Building a new PC, Windows 7

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PurpleGurl
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Building a new PC, Windows 7

Post by PurpleGurl »

I am to the point where I feel I need a new PC. This dual-core AMD 3800+ has done well, but programs, and even the browsers have become too demanding. Now, I am going to build a Core i7-3930 system. I already have the chip and just need the other components. It will be nice to have a 12-threaded system with quad channel access to DDR3 memory. Now, I know if I go with a 64-bit OS, I will need plenty of RAM. I am using 2 Gb now under 32-bit, and as an absolute minimum, I would want to use 4 Gb. If I go with "bargain" memory, I might as well go with 16 Gb.

Obviously, I won't be able to run Reactos on it as a daily use OS and take advantage of all the capabilities of my "dream" system. So that means I should go with Windows 7, 64-bit, unless I want to go with some type of Linux and the whole learning curve of that. Now we start to get to my questions.

Now, I have a friend who is leasing a Windows 7, 64-bit system. It worked great for a day, and then suddenly, it started to really suck and load things at 1/4 the speed of my XP system, even though she is using slightly better hardware than what I am using now. Does anyone know why? I know that the devs here don't like it when people trash Windows 7, and they tend to mark it down as "OE" or "OI" (Operator Error, or Operator Ignorance). Anyway, I will tell you what I saw. When I pulled up task manager after a clean boot, 1 Gb of memory of her 2 Gb was in use, and 60% of her processor resources were in constant use. Put another way, it was using an entire core and 20% of the other core. So, what can I do to optimize Windows 7 64-bit to not be that greedy and hungry? When I boot up XP on mine, I start with at least 1.9 Gb of 2 Gb RAM, and using under 5% of the CPU after everything settles. So what happened to her system, and how can I prevent that from happening to mine? Or was this a known bug? She doesn't currently have internet access, so if it is a bug with fixes, there is no way to patch it at the moment.

Also, is it possible to take some XP or 2003 components and use an older Explorer? I know some people took the Windows 95 Explorer and used it in Windows 98 or Windows ME. That gave a more stable experience, but without Active Desktop and maybe more file-related constraints. It may have also interfered with Windows Update. I wonder if it is possible to do similar with Windows 7, but staying within the NT family? Or alternatively, just disabling as much of the new look as possible and going as classic as possible.

In the mean time, I will do a web search, as I imagine she is not the only one with these issues. Then when I have my new system going, I will know how to prevent or fix such issues.

wojo664
Posts: 320
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Re: Building a new PC, Windows 7

Post by wojo664 »

Well... It may be a virus that can only "ate" one core at a time ;P
It might travel to that computer by any removable device ... Not only the Internet.

PurpleGurl
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Re: Building a new PC, Windows 7

Post by PurpleGurl »

wojo664 wrote:Well... It may be a virus that can only "ate" one core at a time ;P
It might travel to that computer by any removable device ... Not only the Internet.
A Plug and Play virus? Yuck! I hope not. Or, it could have been something in some of the preinstalled software which came on it from the rental place.

I am not 100% sure it was a virus, since I've seen some anti-7 comments from at least one user. I don't know what sort of hard drive it had, whether SSD, hybrid, or what. I know hybrids can act funny, performance wise, like if you put lot of other files and data on it too, it may take a while to realize that the new stuff doesn't belong in the SSD portion.

There has to be some reason something was eating her first core and taking a significant amount of the other one, plus eating nearly a gigabyte of RAM after a clean boot. When I get my performance system together, I won't want to make any mistakes and cause this problem. This is something that Vic or Z98 might have an idea about.

Oh, is it possible to completely disable indexing on Windows 7? I don't know if that was part of the problem. I tried to load a copy of Doom 3 on her machine, and it took about 2 minutes to get to the opening screen. On mine under XP it take no more than 15-20 seconds.

wojo664
Posts: 320
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Re: Building a new PC, Windows 7

Post by wojo664 »

Factory preinstalled software is a big pile of crap eating resources. They install tons of rarely used software.. deinstall everything that is not necessary. Indexing: http://windows7themes.net/disable-windo ... exing.html. Saying any removeable device, I was thinking about any storage device ;-)

PurpleGurl
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Re: Building a new PC, Windows 7

Post by PurpleGurl »

wojo664 wrote:Factory preinstalled software is a big pile of crap eating resources. They install tons of rarely used software.. deinstall everything that is not necessary. Indexing: http://windows7themes.net/disable-windo ... exing.html. Saying any removeable device, I was thinking about any storage device ;-)
My guess is that the index service is part of her issue. She had me to transfer maybe 12k+ files or whatever from her other machine with the crashing hard drive. So that may have caused the indexer service to set to work and tie up a lot of resources. Then with only 1 Gb left and only 40% of the CPU left, I can see how that would have slowed programs down. I didn't pay attention to whether the drive light was on constantly, but if it was, then that would certainly slow the applications. So others who complained about Windows 7 may have had issues with the index service.

I see why this would be an issue. In trying to simplify the interface and try to obscure the tree structure of the hard drive, nearly any interaction is seen as a search. So if the Explorer is highly search oriented, then I can see why they would add an aggressive search. I prefer the old way of doing things, where I have the HDD divided into partitions, with a highly organized tree structure, and manually browsing to find it. I don't mind searching for things on demand if necessary. I can do other tasks until then.

That brings me to the other question again. Could I replace the 7 Explorer and the search system with the XP Explorer and search system without difficulty? Would the 32-bit versions work okay for these components, or would I need the 64-bit versions? That would be a way of getting around forced upgrades and not being able to get new systems with XP on them. It could be 7 under the hood and XP on top.

Bblaauw
Posts: 149
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 12:59 am

Re: Building a new PC, Windows 7

Post by Bblaauw »

I'm not sure what you're looking for in a new system. Basicly, on x86/x64 at Intel's side, there are a few platforms you can go for:

* Sandy Bridge (socket 1155), with 4 DIMM slots. 4GB modules are cheap, 8GB modules slightly more expensive. Released in April 2011 I think.
* Sandy Bridge-E (socket 2011), with 8 DIMM slots (sometimes 4). Your initial post suggests you want a processor of this platform. Released last november or so.
* Sandy Bridge EP (socket 2011), multi-processor (sockets, not only cores) platform, generally at least 8 slots. Server-platform thus. Released last week.
* Ivy Bridge (socket 1155), to be released in 2 months or so. See current CEBIT convention news at some IT-websites. Successor to Sandy Bridge, with PCIe 3.0 and new Z77 chipset with native USB3.0 (and Thunderbolt option).

Not sure if your expected workloads are GPU heavy, CPU heavy or RAM-intensive. I'd at the very least suggest a 120GB (or more) SSD as bootdrive with optionally additionally a harddisk for storage.

Ultrabooks based on Ivy Bridge will be nice :)

Ivy Bridge-E platform will likely take about a year still to be released, no idea if it will include native USB3.0 and Thunderbolt.

Goodluck building a machine around the chip you already have, and have fun experimenting with Windows 7 and Windows 8 (either native installed, in a virtual machine or as Windows-to-go on 32GB USB flash drive)

BrentNewland
Posts: 176
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Re: Building a new PC, Windows 7

Post by BrentNewland »

I saw a report on Ivy Bridge recently, you get 10-15% boosts in CPU power, but up to 50% boosts in graphics power (over Sandy Bridge). If you are using an add-on graphics card, then Ivy Bridge will likely be a waste of money; if you don't want to invest in an add-on graphics card, then Ivy Bridge will be more economical.

As far as your friend's machine, here's what you do:

Ctrl+Shift+Esc brings up the Task Manager
Go to the "Performance" tab and click on "Resource Monitor"
Let it run for a few minutes, then look at the following information:
CPU Tab: Sort by "Average CPU" - the program with the biggest number is using the most processor power
Memory Tab: Sort by "Commit (KB)"; again, biggest number is using the most RAM
Disk: You'll have to analyze this one over a short period of time, it tells you the current disk bandwidth being used, and it doesn't keep any sort of averages
Network: Usually don't have to worry about something using too much bandwidth, but good to check

You could also try a program called Process Lasso - it enhances the Windows process manager to change the priority of non-critical components, making your system more responsive.


If you have a Geek Squad nearby (I know they get a bad rep, but hear me out) I would take it by there and have them run a diagnostic. No other work - don't let them fix anything until you gt a second opinion. It should run $70, and if the computer is within 1 year old it's usually free. They have a license for PC-Check (or QA-Win32+, the windows version) which will test all your hardware - RAM, processor, some motherboard components, and the hard drive. They'll also scan for viruses. After that you can zip up the c:\ProgramData\Geek Squad folder and PM it to me and I can analyze it for you.


Also try posting at the Bleeping Computer forums.

FlyingIsFun1217
Posts: 475
Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2007 3:56 am

Re: Building a new PC, Windows 7

Post by FlyingIsFun1217 »

PurpleGurl wrote:This dual-core AMD 3800+ has done well, but programs, and even the browsers have become too demanding.
Don't be quick to complain. I'm still running the single-core variant.

FlyingIsFun1217

Pisarz
Posts: 375
Joined: Sat May 12, 2007 9:29 am

Re: Building a new PC, Windows 7

Post by Pisarz »

FlyingIsFun1217 wrote:Don't be quick to complain. I'm still running the single-core variant.
[ external image ]
I had to post it :D

FlyingIsFun1217
Posts: 475
Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2007 3:56 am

Re: Building a new PC, Windows 7

Post by FlyingIsFun1217 »

Not sure I'd be running 7 on that!

FlyingIsFun1217

PurpleGurl
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Location: USA

Re: Building a new PC, Windows 7

Post by PurpleGurl »

Bblaauw wrote:I'm not sure what you're looking for in a new system. Basicly, on x86/x64 at Intel's side, there are a few platforms you can go for:...
Actually, I am a performance buff. I went with the 2nd best CPU option in terms of bench marks and I just put in an overnight order for a board (Intel X79 chipset), Windows 7, Thermaltake dual fan universal cooling solution (I am only interested in the PGA 2011 compatibility, but it has brackets and shims to fit most current processors), and 8 GB RAM (should have gotten 16). All the parts came a bit ago. I have a Tb drive I can put in there, but if I need anything else, I can get it locally, other than a better power supply. I might just order a quiet power supply that puts out more wattage and maybe 2 more sticks of RAM to use all four channels. I read of people having mounting problems with the Thermaltake cooler, but I have no problems getting the case closed nor having room for RAM. The folks with the RAM issues tend to use high profile RAM. One work around in that situation is to not use one of the 2 fans, leaving room for at least two DDR3, depending on the board.

I agree with you on having an OS drive and a separate storage drive to take advantage of SSD technology within a reasonable price range. I do understand that SSD drives have limited write life, and also have "neighbor erosion" issues (the number of times you can read the adjacent cells without refreshing the current one). While the technology itself is actually slower, the drives utilize cache RAM and a scheme similar to RAID 0, but on-board and involving only the same drive. If you run 16 banks of NVR and have a 256-bit processor, you make up for a high overhead by dividing it into a much larger payload. Writes tend to be slower than reads, but with a good Trim function in the OS, the empty cells are always formatted in advance. Hybrid drives are good in theory, but can act funny or take time to adjust and self-optimize, and won't work properly without good OS support. If they are used as storage drives, there may be no gain, but will show gain when used as boot drives.

Speaking of drives, we should see some interesting pricing developments this year. The storms last year wiped out a few mechanical hard drive factories, and some companies consolidated. So that means the demand for traditional drives will increase, as will the prices. I called a nearby computer dealer about 1Tb drives. I should have gotten 2 when I got the one last year, since there is a 30%-50% price increase. The pressure caused by decreased production of mechanical drives will increase the production of solid state devices. In addition, a new solid state storage technology discovered last year should increase the density without greatly increasing cost. So there should be larger denomination USB sticks too.

I guess I should get back to the machine and see if it will POST. It is mounted and needs to be wired. I really need a decent video card, but I can use the one from this one for now and put the one that was in this one back in. It is really a toss-up between these economy grade video cards. One is faster, but the other looks better. I guess trading a 64-bit RAMDAC for a 32-bit one could be faster in some instances, but would reduce the quality.

I do have a gripe. I put in a HDD I had cloned at some point in time and it started to load XP and then blue screened. I am pretty sure incompatible drivers is why it did that. RAID and SATA are particularly funny about that. That is not my gripe. My gripe is that when I was ready to mount a DVD burner in it, there was no place to plug it. So that means I will need to get a new CD/DVD burner with a SATA connector.

The combined mouse/keyboard port is silly, and they don't even give you a splitter dongle. I read up on the specs of PS/2 ports, and while things are similar, they are different. There are two ways motherboards like that use the combined port. For some, they put both signals on the same signal pin and compromise the voltage for the power pin. Technically, mice and keyboards use different voltages, though you can probably fudge some there. The data packet formats are similar enough to combine the data pins, and the commands are different so there will be no collisions. Other makers will use the standard signal pin for one of the devices and use the normally unused connection for the other. So you have to use a splitter which uses the same strategy as the combined socket on the computer. But I can use one or the other and put the other in a USB port.

I see I may need a different power supply or at least an adapter. Right now, I have a 4 pin ATX plug connected to the 8 pin socket on the board. That seems to work, but I'd have to see if there aren't other problems like less cores running than present. At least one fan socket seems not to work, so maybe it gets power from the 8-pin, 12-volt, CPU power socket, or then again, that could be a BIOS setting. This uses the new BIOS type, I forgot what it is called (UEFI?), but there is room for 2 BIOS code sets, meaning that if you get a bad flash, you can still boot by changing a switch setting. The board is made for overclockers and has all sorts of on-board settings.

Bblaauw
Posts: 149
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 12:59 am

Re: Building a new PC, Windows 7

Post by Bblaauw »

Here's a nice motherboard for your x79 CPU that might make you go bankrupt: http://vr-zone.com/articles/asrock-s-x7 ... 15206.html
(and for server processors there's http://www.evga.com/products/pdf/270-SE-W888.pdf , also making people bankrupt)

It would be convenient yes if operating systems have slightly more generic storage drivers, or don't depend on them at all (boot/run from ramdisk). That way you get a desktop, input/output devices (mouse/keyboard/video) and additional storage controller drivers can be loaded slightly later in the bootprocess, preventing a hang as well as preventing not showing desktop.
I think Windows 8 is aiming to be more generic, with its class drivers, early USB driver stacking loading, etc, mainly benefitting Windows-to-go (Win8 on USB stick). It's not as super-flexible as the Linux bootup process, but it's a start :)

You're reminding me of needing to replace my IDE DVD-writer as well. Considering UNIATA and some AHCI limitations, it's been a wise decision to not go SATA so far. However, new optical drivers are like 30 bucks or so, no big deal. More effort to actually integrate the thing into your machine. Thus tempted to go USB despite its massive protocol overhead.

Ofcourse, using something like RUFUS ( http://rufus.akeo.ie/ ) to create installation medium, is also nice.

PurpleGurl
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Location: USA

Re: Building a new PC, Windows 7

Post by PurpleGurl »

Bblaauw wrote:Here's a nice motherboard for your x79 CPU that might make you go bankrupt: http://vr-zone.com/articles/asrock-s-x7 ... 15206.html
(and for server processors there's http://www.evga.com/products/pdf/270-SE-W888.pdf , also making people bankrupt)

It would be convenient yes if operating systems have slightly more generic storage drivers, or don't depend on them at all (boot/run from ramdisk). That way you get a desktop, input/output devices (mouse/keyboard/video) and additional storage controller drivers can be loaded slightly later in the bootprocess, preventing a hang as well as preventing not showing desktop.
I think Windows 8 is aiming to be more generic, with its class drivers, early USB driver stacking loading, etc, mainly benefitting Windows-to-go (Win8 on USB stick). It's not as super-flexible as the Linux bootup process, but it's a start :)

You're reminding me of needing to replace my IDE DVD-writer as well. Considering UNIATA and some AHCI limitations, it's been a wise decision to not go SATA so far. However, new optical drivers are like 30 bucks or so, no big deal. More effort to actually integrate the thing into your machine. Thus tempted to go USB despite its massive protocol overhead.

Ofcourse, using something like RUFUS ( http://rufus.akeo.ie/ ) to create installation medium, is also nice.
I think you missed the part where I actually got a motherboard and later where I hinted that I built it most of the way. The only thing the one store here stocks is SATA optical drives. I know about incompatibilities with Reactos. But I already have Windows 7 - 64 ready to install.

I still think the heat sink looks like a small weed eater engine. It is at least as large as the PSU, and I should probably change that out from stock for that case and get one with all the correct connectors. The less adapter cords you use inside, the more reliable things will be (less air obstruction or fan jams from wire litter, and less potential for loose connections). I was able to power the CPU power socket on the MB with the 4-pin ATX, but it really wants the 8-pin version. So far, there are very few noticeable consequences of that. They may power a couple of the fan sockets with the upper pins of that socket. But the CPU works well and I haven't seen evidence of the wires overheating. I understand that is generally not good practice to use connectors with less pins. Just make sure you never try to use the 8-pin GPU power for that socket. They use a slightly similar socket that should not fit (not to say that some haven't tried forcing it) and is wired opposite the CPU power socket. (One has all the ground wires by the clip, while the other has the +12v wires by the clip.)

----

I am trying to see how close I can get 7 to XP. I like XP as it is, and I only got 7 for the new machine because that is all Microsoft sells and I cannot find XP anywhere at a decent price. The few places that have it want full price, when Microsoft doesn't carry it. It isn't like I can put a few XP files in 7, since things are not that compatible. You won't get the XP explorer to run in 7, at least not easily. The "improved" taskbar, I can live with that, but I hate its search altogether. If I want to run something, I want a run box, and if I want to search, I want a place just for searching. I prefer using no indexer at all and doing a sequential crawl each time within limited areas I choose. I asked about disabling the indexer, but there are far more consequences to doing that in 7 than in XP. At least in XP, if the index service is disabled, it will crawl your drives. In 7, the Index service *IS* the search, and if you disable that, you won't find anything at all, since you will get a no results message when it hasn't even attempted.

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