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Over-haul suggestions

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
first off - I hope I put this in the right place.

So, it is just about time to overhaul my computer - big time. It's been almost 5 years since I've done anything more than upgrade the graphics and memory once, or add a hard drive.

Currently, I've got this under the hood:
Core 2 Quad Q6600
EVGA 790i ULTRA
4GB 1066Mhz DDR3 Corsair
PNY GTX260 core 256, 896Mb
320Gb 7200rpm Hitachi (Boot)
500Gb 7200rpm Seagate
750Gb 7200rpm WD (Caviar Black)
1.5Tb 7200rpm WD (Caviar Green - so it may be 5400rpm now that I think of it)
750 Watt XIGMATEK PSU (semi-modular)
ASUS DVD-RW Combo
All of this packaged up in in a Cooler Master HAF X (which I have no intention of replacing - it's the nicest thing in my computer at this point)

I mainly use it for gaming and engineering work (still a student, but I'm regularly working with SolidWorks, AutoCAD, MS Visual Studio and sometimes Adobe Photoshop files that can measure in the Gb).

I definitely think that Mobo/CPU combo needs to be upgraded (and possibly the RAM, depending on what I specifically get). I'm going to do the overhaul when Ivy Bridge comes out - I want the USB 3.0, PCI Express 3.0 and SATA III. Any suggestions in this regard?

I was also thinking reworking the hard drive setup would be beneficial as well, now that I'm working with very large files. I don't want an SSD (too expensive and not big enough - to give you an idea of how many files I have, I have over 300Gb of music, now imagine all my homework and project files). Probably replacing all of the drives with SATA III drives (maybe keeping the ones I have now as backups, or add-ons for later). Would a RAID arrangement make a significant performance boost? Specifically, what kind of arrangement? I've never done any kind RAID setup before. I Obviously need something to boot from, but currently I like to keep my media files and work files on separate physical disks (with everything backed-up on the 1.5Tb drive, that I keep in one of the HAF X's hot-swap bays).

I was also half wondering, with so many non-gaming programs starting to take advantage of the computing power in graphics cars, if upgrading my graphics card (nVidia preferred) might make sense, along with getting a new PSU.

Any thoughts, suggestions or pieces of advice? Something I might not have considered? I know my way around computers, but I still like to hear what other people have to say, and since I've been out of the hardware loop for a couple years and only started to get back in in the past 6 months or so, I'm looking to pick some people's brains.
I do want to also try to keep this as cheap as possible (the whole "student" thing), definitely under $1500 for everything.
 
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post #2 of 7
Basically an i7 + Asus P8P67 combo and a 560 Ti would be good for you.
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post #3 of 7
If you are going to be doing engineering work I would recommend, if you are patient of course, to wait until Bulldozer because those sort of applications would greatly benefit from the 8 cores Bulldozer will be offering.

If you don't want to wait til August then you'll definitely want to get an i7 2600K and get either an Asus or Gigabyte board around whatever price point you are willing to spend. You can not go wrong with either of those vendors.

You would probably also benefit for more and faster RAM for engineering and ESPECIALLY photoshop, you'll want to get this kit. It is probably the best for the price/performance. Unless of course you feel like you have enough RAM, though I'd still recommend it. The more RAM you put in the faster Adobe Photshop will be.

Setting up RAID may be sort of difficult considering your hard drives are all of different sizes. For RAID it is beneficial to use hard drives of the same size. The performance boost won't be that noticeable. It won't affect boot times if that is what you were thinking, as access times usually are what helps that and RAID doesn't really benefit access times whatsoever.

For a graphics card, the 560Ti is probably your best bet. Also worth mentioning is the Radeon HD 6950 if you are willing to go the AMD route, people have unlocked it to a 6970 at a very high success rate. Easily best bang for your buck on the market when unlocked, by far.
Edited by Airolden - 6/12/11 at 9:12pm
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post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ipwnnubletz View Post
Basically an i7 + Asus P8P67 combo and a 560 Ti would be good for you.
Thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Airolden View Post
If you are going to be doing engineering work I would recommend, if you are patient of course, to wait until Bulldozer because those sort of applications would greatly benefit from the 8 cores Bulldozer will be offering.

If you don't want to wait til August then you'll definitely want to get an i7 2600K and get either an Asus or Gigabyte board around whatever price point you are willing to spend. You can not go wrong with either of those vendors.
I was planning on wait at least that long anyway. I'm going to take a look at Bulldozer - but I've always had great success with Intel and unfortunately, the same cannot be said about AMD. I'll still check them out, but in all likelihood, I'll be buying an Ivy Bridge when they come out.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Airolden View Post
You would probably also benefit for more and faster RAM for engineering and ESPECIALLY photoshop, you'll want to get this kit. It is probably the best for the price/performance. Unless of course you feel like you have enough RAM, though I'd still recommend it. The more RAM you put in the faster Adobe Photshop will be.
This is actually pretty useful. I have not had any experience with G.Skill, I was going to stick with what I know and get a kit of Corsair memory.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Airolden View Post
Setting up RAID may be sort of difficult considering your hard drives are all of different sizes. For RAID it is beneficial to use hard drives of the same size. The performance boost won't be that noticeable. It won't affect boot times if that is what you were thinking, as access times usually are what helps that and RAID doesn't really benefit access times whatsoever.
Really? I was under the impression that RAID-0 would provide a performance boost. The different drive sizes is moot though - I was planning on replacing all of them. At the very least, I'm getting rid of the Hitachi; I do not trust that drive one bit (it's faked death once before), why I'm using it as a boot-drive is beyond me. At the rate drive sizes are increasing, I wouldn't be surprised if 1Tb drives are consistently priced below $100 by the time Ivy bridge comes out. Buy a few of those, and I'm all set.
But I do have 1 more question concerning Hard Drives: would a 10k rpm drive make a (noticeable) difference in access times?
I know that ideally, an SSD is king in this regard - but I just can't justify spending $100 for an 80Gb drive, especially when I'll just fill that right up. Unless there is a way to set everything up so that my program folders are on another drive? If there is, then I could get away with a tiny drive that just has my OSes, W7 and Ubuntu (no programs for Ubuntu - it's just a backup OS, I could just do the USB boot if I had to), and nothing else.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Airolden View Post
For a graphics card, the 560Ti is probably your best bet. Also worth mentioning is the Radeon HD 6950 if you are willing to go the AMD route, people have unlocked it to a 6970 at a very high success rate. Easily best bang for your buck on the market when unlocked, by far.
This was the one I was having the most trouble one - with so many options out there today. But one of the games I play (Shattered Horizon) requires Physx, and so an nVidia card - so I'll probably get a 560Ti from ASUS, PNY or EVGA.
 
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post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZombieEinstein View Post
Thanks



I was planning on wait at least that long anyway. I'm going to take a look at Bulldozer - but I've always had great success with Intel and unfortunately, the same cannot be said about AMD. I'll still check them out, but in all likelihood, I'll be buying an Ivy Bridge when they come out.

Suit yourself, though with the work you are doing the extra cores would greatly benefit you.

This is actually pretty useful. I have not had any experience with G.Skill, I was going to stick with what I know and get a kit of Corsair memory.

I would say G.Skill is a bit better than Corsair, but you seem to like to stick with brands you trust (no problem with that), so the Corsair modules of similar performance would be these. They are currently out of stock but probably will be back soon, or you can most likely find them elsewhere.

Really? I was under the impression that RAID-0 would provide a performance boost. The different drive sizes is moot though - I was planning on replacing all of them. At the very least, I'm getting rid of the Hitachi; I do not trust that drive one bit (it's faked death once before), why I'm using it as a boot-drive is beyond me. At the rate drive sizes are increasing, I wouldn't be surprised if 1Tb drives are consistently priced below $100 by the time Ivy bridge comes out. Buy a few of those, and I'm all set.
But I do have 1 more question concerning Hard Drives: would a 10k rpm drive make a (noticeable) difference in access times?
I know that ideally, an SSD is king in this regard - but I just can't justify spending $100 for an 80Gb drive, especially when I'll just fill that right up. Unless there is a way to set everything up so that my program folders are on another drive? If there is, then I could get away with a tiny drive that just has my OSes, W7 and Ubuntu (no programs for Ubuntu - it's just a backup OS, I could just do the USB boot if I had to), and nothing else.

RAID will most definitely give you a performance boost, make no mistake, though you will not notice any difference in access times which affects boot times the most.

1TB drives are already pretty consistently priced below $100. A green drive will run you about $60 for 1TB though they are pretty low performing.

Yes, 10k RPM drives definitely do have significantly faster access times, though an SSD is still WAY faster.

There is definitely a way to make just your OS go on your SSD. Just be sure you install everything to a different hard drive than your OS drive. I know I just use a 60GB SSD for Windows 7 and I have absolutely nothing else on it. SSD's greatly benefit from having a lot of empty space on them, but you could most likely get away with putting Ubuntu on the drive also.


This was the one I was having the most trouble one - with so many options out there today. But one of the games I play (Shattered Horizon) requires Physx, and so an nVidia card - so I'll probably get a 560Ti from ASUS, PNY or EVGA.

You do not NEED Physx at all. The only thing it does is take away some physics calculations from the CPU and put it on the GPU, which helps performance a little bit. This doesn't mean that you can not use AMD cards to play Physx games.
My comments are in bold. Hope I am of assistance.
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post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Airolden View Post
My comments are in bold. Hope I am of assistance.
Thank you very much. I did not know that you could put your Program Files folders on a separate drive from your OS. I may actually get an SSD then, pair that with a 10k rpm drive for the Program Files folders, and a couple 1Tb drives to go with the 720GB and 1.5Tb I have already. I'll probably keep the 500Gb as well, but I'm definitely getting rid of that 320Gb Hitachi.
 
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post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZombieEinstein View Post
Thank you very much. I did not know that you could put your Program Files folders on a separate drive from your OS. I may actually get an SSD then, pair that with a 10k rpm drive for the Program Files folders, and a couple 1Tb drives to go with the 720GB and 1.5Tb I have already. I'll probably keep the 500Gb as well, but I'm definitely getting rid of that 320Gb Hitachi.
You don't necessarily move the Program Files folder, you just merely make your own. When a program asks where to install just change the path to a different hard drive. It works just the same, and shortcuts will still lead to that program, the only difference is that the main files are stored on a different hard drive rather than the SSD.

Hope I cleared that up a little bit.
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4x4GB DDR3 1600 Corsair Vengeance Series Seagate 1.5TB 7200rpm Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 7200rpm Asus Optical Drive 
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