Upgrading System w/ Borked OS install

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Upgrading System w/ Borked OS install

Postposted on Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:21 am

So I built my home desktop something like 3 years ago now, and at that time I was toying around with overclocking my system. I think at some point i damaged my OS install (Vista...) but never bothered to reinstall everything. It's worked for years, though I have some severe doubts about my OS integrity. For example, if I accidently press sleep in the start menu instead of shut down, the computer will never wake up. Or rather, no matter what I do I can't get the display to do other than resetting the bios. This is just an example. There are other quirks of the system as well in terms of other disk utilities etc.

Now, I want to upgrade my system, probably going to go with a i3-2120 (unless I get talked into a quad core...). But I need some advice on my system upgrade. I will definitely need a fresh install of windows, and I'm pretty sure I would rather NOT go with Vista again so I think I'm going to shell out the 100 for Win7. The advice I need is on if there is a way / purpose to save the files on my computer. I have several gigs of Steam games installed (along with photos videos and other stuff) and my wonderful ISP has recently decided that Bandwidth limits are a good idea which may make re-downloading many of them cost prohibitive. I was hoping to salvage some of the files, while still having a fresh install of windows. Is the only way to do this with a new hard disk?

And on this point, would a SSD be a good way to solve the problem? A bad way to solve the problem? Would I get anything out of it other than slightly faster boot up times?

Best, thanks.
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Re: Upgrading System w/ Borked OS install

Postposted on Fri Nov 25, 2011 7:39 am

I'd certainly want to do a clean install and an ssd does make for a very nice machine. Use the old hd as your second drive. I'd also see if you can find a cheap external drive (so far these don't seem to have gone up in price like internal drives have done) so you can backup the files you need from the old drive before reformatting (assuming they won't all fit on the ssd). You don't really need to reformat, you could just delete the old vista files off it but a completely clean start is always nice. It also never hurts to have a backup of stuff that's hard to replace.

Steam is easy to move to another machine... just install steam on the new PC and replace the steam folder with the one from your old PC.

7 is really a worthwhile upgrade to vista, get it now before MS mucks it up with 8 :wink:

Looking at TR's benchmarks for the i3 2100 again it's hard to seem a major benefit for getting a quad if your main interest is gaming. If you do other stuff too you might consider an quad AMD system (probably phenom II rather than BD). It would perform about the same for games (probably a little worse) but would cost about the same while being much better at things like video transcoding. This said you can probably overclock the i3 to the point where it's miles better than any AMD system but I'd imagine you'd be reluctant to go down that road again.
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Re: Upgrading System w/ Borked OS install

Postposted on Sat Nov 26, 2011 2:13 am

cheesyking wrote:Steam is easy to move to another machine... just install steam on the new PC and replace the steam folder with the one from your old PC.

I haven't tried it yet, but Steam has a backup/restore option that can export or import your user files. I expect this is preferable over pure copying, especially if future Steam updates, a third-party backup utility, or an unusually aggressive antivirus scheme ever start running an application log or checksum external to the Steam installation folder.
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Re: Upgrading System w/ Borked OS install

Postposted on Wed Nov 30, 2011 2:06 pm

cheesyking wrote:you can probably overclock the i3 to the point where it's miles better than any AMD system


mmmmm, thats false. No i3 models are unlocked "K" series so overclocking is not an option. The i3 models do have turbo boost, though I wouldn't really call that overclocking. To get overclocking capabilities you're looking at a i5-2500K entry point. As far as the quad cores are concerned for gaming....there is some benefit, albeit small. Once you're up into the i3 camp with hyper-threading (4 virtual cores) the extra benefit of a true quad core may or may not be enough to justify opening up your budget. Have a look for yourself. The i3-2100 games pretty well, better than most if not all AMD chips depending on the test.
http://techreport.com/articles.x/21813/9

SSD's are great (speaking from experience). However, the only thing youre going to see in gaming is reduced level load times (about twice as fast). You wont get improved FPS with a SSD as gameplay isnt very disk intensive. SSD's do make your system feel MUCH snappier though, especially in application load times (2x+ faster)
If you're interested in a SSD, check out the article from techreport below. Remember, the "Sandforce Bug" has now been fixed.
http://techreport.com/articles.x/21672
Also, you can check out my thread on SSD pricing in the past 6 months or so. I tracked a few drives that I was interested in before buying a Vertex 3 Max IOPS a little over a month ago.
http://techreport.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=34&t=78533
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Re: Upgrading System w/ Borked OS install

Postposted on Wed Nov 30, 2011 2:39 pm

DPete27 wrote:
cheesyking wrote:you can probably overclock the i3 to the point where it's miles better than any AMD system


mmmmm, thats false. No i3 models are unlocked "K" series so overclocking is not an option.


Quite true, I'd forgotten about that... I suppose they probably would overclock nicely, if Intel allowed them to :wink:
Last edited by cheesyking on Thu Dec 01, 2011 7:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Upgrading System w/ Borked OS install

Postposted on Wed Nov 30, 2011 4:17 pm

DPete27 wrote:SSD's do make your system feel MUCH snappier though, especially in application load times (2x+ faster)

My favorite part is cold-booting the machine and watching the four little swirling Microsoft dots barely have time to form a window before the display cuts over to the Win7 login screen.

That, and having office documents open instantly.
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Re: Upgrading System w/ Borked OS install

Postposted on Fri Dec 02, 2011 8:54 pm

Thanks for the feedback!

I went ahead and got a 120gb SSD, along with an Asus p8z68 Mobo / i5 2500k. I guess I "splurged" a bit and got a lot of nice stuff.

Thanks for the tips, they're very helpful.

Now I'm just worried about installing the CPU into the Mobo. It feels like I'm going to crush it when clamping it down (i didn't even go all the way and it scratched the side plates of the metal part! Yes, it is aligned right too)
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Re: Upgrading System w/ Borked OS install

Postposted on Sat Dec 03, 2011 2:52 am

So I got most of it set up but I ran into one hitch.

I can't get the computer to boot from a flash drive, or even recognize a usb device before entering windows. This means I can't update the SSD firmware, nor can I flash the Bios on the Motherboard.

Any advice on how to fix this? I did install all of the USB Drivers, as well as the intel chipset drivers and the IRST, LAN and Audi and Nvidia drivers.

Anyone have a similar problem?
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Re: Upgrading System w/ Borked OS install

Postposted on Sat Dec 03, 2011 8:38 am

odd

Looks like your board has a mix of USB3 and USB2 ports, have you tried both? The USB3 ports run off a separate chip and (I guessing) it doesn't get initialised until later on in the bootup process.

Just for reference the USB3 ports on the back are blue.
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Re: Upgrading System w/ Borked OS install

Postposted on Sat Dec 03, 2011 9:43 am

cheesyking wrote:
DPete27 wrote:
cheesyking wrote:you can probably overclock the i3 to the point where it's miles better than any AMD system


mmmmm, thats false. No i3 models are unlocked "K" series so overclocking is not an option.


Quite true, I'd forgotten about that... I suppose they probably would overclock nicely, if Intel allowed them to :wink:

Can you not just up the FSB (if its called that still) frequency. I mean before unlocked multipliers that's how EVERYONE overclocked.
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Re: Upgrading System w/ Borked OS install

Postposted on Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:13 am

paulsz28 wrote:Can you not just up the FSB (if its called that still) frequency. I mean before unlocked multipliers that's how EVERYONE overclocked.


http://techreport.com/articles.x/20188/3

no, the "FSB" (as you say it isn't really an FSB anymore, just a base clock) dictates the speed of everything on the chip including pcie which means you can't change it without making the system unstable.
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Re: Upgrading System w/ Borked OS install

Postposted on Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:22 am

I've tried every USB Port.

I've tried the top usb ports (the ones that seem like they're for the mouse / kb). I've tried the very bottom and the mid, blue usb ports, as well as the front USB ports (which actually work, unlike my previous build).

Another weird thing is that I can't get into the DOS prompt booting from the utility CD either, which was weird. It lets me boot from the utility CD, but then won't register enter key and will go default to the SSD after 5 or 10 seconds.

I simply can't do anything to flash the bios or update the SSD firmware.

(Also the i3-2100 can potentially overclock, but from what I've read you can only change the "fsb" from 100-105 and even then you get instability. Setting it to 105 would be a max OC at 30x105 = 3.15 ghz, and it would likely not be very stable. The i5-2500k and the i7-2600k are the only two truly "overclockable" sandy bridge processors, though the other processors can be overclocked slighltly past their turbo boost maximum.)
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Re: Upgrading System w/ Borked OS install

Postposted on Sat Dec 03, 2011 8:39 pm

Hachi wrote:The Intel Core i5-2500K ($225) and the Core i7-2600K ($320) are the only two truly "overclockable" sandy bridge processors.
There is a third:
Core i7-2700K ($370)
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Re: Upgrading System w/ Borked OS install

Postposted on Tue Dec 06, 2011 2:15 pm

this may be a stupid question, but did you remember to change the boot sequence in the BIOS to look for a USB drive before going to the SSD?

If you've done that, you may want to try increasing the "Delay for HDD" (as its called in my BIOS) timer. This is pretty self explanatory in that it allows you to adjust the amount of time the mobo waits to detect other boot devices before booting off the primary hard drive. It may be that your delay timer is set to low and the mobo doesnt have time to connect/detect the USB before it turns its attention to the hard drive.
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