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Upgrading to Sandy Bridge - thoughts and advice please!


Captain Reynolds
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I have finally found some room in the budget to upgrade to Sandy Bridge, but I have a few considerations about the process... My existing system is as follows:

 

E8400 CPU (OC'd to 3.6Ghz)

Gigabyte EP45-UD3P

2 x Corsair F80 Force Series SSD in RAID0

4GB Corsair Dominator 1066Mhz DDR2

2 x Gigabyte ATI 6870 in Crossfire

Coolermaster Scout Case

Coolermaster UCP 700W PSU

Coolermaster V8 Heatsink

W7 Professional 64 Bit

 

This is my everyday system for work (just docs and spreadsheets and some basic web design) but after hours it does my gaming and DVD rips and video editing. All of my media and work files are kept on the WHS, so the SSD's in RAID are my only drive in the system.

 

I have just ordered the following:

 

Core i5 2500 CPU

2 x 4GB G Skill Ripjaws-X 1600Mhz DDR3 F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM

ASRock P67 EXTREME4 Motherboard

 

I did really want to go for the 2600K but couldn't justify the extra cost. I figure the i5 2500 could be a future WHS CPU anyway. I was initially going for a Gigabyte P67A-UD4, being a bit of a Gigabyte fan, but the ASrock was cheaper, came with a front USB3 panel and got a favourable review on Toms Hardware. I am re-purposing the CPU, RAM & Motherboard as a desktop for my wife, but plan on keeping everything else from the above build. I have a few questions I'm hoping you can shed some light on:

 

1. Any thoughts or advice for my build list?

2. My plan is to do a brand new install of W7, as I assume it would not be worth the extra baggage from trying to restore from WHS

3. There is a new firmware available for my Corsair F80 SSD's. Should I update the firmware? Should I do a secure erase? Does it matter what order I do these in?

4. Is there any benefit to me formatting the drive as GPT instead of MBR moving forward?

5. I have a Soundblaster X-Fi Extreme SB0820 lying around - is it worth using that over the onboard audio?

 

Thanks everyone

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I have finally found some room in the budget to upgrade to Sandy Bridge, but I have a few considerations about the process... My existing system is as follows:

 

E8400 CPU (OC'd to 3.6Ghz)

Gigabyte EP45-UD3P

2 x Corsair F80 Force Series SSD in RAID0

4GB Corsair Dominator 1066Mhz DDR2

2 x Gigabyte ATI 6870 in Crossfire

Coolermaster Scout Case

Coolermaster UCP 700W PSU

Coolermaster V8 Heatsink

W7 Professional 64 Bit

 

This is my everyday system for work (just docs and spreadsheets and some basic web design) but after hours it does my gaming and DVD rips and video editing. All of my media and work files are kept on the WHS, so the SSD's in RAID are my only drive in the system.

 

I have just ordered the following:

 

Core i5 2500 CPU

2 x 4GB G Skill Ripjaws-X 1600Mhz DDR3 F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM

ASRock P67 EXTREME4 Motherboard

 

I did really want to go for the 2600K but couldn't justify the extra cost. I figure the i5 2500 could be a future WHS CPU anyway. I was initially going for a Gigabyte P67A-UD4, being a bit of a Gigabyte fan, but the ASrock was cheaper, came with a front USB3 panel and got a favourable review on Toms Hardware. I am re-purposing the CPU, RAM & Motherboard as a desktop for my wife, but plan on keeping everything else from the above build. I have a few questions I'm hoping you can shed some light on:

 

1. Any thoughts or advice for my build list?

2. My plan is to do a brand new install of W7, as I assume it would not be worth the extra baggage from trying to restore from WHS

3. There is a new firmware available for my Corsair F80 SSD's. Should I update the firmware? Should I do a secure erase? Does it matter what order I do these in?

4. Is there any benefit to me formatting the drive as GPT instead of MBR moving forward?

5. I have a Soundblaster X-Fi Extreme SB0820 lying around - is it worth using that over the onboard audio?

 

Thanks everyone

 

 

Great system overall and I have only two comments. First, stay away from GPT. To many backup and restore issues in general and it is not supported at all in WHS. I have used x-fi for years but realistically I would not put it in as the creative bloatware casuses more issues then the benifits it provides, especially considering the quailty of most onboard sound cards. If you are an extreme audiophile, and need a huge SNR then go for it but I ended up staying away from it. Great system and good luck. Let me now how you like th Asrock board.

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Great system overall and I have only two comments. First, stay away from GPT. To many backup and restore issues in general and it is not supported at all in WHS. I have used x-fi for years but realistically I would not put it in as the creative bloatware casuses more issues then the benifits it provides, especially considering the quailty of most onboard sound cards. If you are an extreme audiophile, and need a huge SNR then go for it but I ended up staying away from it. Great system and good luck. Let me now how you like th Asrock board.

 

Thanks for your comments, and I will definitely heed your advice on the GPT as I do want WHS restore functionality. My X-Fi card came out of my old HTPC build, and I originally purchased it because the onboard sound on that motherboard was only stereo, plus I liked the way the X-Fi turned 2 channel recordings into a pretend 5.1. I am wondering though if sound cards work the same as video cards in that they take the burden of sound processing away from the CPU, and whether the difference is at all significant? I mean, I already have the card and no other use for it - are there any negatives to putting it in? Power consumption and restricting airflow are the only ones I can think of...

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Thanks for your comments, and I will definitely heed your advice on the GPT as I do want WHS restore functionality. My X-Fi card came out of my old HTPC build, and I originally purchased it because the onboard sound on that motherboard was only stereo, plus I liked the way the X-Fi turned 2 channel recordings into a pretend 5.1. I am wondering though if sound cards work the same as video cards in that they take the burden of sound processing away from the CPU, and whether the difference is at all significant? I mean, I already have the card and no other use for it - are there any negatives to putting it in? Power consumption and restricting airflow are the only ones I can think of...

 

 

If you already have it it can not hurt. Just get the last software from Creative. They do take sound processing and offload it but you would never be able to measure that. No real negatives in using it as they are great cards and the sound is pretty awesome.

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Guest no-control

1. Any thoughts or advice for my build list?

2. My plan is to do a brand new install of W7, as I assume it would not be worth the extra baggage from trying to restore from WHS

3. There is a new firmware available for my Corsair F80 SSD's. Should I update the firmware? Should I do a secure erase? Does it matter what order I do these in?

4. Is there any benefit to me formatting the drive as GPT instead of MBR moving forward?

5. I have a Soundblaster X-Fi Extreme SB0820 lying around - is it worth using that over the onboard audio?

 

Thanks everyone

 

1. No looks like its gonna be a strong system

2. Clean install is always better. If the old backup isn't too dirty you could use it, but clean is better

3. Not unless you have an issue or the update adds a function you want.

4. When I was running gpt it did "feel" smoother, booting was faster by a couple of seconds, BUT not being able to back it up to the WHS made it useless in my book

5. No reason what so ever. Maybe if you game with some nice mid to high end cans it might be better but on board or SPDIF passthrough is better. Using a part just because doesn't mean you should. I have several Creative cards collecting dust here at mission control.

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1. No looks like its gonna be a strong system

2. Clean install is always better. If the old backup isn't too dirty you could use it, but clean is better

3. Not unless you have an issue or the update adds a function you want.

4. When I was running gpt it did "feel" smoother, booting was faster by a couple of seconds, BUT not being able to back it up to the WHS made it useless in my book

5. No reason what so ever. Maybe if you game with some nice mid to high end cans it might be better but on board or SPDIF passthrough is better. Using a part just because doesn't mean you should. I have several Creative cards collecting dust here at mission control.

 

 

Can you use acronis, or something similar, to image a gpt drive?

 

1. Any thoughts or advice for my build list?

2. My plan is to do a brand new install of W7, as I assume it would not be worth the extra baggage from trying to restore from WHS

3. There is a new firmware available for my Corsair F80 SSD's. Should I update the firmware? Should I do a secure erase? Does it matter what order I do these in?

4. Is there any benefit to me formatting the drive as GPT instead of MBR moving forward?

5. I have a Soundblaster X-Fi Extreme SB0820 lying around - is it worth using that over the onboard audio?

 

Thanks everyone

 

 

I would secure erase before reinstalling the OS.

 

 

 

The forums have been dead the past two days. I wonder what the problem is?

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Just a quick update:

There were some delays with my supplier due to easter, but they also ran a promotion and I was able to upgrade the i5 2500 to the i5 2500K for only $24. The RAM I ordered is still out of stock, so still waiting to get this upgrade going.

 

In the meantime, I have been seriously considering upgrading the two Corsair Force series SSD's to a new Vertex 3 120GB. That way I can re-purpose the Corsair's to my laptop and HTPC. Has anyone used the Vertex 3 SSD's yet?

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Just a quick update:

There were some delays with my supplier due to easter, but they also ran a promotion and I was able to upgrade the i5 2500 to the i5 2500K for only $24. The RAM I ordered is still out of stock, so still waiting to get this upgrade going.

 

In the meantime, I have been seriously considering upgrading the two Corsair Force series SSD's to a new Vertex 3 120GB. That way I can re-purpose the Corsair's to my laptop and HTPC. Has anyone used the Vertex 3 SSD's yet?

 

If you check out the post I wrote on the main page, I have installed and tested the vertex 3 max iops version. It is stunning and is faster than my raid with 2x2 Vertex 2. I am going to be getting rid of my raid soon soon and replace the existing raid with a 240 gig vertex 3 when the max iops version comes out. Personally I love raid on my server but I will take a straight drive on my desktoop anyday, espeically on the OS. Just my two cents.

 

 

http://homeservershow.com/vertex-3-max-iops-first-impressions.html

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I actually saw your write up soon after my post! Do you have your 240GB Vertex 3 yet? I decided to bite the bullet with this build and have also ordered a 120GB Vertex 3 Max IOPS for the OS, as well as a brand new Coolermaster HAF 932 case to put it all in. Still waiting for those last few items, but my Motherboard, CPU & RAM arrived yesterday. I thought I would pass on my first impressions of the ASRock P67 Extreme4 motherboard as I haven't seen any mention of it in here so far...

 

It comes in a nice bruched metal looking box and was well packaged. It came with the following accessories:

2 x Molex to SATA power cables

4 x Black SATA cables

1 x Floppy Cable (giggle)

1 x SLI Bridge

1 x USB3.0 header

 

That last one helped me make up my mind to choose this board over the Gigabyte UD4, as well as the fact this one was cheaper. The USB 3.0 header also includes a mounting bracket for a 2.5" drive, which I thought was a nice touch. The board itself seems to be layed out quite nicely - my only concern is the horizontally mounted SATA ports, but that shouldn't be an issue in the big HAF932 case. I also noticed a molex connector near the PCI-E slots which says it is for graphics cards, but they don't include a molex to 6 pin converter. I do like the built in power and reset buttons also. Will follow up once the SSD and case arrive and the build gets underway!

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