Bblaauw wrote:I'm not sure what you're looking for in a new system. Basicly, on x86/x64 at Intel's side, there are a few platforms you can go for:...
Actually, I am a performance buff. I went with the 2nd best CPU option in terms of bench marks and I just put in an overnight order for a board (Intel X79 chipset), Windows 7, Thermaltake dual fan universal cooling solution (I am only interested in the PGA 2011 compatibility, but it has brackets and shims to fit most current processors), and 8 GB RAM (should have gotten 16). All the parts came a bit ago. I have a Tb drive I can put in there, but if I need anything else, I can get it locally, other than a better power supply. I might just order a quiet power supply that puts out more wattage and maybe 2 more sticks of RAM to use all four channels. I read of people having mounting problems with the Thermaltake cooler, but I have no problems getting the case closed nor having room for RAM. The folks with the RAM issues tend to use high profile RAM. One work around in that situation is to not use one of the 2 fans, leaving room for at least two DDR3, depending on the board.
I agree with you on having an OS drive and a separate storage drive to take advantage of SSD technology within a reasonable price range. I do understand that SSD drives have limited write life, and also have "neighbor erosion" issues (the number of times you can read the adjacent cells without refreshing the current one). While the technology itself is actually slower, the drives utilize cache RAM and a scheme similar to RAID 0, but on-board and involving only the same drive. If you run 16 banks of NVR and have a 256-bit processor, you make up for a high overhead by dividing it into a much larger payload. Writes tend to be slower than reads, but with a good Trim function in the OS, the empty cells are always formatted in advance. Hybrid drives are good in theory, but can act funny or take time to adjust and self-optimize, and won't work properly without good OS support. If they are used as storage drives, there may be no gain, but will show gain when used as boot drives.
Speaking of drives, we should see some interesting pricing developments this year. The storms last year wiped out a few mechanical hard drive factories, and some companies consolidated. So that means the demand for traditional drives will increase, as will the prices. I called a nearby computer dealer about 1Tb drives. I should have gotten 2 when I got the one last year, since there is a 30%-50% price increase. The pressure caused by decreased production of mechanical drives will increase the production of solid state devices. In addition, a new solid state storage technology discovered last year should increase the density without greatly increasing cost. So there should be larger denomination USB sticks too.
I guess I should get back to the machine and see if it will POST. It is mounted and needs to be wired. I really need a decent video card, but I can use the one from this one for now and put the one that was in this one back in. It is really a toss-up between these economy grade video cards. One is faster, but the other looks better. I guess trading a 64-bit RAMDAC for a 32-bit one could be faster in some instances, but would reduce the quality.
I do have a gripe. I put in a HDD I had cloned at some point in time and it started to load XP and then blue screened. I am pretty sure incompatible drivers is why it did that. RAID and SATA are particularly funny about that. That is not my gripe. My gripe is that when I was ready to mount a DVD burner in it, there was no place to plug it. So that means I will need to get a new CD/DVD burner with a SATA connector.
The combined mouse/keyboard port is silly, and they don't even give you a splitter dongle. I read up on the specs of PS/2 ports, and while things are similar, they are different. There are two ways motherboards like that use the combined port. For some, they put both signals on the same signal pin and compromise the voltage for the power pin. Technically, mice and keyboards use different voltages, though you can probably fudge some there. The data packet formats are similar enough to combine the data pins, and the commands are different so there will be no collisions. Other makers will use the standard signal pin for one of the devices and use the normally unused connection for the other. So you have to use a splitter which uses the same strategy as the combined socket on the computer. But I can use one or the other and put the other in a USB port.
I see I may need a different power supply or at least an adapter. Right now, I have a 4 pin ATX plug connected to the 8 pin socket on the board. That seems to work, but I'd have to see if there aren't other problems like less cores running than present. At least one fan socket seems not to work, so maybe it gets power from the 8-pin, 12-volt, CPU power socket, or then again, that could be a BIOS setting. This uses the new BIOS type, I forgot what it is called (UEFI?), but there is room for 2 BIOS code sets, meaning that if you get a bad flash, you can still boot by changing a switch setting. The board is made for overclockers and has all sorts of on-board settings.