PC on the way out or just needs some new gizzards?

#1
Greetings fellow PC-sufferers...

My Dell Precision 690 woke up this morning and was missing the D drive. No major problem as the OS is on the C Drive and everything on the D is backed up on a NAS drive. First indication was that one of the disks seemed to be making a chittering noise on boot, then itunes started hunting for the library (which is on the D Drive).

Either one of the internal drives is kaput (I think it is 4x500gb RAID) or the disk allocation is screwed. Outside my ability so the local PC doctor has it. It's quite a nice machine (2 x Xeon 5160 @ 3.00ghz) and 16gb of RAM with two double headed Nvidia cards. D drive failure is hardly an excuse to BER it so I'd like to consider fresh options - also, it was a freebie. Finally, it runs hot and so single-handedly heats my garden office.

Questions:

It clearly dates from a time when the way to get 2Tb was RAID. Now you can get that on one drive for under £70. So, is the best thing to get one of those and bin the four-disk array?
It's an opportunity to go from 64 bit Vista ultimate to 64-bit Win 7 in my view. Any pooh traps?
SSD is also pretty cheap at the mo. This thing takes a while to boot - will I see advantages if I put the OS on an SSD C drive and the rest of the PC on a disk as D? If so, what size of SSD is recommended?

Or is this a waste of time and should I be spunking 1k on a gaming computer (it's chiefly used for FSX, CoD, Lightbox, Photoshop, Visio, Memory Map and itunes) and binning the family Christmas?

Thanks in advance.
 
#2
I would wager it is slow to boot because of Vista...

Should be plenty powerful enough for what you are doing, I'd replace the drive and crack on
 
#4
It's a dell, burn it, burn it now.
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#5
it should fly under any OS but vista is unique. windows 8 is still 25 quid so try that, if one of your raid disks has failed then you might have a problem recovering any data so lets hope it gets sorted and cheaply sometimes one drive can be slower to boot which means it doesn't get recognised. slap a 2tb drive in there and maybe put the older drives in cases and use externally or just leave in the box for movies and stuff.
 
#6
I'd forgotten the £25 upgrade deal for Win 8. Truth be told, I don't want to be an early adopter of Win 8 on a machine like this Dell, however Win 7 Home Premium 64 bit is now pretty cheap too and I'd do a totally clean disk install.

I might try and blag a Surface for work...
 
#7
Yes, you will see a significant performance increase by booting from an SSD. The bigger the better. I have a 256 in my desktop and a 2TB mechanical disk also. The thing flies, until it pulls data from the mechanical disk. I wish it was a bigger SSD so I could move more stuff. My iTunes library is >300GB, so it lives on the shitty drive. Now if I could have that on the SSD, it would be a vast improvement.
Yes, not sure I'd invest in anything larger than SSD in 256gb - I just need to add up the OS and programmes set to work out if is enough (more than enough probably) I have half a tb of iTunes (thanks to owning the BFBS music collection from my days in BLMF) so its just going to have to sit on a slower drive!
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#8
I'd forgotten the £25 upgrade deal for Win 8. Truth be told, I don't want to be an early adopter of Win 8 on a machine like this Dell, however Win 7 Home Premium 64 bit is now pretty cheap too and I'd do a totally clean disk install.

I might try and blag a Surface for work...
win 8 is working pretty well on several of my machines, stick a start button program on it and it wont interfere with your regular programs. lets face it the OS is just a carrier for office or vlc media player its rare we dig around and use all the programs build into it.

the tiles menu with its apps isn't actually that bad as you can put shortcuts on there or install an app tile.

for 25 quid its worth it as the offer is on till jan.

anything is better than vista. even true tech heads with degrees cant get it working properly. 16gb of ram is gaming spec, you could run the entire OS off ram and it should be super fast.
 
#11
Couple of thoughts from me.

Firstly - Dell - check the power supply, they don't upgrade it from the basic even if if you add more graphics cards/RAM etc, this can mean things break more easily/quickly, especially items that overheat.

Secondly - SDD for OS - YES, I used to be against it, but the price of SDD has plummeted recently and they are well worth the effort.

As others have said go for Win 7 or 8 it's worth it for the price, more RAM - well if you have to but most things will play well off 8Gb.

Just my few thoughts.

S_R
 
#12
As I understand it the SSDs currently available are comparitively limited, in comparison to standard HDDs, in the number of write operations they can do before failure and so should only really be used to house the OS where this will not be an issue. You should also invest in additional cooling, if as you say the machine runs hot, as high temperatures could easily be responsible for component failures. This may entail installing a higher rated power supply to cope with the increased power demands. As others have told you dump Vista and go for Win 7 or 8 to get a more reliable and stable system.
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#15
the pc should automatically load as much of itself as possible into the ram which is usually 4gb or so without a swap file, vista is just fcuked though. whatever you put in there it should fly.

assume the raid controller is in the chipset but you could probably set it through windows as long as you can get the drives in the right order.
 
#16
the pc should automatically load as much of itself as possible into the ram which is usually 4gb or so without a swap file, vista is just fcuked though. whatever you put in there it should fly.

assume the raid controller is in the chipset but you could probably set it through windows as long as you can get the drives in the right order.
I'm leaving all that to the PC bloke. With 16 gb RAM I'm guessing that most of the OS will load into the RAM and so an SSD drive is unnecessary. Having said that, I can probably blag one from work.
 
#17
I'm leaving all that to the PC bloke. With 16 gb RAM I'm guessing that most of the OS will load into the RAM and so an SSD drive is unnecessary. Having said that, I can probably blag one from work.
Not wanting to preempt your PC bloke but if it's just your d drive then a new raid card should do the job. Depends on PCI/PCI Express slot availability - Windows Seven is a good choice, Eight's fine but I like Seven.
 

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