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post #1 of 124 Old 03-17-2012, 05:11 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a EVGA 9300 motherboard in my HTPC that has worked good since I built it. I'm getting the itch to upgrade but don't want to spend money for nothing. I have not been following the latest hardware and GPU's that are out now. Just wondering if I will gain anything by adding a separate GPU to my current set-up. Here is what I am using now.

C2D E8400 CPU
EVGA 9300 motherboard (onboard video only)
750 GB storage drive
80 GB OS drive
4 GB ram

My Denon receiver does not decode DTSHD or TrueHD so no need to bitstream. Also all my rips are converted to .flac anyway.

I am thinking of adding an external graphics card and a SSD drive for the OS. Also a ceton or HDHR for recording cable.

Does it pay to upgrade from the onboard graphics? If so can anyone recommend a good fanless card? Full height is ok.

Anyone recommend a good SSD?
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post #2 of 124 Old 03-17-2012, 05:14 PM
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You could put a graphics card in it.

This should do the trick:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814121439

Just out of curiosity what are you lacking in your current setup?
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post #3 of 124 Old 03-18-2012, 08:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Babbitt 1080P View Post

Does it make sense to upgrade

it ALWAYS makes sense to upgrade....

maybe not from a cost vs performance point of view...

but from an addictive hobby, build something new/cool, point of view you just cant go wrong...

NOTE: As one wise professional something once stated, I am ignorant & childish, with a mindset comparable to 9/11 troofers and wackjob conspiracy theorists. so don't take anything I say as advice...
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post #4 of 124 Old 03-18-2012, 09:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhatlost View Post

it always makes sense to upgrade....

Maybe not from a cost vs performance point of view...

But from an addictive hobby, build something new/cool, point of view you just cant go wrong...

+1

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post #5 of 124 Old 03-18-2012, 09:56 AM - Thread Starter
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So can anyone resomend a good fanless graphics card? No gaming needed. How about a ssd too?
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post #6 of 124 Old 03-18-2012, 01:53 PM
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whats wrong with the graphics card jeffkro recommended?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkro View Post

You could put a graphics card in it.

This should do the trick:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814121439

for SSD, I really like these: OCZ RevoDrive 3 X2 series RVD3X2-FHPX4-960G PCI-E 960GB PCI-Express 2.0 x4 MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
I personally cant afford one, but they sure seem cool...
  • Performance
  • Max Sequential Read
    Up to 1500 MB/s
  • Max Sequential Write
    Up to 1300 MB/s
  • 4KB Random Write
    Up to 230,000 IOPS

NOTE: As one wise professional something once stated, I am ignorant & childish, with a mindset comparable to 9/11 troofers and wackjob conspiracy theorists. so don't take anything I say as advice...
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post #7 of 124 Old 03-18-2012, 03:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Somewhatlost View Post

whats wrong with the graphics card jeffkro recommended?
[/list]

He originally didnt recommend one. He must have added it after. Either that or Im seeing funny things viewing on my phone.
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post #8 of 124 Old 03-18-2012, 03:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Babbitt 1080P View Post

So can anyone resomend a good fanless graphics card? No gaming needed. How about a ssd too?

ATI 5450, it's the cheapest card ($25?) that can do all the advanced features that the more expensive cards can do such as vector adaptive deinterlacing.

For SSD I use a Crucial 64GB M4 that I got for ~$80 6 months ago.

After adding these 2 to my 5 year old HP Slimline and bumping ram from 2GB to 4GB I don't see any reason to buy a new computer until this one breaks. I couldn't do anything more for htpc use with a newer processor that I can't already do now.
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post #9 of 124 Old 03-18-2012, 07:36 PM
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Here, ASUS HD5450 on sale at Newegg.
I have used 5 of these cards with no problems in recent builds.
Can't beat the price: $14.99 AR w/ Free Shipping & No Taxes.
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post #10 of 124 Old 03-18-2012, 08:05 PM
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I like the NVidia GT430 fanless by ASUS.

If you wanted a NVidia option.
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post #11 of 124 Old 03-18-2012, 08:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Babbitt 1080P View Post

Also all my rips are converted to .flac anyway.

I suggest keeping the original TrueHD/DTS-HD tracks intact from now on. Converting them to FLAC is an outdated method.

I recommend HIS HD 6570 fanless or ASUS GT 430 fanless.
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post #12 of 124 Old 03-18-2012, 09:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

I recommend HIS HD 6570 fanless or ASUS GT 430 fanless.

remind me again whether gddr3 vs gddr5 or 512mb vs 1gb makes any difference? I thought I knew the answer but someone always comes along and confuses me again
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post #13 of 124 Old 03-18-2012, 09:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbordas View Post

remind me again whether gddr3 vs gddr5 or 512mb vs 1gb makes any difference? I thought I knew the answer but someone always comes along and confuses me again

Very little difference in DXVA2 post-processing and madVR. DDR3-1600 1GB is enough.

- HIS HD 6570 fanless: DDR3-1800 1GB
- ASUS GT 430 fanless: DDR3-1600 1GB

(There is a big difference between DDR3 and GDDR5 in HD 6450; a rule of thumb is, if there are more shader units, video memory can run slower.)
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post #14 of 124 Old 03-23-2012, 08:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help guys. Heres what I ordered.

Asus GT430
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814121448

Crucial SSD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820148524

Ceton tv card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16815706001

Also upgrading the 750gb storage drive to 2 TB to hold all that good cable HD Ill be able to record.

Going to do a full windows reinstall on the new SSD.
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post #15 of 124 Old 03-23-2012, 09:07 PM
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Take the 750GB, back it up.

Get WHS 2011, a cheap case that will hold 4 drives ($35-$40) and you can get a ECS E350 board for $49AR at New Egg. Just add 4GB of memory and your set..

HD files recorded by WMC are HUGE, 2 hour race @720p = 11.4GB

You'll need more space if you plan to record and keep HD content. NAS or Server (I prefer a server) would be best suited for this.

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post #16 of 124 Old 03-24-2012, 01:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dj4monie View Post

Take the 750GB, back it up.

Get WHS 2011, a cheap case that will hold 4 drives ($35-$40) and you can get a ECS E350 board for $49AR at New Egg. Just add 4GB of memory and your set..

HD files recorded by WMC are HUGE, 2 hour race @720p = 11.4GB

You'll need more space if you plan to record and keep HD content. NAS or Server (I prefer a server) would be best suited for this.

Ive got a 15TB server so I am good there. The 2TB drive is just for recorded tv. I dont move the TV recording to the server. I just leave them on the HTPC.

The 750 gb that I'm pulling out of the htpc will go into the server.
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post #17 of 124 Old 04-10-2012, 11:13 AM - Thread Starter
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HTPC tune up is almost complete. I just need to get the cable card and install the ceton. Otherwise a fresh install of W7 is complete.

Playback of movies is perfect. Zero stutter or lag with the GT430. I was getting random stutter with the onboard 9400 graphics before. Picture looks great.

SSD drive make it feel a bit peppier. I was getting bad lag before in the WMC menus probabally just due to the install being a couple years old. Its great to be able to zip through the menus now.

Thanks for the help. Feels like a brand new PC.
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post #18 of 124 Old 04-11-2012, 06:06 PM
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Can you guys help me decide if i need to rebuild?

I have a:
Powercolor ATI 5450
AMD Athlon X2 4850e
4gb DDR2 800
BIOSTAR TFORCE TA790GX 128M
BD drive
WHS v1

I rip BD to MKV and store on server and bitstream to my receiver via the 5450.

Everything plays fine but my Bluray movies do stall if i pause them for longer than 4 min but i think thats a PDVD 9/11 issue. In any case I would like to do 3D bluray eventually when i upgrade tv and get a hdmi 1.4 receiver.

My initial thoughts was to just swap out the 5450 for a 6850 and call it a day. But then i thought i should swap the cpu/mobo/ram and use those parts and upgrade to a WHS2011 setup from my current Pentium 4 1gb WHS v1 setup. I would get an Ivy Bridge i5 for the htpc.

Am i over thinking this and wasting the cash?
My other option is to keep everything as is and get a 3d bluray player, but it would suck to do that for the 3 or 4 movies i may buy in the next 2 years.
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post #19 of 124 Old 04-11-2012, 08:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cigga24 View Post

Can you guys help me decide if i need to rebuild?

I have a:
Powercolor ATI 5450
AMD Athlon X2 4850e
4gb DDR2 800
BIOSTAR TFORCE TA790GX 128M
BD drive
WHS v1

I rip BD to MKV and store on server and bitstream to my receiver via the 5450.

Everything plays fine but my Bluray movies do stall if i pause them for longer than 4 min but i think thats a PDVD 9/11 issue. In any case I would like to do 3D bluray eventually when i upgrade tv and get a hdmi 1.4 receiver.

My initial thoughts was to just swap out the 5450 for a 6850 and call it a day. But then i thought i should swap the cpu/mobo/ram and use those parts and upgrade to a WHS2011 setup from my current Pentium 4 1gb WHS v1 setup. I would get an Ivy Bridge i5 for the htpc.

Am i over thinking this and wasting the cash?
My other option is to keep everything as is and get a 3d bluray player, but it would suck to do that for the 3 or 4 movies i may buy in the next 2 years.

Here is some info:

First- I have learned that "if" you have to rebuild and upgrade is very different than "if you want to" rebuild and upgrade.

If you want to do it- then it does not matter if you have to do it or not.

That said- you don't have to do it. But you might like it if you did, and obviously there will be performance benefits. The decision is yours if you feel you should or do it.

That said, here is some thoughts.


You could take your existing board CPU and DDR2 800mhz and make a storage server or use it for something else. It's still working and capable- you don't have to throw it away.

Also,

I am not sure you need an i5 2500k. That thing is a monster!

I have build 5 PC's in last 90 days. a G620, a G630, an i3 2100, an i5 2500k and an i7 2600k. I am typing this on the i7.

So I feel qualified to give you some opinion on the differences.

The G630 is probably more than you need for normal PC duties and HTPC provided you give it 8GB of good DDR3 and a fast SSD for the OS. It really is quite amazing and I can't see anyone complaining about it, or seeing something it won't handle easy. $61.99 get you this CPU. I like it so much I have a spare sitting in front of me in box waiting for a purpose.

The i3 2100 is a beast. It should provide a nice bump in performance if you think you need it. You can get this for $110. Or get the 2120 or whatever LGA1155 i3 you find a good deal on. I think people really don't understand how much a beast this little CPU is.

The i5 is a total monster. I doubt you need this. Honestly it's too much and more than enough for just about anything I can think of. Seriously- you get tons of performance and bang for the buck. Don't let the i5 moniker fool you- this thing is premium high end overkill all the way- through and thru.

The i7 really is too much. It's clearly too much for anything HTPC related. I might actually say it's overkill even for a hardcore gaming machine. It's more than you need for a high end gaming rig. Yes... so much so that it will provide little to no benefit over the i5 since the CPU is so good it's not the limiting factor anymore. I have dual 6870x2's for video cards. I would need Radeon 7000's or higher to use what my board, ram and CPU can do.

Don't think you need an i5 2500k because all the reviews are so wonderful. You probably would get away easily with a G630 and certainly with an i3. Compared to your PC now- it's not a contest the difference.

Now- I am typing this from an overclocked i7 machine and I have my turbo boost set to run @4.5ghz x all cores. I run 16GB DDR3 @1866mhz, and I have a Vertex3 MAX IOPS as my OS drive.

Take my advice from a performance junkie- these CPU's are way underrated and provide excellent value given the prices.

You should be able to get a nice Z68 board, 8GB DDR3 1600mhz, and an i3 for $225. You can upgrade to an i5 for $310.

The upgrade and performance bump would be very extreme.


My strongest advice would be- don't for a second do anything or spend a dime upgrading unless you plan to get an SSD for your OS. This is required.

Nothing you can do will give you a better experience or faster real world speed than an SSD for your OS.

I would easily take your current PC with a fast SSD for the OS over an i5 based rig on a normal HDD for the OS.

Hope that helps.

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post #20 of 124 Old 04-12-2012, 05:53 AM
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Wow Mfusick thanks for the advice!

I thought my system was ok, its been running strong since 2009. I also thought the i5 would be overkill but i thought i needed quad-core since i want to do 3D. I think i need to at least get the 6850 to do it is that true or will PDVD just utilize more cpu?

I heard good and bad about an SSD. That was my initial plan until i read stuff about maintaining it is a chore and i'll have to put programs on another hdd. I dont want to do all that, i want to set it and forget it.

Now my new questions are:
1. Do I have to buy a ATI 6850 to do 3D bluray or can my current setup do it?
2. If i dont upgrade, is the SSD a set it and forget item, also how long do they last as opposed to a standard hdd?
3. If i go with an SSD, can i install my current win 7 image onto it or do i have to do a complete reinstall?
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post #21 of 124 Old 04-12-2012, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cigga24 View Post

Wow Mfusick thanks for the advice!

Not a problem!


Quote:
Originally Posted by cigga24 View Post

I thought my system was ok, its been running strong since 2009. I also thought the i5 would be overkill but i thought i needed quad-core since i want to do 3D. I think i need to at least get the 6850 to do it is that true or will PDVD just utilize more cpu?
Now my new questions are:
1. Do I have to buy a ATI 6850 to do 3D bluray or can my current setup do it?

Depends on what your really trying to do. If you game, or want a 6850 anyways that is different than if you could get away without one, or with a cheaper alternative. Two different questions. You can get a 6850 Radeon for about $149 like an XFX HD-685X-ZCFC Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card

But you can probably get away with $89 6750 if you wanted to go cheaper.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814150602
XFX HD-675X-ZDFC Radeon HD 6750 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card


The best value is probably here for $144 though. It’s a 6870 for less than 6850.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814150561
XFX HD-687A-ZHFC Radeon HD 6870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card [$144 after rebate.]

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post #22 of 124 Old 04-12-2012, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cigga24 View Post

I heard good and bad about an SSD. That was my initial plan until i read stuff about maintaining it is a chore and i'll have to put programs on another hdd. I dont want to do all that, i want to set it and forget it.

Get an SSD.
I will repeat.. GET AN SSD!

Break your legs running so fast to go get one. Never look back. You will thank me.
All that crap about maintaining, or putting other programs on a different drive is BS. Ignore it.
Just install it by plugging into your Sata port on your Mobo, set your Bios to ACHI mode, install windows.. then install your other programs. Done. Very simple. Nothing special you need to do. Same as a HDD but way faster/better.
You can set it and forget it. No worries.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cigga24 View Post

2. If i dont upgrade, is the SSD a set it and forget item, also how long do they last as opposed to a standard hdd?

Yes. SSD is set it and forget it. You can upgrade your system now and make a big improvement in speed with it. Just set Bios Sata Port to ACHI mode and install to the SSD like any normal HDD. Nothing further special you must do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cigga24 View Post

3. If i go with an SSD, can i install my current win 7 image onto it or do i have to do a complete reinstall?

You could. But it’s not worth it. SSD’s install quick. Much quicker than HDD’s. Half the fun is watching how much faster windows installs to it
A fresh install will perform better and faster- and provide you a nice clean registry. It’s always the best option when possible and worth a little extra effort. I find that moving an existing partition or OS is often harder than it first appears and I should have just installed clean from the start and saved time while gaining performance.
But you can do both so it is up to you.

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post #23 of 124 Old 04-13-2012, 05:14 AM
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Ok you sold me on the SSD. Now lets talk size. I looked at my current W7 install with apps is 46gb, will a 60gb ssd give me enough headroom or do i not need to worry about that. I'm thinking of going OCZ 120gb for $99 or Crucial 64gb for $80. The crucial has superb reviews, the only reason why i considered the lesser of a deal.

Which do you think is better?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820227726
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820148441
or this one
http://www.microcenter.com/single_pr...uct_id=0364779

Regarding the video card, you never mention anything about those other cards being 3D bluray enabled so i'll get the 6850 whenever i buy a new tv.
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post #24 of 124 Old 04-13-2012, 06:29 AM - Thread Starter
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64gb is fine.
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post #25 of 124 Old 04-13-2012, 08:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Babbitt 1080P View Post

64gb is fine.

I think 128 is the new sweet spot. You can buy perfectly fine 120/128gb SSDs for $99-120. They are faster than the smaller ones, and you simply don't have to worry about filling them up.

I see a posts where people are adding up their stuff and basically saying "well my OS and programs add up to only 55gb so I'll be fine with a 60" but Windows really doesn't like to be squeezed and you're asking for trouble, plus somewhere along the line you'll run into something that will only install on your system drive and end up hassling with moving stuff around. Not worth it.

I've only been buying 128s recently and that's what I'd recommend for the very modest price increase. They're basically the same price that 64s were at the start of the year.
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post #26 of 124 Old 04-13-2012, 08:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

I think 128 is the new sweet spot. You can buy perfectly fine 120/128gb SSDs for $99-120. They are faster than the smaller ones, and you simply don't have to worry about filling them up.

I see a posts where people are adding up their stuff and basically saying "well my OS and programs add up to only 55gb so I'll be fine with a 60" but Windows really doesn't like to be squeezed and you're asking for trouble, plus somewhere along the line you'll run into something that will only install on your system drive and end up hassling with moving stuff around. Not worth it.

I've only been buying 128s recently and that's what I'd recommend for the very modest price increase. They're basically the same price that 64s were at the start of the year.

Agreed.

I am going 120GB from now on. I have 6 different 60/64GB variants and they do fill up too fast with odd clutter.

You can always delete and trim it back down easy enough.. but I would rather just have the headroom so it's not a problem.

I enjoy downloading to the SSD, cause installations from it go so speedy

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post #27 of 124 Old 04-13-2012, 09:08 AM
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Ok what about brand preference. OCZ, Crucial, Corsair? Frys has a special on Crucial, Microcenter on OCZ and Corsair is $30 more than the sale on the others.
I see these two at my price point which is $100 after rebate: http://www.microcenter.com/search/co...4f042dd4b7a2e6
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post #28 of 124 Old 04-13-2012, 09:17 AM
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Ok what about brand preference. OCZ, Crucial, Corsair? Frys has a special on Crucial, Microcenter on OCZ and Corsair is $30 more than the sale on the others.

As a general rule, I don't think brand matters at all. What matters is controller brand/model, NAND type, and size.

Basically, drives with of the same size, with the same controller, and same NAND type, will perform essentially the same and likely have the same reliability. Then buy on price.

The exception is probably Intel which controls its own firmware for the standard controllers it uses. You probably get better reliability, but you pay more for it. And Intel and Plextor give 5 year warranties rather than the standard 3.

Samsung makes its own unique controllers and its own memory chips.

I like Plextor and Samsung, but have used Mushkin and Sandisk without a problem as well. (Personally I've chosen to avoid SF2281 controller based models though).
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post #29 of 124 Old 04-13-2012, 09:52 AM
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Ok what about brand preference. OCZ, Crucial, Corsair? Frys has a special on Crucial, Microcenter on OCZ and Corsair is $30 more than the sale on the others.
I see these two at my price point which is $100 after rebate: http://www.microcenter.com/search/co...4f042dd4b7a2e6

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...rk,3139-6.html


This is the most reccomended $100-200 SSD's

The $179 Vertex3 120GB is now available for $99 (Not $179 like the review thinks) This was the top for 120GB size class. Samsung won the 60GB class, but I would argue that either brand/model are good choices at both the 60/120GB sizes depending on prices you find. I own both the Samsung and many of the Vertex3's. Both are equally excellent.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...rk,3139-3.html

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post #30 of 124 Old 04-13-2012, 10:02 AM
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[
The $179 Vertex3 120GB is now available for $99

I think that's a remarkably good buy and leaves little reason to buy a 60/64gb.

And to think that only about a year ago I paid about $200 for a 64GB Plextor M2S.

In one year, double the size and halve the price.
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