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What gives the most upgrade bang for your bucks?

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posted on Oct, 14 2013 @ 09:19 AM
As some know (and I've tried not to brag on too much), I got myself a new computer a couple weeks ago. In it, came 'near' top of the line on the parts I got this time. It didn't have everything, but what it has is generally the best or very close. (It's a first for this old rabbit... I usually get 'last year's' best or cheaper and become 'Mr Tweak Master' for sheer

Lets start with what that is, in context to this story and why my observations here ought to matter for consideration. Comp Specs (Why not just link while it's still there? ...and yeah, that's me on the feedback there too)

The main reason the specs matter is that, having a system where literally everything is dramatically overpowered for almost any routine work? It shows things in stark relief that one may not otherwise BIG BIG bottlenecks for speed.

What is your BIGGEST bottleneck likely to be? Your HARD DRIVE! How did I come to this conclusion? Let me explain briefly here.

For the last several days, between Mid Terms, ATS, other new obligations in life and a determined effort to die of pure exhaustion ...I've been shuffling a stack of hard drives between my new machine and my old one. This involved formatting, copying endless gigs all over the place and the (alwas fun) defrags on a regular basis throughout, while so much is being laid down in fragments.


So what did I find that made writing a whole thread worthwhile? I found my Hard Drives are, without ANY question, 100% of the bottleneck I now experience. Not just the clunker that came with it (That is the part they went cheap on, BTW). In doing major operations over the last few days, I often have my Task Manager up to monitor progress. What I am seeing is notable. This is a common display lately:

CPU: 5-10% load
RAM: 4-6gb showing as in-use.
HDD: 95-100% Pegged solid, regularly and near constant while doing anything.

That tells me, I've found my bottleneck and found it in billboard size letters. I also happen to have 2 SSD drives (which is what all this shuffling is about ...moving them from my old to new machine for primary boot and cache drives) to see the contrast. When they are the ones running....well...Instant operations would be an accurate thing to say on most of it.


So, for the love of all computers everywhere. Please Please... Do two things before putting a dime into upgrading (as we move into that Season of buying...)

#1. On a windows machine, hit CTRL-ALT-DELETE together as a 3 key combination. Select "Task Manager" when the options appear and then "Performance Monitor" as it opens as a new little window in Win 7 and before, and opens from a tab in Windows 8.

What you're looking for is the summary screen of graphic display showing the activity of your entire machine, by section. Memory, CPU, Drives, Network...etc. It's just information display. Don't go right clicking things to see what the options do and you can't hurt anything here.

#2 If you find what I did (and most people will on modern machines, I believe) then do yourself the best favor you could. Go Solid State and you'll never look back. I promise you. The difference isn't "Noticeable". It's the difference of having near 'instant-on' booting and operation vs. a boot time most could go pour (If not MAKE) fresh coffee while waiting on every morning.


Once you go Solid State, you'll never want Magnetic again!

****** Important Note ******

BACKUP BACKUP BACKUP!. SSD's do NOT necessarily give warning when they fail and when they do? Fail means FAIL. There aren't magnetic platters to recover data from.... Incremental backup is simply a fact of life, while SSD for mainstream tasks, IMO.

Enjoy the Holidays to come and keep that data flowing fast and smooth!

posted on Oct, 14 2013 @ 09:41 AM
Good post!

I have a 128gb ssd for my OS and a 2 tb nas for weekly backups.

Ssd are also great for applications that read and write to disk frequently.
With almost no seek time to find files its one of the best all around upgrades to any system.

posted on Oct, 14 2013 @ 09:42 AM
Not going to lie; I'm a bit jealous, Wrabbit2000! Nice purchase!

First thing I said to myself after looking over the link and reviews was (Solid State Drive?) but it seems like you've covered that important aspect! Kudos!

Other than that, the PC looks great.. Must be a monster!

Are the fans loud during intense operation?




posted on Oct, 14 2013 @ 09:45 AM
Without a doubt a SSD is by far the most noticeable upgrade you can do to your comp, if it's a relatively newer system.

If it's an outdated dinosaur then CPU and memory can be big upgrades as well. Mechanical hard drives can't be beat for mass volume storage for the money, but SSD's are coming down in price and will eventually be standard equipment, while mechanical hard drives will eventually go the way of floppy disks.

ETA: Had a chance to look at your new comps specs and was really hoping I'd see an AMD CPU! Good going rabbit that FX-8350 was a great price to performance ratio purchase. I have Phenom II 6 core's running in 5 comps at the house and
even though their a little older they still kick butt because they have 6 true cores.

edit on 14-10-2013 by Nucleardoom because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 14 2013 @ 09:47 AM
Nice machine Wrabbit. It's hard to believe the cheapskates wouldn't have put an ssd in that unit with all that power. But I suppose they had to cheapen it somewhere. I went ssd a long time ago, and agree with you wholeheartedly. Today. It's the only way to go. My ssd outruns my velociraptor.

posted on Oct, 14 2013 @ 09:47 AM
I wouldn't go throwing much into that new setup without upgrading that PSU that it came with. Why they put a 650 watt PSU in that unit is beyond me. The specs on that graphics card alone require 360 watts of that power.

posted on Oct, 14 2013 @ 10:02 AM
reply to post by SpaDe_

I was thinking that card would be closer to 160 watts, at full throttle. Much lower in idle. Here it is.
Thermal Design power = 170 watts Source

edit on 10/14/2013 by Klassified because: grammar

edit on 10/14/2013 by Klassified because: stupidity

posted on Oct, 14 2013 @ 10:06 AM
Rabbit, don't worry too much about the power supply, it's 80 Bronze certified, so it's fairly efficient. The GTX 760 will probably never draw more than 160W max. Here is a review on the card outlining power consumption: GTX 760
I think you'll be fine even with the 125W CPU.
edit on 14-10-2013 by Nucleardoom because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 14 2013 @ 10:08 AM
reply to post by Klassified

Ah I read the power requirements wrong. It says minimum 30a on the +12v rail which is 360 watts, not that it consumes 360 watts.....

posted on Oct, 14 2013 @ 10:31 AM
SSD is obviously the best way to go if you want to see a major increase in performance. I've gain around 20 seconds on booting by only switching to SSD. You can monitor that part with Bootracer for example.

But keep in mind:

1- Some SSD drive are slower than other, but, even with a lower range SSD, you'll see a clear difference in performance.

2- Do not load your SSD with unuseful stuff. With a 128 gb SSD, IMO, you should keep at least half of the disk empty. Keep every media on a separate standard disk, as you won't see major difference. But Windows, Office and other major program (I'm thinking about Adobe, Solidworks etc...) will greatly increase their performance.

Going further:

1- Windows 7 offering better performance overall than Windows 8.

2- Router can increase your network performance if you have the good one:
Router review

3- If your router is a bit far from your main computer, think about a range extender like this one:
DAP-1320 Range extender
It has increase my connexion from 52 mbit/s to 72 mbits/sec.

And outside of performance, I've bought 6 months ago this wonderful item:
Imation link

So great to get an extended desktop with your tv and this, wireless. Only downside is that performance is relatively laggy for a 1080p video. But, this said, configuration is easy and convenient.

Now I'm in a wireless trip. Wireless speaker, wireless headset, keyboard, mouse, camera.

I've plugged my printer and external drive into my router, so sharing media is no more a problem with both computer. Add a bluetooth dongle to get my phone connected and almost no more wire to be seen.

And I've learn this, if, for the same performance, if you can use an external adapter, like network card, bluetooth or else, I would suggest to go that way. You won't pay so much more and you won't have to put that money on a motherboard with all options. And, when you'll upgrade you computer, you won't have to worry about those.
edit on 14-10-2013 by myrddin99 because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 14 2013 @ 12:18 PM
reply to post by Wrabbit2000

I wish I had read this a while back. I replaced the hard drive in my laptop a year ago with a ssd. About a month ago it crashed now I will count myself lucky if I can recover some of the info on it. I tried system recovery on it and it still boots but the whole system crawl at a snails pace.

This week I should get the last part I need to finish building a desktop. I7 core 3.0 ghz liquid cooling asrock fatality motherboard and a hot swap built into the case. 3 terabyte hard drive and a 256 gig SSD to run the operating system. Capable of running 32 gig of ram but I am running 16 for now.

I hope I will be able to put the old SSD in the hot swap tray and recover the data then reformat it and load windows back on it again then maybe I can get my laptop working again.

ATM I have been able to get by with a iPad but I miss having a real computer.

I did it on a budget getting everything of eBay. The motherboard and i7 came together cost less than $180(midnight biding) specs say it can be over clocked to 5 ghz no problem but think I will stay at 4.5 for what I am doing. I forgot what the vid card is.

I wish I had just backed up everything on a regular basis but I was planing on this computer build for a while.
edit on 14-10-2013 by Grimpachi because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 14 2013 @ 04:02 PM

Nice machine Wrabbit. It's hard to believe the cheapskates wouldn't have put an ssd in that unit with all that power. But I suppose they had to cheapen it somewhere. I went ssd a long time ago, and agree with you wholeheartedly. Today. It's the only way to go. My ssd outruns my velociraptor.

To be honest? I'm glad this one didn't and I could have bought another which had the stock SSD. They can stick how they're using them at the moment. It's stupid on steroids. My wife got her new system about a year and a half ago with a neighbor getting one a few months ago. They both have the same issue.

The SSD's are 30-50gb with BIG magnetic drives (1+ terra) for storage. Well, that sounds dandy, huh? Except.. guess what they seem too stupid to do on both machines from different manufacturers across a good period of time?

Which drive...if you were building the machine and Windows OEM package, would you set as they default install directory? DOH! .... They both had the SSD! My neighbor doesn't do much but surf sex sites and talk in Yahoo mail, so he doesn't run out of room often.

My wife's? I had to clone the SSD over to the big drive and turn the SSD into the windows swapfile as well as a little space for programs that really benefit.

....If people want to get an SSD just big enough for windows (30gb held it on her Windows 7 with no problem, until games got added), it will work ....but I'd strongly recommend anyone take the little bit of time to learn the steps for making a 'windows install package' that sets things like Default directories, at the time of installation. (I've never had success "moving" the directory without losing more for broken s/w than it was worth... thank goodness for cloning drives before starting.. -hint to the unwary)
edit on 14-10-2013 by Wrabbit2000 because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 14 2013 @ 04:11 PM
reply to post by Nucleardoom

ETA: Had a chance to look at your new comps specs and was really hoping I'd see an AMD CPU! Good going rabbit that FX-8350 was a great price to performance ratio purchase. I have Phenom II 6 core's running in 5 comps at the house and
even though their a little older they still kick butt because they have 6 true cores.

One thing I want to say for folks in general, as we're moving to Christmas and it's that time of year for buying big things. People buying the 8 core chips had better plan in the cost of liquid cooling as well. If they aren't comfy putting in a pre-built and fully sealed system like Corsair puts out (I have two of them now and swear by them) then figure labor to have that done too.

It was no slouch of a heat sink/fan style cooler they put in. I swear the thing could achieve flight if run just right. lol...

It also had good paste coverage and looked about right when I took it off the chip to swap out. So it wasn't the cooler that had my poor thing actually breaking 70c a couple times before I just stopped everything until a cooler could be replaced. The more I've read, the more I've's the chips themselves right now. They just run real hot to have the sheer density they do now.

BTW.. One of mine was about $80 and the other about $120 on the coolers. Since putting that on this box, I've actually seen chip temp readings just below ambient room temp on idle. I'd have never thought that was even possible. lol...

posted on Oct, 14 2013 @ 04:23 PM
reply to post by myrddin99

I want to thank everyone for the replies! This has been a great thread and so many new things added which I hadn't thought to mention.

Yes.. Your points about being just a bit selective are important. Very important. I've seen 500gb SSD's which look affordable but two things stop me. Thats too tempting a HUGE space to fill with stuff ...and then HAVE to back-up. I would and then wouldn't. I know me too well. Most of that would be, as you note, for no benefit anyway.

Oh, sure, it would be really 'cool' to have near instant load times and zipping status bars on every file transfers between drives and what not, would't it? Like you note, and I agree as being VERY important to consider, it would be decidedly "uncool" to LOSE 500 gb's of '...errr...I'd been meaning to get to backing that up.." data.

Windows Performance and Windows Monitors

I think they are still just expensive enough per gig to take the time to watch something like the Performance or Resource monitors above and confirm just what the issue is for a slow system.....and the resource monitor is a real time, updating display in a way that lets anyone see program by program, what really puts a whammy to what areas of the system. What takes down the CPU but doesn't draw that much disk ...vs. a major game where it's a pretty close horse race to everything needing to be equal on ability.

^^^ That's the easiest way to see which things will most benefit from an SSD and which don't need to be anyway. What has the disk running 100% load while the rest of the system yawns and waits? lol

posted on Oct, 14 2013 @ 04:25 PM
reply to post by Wrabbit2000

I'm a big fan of REVO drives.

They used to be crap because the CPU draw was about 30 or 40 percent. Since they've added dedicated processing though it's down to about 5, which I'm totally fine with.


Up to 1000MB/s Sequential Read
Up to 925MB/s Sequential Write
Up to 130,000 IOPS 4k Random Write
Available in 120GB, 240GB, 480GB

Pretty fierce.


posted on Oct, 14 2013 @ 06:12 PM
reply to post by tothetenthpower

Those are some beautiful drives! Ohhh... I could make a very nice server around one of those. (grin)

2012 Speed chart for Mb/s out of consumer models

Those Revo drives are even half way affordable out of Newegg. That speed is just outright blazing! It would actually make the CPU or even secondary systems the next bottleneck and that would be quite a bar for a consumer level.

posted on Oct, 14 2013 @ 06:15 PM
I have an AMD Phenom II 6 core processor with a 240 gb SSD, and a secondary 1 tb hdd.

I install all of my games (I'm a gamer addict) and other large files (movies, music, etc) on the secondary 1 tb drive to save up space on the main 240 gb SSD and keep it as basically just my primary operating system.

But to be honest, I don't notice any difference booting with the SSD flash. It seems to boot/operate at just barely a slightly faster speed than my old AMD hdd dual core processor that I had for years before upgrading to this one.

Maybe it's just my imagination ?


posted on Oct, 14 2013 @ 06:23 PM
reply to post by Wrabbit2000

Yeah I have a few in my gaming server for my VIC through Valve. Since the players are running the game off the server's hardware, I needed a ridiculous read/write speed.

Then again, I did dedicate a single Titan card to run parallel processing with 4 out of the 8 processors.

I had one burn out in the first 6 months, but they RMA'd it in 3 business days and gave me a discount on my next one. I got the Malfunction report back from them ( something I've only seen from OCZ) and they blamed it on it running for super long periods of time due to the nature of my VIC, but said I should not be responsible since they never advised that would be a problem other than EOL dates being sooner.

Great, great company.


posted on Oct, 14 2013 @ 08:28 PM
reply to post by CranialSponge

I'll be honest with you and say if you are unsure enough about the difference to say that much, you likely have another bottleneck or major problem there. Just booting windows should be so dramatically different, it's breathtaking. I haven't timed this one since I got done swapping between the two machines awhile ago but I'd guess I'm maybe 10-15 full seconds from power switch to a desktop and a usable one at that. (Not 'just showing' ...but still too busy doing things to let me click and open anything.)

I don't notice any difference in most normal programs, but then, most programs never came anywhere near taxing the old magnetic drive. I can't wait to test After Effects on this new system with a real drive (that last one was SO slow, it really sucked the enjoyment from the new machine).

I'll tell you one place I did see the hard drive having a major impact though.. I was playing Far Cry 3 last night and on Ultra Settings, so everything is pretty much getting a full work out. The more complex scenes were step-processing. Trees appear, over sky, then grass then....and so on. All very very quick...but it should have been instant and imperceptible to my eye. That was hard drive according to the stat displays I have on another monitor while the game is running.

** Thread update.. I did get done swapping drives. Installing the SSD into the box I linked at the OP brought the Windows drive score up from 5.9 to 7.5, which is still the low score of the it's my index. 5.9, given all the other specs? ...Umm.. No... Can't remain. lol
edit on 14-10-2013 by Wrabbit2000 because: Text edit

posted on Oct, 15 2013 @ 04:33 AM
Congrats on the new rig, I'm sure you've had loads of fun with it already.

I'm yet to try an SSD on my current desktop. I know there is a lot of buzz around them, but I don't mind waiting a little longer for it to load up and shut down - I'm used to things the way they are. I hope to get a new PC in the near future and it will probably include an SSD.

For those interested, here is a link to a page that compares HDDs & SSDs:
SSD vs HDD: What's the Difference?

* * * * *

Another computer component that might give your system a real boost is RAM (although, rather expensive at the time of writing.) Still, if you are on 4GB or less, then adding some RAM might significantly improve your speed. Just make sure you do not waste money buying more RAM than your motherboard can handle and make sure its compatible!

edit on 15/10/2013 by Dark Ghost because: (no reason given)

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