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Workstations / Desktops / Servers

Discussion in 'Technical Board' started by Nettdata, Dec 1, 2009.

  1. Nettdata

    Nettdata
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    Looking to build, buy, or spec out a non-laptop?

    Discuss it here.
     
  2. rei

    rei
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    Just an addennum, if you're looking to build a PC from parts as opposed to buying from a retailer, The Tech Report has a fairly solid guide of how to build if you never have before.

    Of course, still read the manual for anything you buy.
    http://techreport.com/articles.x/13671
     
  3. theking23

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    I have an old computer that's been in my basement for a couple years after we retired it and got a new one. I found it while reorganizing some stuff and I figure I can use it for something. It's probably about ten years old and has all original parts. It's a Compaq, probably has Windows XP, but maybe Windows 98, a CD burner, a DVD drive, a zip drive, and some other stuff. I've never put together a computer before, but I figure I just need to upgrade most of the parts and it should be good. Might as well use it for something. What exactly do I need? Obviously a new OS and then definitely upgrades for the hard drive and RAM, but what else do I need to get this thing running?

    I was thinking of using it as a media center. Hook it up to my Xbox 360 with Windows Media Center maybe. My other main uses would be internet, torrenting, and then I thought I could also use it for ripping/copying/backing up my DVDs. I'm not a big gamer on computers, I generally stick to my Xbox and if I wanted to game I can just use my laptop.

    All I have on my list so far is:
    Windows 7 (Is the consensus that this is legit or shitty? My laptop is a Mac and I haven't used Windows 7 or Vista and I don't really know that much about *nix)
    DVD burner
    ~1TB Hard Drive
    4 GB of RAM (Is that enough? Too little? More than I need?)

    What else do I need? Do the graphics/sound cards need to be updated? I guess I probably need a new processor?

    Thanks
     
  4. Nettdata

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    If its been in the basement, be wary of any kind of moisture damage, especially if it's been sitting around that long without doing anything. Look very closely into things like memory slots, and connectors, etc., and see if they're clean and not pitted.

    Personally, I'd just buy a whole new computer, or motherboard and power supply at the least.

    While it's cool to ressurrect something that old, it's also asking for a shitload of trouble, and it very well may blow up the new bits you put into it in the process.

    It also depends on what you're going to use it for.

    If you expect to make it a desktop, then prepare to cry, as it'll be slow as hell, and very well may be hard to find drivers for. But if you want to make it into a file server that just sits in the corner downloading and storing torrents, then it may just do fine.
     
  5. theking23

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    The basement's dry and it was wrapped in plastic and on a shelf, so I'm not worried about any kind of moisture damage but I'll check for it anyway.

    I mainly want it to sit in the corner download, storing, and seeding torrents. That's my main goal, with a second goal of using it as a media center with my 360 or something similar. Will that still be really slow? I wanted to resurrect it as I'm poor and wanted something to accomplish those two goals and thought it would help me save some money on a couple things. I figured if I'm building a new comp to torrent/media center I might as well use what I can from this so instead of having to buy new everything I only have to buy 75% of a computer or something.
     
  6. Nettdata

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    That's a perfect role for it. File serving, especially to only a couple of clients, is stupidly easy. I'd just replace the power supply (fan bearings tend to dry out, etc), and it's all good to go.

    I'd stick it in a corner and use Remote Desktop to get into it when you need to.

    I've got an old Sun Ultra 5 that acts as a file server and backup mail server for me... stupidly slow/old, but totally suited to the job, and doesn't throw out a bunch of heat like the new stuff does.
     
  7. theking23

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    So my plan to use the old computer I found in my basement isn't going too well as it's simply too old. Too many parts need to be upgraded (read: all of them) and I think I'm better off building a computer from scratch. I want to build a media center that can interact with my Xbox 360 through Windows Media Center. Can anyone recommend a set up for me?

    I need:
    Big Hard Drive to store all my music, movies, tv shows, etc. (I'm thinking 1 TB, do I need more?)
    DVD drive/burner
    Windows Media Center compatible
    Wireless internet compatible

    What do I need as far as RAM, graphics/sound cards? What kind of motherboard do I need? Power supply? Case? What am I forgetting? I've never built a computer before but have wanted to for a long time and I've read enough and watched enough videos about it that I think I can handle the physically putting it together part I just don't know what parts I'm gonna need. Any advice or recommendations? Any tips for a first time computer builder?
     
  8. Now Slappy

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    I don't know if this question should go here or in the A/V Thread, but do any of you computer guys know anything about Home Theater PC's?

    Now when it comes to home theaters I'm kind of an expert amateur(if there is such a thing), but I'm basically computer illiterate. I don't even really know what a torrent is let alone know how to use one. What I would be looking for is something to store all the current DVD's/Blu-ray's/ and music files all in one place and be able to play them back(stream?) on my system. (Also maybe in the future be able to stream Blu-ray quality movies.)

    Now I know for those of you in the computer field(yes, I know that is WAY too broad a term) this would be easy and are saying to yourselves, "why doesn't this idiot just google HTPC's?". Well, my answer to that is even on the A/V websites I frequent(Audioholics, AVSforum, Emotiva Lounge) the conversation quickly evolves past layman's terms and I'm utterly lost.

    Thank you for any help in advance. Even if you could point me to a site where this is explained in layman's terms that would be a huge help.
     
  9. DrunkenCokeHead

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    I need a new video card. Something that will :

    -support DirectX 9.0c/10.1
    -AGP bus
    -at least 256mb
    -passive cooling(preferably)


    My system:

    -Intel Pentium 4/3GHz processor
    -250W PSU
    -1.5Gb RAM
    -WinXP Home


    Can anyone suggest a video card that will be compatible with my wishes and my system?
     
  10. Durbanite

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    You need to upgrade your Power Supply before you can think of a new graphics card. A 250W one would burn out in a few days with any of the new graphics cards. I'd suggest going for at least a 450W PSU with any new graphics card, since they need their own power - there will be a cable from the PSU you'll need to fit to the graphics card.

    Also, it's best to check your BIOS to see what speed your AGP slot is - it's probably AGP 4x. As far as I know, a graphics card can slow down to match a port's speed but cannot speed up to match a faster port, much the same as with RAM.

    You should be able to get one of the GeForce 7000 series cards to work on that system - my dad's got a P4 3.0gHz with a GeForce 7600GS - but this is an older card and possibly difficult to find now.
     
  11. cargasm66

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    So I'm thinking about upgrading my system, with a budget of about $700-$750. On first pass, this is what I came up with.

    Intel i7 920 - $288 + MSI MoBo - $190 = $478

    4GB (2x2GB) of Crucial DDR3 1333 - $105

    (2) 500GB Western Digital Caviar Black - $70 each = $140 (2 so I can RAID mirror them)

    Total: $725ish

    This system will be used mainly for photoediting. I already have a sweet-ass monitor, so this is basically just a hardware upgrade to get Photoshop CS3 and Lightroom to process quickly without completely shitting the bed (like it does now). I only have Win7-32bit, so I don't think going any more than 4GB RAM would benefit me. When I have more cash, I might plunk down for 64-bit and another 4 or 8GB of RAM. I already have a PCI-E vidcard from my current system, which will suit me fine, since I don't do any gaming or Video Editing.

    Whatcha think? Am I missing anything?
     
  12. Binary

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    The motherboard supports tri-channel memory, you'd be better off getting 3x2gb and going to W7 64-bit. Any reason you're not doing the 64 bit upgrade? I thought licensing covered both versions.

    If you don't want to upgrade, you'd be better off getting 3x1gb of some screaming fast memory.

    Also, just my own thoughts, but I'm moving away from doing RAID for my home systems. High availability isn't really that crucial for a home system, and my program files and windows installation are just taking up space on the mirrored drive: they're not important for me to have backed up. Thus, I have gone to having Windows do a compressed backup twice a week to my second drive and if I do anything like load a bunch of new photos, I force it to do a backup.

    This lets me use less total space and have more drive space for other things. Like porn.

    My $0.02.
     
  13. cargasm66

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    Fuck yeah February rebates!! I've made some *slight* adjustments to the package I spec'd out above, so here's what I'm looking at now:

    Asus P6T SE Mobo - $205 (-$20 Rebate) = $185
    i7 920 and Obsidian OCZ 6GB (3x2GB) combo - $434 (-$20 Rebate)= $414
    WD Caviar Black 750GBx2 - $80x2 - $160 (although I'm taking Binary's advice and skipping the raid to do a compressed backup)

    After rebates, $766 with shipping.

    Now, I read a review of the P6T SE on motherboards.org (HERE) that mentioned how easy it was to overclock the 920, and that it would have been even more successful with an aftermarket fan/heatsink. I'm not trying to overclock the shit out of the chip, but some increased speed would be nice, and having better cooling would probably benefit the longevity of the system. But I have no idea which one to get. I like the sound of having a "2-Ball" cooler, just because I still giggle at fart jokes. What should I be looking for?

    Thanks for all your help!
     
  14. Binary

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    Get a good sized tower cooler with a 120mm fan.

    Head over to <a class="postlink" href="http://www.silentpcreview.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.silentpcreview.com</a> - they have lots of reviews of quiet, efficient coolers.

    They actually just did a quick roundup of high end coolers with a new testing platform. Results:

    <a class="postlink" href="http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1018-page4.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1018-page4.html</a>
     
  15. Kratos

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    I love Best Buy.

    Best Buy has no idea how to price point their video cards. Case and point: I just picked up an GTX 275 overclocked for $199. Egghead and Amazon both have it for $259. I highly suggest you guys take advantage of this deal.

    The setup I just bought:
    Thermaltake ArmorPlus case
    i7 920 Bloomberg (2.66 Ghz)
    6 GB DDR3 1600
    2x500GB WD Caviar Black
    GTX 275
    Soundblaster X-Fi XtremeGamer
    750W Corsair power supply
    28" Hanns-G LCD monitor

    I'm pumped. This will be great for both gaming and doing all of my DBA/Reporting work as well.
     
  16. Limes

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    Hi, I'm thinking of buying a PC and I thought I'd ask you guys for some advice.

    I found a website that would allow me to custom build a PC from their website and choose each component. It also allows you to choose not to have an operating system, so I was thinking that if I downloaded windows 7 by torrent then that would save >£100 which could be spent on some other aspect of the machine.

    Is this a good idea or do you think it would be a big mistake?

    Thanks for your help
     
  17. Binary

    Binary
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    I don't typically recommend theft.

    Ok?

    I also don't recommend that you go into Best Buy and try to pocket a wireless mouse to save you $30.

    You're talking about, what, 10% of the cost of the new system? Just buy the OS.

    There's a big ol' gray area with torrenting a lot of stuff. But the operating system is a core part of a computer, and it's an expense when buying a new computer.
     
  18. Kratos

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    I'm looking for a good backup software.

    I finally got my beast up and running. I setup two 500 GB Caviar Blacks on Raid 0 for my system drive. I also have a 1 TB Caviar Black I want to use as a backup for that main raid. I'm not a spaz about partitioning or setting up different hard drives for system vs. storage, I just want something I can load everything through, have it be fast and shit, and be able to back everything up.

    Does anyone have any good ideas on backup software that is free?

    Also, how does everyone like VMWare? I am in the process of downloading it and using it for my virtual machine for SQL Server and Visual Studio (I know SSRS very well, I'm trying to teach myself SSIS).
     
  19. Binary

    Binary
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    A few things:

    First of all, I think RAID0 is a horrible idea for that much data. You'd do far better buying a couple small disks and putting them in RAID0, using it for your system/install drive, and keeping the 500gb disks for your data drives.

    Hard drives fail. It's a fact of life. I see no minor performance benefit being worth doubling my chances of losing all of my data.

    You want speed? Pick up two on-sale 30 or 60gb solid state drives and stripe those. You'll have insane speeds but you won't be doing anything absurd like striping your data storage drives.

    Second, the built-in Windows backup is perfectly adequate for backing up data. If you're running Windows 7, it's much improved, but even back to Windows 2000 and XP it worked perfectly well. Just schedule a regular backup of all of your data.

    Third, VMWare is great.
     
  20. MrPrime

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    So, I just built a new computer for my job, nice beast of a machine. To give is some form of redundancy, I set up 2 1Tb drives in raid 1.

    For my company, this is the best as I cant trust my boss to do back ups to other media, so I figured redundant internal backup would be the best way to go.

    One thing I forgot to do was split the drive into 2 partitions (C drive for system and D for storing customer files). Is it possible to partition the drive without having to wipe it clean, reset up the raid and reinstall?

    Win 7 Pro 64bit /w Intel i7 chipset/hardware raid