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Computers, etc Computers, Networking, Printers, Electronics, TV's, SAT Radio, iPods and why you too hate Microsoft.

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  #1  
Old 09-04-2007, 02:09 AM
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Bob D'Amico Bob D'Amico is offline
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Question An Upgrade Plan

So here I am ready to drop down some major dollars on a Mac Pro but I have this uneasy feeling that Apple is going to upgrade it sometime between now and late winter 2008. I hate getting screwed like that especially since we're talking major dollars. My decision is to "hold" on the Mac Pro acquisition until I get a better fix on Apple's plans for that model.

Do I pursue the Ultimate Windows PC concept? After much study and investigation plus talking with a few IT professionals the answer is no, it's better to wait for prices to drop on the Intel Quad Core CPU chip, wait for more software that can operate on a 64 bit machine [not an issue with the Mac pro] but most of all wait for MS Vista SP2.

Unfortunately I know that my current PC, the hard working, fully rigged out, Dell Dimension 8400 is going to crash and deliver up a Blue Screen of Death pretty soon. I'm backing up to an external hard drive as well as uploading files to my server to protect my data. All this is taking a lot of time and I'm also wasting an hour or more each week tweaking the system to get rid of any "garbage" slowing down performance or causing occasional glitches. This is why Microsoft Sucks.

I've decided that the best thing to do right now is to do a clean install of Windows XP and reconfigure the Dell with some hardware I can also use for the future Ultimate PC.

Current configuration:
  • Intel Pentium 3.4 Ghz CPU
  • 256 MB nVIDIA GeForce 6800 Graphics Card - 2 DVI inputs
  • 4 MB Crucial Ballistic RAM sticks
  • 160 MB Western Digital Hard Disk
  • 500 MB Maxtor Hard Disk
  • LaCie 160 MB [Maxtor] External USB Hard Drive
  • LaCie 250 MB [Maxtor] External Hard Drive (networked)
  • Generic DVD-R, CD-R/W Drive
  • NEC DVD-R/W CD-R/W Super Drive
  • 3.5" Floppy Drive
  • 7 USB 2.0 Ports
  • 1 Firewire IEEE1394 Port via PCI Card
  • Network Adaptor: Broadcom NetXtreme 57xx Gigbit Controlller
  • SoundMAX Digital Audio (MOBO integrated)
  • Logitech 5.1 Surround Sound System
  • 20" Dell LCD monitor [1680 x 1050 display resolution]
  • 24" Dell LCD monitor [1920 x 1200 display resolution]
  • Intel V9x PCI modem
Here's Step 1 of the "plan," if anyone has some advice or warnings before I start, let me know.

Purchase a 2nd 500MB Maxtor Hard Disk and a PROMISE FastTrak TX4310 PCI SATA II Controller RAID Card. During the XP clean install I will set up the two 500MB disks as RAID 1 (Mirrored). I will use the current 160 hard disk as well.



Step 2 (later): Purchase (pix above) a dual link DVI, PNY GeForce 8800GTX 768MB 384-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported HDCP Video Card. (I will have to remove the Intel PCI Modem card to make some room in the case for this double size video card.) Although I'm currently using Dual Monitor displays I will purchase the 30" Dell LCD monitor (2560 x 1600 resolution) which needs the dual link DVI. The current 20" Dell LCD will be temporarily mothballed.

Once or whenever MS releases Vista SP2 my plan is to build the "Ultimate PC" by using components from the Dell, the two 500 MB hard disks, the PNY GeForce 8800 GTX, the Promise RAID Controller card, two of the four 1 MB Crucial Ballistic RAM sticks and reconfiguring the Dell to "normal" with the original nVIDIA 256 MB GeForce 6800 Graphics Card, the Western Digital 160 MB Hard Drive and the 20" Dell LCD monitor.

The rumor mill says that MS should release Vista SP2 by the spring of 2008 which would be perfect timing since by then Genevieve Sophia should have the PC I gave her a few months ago totally corrupted with spyware and malware that I'll just throw it away and give her the Dell.

All Comments, Advice & especially Warnings are Welcome
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  #2  
Old 09-04-2007, 02:20 AM
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Default Re: An Upgrade Plan

PS If you think all of the above is a lot of money you should see my 2008 software budget
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Old 09-04-2007, 03:36 PM
tonymo tonymo is offline
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Default Re: An Upgrade Plan

Just as a lesson learned here, what are the indicators that tell you there could be a malfunction as you desribed ?
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Old 09-04-2007, 03:56 PM
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Default Re: An Upgrade Plan

I could spend an hour writing up these random events but here are a few:
  • Norton Ghost can't make a system image.
  • Spybot S&D can't complete a scan of the system.
  • CA AntiVirus not protecting Outlook email client.
  • CA Spam Scan takes 7 or 8 hours to complete.
  • PC "loses" the printer.
  • Constant MS Outlook errors.
  • Some Java applets crash whatever browser I am using.
  • During shut down some background programs have to be "terminated."
  • Restart occasionally switches to Safe Mode although shut down was normal.
  • CPU Usage bounces around, up to 70% while PC is idle.
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Old 09-06-2007, 12:50 PM
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Thumbs up Re: An Upgrade Plan

Some good news, if it's correct. According to Dell tech support my current NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Video card can support the 30" Dell LCD. Not sure what the display resolution will be, probably 1920 x 1200 so I will still need to eventually upgrade the video card.

Also I see that Dell today is selling the 30" LCD at -15% making it $1,274.00

I need to do a lot more research on video cards and talk with some professional video editors before I make a purchase. I'm not interested in games so I might be better off with 2 lesser cost cards rather than the GeForce 8800 GTX.

Apple had one of their big announcement events yesterday but it was all about the iPod, nothing on the Mac Pro so it's still a waiting game.
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Old 09-07-2007, 07:32 PM
PCMedics PCMedics is offline
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Default Re: An Upgrade Plan

Depending on what you want to do as far as video editing and monitor size then the 8800 may very well be overkill. Even the lesser cards can easily display high def resolutions. Frame rate is more the effect of faster video cards. What is it you want to build the new machine to do for you ? Tom @ PC Medics
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Old 09-12-2007, 03:36 PM
Number5 Number5 is offline
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Default Re: An Upgrade Plan

The quad core rocks.
I just got two machines with those in em. I guess it also helps having 15000 RPM drives too though. Talk about moving data FAST.
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Old 09-13-2007, 03:32 AM
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Default Re: An Upgrade Plan

I think you must mean 10,000 RPM drives, 15,000 RPM's don't exist.

In the next few years we'll see Solid State Disk Drives replacing Hard disk drives. Right now the prices are super high and I believe the biggest available is only 32GB.
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Old 09-13-2007, 12:18 PM
Number5 Number5 is offline
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Default Re: An Upgrade Plan

15000K RPM drives do exist. Check new egg.
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Old 09-13-2007, 01:12 PM
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Default Re: An Upgrade Plan

I stand corrected, don't know how I missed that. Man they aren't cheap

I need at least 1 TB to hold all my data, that means I would need 7 drives and costing something like $3,300 plus tax if I was to buy 15K drives.

I'll have to stick with 7,200 SATA drives for the time being. They are still a whole lot better than the 5-1/4 inch floppy disks I used back at "the dawn of the PC."
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Old 09-13-2007, 01:14 PM
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Default Re: An Upgrade Plan

floppy disks??? what about tape? both magnetic AND paper ??
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