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Old Jan 9, 2014, 9:59 PM   #11
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The other thing we noobs don’t have to be much concerned about today is compatibility of the parts. It used to be only the fully indoctrinated would know they were buying the right RAM or HDD. The rest of us bought it, plugged it in, and if it didn’t work the store wouldn’t take it back. Nowadays there is PC Part Picker http://goo.gl/wiQONy who (I dare say) has every currently available computer part you might want in their huge database. Simply turn on the “compatibility” filter and it displays only parts that play well together. Better than that, it lists prices for each part and provides links to vendors. For example, if you select a video card the site will simultaneously display the price of that part and link to TigerDirect, Newegg and Amazon (perhaps others) so you can choose the best price. The other thing I like about the site is you can save your build at any point. So, if you only have the time to select some RAM and a Hard Drive you can save them till you get back to your build. For instance, here’s the part list for my build with current cost of each part (and the total if you’re interested). http://goo.gl/REi39x

Having said all I have about how simple it is to BYO PC, don’t for a minute think it isn’t worth doing. It’s gratifying to build your computer the way you want it. And you will learn something, guaranteed.
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Old Jan 10, 2014, 1:03 PM   #12
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Now you are bringing back memories Bob. I loved Heathkit products and have built their vacuum tube tester (lots of wiring there), two cassette player/recorders and one of their TVs. Instructions were very well written and if the same guy could write the manual for PE10 we would have something. Had no problems with the tube tester, one problem with a cassette player (component installed backwards) and no problems with the TV other than adjusting it.

Originally Posted by boBBrennan View Post
hey Alan,

....a very nice spec'd & really good looking machine, ya did well! There is a whole lot of cooling going on, the plumbing looks awesome.

I did build all my computers during the 90's but wouldn't attempt one now.

AND, of other hobbies, I am a FCC licensed 'advanced class' HAM (WD5DHF) since 1977 though I am not active now. During the winter of 1978 I built a complete Heathkit solid state amateur radio station ... the SB104A line (transciever, power supply, external VFO, linear amplifier, monitor scope, RF monitor w/phone patch, RF meter, remote antennae switch) and some other pieces. Then I designed and built my own antennas for the next 15-years, the largest was a 32-ft boom 6-element 28MHZ YAGI to my 60-ft tower.

With this station I have card confirmed nearly 300 unique country entities with other HAMS worldwide, quite a few thousand contacts including at least one in every USA state during one weekend (1985).

I still have all the station pieces.... they look new!

Hobbies are fun for sure...... keep us informed how your new 'puter' performs and congratulations on the build. An AWESOME way to stay inside and warm!
Olympus OMD-M5, HLG6 grip, Olympus 4/3rd 35mm macro lens, Panny/Leica 25mm, f1.4, Olympus 17mm, Canon Pro 9000 Mk II Printer, Canon MP990 Printer, Slik U212 Tripod, Manfrotto monopod, MMF3 converter.
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Old Jan 12, 2014, 12:56 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by chiPersei View Post

Here's the build:

CPU Intel Core i7-4770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core
Motherboard Asus GRYPHON Z87 Micro ATX LGA1150
Memory G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600
Storage Samsung 840 Pro Series 256GB 2.5" SSD
Seagate Barracuda 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM
Video Card Asus GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB
Case Corsair 350D MicroATX Mid Tower
Power Supply Corsair 750W ATX12V / EPS12V
Optical Drive Samsung SH-224DB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer
Operating System Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64 bit
da-damn that's a beast of a build, nice selection of parts... I'm a big fan of SSDs after building out a home theater PC with one in it a few years back.
in my bag: e-m1, 7-14mm pro, 14-54mm mk ii, 50-200mm mk i, 70-300mm
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Old Jan 15, 2014, 1:14 AM   #14
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I've been reading a PC builders magazine named Maximum PC. They often do various builds for budget, midrange and high-end PC's. Mine's kind of a hybrid between mid and high-end. I'm finally on-line with it (this is my 1st post) and what surprises me most is the speed at which it boots. I'm running Win7 and it boots into Windows before the Windows logo has time to appear. :-)
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Old Jan 15, 2014, 9:14 AM   #15
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I'm running Win7 and it boots into Windows before the Windows logo has time to appear. :-)
SUPER! Fun when hardware/OS runs the way you thought it would. The heavy RAM & SSD likely contributes a lot toward that.

I've been saying I will max out RAM in my MACS but keep putting it off.... may be time to visit OWC again and get 'hyped' to do it.
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Old Jan 15, 2014, 11:27 AM   #16
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That looks like a *very* sweet system, and that Samsung 840 Pro should be fantastic.

I just finished a clean install of Win 8 to a Samsung 830 I had sitting on a shelf unused that I bought on sale from newegg last year for $79.99 with a promo code (gotta love the e-mail specials), with the refurb XPS 8500 I mentioned getting (I'll just use the 2TB Barracuda that shipped with it as a data drive), and Samsung Magician is showing around 535MB/Second read speed with it on average (with some of the test runs hitting 541MB/Second, even though this drive is only rated for 520MB/Second maximum). I'm using the latest firmware for it, with the latest Intel chipset drivers. So, perhaps the newer firmware and drivers helped it out in that area.

That's amazing (seeing close to 540MB/Second read speeds on average), considering that the Samsung 830 is not even the newest model, plus mine is a smaller 128GB model (where write speeds are not as fast as the larger sizes, but it's still clocking at around 320MB/Second for sequential writes).

Your Samsung 840 Pro should be much faster for many things, especially for random versus sequential i/o, writes versus reads, etc.

See the attached screen capture for what I'm getting with the smaller 128GB Samsung 830 after a clean install of Win 8 to it, then updating it to Win 8.1 (just within the past two days), with it's OS profile set to reliability versus performance, so some of the caching features are disabled.

A larger 256GB model would have given me faster write speeds. But, for the price (on sale at newegg.com for $79.99 using a promo code last year), I can't complain about "bang for the buck" I'm seeing with the Samsung 830 128GB SSD, especially since it will just be used for OS installs and Programs (where read speed is far more important), with everything else going to the 2TB Seagate Barracuda physical drive.

But, what really surprised me is how little space a Win 8.1 installation is using on it. The entire Win 8.1 install is only using 15GB of disk space after cleanup, disabling hibernate, and using a smaller virtual drive setting (pagefile size). For that matter, when I let Samsung Magician set it using the "Reliability" setting, the entire install was only using a bit over 13GB of disk space (as it set the OS to a Custom pagefile size of 200MB minimum and 1024MB Maximum).

But, just to be on the safer side if any combo of programs ever needed more than the 12GB of memory I have installed (unlikely), I increased the virtual memory settings to a custom size of 1024MB (1GB) minimum, and 4096MB (4GB) maximum, with the entire Win 8.1 installation only using 15GB of disk space with those settings. I do not like the default "new style" (formally known as Metro) User Interface in Win 8. But, I will give Microsoft credit for a smaller install size compared to Win 7 or Vista, and Win 8 appears to be very fast, too.

IOW, I prefer Win 7. But, I can't complain about the space that the Win 8.1 install is taking (and I just installed the free "Classic Shell" to get a better start menu, and so that I don't need to see the newer "Metro" style User Interface, which I think stinks for a non touch display). So, that smaller install size makes Win 8 attractive if you want to use a smaller SSD size.

If you ever decide to move to Win 8.x (especially since mainstream support for Win 7 is ending in January 2015 according to the latest press about it), make sure to check out the free Classic Shell. Basically, I'd highly recommend Classic Shell so you get a familiar User Interface and start menu back again with Win 8 (and it's open source and free), to avoid the new style user interface Microsoft is trying to force on users (as you can bypass the new style start screens entirely and go straight to a desktop with a familiar start menu with it installed, so it looks and behaves like Win 7). Get it here:


Your 256GB 840 Pro should be a lot faster, especially for writes, and your 840 Pro would be even faster still if you use some of the new caching features available to use some of the OS RAM for cache (e.g., the new Rapid Mode). I've got mine set to Reliability versus Performance, so all caching features were disabled for tests. But, the 830 doesn't support as many caching features as you have available with the newer 840 series SSDs either.

That 256GB 840 Pro you have is very "sweet", and it would be my first choice for building a new system if budget permitted, too, especially since it's using MLC (like the Samsung 830 series used) to allow more program/erase cycles per memory cell compared to the TLC memory used by the cheaper [standard versus Pro] Samsung 840 and 840 EVO drives

SSDs are very nice for sure, especially for boot times, program load times, calls to program libraries, etc.; where dramatically lower latency helps out tremendously compared to a physical drive (because you don't have the head movement involved with an SSD that can slow down access times).

I'm jealous (as you've got a very nice system, faster processor, faster and larger SSD, larger data drive, faster video card, more memory, etc.).

But, for only $79.99 on sale from newegg.com after a promo code (again, you've got to love the e-mail specials they have from time to time; so it's a good idea to stay on their mailing list), I can't complain too much about the speed of the older Samsung 830 I just installed Win 8 on, as read speed for OS boot times, program load times, etc. is amazingly fast with it compared to a physical hard disk drive. ;-)
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Old Jan 15, 2014, 4:29 PM   #17
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Jim- Thanks for making me feel good about my selection of parts. Coming from you it means a lot.

Due to my past readings a lot of your geek-speak strikes a chord but I have yet to really learn how to implement optimizations like caching or various performance settings. I'm so happy with the speed improvement I might leave it the way it is until the day (and it will come) it feels bogged down. At that time I can implement the various tweaks including overclocking to get a little more life out of it. When I get the Samsung Magician figured out I'll let you know the numbers.

About Win 8.1.... is it true that all applications run full screen? That would be a pain. They'd have to change the name to Microsoft Window without the "s". :-)
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Old Jan 15, 2014, 5:22 PM   #18
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Only for the new style (formerly known as Metro) apps. Frankly, I think they stink for desktop use with a traditional monitor, etc. (as they're optimized for touchscreen use, and I certainly wouldn't want to be reaching across a desktop to swipe things on a touchscreen display anyway, even if my monitor did support that feature). My arms would get very tired, very fast. ;-)

Sure, they can be used with a mouse, too; but the new style apps are just not optimized for use in a traditional desktop environment (IMO anyway); and if you're using a larger display, the way they "hog" screen real estate (versus being able to see multiple app windows on the same display) is a really bad idea if you're not using a smaller tablet or phone.

So, I can't understand why Microsoft is trying to force the newer interface on desktop users. Well... perhaps I can, as they probably want users to get used to it for selling their new OS versions on phones, tablets, etc (so that all devices running Microsoft Operating Systems will look and work the same way); plus *all* new style apps need to come from Microsoft's online store (sorry, you can't install the new apps any other way, as you're not allowed to "side load" them without going through Microsoft's online store).

That way, Microsoft can make money off of them, even if they're from a company competing with Microsoft's own products (similar to the way Apple is requiring IOS users to use their store for any apps you want to install on an iPhone or iPad). Grrrrr

Or course, adverts inserted into new style apps, the way they're promoting Microsoft Skydrive integration, Bing searches (so they they get more advert revenue from it), etc., also helps them to increase profits if users fall for that kind of thing. ;-)

As for me, no thanks. Frankly, other than recently (because I've been in the middle of setting up a PC I bought to use an SSD over the past few days), I rarely run Windows at all. I just keep it installed for helping out with camera reviews from time to time (for running camera manufacturer provided software for Windows). I use Linux more than 99% of the time (keeping my PCs setup in a multi-boot config with Windows and several Linux distros), and will sometimes go weeks or even months at a time before booting into Windows. So, given that I have not been very fond of Windows for quite a while anyway, I find Windows 8 to be especially annoying.

At least Apple has enough sense to let Mac users with OS X install apps from other sources (even though iPad and iPHone hardware is more "locked down").

Microsoft has a few lessons to learn yet from what I can see, as trying to do the same thing with a desktop operating system is a really bad idea (IMO). Perhaps they'll find a new CEO with some common sense and make some changes that keep consumers' best interest in mind (versus trying to "shove" a new User Interface down users throats, even though desktop users may not like it). Only time will tell.

Anyway, if you're using traditional desktop applications that work under operating systems like Win 7, there's no difference in how they install and run under Windows 8 on the Windows 8 desktop (they work exactly like they'd work on older Operating Systems like Win 7), and you can install them without using Microsoft's online store like you'd need to use for the new style (formerly known as Metro) apps.

Only the newer style apps designed to work only on Win 8.x have those types of issues.

As mentioned in my last post, you can also install something like Classic Shell (free) so that you never even need to see the new style Start Screens, new style apps, etc. (so that your Win 8 installation will look and work like Win 7). That's one of the very first things I did (installed Classic Shell) with Windows 8, as personally, I don't want to even see the new style screens and apps, or be forced to use the new style "tile" based menu screen to find and launch my apps (as I'd prefer the original style start menu for that purpose) . But, to each their own (some Windows users actually like the new User Interface and apps, but not me).


Here's an old article about Classic Shell (free):


The latest 4.2 version is even nicer with more features, and includes support for Win 8.1, too. Over 10 Million downloads of it so far. So, I'm not the only one that dislikes the new Win 8 menu screen. ;-)

There are also a number of other similar apps around. Most are commercial versus free. For example, Start8 is *very* popular. More about it here:


It's $4.99, whereas Classic Shell is free (and Classic Shell is highly customizable and works just fine from my perspective). But, if you decide to switch to Win 8, I'd try a few of the available alternatives like those so you can avoid the new style Start Screen, tile based menus, etc.; and get a more traditional style menu system again instead, as the new style menu screens have lots of drawbacks.

You can also find utilities that let you run the new style (formerly known as Metro) applications in a Window on the Win 8 desktop (versus full screen eating up all of your screen real estate). Modern Mix is one of them ($4.99, from the same developers that created Start8):


Here's a video about how it works:


So, I wouldn't worry too much about using Windows 8 versus Windows 7 (as it does have it's benefits, like a smaller disk space footprint, some newer features and better performance in some areas compared to Win 7). Personally, I'd just make sure to avoid the new style menu system, etc (as I think it stinks for desktop use); and you can do that via available software for it, as mentioned above.
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Old Jan 15, 2014, 11:22 PM   #19
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Thanks for the insight into Win 8. I'm in no hurry to reduce the footprint of my OS. I've got the following loaded on the SSD and have only used 68 of 256GB:

Win 7
Photoshop CS6 Extended
Adobe Bridge
Lightroom v5.3
Perfect Photo Suite 8
Photomatix Pro
Topaz Adjust 5
Not to mention ancillary hardware and software utilities such as CPU-Z, Asus GPU Tweak and all that Adobe App Manager stuff.

The good news is when building your own you can avoid the crapware.

Photos and music won't infringe on the SSD as they are stored on the 3TB Seagate.

Things like MS Office are on the laptop if I need them.

Below are my current benchmarks. I set the drive to Reliability to compare apples to apples. It does look a bit faster but not sure I could tell the difference in real world usage. Besides, mine cost more than 79 bucks. Had I seen your deal I would have jumped on it.
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