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Old 06-07-2011, 10:18 AM   #1
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PC building guys in here

So I think I'm finally going to replace my aged Alienware. I ALWAYS build my own computers the only reason I got an Alienware is they had a rebate deal at the time that made it cheaper than building my own. I've built hundreds of computers in the past, but haven't built anything recently so I wanted to get a couple opinions:

Firstly the specs (BTW I'm an AMD guy, just a personal preference), I went for high-er end but well tested stuff (ie the mobo is not cutting edge, rather have the reliability), also I don't play games so my graphics card is a little weak but I don't really care. I use my PS3 for games. Looking to keep this under like 700-800 bucks.

AMD Phenom X6 1100
ASUS M4A79XTD EVO mobo
8gb Corsair Vengeance PC12800 RAM
600w PSU
DVD RW drive (for now)
2x 1.5tb drives in RAID 5
1 64gb SSD (with a question)
Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
ATi Radeon 5670ish based video card

So my questions:
1. is a 64GB SSD enough for Windows 7 64 Bit?
2. Am I better off going RAID 10 over RAID 5?
3. Sound... so I have a Sound Blaster Audigy 2ZS that I absolutely LOVE in my Alienware. It is a PCI card with an external "Audigy Drive" that has lots of digital inputs and outputs etc. Creative, or anybody else, doesn't make anything like this anymore, so I was going to just disable the motherboard's onboard audio, pull it from my old computer, and install this instead. However my concern is that this will drag down the performance of the rest of the PC, its a 6 year old card. Any thoughts?

Thanks guys, would post this on a PC forum but I'm not a member of any and I'd rather get the friendlier non "read the faq noob!" responses I would get here.
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Old 06-07-2011, 10:44 AM   #2
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couple questions.

are you doing logical drive partitions to get raid 5? I didn't know you could do raid 5 with 2 drives.

as to the 64g ssd yes you should be fine as long as you install your apps on the second drive I have a 124 ssd in my alienware laptop and I just recently had to move some old video and image files to my backup drive.

Otherwise the build looks good to me.

I'm not much of a PC builder anymore, I haven't built one in a few years.

But I'm thinking about a media server... I'd like to build a bare bones system to run Tversity...

I May post that up here as well.

I'm thinking that will be quite the machine when you are done.
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Old 06-07-2011, 11:11 AM   #3
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couple questions.

are you doing logical drive partitions to get raid 5? I didn't know you could do raid 5 with 2 drives.

as to the 64g ssd yes you should be fine as long as you install your apps on the second drive I have a 124 ssd in my alienware laptop and I just recently had to move some old video and image files to my backup drive.

Otherwise the build looks good to me.

I'm not much of a PC builder anymore, I haven't built one in a few years.

But I'm thinking about a media server... I'd like to build a bare bones system to run Tversity...

I May post that up here as well.

I'm thinking that will be quite the machine when you are done.
With RAID, honestly I'm not sure Its been so long since I did this. I just want to run the 2 drives in parallel so if one craps I still have the other.

As for the SSD I literally want to only put the OS on there and will put all my data on the dual 1.5TB drives. I will be pulling my old 320 GB backup drive from my old PC and using it as an external SATA drive for backups as well.

I may actually gut down the rest of my old PC, put it in a smaller case and make a Liunx box out of it just to play around.
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Old 06-07-2011, 11:18 AM   #4
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With RAID, honestly I'm not sure Its been so long since I did this. I just want to run the 2 drives in parallel so if one craps I still have the other.

As for the SSD I literally want to only put the OS on there and will put all my data on the dual 1.5TB drives. I will be pulling my old 320 GB backup drive from my old PC and using it as an external SATA drive for backups as well.

I may actually gut down the rest of my old PC, put it in a smaller case and make a Liunx box out of it just to play around.
OK so you are talking Raid 0 or 1 (mirror) which makes sense.

yeah I'm thinking you will be good to go then. Keep in mind that Software raid (using the OS to manage the mirror) can still be problematic. you might want to consider hardware raid controller. they aren't too expensive and then you have true fault tolerance between the data drives.

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Old 06-07-2011, 11:31 AM   #5
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\
So my questions:
1. is a 64GB SSD enough for Windows 7 64 Bit?
2. Am I better off going RAID 10 over RAID 5?
3. Sound... so I have a Sound Blaster Audigy 2ZS that I absolutely LOVE in my Alienware. It is a PCI card with an external "Audigy Drive" that has lots of digital inputs and outputs etc. Creative, or anybody else, doesn't make anything like this anymore, so I was going to just disable the motherboard's onboard audio, pull it from my old computer, and install this instead. However my concern is that this will drag down the performance of the rest of the PC, its a 6 year old card. Any thoughts?
1) No. I'm finding my 250GB SSD isn't enough, but I also have Steam Applications loading to my C: drive...so I have to swap out applications sometimes when I'm not using them to keep 20-30GB free at all times. It's really nice to have extremely fast load times for some games. I'm talking the difference in Dragon Age II of 15 second load times versus 1:00+ load times.

2) C: drive should be SSD and should be OS. If you want to do RAID 5, you'll need 3+ identical drives. I wouldn't bother with RAID 10. RAID 5 can be nice, but only if you have hot-swappable drives.

3) It possibly could. I have the X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro Sound Card, and that was available 1 year ago, and is awesome.

Added note here. I know you like AMD/ATI, so I won't go into how much I don't like those personally...we all have our little faults

What I did really want to say, though, was that when I was doing my own builds, I was still using Falcon Northwest as a guide for speccing out my machines I'd build. So I'd go to their Mach V build site, and check what parts I could afford that were on their list, choose those, buy them through Newegg...and put it together myself.

I'll post a build from there in a sec that you might want to consider...
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Old 06-07-2011, 11:42 AM   #6
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OK, took me a bit to find it, but instead of going with a RAID, consider using a DROBO as an external drive.

These things are awesome, and I plan on getting one soon to expand my drive space.

http://www.drobo.com/
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Old 06-07-2011, 11:51 AM   #7
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My build suggestion:

AMD Phenom II X6 1100T 3.3GHz
Asus Crosshair IV Formula Motherboard
Same RAM you specified
1200watt PSU
Start with 1 Radeon HD 6970 video card, but expand to 2 later
Everything else looks good, though I would also go bigger on the SSD, and make sure it is a Crucial M4 SSD because of performance/reliability.
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Old 06-07-2011, 12:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTAHVIT View Post
OK so you are talking Raid 0 or 1 (mirror) which makes sense.

yeah I'm thinking you will be good to go then. Keep in mind that Software raid (using the OS to manage the mirror) can still be problematic. you might want to consider hardware raid controller. they aren't too expensive and then you have true fault tolerance between the data drives.

Cool, the mobo I am gonna get has RAID 0,1,5,and 10 available onboard, one of the things I looked for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Dallas View Post
1) No. I'm finding my 250GB SSD isn't enough, but I also have Steam Applications loading to my C: drive...so I have to swap out applications sometimes when I'm not using them to keep 20-30GB free at all times. It's really nice to have extremely fast load times for some games. I'm talking the difference in Dragon Age II of 15 second load times versus 1:00+ load times.

2) C: drive should be SSD and should be OS. If you want to do RAID 5, you'll need 3+ identical drives. I wouldn't bother with RAID 10. RAID 5 can be nice, but only if you have hot-swappable drives.

3) It possibly could. I have the X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro Sound Card, and that was available 1 year ago, and is awesome.

Added note here. I know you like AMD/ATI, so I won't go into how much I don't like those personally...we all have our little faults

What I did really want to say, though, was that when I was doing my own builds, I was still using Falcon Northwest as a guide for speccing out my machines I'd build. So I'd go to their Mach V build site, and check what parts I could afford that were on their list, choose those, buy them through Newegg...and put it together myself.

I'll post a build from there in a sec that you might want to consider...
Well I really plan on using the SSD for the OS only, I will run all programs off the hard drives, and I don't play games sooo... Not sure that I will run into the same issues. I will be mostly doing some photo and HD video editing with this, programming for Android, obviously surfing the internet, and watching porn of course lol.

As for the sound card I would probably get that if I had to get a new one, but then I lose my digital coaxial out, all the extra inputs, remote control, etc that I had with the old Audigy. I just would be pissed if it would drag on the system....

Using high end systems as guidelines sounds like a good idea!

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OK, took me a bit to find it, but instead of going with a RAID, consider using a DROBO as an external drive.

These things are awesome, and I plan on getting one soon to expand my drive space.

http://www.drobo.com/
This is cool but I don't think that data backup is that much of an issue for me that can't be solved with a RAID setup and a $60 hard drive, this seems like overkill for me, and as well I'm short on space for more devices under and around my desk.
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2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS - Daily Driver
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Old 06-07-2011, 12:11 PM   #9
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My build suggestion:

AMD Phenom II X6 1100T 3.3GHz
Asus Crosshair IV Formula Motherboard
Same RAM you specified
1200watt PSU
Start with 1 Radeon HD 6970 video card, but expand to 2 later

Everything else looks good, though I would also go bigger on the SSD, and make sure it is a Crucial M4 SSD because of performance/reliability.
That sounds good except where I highlighted. IMO thats a whole lot of juice when I'm not really going to be running that many devices, also I'm not playing games so do I really need a Crossfire card?

If anything I'm considering going with a card with video capture built in (my old ATi Radeon X850XT had that built in).
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2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS - Daily Driver
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Old 06-07-2011, 12:20 PM   #10
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That sounds good except where I highlighted. IMO thats a whole lot of juice when I'm not really going to be running that many devices, also I'm not playing games so do I really need a Crossfire card?

If anything I'm considering going with a card with video capture built in (my old ATi Radeon X850XT had that built in).
I was posting that thinking you had gaming interest. Since you've stated you don't game, you can take my suggestion with a grain of salt, because that is what that card would really help in...a system for gaming.

That being said, I do gaming and video editing. I work with Adobe Premiere as well as all the other products in the Adobe Master Suite. The card you listed would be ok for that, but I'd still consider getting a better card than what you initially considered. Better & faster video card means more CPU cycles devoted to video processing. You wouldn't need to do Crossfire, so you could also probably step down on the motherboard to one that just supports a single card.
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Old 06-07-2011, 12:21 PM   #11
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This is cool but I don't think that data backup is that much of an issue for me that can't be solved with a RAID setup and a $60 hard drive, this seems like overkill for me, and as well I'm short on space for more devices under and around my desk.
The reason I'm so high on the Drobo is because I can take ALL my old drives and pop them into the Drobo, and it'll build me a single drive. I can then swap out the smallest drive and replace it with a huge one and slowly keep increasing the size of the drobo unit.
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Old 06-07-2011, 12:33 PM   #12
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I was posting that thinking you had gaming interest. Since you've stated you don't game, you can take my suggestion with a grain of salt, because that is what that card would really help in...a system for gaming.

That being said, I do gaming and video editing. I work with Adobe Premiere as well as all the other products in the Adobe Master Suite. The card you listed would be ok for that, but I'd still consider getting a better card than what you initially considered. Better & faster video card means more CPU cycles devoted to video processing. You wouldn't need to do Crossfire, so you could also probably step down on the motherboard to one that just supports a single card.
Yeah I'm a putz should have posted in the OT forum not Gaming since I don't really want to game. I may upgrade the card a bit, especially because I would like to have some video inputs and this card has none nor the capability.

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The reason I'm so high on the Drobo is because I can take ALL my old drives and pop them into the Drobo, and it'll build me a single drive. I can then swap out the smallest drive and replace it with a huge one and slowly keep increasing the size of the drobo unit.
Yeah that is a good thing but at this point I will only have 1 old drive (I'm gonna probably keep the main boot drive from my old computer to build it into a Liunx box or something).
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Old 06-07-2011, 01:16 PM   #13
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Just make sure you run triple monitors!

Haha! I got it and love it!
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Old 06-07-2011, 02:34 PM   #14
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OK Steve... since we're on the subject... Sorry for the hijack RL

I'm looking for a good media server build. I'm thinking about running Tversity as I stated before

I'm thinking along the lines of one of these two macines...

i5
http://www.pcdirectsource.com/Item.cfm?ID=2661

i3
http://www.pcdirectsource.com/Item.cfm?ID=2653

I want to be able to do multiple HD streams music and images to DNLA clients (network bandwidth aside)

What do you think???

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Old 06-07-2011, 02:54 PM   #15
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OK Steve... since we're on the subject... Sorry for the hijack RL

I'm looking for a good media server build. I'm thinking about running Tversity as I stated before

I'm thinking along the lines of one of these two macines...

i5
http://www.pcdirectsource.com/Item.cfm?ID=2661

i3
http://www.pcdirectsource.com/Item.cfm?ID=2653

I want to be able to do multiple HD streams music and images to DNLA clients (network bandwidth aside)

What do you think???

I'm thinking the I5 has 4 cores rather than 2, and that would help if you're doing multiple HD stream...or that's my guess, anyways.
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Old 06-07-2011, 02:57 PM   #16
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yeah, that's kinda where I was leaning... since Tversity does/can encode for the client video format on the fly.. I will probably need to spend my money on proc and ram...

Doesn't seem like HD speed is much of a factor... for media servers???
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Old 06-07-2011, 03:14 PM   #17
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I would personally go with the SSD, but I am biased as that it was I am currently running on my system. I purchased an 80gb SSD from Intel roughly a year ago. It has Windows 7 installed as well as my most frequently played games. The drive is just under half full with the OS and 2 games (BFBC2 and Starcraft II). The system boots into windows from a cold start in under 20 seconds ready to go (no lie). Game loads have also been reduced using the SSD. In most cases I can have the PC booted, game launched and in a lobby in under a minute.

In addition to the SSD I am running an Intel i7 processor and an HD4800 ATI graphics card. I didnt do the 3 screen monitors like Hemlawk as its setup to a 40in LED tv and didnt need the surround affect.

I thought of soing a RAID setup in the past but didnt want to configure it. The SSD was so much simpler and IMO faster from a boot. There is no noise associated with retreiving of data unless I am accessing my secondary drives. Those are used for all my music and games that I play less frequently.

Edit: Just Re-read your post. Lol for someone who doesnt play games what is the purpose to the higher processor and the Video card isnt bad either.
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Old 06-07-2011, 05:05 PM   #18
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I would personally go with the SSD, but I am biased as that it was I am currently running on my system. I purchased an 80gb SSD from Intel roughly a year ago. It has Windows 7 installed as well as my most frequently played games. The drive is just under half full with the OS and 2 games (BFBC2 and Starcraft II). The system boots into windows from a cold start in under 20 seconds ready to go (no lie). Game loads have also been reduced using the SSD. In most cases I can have the PC booted, game launched and in a lobby in under a minute.

In addition to the SSD I am running an Intel i7 processor and an HD4800 ATI graphics card. I didnt do the 3 screen monitors like Hemlawk as its setup to a 40in LED tv and didnt need the surround affect.

I thought of soing a RAID setup in the past but didnt want to configure it. The SSD was so much simpler and IMO faster from a boot. There is no noise associated with retreiving of data unless I am accessing my secondary drives. Those are used for all my music and games that I play less frequently.

Edit: Just Re-read your post. Lol for someone who doesnt play games what is the purpose to the higher processor and the Video card isnt bad either.
I can do a RAID setup on my secondary drives, just to have redundancy in my frequently used data, instead of doing daily backups.

As for the better processor may as well get the best I can (the lower Phenoms aren't much cheaper) and I will be doing some processor and memory intensive things (editing and encoding video, and I also am programming).

Also Porn in HD runs much better on 6 cores

Definitely don't have the room for 3 monitors (although it would be nice) I will just run the HDMI out to my 42" plasma to watch Hulu or something (I refuse to pay to use it on my PS3).
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2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS - Daily Driver
2008 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD LT 6.0 - Tow Vehicle
1993 Volkswagen Fox - Race Car (yes seriously)

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Old 06-09-2011, 12:51 PM   #19
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A question still looms though, anyone know if running an "older" sound card that is still PCI going to drag down system performance?
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2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS - Daily Driver
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1993 Volkswagen Fox - Race Car (yes seriously)

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Old 06-09-2011, 12:53 PM   #20
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A question still looms though, anyone know if running an "older" sound card that is still PCI going to drag down system performance?
I don't think so...does the card have it's own buffer/cache or does it use system RAM???
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Old 06-09-2011, 01:21 PM   #21
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I don't think so...does the card have it's own buffer/cache or does it use system RAM???
Well Windows 7 supports it (I just looked it up and they have drivers), I believe it has some sort of onboard memory, its a Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Platinum Pro. I am searching the Creative site and can't find anything....
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2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS - Daily Driver
2008 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD LT 6.0 - Tow Vehicle
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Old 06-09-2011, 01:23 PM   #22
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Well Windows 7 supports it (I just looked it up and they have drivers), I believe it has some sort of onboard memory, its a Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Platinum Pro. I am searching the Creative site and can't find anything....
My guess, it won't slow it down much... especially with that much memory and proc...

you probably wont' notice it.
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Old 06-09-2011, 01:29 PM   #23
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My guess, it won't slow it down much... especially with that much memory and proc...

you probably wont' notice it.
Yeah I figured that. I'm a relic of the days that using an old piece of hardware would drag your system to a halt sometimes. Thanks
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Old 06-09-2011, 01:34 PM   #24
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LOL

IDE FTW

I'm such a nerd....
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Old 06-09-2011, 01:44 PM   #25
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LOL

IDE FTW

I'm such a nerd....
My first PC was a 386 with a 340mb hard drive (at a time when 100mb was the norm). It was unfathomable to EVER possibly fill it.
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I'm Brick Tamland. People seem to like me because I am polite and I am rarely late. I like to eat ice cream and I really enjoy a nice pair of slacks. Years later, a doctor will tell me that I have an I.Q. of 48 and am what some people call mentally retarded.

2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS - Daily Driver
2008 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD LT 6.0 - Tow Vehicle
1993 Volkswagen Fox - Race Car (yes seriously)

"Like" my race team on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/farfrumwinnin
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