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Author: Subject: PC upgrades (again) - HDD & Graphics ?
mcerd1

posted on 15/6/09 at 02:30 PM Reply With Quote
PC upgrades (again) - HDD & Graphics ?

I've been putting it off for a while but I'm going to have to do something with my main PC...


I've been having a few intermittent problems with reading the system32 folder when its starting up (XP pro)
normally I just reset it and it works, but I think I've got a HDD on the way out and I'm just flogging a dead horse
(Its 2 x 120GB SATA disc's in a stripped array)


So first off I'll need a new HDD, in the past I've always gone for Seagate drives and been very happy with them.
but I'd herd of some issues with some of the models - anyone know anything about this ?
or does anyone have any other recommendations ?

Secondly I guessing it really only 1 of the 2 discs thats on the way out, so whats the best way to test these ?


and finally, once its all back together again I'm in desperate need of an upto date graphics card.
(I'm running twin EN6800 ultra's at the moment and they are really showing there age now)
I've had lots of issues with ATI cards in the past and swore I'd never get another one

but I'm starting to warm to idea of the new ones like the 4870 and 4890 (or even 4770) - manly because the GTX275 / 285 are so expencive for what you get!
Has anyone acually got any of these cards / had any problems with them ?

-Robert





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britishtrident

posted on 15/6/09 at 03:26 PM Reply With Quote
If the drives are IDE before doing anything major to the HD check the ribbon cables 80 pin ultra ATA ribbon cables can be a bit iffy.





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phoenix70

posted on 15/6/09 at 03:43 PM Reply With Quote
First thing I would say is never use a stripped array, the data is written over both disk, and if one fails, you are likely to lose all your data, to be honest with todays disk, you won't notice the performance advantage of stripping anyway. Your problems may not be disk related, but controller related. I'm not sure how you could check the disks, I assume that the OS only sees it as a single disk, therefore chkdsk will read it through the controller as a singe disk.

Sorry not much help

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mcerd1

posted on 15/6/09 at 04:12 PM Reply With Quote
they are SATA discs


I know that the stripped arry isn't as reliable, but it is quick when your writing / reading alot of data
but next time I'm thinking about setting up a mirror (or a raid 10 = stripe & mirror, but I don't think I've got the funds for 4 discs at the moment)


if I wipe and reinstall it (again) I could try the other raid contrller on the MB
its got both Nvidia and a Silicon Image ones, its the Nvidia one I'm using now (easier to setup) - I've never tried the other one....
(the MB is an old ASUS P5ND2 SLI Deluxe)

[Edited on 15/6/09 by mcerd1]





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SteveWalker

posted on 15/6/09 at 04:26 PM Reply With Quote
http ://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Hard+Drives/Serial+ATA/1Tb+Hitachi+Deskstar+7K1000.B+SATA-2+Hard+Drive+16MB+Cache+?productId=34559

I really should have used tinurl shouldn't I!

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fov

posted on 15/6/09 at 06:12 PM Reply With Quote
Depending on how much storage you need I would get a 150GB raptor and a 1tb drive for backup. Acronis image from the raptor to the 1tb every night.
If you need more storage consider a fast 1tb drive for main and backup.
if you need speed and space raid 10 4 fast 1tb drives AND a raid controller.

Personally I would only ever use raid with a decent controller.


If you define your storage and speed requirements and budget I may be able to help a bit more. Ive just designed 3 storage systems recently (though i think the top two may be overkill - 120k for the big one )

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mcerd1

posted on 16/6/09 at 08:10 AM Reply With Quote
budget: I could spend around 100 on discs and 200 on graphics

but I'd rather spend that on the car - so the cheaper the better


Storage: before the last reinstall I was only using about 140Gb
so I guess 300-500Gb or there abouts will do me for a while yet

ultimately I'll change the MB, so anything I'm adding now will be kept, but I think the raptor's are a bit OTT for me....

I'd just like to get something as fast & secure as possible on a very limited budget
(btw - what counts as a decent raid controller ?)





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MikeRJ

posted on 16/6/09 at 04:59 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mcerd1
So first off I'll need a new HDD, in the past I've always gone for Seagate drives and been very happy with them.
but I'd herd of some issues with some of the models - anyone know anything about this ?


The 7200.11 (and some related drive models) suffered with a bug that would cause some drives to simply stop working. Seagate have a database checker to see if any particular drive is affected, and some updated firmware, but it doesn't always seem to fix the problem.

If you have a few hours to spare you can check out the problems people are having on the support forum.

I had a brand new 500GB drive of this model, but couldn't bring myself to use it for my PC, so gave it to my brother for his media player (and let him know it might keel over).

Like you I have only bought Seagate drives for the past few years and always been happy with them, but the last three drives have been WD. If you aren't a gamer, then the WD 'Green' series are excellent drives, amazingly quiet and cool running.

BTW, check your SATA cables, I had a bad one (bundled with an expensive DFI motherboard) that was randomly giving me BSODs.


I've been running an ATI 4850 for the last 6 months or so with no problems at all. The 4890 is excellent value at the moment. Scan are selling them for 145, but are out of stock until June 20th.

Actually I suppose that means you probably are a gamer, check out WD "Black" series for a performance HD.

[Edited on 16/6/09 by MikeRJ]

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Keith Weiland

posted on 16/6/09 at 06:01 PM Reply With Quote
As far as drives are concerned it depends on if you want speed, size or both. On the speed front you could go for a SSD or for size any Sata drive will probably do without much noticable performance difference between them unless you use a benchmarking tool. Striping the disks improves read but reduces write speed marginally unless you are only using raid 0 but then you have no redundancy.

On the graphics front, I have just last week bought a new Graphics card. I went fo the Asus 4890 HD after having had nvidia cards for the last 5 years and I am very happy with it. My last card was an 8800GTX which started to crash in games and the 4890 is miles faster in the games I play (COD4 and 5 and TF2). I bought a new 22 inch monitor at the same time and so the resolution I am playing at has increased to 1680x1050 but my FPS is still miles higher and I have everything turned up to high. Only thing is the fan noise is a little higher but I don't notice in games with my headphones on and its not that much different that I ever think about it. Its on sale at overclockers this week until tomorrow.

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mcerd1

posted on 17/6/09 at 11:39 AM Reply With Quote
so are the 7200.12 disks ok then ?

I'll try the cables - they are new ones, and I'd just assumed they were ok

I'm not really convinced that it is a disk error, but I just don't trust them anymore

I'm running the two I've got now as a raid 0, its nice and quick but I don't really need it that fast and these days I could do with something a bit more reliable

the other thing is cooling the HDD's
I used to run an 80Gb IDE as my main disk, and I had it in a 5.25" bay with a big chunky alloy headsink adapter thing (2 small fans on the front of it) it was a cheap generic thing ment for servers, but worked allot better than those pathetic HDD fan things you get from most places now.
-I haven't seen anything like these for ages - any ideas where I'd get some ?


as for the graphics - cheers for the link
I'd only ever get an ASUS card these days.
I'm on my 4th or 5th ones now and still loving them (and the ASUS MB, DVD drive, laptop........)





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Keith Weiland

posted on 17/6/09 at 07:36 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mcerd1


as for the graphics - cheers for the link
I'd only ever get an ASUS card these days.
I'm on my 4th or 5th ones now and still loving them (and the ASUS MB, DVD drive, laptop........)


You say you would only ever get an Asus but I thought I would mention they have a new sale on and the XFX is just 139.99 and has a 2 year direct with OCUK warranty

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Tartanpimpernel

posted on 23/6/09 at 06:58 PM Reply With Quote
I run dual Radeon HD4870`s with no problems, all depends what you system is primarily for.

Mine is bias towards 3D graphics and rendering and the 4870`s offered me the best speed/stability for the money.

Could find with a large a jump in performance that it will highlight other areas which will need upgraded.

As a few other people have posted in the thead there are some great deals about at the moment esp for graphics cards.

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mcerd1

posted on 25/6/09 at 09:30 AM Reply With Quote
Well after reading a whole load of reviews, comparing benchmarks and specs.......I've gone and got a card



and wow its instantly gone from struggling to run new(ish) games smoothly on low settings, to running them on nearly maximum setting no bother at all



in the end I went for an ASUS GTX285 not quite as cheap as some of the ATI ones, but they seem to do very well in tests (allot better than the old 280's) - and they actually sent me the 5% overclocked 'top' version

the card is HUGE
its a double slot, and as long as my MB is wide
so its just as well I've got a big, old, cheap server case with loads of space in it

quote:
Originally posted by Tartanpimpernel
Could find with a large a jump in performance that it will highlight other areas which will need upgraded.

well the MB, CPU and memory are on the wish list already (and have been for a while) but they'll have to wait for now

I was thinking about changing the memory to 800MHz from 533MHz, but I think I'll save my pennies for a new MB and some DDR3's

I've already swapped the old P4 630 CPU for a s/h 3.2 Pentium D extreme from fleebay, its only the old 840 one, but its the best that my MB can use (its the old NForce4 chipset so it can't use the 9**'s or the core/core2's )

but its actually working quite well at the moment (especially given its age) so it'll do for a while yet





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