[Question] Got a new box (finally) - Wat do?

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#1
So, after suffering through a couple generations of creep, I finally found myself in a position to upgrade.

I ended up buying this, along with this RAM upgrade. Now, I know that this is by NO means top-shelf, or even high-level, but it's still considerably better than what I HAVE been working with (Hey Gas, I might be able to load up in L4D2 without waiting for 2 minutes, first! ).

Question is - any suggestions on what else I might need to do? I honestly didn't want the keyboard and mouse, but they came with the package, so, eh. My monitor will be the next upgrade, but for now my current one is working fine.
 
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#2
You may want to replace your HDD with a solid state drive. But that is not the first thing you will want to do. No, the first thing you'll want to do is upgrade the GPU. You're limited a little bit because of your 350W PSU, you'll probably want to stick to a card that's 150W or less (i.e., only one aux power connector) for power stability's sake. That means something like a GTX960 or R9270 (NON-overclocked) is gonna be your top end.

--Patrick
 
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#3
I legitimately cannot remember if I had a 500W PSU in my other box or not... if I did, I'm gonna snag that one.

Thanks for your help!
 

GasBandit

Staff member
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#4
I definitely second the SSD, it has done SO much for my machine's performance.

Actually I second everything Patr said. I ususally do on tech issues because he gets here first, most often.
 
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#5
I'm gonna piggyback on this thread: recently upgraded except for graphics card. Currently have a GT 640. I'm actually not unhappy with it (I'm more of a casual gamer and I don't really care if I have everything set high), but I would like to upgrade. Wondering if I should hold out for Polaris/Pascal, or if I'm better served getting something like a GTX 950 for now and waiting until more budget-minded cards on the new architecture come out.
 
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#6
I'm gonna piggyback on this thread: recently upgraded except for graphics card. Currently have a GT 640. I'm actually not unhappy with it (I'm more of a casual gamer and I don't really care if I have everything set high), but I would like to upgrade. Wondering if I should hold out for Polaris/Pascal, or if I'm better served getting something like a GTX 950 for now and waiting until more budget-minded cards on the new architecture come out.
I went from a GTX660 to a 960 recently and don't regret it in the least. Not only are things prettier on higher settings, they are a lot smoother too. So considering it's the same generational gap for the two of us, definitely go for it if it's a reasonable price.
 
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#7
I'm gonna piggyback on this thread: recently upgraded except for graphics card. Currently have a GT 640. I'm actually not unhappy with it (I'm more of a casual gamer and I don't really care if I have everything set high), but I would like to upgrade. Wondering if I should hold out for Polaris/Pascal, or if I'm better served getting something like a GTX 950 for now and waiting until more budget-minded cards on the new architecture come out.
One of the bigger reasons to go with a newer card is that they can be used with bigger monitors. Older cards top out at 1-2GB, which really isn't enough for really big monitors ... or for cards which use VSR/DSR to generate a much larger virtual image and then scale it down for quality. Newer cards can be had with 4GB or 8GB (or 12GB if you want to go ridiculous). Along with the larger amount of VRAM, you would also get a newer graphics engine that is more efficient (meaning maybe not many additional fps, but a much higher minimum fps) and can do things like decoding H.265/HEVC in hardware (curently found only in NVIDIA GTX 960/970/980 or AMD Fiji-based cards). If you're going to wait, Pascal is going to be demoed in April (actual release still unclear), while Polaris isn't coming until Q3/Q4 2016.

Or you can continue to use your 640 because doing so would be free. :)

(My only comment about your build is that your SSD is only "meh" as SSDs go--but it's still an SSD)

--Patrick
 
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#8
Upgraded, finally!

Now I'm running with a GeForce GTX 1060, with an EVGA 500W power supply.

It's running everything now, and smoothly, too! Still not bleeding edge, but then again, I don't need it to be right now (nor can I afford that).

Ultimately gonna get an SSD, especially as prices keep on coming down for them.... would there be any advantages to getting a larger size? I thought you really only got the most bang for your buck by running your OS from them? I confess ignorance, here...
 

GasBandit

Staff member
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#9
Upgraded, finally!

Now I'm running with a GeForce GTX 1060, with an EVGA 500W power supply.

It's running everything now, and smoothly, too! Still not bleeding edge, but then again, I don't need it to be right now (nor can I afford that).

Ultimately gonna get an SSD, especially as prices keep on coming down for them.... would there be any advantages to getting a larger size? I thought you really only got the most bang for your buck by running your OS from them? I confess ignorance, here...
An SSD is great for anything that you want to load quickly from a hard drive. So your OS, definitely. Any games with lots of huge assets, yep. But don't store small files and shit on it, or things that get deleted often. The more you delete stuff off an SSD, the sooner it wears out, and it's irreversible. Even if you put something on new in its place. So whatever you install on your SSD, make sure it's something you want to pretty much always be installed.

In today's environment of blazing fast GPUs, CPUs, and RAM, hard drive access times are the biggest bottlenecks. SSDs are pretty much the biggest performance boost any computer can get.
 
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#11
Ultimately gonna get an SSD, especially as prices keep on coming down for them.... would there be any advantages to getting a larger size?
Right now there's a memory shortage, so SSD prices, strangely, are actually going up (especially for older-style SLC and MLC drives). For speed and reliability, SLC is best, MLC is a happy medium, and TLC is the cheapest (and least durable). Even if you don't know what the acronym stands for, at least now you know how to rank them.

As far as advantages for getting a larger size, there most definitely is an advantage. The controller on SSDs works kind of like an internal RAID, which means it is at its fastest when it can spread the load over multiple "channels" of internal memory chips. The smaller the drive, the fewer the # of chips on it, and so it's more likely to be limited by a reduced number of channels. Larger drives also spread around the writes more evenly (because they have the room to do so), which means they will tend to last longer. You will see this expressed as "DWPD" (Drive Writes Per Day - how many times/day you would have to fill the entire drive in order to deplete it by the time the stated warranty runs out) or "TBW" (Total Bytes Written - the raw amount that you would be able to write before the drive fails). You can convert between the two pretty easily IF you know how long the warranty is good for. Best balance right now is to get at least a highly-rated 1TB drive, if you can afford it (they're about US$300-350 right now).

Your main advantage will really be the vast increase in individual transactions per second over the older rotating mechanical storage (i.e., "access time") since there's no physical head that has to be moved from place to place. Fast hard drives have an access time of around 6 milliseconds, but even the slowest SSDs have access times of 90 microseconds...but if you're going to be getting a SATA-based SSD, you're going to be limited by the SATA interface's max speed of about 540MB/s anyway. So...yeah, SATA SSDs can find your file 60x faster than a standard HDD, but they can only retrieve it for you 5x faster. The two sure add up, though.

--Patrick
 
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#12
But don't store small files and shit on it, or things that get deleted often. The more you delete stuff off an SSD, the sooner it wears out, and it's irreversible.
This is technically correct (the best kind!), however you'd have to erase and write vast quantities of data to ever get to the point where this actually matters. What google found (and they do erase and write a lot of data) for SSDs is that the age mattered more than the write cycles:

http://www.techradar.com/news/compu...rever-google-has-some-answers-on-that-1316031

For a consumer, the reality is that you'll never approach the wear limit.

...if you're going to be getting a SATA-based SSD, you're going to be limited by the SATA interface's max speed of about 540MB/s anyway.
If you're going to spend the money on SSD, it's worth it to buy a good M.2 drive with a PCIE interface, and a PCI adaptor if your motherboard doesn't have a PCIE M.2 spot. The adaptors are under $20, the drives cost more, but they're also significantly faster (6x for some) than the SATA SSDs.
 
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#13
For a consumer, the reality is that you'll never approach the wear limit.
Related old link from March 12, 2015: The SSD Endurance Experiment: They're all dead
Clear evidence of flash wear appeared after 200TB of writes
...
The fact that the 840 Pro exceeded 2.4PB is nothing short of amazing
FYI: for hard drive people, 1TB = 1000GB, and 1PB = 1000TB.

You are NOT going to write that much to your hard drive. If you are, you know who you are (heavy-duty video editing of 100s of hours of 4k+ raw uncompressed video and audio).

Basically, don't worry about your SSD.
 
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#14
If you're going to spend the money on SSD, it's worth it to buy a good M.2 drive with a PCIE interface, and a PCI adaptor if your motherboard doesn't have a PCIE M.2 spot. The adaptors are under $20, the drives cost more, but they're also significantly faster (6x for some) than the SATA SSDs.
A caveat about this: Some drives are AHCI (older), some drives are NVMe (newer). NVMe drives are VASTLY superior to AHCI, but not every system supports NVMe, and some of them support NVMe BUT not as a boot drive. So don't just buy "blade" storage because it physically fits your board unless you make sure it works with your board, and even if it does, it may require you to reinstall Windows from scratch (in "EFI mode") in order to fully benefit from NVMe. I say this having to painstakingly hunt down an SM951* for my system once I discovered it only supports AHCI. Also make sure your PCIe<->M.2 adapter supports the same bus width and revision as your drive (PCIe x2 v. PCIe x4 and PCIe 2.0 v. PCIe 3.0, and furthermore some of them only support SATA even though they physically look the same) otherwise you're just throwing away speed.
I don't remember exactly, but I think that experiment only tested MLC drives, dunno if it also included any TLC drives.

--Patrick
*The Samsung SM951 is the best AHCI M.2 you can get. Nobody else has ever made anything better since that wasn't NVMe-only.
 
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#16
From skimming, definitely more than one type of drive (type of memory I mean) in that stress test.
They only had one TLC drive in that test, and it started showing unrecoverable errors after only 100TB of writes, whereas the MLC drives didn't start throwing these errors until after 600TB.

--Patrick
 
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#17
They only had one TLC drive in that test, and it started showing unrecoverable errors after only 100TB of writes, whereas the MLC drives didn't start throwing these errors until after 600TB.
From the article:
But it suffered another spate of uncorrectable errors on the way to 900TB, and it died without warning before reaching a petabyte. *snip* Few expected a TLC SSD to last that long—and fewer still would have bet on it outlasting two MLC-based drives.
Showing that reallocations are necessary for some of the drive (But that it's still usable) isn't the same thing as "unrecoverable errors" IMO, but that's getting into semantics here. The article points out how most users only write a terabyte or two a YEAR to a drive, and that's different than your system drive versus your "downloading all the games!" drive. So even worst-case-regular-user of writing over 5TB a year to your drive (which is unlikely), the "bad" type of memory would still last over 100 years before complete failure. Even with 100TB only of headroom, that's still 20 years, with my "much larger than typical" usage of 5TB per year.

I still maintain, a typical user doesn't even have to THINK about this type of failure. I'd bet on another random electronic component of the board (solder connection, or whatever) to fail prior to the flash memory itself.
 

GasBandit

Staff member
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#18
From the article:

Showing that reallocations are necessary for some of the drive (But that it's still usable) isn't the same thing as "unrecoverable errors" IMO, but that's getting into semantics here. The article points out how most users only write a terabyte or two a YEAR to a drive, and that's different than your system drive versus your "downloading all the games!" drive. So even worst-case-regular-user of writing over 5TB a year to your drive (which is unlikely), the "bad" type of memory would still last over 100 years before complete failure. Even with 100TB only of headroom, that's still 20 years, with my "much larger than typical" usage of 5TB per year.

I still maintain, a typical user doesn't even have to THINK about this type of failure. I'd bet on another random electronic component of the board (solder connection, or whatever) to fail prior to the flash memory itself.
What about things like the swap file, which is constantly re-writing itself?
 
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#19
I still maintain, a typical user doesn't even have to THINK about this type of failure. I'd bet on another random electronic component of the board (solder connection, or whatever) to fail prior to the flash memory itself.
A typical user DOES have to think about this sort of error, but the appropriate preparation would be keeping some sort of backup, which any user should be doing anyway. And given the choice between a drive rated for a lifespan of 140TB v. a drive of 400TB, I'm going to pick the 400 one every time, even if it does cost $30 more.
What about things like the swap file, which is constantly re-writing itself?
"Modern" OSes are supposed to be getting smarter about this, and start to do things in more SSD-friendly ways, but that's a great question. I'd like to see some testing.

--Patrick
 

GasBandit

Staff member
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#20
A typical user DOES have to think about this sort of error, but the appropriate preparation would be keeping some sort of backup, which any user should be doing anyway. And given the choice between a drive rated for a lifespan of 140TB v. a drive of 400TB, I'm going to pick the 400 one every time, even if it does cost $30 more.
There's also the conventional wisdom that SSDs suffer complete failure less often than platter drives but lose data blocks more, which is part of why I said don't put things like pictures and documents on them.
 
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#21
There's also the conventional wisdom that SSDs suffer complete failure less often than platter drives but lose data blocks more, which is part of why I said don't put things like pictures and documents on them.
Not sure this is a thing, at least no more often than platter drives. Would like to know where that theory comes from.

***

Would also like to point out that things like this exist...if you're willing to pay for it, of course.

oneisnotenough.png


source

--Patrick
 
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