My farewell to extreme PCs

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Re: My farewell to extreme PCs

Postposted on Mon Mar 05, 2012 4:06 pm

just brew it! wrote:
thegleek wrote:
Vrock wrote:Heresy. :D

isn't it hearsay?

Nope.

damned english language
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Re: My farewell to extreme PCs

Postposted on Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:46 pm

fwiw, I'm not big on "extreme" PCs anymore, either. I sold my beefy PC when I recently moved and haven't missed it.

I'm much more interested in small builds now — you can pack eminently-capable, overclockable gaming and editing PCs into small mATX and mini-ITX cases.
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Re: My farewell to extreme PCs

Postposted on Tue Mar 06, 2012 7:58 am

I can vouch for Vrock and I when we were giddy about the latest and greatest hardware out there constantly upgrading and upgrading. Vrock remember that Riva 128 that got passed around? :P

Anyways he stopped well before I did. Right now I am sitting on a i7 920 and its more than enough for me right now. (however I lost a mobo last year and it was a bitch trying to find a replacement for the LGA 1366. They are super expensive, and if I lose this one it would probably be cheaper to replace everything)

I have always wanted to try a watercooled setup but right now its just not in the cards. All I want is for my PC to work when I want it to and to at least play games decently.

And oh Vrock, the Dyson is awesome!
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Re: My farewell to extreme PCs

Postposted on Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:55 am

While I'm not going to go out on a limb and say "I'll never build a high-performance PC again", what I *can* say is the longer you put it off, the happier you'll be with the upgrade when you finally do. I went with a Phenom II X2 (unlocked) for about 2.5 years, and then I went Sandy Bridge. The difference is night-and-day like. If I go another 2.5 years or more on this, then I'm looking at Haswell's successor, whatever that is. And I'm sure I'll be blown away by that.
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Re: My farewell to extreme PCs

Postposted on Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:48 am

derFunkenstein wrote:While I'm not going to go out on a limb and say "I'll never build a high-performance PC again", what I *can* say is the longer you put it off, the happier you'll be with the upgrade when you finally do. I went with a Phenom II X2 (unlocked) for about 2.5 years, and then I went Sandy Bridge. The difference is night-and-day like. If I go another 2.5 years or more on this, then I'm looking at Haswell's successor, whatever that is. And I'm sure I'll be blown away by that.


+1

Went from an AMD Turion X2 TL-64 to the i5-2500k... So I know exactly what your talking about :D

CPU Benchmark's Score
AMD Turion X2 TL-64 = 1050
Intel i5-2500k = 6,746 (And most users report higher) I've read over 8k when OC a fair amount.
AMD E-350 = 726 (To put the performance into perspective)

Thats such a large leap its freaking insane! And the numbers don't begin to equate into the noticeable differences that I have.
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Re: My farewell to extreme PCs

Postposted on Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:54 am

derFunkenstein wrote:While I'm not going to go out on a limb and say "I'll never build a high-performance PC again", what I *can* say is the longer you put it off, the happier you'll be with the upgrade when you finally do. I went with a Phenom II X2 (unlocked) for about 2.5 years, and then I went Sandy Bridge. The difference is night-and-day like. If I go another 2.5 years or more on this, then I'm looking at Haswell's successor, whatever that is. And I'm sure I'll be blown away by that.


Many agreements. I'm currently running a slightly more than 4 year old Core 2 system with an 8800 GT that will finally get upgraded when Haswell desktops become available (meaning it'sll be more than 5 years old when I do upgrade). The sick sad truth is that the Core 2 is fine for daily use, and I'm not playing the cutting edge games that need beefier CPU & GPU combos. Haswell will bring a lot of nice things to the table though, and by then the 28nm process for GPUs will be very mature so there will be some good improvements on the GPU front as well.
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Re: My farewell to extreme PCs

Postposted on Tue Mar 06, 2012 12:01 pm

Today's extreme PC is tomorrow's mainstream and eventually even low end PC. I've always tried to stay a year or two behind the state of the art. So from this perspective I get the same increases in performance without the early adoptor's premium. My farewell will be with a Haswell, USB 3.0, AMD 79xx, 16GB Ram, 1T SSD, etc. (I can dream, can't I) :)
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Re: My farewell to extreme PCs

Postposted on Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:30 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:While I'm not going to go out on a limb and say "I'll never build a high-performance PC again", what I *can* say is the longer you put it off, the happier you'll be with the upgrade when you finally do. I went with a Phenom II X2 (unlocked) for about 2.5 years, and then I went Sandy Bridge. The difference is night-and-day like. If I go another 2.5 years or more on this, then I'm looking at Haswell's successor, whatever that is. And I'm sure I'll be blown away by that.

Fair point, and agreed. I dragged my Skt 939 system out past five years, even though I originally expected to get a little less than four. Two years with an FX-55 and three more with an Opteron 180 (dual-core). I then ended up spending 30% more than planned on an i5+SSD upgrade but regret nothing, because the performance was noticeably better in every way.
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Re: My farewell to extreme PCs

Postposted on Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:13 am

grege wrote:If you are not a gamer, then how much computing power is good enough?

If you are a points-chasing Folder, then nothing is good enough. :P

Anyway, the OP just said no "high end" purchase, meaning he can still upgrade and depending on his definition of "high end" he can still buy good stuff in the future.
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Re: My farewell to extreme PCs

Postposted on Thu Mar 08, 2012 2:49 am

grege wrote:If you are not a gamer, then how much computing power is good enough?


That depends.

My dad runs an Athlon 1.13ghz machine with 768mb of RAM and Windows XP and a Geforce 2 MX video card. It does everything he needs it to do. He can even play Quake II and Call of Duty 1 on it when the mood seizes him. :)

I have an Athlon X2 5200 and integrated HD 4200 graphics that's crossfired with a passive, crappy 256mb ATI board I bought on ebay for $20. I have 4 gb of RAM and Windows 7. My machine does everything I need it to do. I web browse, I email, I play music, I play older games. Red Alert 3 runs fantastic on my setup. Torchlight runs quite well at 1280x1024, my monitor's native resolution.
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Re: My farewell to extreme PCs

Postposted on Thu Mar 08, 2012 7:29 am

I pulled out of active PC gaming a few years back. I built my last gaming PC tower in November 2006 and have only changed the optical drives and the video card once. It's a Core 2 Duo E6400 with an Asus P5B-E mobo, 2GB RAM, 9600GT 512MB video card (originally a 7950GT), 320GB hard drive and Windows XP. I still run this tower on a very part-time basis and it serves mainly these days for when I want to drag out my old PC games.

Now I am doing something I would never have imagined myself doing, that is using entry-level laptops! Right now I have a 2 1/2 year old laptop running Windows Vista with a GeForce 8200M graphics chip and am perfectly happy with it. 10 years ago, I would have totally scoffed at the idea of running something with a graphics chip so weak compared to what is offered at the high-end. But now that I'm not pursuing PC gaming anymore, obviously my need for performance has dropped considerably.
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Re: My farewell to extreme PCs

Postposted on Thu Mar 08, 2012 7:39 am

I'm still on my 2007-vintage Conroe rig. There's a Q9550, another 4GB of RAM, and a PWM fan for the HSF waiting to be installed, but I find that I just can't muster the enthusiasm for dissecting the box to get this done. Most of it is the need to finally load Win7 to take advantage of all that RAM.

Has anyone figured out how to image an existing XP install to be loaded into Win7's XP Mode?
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Re: My farewell to extreme PCs

Postposted on Thu Mar 08, 2012 8:42 am

Captain Ned wrote:Has anyone figured out how to image an existing XP install to be loaded into Win7's XP Mode?
I don't know about that but you could use VMware to do a physical-to-virtual (P2V) conversion. There's a free standalone converter - don't know if you need the full Workstation product to make this happen. Workstation 8 is "only" $200, which, for what the product does, is well worth it IMO. I think Windows 7 XP mode was made as absolutely basic and feature reduced as Microsoft could make it - any other VM product will be better if you actually have an XP license to work with.
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Re: My farewell to extreme PCs

Postposted on Thu Mar 08, 2012 8:48 am

I think in all cases you need an XP license - both for Win7's XP mode and for a VM, right?
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Re: My farewell to extreme PCs

Postposted on Thu Mar 08, 2012 9:05 am

derFunkenstein wrote:I think in all cases you need an XP license - both for Win7's XP mode and for a VM, right?

Not sure about Win7, but VM solutions in general will require Product Activation unless you're using a corporate volume licensed key. That said, if you have a retail license that hasn't been activated recently it'll probably re-activate without even requiring a phone call.
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Re: My farewell to extreme PCs

Postposted on Thu Mar 08, 2012 9:22 am

Licenses aren't an issue here. Just trying to find a way to keep my existing XP install live while I suss out Win7. I'd dual-boot, but I remember from the Win7 preview that it changes the bootloader to something new and that I'm not yet comfortable with. I remember a bit of panic on dumping the Win7 preview and having to scurry to find the proper tool to restore the XP bootloader.
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Re: My farewell to extreme PCs

Postposted on Thu Mar 08, 2012 9:32 am

ludi wrote:Fair point, and agreed. I dragged my Skt 939 system out past five years, even though I originally expected to get a little less than four. Two years with an FX-55 and three more with an Opteron 180 (dual-core). I then ended up spending 30% more than planned on an i5+SSD upgrade but regret nothing, because the performance was noticeably better in every way.


Similar here, when I started building my own PCs, I wanted to do a rebuild every 2 years. I did that with the K6, K6-2 and then Athlon but due to lack of money at the time, it was 4 years before I built my current Socket 939 system. Due to personal reasons I'm still running that system. It's had the odd upgrade over time; single to dual core, RAM has gone from 1GB to 2 and then to 4GB, the X1300GTO graphics card has been replaced with a GeForce 9600GSO, 500GB second hard disk and the main hard disk has been replaced with an m4 SSD, but it's still essentially the same system.

Although I still like to have a discreet graphics card, I don't play games so I like to save on the graphics card to spend more on the CPU (most CPU intensive thing I do is multi-threaded code compiling and running various virtual machines.)

This system for my needs is really beginning to feel long in the tooth, especially as my Arrandale Pentium Dual Core laptop has much better CPU performance than my main desktop PC. The CPU doesn't even have any kind of hardware virtualization support. Once my situation settles down I will probably go for an i7 3770 Ivy Bridge or wait for Haswell. Although none of this is extreme, I certainly won't be giving up building fast PCs.
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Re: My farewell to extreme PCs

Postposted on Thu Mar 08, 2012 11:31 am

flip-mode wrote:
Captain Ned wrote:Has anyone figured out how to image an existing XP install to be loaded into Win7's XP Mode?
I don't know about that but you could use VMware to do a physical-to-virtual (P2V) conversion. There's a free standalone converter - don't know if you need the full Workstation product to make this happen. Workstation 8 is "only" $200, which, for what the product does, is well worth it IMO. I think Windows 7 XP mode was made as absolutely basic and feature reduced as Microsoft could make it - any other VM product will be better if you actually have an XP license to work with.

VMware vCenter Converter - free download with a registration. I used a previous version to convert my old machine to a XP mode vhd too. Beware of hardware devices/drivers you need to remove after the fact, but eventually I got the vhd to boot no problem. You may have better luck doing the driver removal beforehand (you have a image backup just in case, right? ;)).
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Re: My farewell to extreme PCs

Postposted on Thu Mar 08, 2012 11:37 am

srg86 wrote:Similar here, when I started building my own PCs, I wanted to do a rebuild every 2 years. I did that with the K6, K6-2 and then Athlon but due to lack of money at the time, it was 4 years before I built my current Socket 939 system. Due to personal reasons I'm still running that system.

I ran my Dual Socket A for quite a long time as well. Probably about as long as you've been running that Socket 939 rig.
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Re: My farewell to extreme PCs

Postposted on Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:28 pm

Captain Ned wrote:Licenses aren't an issue here. Just trying to find a way to keep my existing XP install live while I suss out Win7. I'd dual-boot, but I remember from the Win7 preview that it changes the bootloader to something new and that I'm not yet comfortable with.
I dual-booted Win Xp and Win 7 for a while when I had an old scanner that wasn't supported under Win 7. The boot loader was very straight-forward that I recall, it looked like a DOS screen with two options you selected via the arrow keys on the keyboard. What made you uncomfortable about it?
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Re: My farewell to extreme PCs

Postposted on Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:49 pm

Vrock wrote:
Captain Ned wrote:Licenses aren't an issue here. Just trying to find a way to keep my existing XP install live while I suss out Win7. I'd dual-boot, but I remember from the Win7 preview that it changes the bootloader to something new and that I'm not yet comfortable with.
I dual-booted Win Xp and Win 7 for a while when I had an old scanner that wasn't supported under Win 7. The boot loader was very straight-forward that I recall, it looked like a DOS screen with two options you selected via the arrow keys on the keyboard. What made you uncomfortable about it?

I just remember that when I wiped the Win7 preview it had replaced the XP bootloader in the MBR with the Win7 bootloader and I couldn't get to XP anymore. I had to reinstall Win7, use EasyBCD to reload the XP bootloader in the MBR, then re-wipe Win7. I'd prefer to keep XP as an image in Win7 and it now appears that I can do so.
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Re: My farewell to extreme PCs

Postposted on Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:02 pm

I just don't get why people are still clinging to XP.
(That comment will likely start some sort of firestorm aimed in my direction that is better suited for the Windows thread)
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Re: My farewell to extreme PCs

Postposted on Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:11 pm

DPete27 wrote:I just don't get why people are still clinging to XP.
(That comment will likely start some sort of firestorm aimed in my direction that is better suited for the Windows thread)

Same reason you don't buy a top-end graphics card and then install it on your grandmother's email computer with the latest beta driver release: she doesn't need either the features or the crashes. Here at work we skipped Vista entirely and are just starting to see some Win7 machines come in, and those invariably have problems with either our network printers or some of our specialized engineering software. Nothing fatal so far, but the existing XP machines all work flawlessly.
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Re: My farewell to extreme PCs

Postposted on Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:42 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:I think in all cases you need an XP license - both for Win7's XP mode and for a VM, right?

You do not need a XP license for Win 7 XP mode - at least not for the initial instance of it.
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Re: My farewell to extreme PCs

Postposted on Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:44 pm

DPete27 wrote:I just don't get why people are still clinging to XP.
(That comment will likely start some sort of firestorm aimed in my direction that is better suited for the Windows thread)

Believe it or not some software won't run even in compatibility mode on Vista / 7. For starters.
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Re: My farewell to extreme PCs

Postposted on Thu Mar 08, 2012 6:04 pm

DPete27 wrote:I just don't get why people are still clinging to XP.
(That comment will likely start some sort of firestorm aimed in my direction that is better suited for the Windows thread)

Well, in my case it'll be easier just to create the image rather than figure out all of the proggys I've installed over the years, make a list of them, and go find their Win7 replacements/equivalents. At least with them resident in an XP mode image I can figure out if I really need them in Win7.
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Re: My farewell to extreme PCs

Postposted on Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:16 am

For your current Windows XP machine, I'd make an image of it with Acronis 10, then convert the Acronis image over to VMWare (built in feature with Acronis 10 or 11) and then just use the free VMWare Player on your workstation, problem solved. The player even has USB host support so moving things between your host computer and your VM XP (your current install) should be fairly easy/seamless. You'll just have to tell that Windows XP system to reactivate windows, not an issue.
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Re: My farewell to extreme PCs

Postposted on Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:46 am

I have a pretty good system worked out. I have a friend who stays cutting edge, and he sells me his old stuff for dirt cheap. I got a GTX 460 five months ago for $60. Two and a half years ago, I paid him $400 for the box in my sig, except with a 9800GTX+ instead of the 460. Thus, I stay pretty well along the curve for next to nothing.

Thus, my advice is to make a friend who stays cutting edge and get their hand-me-downs.
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Re: My farewell to extreme PCs

Postposted on Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:33 am

Did your purchase from your friend include the 9 x 2tb drives :P? If so, I need more friends like that ;)
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Re: My farewell to extreme PCs

Postposted on Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:04 pm

Buzzard44 wrote:I have a pretty good system worked out. I have a friend who stays cutting edge, and he sells me his old stuff for dirt cheap. I got a GTX 460 five months ago for $60. Two and a half years ago, I paid him $400 for the box in my sig, except with a 9800GTX+ instead of the 460. Thus, I stay pretty well along the curve for next to nothing.

Thus, my advice is to make a friend who stays cutting edge and get their hand-me-downs.


Yeah, we might not all be so lucky to have a friend like that, but I think the premise you arrived at ends up working well for most of us in the long run. Of course some of us here are consumed with staying 'cutting-edge' as an addiction, err obsession, err hobby - and I think not staying 'cutting-edge' would NEVER be acceptable for that demographic.

Having said that, I think the logical progression for most of us ends up somewhere similar to what the OP is doing (due to lots of factors from experience, to finances, and just general priorities in life changing).

I remember when I first got into the actual building scene about seven years ago - I built a top-end Athlon64, ASUS motherboard, 2x nVidia cards for SLI, along with all of the other top-line trim. A year later I upgraded to a dual core Opteron 180, and a ghastly expensive 7900 GTX. But a few months after that I just had to have the new "Conroe" (so I justified the purchase by relegating the Opty180 for a new server I wanted to build). So once I had built my new E6600 system, I continued to constantly be scratching 'upgrade' itches for things like RAM, GPU, HDDs, PSU's, Case's - etc etc (but I restrained from building an entirely new system).

Then after a couple years I cooled down with the constant upgrading, and decided I would keep that E6600 system for as long as I reasonably could use it comfortably. In the meantime I scratched my itch by building new systems for friends and family whenever the need arose.

That actually lasted until about a year ago (so, 2006-2011). By then my old E6600 system was feeling noticeably laggy with certain stuff, so I built the new 2500K rig in my sig. With the 2500K rig I opted to address my actual needs rather than getting the top-end of everything. I picked up the CPU for $180 at Micro-Center, got a solid motherboard with all the features I needed for $150, 16GB RAM for $160, GTX 460 for $90 (after coupon and rebate), and a new 640GB Caviar Black for $60 for the OS (I decided that neither 10k nor SSD were worth it for my purposes, and reasonably responsive storage space was most important). I used the same PSU, case, optical drives, aux storage HDDs, etc - so my total cost was $640 for a very solid system I expect to use for 4 years. I'm not saying I won't upgrade anything on my system in the next four years - I'm sure I will, just nothing majorly expensive.

Which gets to my final point. For most of us who do not explicitly need the top-end performance for some specialized task, I think the "hobby" of upgrading hardware evolves to a point where you can become (mostly) satisfied by keeping up with the latest news. And when it comes time to build a new system, it'll be nice, but not the most expensive, and not the flashiest. Because with experience also comes the realization that - (unless you're an extreme gamer and/or professional who needs the latest/greatest) - it's just not worth spending the high, high premium on the top-end hardware/peripherals/add-ins/etc for what usually amounts minimal gains over the next step down. At least that's the conclusion I've come to.
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