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DVD replacement

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August 10, 2010 5:50:25 AM

Ok im not sure where to post this. I want to know if I can take a HDD and make it run my games instead of my DVD drive. I was thinking of using a HDD to load my games. I want a 300 GB 10k RPM HDD to be my DVD replacement. Can I format my HDD and set it as what a DVD drive would be?

More about : dvd replacement

August 10, 2010 5:53:04 AM

Also if I use SSDs will it be faster if i buy a SLC SSD 64GB to replace the DVD drive? I would have to load the DVD info on the SSD to play the game every time I change games but would it help the game run faster?
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a c 123 G Storage
August 10, 2010 5:21:10 PM

You may be able to use it for some games, but you need to make ISO images of the disks and mount them using a virtual DVD drive software. SSD will be faster than a regular harddrive and the DVD. But this method will not work for all games, you need to do some trial and error or do a web search to see what games will work this way.
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a b G Storage
August 10, 2010 5:56:17 PM

like hang-the-9 said, you would have to make disk images of your games. some games may not recognize these discs as correct and won't let you start the game, so it will be trial and error.

SSDs won't help the game run faster, only start faster

you could also try digital versions of the game (like through steam)
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a c 123 G Storage
August 10, 2010 6:02:31 PM

jefe323 said:
like hang-the-9 said, you would have to make disk images of your games. some games may not recognize these discs as correct and won't let you start the game, so it will be trial and error.

SSDs won't help the game run faster, only start faster

you could also try digital versions of the game (like through steam)


Ah, true, digital versions of games are a good idea, although there are issues people have with Steam. I can't get it to run properly on any of my PCs for some reason, so no Half-Life for me :cry: 

Some games may work better off SSD even after loading if they need to load more data from the disk, such as changing levels. With a SSD you will see a perfomance boots in your whole computer, so it's a good upgrade to make anyway if you are leaning that way.
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August 10, 2010 10:47:05 PM

Sweet I looked into the .ISO methed of this and it looked like a good idea for some parts but then I was thinking if the DVD dirve bufffers information from the disk it may need to be writen to the drive that way. Does the ripping software add that in the information transfer? Some trial and error is ok itll only allow me time to appreciate my games and all the more when load times are small and latencies are low.
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a c 100 G Storage
August 11, 2010 12:08:14 PM

???
You do realize that ALL games are installed to the hard drive from DVD when using a computer.

My setup is this:
1) 60GB SSD (For Windows and applications)
2) 300GB Velociraptor (for GAMES. Must change from C: to, in this case E: drive when installing)
3) 2TB (backups, videos, etc)

I would much rather have a 1TB drive for $80 then a 300GB Velociraptor for 3x that price for my games but I had the Velociraptor as my main drive before getting the OCZ Vertex 2 SSD (which is awesome). So I wait 40 seconds instead of 25 seconds for a game to start, big deal. At $185 for a good 60GB SSD consider that many games now use 7GB to 25GB of space so you can easily fill that drive with only 6 games (or $30 to store each game).

With lots of RAM (4GB ideal), most newer games don't have problems transitioning between areas (unlike Half-Life 2 in your boat which is one of the few games I have that I'm annoyed waiting for the hard-drive to send the new area data).

*How to properly install most games from DVD:
1. Insert the disc
2. Install to default (or choose a secondary drive like E:) 
3. Install patches/updates
4. Get a NOCD crack so you don't need to insert the disc to play (www.gamecopyworld.com). Usually this involves simply overwriting a file(s). Note that usually the Crack and Game version must MATCH (i.e. you update to version 1.03 so you need the v1.03 NOCD crack to overwrite the main EXE file).

STEAM:
I've had no major issues with STEAM. I even copied the entire folder of games (instructions at STEAM) from C: to E: when I installed my SSD so I didn't have to re-download everything (I backup STEAM games when not playing as my 300GB drive gets full of games).
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a c 100 G Storage
August 11, 2010 2:04:57 PM

NOTE:
In case I wasn't clear, once you've installed a game from disc, you only need the disc for the game to verify you have it. If you use a NOCD crack you never need the disc again.

Games do NOT utilize a DVD past the initial checkup so creating an ISO of a DVD and mounting it serves absolutely no purpose.
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August 11, 2010 3:52:13 PM

Thats a sweet setup. What im trying to do is format a SLC based SSD to be a DVD-RW+ and BLU-RAY-RW+. That way im using a lagerer amount of cache for games that require a fast system. Im thinking that with this setup I can then run NEW games with out the slower throughput of the DVD/Blu-Ray. The idea is that instead of using a slow DVD drive with low throughput that I can accomplish the speed up using the cache of the SLC SSD as the buffer. Games require more these days then is easy to accomplish. Now the DVD and Blu-Ray drives are both multi-format, single and dual-layer. SSDs at least MLC based drives are dual-layer capable im not so sure of the SLC based SSDs. Can I use a SLC based SSD drive with the format of DVD-RW+ and Blu-Ray-RW+ as if its the actual DVD/Blu-ray drive? I dont want to confuse the system into doing this but set it up to run that way by default. That means I would have to set it up after formating manually. So each time I want to play a game itll register the SSD as the disk drive, and each time I change the game ill have to delete the info on the drive, and change it with the game im going to be playing. That way itll be like im changing disks. My next problem will be ripping a game disk to my computer. I could do this fine but im not sure itll work the way the DVD/Blu-Ray player will. The DVD/Blu-ray drive has a bufferer but not the SSD. So im going to need to know that even if I can pre buffer the info need from the disk durning game play will the SSD of 64GB be big enough to hold the info? And will a SLC based SSD "considering the speed" be able to pervide a dual-layer of information as does the DVD/Blu-Ray?
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August 11, 2010 4:01:10 PM

What im trying to do is format a SLC based SSD to be a DVD-RW+ and BLU-RAY-RW+. That way im using a lagerer amount of cache for games that require a fast system. Im thinking that with this setup I can then run NEW games with out the slower throughput of the DVD/Blu-Ray. The idea is that instead of using a slow DVD drive with low throughput that I can accomplish the speed up using the cache of the SLC SSD as the buffer. Games require more these days then is easy to accomplish. Now the DVD and Blu-Ray drives are both multi-format, single and dual-layer. SSDs at least MLC based drives are dual-layer capable im not so sure of the SLC based SSDs. Can I use a SLC based SSD drive with the format of DVD-RW+ and Blu-Ray-RW+ as if its the actual DVD/Blu-ray drive? I dont want to confuse the system into doing this but set it up to run that way by default. That means I would have to set it up after formating manually. So each time I want to play a game itll register the SSD as the disk drive, and each time I change the game ill have to delete the info on the drive, and change it with the game im going to be playing. That way itll be like im changing disks. My next problem will be ripping a game disk to my computer. I could do this fine but im not sure itll work the way the DVD/Blu-Ray player will. The DVD/Blu-ray drive has a bufferer but not the SSD. So im going to need to know that even if I can pre buffer the info need from the disk durning game play will the SSD of 64GB be big enough to hold the info? And will a SLC based SSD "considering the speed" be able to pervide a dual-layer of information as does the DVD/Blu-Ray?
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August 11, 2010 4:12:34 PM

photonboy said:
NOTE:
In case I wasn't clear, once you've installed a game from disc, you only need the disc for the game to verify you have it. If you use a NOCD crack you never need the disc again.

Games do NOT utilize a DVD past the initial checkup so creating an ISO of a DVD and mounting it serves absolutely no purpose.



I dont think thats ok for all games becuase the buffer of the DVD drive organizes the seek times of the storage drive so itll know what to get next and prepares the cache. I may be wrong though. All im saying is the slower DVD drive isnt needed after installing the game to a faster HDD/SSD but with some larger games every little bit helps. Thats how im looking at it. Im not sure that this approach will even be effective, but running games at the highest settings it maybe worth it. Its the logic of using the DVD/Blu-Ray 3 - 5 times faster then it was. And im only say SSD becuase the SLC based drives can write and rewrite 100,000 times and much faster the HDDs.
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a c 123 G Storage
August 11, 2010 4:20:01 PM

photonboy said:
NOTE:
In case I wasn't clear, once you've installed a game from disc, you only need the disc for the game to verify you have it. If you use a NOCD crack you never need the disc again.

Games do NOT utilize a DVD past the initial checkup so creating an ISO of a DVD and mounting it serves absolutely no purpose.


The point is that almost all of the games still need the game to see the DVD to run, and using a crack is not very kosher.

If the game he wants to play needs a DVD inserted, creating an ISO of the disk and mounting is about all you can do without getting into some grey areas of computing. Actually, I think even using ISOs would be against most companies usage policies, but at least you are not using a crack.
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August 11, 2010 4:32:32 PM

hang-the-9 said:
The point is that almost all of the games still need the game to see the DVD to run, and using a crack is not very kosher.

If the game he wants to play needs a DVD inserted, creating an ISO of the disk and mounting is about all you can do without getting into some grey areas of computing. Actually, I think even using ISOs would be against most companies usage policies, but at least you are not using a crack.




Do you know that if .ISO is a ripped type file or document? If so then my goal is not to use the .ISO but to buff the .ISO to run as if the DVD/Blu-Ray were doing it itself. The point there is that the DVD/Blu-Ray is slow and a HDD/SSD is fast so that access time are at higher and throughput would be at a all time high and the outcome is the game runs faster. I wont even need to overclock anything "like RAM, GRAM, and GPU." to get the performence boost of doing so.
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a b G Storage
August 11, 2010 5:04:17 PM

using an .ISO image and a virtual drive mimics using a dvd drive, so you'll see the same performance/usage as a physical drive.

Storing the image on a ssd or a mechanical hdd won't make a difference in reading the disc

i think you are vastly over estimating the role the disc plays in gaming

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_drive
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a c 123 G Storage
August 11, 2010 5:44:27 PM

TonyACG51 said:
Do you know that if .ISO is a ripped type file or document? If so then my goal is not to use the .ISO but to buff the .ISO to run as if the DVD/Blu-Ray were doing it itself. The point there is that the DVD/Blu-Ray is slow and a HDD/SSD is fast so that access time are at higher and throughput would be at a all time high and the outcome is the game runs faster. I wont even need to overclock anything "like RAM, GRAM, and GPU." to get the performence boost of doing so.


An ISO is a perfect image file of the disk, it's one file basically a clone of the drive. You need some software to mount it though so the computer sees it as a disk drive. You can also use an ISO image to burn bootable disks a lot better than just copying the files off a disk.
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a c 100 G Storage
August 11, 2010 7:53:24 PM

I don't think you're getting it.

If a game needs the DVD to be inserted it will check for that disc once you try to start the game. It varies, but we'll say it takes five seconds. After that, for the ENTIRE TIME you play that game, the DVD is NEVER accessed.

Here's the sequence of events:
1. Click the GAME exe
2. DVD/CD is checked for legal copy (5 seconds?)
3. Game loads from HARD DRIVE into your RAM (5 to 60 seconds. varies by game and hard drive speed.)
4. Start playing...
5. Periodic level loads from HARD DRIVE into your RAM (a well designed game pre-loads the next area before you need it so there's no wait.)
6. EXIT GAME
7. Windows flushes the RAM memory of the game

*I see nothing wrong with using a NOCD crack if I purchased the game. Actually, people are beginning to demand a NO DISC option. That's partially why people like STEAM. Starcraft II is another new game that doesn't require the disc.
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a c 100 G Storage
August 11, 2010 8:05:25 PM

BTW,
A good Vertex 2 SSD can READ at 280 MB/second. A 600GB Velociraptor may average 100MB/second at its fastest to 50MB/second (when full) for most games. It varies. I know there's some comparisons on YouTube.

So with an expensive SSD you can likely load a game at 4x the speed on average. With the exception of Half-Life 2 during the water levels I've found my Velociraptor is just fine. I think most games load in around 30 seconds though some probably take a minute initially.

I could see buying a 60GB or 120GB SSD and installing a few of your favourite games (especially if they have long load times), but $400 is a lot of money; there's a lot of other PC stuff I can buy for $400 like a high quality monitor, or high-end speakers and a good audio card, or an HD5870 etc.
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August 11, 2010 11:50:28 PM

I'm just planning ahead. I'm also thinking the soon or later we will be given the option of a fully programmable APU/GPGPU. All these options and a whole list of things to do to attempt to maintain storage and efficiency. Plus its fun to think that I could get a overclock boost with out overclocking. The problem with that is I would need information from the game craters to replace the DVD/Blu-ray drive with a more storage efficient registry system. Then I would have to do the whole thing manually unless they have it readily available. But the outcome is the APU/GPGPU and file/storage system fully programed for use. Less bottlenecking. Another problem with it is the reading information from a DVD/Blu-Ray drive is buffered so the compressed data is larger in size. Meaning that after the amount of data decompression will it really be worth the 4 – 6 times the speed? Thats just more information from the game makers to determine whether it worth the cost and effort. Beside the fact that most games wont have a huge problem if its planned not to.
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a c 100 G Storage
August 13, 2010 12:44:07 AM

TonyACG51
I studied computers and know a lot about the hardware and bottlenecking issues. Here's a LONG reply that I hope you find informative:

You appear to have some misconceptions about the way computers work. This whole DVD-thing is a non-issue. There is absolutely no direct relationship between your hard drive and DVD drive. They are two different ways of storing data. Your computer reads the DVD and copies the data to the hard drive because the hard drive is faster to access but there's nothing the game needs on that disc once this is done except the verification file used to help prevent piracy (which can be bypassed by a NOCD crack which I don't object to provided you own the game but it's probably technically illegal.)

XBOX:
What you are talking about reminds me of game consoles like the XBox where they did read from a disc which made things really slow. The discs also became scratched and unreadable in many cases.

I'm unsure whether you can fully install all games to modern XBox and PS3 machines. I suspect that the next generation of consoles may use ONLY downloadable games due to piracy. They may have a DVD drive but it's possible this will be for movies only.

Bottlenecks:
There are several bottlenecks in any computer. Here's how it works:
1) Motherboard BIOS:
When you cold start or start from Hibernation, your motherboard will run a series of tests to verify things are working. This usually takes about 20 seconds. There is a quick test and a longer test. The longer test verifies more of your System RAM (i.e. DDR3 RAM) but not all of it. When you recover from Standby your system is already partially on and your RAM still contains Windows so there's no BIOS startup; in Standby you're waiting for your screen so start or your hard drive to spin up but it's a matter of a few seconds.

2) Hard drive/SSD:
Windows initially loads from your hard drive into your System RAM (i.e. your 4GB of DDR3). When you start a program like Microsoft Word, it loads and runs from your System RAM. If you don't have enough RAM, Windows is force to remove programs from RAM so when you use them again it must access the hard drive. The optimal amount is 4GB even for gamers. 8GB is a waste for all but people with specific needs for editing massive media files using programs like Photoshop. It adds heat and probably will slow things down a little (it's best to buy 4GB of DDR3 with lower timings than 8GB of RAM). Very few people need more. With Windows 7, a casual business user could get by nicely with 2GB.

Games intially load from your hard drive and may need to load new levels or areas from the hard drive. A well designed game pre-buffers the next area into your RAM of a map so you aren't suddenly frozen waiting for the next area to load.

3) System RAM (i.e. 4GB DDR3):
RAM is rarely a bottleneck in most systems. There's two potential types of RAM bottlenecks. One is having not enough (then the bottleneck is really your hard drive), and the other is not being FAST enough to keep up with your CPU.

For example, if your CPU is running a game, that game is stored in RAM. It keeps stepping through the program instructions in that RAM. If your RAM was too slow then the CPU can't be used to its full potential because it's waiting (like an assembly line).

System RAM is rarely a bottleneck any more. You typically need a high-end CPU running at close to 100% to have problems (and even then your RAM may be keeping up). Note that if your CPU is running at 100% then your RAM can NOT be the slowing it down because obviously it's sending it the data fast enough. For gaming, I wouldn't expect to see RAM issues unless you had something like an i7-920 overclocked to keep up with your Crossfire HD5870 setup.

4) Graphics card:
Your graphics card is often the slow part in actual game play. An i5-750, i7-860/920 CPU averages about 50% usage for moder games (usually varies between 20 and 60%). Overclocking is difficult without a massive heatsink or water cooling; a 2% increase in a normal card is not really worth the extra instability and decreased lifespan. Anyway, your CPU sends the graphics card information for it to crunch and often the graphics card runs at 100% thus the CPU is waiting to send it data. Usually the only time your graphics card is NOT a bottleneck is if you're using VSYNC. If the game can run at 90FPS (faster than your monitor can display), you should have VSYNC enabled so it runs at your displays typical 60FPS (60Hz). Not only will the graphics card run quieter, you will also avoid screen tearing (Google "tearing vsync" if you don't understand).

Bottleneck summary:
There are several types of bottlenecks which occur at different times. For games, the loading of it initially and for new levels is the hard drive. RAM is rarely a bottleneck. The CPU is typically only a bottneck for older systems with a newer graphics card which the CPU can't keep up with (very common situation). The graphics card is frequently the main bottleck for gamers.

You can easily monitor your CPU using with the Task Manager (CTRL-ALT-DEL)-TM->"Performance". Change "View->Update Speed" to "LOW." Note that if you have Hyperthreading enabled the CPU results will be incorrect (will read too low); this is because Windows treats the Hyperthread as if it were an actual CPU core but in reality the most it could add would be an extra 30% (If all four cores and all four threads showed 100% you'd be processing 30% faster than if only your four cores were enabled with Hyperthreading OFF). In fact, because very few programs can use all your cores, hyperthreading can cause a slow-down when a game or application chooses a thread over a core. Unless you have at least one core maxed out at 100% it's not even worth checking out but if you're stressing your CPU you should benchmark your game or application with and without hyperthreading enabled (enabled via the BIOS). This is why the i5-750 is such a great deal. Very few people ever need hyperthreading but it's $100 less than the i7-860 which is otherwise about the same. I leave it enabled because I used Task Manager to confirm my CPU was never close to 100% for any game I own.

Recommendations:
High-end on a budget: i5-750, 4GB DDR3 1600MHz, HD5850 1GB

Long-run gaming information:
Once the next-generation of the XBox comes out (2012?), PC gaming will take a sharp dip and eventually be phased out for high-end gaming. While you can theoretically always be ahead of a game console by purchasing the latest PC hardware the game consoles are quickly approaching "good enough." There's also a huge cost for the consumer and the developer on the PC. Developing for a single, known hardware setup is significantly cheaper for development and troubleshooting after the fact. Another huge issue is the constant stream of problems with software and hardware which just never ends. (Also game consoles are smaller and quieter than an equivalently performing PC. Look at the new PS3 slim).

I'll never purchase another PC gaming system.

The future of gaming:
1) game consoles
2) streaming (processing is server-side thus minimal hardware setup which will be included in most future HDTV's)
3) PC (high-end machines will disappear in favour of low-cost/efficient machines. The lack of hardware and cost of game development will prevent high-end games though a niche will remain for more casual gaming. Streaming will eventually work fairly well though, allowing high performance games to run on a PC since these are processed by the server.)
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a c 100 G Storage
August 13, 2010 1:09:17 AM

reference my last:
(can't edit..arrgh.
*Note: re 4) Graphics card that should read "20% to 60% when paired with an HD5870 graphics card (less with a lower-end card; more with a more demanding card which may require overclocking the CPU to keep up. Task Manager is your friend here).

Other
CPU overclocking:
you should NEVER overclock your CPU without a need. It's VERY common for people to overclock their CPU's, however there's no single GPU graphics card that requires overclocking of a CPU such as an i5-750 CPU and HD5870 setup. Overclocking only adds heat and noise.

Overclocking when?
I overclock my CPU only when transcoding video (GPU transcoding still sucks). I have a massive heatsink which helps keep heat and noise down (much better than stock). I start the Gigabyte tool, "EasyTune 6", choose my overclock setting and REBOOT.

***IMPORTANT:
Always run MEMTEST after overclocking and before starting WINDOWS. You can actually corrupt your entire FILE SYSTEM and lose data if your RAM isn't working properly. Overclocking your CPU usually also overclocks your RAM.

How to prevent hard drive corruption when overclocking:
1) Run MEMTEST (if errors, enter BIOS and lower settings and retest until you have no errors. Never start Windows with RAM errors)
2) Make an Image of your Windows partition (usually C-Drive). Use the Windows 7 tool or Acronis True Image (You should do this periodically anyway. I have a copy in my 2nd, 1TB WD Green hard drive and another copy of the IMAGE in a USB drive just in case something corrupts the 1TB drive because it's still connected and vulnerable to hardware issues like RAM problems or viruses etc.)

3) temporarily unhook your hard drive(s) physically (usually the two cables on the rear of the drives are easier to unhook than the motherboard side)

I've digressed, but creating an IMAGE and backing up your DATA is very, very important. I can actually use Acronis True Image to make periodic IMAGE updates and backup my Outlook e-mail separately. You can even do this on a daily basis (however, the updated IMAGE file for Windows gets larger than required so I delete and re-IMAGE every few months.)
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August 13, 2010 4:09:00 AM

I'm thinking on the other side of the road, I don't want a console system because its not "good enough". I'm sure that games can run better with the hardware to replace the sever system the developers use to make the game. Meaning what i'm trying to do is just that. With this theory i'm replacing the multitude of HDDs a sever uses with a storage system that'll run of a independent drive to tell the raid whats needed next. It's not better then what they use just a replacement for a optical drive.
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August 13, 2010 4:11:43 AM

I'm not a overclocker anyways and don't like the idea one bit, the idea is to run games faster off the storage so I wont find a need to overclock anything.
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August 13, 2010 7:08:12 AM

Have you seen the Heaven benchmark? WOW looking good. My point is to make a gaming system that run games looking that good no lag and head run for new games as well. The big deal is I hate to see games with the pop up effect. ( when playing you'll see thing in the background pop up.) I have a goal to make a gaming PC that achieves the with out the need to overclock for 5-10 years. I know that new games come out and are more demanding so motherboards come with overclocking built in. I don't like that idea unless someone can show me a more then great reason to use it ill try to avoid it. I like learning new things so thank you for the links and information. As I don't yet have a gaming PC I've been learning what I can and found this set up.

1: ASUS Rampage 3 Gene
2: Intel i7-960 (maybe 965 for good measure)
3: Nvidia GTX 480 (maybe 2 if I cant find a better way to use the extra PCI-E slots)
4: Corsair dominator 1600Mhz 6GB RAM (maybe dominator GT 1866)
5: Crucial 256GB c300 SSD X2 raid 0 (for games)
6: WD 2TB HDD (for back up)
7: Ultra DMA HDD (for O.S. If it wont compromise system performance)
8: PC Power and colling ESA power supply (ether 860 watt or 1200 watt for SLI)
9: Plextor Blu-Ray drive
10: Samsung LCD + TV tuner 1920X1200
11: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 32/64 bit edition
12:And a PC case, CPU cooler, and fans to got along with ESA power supply. (I also want acoustics to keep system sound minimal.)

One other thing I want to know is if I run windows off a Ultra DMA drive will I only be compromising my system OT will it still run well while gaming?
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August 13, 2010 9:16:53 PM

Ok I have an idea I would like to know if you know anything that could help. I want to know if I can use a RAID 0+1 to run my games? (basicly the way I was going to replace the DVD/Blu-ray drive) Or maybe ill look into a Raid 5 or 6 to accomplish this? Its doesnt have the data management like I was thinking itd work but it could be faster, maybe enough to get my system to do what I wanted to do. Ill then use 3 or 4 sata SSD not 7200 rpm or 10k rpm HDD drives. The ideal way to do it is a programmable GPU like the tesla for setting up my games to run by the game creators. I dont think theyll give me the information to do this though.
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