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The Computer Question Thread

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I use a PCIe drive as my system drive and I have a separate 2.5" SSD just for steam, with 16Gb of RAM and a 6970 everything runs nice and smooth.

 

If you have the money you should consider the PCIe drives, they are pretty amazing.

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Might it be worth getting a 560ti and just overclocking it as I hear you can get similar performance to a 570 out of it? Or is that not the case for BF3 because of the VRAM limitation?

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Yeah but they are twice as fast (minimum) and keep the storage on the main board so you can have more room in your case.

 

I like mine.

 

alright if you're not planning on ever using SLI or a soundcard... either that or you have a hideously expensive motherboard. i have 4 PCI-E slots, 1 for my sound card, 2 for my GTX 460s and the last one is obscured by the GPU cooler.

i'm still living relatively happily in the HDD dark age, any SSD would be a big boost. no need to spend silly money on a PCI-e drive that will limit your long term GPU options IMO.

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If you choose carefully you can get a MoBo with enough room for two double thickness cards (should you go 6990 or equivalent for quad GPU) and still fit a sound card and SSD onto the PCIe bus. I don't know what expensive is for a mother board but mine wasn't much more than £100, cheap enough really.

Sound cards are becoming obsolete anyway.

The quality of onboard sound just keeps getting better and better. I know I have some hearing attenuation but since I use headphones I really can't see how I would see any improvement from going to a stand alone sound card.

 

Even the ones with the gaming optomised networking card built in are only marginally beneficial (if that) if you are a competitive LAN gamer.

 

Whereas I can boot into Win7 in about 15 to 20 seconds and be playing a game 20 seconds after that.

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yes, but you're implying that an ordinary SATA SSD would be painfully slow when it really wouldn't. we're talking about doubling an already fairly high price tag for the sake of a few seconds.

i'd rather invest the extra money in a better GPU, at least those are results that you can actually appreciate. if i had the choice between booting metro 2033 in 20 seconds and playing it on medium or booting in 40 seconds and running it on ultra i'd take the latter.

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yes, but you're implying that an ordinary SATA SSD would be painfully slow when it really wouldn't. we're talking about doubling an already fairly high price tag for the sake of a few seconds.

i'd rather invest the extra money in a better GPU, at least those are results that you can actually appreciate. if i had the choice between booting metro 2033 in 20 seconds and playing it on medium or booting in 40 seconds and running it on ultra i'd take the latter.

 

If you read the discussion about SSDs earlier you would see it's not just boot & loading times, anything that read/writes data is effected. You'll get faster loading of textures and quicker less noticeable LOD switching in various games as well as seeing a large increase in speed during non-gaming applications. I can appreciate that a lot, maybe it's not much use to you but it's definitely not a waste of money. You get insane speeds from them, they have a tonne of advantages, and yes, a standard SSD would be painfully slow in comparison when it comes to certain uses. You're looking at a difference of 250mb/s to 650mb/s read speeds for example.

Edited by Robin-Hood

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Anyone have any tips on figuring out what speed of RAM I've got in right now/what my mobo is capable of using? Look in the BIOS? The manuals they supply with these things have always seemed fairly generic and generally a right pain to try and decipher.

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You can get little freeware doodles that tell you what your RAM is and if you get the manufacturer's serial number off the Mobo you can type that in on crucial.com and it will tell you what memory the MoBo can take.

You don't have to buy it there if you don't want to eh?

 

 

The reason I spent on a PCIe SSD is that I already have acceptable graphics performance, if that starts to be the limiting factor in a year or so then I can buy a used 6970 and crossfire them, by the time the GPU starts to limit things the prices for used cards will be nice and low.

 

The SSD has other advantages though.

 

I have eyefinity and I am currently watching a movie on one screen, posting on another, running uTorrent on the third and batch transcoding a load of video files so I can put them on my android phone in the background.

 

With 16Gb of RAM and the PCIe SSD I don't have a hint of lag.

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You can get little freeware doodles that tell you what your RAM is and if you get the manufacturer's serial number off the Mobo you can type that in on crucial.com and it will tell you what memory the MoBo can take.

You don't have to buy it there if you don't want to eh?

Cheers for that, I'll have to hunt down that S/N.

 

Where would you recommend for picking up parts out of interest? I know of overclockers and crucial.. that's about it. :unsure:

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Your RAM will say on the side of it what it's rated frequency and clocks are. For instance mine says 1600-8-8-8-24

Failing that you can just check CPU-Z :)

As long as it's triple channel DDR3 it's good to go.

 

 

I like overclockersuk website, but I find their customer service absolutely terrible. So normally I find things on there and buy them elsewhere haha.

 

Scan.co.uk are great, I've met a few of their staff too, decent blokes who are actually interested in and passionate about computing. I've always had good service from there, though they are slightly more expensive than some other places.

 

Ebuyer have great service too, my friend likes them so much he only orders from them now. He got a DOA graphics card from them, called them up and they actually sent someone round in a van with a replacement card the very next day, they gave him a new one and took the old one there and then problem solved.

 

Aria are superb for low prices, they have a lot of great deals in their super-specials and deal4today section. They also have very fast shipping. I've never had anything go wrong with them so I don't know what their customer service is like, the draw back is they generally have quite a small selection and offer less products by the really high end brands.

Edited by Robin-Hood

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If you read the discussion about SSDs earlier you would see it's not just boot & loading times, anything that read/writes data is effected. You'll get faster loading of textures and quicker less noticeable LOD switching in various games as well as seeing a large increase in speed during non-gaming applications. I can appreciate that a lot, maybe it's not much use to you but it's definitely not a waste of money. You get insane speeds from them, they have a tonne of advantages, and yes, a standard SSD would be painfully slow in comparison when it comes to certain uses. You're looking at a difference of 250mb/s to 650mb/s read speeds for example.

 

it's as if you're saying that a bugatti veyron is a slow car because the veyron SS is faster. yes, a PCI-E drive will be much faster, but it's also vastly more expensive than a SATA SSD which is already much faster than the average computer. the way you talk makes it seem like a SATA SSD simply wouldn't be able to cope, which frankly is nonsense. i'm still running a ye olde 7200 RPM SATA HDD and it's perfectly adequate, sure it's not going to set any speed records but is it stopping my system from maxing out games and being perfectly usable? no. however, has the second GTX460 i bought with the money i didnt spend on a flashy bells and whistles SSD nearly doubled my framerates and allowed me to run higher settings? yes. would a fancy pants PCI-E SSD have given me even a fraction of the graphical performance my SLI setup has? hell no!

 

i'm not saying you shouldn't buy a PCI-E drive as such, just that it's not essential and the money could be better spent IMO. hell, you don't even need a SATA SSD but seeing as they've dropped to halfway reasonable prices it's probably worthwhile for the significant speed increase. just remember, a SATA drive may not be as fast but it will get to the same result/outcome sooner or later, however a cheaper graphics card will never be able to cope with games and settings that a card twice the price will.

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I will give a second vote for Scan, I use them all the time.

 

Aria are good but I have had a problem with them, they forgot to send me a copy of Win7 but were very quick to give me a refund.

As I recall they also gave me a free memory stick just for filling in a customer satisfaction survey, even though it was for the transaction where they missed the Win7.

 

Great customer service.

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Failing that you can just check CPU-Z :) As long as it's triple channel DDR3 it's good to go.

Had a check with that utility, says Triple channel DDR3, so will I be alright to stick in any RAM in terms of the MHz it clocks?

 

Also, GPUs, how much actual difference is there between the different brands that produce the same designs?

 

http://www.ebuyer.com/store/Components/cat/Graphics-Cards-Nvidia/subcat/NVIDIA-GTX-570

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None, as I recall, they all get the silicon from the same factory, some manufacturers then build the "reference" design which is the Nvidia or Ati design for the card and cooler and some manufacturers change the design of the cooler to make it quieter or more efficient, some factory overclock the card, some add more or less memory and some change the ports on the back plate.

 

Good examples of this are the 6970 direct CU2 cards which have a thicker more efficient cooler and an overclock compared to the gigabyte 6970 (I think) that adds another clock to the card so that you can use three monitors DVI, DVI and HDMI without having to get a displayport adaptor since the reference card shares a clock between the HDMI and one of the DVI ports so you can only use one of those at a time.

 

 

Some manufacturers get a reputation for a decent factory overclock or a quiet fan, some have excellent software support.

 

It all depends on what you want.

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Also, GPUs, how much actual difference is there between the different brands that produce the same designs?

 

http://www.ebuyer.com/store/Components/cat/Graphics-Cards-Nvidia/subcat/NVIDIA-GTX-570

 

price, warranty and bundled software is the main difference in reference cards. like stunt said different manufacturers also offer various amounts of factory overclocking as well as fancy coolers (asus' directCU, gigabyte's windforce and MSI's twin frozR come to mind). a few manufacturers (asus and MSI i'm sure of, not sure about the rest) have voltage tweak capability in their cards which can be handy for heftier overclocking, both supply simple OC software which will allow you to do tweak everything with slider bars. just be aware that the gamebryo engine hates a lot of asus software for some reason, fallout 3, NV and oblivion all refuse to work if i use asus' smart doctor overclocking tool (one of the settings on my soundcard also makes them spazz out) so i'm currently using the MSI tool on my asus cards.

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Few 2.5GB versions (as opposed to the usual 1280mb) of the 570 around, worth the extra cash?

 

http://www.scan.co.uk/products/25gb-point-of-view-gtx-570-charged-40nm-3800mhz-gddr5-gpu-772mhz-shader-1544mhz-480-cores-plusfree-b

 

Had a look at RAM, reckon this should fit the bill for me:

 

http://www.scan.co.uk/products/12gb-(3x4gb)-corsair-ddr3-vengeance-jet-black-pc3-16000-(2000)-non-ecc-10-10-10-27-xmp-150v

 

Anyone see any problem with that stuff?

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Occasionally GPU manufacturers make highly different designs which have a lot of advantages, like the limited edition MSI 460 which was actually a GTX470 software limited and came with a copper cooler, you could just flash it with 470 BIOS and then you had a 470. For the most part they are pretty much the same, though name brand cards normally get a few FPS higher and they use different components so you'll see some are better at overclocking and so on. I normally always go with EVGA because they have an amazing warranty/RMA service, great customer relations and support overclockers.

An yes, that Corsair RAM should be good to go, I love corsair I use a tonne of their products.

 

 

 

it's as if you're saying that a bugatti veyron is a slow car because the veyron SS is faster.

 

No, it's really not. The increase from 250 to 650 is vastly higher, that's not an even remotely fair or accurate comparison. It's more like a Ford focus vs an F1 car, which is still a terrible comparison however is far more accurate. Especially when you consider you can get PCIE SSDs with 1500Mb/s read and 1250Mb/s write whereas your fastest SATA III SSD is topped at about 550 and your fastest traditional HDD is looking at about 200.

 

As I said, for gaming you're not going to see that much of a difference. However there are uses out there which can make the extra speed valuable and that huge read/write is very, very useful to some people.

Edited by Robin-Hood

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I normally always go with EVGA because they have an amazing warranty/RMA service, great customer relations and support overclockers.

Sounds like the sort of company I'd want to spend money with. What do you reckon on the memory issue? 2.5gb worth the price over the 1.28?

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Just to pitch in about EVGA:

 

Years ago I had a GeForce 8600 GTS. Budget card, didn't really use it for games. It died after it was about 2 months out of warranty, though I suspect it had something to do with a thunderstorm that zapped the computer while it was running. It was out of warranty by a couple of months, so I called EVGA to ask if I could send in the card in for repair. They asked me for my address, and said I would receive a pre-paid package in the mail. About a week later, I received a box with a brand new 8800 GTX inside, and a note that said "Thanks for being an EVGA customer!"

 

Needless to say I'm still buying EVGA products.

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No, it's really not. The increase from 250 to 650 is vastly higher, that's not an even remotely fair or accurate comparison. It's more like a Ford focus vs an F1 car, which is still a terrible comparison however is far more accurate. Especially when you consider you can get PCIE SSDs with 1500Mb/s read and 1250Mb/s write whereas your fastest SATA III SSD is topped at about 550 and your fastest traditional HDD is looking at about 200.

 

As I said, for gaming you're not going to see that much of a difference. However there are uses out there which can make the extra speed valuable and that huge read/write is very, very useful to some people.

 

i disagree again, ford focus implies the bog standard norm, which a SSD is not. surely a more appropriate analogy would be HDD= ford focus, SATA SSD= evo X, PCI-E SSD= F1 car

HDD is the norm, most people make do with it and get by fine. SATA SSD is much faster and bought mainly by enthusiasts or everyday users with deeper pockets. PCI-E SSD is insanely fast and mainly bought by either the most hardcore enthusiasts around or people with more money than sense.

 

i just can't really see any reason why your average gamer would need anything more than a SATA SSD. for dual CPU, quad SLI benchmark monsters, or professional use, yeah it would be understandable. but spending that sort of money on ultra high speed storage while neglecting to upgrade the rest of your system to a similar extent seems to me like fitting massive ceramic disks with 12 pot calipers on a car putting out under 200 BHP.

 

sorry about all the car analogies, i just cant think of a better comparison

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Just to pitch in about EVGA:

 

Years ago I had a GeForce 8600 GTS. Budget card, didn't really use it for games. It died after it was about 2 months out of warranty, though I suspect it had something to do with a thunderstorm that zapped the computer while it was running. It was out of warranty by a couple of months, so I called EVGA to ask if I could send in the card in for repair. They asked me for my address, and said I would receive a pre-paid package in the mail. About a week later, I received a box with a brand new 8800 GTX inside, and a note that said "Thanks for being an EVGA customer!"

 

Needless to say I'm still buying EVGA products.

 

My 7900GTX from 7 years ago still works.

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Sounds like the sort of company I'd want to spend money with. What do you reckon on the memory issue? 2.5gb worth the price over the 1.28?

 

Erm it depends really, I doubt you'll see that much of a difference. My 460s are only 1Gb but I've never seen anything use more than 800mb of VRAM so based on that I doubt it will make a huge difference to be honest.Though of course it will be more noticeable in games that use lots of high res textures and are very hardware intensive such as the system hog of a game I always refer to, Arma 2. It uses a lot of VRAM for textures and stuff. If you think double the RAM is worth an extra 40 bucks then go for it, it's definitely not going to be a disadvantage especially in more intensive applications.

 

i disagree again, ford focus implies the bog standard norm, which a SSD is not. surely a more appropriate analogy would be HDD= ford focus, SATA SSD= evo X, PCI-E SSD= F1 car

 

i just can't really see any reason why your average gamer would need anything more than a SATA SSD.

 

I was actually basing it on numbers rather than some random standing based on apparent implication and opinion.

 

Ford Focus top speed is about 150, F1 car top speed is about 350.

The drives I originally compared were 250Mb/s read and 650mb/s read.

An increase of 2.33 times vs an increase of 2.6 times.

 

That was the closest and most accurate match I could think of while keeping the car analogy and not being someone even remotely interested in cars or motor vehicles.

 

Now you keep saying things like you 'don't think it's necessary'. Neither do I, not once have I said I think it's necessary for anyone let alone your average user. What I said and what I wanted to point out there is a significant performance difference from one to the other and that is valuable and noticeable to some people.

 

Storage drives have always been a massive bottle neck on all systems, they have been by far the slowest components for a very, very long time, that's why people ran things like WD Raptors in RAID0 to try and counteract that bottleneck as much as possible. The fact that we can now get drives which are beginning to keep up with the rest of our systems does not seem 'insanely fast' at all in my opinion, it's just logical, it only makes sense. There's no reason to have thousands of pounds of hardware sitting around wasting clocks while it waits for the hard drive to catch up.

 

As I have said repeatedly, I agree it is not needed, but it is still nice to have. Now will you please realize what I am actually saying and stop arguing the point as if I disagree because I do not.

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