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X25-M seeker seeking help with 23 hardware ?s + new build advice

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Last response: in Storage
September 2, 2009 2:45:09 PM

Thank you in advance. Could anyone please tell me if this make a good non-gaming computer? I also have hardware and various questions.

Which CPU?:
Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 Wolfdale 3.16GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail
$189.99 Free Shipping
Intel Core 2 Duo E8600 Wolfdale 3.33GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80570E8600 - Retail
$269.99 Free Shipping

GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3R LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
$119.99 Free shipping

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8500CL5D-4GBPK - Retail
$59.99 Free Shipping

Which Power Supply?:
CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail
$99.99 free shipping
CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail
$119.99 free shipping

Which Video Card?:
GIGABYTE GV-R435OC-512I Radeon HD 4350 512MB 64-bit GDDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Low Profile Ready Video Card - Retail
$34.99 Free Shipping
SAPPHIRE 100245HDMI Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
$94.99 Free Shipping

COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
$69.99 free shipping

CPU Heatsink/Fan:
XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler - Retail
$36.60 Free Shipping

Hard Disk:
Intel X25-M Mainstream SSDSA2MH080G2C1 2.5" 80GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid state disk (SSD) - OEM (this is the 2nd generation X25-M)
Newegg price: $240 originally, sold out quickly, $500 last, sold out. Sold out at lots of other websites too.

Excluded because I already own:
Windows XP Home 32 bit service pack 2
Keyboard and mouse

Assuming the X25-M SSD is $240:
Total with the $190 CPU, $100 power supply, and $35 video card: $852
Total with the $270 CPU, $120 power supply, and $95 video card: $1012

Hardware / Various Questions:
1. Which CPU, power supply, and video card should I get? Or do you recommend other parts?

2. What is the easiest programming language to learn? Which language lets you get the most done for the amount of time you spend?

3. Are there any monitors smaller than 30" that support 2560 x 1024 resolution? If not, will there ever be?

4. If I don't care about size or heat, which is better, a CRT or LCD monitor? Are CRTs dangerous?

5. If I am going to literally never run any programs that can use more than 1 core, is a dual core or a quad core processor better, if you are spending the same amount on each?

6. Do you know of any good alternative websites to buy computer hardware from besides

7. Will a better video card help non gaming application performance?

8. Are there any input devices better than a keyboard? If you were to put a keyboard on a tablet, could you type faster than you could on a keyboard?

9. Should I update the BIOS of a new motherboard?

10. Should I try to Overclock my CPU? If so, will I be okay if I follow guide that uses the same CPU and motherboard as me? How much thermal paste should I use?

11. Should I get a CPU Heatsink/Fan to replace the stock one if I'm not going to overclock?

12. Should I get get a 64 bit version of windows so I can use 8 GB of RAM?

13. Does putting windows XP on its own little hard drive partition make your PC run faster? Do you recommend any tweaks for making Windows XP run faster?

14. Does windows XP have automatic background defragging?

15. Do you recommend any benchmarking / testing programs to test
that hardware is working?

X25-M SSD questions:
16. Should I try to set up a RAMdisk, or should I get an X25-M SSD? Which is faster? How do I go about setting up a RAMdisk, and should I get 8gb of RAM for that, or will 4 be okay?

17. How long will it take for newegg's X25-M generation 2 SSDs drives to get in stock again and drop down to $240?

18. Will the X25-m TRIM utility work with windows XP?

19. If I change Window's 7 back to the classic window's theme, will I still have to learn a new user interface?

20. Is Windows 7 64 bit or XP 32 bit faster? Which should I get? I would use the old, simple classic theme with both, try to disable unnessessary services, and disable visual gimmicks of Windows 7, if possible.
Windows 7 64 bit pros and cons, as I see them (relative to 32 bit XP):
possibly better SSD support (but does it make a significant difference?)
possibly better multi-core processor support (but does it make a significant difference?)
would it still be slower than XP, even if I changed it to classic theme?
possibly worse, new user interface
have to pay for it (already own XP)

21. With Windows XP, will enabling AHCI mode improve the X25-m's performance? Is it hard to enable it? Do I have to enable AHCI before I install Windows XP?

22. Does the X25-m retail version (SSDSA2MH080G2R5) come with mounting brackets or whatever? Is it okay to just tape it to the bottom of the case?

23. Should case fans and CPU fans suck or blow?

24. Is Anandtech or toms hardware better?

More about : x25 seeker seeking hardware build advice

September 2, 2009 8:02:41 PM

Right off the bat I’d like to ask you more about what you want to use this computer for, because if it’s just surfing the net then it’s vastly overkill and a few hundred dollars overpriced. Or for example if you use Photoshop then I’d recommend getting a quad core CPU and such.

I’d get the E8500 out of the two; it is a much better value at $80 cheaper for only a 0.17Hz jump in speed.

Motherboard looks good but, probably could go cheaper if you don’t plan on over clocking.

RAM looks good as well

For the power supply id go with neither. Since you do not have a mid or higher end graphics card all you need is one in the 350-450 watt range. If you do plan on upgrading the graphics card a 500 watt PSU should be fine.

The 4350 I think is a good card but only if you use 2D text and only 2D text programs. Maybe look into the 4550 or even 46x0’s for better performance.

The cooler master case is fine.

XIGMATEK heat sink is a very good choice.

Intel SSD is ok if you want to spend more for the faster performance over a regular hard drive. Perhaps get a good Western Digital or Seagate 1TB drive for storage?

But again I must ask you to post what you plan on using this computer for. If it’s for just surfing the net then this comp should last you for realistically 6+ years.

1. Answered above

2. I personally have taken some classes in Java and later some in C++. I was surprised at how similar they where and the C++ class was that much easier. But in general if you know how to program in any language then learning how to program in another will be a piece of cake. As to whether one is easier than another I think they are about the same, but that’s just my opinion.

3. I don’t think there are any sub 30" 2560 res monitors out. And yes I do think they will make them, because they have come out with 19" 1680x1050 and 22" 1920x1080 monitors. It’s just a matter of when...

4. Well I’ve never heard about any dangerous CRTs before and people have been using them for a long time. And the whole point of using LCDs is because of their size. (Both physical and resolution and maybe power efficiency?)

5. If the dual and quad cores are both the same price then I’d get the dual. Mainly for power efficiency and the dual core should be at higher clock speeds than the quad.

6. That mostly depends on where you live, in the US or Europe. I live in California and find good deals at Fry’s Electronics and I hear Microcenter is good as well. Not too sure about Europe though.

7. No. I think a bigger concern would be getting a card that does not perform smoothly.

8. if you mean, if its easier to type on a keyboard than it is to type on a touch screen then I’d say that’s more up to personal preference.

9. Personally I haven’t updated any of my mother boards BIOS’s and I am still running good, but I have also never over clocked any of my computers. But if you do plan on over clocking I would update the BIOS.

10. You can over clock the CPU if you want to; it’s not that hard to do. There are thousands of over clocking guides on the internet and yes it would make things a little easier to fallow a guide that has your CPU and mother board. In regards to how much thermal paste the easiest way is to Google it but in general put a rice sized blob in the center of the CPU and place the heat sink over it. It might be a good idea to practice a few times to see if the paste is evenly spread over the CPU and that the paste dose not ooze out the sides.
11. The stock heat sink is fine for a non over clocked computer.

12. Yes you should use a 64 bit OS to see more than 4 GB of RAM. But the real question is will you actually be using programs that can take advantage of 8 GB of RAM.

13. Yes, a little faster, provided that it is a magnetic hard drive and not an SSD. Maybe get a good 500GB-1TB drive and make a partition that is 10% of the drives capacity to install OS and maybe make the remaining space in another partition as storage.

14. Not sure if XP can but I think you can set it to run at a certain time once a week.

15. Prime95 for CPU stress, stability, heat
Memtest for testing your RAM
Your hard drive should come with software to test the drives speed and for corrupted sectors

16. No clue. But I would imagine that the RAMdisk would be cheaper and the SSD would be more hassle free.

17 – 18. No idea.

19. If I’m not mistaken the windows 7 (and vista’s) classic mode makes it work and look like windows XP.

20. I’d just leave it to getting the 64bit because of the extra RAM capacity that you might need down the road and getting the 32 bit if you have lots of old 5+ year hardware like printers that don’t have 64 bit drivers.

21. No clue sorry.

22. No and no, don’t tape the drive to the case… you will have to buy a 2.5” to 3.5” drive converter/bracket.

23. Front and side fans should suck air into, back and top should blow air out.

24. I plead the 5th ;) 

hope this helps!
September 2, 2009 9:17:43 PM

Thanks for being so nice and helpful Paperfox. I also have a few more questions, if you don't mind.

It is for non gaming, but I'd still like a good PC because I'm on it a lot and might be using it for a long time.

If XP 32 bit is not as hardware intensive, will it make up for Window's 7 64 bit's better multicore processor compatibility, better SSD use, and 4 more gigs of RAM?

Anandtech wrote: "TRIM isn’t yet supported, but the 34nm drives will get a firmware update when Windows 7 launches enabling TRIM. XP and Vista users will get a performance enhancing utility (read: manual TRIM utility)."
So does this mean "performance enhancing utility" is not the same as TRIM? And does anyone know if that manual utility will be as good as TRIM?

Is it true that AHCI must be enabled in bios before OS install? And does Windows XP SP2 work with AHCI?

If AHCI requires Windows XP SP3, can I install using my SP1/SP2 disk, and get SP3 after it's installed? Or do I have to use a SP3 disk?

Will warranties let you exchange the part, even if you're not sure there's nothing wrong with it, but you think there might be? And can you exchange it just so that you can get a newer revision?

If an SSD is put in a RAID with a traditional hard drive, will it be slower than just a single SSD?

If I get an uninterruptable power supply, would a RAMdisk be better than an SSD? And does anyone know of any real world tests comparing the two?
Related resources
September 3, 2009 5:54:54 PM

Unfortunately AHCI, TRIM, and RAMdisks are beyond my understanding. I haven’t really read anything that much or experimented with any of them.

In regards to whether Windows XP 32 bit is better than Windows 7 64 bit, id still lean towards win 7 64. Anything (TRIM, AHCI ect…) that can improve the longevity and performance of any of my computers components is invaluable and certainly worth its expense in the long run. XP is old and is no longer supported by Microsoft and won’t have any more service packs added to it which update any bugs/improve performance, unlike win 7. And lastly the 4GB of RAM in the future might become the 512KB of today, having the ability to add more RAM by having a 64 bit OS now could save you some trouble in the future. XP has lasted you a long time and so will windows 7 and your computer, I’m thinking it should last you at least until say windows 9 comes out, skipping windows 8 as you have with vista.

“Will warranties let you exchange the part?”
I’m assuming you mean manufacturers warranties (as opposed to the 30 day return policies), those normally only last like 1-3 years of which the component should most likely function and not beak, unless you are really unlucky but it happens. As far as I know the manufacturers won’t replace a part that has failed through normal ware and tare of operation. An example could be your SSD no longer works/ has less than 80 GB of space because you copied, pasted, and deleted to the drive one too many times(SSDs cell memory can only be written/deleted to so many times before they fail, SLC memory (INTEL X25-E)~100,000 times and MLC memory (INTEL X25-M) ~10,000 times). Another example could be when you notice your drives read and write transfer rates plummet. This could be due to the data on the SSD being too fragmented. Intel most likely won’t replace the drive but tell you to copy your data to another drive and download a free software tool from their website which will wipe clean your SSD making it empty like on the day you first bought the drive. Then reinstall your OS and programs and such. If there is something that is genuinely wrong with your component that the manufacturer dose agree to send you a replacement, it is rare (I think) that they would send you a newer generation of that product (but perhaps the item you sent in is very old and is out of stock or has been discontinued).

I would NOT put a SSD in raid with a regular hard drive. For one, why would you? Why bog down the SSD’s performance with a slower magnetic hard drive in RAID. Another reason is that in RAID the size of the partition is limited to the size of the smallest drive in the RAID array. So your 80GB SSD in RAID 0 with a 1 TB hard drive would only show up as a 160 GB partition on your computer. Similarly in RAID 1 you would only see an 80 GB partition. The extra 920 GB in the 1 TB drive will not be used in the RAID array, however you can create another partition on the 1 TB drive that is 920 GB in size.
a c 415 G Storage
September 3, 2009 8:06:01 PM

paperfox said:
the 4GB of RAM in the future might become the 512KB of today

"Might"? :D 

paperfox said:
(SSDs cell memory can only be written/deleted to so many times before they fail, SLC memory (INTEL X25-E)~100,000 times and MLC memory (INTEL X25-M) ~10,000 times).

Just to alleviate any concerns about this, Intel's controller uses "wear levelling" to minimize the impact of this. It's not like the drive will fail after the 10,000th write. In fact, Intel states that if you write 20GB per day to the drive then it should last for at least 5 years.