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Author Topic: build/upgrade or buy/build a new one?  (Read 6768 times)

Jammo the OrganizedFellow

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build/upgrade or buy/build a new one?
« on: October 18, 2010, 12:49:03 AM »
About a year and a half ago, I went shopping to build my first PC.

On 4/28/2008 I made my purchase from NewEgg. Here is the list:
1 x Thermaltake M9 VI1000BWS Black SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
1 x GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX All Solid Capacitor Intel Motherboard
1 x XFX PVT88SFDF4 GeForce 8800 GS 384MB 192-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
1 x Thermaltake Purepower RX W0144RU 600W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Modular Active PFC Power Supply
1 x Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 Conroe 2.33GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor BX80557E6550
1 x G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8500CL5D-2GBPK
1 x Western Digital Caviar Blue WD1600AAJS 160GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
1 x SAMSUNG 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S203B - OEM
1 x Microsoft Windows XP Professional With SP2C for System Builders - OEM
$885.57
Keyboard, mouse and 24" Samsung monitor were purchased separately at Costco Wholesale (my beloved employer :) )

I've got some funds to spend on either:
A). Upgrade/Rebuild my current PC.
B). Buy/Build a new PC.
Either should be for under $1,000
Lesser is better, so I can renew some domain names I have expiring soon, and some software purchases also.
I really DON'T want to spend a grand!


My machine is showing its age.

WHAT DO I DO ON MY PC?!
I am not a gamer. I am a hobbyist/freelance Web Developer/Designer with Adobe CS4 (I have noticed it takes longer to launch than before). I do lot's of XHTML, CSS, PHP coding. I will watch the occasional movie (either NetFlix streaming or DVD - bluray not necessary).

I'm looking on NewEgg, and there are some CyberpowerPC price under $500-600 whose specs are pretty good. Right?
3.0GHz+, 4 gigs of RAM.
I have never been into hardware and stuff. I know there's lots to it. Web Dev and following those trends is where I spend most of my time. So I kind of need some help deciding what to pursue.
As an aspiring web developer/designer, it is a constant struggle to cope with my ADHD + Hypomania/Bipolar Disorder.

The slow growth of my web dev projects is eclipsed by my patience, understanding and desire to learn AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE as I slowly progress.

X_____jamjammo_____

Renegade

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Re: build/upgrade or buy/build a new one?
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2010, 02:03:55 AM »
I made the mistake of not getting solid state drives in my new box. I should have, at least for the system drive. But, they are very expensive.

I suppose you *could* just stick a new drive in your box now and install a fresh OS then migrate over. That's the cheap way to make a new box fast & still keep your old data. A SSD is very fast, and will stay fast. Just an idea anyways.
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Dormouse

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Re: build/upgrade or buy/build a new one?
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2010, 02:29:37 AM »
First, I'm not sure what you mean by your PC is showing its age & needs to improve. 18 months isn't that old, especially for non-gaming activity.

Second, all your components seem, from a superficial look, to be similar in standard - and therefore probably hard to improve by tackling one or two areas. Would be more cost-effective, when the time comes, to do a full upgrade.

That said, I agree completely with Renegade. A SSD works very much faster and is worth the money (certainly to me, & unlike him I did go for one when I built my last computer & have my OS & programs on it (& nothing else).

You could consider moving to W7 at the same time. And more RAM might help a bit, depending on what you do.

Jammo the OrganizedFellow

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Re: build/upgrade or buy/build a new one?
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2010, 02:21:48 PM »
First, I'm not sure what you mean by your PC is showing its age & needs to improve. 18 months isn't that old, especially for non-gaming activity.
You ever "FEEL" like your computer is getting slower?
It used to be blazing fast, but now things just, are, slow, to, launch.
Firefox has always been slow to load, especially with all the plugins I have installed. It's just slower.
Adobe Fireworks. Also, seems to be getting slower.
----- ----- ----- ----- -----
So I'm looking at NewEgg and Win7 Ultimate is $269.99. It's the one with XP Mode and has Bitlocker.

A quick search for the G.Skill RAM I currently have, is under $60 for 2GB! http://bit.ly/9h8JHY

I came across this Solid State Drive from Intel, it's a 40GB size at $99. http://bit.ly/dwO4Fc
===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== =====
I think that should do it, right?!
As an aspiring web developer/designer, it is a constant struggle to cope with my ADHD + Hypomania/Bipolar Disorder.

The slow growth of my web dev projects is eclipsed by my patience, understanding and desire to learn AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE as I slowly progress.

X_____jamjammo_____

steeladept

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Re: build/upgrade or buy/build a new one?
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2010, 04:25:49 PM »
One silly question that has to be asked though is what kind of system maintenance do you do?  I have found doing regular system maintenance makes a HUGE difference in performance.  For example, do you defrag your hard drive?  What about clearing your temp folders and system cache (though I think by default the cache goes each time it is shut down). Have you ever run CCleaner or a similar product?  (I just use the built in Windows cleanup at work, and even that makes a huge difference sometimes).

Another question is how do you work?  Has it changed?  Do you now have a lot more open at the same time?  Most people do.  What about software?  Do you frequently install and reinstall software?  If so, you may need to consider some registry cleanup.  For safety sake, I do my cleanups manually.  I probably miss a lot, but it is a lot safer than using most registry cleaners.  You mentioned CS4.  Have you upgraded to that or was that an original install?  What about other software?  Are there a lot of upgrades?  A lot of this may seem irrelevant, but often these are things that Windows keeps around just in case, and it seems to me that after enough "just in case" accumulation occurs, a system just feels slower.

Jammo the OrganizedFellow

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Re: build/upgrade or buy/build a new one?
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2010, 03:42:40 AM »
One silly question that has to be asked though is what kind of system maintenance do you do?
There are no silly questions, remember?!
LOL

Yeah, I run CCleaner maybe once a week. I remove everything. Cookies, cache, temp folders, wipe free space, and maybe once a month I check the Advanced box.
I defrag using Defraggler, and Auslogics. I alternate. I run it maybe every couple weeks, if the analysis recommends it is needed.
As for the registry, I use what's built into CCleaner.

My work habits have not changed.
When I'm working, I usually have Notepad+, Stylizer, Firefox and/or Chrome, and sometimes Fireworks open. If I'm working offline, XAMPP is running, otherwise FileZilla.
When things get bogged down, a quick glance at the Task Manager reveals that Firefox is consuming the most memory. Sometimes it's Chrome. I restart the browser and only keep the tabs I need. I've removed all the extensions I don't use.
In the background I've got PhraseExpress, GridMove, Find&Run Robot, and a few other little apps.

Install & reinstall software? Nope. I'm pretty set in my ways, except for the most recent addition of Stylizer.
I've used the same apps for a very long time now.


Twice a year, I verify and validate my backups. Then reinstall my OS.
I actually have it fairly streamlined. Any app updates are downloaded to USB stick before I format. All the apps I've installed are outlined in a chronologically logged text file with install date, & source URL. I used to use a TiddlyWiki file, but I spent more time playing with it than actually working with it :)

There's a reason my username is OrganizedFellow :D
As an aspiring web developer/designer, it is a constant struggle to cope with my ADHD + Hypomania/Bipolar Disorder.

The slow growth of my web dev projects is eclipsed by my patience, understanding and desire to learn AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE as I slowly progress.

X_____jamjammo_____

4wd

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Re: build/upgrade or buy/build a new one?
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2010, 04:57:57 AM »
I came across this Solid State Drive from Intel, it's a 40GB size at $99. http://bit.ly/dwO4Fc

Dear God, that is a slow drive - try this one at the same price: Mushkin Enhanced MKNSSDCL40GB-DX

Uses the SandForce 1200 controller which is currently more stable than the newer SandForce 1500 but still blazingly fast compared to the Intel you found.

You can pick up SandForce 1200 powered SSDs at very reasonable prices these days, eg. AU$138 for 50GB A-RAM Ultra-II SSD (VERY reasonable for Australia).

If you wanted to upgrade your system, go for a Core i5/motherboard combo deal and 4GB of DDR3 RAM.  Add a decent size HDD, (1TB), because they are faster than what you have plus the above SSD.

Keep all the other components.

Sell your old DDR2 RAM, motherboard and CPU.

Another thing:

Do you really need BitLocker?  Truecrypt is free.
Do you really need XP Mode?   It's been generally found it's slower than running VirtualBox, VMWare, Parallels or VMLite.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2010, 05:11:17 AM by 4wd »

mouser

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Re: build/upgrade or buy/build a new one?
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2010, 08:44:02 AM »
i dont know that an ssd is right for what ails Jammo.

personally here's what i would do if i were Jammo:
1) immediately upgrade to at least 4gb -- that is probably the fastest, easiest, cheapest way to improve performance significantly.
2) get a new fast hard drive (10k or at least 7k), and swap out your old one and put in the new one, and install a clean OS from scratch, and see how fast it feels.


Jammo the OrganizedFellow

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Re: build/upgrade or buy/build a new one?
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2010, 12:42:57 PM »
Dear God, that is a slow drive - try this one at the same price: Mushkin Enhanced MKNSSDCL40GB-DX

Another thing:
Do you really need BitLocker?  Truecrypt is free.
i dont know that an ssd is right for what ails Jammo.

personally here's what i would do if i were Jammo:
1) immediately upgrade to at least 4gb -- that is probably the fastest, easiest, cheapest way to improve performance significantly.
2) get a new fast hard drive (10k or at least 7k), and swap out your old one and put in the new one, and install a clean OS from scratch, and see how fast it feels.



I've never used TrueCrypt. I've read alot about it here on the forums, and know it's highly recommended. So it's worth my interest.
Thanks for that recommend!
:)

As for the Mushkin SSD, I'll probably get that instead. It's on my wishlist ;)

I failed to mention that I upgraded to a 1TB drive earlier this year, OOPS!
It's got two partitions: a 100GB part for my OS, and the remainder for data.


@Mouser: but doesn't 32-bit Win7 only recognize 4GB max?
EDIT: yes, 4GB is the max. Google is my friend! Win7-64bit can use 8GB.

Would I see a significant difference if I have two stick of 2GB RAM each?
or four stick of 1GB RAM each? Cause I currently have two singles.
As an aspiring web developer/designer, it is a constant struggle to cope with my ADHD + Hypomania/Bipolar Disorder.

The slow growth of my web dev projects is eclipsed by my patience, understanding and desire to learn AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE as I slowly progress.

X_____jamjammo_____

Jammo the OrganizedFellow

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Re: build/upgrade or buy/build a new one?
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2010, 12:51:18 PM »
So my revised wishlist has:
Newegg.com - Mushkin Enhanced Callisto Deluxe MKNSSDCL40GB-DX 2.5" 40GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
Newegg.com - Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Full

Definitely in my shopping cart this weekend for purchase will be the upgrade to 4GB RAM.
Either 2 singles added to my current two, or 2 doubles to replace my current two (which I can sell).
As an aspiring web developer/designer, it is a constant struggle to cope with my ADHD + Hypomania/Bipolar Disorder.

The slow growth of my web dev projects is eclipsed by my patience, understanding and desire to learn AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE as I slowly progress.

X_____jamjammo_____

Bamse

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Re: build/upgrade or buy/build a new one?
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2010, 01:30:57 PM »
You can always overclock cpu or at least keep that in mind should you start to focus on cpu power. If you keep it at safe levels where std. cooler is good enough there is no risk or loss of stability. Not if you do it after the book = happy with easy extra mhz, how much would that be for your cpu when it runs at default voltage?. Do not care much for the last difficult and instable mhz, those will be troublemakers. Check for example http://www.overclock.net/intel-cpus/ or just google "core 2 duo e6550 overclock". Seek sane info among the noise ;) Works best if you like the idea, enjoy tinkering/tweaking and doing necessary research. If clueless about bios vs. overclock you should research a bit but not more painful than paying 100$ for 40gb ;) Bios or software might have some auto-overclocking but I don't know about those modern tricks. To do it manually you must know what you are doing but not really difficult if you have relevant valid info.

Newegg still has same G.Skill package of your ram http://www.newegg.co...Item=N82E16820231144 so no worries about getting incompatible items. Don't think 4x1gb vs. 2x2gb means anything. In old days it could mean something if you overclocked ram since not all chipsets were that happy about 4 modules, less was better. Old days being few years but unlikely to be worth a thought for you. Be happy you can make an easy and foolproof ram upgrade. You could check G.skill forum, Google or the 544 reviews at Newegg but they do use same model number today, F2-8500CL5D-2GBPK, so should be safe to assume chip is identical.

mouser

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Re: build/upgrade or buy/build a new one?
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2010, 01:47:52 PM »
i would go with two 2gb ram sticks; my experience with ram has been that it can be a little touchy (sometimes needing to be reseated, sometimes acting up), so the fewer ram sticks the better in my view.  i would also leave overclocking for a future time after you have a very stable pc and you are interested in the "fun" of experimental overclocking and the possibility of instability.

steeladept

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Re: build/upgrade or buy/build a new one?
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2010, 04:04:01 PM »
Well that helped a lot to narrow it down to the hardware  :P

As RAM goes, there is no difference performance-wise between the configurations mentioned, but I can say that it is always better to get the larger sizes in fewer sticks strictly for expansion.  If you later move to the 64bit version of Windows 7, for example, it will leave slots open for you to expand beyond 4GB without having to chuck out the old RAM.

And yes, the 1TB drive could be the cause of the slowdown, especially if it has your Windows boot partition on it and is one of the slower drives.  Moving the boot partition to an SSD as 4WD & Mouser (et. al.) are big advocates of will help a LOT if this is the source of the issue.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2010, 04:05:48 PM by steeladept »

Bamse

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Re: build/upgrade or buy/build a new one?
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2010, 04:19:59 PM »
Yes but if he has to sell old modules with a loss it might be a better deal to get 2x1gb. When the time for more comes it will most likely be DDR3 since new motherboard with usb3 and other "must-haves" requires that. Expansion plans require some determination, most with money to spend will not stick to them :)

Jammo the OrganizedFellow

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Re: build/upgrade or buy/build a new one?
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2010, 04:37:37 PM »
Yes but if he has to sell old modules with a loss it might be a better deal to get 2x1gb. When the time for more comes it will most likely be DDR3 since new motherboard with usb3 and other "must-haves" requires that. Expansion plans require some determination, most with money to spend will not stick to them :)
The "loss" now would be better than the "loss" later. As recommended, to get the 2x2GB now, so I CAN expand upon it later, should I upgrade to a 64-bit MoBo.

HAHAHA, I just called my wife at work. She knows that the advice here on DonationCoder is the best advice I could get.
She says I can go ahead and get the 4 GB RAM this week.
The SSD + Win7 by Christmas, if I still want a bigger speed increase, and then a final 4 GB RAM as my Christmas PRESENT!!!!!!!

I LOVE THIS WOMAN!!!
 :-*
As an aspiring web developer/designer, it is a constant struggle to cope with my ADHD + Hypomania/Bipolar Disorder.

The slow growth of my web dev projects is eclipsed by my patience, understanding and desire to learn AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE as I slowly progress.

X_____jamjammo_____

4wd

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Re: build/upgrade or buy/build a new one?
« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2010, 07:16:43 PM »
As recommended, to get the 2x2GB now, so I CAN expand upon it later, should I upgrade to a 64-bit MoBo.

You've already got a 64bit capable system:

Core 2 Duo E6550

SPECIFICATIONS
Processor Number   E6550
# of Cores   2
# of Threads   2
Clock Speed   2.33 GHz
L2 Cache   4 MB
Bus/Core Ratio   7
FSB Speed   1333 MHz
FSB Parity   No
Instruction Set   64-bit


You need only install a 64bit OS to use it.

Also, you can save another $2 by getting the Windows 7 Professional Upgrade since you already have XP Professional.  An upgrade of XP requires that the Win7 OS be installed from scratch anyway so you might as well save some money.

You also get XP Mode if you want to play with it, (but not BitLocker).  Here's a version comparison.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2010, 07:32:05 PM by 4wd »

Bamse

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Re: build/upgrade or buy/build a new one?
« Reply #16 on: October 20, 2010, 03:31:24 AM »
Well in a crystal ball I can see there will not be any loss later because you will not expand further. The more you spend now the higher "loss" if you will. In future you will change to something else, you already did 1 "expansion" and either your self or media/other people will encourage change as well. So new motherboard, new ram, new cpu and "old" computer becomes no. 2 or is sold. I give you 10% chance for expanding on 2x2gb DDR2. Cost of DDR2 might increase as well, most likely will. Industry punish those who want to buy "old" items. They have no interest in letting you use old hardware with ease.

But besides that see if you can't get confirmation new modules work in your particular motherboard. Ram problems can be hard to fix and probably the only thing that can go wrong with your expansion so check this. Why I said you should be happy G.skill have identical package available today, was not because 4x1gb is better though I think it make more economic sense if tech crystal ball is correct about future. Both Windows and Linux OS have ram tester software build-in so very important. As long as ram works you can get 4x4gb, the more the better :)

Was that Windows you picked not a retail with both 32 and 64bit versions? Of course you should go 64bit today. May be they have better deals like 4wd has been looking for. I would get 64bit OEM for System Builder version for sure, http://www.newegg.co...ft-Operating-Systems Pro or Ultimate I am not sure of. I you want HOME it is 100$ http://www.newegg.co...Item=N82E16832116754 There are no problems with moving that Windows to new computer, is not locked to anything = you get absolutely no value for paying "Retail" full price. Some still think OEM means it is illegal/impossible to move Windows and so will warn against much cheaper versions. I stumble across such statements on Windows forums. Have you heard that? Is BS :) "System Builder" status is what makes it ok and difference to tinkering with a OEM Windows provided by Asus, HP or whatever. Not legal since license is locked to hardware.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2010, 03:39:46 AM by Bamse »

mouser

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Re: build/upgrade or buy/build a new one?
« Reply #17 on: October 20, 2010, 04:01:13 AM »
I'm not sure what Bamse is saying but i think i agree with him  :P

That is to say -- often i think it makes more sense to not spend too much money on upgrading, and instead simply plan to retire an old computer or use it for secondary stuff, and buy a new one when the old one gets too out of date.

So, you may want to strongly consider how much longer it will be before you will get a new PC, and not spend so much on upgrading the old one if it's not going to be too long until that.  Some people prefer to keep upgrading and stick to a working PC for a long time.  Some people don't ever upgrade anything, they simply buy a new PC when the old one becomes obsolete. You have to ask yourself which one are you -- and not pour money into the old machine if you plan to buy a new one soon.

Which is why i would really focus on the things you can do that are the most cost effective and easy upgrades, and I think the memory is surely at the very top of this list.

Bamse

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Re: build/upgrade or buy/build a new one?
« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2010, 04:33:00 AM »
I mean this ram upgrade will be the last - most likely also last one involving DDR2. So choosing 2gb modules "for future" is just too much logic :)

If you see the point of not wasting money on Retail Windows may be ask those who know about SSD hds about other options, I mean larger. 40gb seems too small for me. With Windows, Adobe stuff, you being developer - don't you think you could use twice that? I don't know benefits of SSD other than what I have read but something to focus on perhaps. Fast bootup and Windows is nice but you also what lightning fast Adobe and whatever you use. 40gb is enough today but what about the future  :P

4wd

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Re: build/upgrade or buy/build a new one?
« Reply #19 on: October 20, 2010, 04:53:04 AM »
Was that Windows you picked not a retail with both 32 and 64bit versions?

The retail and upgrade versions include both 32bit and 64bit OS DVDs, no need to restrict yourself to 64bit only.

You might find that 32bit is better because you have hardware that has no 64bit drivers, eg. scanner, printer, etc that you can't afford to replace at the moment.  Later when you've updated/replaced them, then you can reinstall with Win7 x64.

@Jammo: What hardware do you have for which no manufacturer provided 64bit drivers exist?

40gb is enough today but what about the future  :P

Why then, SSDs will be much cheaper and you'll be able to afford to have two!  :P

Personally, I'd still look for a combo deal of Core i5/motherboard/RAM rather than just upgrade your current RAM, (I agree with mouser and bamse), but it comes down to a balancing act of wallet vs need.

Only you can decide.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2010, 04:57:31 AM by 4wd »

mouser

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Re: build/upgrade or buy/build a new one?
« Reply #20 on: October 20, 2010, 05:00:10 AM »
Quote
So choosing 2gb modules "for future" is just too much logic

yes -- this is an excellent point, and i agree.  this is probably the last memory upgrade you are going to do, so buy according to that -- don't decide what to buy based on the idea that you are going to keep upgrading every couple of years, because it is far wiser to plan to buy a new computer in a few years.

you should still upgrade to at least 4gb, because that will make a big difference in performance at a low cost, even if you use the machine as a backup secondary computer.

but bamse's point is good -- don't make a decision about what RAM sticks to buy based on some imagined future upgrade that is not going to happen.  all of us fall victim to this kind of thinking over and over again -- we spend more money on things because we say to ourselves "well i will buy X because one day i might want to do Y", when the reality is that Y is so unlikely or far into the future that by then we will want to buy something different.

i come from a long family of people who exhibit this behavior, and i have identified part of the reason why it always fails.  it happens a lot with power tools -- where one says "i will buy this tool because ONE DAY i might want to build table legs".. but the critical flaw is that in the very very rare chance that iever really want to build table legs, on that day i will inevitably start searching on the internet for a BETTER table leg creation tool.  in other words, if the day ever comes when i need the fantasy tool that i am buying ahead of time, i will inevitably feel like i need a better tool for the job.

short summary: don't try to plan too far in the future in terms of computer upgrades -- in the non-near term future you will want (and be better off with) a new computer.

Bamse

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Re: build/upgrade or buy/build a new one?
« Reply #21 on: October 20, 2010, 05:24:08 AM »
True about ssds 4wd. New stuff and it will get better, cheaper etc. Well may be worth to check pricing scheme, like you get sooo much more if you spend an extra XX$ or something. Apparently picky to choose so more than price to consider. In his shoes I would want Windows, Adobe and what Adobe work requires on this ssd. If 40gb is great for that then 40 is enough.

I know someone who got Windows 7 and now has to run Autodesk in a VM because it will not work with 7! Too costly to upgrade old Autodesk version. Incompatibility problems are for real but if no 32bit requirements save money by going 64bit System Builder - which is what you are anyway :)

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Re: build/upgrade or buy/build a new one?
« Reply #22 on: October 22, 2010, 02:12:37 PM »
Quote from: Jammo
@Mouser: but doesn't 32-bit Win7 only recognize 4GB max?
EDIT: yes, 4GB is the max. Google is my friend! Win7-64bit can use 8GB.
4GB is max for client/desktop Windows versions, server editions can handle a lot more (8GB for Home Basic and below, 16GB for Home Premium, 192GB for the rest of the non-server versions).

E6550 CPU has dual-channel memory controller, so go by pairs of memory (N-channel means striping memory requests over N ram blocks, increasing throughput). Keep in mind that memory speed is lowest common denominator of all sticks. Also, go for N blocks of ram (two in your dual-channel case), stuff doesn't go faster above the channel count - so in general, get as big blocks as you can afford, and leave the unused slots for possible future expansion.

That said, it's not a *problem* adding faster ram, it'll just run at the slower speed - worth keeping in mind since slower memory can often be more expensive because it's older. And as others have mentioned, you won't be upgrading this system much more, so go for two additional 1GB sticks.

I personally enjoy 8GB in my workstation, it has enabled me to turn off pagefile (with no problems for any app) and use a decent-size ramdisk at the same time - YMMV. Never ever going to pagefile can be a big speed improvement; SSDs are fast, but RAM is still a lot faster. If I was to upgrade to a new system, that would probably mean triple-channel memory and DDR3 rather than DDR2... I'd be in serious doubt whether to go for 3x2GB or 3x4GB sticks.

+1 for TrueCrypt, it rocks - unless there's some corporate demands, I can't see why you'd use BitLocker instead.

Quote from: 4wd
You might find that 32bit is better because you have hardware that has no 64bit drivers, eg. scanner, printer, etc that you can't afford to replace at the moment.  Later when you've updated/replaced them, then you can reinstall with Win7 x64.
Was an issue in the past, especially with 64bit XP, and a bit with Vista... not so much with Win7. If you can't find a working win7-64 driver, there's a good chance you won't find a 32bit driver that'll work either.

Get a SSD now - yes, they're ridiculously expensive, but they're well worth it. Use it just for your system files (OS install + apps) and if you have some data that benefits a lot from fast random I/O access (I keep my sourcecode on my SSD). Which size you'll be able to live with depends on your uses, but most people will need an additional disk for "bulk storage". You need to closely study SSD performance, as some of the drives out there work WORSE in practice than mechanical drives. The intel SSDs are overall pretty darn decent, but there's faster (at least for some workloads) drives around that are cheaper. Haven't followed the market so I don't know what the current trends are, but I really enjoy my 64GB X25-E, and it's plenty big for the stuff a SSD is useful for. Some of the smaller SSDs also seem to be slower, so caveat emptor! - you should probably look around the 64GB or 80GB range to keep it affordable and still get great performance.

While most computer components don't carry over well to a new system, you definitely will be able to carry over a SSD you buy now even if you build a completely new machine... and while newer & faster & cheaper SSDs might be around then, one you buy now will still effortlessly beat mechanical disks, and be comfortable. The first SSDs sucked, the ones around now aren't that bad investments :)
- carpe noctem