Showing posts with label upgrade. Show all posts
Showing posts with label upgrade. Show all posts

9/5/13

Optimizing your system with a RAM disk and SSD

RAM and SSD disks, how to use them?

Installing an SSD disk in your system is probably the best thing you can do to upgrade your PC, except for installing more memory into a system with rather little of it.

If you have 8 or more gigabytes of memory or more; adding a RAM disk to your system can increase performance quite a lot, as well as decreasing the wear and tear on your SSD(s) and other drives.

In addition to the raw speed of the SSD it self, the RAM disk boosts you another 200-300 megabytes per second, on top of the SSD speedup if you configure Windows and other cache-heavy appsto host it's temporary files on your RAM disk.

Host the RAM-disk image on the SSD for optimal speed when loading and saving the RAM disk on system restart. The RAM disk loads very early in the boot sequence so any apps depending on your file structure on the RAM disk will not have any problems starting up or shutting down.

My setup:

  • 80 GB Intel 320 Series - With Windows 7 x64 installed. User directory not moved.
  • 120 GB Kingston SV300 Series - Installed 2 years after
  • The free version of AMD Radeon RAM Disk. (4 GB limit). This RAM disk is loaded and saved to the second SSD on each boot and shutdown.
  • System memory is a comfy 4x4 GB DDR3 at 1600 MHz, so 16 gigabytes of RAM.
  • A Lexar USB 3.0 stick. Doesn't perform any better than USB1.0! Shame on Lexar!
  • 160 and 320 gigabyte SATA 2.0 disks. These are used for non-system critical applications, like painting and music programs
  • Two 500 GB Hitachi SATA 2.0 disks, 5 Gbps in RAID 0 configuration on onboard Marvell controller. This RAID was my earlier 'fast' drive.

Checklist:

Steps to take assuming you have a pretty full primary SSD, a second SSD to use, and a RAM disk:
The Java control panel shows you where it loads the JRE or JDK from.

Other Programs

This is programs where I have confirmed that you can configure custom paths for one thing or another.
 I will grow a list here of apps that you can re-configure:
  1. WinMerge - Difff temp folders
  2. PSPad - Backup files directory
  3. uTorrent - Torrent files.
  4. VLC - Encoder temporary files
  5. Locate32 - The database file 'files.dbs' database can be moved.
  6. ImgBurn - Log, project files, misc.
  7. SeaMonkey - Cache
  8. 7-Zip - Temp folder
  9. Putty - Log files
  10. GIMP - Temp files
  11. WinRAR - Temp files, also for non-removable drives
  12. Audacity - Temp files

5/8/12

Computer Techie Toolbox Round-Up:

Computer Techie Toolbox Round-Up:

After about a couple of years with little work to do, I've built and refurbished a few computers in the past few months.
Again, better than MacGyver's

Dispensable spare parts
For instance, I used a Pentium 3 to boot a Phenom with a broken pin

  1. Scissors
  2. Wide plyer/wirestripper
  3. Pointed plyer
  4. Wide Philips/flat screwdrivers
  5. Magnifying glass
  6. Multitool pocketknife
  7. The screwdriver that comes with Noctua SE fans
  8. Multi-bit screwdriver

Mini screwdriver set for repairing and cleaning laptops.

Assortment of parts: (Label the boxes!)
  1. Screws, sorted!
  2. Pins
  3. USB sticks (I like to keep special purpose USB sticks separate and labeled)
  4. Flash RAM
  5. Small cables (CrossFire/SLI,molex adapters)
  6. Stickers
  7. Misc++



Toolbox:
  1. Pens
  2. CPU cooling paste
  3. Glue
  4. Tape
  5. Antistatic wristband
  6. Q-tips
  7. Other tools!

A straight fan can improve RPM

Keep your rescue and OS disks sorted!
  1. Retail Diagnostic CD's
  2. Retail Driver CD's
  3. Your own accumulated custom driver compilations
  4. Windows/Linux OS CD's
  5. Live distros
  6. Rescue distros
  7. Forensic distros













4/28/12

The Demise of a Harddisk

So, you don't need to be a computer expert to have realized that Maxtor harddisk are about the lowest quality disks you can buy. My stack here of about 7 broken Maxtor Disks, while almost every other disk (newer or older) works fine.

So here's how a Maxtor drive eels it way trough detection mechanisms before they go titsup without warning.

I had two 320GB Maxtor harddisks (salvaged from their horrible OneTouch external USB drives with notoriously faulty controllers)


So here is what's inside one of these:
Some custom IDE-2-USB interface
That disk is a regular 3.5" IDE drive.




When the controller fails (as both mine did about at the same time) you can take the disks out, they are still (Maxtorwize) ok.
It was two such disks that became one of the RAID0's in my file server.
I set up in RAID0 on a Medley RAID SiL controller. Suddenly my clients complain about the drive not beeing available.


Just some time before before this, I noticed that one of the drives had trouble syncing speed up to the other drive. I could hear it ticking, like 2-3 times per hour. That's how I got suspicious first. Since then, I proactively moved stuff from the drive to another drive (after a proper checksum check).

I then check out the fileserver with the RAID, and lo and behold, the controller software had issued warnings about a drive. Their SMART status was OK, but still the RAID controller was complaining.

So I am beginning to think that Maxtor drives fakes their SMART status and dies off without any warning.

Right now I am shuffling about as much as I can from the RAID :)

Anyway, after a 3rd reboot of the fileserver, and stopping other clients from accesing that RAID, I seem to be able to move files from it, uninterrupted, locally on the machine. I just hope this will hold until the disk dies. I'll reconfigure the two disks to RAID1 and wait for the first one to fail. At least then I've only lost 320GB of free space and not 640GB of stuff. (That particular RAID was purely a playground and download setup.)

I have a RAID10 setup of WD disks, let's just say I have a lot more confidence in that! Also I have a spare disk for that RAID should it ever become needed !

UPDATE: May 8th 2012:
The RAID10 actually failed! It went better than expected

4/9/12

My new gaming rig!

CoolerMaster HAF 922 bigtower with built in glass panel side


2x 120mm fans on top. I managed to break a blade on the original 200x200x3 fan! Have a spare fan you want to donate?! :D
Specs:
  • Gigabyte FXA990 UD7
  • Intel 80GB SSD disk for system
  • Samsung 160Gb SATA disk for data (I also moved all User directories to this drive to save space on the SSD. I can teach you how if you want!)
  • 16 Gb 1600 Mhz RAM
  • Phenom II X6 1100T CPU
  • 2x Sapphire Radeon 6790 in Crossfire
  • NXZT 5-fan controller
  • Kingston dual fan RAM cooler
  • Noctua SE CPU fan
  • Gbit Ethernet with 9K Jumbo frames
  • 24" BenQ HDMI LCD
  • Manually BIOS-overclocked to 220 FSB. (So RAM goes as 1740 and CPU at 3.3Ghz I think.
  • 2x 250GB Hitachi SATA 3.0Gbit in RAID0 on the Marvell ports
  • 1x 320GB Hitachi SATA Deskstar 3.0Gbit
  • 2x USB3 ports
  • 7.1 Surround
  • 6x USB2 ports with 2x power
  • ESATA connector
  • Corsair 750W V1 PSU

Front View

At the most, this monster draws about 500 Watts and seems to run smoothly.
One thing, the 6790 cards can be safely overclocked to 880 core speed, but do NOT mess with the Memory Speed clocks. That will get you BSODS. Also, I dont think it's completely stable on core speed 900Mhz.

A little note about the 6790 and CrossFire, it seems that you need to restart CrossFire before starting any games about half the time. Otherwise I get a flickering screen 50% of the time.

I am running Sapphire Trixx and enabled card syncing and disabled UPLS. That is supposed to do the trick. But not always it seems.

Also, if you happen to buy this motherboard and you have a Phenom II X4 960T, it will actually fit in the AM3 slot and works perfectly if your mobo has BIOS v7 or newer. (the 960T is the last of it's kind to do this. It has *both* DDR2 and DDR3 memory controllers.

I broke my 960T and had to get a new one, thats why I have a 1100T. But I fixed the broken pin on the 960T and put it back into it't proper AM2+ motherboard!