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When do you stop ugrading?

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March 20, 2012 12:07:26 PM

I hope this is ok in this category...

RE: Base computer was Gateway GM5424

When is a good time to stop upgrading. :)  This has gotten out of control.

I knew going it that I could just buy a new computer that would give me what I was looking for, and at a much cheeper cost. But this was as much of a learning curve as anything. At each step of the upgrade I did a performance test, to see what the improvements were.

I think I've upgraded everything but the motherboard and CPU. :p  So far, I have gone from:

2G to 8G RAM
Vista 32 to Windows 7 (64bit)
GeForce 7300LE to GeForce 550Ti
Replaced the keyboard and mouse with a wireless version
Replaced the card reader module (broken pin on my previous CF slot)
I know I won't change the motherboard or CPU

Now I just need to tweak the system.

I made ZERO bios or timing settings in swapping out my PC-4200 two 1G RAM chips to 4 PC-6400 RAM chips. Is there a good way to see if I need to make any configuration changes, to get the most out of the RAM?

More about : stop ugrading

March 20, 2012 3:21:25 PM

i normally buy high end parts off the get go so typically i dont upgrade at all before replacing with a new system.

however what you have done... are definitely worthwhile improvments. the only other upgrade is to a better hard drive such as a SSD. this would be an improvment.

good thing is the ssd and video card could move to a new system. the ram and other components probably not.
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March 20, 2012 3:21:59 PM

Getting yourself over to a SandyBridge or IvyBridge CPU/MOBO would be the next step.

There's never really a time to stop upgrading though, keep components going until it works out no longer financially viable to do so.
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March 20, 2012 4:39:57 PM

ssddx said:
however what you have done... are definitely worthwhile improvments. the only other upgrade is to a better hard drive such as a SSD. this would be an improvment.

good thing is the ssd and video card could move to a new system. the ram and other components probably not.


^+1

I believe that an SSD is the next logical step. Get a SATA III compatible SSD and, even if your motherboard doesn't support SATA III, your next build will definitely have at least a couple of SATA III ports.

OCZ Vertex 3
Crucial M4
Kingston HyperX/SSDNow
Intel 520

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March 20, 2012 4:44:25 PM

Quote:
I believe that an SSD is the next logical step. Get a SATA III compatible SSD and, even if your motherboard doesn't support SATA III, your next build will definitely have at least a couple of SATA III ports.


I'd agree with this - make sure you get a good one like a Crucial M4.

Well right now I have no plans to upgrade except swapping my dual 550TIs with a single Radeon 7870 once I get my tax refund. Down the road I plan to upgrade my motherboard and CPU to X79 - but that won't be for at least 5 - 6 months out.
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March 20, 2012 4:50:29 PM

I just need one more paycheck to build my system. :) 
Just gotta wait till Saturday!
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March 21, 2012 11:01:16 AM

if purchasing an SSD check the stats... just a little while ago when i was looking most couldnt even top out a sataII connection which made sataIII worthless on them. unless you buy a drive that can actually utilize sataIII there isnt a point to go with one over sataII. just keep that in mind.

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March 21, 2012 2:39:51 PM

I already have a 2nd internal 1T drive, that I use for backups and data. But let me ask about these SSD drives. I'm not sure there would be any benefit on my current system: Gateway GM5452 base unit. It does have a SATA II interface but no SATA III.

One thing I didn't mention was that I also upgraded to a 700W power supply. ;)  Bit of an overkill.

1) Would the SSD be the primary drive that has the OS installed on it?
2) Or would it be used as a 2nd drive?
3) The crucil M4 is kind of small, in terms of HDs so I'm assuming it would be used for some special purpose. What?
4) If one got a SATA III drive, would it be backward compatible to work with a SATA II interface? Since I could always move the drive to a new computer, it might be worthwhile to get one as an experiment.
5) Can one put 3 drives in a system? Or would I have to remove my 2nd internal. It's only for backup so it's no big deal to unplug it and plug in an SSD.
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March 21, 2012 2:54:57 PM

Typical SSD sizes are 60/64GB, 120/128GB, 250/256GB. They do go bigger, but the price also shoots way up.

SSD's have no moving parts, DATA is more or less "instant" on-demand. They are much much faster than conventional Magnetic HDD's.

Typically SSD's are used for a boot drive (your OS goes on there) and then depending on how big the SSD is that you buy, you could put some regularly used applications and maybe a few games on there too.

People mostly like to use an SSD just to place their OS on. This enables your system to boot in around 10 seconds, rather than the usual 30seconds-1minute.

Your current 1TB HDD would be used for media storage, and for example a 60/64GB SSD would be used to install your OS on, your web browser, and a couple of other applications you use all the time.
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March 21, 2012 3:41:08 PM

I'm familar with SSD. I have them on my Linux box, for radio software. I use the SSD because it's in a jeep and don't want spinning discs. I just wasn't sure the value on a desktop. :)  If it's just booting, it's no biggie. I don't mind waiting a minute or two. I only boot about once a week. My computer is on 24/7.

So, say I have an OS already installed. Is there any way to transfer the OS to an SSD, without going through the reinstall? I ask that because I have wiped my original Vista OS and if I tried to reinstall Win 7, it won't recognize it as an install (I don't believe). I'm not sure I have the original CD.

But if I could transfer my OS to an SSD, now is the time to do it, before I install the rest of my applications. ;) 

BTW, my system seems like a new system. My performance tests show it's performing at triple it's previous state. And it's very noticable that there is much less disc activity since I don't have to do so much disc swapping. I want to maximize performance on this PC, without getting crazy (i.e. no new mobo). ;) 

PS: The "youngster" under my name doesn't apply. :)  I'm in my late 60s. ;) 
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March 21, 2012 3:49:29 PM

Quote:
I'm familar with SSD. I have them on my Linux box, for radio software. I use the SSD because it's in a jeep and don't want spinning discs. I just wasn't sure the value on a desktop. :) 


I'll admit I was a bit of a skeptic before I got my first SSD (Crucial M4) - now I won't build a system without them.

Quote:
So, say I have an OS already installed. Is there any way to transfer the OS to an SSD, without going through the reinstall? I ask that because I have wiped my original Vista OS and if I tried to reinstall Win 7, it won't recognize it as an install (I don't believe). I'm not sure I have the original CD.


No - you pretty much have to reinstall. Even if you don't have a CD you can download and obtain a key from Microsoft legally and install it that way but any time you switch boot drives you have to.

Quote:
Your current 1TB HDD would be used for media storage, and for example a 60/64GB SSD would be used to install your OS on, your web browser, and a couple of other applications you use all the time.


That's the way I have mine setup - I have my SSD for boot / primary applications, then the second for media storage (photos, additional applications, things of that nature), then I have a dedicated 320GB drive that I salvaged from an old build that I have all my games setup on - it works great that way.
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March 21, 2012 4:32:50 PM

This might be worth doing, IF I can figure out how to install my "upgrade" Windows 7, on a new hard drive. Everything I have read says a previous version OS is required to install an "upgrade". The first installation went ok, because Vista 32 bit was already on my system. But because I went to 64 bit Windows 7, it was a clean (custom) install and now Vista is gone.

How specifically does one get a Vista key/ID, if they no longer have the CDs and the previous installation was wiped by the install of the 64 bit Windows 7?

Be as specific as possible, because I have done some searching and can't see how to get that ID as suggested above.

This is what I'm finding from MicroSoft. This was comment about "reinstalling an upgrade".

Quote:
The product key is for an upgrade version of Windows 7 and a previous version of Windows wasn't on your computer when Windows 7 was installed. To install an upgrade version of Windows 7, Windows Vista or Windows XP must be installed on your computer. If you formatted the drive before starting the installation process, you won't be able to use the upgrade product key to activate Windows 7. To activate Windows 7, you'll need to install your previous version of Windows, and then reinstall Windows 7.
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March 21, 2012 7:23:03 PM

if i remember correctly there is a bug that lets you install a windows 7 upgrade as a fresh install using the same windows 7 product key without requiring an older version of windows pre installed. doing upgrade installs is always ugly too.. best to start from scratch!

http://www.google.com/#hl=en&output=search&sclient=psy-...

a ssd doesnt just improve boot times but general system performance as well. any windows functions are nigh instantaneous. i recommend putting one or two games you play regulary on it. the difference is like waiting 15 seconds for a level to load to near instant load times.

i wouldnt recommend under an 80gb ssd. you can get a 120gb for a little over $100. that should be more than enough for most system programs and files. you can then keep your music or other data on your old HDD.

EDIT:

i dont think any of us said you were a youngster. i think we all realize it just means you are new here.

i do think however that my title is befitting. haha.
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March 21, 2012 7:31:05 PM

I'll stop upgrading when Satan calls me up and begs for the heating to go up a notch :p 
Moto
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March 21, 2012 7:32:35 PM

I never stop upgrading, eventually the mobo and cpu just get upgraded
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March 21, 2012 8:33:43 PM

I think I'll pick up a 128G SSD tonight. Wish me luck. I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow. I don't mind getting the SSD because if it doesn't work, I assume I can just put the HD back in, and use the SSD on another system. I have only installed a couple of small programs, like email client and some scanner (radio) software. I have deliberately not installed any additional software, to ring out my system first. Now is the time to try the SSD, if that will provide a speed kick. I assume the swapfile will be on the SSD?

About the only thing that I haven't changed is the motherboard. But if I do, the case has to go too. ;) 
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March 21, 2012 10:59:40 PM

Well, I got the 128G Samsung 830 SSD. It comes with Norton Ghost, which is supposed to make an image of the OS. If that works, I should be able to install ghost and make an image of the Windows 7 OS. This Ghost software came with the SSD, so I"m hopeful it will work.

Then, I'll remove the HD and replace it with the SD. Then do the "image restore", to the SSD. It's supposed to work for just such an occasion... replacing a HD. However, I have read some people were having trouble with it unactivating the OS.

Worst case though is that I just have to go through the phone activation. In that case, I'll just do another custom install.

Here goes.
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March 22, 2012 1:55:24 PM

Tada! It's in! ;) 

Took longer to get the key from Microsoft than tear my computer apart, replace the drive and install Windows 7. For some reason, even Microsoft couldn't get their keys to take. So, they just gave me a new key for a full install (no upgrade). The guy even tried to activate it remotly and nothing worked. Took the tech about an hour to get it activated.

But it's very fast now. I realize that booting depends on how much crap needs to be loaded and my system has almost no software on it, at present. But it boots to the desktop in about 30 seconds now. There is a very noticable performance boost.

I don't know if anyone is familar with PassMark but that's what I used for my performance testing. It just happened to be the one I used for no particular good reason. But when I started, my PC was performing with a rating of 280 or so. Pathetic. I compared against other similar systems and they were performing with a rating of around 1200-2000. My goal was to see if I could at least get to 1500. Last night, after replacing the SSD, my rating went from 890 to 1310. My 3.4GHz, i7 2600K quad core, 16G computer at work, scores a little over 1900 or so. So I think I did ok on my goal.

I guess the next thing I need is another monitor. :) 

My SSD is 128G Samsung 830. I have about 100G free but I guess I need to develop an install strategh to decide which programs I install on the SSD vs. my 1T internal. Most likely it will be my most important programs. Data and less used programs will go to my other internal. I guess I could put the original drive back in as a 3rd drive. ;) 

The one thing I wonder about was something I read about SATA interfaces. I have a red and a blue cable. My original main drive was connected to the red cable. But the SSD said something about the blue cable. Guess I'll have to read more about that. I'm not sure what the differenc would be but the fact they even mentioned it seems relevant.

Thanks to those who twisted my arm into getting the SSD. ;) 
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March 22, 2012 6:38:00 PM

....and i have my hard drives connected via black sata cables. on my old system they were yellow sata cables. i wouldnt worry too much about the color of the cables unless there is some signifigance like one is sataIII/II/I and one is sataII/I. they all look the same to me though and i've never worried about it.
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