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Upgrade to SSD or upgrade CPU MB and RAM

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October 30, 2012 2:23:56 PM

I have a bit of a limited budget and want to upgrade my system in pieces. Currently running XP Pro (32 bit) w/ e6750 Core 2 Duo with 2 GB RAM (G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ ). MB is a Gigabyte GA-G31MX-S2 (supports SATA2) and using onboard video. Hard Drives are WD Raptor 36 GB Serial ATA 10K / 8MB / SATA-150 (OS and Programs) and Seagate Barracude (file storage) 250 GB 16 MB Cache, 7200 RPM SATA2. My main use is for business running an MS Access based program and MS Office. Main focus is using the MS Access DB all day long (reading and writing to HDD updating contact records and notes and so forth....to a lessor extent some DB searching as well)

So where am I going to get the most performance bang for the buck in terms of my use of the MS Access DB program? (Not too worried about boot times etc as machine runs 24X7 and programs pretty much always stay open)

Option 1)Eliminating my WD and replacing with an SSD for my programs and OS (will upgrade to Win 7 Pro 32 bit........64 bit is not really an option because of my legacy MS Access based program....may have to end up running XP Mode for my legacy program.....not sure yet) I was looking at the Samsung 830 128 GB even though I know my MB won't support SATA 3 at this point but that could be a later update.....see option 2. Kinda hoping this is the right answer because it's the cheapest easiest option I think??

Option 2) Updating the CPU and MB (could existing RAM be used or would I need to upgrade that as well.

The end game is to upgrade all of these and probably add a video card...........not sure if adding an SSD would make the video a bottleneck with current system b.c.using onboard video.

Thanks in advance!!
a b B Homebuilt system
October 30, 2012 8:49:40 PM

In my experience upgrading to an SSD is a great experience. It makes everything seem faster, your overall experience using your computer just becomes better. I will never have a system without an SSD ever again.
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October 30, 2012 8:58:41 PM

I think you'll get the most performance bang for your buck with an SSD upgrade over a CPU/Mem upgrade. Especially in database performance, assuming that you place your database on the SSD.
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October 30, 2012 10:46:42 PM

Probably SSD.

But regarding the cpu/mem option.

You need to give more feedback. Go to your TaskManager and in your typical day, how often is CPU at 100% (or 1 processor at 50%) and memory at a high percentage, meaning your bottleneck is cpu/mem.

If it turns out that really CPU/me IS holding up your computer, then go for that.

At the same time, you should do a pricecheck on cpu/mem. At least for Mem, you maybe able to upgrade that for very low cost so it's a no-brainer (although you may not actually see much benefit)
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October 31, 2012 3:15:47 PM

thrasher.....def going to put the DB on the SSD. The DB (not counting the program using it which I dont' believe is very large) is about 1 GB in size. I am assuming if I go the SSD route.......which sounds more likely........that 128GB would be big enough for the OS, MS Office, Outlook, etc, Accounting software and my DB program and DB itself. (All the programs I currently have on my 36 GB Raptor that is why I am assuming 128 should be plenty even upgrading to Win 7.....is that a safe assumption???)

Ray....The problem with upgrading the cpu mem is current MB is 775. If I am going to put money into CPU and Mem I am assuming it should be with a new MB as well that will also support SATA 3 versus the SATA2 my current MB supports.....then I can really take advantage of the SSD......that is sorta the plan for down the road. IN terms of Task Mgr.(dont' know why I didn't even think of that....great suggestion)....quick sample looks like CPU rarely goes above 40% and RAM is pretty steady with MS Outlook, Google Chrome with 3-4 tabs open, my MS Access program and MS Word.......around 900-1000 MB of the 2 GB installed. Will Win 7 32 bit us more RAM to the point where it will be an issue with only 2GB (also it's DDR2 so another reason I assume makes more sense to get new MB so can use DDR3)??
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October 31, 2012 3:34:42 PM

Zipit555 said:
thrasher.....def going to put the DB on the SSD. The DB (not counting the program using it which I dont' believe is very large) is about 1 GB in size. I am assuming if I go the SSD route.......which sounds more likely........that 128GB would be big enough for the OS, MS Office, Outlook, etc, Accounting software and my DB program and DB itself. (All the programs I currently have on my 36 GB Raptor that is why I am assuming 128 should be plenty even upgrading to Win 7.....is that a safe assumption???)

Ray....The problem with upgrading the cpu mem is current MB is 775. If I am going to put money into CPU and Mem I am assuming it should be with a new MB as well that will also support SATA 3 versus the SATA2 my current MB supports.....then I can really take advantage of the SSD......that is sorta the plan for down the road. IN terms of Task Mgr.(dont' know why I didn't even think of that....great suggestion)....quick sample looks like CPU rarely goes above 40% and RAM is pretty steady with MS Outlook, Google Chrome with 3-4 tabs open, my MS Access program and MS Word.......around 900-1000 MB of the 2 GB installed. Will Win 7 32 bit us more RAM to the point where it will be an issue with only 2GB (also it's DDR2 so another reason I assume makes more sense to get new MB so can use DDR3)??


Yes, 128Gb should be plenty for the software you listed. I think you'll be quite surprised at the performace gain you'll get. I had a 4 year old system with a Core Quad Q4950, I wa going to upgrade the Motherboard, CPU, and Memory but went for the SSD upgrade instead. The system was easily TWICE as fast with the SSD than without. Boot times went from several minutes to 30 seconds. Everything loads and executes MUCH faster. It was the best uprade I ever installed. I did end up eventually swapping out the mobo, cpu and memory anyways (yeah I'm THAT guy), but those upgrades had much less noticable effect than the SSD.
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 31, 2012 4:22:39 PM

thrasher32 said:
Yes, 128Gb should be plenty for the software you listed. I think you'll be quite surprised at the performace gain you'll get. I had a 4 year old system with a Core Quad Q4950, I wa going to upgrade the Motherboard, CPU, and Memory but went for the SSD upgrade instead. The system was easily TWICE as fast with the SSD than without. Boot times went from several minutes to 30 seconds. Everything loads and executes MUCH faster. It was the best uprade I ever installed. I did end up eventually swapping out the mobo, cpu and memory anyways (yeah I'm THAT guy), but those upgrades had much less noticable effect than the SSD.



Yeah, same experience, everything is just so much faster, smoother, more awesome. The problem now is you will never be able to go back!
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October 31, 2012 4:44:25 PM

Regardless if you have an upgraded pc but for business only unless you want to play some video games. your computer is fine for your business. so, go for ssd
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October 31, 2012 4:55:05 PM

I used to be that guy but don't have the time to tinker any more. The technology has passed me by. I am looking at the SAMSUNG 830 Series MZ-7PC128B/WW 2.5" 128GB SATA newegg has for $89 right now. (Missed it at $79 the other day) Is that a safe reliable choice for a business machine (as well as first time ssd user). That performance gain..........I'll still see plenty of it with SATA2 right? (At least until I can be that guy and upgrade my mb ;)  )

Eshepard.......I am afraid of that.........will want one for my laptop next probably....it just doesn't get the use as much anymore with an Ipad floating around the house.
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 31, 2012 6:09:30 PM

Zipit555 said:
I used to be that guy but don't have the time to tinker any more. The technology has passed me by. I am looking at the SAMSUNG 830 Series MZ-7PC128B/WW 2.5" 128GB SATA newegg has for $89 right now. (Missed it at $79 the other day) Is that a safe reliable choice for a business machine (as well as first time ssd user). That performance gain..........I'll still see plenty of it with SATA2 right? (At least until I can be that guy and upgrade my mb ;)  )

Eshepard.......I am afraid of that.........will want one for my laptop next probably....it just doesn't get the use as much anymore with an Ipad floating around the house.



The 830 is a solid choice, well reviewed reliable.

SSD's are also more reliable than mechanical drives, especially in a laptop, no moving parts that can wear and damage.

SSD's are coming down in price dramatically these days as well.

one year ago that 830 would have been north of $200
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October 31, 2012 6:14:07 PM

Zipit555 said:
I used to be that guy but don't have the time to tinker any more. The technology has passed me by. I am looking at the SAMSUNG 830 Series MZ-7PC128B/WW 2.5" 128GB SATA newegg has for $89 right now. (Missed it at $79 the other day) Is that a safe reliable choice for a business machine (as well as first time ssd user). That performance gain..........I'll still see plenty of it with SATA2 right? (At least until I can be that guy and upgrade my mb ;)  )

Eshepard.......I am afraid of that.........will want one for my laptop next probably....it just doesn't get the use as much anymore with an Ipad floating around the house.


Yep that is a good SSD and a great price. It'll be the best $89 you can spend on that system. Let us know how you like it!
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November 1, 2012 1:23:36 PM

Well, it is ordered. And it will NOT be the best $89 I have spent because I got an email blast from newegg this morning with a promo code and picked it up for $69.99. :D  That really makes it a no brainer. When it gets here......from what little bit of looking around I have done......looks like these are basic steps I should follow.

1) connect to existing system and update firmware of new ssd (is this the best way to update firmware? assume the samsung software will walk me through this step??)

2) I updated my bios on my mb to the most recent version that is not a beta version. (Did this the other day) Am I going to have issues since that bios ver is dated 2007/11/22? It is an older MB but this was the most recent update.

3) Make sure AHCI is enabled (which I think it is already because of the SATA1 drive I am using now.)

4) Diconnect all other drives and do clean install.

I guess once you get it installed there are some other tweeks as well to help it be mroe effecient. Any recommended guides for this?

Any other considerations I am missing? Any tweeks that would not be suggested since I will only have 2 GB of RAM until I update MB/CPU/RAM etc. at a later date.

You guys have all been great......thanks again for the insight!!!
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 1, 2012 1:58:49 PM

Zipit555 said:
Well, it is ordered. And it will NOT be the best $89 I have spent because I got an email blast from newegg this morning with a promo code and picked it up for $69.99. :D  That really makes it a no brainer. When it gets here......from what little bit of looking around I have done......looks like these are basic steps I should follow.

1) connect to existing system and update firmware of new ssd (is this the best way to update firmware? assume the samsung software will walk me through this step??)

2) I updated my bios on my mb to the most recent version that is not a beta version. (Did this the other day) Am I going to have issues since that bios ver is dated 2007/11/22? It is an older MB but this was the most recent update.

3) Make sure AHCI is enabled (which I think it is already because of the SATA1 drive I am using now.)

4) Diconnect all other drives and do clean install.

I guess once you get it installed there are some other tweeks as well to help it be mroe effecient. Any recommended guides for this?

Any other considerations I am missing? Any tweeks that would not be suggested since I will only have 2 GB of RAM until I update MB/CPU/RAM etc. at a later date.

You guys have all been great......thanks again for the insight!!!



You shouldn't have to worry about TRIM/Defrag, windows should take care of that automatically.

In case it doesn't or for informational purposes, trim is an ssd spefiic setting that allows the drive to better clean up and handle deleted files, google it for a more technical explanation.

Regarding defrag, SSDs are not mechanical and do not have to physically seek data on a disk the way a spindle does. In a rotating drive, grouping files, especially large files together, increases read speeds because the disk can execute sequential reads instead of hopping all over.
Defragging an SSD is actually detrimental, and will unnecessarily burn through read/write cycles.

Definitely add RAM.
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November 1, 2012 4:45:11 PM

Zipit555 said:
Well, it is ordered. And it will NOT be the best $89 I have spent because I got an email blast from newegg this morning with a promo code and picked it up for $69.99. :D  That really makes it a no brainer. When it gets here......from what little bit of looking around I have done......looks like these are basic steps I should follow.

1) connect to existing system and update firmware of new ssd (is this the best way to update firmware? assume the samsung software will walk me through this step??)

2) I updated my bios on my mb to the most recent version that is not a beta version. (Did this the other day) Am I going to have issues since that bios ver is dated 2007/11/22? It is an older MB but this was the most recent update.

3) Make sure AHCI is enabled (which I think it is already because of the SATA1 drive I am using now.)

4) Diconnect all other drives and do clean install.

I guess once you get it installed there are some other tweeks as well to help it be mroe effecient. Any recommended guides for this?

Any other considerations I am missing? Any tweeks that would not be suggested since I will only have 2 GB of RAM until I update MB/CPU/RAM etc. at a later date.

You guys have all been great......thanks again for the insight!!!


Wow that is a good price, I might have to get one of those myself.

1. Yes
2. Your BIOS should be OK with the SSD
3. Yes
4. Yes

No other suggestions, you should be good to go. Check back in and let us know what you think.
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November 1, 2012 5:23:45 PM

eshepard said:
You shouldn't have to worry about TRIM/Defrag, windows should take care of that automatically.

In case it doesn't or for informational purposes, trim is an ssd spefiic setting that allows the drive to better clean up and handle deleted files, google it for a more technical explanation.

Regarding defrag, SSDs are not mechanical and do not have to physically seek data on a disk the way a spindle does. In a rotating drive, grouping files, especially large files together, increases read speeds because the disk can execute sequential reads instead of hopping all over.
Defragging an SSD is actually detrimental, and will unnecessarily burn through read/write cycles.

Definitely add RAM.


I have started reading up a little on TRIM....seems like that should take care of itself without any input from me.

About the RAM....I know that would help but frankly I am kinda putting that off until I take the next step and upgrade MB/CPU and RAM so I can avoid upgrading the RAM now and then having to buy it again. Or......is RAM backwards compatable so if I buy some now that fits my current MB and then can put it in a new more modern MB? (I assume I will probably go the 1155 route but who knows for sure)

Current MB is 775 and Gigabytes web site says
1.1.2 x 1.8V DDR2 DIMM sockets supporting up to 4 GB of system memory
2.Dual channel memory architecture
3.Support for DDR2 1066(O.C.)/800/667MHz memory modules.

Current RAM is 2 GB RAM (G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ ). MB is a Gigabyte GA-G31MX-S2 (supports SATA2) and using onboard video.

Bear in mind I will be installing Win 7 32 bit. Will that run ok on 2 GB of RAM....it may still be a year or so before I upgrade the rest of the system. If I could use RAM in my current MB and then put it in a new MB I would be a lot more willing to bite the bullet now. I guess my impression was I could not use it in a new MB.
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November 1, 2012 8:32:57 PM

Zipit555 said:
I have started reading up a little on TRIM....seems like that should take care of itself without any input from me.

About the RAM....I know that would help but frankly I am kinda putting that off until I take the next step and upgrade MB/CPU and RAM so I can avoid upgrading the RAM now and then having to buy it again. Or......is RAM backwards compatable so if I buy some now that fits my current MB and then can put it in a new more modern MB? (I assume I will probably go the 1155 route but who knows for sure)

Current MB is 775 and Gigabytes web site says
1.1.2 x 1.8V DDR2 DIMM sockets supporting up to 4 GB of system memory
2.Dual channel memory architecture
3.Support for DDR2 1066(O.C.)/800/667MHz memory modules.

Current RAM is 2 GB RAM (G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ ). MB is a Gigabyte GA-G31MX-S2 (supports SATA2) and using onboard video.

Bear in mind I will be installing Win 7 32 bit. Will that run ok on 2 GB of RAM....it may still be a year or so before I upgrade the rest of the system. If I could use RAM in my current MB and then put it in a new MB I would be a lot more willing to bite the bullet now. I guess my impression was I could not use it in a new MB.


I think your thinking on RAM is correct. If you buy DDR2 RAM now, it's not going to be compatible with your future motherboard, which will require either DDR3 or DDR4 RAM - depeninding on how long you wait to upgrade. As far as Windows 7 32-bit, you should be just fine with 2GB. Adding an additional 2GB(4GB total) is the best you could hope for, since 32 bit windows will only be able to address about 3.5GB anyways - anything over that would be wasted and inaccessible to your system.

You're overthinking it. Get that SSD installed and I bet you'll be happy as a clam at high tide.
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November 20, 2012 5:30:11 PM

Hey gang.......back with a Samsung 830 in my machine. I am starting to question whether AHCI is acutally activated or not. I wish I could post screen shots but basically in the Bios under integrated peripherals (it's a gigabyte MB and I updated to most recent bios that was not a beta ver) here are the settings
On-Chip Sata Mode.........Auto
under that is has
x next to PATA IDE Set to .....Ch. 0 Master/Slave
SATA Port 0/2 set to.....Ch. 2 Master/Slave
SATA Port 1/3 set to......Ch. 3 Master/Slave

Under Standard CMOS it shows
IDE Channel 0 Master .....DVDRW
IDE Channel 0 Slave.... NEC DV
IDE Channel 2 Master.....Samsung SSD 830
IDE Channel 3 Master .... Samsung HD
etc etc

Does this mean the SSD is running in IDE and not SATA???

In the MB guide......for On-Chip SATA mode options are
Auto .....Lets Bios set SATA devices to Combined or Enhanced Mode
Combined .....Sets all Sata to operate in PATA
Enhanced..... Sets all SATA devices to Operate in SATA mode
Non Combined...... Sets all SATA devices to PAA and disables integrated IDE

Also during boot up.....when I pause the start up it shows
IDE Channel 2 Master: Samsung SSD..

In looking at the Magician software that came with the SSD it shows
ATA Standard Value= ATA/ATAPI-8 under Drive Summary

The MB supports SATA2 3gb/s and I got around 250 MB/s with the Magician performance test. Does that seem about right?

What got all this second guessing is I am trying to go through an optimization guide to make sure I am all set for the SSD. (I have already loaded Win 7 Pro 32 bit and MS Office and a bunch of other programs so I would really hate to have to do another install and start over but I don't want the SSD to degrade over time either) Anyhow, this guuide said to goto Regedit HKEY_Local_Machine\System\CurentControlSet\Services\msahci and check the start setting and change it from 3 to 0. Shouldn't it have already been set to 0 if ahci was set up right in the first place?

Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks.
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November 20, 2012 5:32:58 PM

BTW....wasn't sure if I should start a new thread for this or not?
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 21, 2012 12:50:20 AM

Unless you are using an adapter it's SATA, thats the only interface the drive supports.

SATA II has theoretical peak speed of 3 gigabits per second or 375 Megabytes per second.

There is always some overhead and what not. 250 MB/s is solid, the drive is probably saturating the channel, although the bottleneck might be elsewhere.

In my opinion the channel is the bottleneck, but it could be due to the processor or something else. I am certain that the drive is not the problem.

With a new motherboard you would probably see speeds close to 400 MB/s

Don't worry, you are putting way too much thought into a simple drive upgrade.

Enjoy the new SSD, btw you didn't mention anything about the user experience. Way better??
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November 21, 2012 1:25:15 AM

eshepard said:
Unless you are using an adapter it's SATA, thats the only interface the drive supports.

SATA II has theoretical peak speed of 3 gigabits per second or 375 Megabytes per second.

There is always some overhead and what not. 250 MB/s is solid, the drive is probably saturating the channel, although the bottleneck might be elsewhere.

In my opinion the channel is the bottleneck, but it could be due to the processor or something else. I am certain that the drive is not the problem.

With a new motherboard you would probably see speeds close to 400 MB/s

Don't worry, you are putting way too much thought into a simple drive upgrade.

Enjoy the new SSD, btw you didn't mention anything about the user experience. Way better??


Ok, new complication or is it. I just got a reply from gigabyte and they are telling me that my board does not support AHCI....which explains why I couldn't find it in the bios. I thought you needed that enabled to take full advantage of an SSD and TRIM? If AHCI is not available does that mean I can not run TRIM (or win 7 was not able to enable it during install? Is there any way to tell if TRIM is running?) and if not is there something else I can or should be doing to keep the SSD healthy and efficient?

As far as user experience so far, I just got win 7 installed and was in process of loading programs when I realized I should go through the optimization guide I found online for SSDs. That is when I started to question the whole AHCI thing. But based on limited experience so far it definitely seems quicker and a no brainer considering the price of $69 for the 128 gb drive.

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a b B Homebuilt system
November 21, 2012 2:28:05 AM

Ok, that helps a bit

My memory is a bit fuzzy, but I believe you will not be able to maximize the drive's potential without a mobo supporting ACHI.

I think trim is still accessible via windows, you might have to dig into command prompt and registry, but you should be able to manually enable trim.

I am not certain though, so take this with a grain of salt.

That being said, ACHI is optimal, but even without AHCI you will get a huge performance bump from the SSD.

As a precaution, manually config windows so that there is no defrag on the SSD.

SSD's have a finite number of read/write cycles before they fail, and defrag will unnecessarily burn through those cycles.

I totally get and share the desire to get the most out of my hardware, but you are over thinking things a bit. Enjoy the drive. In all likelihood, you will be moving to a new drive long before you have the chance to burn it out anyway.
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April 10, 2014 9:32:35 AM

Zipit555 said:

Ok, new complication or is it. I just got a reply from gigabyte and they are telling me that my board does not support AHCI....which explains why I couldn't find it in the bios. I thought you needed that enabled to take full advantage of an SSD and TRIM? If AHCI is not available does that mean I can not run TRIM (or win 7 was not able to enable it during install? Is there any way to tell if TRIM is running?) and if not is there something else I can or should be doing to keep the SSD healthy and efficient?

As far as user experience so far, I just got win 7 installed and was in process of loading programs when I realized I should go through the optimization guide I found online for SSDs. That is when I started to question the whole AHCI thing. But based on limited experience so far it definitely seems quicker and a no brainer considering the price of $69 for the 128 gb drive.


I have the same exact motherboard and have a leftover 128 SSD drive (from a laptop upgraded to 250mb)
Were you able to get this to work? If so how is everything running?

Thanks
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