed and loved Fred Langa. The text and pictures make it easy to do.

Tried the method myself on 5 different PC's and it really works!

f0dder

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Re: Time to reinstall Windows? Or get a new desktop?
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2008, 06:32:23 PM »
You can "refresh" your system without losing your setup of software. How?

Check the following link written by our famed and loved Fred Langa. The text and pictures make it easy to do.

Tried the method myself on 5 different PC's and it really works!
Nothing beats a fully fresh windows install, though :)
- carpe noctem

nosh

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Re: Time to reinstall Windows? Or get a new desktop?
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2008, 06:40:04 PM »
Check out Techspot's PC buying guides to get a general idea of what's in store these days - they're fairly recent (June 27) and cover budget, mid and high end configs.

A 2001 rig definitely calls for an upgrade but installing Windows fresh with just what you need would give the system quite a boost. Also, there's no safer time to overclock, if your system permits it, than when you're looking out for a new system.  ;)

Just repeating the advice I was given in a similar thread, consider going in for two smaller HDDs - you can get better performance by putting them in a RAID, even if you don't implement RAID you can be more secure mirroring important data to another physical disk. I found WD's (7200 r.p.m) drives to be slightly slower than Seagate, but cheaper too - and they have the same warranty period.

Fans - I'd guess this would depend to an extent on how hot your video card runs, the newer multi-core CPUs run quite cool, just make sure you have a front fan blowing straight at the HDD/s as f0dder has suggested in more than one thread. My case came with two small ones already installed at the side so look out for something like that. My suggestion, get a BIG case - they're airier and can save you a lot of trouble later if things start getting cramped.

Audio card - Wish I could answer this one conclusively coz I need to decide the same thing for myself. ATM, I have got the onboard audio (Realtek) hooked into a Sony component system and with Foobar's kernel streaming support the sound is _crystal clear_, kind of a damper really... I was looking forward to getting the Xonar Lashiec suggested!  But, never say die!  :D

I assume you aren't considering Vista since you're not looking for a very high end rig, still... just in case... DON'T!
« Last Edit: September 09, 2008, 06:46:52 PM by nosh »

Shades

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Re: Time to reinstall Windows? Or get a new desktop?
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2008, 07:23:05 PM »
@f0dder:

My XP installation is still going strong after 3 years!   :Thmbsup:

But then again...my system is not from 2001.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2008, 07:25:56 PM by Shades »

f0dder

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Re: Time to reinstall Windows? Or get a new desktop?
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2008, 12:43:39 AM »
I've been using onboard audio ever since I got my new rig - I frankly don't see much use for dedicated audio cards anymore, unless you need special input/output for music production needs. Even the analog outputs aren't very noisy these days, and if you have an amplifier with digital inputs, you'll obviously get absolutely zero noise when using a digital output.
- carpe noctem

zridling

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Re: Time to reinstall Windows? Or get a new desktop?
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2008, 05:39:40 AM »
Aram, go over to NewEgg.com, set your price level, and start reading the customer reviews. Last week they were selling 750Gb drives for $99 (sale), and 4Gb of RAM for only $79. And since you've upgraded, videocards have now reached teraflop status!

Anyway, here's the link for some super cheap systems on their daily specials.

40hz

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Re: Time to reinstall Windows? Or get a new desktop?
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2008, 09:02:20 AM »
If you'd like to look at some sample configurations, ExtremeTech publishes some decent ones to get the creative juices flowing:

http://www.extremete...0,2843,838239,00.asp

If you're real serious about hardware, get a copy of Scott Mueller's Upgrading and Repairing PCs. Now in its 18th edition. All your hardware questions answered in 1584 pages of readable hard-core tech. (An incredible bargain at $38US from Amazon. Worth every cent.) :up: :up:

http://www.amazon.co...221053761&sr=8-1

You can check out the Table of Contents over at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.co...b_dp_ptu#reader-link

It may be the only hardware book you'll ever need. I bought every edition starting with #8. Great resource for your reference shelf.

Deozaan

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Re: Time to reinstall Windows? Or get a new desktop?
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2008, 10:45:20 AM »
Nobody uses the 3-1/2 disks anymore, so this will be my first computer without it.

Be careful! If you intend to install Windows XP and you need some sort of RAID/SATA drivers installs, they may not come with XP and you might need a floppy, since the installation of XP doesn't allow you to grab drivers off of USB storage or the hard drive or a CD.

I formatted my computer a couple years ago thinking that Service Pack 2 included the necessary SATA drivers and I had to be without the use of my computer for a few weeks until I could find somebody who had a floppy drive I could borrow. :(


Carol Haynes

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Re: Time to reinstall Windows? Or get a new desktop?
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2008, 10:57:39 AM »
I agree - if you are using Windows XP keep a floppy disc handy. My laptop doesn't have a floppy drive and XP wouldn't install from the CD because the latest SATA drives aren't recognised. I had to use nLite to build a Windows installation CD with the cirrect drivers included which was a real pain - though I suppose I only had to do it once.

f0dder

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Re: Time to reinstall Windows? Or get a new desktop?
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2008, 11:02:16 AM »
Building a CD with nLite is only a pain the first time around - and it's certainly much handier than having to use (slow and unreliable) floppies - nevermind installing a floppy drive in your computer :)

nLite also has the advantage that you can remove unnecessary components, and making unattended setups, which rock... select installation partition, go for a shower and coffee, return to a freshly installed desktop.
- carpe noctem

TucknDar

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Re: Time to reinstall Windows? Or get a new desktop?
« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2008, 11:09:18 AM »
Nothing beats a fully fresh windows install, though :)
Speaking of which, you wouldn't mind sharing that nLite preset of yours would you? :-[

Carol Haynes

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Re: Time to reinstall Windows? Or get a new desktop?
« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2008, 11:11:56 AM »
When I did it I just used a complete image of the Windows XP disc and then added the drivers necessary for my hard disc.

gtoal

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Re: Time to reinstall Windows? Or get a new desktop?
« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2008, 05:09:08 PM »
> I built my current desktop back in December 2001

You're to be congratulated for running a windows-based OS for that long without needing a reinstall or being overrun by viruses for years without knowing it!

Dude, treat yourself to a new computer.  You'll get more compute power and less electrical power.  And if you don't already have one, get an LCD display :-)

G

superboyac

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Re: Time to reinstall Windows? Or get a new desktop?
« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2008, 06:04:50 PM »
> I built my current desktop back in December 2001

You're to be congratulated for running a windows-based OS for that long without needing a reinstall or being overrun by viruses for years without knowing it!

Dude, treat yourself to a new computer.  You'll get more compute power and less electrical power.  And if you don't already have one, get an LCD display :-)

G
Ha!!  How'd you know?  I still have a CRT monitor!  It has such a huge ass, I can't wait to get rid of it.
If I get a new computer, I'm going to do what Zaine did.  Put Linux on the old one and try it out.

PPLandry

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Re: Time to reinstall Windows? Or get a new desktop?
« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2008, 08:21:20 PM »
Nothing beats a fully fresh windows install, though :)

I thought so too... but recently had to switch HD and chose to re-install fom scratch and move it up to SP3. I even googled around on the best order to install programs (IE, Office, SP2, SP3, etc). My portable was 5 years old and working just fine.

My installation is just 2 weeks old now and there are a lot of things which are just not working as before. I suspect that SP3 is to blame for these, but they are so irritating that I'm considering rebuilding again (this time stopping at SP2).

Examples are:
- some high priority process seems to run every 3 sec. or so, preventing mouse move and making sound files choppy
- Only 1 process can send POP requests
- wheel scrolling sometimes has 1 sec delay
- Seems to be more HD activity
- MSAccess sometimes jams for 5 seconds while doing nothing special, unresponsive (I've dev. app with MSAccess for 15 years, so I know it well and have never seen this before)
- I installed Live Mesh and later on removed it and now I have a 2nd monitor named: "Live Mesh Remote Desktop Curtain Driver"  :( >:( and apparently no way of removing it.

And the list goes on...
Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present -- Albert Camus -- www.InfoQube.biz
« Last Edit: September 10, 2008, 08:30:09 PM by PPLandry »

Shades

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Re: Time to reinstall Windows? Or get a new desktop?
« Reply #20 on: September 10, 2008, 09:19:57 PM »
Now I say that my system is still going strong, but I did change from harddisk during this period. Replicated my complete installation from a SATA harddisk to a SATA2 harddisk using a free tool that took forever (and then some!!). The current lack of sleep turned my brain is just solid mass which would the reason why I can't recall the name at this time.

My laptop runned for 4 years without re-installation before I had enough of the sluggishness from XP in combination with the hardware. Now that laptop is running Windows 2000 and it is again a breeze to work with. XP on a 128MB RAM machine together with a slow 6 GByte harddisk is just 'asking for trouble'.

EDIT: note to self - proofreading should be done before pushing the post button!!
« Last Edit: September 10, 2008, 09:21:46 PM by Shades »

tomos

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Re: Time to reinstall Windows? Or get a new desktop?
« Reply #21 on: September 11, 2008, 02:42:35 AM »
I suspect that SP3 is to blame for these, but they are so irritating that I'm considering rebuilding again (this time stopping at SP2)

can one uninstall SP3 ? (probably getting v.messy there but might be worth a shot if possible?)
Tom

Carol Haynes

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Re: Time to reinstall Windows? Or get a new desktop?
« Reply #22 on: September 11, 2008, 03:34:32 AM »
You probably can unistall SP3 - there is usually an SP install option that lets you back up old files before updating so as long as that option was ticked ....

Anything installed post SP3 might need to be reinstalled, but probably not.

Having said that I have installed SP3 on numerous computers and apart from losing the Address Toolbar on the taskbar I haven't been aware of any issues with SP3. MAybe it is one of those SPs that cause some people real issues. Now Office 2003 SP3 is a right PITA and I never did install that (and now I use 2007 so it isn't an issue).

superboyac

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Re: Time to reinstall Windows? Or get a new desktop?
« Reply #23 on: September 11, 2008, 11:25:30 AM »
wow, pierre, sp3 sounds like a nightmare.
You know, a while ago, I had that thing where the computer would pause every 3 seconds.  I think I posted about it here.  I found the solution, but I don't remember it.  I think it had something to do with my Kaspersky program.

Ah!  here it is:
http://www.donationc...ex.php?topic=12318.0
It was spysweeper.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2008, 11:27:05 AM by superboyac »

Darwin

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Re: Time to reinstall Windows? Or get a new desktop?
« Reply #24 on: September 11, 2008, 11:44:12 AM »
The only issue that I have seen with Sp-3 is that explorer.exe uses a lot more memory... It also hangs more often. However, I can't be absolutely certain that this is an Sp-3 issue (though it started pretty much immediately following the udpate).

YMWV (Your mileage WILL vary)!
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin