Help Me Build My PC Catch-All

Redherring wrote:

Any other really important things to do or not do?

If it's a desktop, you might as well disable hibernate mode. That will free up space on the SSD to the tune of whatever amount of memory your PC has.

Wouldn't you want the swap file on the SSD for performance?

Well, ideally, you should never be hitting the swap file at all. If you're hitting swap, by definition that means you don't have enough RAM. Drive interfaces just aren't very fast, even with an SSD, and swap should be for emergency use only. SSD space is expensive, so why waste it on a huge file that you should never be using? Magnetic drive space is far cheaper.

If you're on a memory-constrained machine where you *need* to hit swap, then putting it on SSD a gigantic performance boost over swapping to a spinning drive. But adding more RAM, and not swapping at all in the first place, is a far better solution, if the machine and OS will take it.

It seems to me that anything that runs on startup should run from the SSD but all the game data files would want to be elsewhere?

Well, I have a 240-gigger, and I just load everything to the SSD. I put my virtual machines on the spinning drive, and bulk storage on the NAS. If you don't think you'll have enough space, Steam will let you configure multiple install directories, and put individual games anywhere you want. Determining which games you want on the SSD is something you have to decide. Some game benefit tremendously; others have heavily packed game files, and end up bottlenecked on CPU. Games of that type may barely load faster from SSD than from a regular drive.

Any other really important things to do or not do?

Never defrag an SSD. The reason you do that with regular drives is to make files into contiguous blocks, so the drive can load them in one quick stream, instead of having to seek all over the disk. Seeking is very slow on mechanical hard drives, so a file in many pieces, scattered all over the drive, can take much longer to load.

But SSDs have seek time of basically zero, so they load a scattered file just as quickly as one that's contiguous. Every write to an SSD puts wear on it, and since defragged files don't load any faster, there's no reason to add to your write count.

If you're on a desktop, don't forget to disable your hibernate file, which by default will be the same size as your RAM. On Windows 7, you do that with this command, typed into a command prompt running with admin privs:

powercfg -H off

I have no idea how to do it on Windows 8, or if it's even relevant anymore with that OS.

I took some advice here and pulled the trigger today. I know what I'll be doing this coming Thursday!

Intel Core i5-4670 3.4-3.8GHz Turbo Quad-Core 84W
Coolermaster Hyper 212 EVO cpu cooler
ASRock Z87 Extreme3 LGA 1150 SATA 6Gb/s CF/SLI USB3.0 ATX
Corsair 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600MHz CAS 9 1.5v
Asus Radeon R9 270X 2GB OverClocked Dual fan
Samsung 840 EVO 2.5″ 120GB SATA III SSD
LG SATA 24X DVD Burner
Corsair CX 500W psu
Corsair Carbide 400R atx case

Regarding swap, I think Malor is right that Windows doesn't swap unless it needs to, but some OSes, like Linux, swap aggressively by default. So simply hitting swap doesn't necessarily mean that you're low on physical memory. It's more a matter of what the OS optimizes for. I've always felt that it was a good idea to have my cache on the SSD but I've never bothered testing whether it actually gets used on my home setup.

Malor wrote:
Wouldn't you want the swap file on the SSD for performance?

Well, ideally, you should never be hitting the swap file at all. If you're hitting swap, by definition that means you don't have enough RAM. Drive interfaces just aren't very fast, even with an SSD, and swap should be for emergency use only. SSD space is expensive, so why waste it on a huge file that you should never be using? Magnetic drive space is far cheaper.

If you're on a memory-constrained machine where you *need* to hit swap, then putting it on SSD a gigantic performance boost over swapping to a spinning drive. But adding more RAM, and not swapping at all in the first place, is a far better solution, if the machine and OS will take it.

It seems to me that anything that runs on startup should run from the SSD but all the game data files would want to be elsewhere?

Well, I have a 240-gigger, and I just load everything to the SSD. I put my virtual machines on the spinning drive, and bulk storage on the NAS. If you don't think you'll have enough space, Steam will let you configure multiple install directories, and put individual games anywhere you want. Determining which games you want on the SSD is something you have to decide. Some game benefit tremendously; others have heavily packed game files, and end up bottlenecked on CPU. Games of that type may barely load faster from SSD than from a regular drive.

Any other really important things to do or not do?

Never defrag an SSD. The reason you do that with regular drives is to make files into contiguous blocks, so the drive can load them in one quick stream, instead of having to seek all over the disk. Seeking is very slow on mechanical hard drives, so a file in many pieces, scattered all over the drive, can take much longer to load.

But SSDs have seek time of basically zero, so they load a scattered file just as quickly as one that's contiguous. Every write to an SSD puts wear on it, and since defragged files don't load any faster, there's no reason to add to your write count.

If you're on a desktop, don't forget to disable your hibernate file, which by default will be the same size as your RAM. On Windows 7, you do that with this command, typed into a command prompt running with admin privs:

powercfg -H off

I have no idea how to do it on Windows 8, or if it's even relevant anymore with that OS.

I can't figure out how to do that multi quoting thing so I'm just going to put everything down here...

1) That makes sense, when I think about it I haven't really paid any attention to swap files on my PC recently, I'll just move it to the second disk.

2) I've got 256GB to play with, not really anything important to put there other than the OS and startup files, and things like Office. I see the library folders in Steam, I wonder what will happen if I install Steam to the SSD then "select" the existing steamapps folder on the HDD? I think I'll back that up first.

3) I believe Windows 7 and 8 are smart enough to disable defrag on an SSD, or can you still run it manually? Either way, I won't miss it, I almost never defrag anything. Hibernation file is a good one, will remember that.

Thanks for the Advice Malor (and Tuffalobuffalo), I'm looking forward to this. Now I just need to remember to bring the thing home from work tomorrow, unlike today

Redherring wrote:

2) I've got 256GB to play with, not really anything important to put there other than the OS and startup files, and things like Office. I see the library folders in Steam, I wonder what will happen if I install Steam to the SSD then "select" the existing steamapps folder on the HDD? I think I'll back that up first.

You can move things if you put Symbolic links to where the main Steam is. You can manually do that via command line, or you get get programs like Game Save Manager or Steam Mover.

Gah, wrong thread, sorry.

So going forward, is every new gpu going to require a 500w psu and 30a on the +12v? Or are we going to see some reprieve where some of the new cards coming out will have a 15-20% reduction in performance but drastically lower power appetite?

Or again are we going to be stuck where, in order to have reasonable power consumption, the gpus with half as potent?

At what point do people stop caring about higher poly counts in games because the configuration hassles, costs of ownership, and strict requirements out weigh the price, and slightly less jaggies?

I don't think PSU requirements are going up right now. As the processes shrink things down, you're getting more and more performance out of the same price and power budget cards. I've gone from an 8800GTX to a 260 to a 6950, and they've all been right in that 450-500 watt recommendation range. But even with that, I think the true power usage (idle, etc) is trending down, and the noise of the cards due to the cooling requirements are definitely much lower.

If you go really high end with dual cards, yeah. But in the mainstream enthusiast middle ground, I think we're actually doing OK.

Yeah I'm pretty sure average power usage in GPU's has dropped overall through the last couple years especially.

Thin_J wrote:

Yeah I'm pretty sure average power usage in GPU's has dropped overall through the last couple years especially.

If anything prior generations top end cards (the most power hungry) eventually become mid-range current gen cards will less power reqs.

Aren't those new AMD cards pulling a fair bit more juice? I thought someone said that the 290X was pulling about 300 watts?

Heh, and I thought I was doing well at 32 gigs.

Malor wrote:

Aren't those new AMD cards pulling a fair bit more juice? I thought someone said that the 290X was pulling about 300 watts?

Top end card, though. The "average" mid range enthusiast cards have staid fairly constant.

MannishBoy wrote:
Malor wrote:

Aren't those new AMD cards pulling a fair bit more juice? I thought someone said that the 290X was pulling about 300 watts?

Top end card, though. The "average" mid range enthusiast cards have staid fairly constant.

Yeah... that's the two very top end cards. As you're well aware the highest of high end hardware has very little to do with the vast majority of the market. There's a lot of videocards out there

Malor wrote:

Aren't those new AMD cards pulling a fair bit more juice? I thought someone said that the 290X was pulling about 300 watts?

Titan pulls 387 at load... 290X 440

Amazon's Gold Box deal-of-the-day is on PC components. Limited selection but maybe worth it if something you are looking for is in there.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/goldbox

tanstaafl wrote:

Amazon's Gold Box deal-of-the-day is on PC components. Limited selection but maybe worth it if something you are looking for is in there.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/goldbox

Pretty decent price on the 4770K and 3570Ks.

A 240 gig Intel 530 for $150 is a damn good price, too.

I missed that deal. The 180 GB SSD is something like $120.

I looked into how to disable hibernate and it turns out it isn't just selecting a power profile that doesn't use it (which I'd already done). Doing that the right way netted me a ton of extra space. The upgrade from a 128 GB doesn't seem quite so urgent any more.

Still showing available for me.

Yep, I'm also seeing it as available, too.

Argh... thinking about that and/or the combo pack with the i7 and mobo. I wish I knew if the sales would be better next week.

That's a damn great price on a quality SSD.

manta173 wrote:

Argh... thinking about that and/or the combo pack with the i7 and mobo. I wish I knew if the sales would be better next week.

In my experience there are seldom very groundbreaking deals for computer stuff on any one day of the year, be it black friday, or cyber monday, or whenever. Good deals come and go, and if you see something in your price range, just grab it.

psoplayer wrote:
manta173 wrote:

Argh... thinking about that and/or the combo pack with the i7 and mobo. I wish I knew if the sales would be better next week.

In my experience there are seldom very groundbreaking deals for computer stuff on any one day of the year, be it black friday, or cyber monday, or whenever. Good deals come and go, and if you see something in your price range, just grab it.

Thanks, but I am a vassilator and it's just something I have to get over. lol

manta173 wrote:
psoplayer wrote:
manta173 wrote:

Argh... thinking about that and/or the combo pack with the i7 and mobo. I wish I knew if the sales would be better next week.

In my experience there are seldom very groundbreaking deals for computer stuff on any one day of the year, be it black friday, or cyber monday, or whenever. Good deals come and go, and if you see something in your price range, just grab it.

Thanks, but I am a vassilator and it's just something I have to get over. lol

...or do you?

muraii wrote:
manta173 wrote:
psoplayer wrote:
manta173 wrote:

Argh... thinking about that and/or the combo pack with the i7 and mobo. I wish I knew if the sales would be better next week.

In my experience there are seldom very groundbreaking deals for computer stuff on any one day of the year, be it black friday, or cyber monday, or whenever. Good deals come and go, and if you see something in your price range, just grab it.

Thanks, but I am a vassilator and it's just something I have to get over. lol

...or do you?

Well crap... lemme think...

Looking at a sale. Think I know the answer to this, but what would people think about using a 3TB Red drive as a Windows Media Center Recorded TV drive? Currently using a WD Green. Have 6 tuners, but rarely record more than 4 streams at once, often while watching a recorded show or two at the same time.

So fairly constant drive access writing multiple files.

The Red stuff for RAID wouldn't matter to me in my situation, but I'm wondering about the other tweaks.