Quantcast

spec my new PC

narlus

Eastcoast Softcore
Staff member
Nov 7, 2001
24,659
25
behind the viewfinder
That was the suggestion, albeit 4 sticks, which was dumb of me.


I also suggested the NAS for storage, not for blazing access. He could build a new PC for Photoshop and pic processing, (with RAID on board) and re-build the Athlon box one as a jukebox/kid's machine. (Ubuntu would be PERFECT for this btw)

Both could access the NAS for storage/backup. That Buffalo NAS will also act as host to external USB drives for expansion.
that's not a bad idea...i was wondering what to do w/ the existing box.

my PC died again sometime last night, and rebooting it got the splash screen from the Asus mobo and then the windows screen, but not the login...it stayed black. gonna trouble-shoot it tonight, but i am fed up w/ it.

i should just get a new machine, get that up and running, and do a clean install on my old machine.

so, i would likely go the pre-built route, since i don't want to dick around w/ taking the time to build it myself. should i go Dell small business w/ XP Pro? and what should i go w/ for RAID/NAS storage and backup?

help a monkey out. :monkey:
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,657
408
NC
I'd go with a Dell box from Small Business... but I don't know that I'd do XP. I mean, eventually you're going to want/need to upgrade to Vista, may as well do it now when the OS is subsidized.

I have zero bugs on either install at home. Everything is blazing fast. The only bug I found could be attributed to an old, incompatible program that I removed and everything was fixed. Up to you, of course, but I haven't found anything worth worrying about.
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,721
290
VT
Dell's general business machines aren't good for multimedia usage - they have small PSU, less ports/slots, and you can't get them with decent RAID configurations. If you want something from their business lineup with nice internal RAID options you'd have to buy a midrange precision workstation which is spendy.

XPS 420 would be a good budget option with the prosumer X38 chipset and features an eSATA slot. Its BTX, but the motherboard has a decent offering of slot/ports for your usage and 375 or 425 watt PSU depending on configuration.

As I mentioned this machine isn't that bad and its got a regular ATX P35 board - its PCIe slot offerings aren't as good as the Dell X38 BTX board:

http://www.velocitymicro.com/wizard.php?iid=27

Motherboard Info:
http://www.velocitymicro.com/wizard-item-detail.php?partlist=17290

I would go the eSATA RAID enclosure route personally unless network file sharing is a primary application for the storage.

If you want XP and Vista - just get a machine with Vista Business and you have legal downgrade rights to XP Pro and can upgrade to Vista at your leisure at no cost.
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,721
290
VT
I just saw they had the new Yorkfield Q9450 Quad Core 45nm 12MB CPU option for $285 upgrade in-stock - that would be sweet.
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,721
290
VT
Oh and a nice thing with the Velocity is you can get Vista Business 64-bit so if you want tons of ram now or in the future you can actually use more of it. For future versions of Photoshop and other professional applications that would be required and you'll get even more benefit. Dell only offers 64-bit window with their precision workstations.

If you are taking the jump to 64-bit windows you'd have to make sure all the equipment (if you are using any old equipment) has decent support.
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,721
290
VT
josh, are you suggesting i look @ the Velocity stuff, or Dell?
Well considering you don't have any special needs besides a fast computer the Velocity P35 system with the new Yorkfield would probably be a better option and its more standardized and its easier to order with just the stuff you want (you can choose none for many options if you want). You can use the eSATA setup with either system.
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,721
290
VT
I think I would do Z35 with the following upgrades:
Q9450
2x2048 DIMM
Vista Business 32 or 64 SP1 (64 as long as you don't have equipment lacking decent 64-bit support)
You can remove some other stuff if you like or keep them

That would be about $1600
 

narlus

Eastcoast Softcore
Staff member
Nov 7, 2001
24,659
25
behind the viewfinder
my PC died again sometime last night, and rebooting it got the splash screen from the Asus mobo and then the windows screen, but not the login...it stayed black. gonna trouble-shoot it tonight, but i am fed up w/ it.

well it appears as though something is seriously wrong...i get home, and turn it on....no 'beep' on startup, no splash screen, nothing. i took all the RAM sticks out and started it up...no beeps, nothing. put an XP disc in the drive, started it...nothing.

this thing is DEAD.
 

narlus

Eastcoast Softcore
Staff member
Nov 7, 2001
24,659
25
behind the viewfinder
ok, help me out here a bit...i'm a bit confused w/ some terms.

that Dell box (XPS 420) says it's got an eSATA port; do i need a card/controller for it, or does the PC or MoBo come w/ it?

and if i've got that, that's the port i use for an external RAID setup? for RAID, i just buy some enclosure and fill it w/ internal hard drives? why are there an odd number of bays? i thought it was redundant, so the drives would be paired?

since that Dell only comes w/ space for 2 HDDs, i figure that i'd toss in a blank high speed disk to use as a scratch disk for photoshop, and use the other one for OS.

so, anything else i should know?
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,657
408
NC
that Dell box (XPS 420) says it's got an eSATA port; do i need a card/controller for it, or does the PC or MoBo come w/ it?
eSATA is integrated into the motherboard. If the board has eSATA, it comes with everything you need - there's no "eSATA port" like there's a "PCI slot" that you have to fill.

and if i've got that, that's the port i use for an external RAID setup? for RAID, i just buy some enclosure and fill it w/ internal hard drives? why are there an odd number of bays? i thought it was redundant, so the drives would be paired?
Yep, that's what you'd use and RAID comes with odd-numbered drives because most high end RAID setups aren't mirrored discs. They build parity across multiple drives so if you have, say, five 300gb discs, you only lose one full disk to parity - so you still have 1.2tb of usable space (vs. 750gb for a mirrored set).

In the middle of working on some stuff so I haven't read all the thread, just thought I'd answer a couple questions :)
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,721
290
VT
Yes.

x64 supports up to 128GB of memory. Windows supports 4GB max - it will give you 3.something GB the number depends on what PCI devices you have in your system and can regularly support up to 2GB for the application unless you use the /3GB switch and the application supports it.

You need 64-bit Windows if you want to use lots of RAM but Dell only sells that in the professional precision workstation series. Velocity Micro sells 64 bit with the Z35. I would buy the Velocity Micro with the new 45nm Quad Core, 2x2GB DIMM and Vista x64 (you can downgrade to XP Pro x64 if you don't want Vista yet). This system will age well as OS and software mature for multicore 64-bit usage. You'll be able to easily upgrade to 6 or 8GB ram in the future as needed.
 

narlus

Eastcoast Softcore
Staff member
Nov 7, 2001
24,659
25
behind the viewfinder
I think I would do Z35 with the following upgrades:
Q9450
2x2048 DIMM
Vista Business 32 or 64 SP1 (64 as long as you don't have equipment lacking decent 64-bit support)
You can remove some other stuff if you like or keep them

That would be about $1600
XPS 420 vs Z35...tell me pros and cons. what are the differences in the processors? does the difference in the MoBos make a difference? if i go w/ a Quad core, does that require 64 bit Vista to take advantage of it? what's the RAM max on either machine?

so...i have no idea if my printer is 64 bit compliant, but it's probably not. not a deal breaker, though.

i think for the Velocity i'd go w/ the arctic cooling heatsink/ultra quiet fan...i would like a quiet machine.

i'll post again w/ the Dell spec
 

narlus

Eastcoast Softcore
Staff member
Nov 7, 2001
24,659
25
behind the viewfinder
Yes.

x64 supports up to 128GB of memory. Windows supports 4GB max - it will give you 3.something GB the number depends on what PCI devices you have in your system and can regularly support up to 2GB for the application unless you use the /3GB switch and the application supports it.

You need 64-bit Windows if you want to use lots of RAM but Dell only sells that in the professional precision workstation series. Velocity Micro sells 64 bit with the Z35. I would buy the Velocity Micro with the new 45nm Quad Core, 2x2GB DIMM and Vista x64 (you can downgrade to XP Pro x64 if you don't want Vista yet). This system will age well as OS and software mature for multicore 64-bit usage. You'll be able to easily upgrade to 6 or 8GB ram in the future as needed.
should i go w/ the WD 10K Raptor HD?
 

narlus

Eastcoast Softcore
Staff member
Nov 7, 2001
24,659
25
behind the viewfinder
another dumb question...vista ultimate, business, home....they are all 64 bit, but is one worth $120 or $60 over the home?

god i feel a like a dolt.
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,721
290
VT
No you can use a quad core in 32-bit windows.

P35 is the midrange consumer chipset while x38 is the prosumer but the differences in feature won't make any significant differences unless you need more of one slot/port than the other. 8GB is max ram for either motherboard but you'll need 4 2GB dimms for that.

Just take the 500 GB drive and buy a good 320-500GB second drive from newegg if you want two internal drives. The performance difference isn't big enough to justify the price difference if you are on reasonable budget.
 

narlus

Eastcoast Softcore
Staff member
Nov 7, 2001
24,659
25
behind the viewfinder
Dell spec:
PROCESSOR Intel® Core™2 Q6600 Quad-Core (8MB L2 cache,2.4GHz,1066FSB) edit
OPERATING SYSTEM Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium with Digital Cable Support edit
MEMORY 3GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz - 4 DIMMs edit
HARD DRIVE 320GB - 7200RPM, SATA 3.0Gb/s, 16MB Cache edit
OPTICAL DRIVE Single Drive: 16X CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW) w/double layer write capability edit
MONITORS No Monitor edit
VIDEO CARD ATI Radeon HD 2400 PRO 128MB edit
SOUND CARD Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio edit
KEYBOARD Dell USB Keyboard edit
MOUSE Dell Optical USB Mouse edit
FLOPPY & MEDIA READER No Floppy Drive or Media Reader Included edit
WI-FI AND MODEM 56K PCI Data Fax Modem edit
My Software & Accessories
SPEAKERS No speakers (Speakers are required to hear audio from your system) edit
ADOBE ELEMENTS STUDIO Adobe Elements Studio for XPS™ 420 edit
ANTI-VIRUS & SECURITY Trend Micro Internet Security 15-months edit
PRODUCTIVITY Microsoft Works 9.0 edit
My Service
WARRANTY AND SERVICE 1Yr In-Home Service, Parts + Labor,24x7 Phone Support edit
DATASAFE ONLINE BACKUP Included 10GB DataSafe Online Backup for 1Year edit
DIAL-UP INTERNET ACCESS No ISP requested edit
ALSO INCLUDED WITH YOUR SYSTEM
Labels Windows Vista™ Premium
Adobe Software Adobe® Acrobat® Reader 8.1
Optional Support Services Dimension XPS, Specialized Support
PHOTOS, MUSIC & MORE! No Entertainment software pre-installed
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,721
290
VT
I wouldn't go for the Dell unless you aim is to save money and they are running a killer special or you are getting a good deal on refurb from Dell Outlet.

I highly recommend the velocity Z35 configuration - it seems better suited for your usage, has 64 bit OS and its going to give you even more performance once SSE4 instructions find their way into your software.

This Vista chart should help make things clear on versions:

http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1697,2068721,00.asp

Business and Ultimate have downgrade rights to same version of XP Pro (ie 32-bit Vista to XP Pro and 64-bit to XP Pro x64)
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,721
290
VT
If you want a raptor 150GB, but it separate and install it yourself - they are $165 from newegg. Just keep the stock 500GB as your internal data drive...
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,721
290
VT
Yeah so spec the Z35 with the 500GB drive and buy the Raptor 150GB OEM from newegg for $165.

For the eSATA enclosure you need a minimum of three disks for RAID5. RAID 10 would perform better for writes but would have less capacity. If you buy five drives for the RAID 10 you can only use 4 but could use one remainder as a hotswap for failure.

You can buy 320GB for $75, 500GB for $100, and 750GB for $150 each.

If you are looking for info on which brand drive to buy you can check newegg reviews and troll forums like:

http://forums.storagereview.net/index.php?showforum=2

or

http://www.hardforum.com/forumdisplay.php?f=29
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,721
290
VT
Another thing is you'll probably have to reinstall your OS unless you pull a trick like installing the SATA driver and then changing your BIOS to AHCI mode (which usually works). Most companies probably don't configure their systems for AHCI out of the box but you'll get best SATA performance and feature set support.
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,721
290
VT
If you are going with the AMS enclosure, please see this chart for compatibility information - you may have to use the included controller card instead of eSATA port built into the motherboard but the chart shows tested configurations as of July 07, so it its a bit out of date.

http://www.siliconimage.com/docs/DOC-002000-451_SteelVineCompatibility_REV_10.pdf

Intel says their RAID manager supports port multiplier as of the 2007 version (DP35DP has ICH9R (RAID) ):

http://www.intel.com/design/chipsets/matrixstorage_sb.htm

In 2007 Intel Matrix Storage Technology has further extended its performance and protection capabilities outside of the PC. In 2006 eSATA* was introduced to Intel chipsets and natively supported with Intel Matrix Storage Technology, in 2007 support for port multipliers enhanced this capability by allowing multiple drives to be connected to a single eSATA connection. Now a user can utilize RAID capability on multiple drives outside of the PC, an ideal solution for small form factor PC's needing extra storage or for users that require increased storage capacity that needs to be protected.
Looks like the Barracuda 7200.9-11 or WD RE2 or SE16 drives would be good choices on their chart.

From newegg I saw this good tip if you have to use the provided PCIe controller:

ONLY use a host w/ si3132 NON RAID bios for the controller - Raid is handled by the port multiplier Si4726. Either Raid software provided works, but better explantion of how to use them is on Silicone image website. It is also a little finicky on drives, for instance I tried mix and match approved drives with limited results. It works great with 5 of the same drives
 

narlus

Eastcoast Softcore
Staff member
Nov 7, 2001
24,659
25
behind the viewfinder
why can't PC components use the Garanimal mix-n-match system?

josh, at this point i'm pretty set about getting the Velocity machine you recommended...now set me up w/ an eSATA RAID enclosure/hard drive setup and my credit card will stir into action.

btw, what is the best enclosure for an internal drive? i want to get some data off my internal drives which are still in my old (and now totally dead...wtf is up w/ that?) machine. or will any of these do?
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,721
290
VT
You can use the AMS enclosure to pull data off before you setup the RAID with the new drives or you can buy a stand alone eSATA/USB2 enclosure but those are more for portable/permanent usage - its a PITA to swap drives out single enclosure units for the most part:

http://www.provantage.com/YANTG04E.htm

If you are just pulling data off drives for recovery, this is a good tool:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812232002

I would also check on these HDD - they are $105 - maybe just email Silicon Image to see if they are ok for the Si4726, I don't see why they wouldn't be - fast, cool, and quiet:

http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=3031
 

narlus

Eastcoast Softcore
Staff member
Nov 7, 2001
24,659
25
behind the viewfinder
at this point i am nervous about not having all my software and hardware compatible w/ 64 bit OS, either XP or Vista.

so if i go back to Dell, what about Vostro/Precision Workstation/Optiplex choices? XPS doesn't have anything in the outlet store.