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Windows 7: Helpful tips/advice welcome

19 May 2010   #1

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit RTM
 
 
Helpful tips/advice welcome

First time posting, long time lurker so right out the door I wanna say Hiyas!

Now, time to get down to business...
Recently I purchased a new custom built PC and installed Win 7 on it. I made a few errors on the way (hardware related) but in the end it all worked out well and now I am fairly comfortable with my set-up and wanting to maximize the performance that my purchase will give me. Nothing has been over clocked (yet) and I spend 90% of my time gaming on this PC w/the other 10% being spent perusing the interwebz and all it has to offer. I do not want to sink more money into my set-up right now but I am wondering if there is anyone out there who might have some helpful advice on how I can get the best out of what I have. Really, any comments or concerns are welcome as long as they are friendly in nature.

O/S: Windows 7 Pro RTM 64 bit
CD: Sony 24X Dbl Layer Dual Format DVD+-R/+-RW + CD-R/RW
CASE: Apevia X-Cruiser 2
CASEUPGRADE: 12in (Blue Color) Cold Cathode Neon Light
CPU: AMD Phenom™II X4 965 Black Edition Quad-Core
FAN: CoolerMaster V8 (Extreme Silent Operation)
FAN 2&3: 120mm Case Fans (Blue) Front and Back mounted
HDD: 320GB SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 16MB Cache 7200RPM
MOBO: MSI NF750-G55
RAM: 4GB (2GBx2) DDR3/1600MHz (Kingston HyperX)
NOISERED1: Power Supply Gasket
NOISERED2: Anti-Vibration Fan Mounts
PWR: 700 Watts Power CoolerMaster Silent Pro
VID1: NVIDIA GeForce 9500 GT 1GB (EVGA)
VID2: NVIDIA GeForce 9500 GT 1GB (EVGA)
MONITOR: 47" 1080p Westinghouse
SOUND: 5.1 Surround Sound Set-up
JOYSTIK: Saitek 290pro
GAMEPAD: XBox 360 wired controller
ADDITIONAL SOFTWARE: Dreamscapes

All drivers have been recently updated (within the last 72 hours) and I prefer my PC to be as quiet as possible during non-peak usage. I haven't pulled CPU-Z or GPU-Z stats yet but I can if requested. I can also post some vids I have taken w/my cellphone if desired. Have at thee gentlefolk!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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19 May 2010   #2
Microsoft MVP

 

Resolve repeat Errors in Event Viewer Admin view, click thru WEI score link at Control Panel>System to Advanced Sys tools to also monitor Performance-Diagnostics log and Generate a System Health Report.

Clean and order the HD monthly with state-of-the-art free CCleaner "Run Cleaner" and Registry tab, then Auslogics Disk and Registry defraggers.

Don't allow any freeloaders on your RAM/CPU in msconfig>Startup. You only really need AV and maybe gadgets (sidebar) to startup with computer unless you need extra graphics controls. Others mainly phone home to spy on you.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 May 2010   #3

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit RTM
 
 

I'll DL CCleaner tonight then and set a monthly time to run it.

A friend of mine spoke about overclocking the FSB on my motherboard to match my RAM speed. Not sure if that's worth it though since I heard it can drastically reduce your hardwares lifespan.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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19 May 2010   #4

Win 7 Pro x64/Win 8 Pro x64 dual boot
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by shozum View Post
I'll DL CCleaner tonight then and set a monthly time to run it.

A friend of mine spoke about overclocking the FSB on my motherboard to match my RAM speed. Not sure if that's worth it though since I heard it can drastically reduce your hardwares lifespan.
Overclocking the FSB on an AMD system will increase the RAM speed, not match it. In simple terms, the RAM clock is a function of the CPU clock, which is divided by a specific ratio to arrive at the RAM clock speed. On a DDR2-6400 RAM setup, for example, the FSB is 200 MHz, meaning the effective clock is 800 MHz. If the CPU is at 2800 MHz, the ratio is .285 (It's usually expressed in a fraction, but I don't have the fraction available atm.) In simple terms, just multiply the FSB by 4 for DDR2.

With AMD systems, the memory controller is on the CPU die, and both the CPU clock and the RAM clock are tied to the FSB. You have a Black Edition CPU, meaning you can up the CPU multiplier, but that has no effect on the RAM speed. I don't have a BE chip, and the way that I OC is to push the FSB to 243. The RAM is then at 972, because I'm clocking the RAM at the 800 MHz divider, even though it is 1066 RAM. An added benefit is that the NorthBridge (HT bus) is also OC'ed, meaning that the memory and CPU retain their speed relationship. Over all, everything is accelerated.

You've got a pretty decent system already, but if you do decide to push it a bit, you can up the FSB to give more over all performance. Find a good stable clock speed for the RAM, when it's stable, you can bring up the CPU multiplier in little steps until you lose stability. Then back off a little.

OC'ing your system might improve your benchmarks, and possibly improve your games marginally, but it will just make your hardware wear out earlier. Also, you need very good cooling for a significant 24/7 OC. Real world performance is really not that much improved by an OC, unless you get to 1 GHz faster than stock, and that takes time, money, patience, and some luck.

For a very good explanation of Phenom overclocking, Google "Dolk's guide to overclocking the Phenom". It's on a few OC sites on the 'net.

Good luck.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 May 2010   #5

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit RTM
 
 

Wow Mellon Head! Thanks a bunch and I think I'll hold off on the O/C'ing for now. Until I start seeing some significant FPS issue w/the games I'm running it really isn't an issue. I'll pour some time into researching it a little more since it seems as if I have only grasped the tip of the iceberg here lol. I was seeing a 1600 OC speed with my MB and since I purchased 1600 RAM I figured I would need to mtach the two. My buddy w/his i7 had to do something along these lines it seems. I'll chat with him a little more on the topic and check out the overclockersclub site that a sevenforums user had suggested for beginners.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 May 2010   #6

Win 7 Pro x64/Win 8 Pro x64 dual boot
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by shozum View Post
Wow Mellon Head! Thanks a bunch and I think I'll hold off on the O/C'ing for now. Until I start seeing some significant FPS issue w/the games I'm running it really isn't an issue. I'll pour some time into researching it a little more since it seems as if I have only grasped the tip of the iceberg here lol. I was seeing a 1600 OC speed with my MB and since I purchased 1600 RAM I figured I would need to mtach the two. My buddy w/his i7 had to do something along these lines it seems. I'll chat with him a little more on the topic and check out the overclockersclub site that a sevenforums user had suggested for beginners.
Yeah, the way that Intel systems manage the RAM and FSB speeds is quite different from AMD. There are a lot more configuration options with an Intel rig, and it's more complex, IMO. It's great that you're doing some research before starting.

Prevents those "Oops!" moments.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 May 2010   #7

Dual boot XP Pro SP3x86 and Win7 Pro x64
 
 

For many reasons, all of which I will not go into with this post, I would add a second HDD if you really want to nit-pick performance. Place your OS and apps on a small partition on one HDD; place your page file on the second. By so doing, you improve performance because you reduce seek time, which is to say, you have different HDDs (and thus, different heads) acting independently rather than heads in one HDD traveling back and forth seeking data from different locations on the HDD.

I have three 750GB HDDs variously partitioned: OS on one, games on the second, page file on the third.

Monk
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 May 2010   #8

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit RTM
 
 

When I go to set up the second HDD is there anything you would watch for? With the SLI I had to try and match the two GPUs to reduce the chance that it wouldn't be a compatible match. I saw several builds that used SSDs and HDDs in conjunction with each other though.
Seeing as how the SSDs are limited to 1,000,000 to 2,000,000 rewrites, would you place the OS on the SSD since those files generaly are static except for updates? I think most of my HDD access is for game maps and such so perhaps it would be better to place the game files on the SSD...
Now I've got even more research to do lol

Edit: I have used a 200GB HDD for 5 years and acquired a whole 111GBs (including OS) on it so with 320 GB I really felt like that was PLENTY. Thats why I'm leaning towards an SSD since the smaller capacity wouldn't bother me but the extreme increase in performance would be awesome.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 May 2010   #9

Dual boot XP Pro SP3x86 and Win7 Pro x64
 
 

Elsewhere I addressed one issue of SSDs that dissuades me: cost per GB. On the street, an SATA HDD averages about $0.24 per GB; an SSD averages $2.61. For me, that's a negative cost/benefit ratio. The write-limited life is another turnoff.

Another reason for a second HDD is storage for image backups. If you accomplish backups and place these on a different partition on the same HDD, if the HDD bricks you lose everything. If you have a backup on a second HDD you are much safer, after all, what are the odds of both HDDs bricking at the same time. Some advocate for an external HDD or mem stick. I do use a mem stick on which I place very critical docs.

So I would urge a backup plan. If a second HDD fits your needs then the decision boils down to SATA or SSD. I have a 100GB OS-only partition that Acronis creates an image file of about 34GBs. So, depending on your needs, you can calculate how much storage you need. Thus, you might consider a small (30-40GB) SSD for your OS and some apps, and place docs, MP3s, JPEGs, image backups on your existing HDD.

Monk
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 May 2010   #10

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit RTM
 
 

Well I recieved a free 4GB flash drive and a free 4GB MP3 player when I ordered my PC so as far as music or transporting data goes I think I'll be set. When I do find something that I absolutely HAVE to back-up I prefer to just write it to an actual cd/dvd and then store it that way. I think I currently have 3 CDs w/actual files on them lol, just never been one to hang on to data for extended periods of time. If I went with a second data storage device it would solely be for performance sake and nothing else. Unlike my boss and several of my friends who have gotten into DL'ing, burning, and storing blu-rays/music/data via torrents and copious amounts of TB storage devices I use my system mainly as a gaming console. Every 3-4 months I will pick up the latest and greatest release, install it and then spend my online time streaming videos through the same 2-3 sites (hulu, netflix, goodanime, etc..) when I want to catch up on a certain series.
Would it be better to have the SSD used for the game files for quicker loading times or do you think the best performance would come from mounting the OS on it? Seeing as how this is my primary usage for my system I'm still not convinced a SSD would provide a significant boost over a traditional drive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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