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#1
SkyhawkCaptain

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All,

I would consider my self a novice at computer building, and my apologies if I have posted this in the wrong forums but I have a few questions for you all.

First, I was able to put my computer together myself but have never really understood what makes computers "tick" or how to really tune and upgrade them. Are there any resources you could recommend that I could study? I enjoy building them and want to be able to overclock, troubleshoot, and generally tinker with them.
Asus P5N-D
Wolfdale 8200 3.2ghz
4gb Crucial Ballistix
GeForce GTX 460
Win XP SP3
150 GB HD

Second, I built my computer almost two years ago but it is starting to show her age and I would like to be able to upgrade without spending massive amounts of money to rebuild the whole thing. Can you help me identify any bottlenecks I have with my setup and how could I go about streamlining or supercharging my comp. (individual upgrades or existing modifications etc...)

And Third, I am wanting to get a SSD for my OS and probably to install Diablo III on when the time comes. I would like to add a 1TB HD for primary storage. So how can I go about transferring WinXP to the SSD and couple this to my new primary Hard drive? How can I transfer all my files over to the new drive from the old? Is it time to upgrade to Win 7 or 8?

Thank you all for the advice I may receive, my apologies for the gigantic wall of text.

Edited by SkyhawkCaptain, 13 November 2011 - 11:31 PM.

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#2
Digerati

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Making sure you system is free of clutter and malware is the best way to "tune" the computer. With a 32-bit OS, you are limited to 4Gb of RAM so there's nothing you can do there short of upgrading your OS. A better graphics card may be your best bet.

As far as upgrading to Windows 7, I would recommend that as it is a much more secure platform. Then you can upgrade to 64-bit and use more RAM too. And since you are considering a new drive, and there is no direct upgrade path from XP to Windows 7, you can do a fresh install on the SSD.

You can also install your current drive as a secondary hard drive (after the SSD and your new primary hard drive) then just copy your data files over. Your existing programs you have installed would be better if reinstalled to make sure all the registry entries are correct.
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#3
SkyhawkCaptain

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When transferring files from the old HD to the new HD can files such as photos, videos and music just be transferred over? What about game saves or files?

When you mention the registry errors does that just apply to the programs themselves rather than the files?

Thanks for the help so far!
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#4
Digerati

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Files like photos, music files, and Word documents can just be copied over as their location is not stored in the Registry.

Information about installed programs is stored in the Registry. This is so Windows knows where to go find the files. So if you move the files, Windows will report "File not found".

Game scores are most likely stored in the Registry so they would be lost.
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#5
Akabilk

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Something to remember about installing games (or any other software program) to another drive except C:

When you install a game (or program) to say D: (a large data partition volume or drive), it is not totally on D: even though the game will play fine. Some files will be created in C: including the registry and not only save file entries.


If for any reason you have to do an OS re-install, all games on D: will have to be re-installed to play because they will be in a corrupted state as would any program installed on D: Important files will be missing from the new OS and it's registry.

I play games too, but like any other program, I install them on (a large) C: drive and create an ISO image snapshot of C: with Acronis (other imaging software can be used too) and save it to my D: data partition in an image folder. If for any reason I have a serious OS problem, I just restore the ISO image while I'm taking the dog for a walk. Incremental image back-ups can be created too.

Contrary to popular belief, there is nothing "safe" about having all your games (and/or programs) "safely stored" on a different partition from the OS, as you can't recreate an egg yoke from an omelet :-)
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#6
Digerati

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Contrary to popular belief, there is nothing "safe" about having all your games (and/or programs) "safely stored" on a different partition from the OS, as you can't recreate an egg yoke from an omelet :-)


This is partially true. While it is true if you have Windows on C and all your other stuff on D and if you lose C and have to reinstall Windows, the new Windows will know nothing about anything stored on D. However, if that happens and you reinstall your programs, if the installation program is properly coded and you (as you ALWAYS should) select the "custom" install option, when you direct the install program to the correct directory on D drive, it will simply make the necessary changes in the Registry and not overwrite your program. Most of your customizations should still be intact. Any program that uses an .ini file or the like for scores or other settings will still be in tact.

If you have moved your My Documents folder, that will still be in tact.

Now of course, if your C and D are simply partitions on the same drive, as Akabilk specified, and you lose the hard drive, then you are completely hosed. But if C and D are separate hard drives, then you don't lose everything. And if you have current backups (as everyone does, right?), then you lose nothing.
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#7
Akabilk

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I was only talking about a data partition on the one hard-drive, as considering the size of the things nowadays, that ia all most people have.

Yes Diderati, you are right of course, if a custom install has been done and most people don't do that, nor do they do regular back-ups and 80% of people use uTorrent or similar. The sins of the computer user go on and on and ...

It's a bit like birth control advice to teenagers: "don't have sex" :-)

Edited by Digerati, 15 November 2011 - 10:30 AM.
removed religious context

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#8
Digerati

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80%? No way! Not even close to that. This is a technical forum, let's try to stay factual.

That said, with 1 billion+ Windows machines in the world today, even if 1%, that's a million users. So certainly too many use torrents and P2P sites for illegal filesharing - and illegal filesharing (stealing copyrighted songs, videos and published documents)is bad enough. But it made worse as these methods are primary avenues for badguys to distribute their new (and often not yet detectable) malicious code. So many of those torrent and P2P users end up with compromised machines, which then become a threat to the rest of us. Not good.

As I noted above, we, as users, must ALWAYS use the custom install option, even if we are installing in the default C drive location. This is so we can see what is happening and we can opt-out of anything that may be foisted on our systems that we don't need - like toolbars, plug-ins, auto-updaters, system tray icons, etc.

And of course lack of a current backup is almost as common as lack of no backup. But there again, programs can be reinstalled. Computers can be rebuilt or replaced. Our critical data, if not backed up, cannot. And often, it is our critical data files that are worth much more than our programs and hardware. So on a second drive is a little - weak but a little insurance.
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#9
Akabilk

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Sorry that was a typo, what it should have been was 8% of US, which is still a bit high but close (actual is 5.515%). China alone has a huge 34.822% of regular users (!), so 1% world-wide is way to low I'm afraid. Imagine the % in the US if it had fast broadband (24-28th slowest connections in the world depending on data source), including about 50% (no typo) still on dial-up!

The data points, laid over a Google Map, are shaped and colored depending on how many connections are coming out of each location. For example, as of publication time, about 5.515 percent of all TPB connections are coming from the US, while Canada sits at 2.949 percent and Japan at 6.553 percent. China, which is the only country that gets the little bonfire icon, represents a whopping 34.822 percent of all TPB connections at the moment.

more: http://arstechnica.c...-pirate-bay.ars

Edited by Akabilk, 15 November 2011 - 11:51 AM.

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#10
SkyhawkCaptain

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Let me redirect back to the OP.

Is anyone aware if the Asus P5N-D supports overclocking? I have the E8200 Wolfdale but feel that its capable of much more than I get now, I run a Freezer 7 pro on top of it.
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#11
Akabilk

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Overclocking a E8200 if you have a 460 installed would be a waste of time. If you had a 250 in would make a small difference, but none with a 460.

Basically, the better the card, the more work it takes over from the CPU and you have a good card. An E8200 is already a good CPU. If you really feel the need to overclock something, overclock the card by 5-10%. That would be far more beneficial than overclocking the CPU.

Having said that, I'd rather buy more performance that overclock to achieve it, as your warranty no longer applies and heat and cooling becomes an issue.
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#12
SkyhawkCaptain

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Ty Aka,

Would I be better off going to Win 7 64, SSD for the OS? I wanted to add another 4gigs of mem in to the comp but since you indicated the hardware isn't really that bad off, would that be a better way to update my comp?

Thanks for your time.
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#13
Digerati

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Having said that, I'd rather buy more performance that overclock to achieve it, as your warranty no longer applies and heat and cooling becomes an issue.

I agree 100%!

Installing the OS on an SSD would yield some significant performance gains in many areas. But note once a file is loaded in RAM, disk performance steps out of the picture. This is why increasing RAM is typically best way to boost performance - at least up to a point. IMO, 6Gb for triple channel architecture motherboards and 8Gb for dual channel boards is the new "sweetspot" for RAM and performance. Less and you take a performance hit. More than 6/8 and any gains will be marginal, at best. But of course, more than 4G or RAM does require a 64-bit OS for optimal RAM use.

Since computing today is so intensely graphics oriented, as Akabilk noted, the more capable the graphics solution, the better your overall computing performance will be. Note it takes very little CPU horsepower to hand off tasks.

While overclocking can be fun and a learning experience, it does place a greater demand on power and cooling. Replacing the CPU's heatsink fan assembly may help the CPU, but it should be noted motherboard designer intentionally surround the CPU socket with other heat sensitive devices so they can take advantage of the OEM cooler. Aftermarket cooling solutions may not provide that. And while the CPU warranty may not be a concern for many enthusiasts, using voltages not in accordance with the CPU's specifications (overclocking) and using aftermarket coolers on CPUs that came boxed with OEM coolers, does void the warrant.
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