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kragen

New Build & SSD

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Ok, so my best friend has asked me to help build her a new PC that should last for a minimum of 5 years, to be used as home/office/web browser.

This is the proposed build...

Gigabyte GA-P67-UD4-B3 or GA-Z68X-UD3P-B3 Motherboard

Intel Core i7 2600 CPU

Corsair CMX16GX3M4A1333C9 16GB (4x4GB) DDR3 XMS3 PC3-10666 (1333) Non-ECC Unbuffered

120GB Corsair Force Series GT, SATA III SSD, SandForce SF2200, Read 555MB/s, Write 515MB/s, 85K IOPS (For OS and apps)

2 x Seagate 1TB Barracuda SATA 600 7200RPM Hard Drives (Mirrored RAID for documents and files)

Questions...

1) Which mobo should I pick, older tried and tested P67 or newer Z68, and why?

2) As far as I can make out the i7 2600 only really supports 1066 & 1333 speeds, yet both above boards support RAM with much higher speeds, is there any point in getting RAM that is higher speed than the CPU.

3) The BIGGY... IS SSD WORTH IT!?!?

3a) I noticed a number of threads regarding problems with this particular drive, but most are a few months old now, does anyone know if the issues have been ironed out yer? Is it now a stable option or should I look elsewhere? If elsewhere what is the best synchronous NAND based SATA III SSD about?

3b) Reliability of the above drive aside, is there any point investing in SSD at all right now. One of my friends suggested not to bother as the speed degradation was terrible - I must add I do not know which brand/model of SSD he has but he was not very complementary about their performance.

With that in mind, and given that the machine is to be used for clerical work, web browsing and maybe movies, with all documents stored on the RAID array and only the OS and Apps on the SSD, what is the likelyhood that this machine would end up being slower than using purely mechanical drives? Also how often would she have to follow the guide listed on this site to restore optimal performance?

TweakTown have a very interesting article here about how to get up and running on Win7 with an SSD but it doesn't refer to how to manage non-SSD drives once Win7 is installed, although it does suggest just installing the SSD whilst you configure Win7.

as the aim is to run the SSD purely for OS and applications are there any things I need to do when installing the mechanical RAID array drives, also is there an easy way to permanently force all programs to use the RAID array for storage?

is there any other advice you can give that I may need?

Thanks in advance.

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This is my opinion and it may differ from others... ;)

1. I've used all the major mobo brands over the past twenty years and found Gigabyte mobos to have excellent performance and reliability. The link below discusses the pros and cons of the Z68 chipset mobos and how it may impact your buying decision.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/z68xp-ud3-dz68db,2980.html

2.The i2600 uses 1066/1333 Mhz. RAM - There is typically less than 1% system advantage to OC'ing DDR3 RAM IME.

http://ark.intel.com/products/52213

3. Buying an SSD right now is a matter of opinion. I do not find SSDs to be all that reliable yet but some folks experience little or no problems. The link below gives some recent test data and discusses some of the issues that have developed with all the major brands.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-solid-state-nand-reliability,2998.html

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Whether or not your friend needs an SSD is up to him really, but many really enjoy having one for boot. Is there $100 in the budget for a small SSD for that duty? You could pick up something like a Crucial m4 that while not the fastest, is a great value right now and would still have dramatic improvement in boot and other OS tasks.

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z68 because it has more flexibilty. but u want h67 instead of p67 if u go down that path. p67 is for oc, h67 allows use of onboard graphics z allows both. save her some money, get 8 gig of ram- which would still be over kill for stated purpose as would 2600 cpu go with the 2500(this still some overkill but will give her performance for future). 1333 ram is just fine. what does she need a raid setup for?

keep in mind that if u use the onboard graphics - which is perfect for her kind of use, that there is a res limitation involved. dont remember it of the the top of my head but as long as her monitor is 23" or smaller-np.

i just setup a similar build for one of my daughters for similar use(no ssd tho went with single 2tb wd black- i find that most peeps dont know how/want to use 2nd drive), she is very happy * it is surprisingly fast.

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The build looks pretty good so far. For something that is supposed to last 5+ year you WANT things to be overkill.

Suggestions:

- go with an asus board (ive never had any issues with the ones I have used)

- keep the integrated graphics card for now, but make sure there is room to upgrade to a dedicated one in a few years.

- Unless your friend is fairly tech-savvy, chances are they will be confused when it comes to installing stuff on multiple drives, so I recommend a single 2TB WD black. Im a power user and the one I have in my own PC is fast enough for everything ive thrown at it so far. I also reccomend NOT setting stuff up to boot windows from a raid array. Yes can be done, but ive seen too many issues when things dont work right. And then what happens when the OS needs to re re-installed.. or upgraded to a new one? (windows 9?)

my $0.02

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