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Well.... I took the plunge and ordered gear for my new HTPC - Page 4

post #91 of 114
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by darklordjames View Post

Scott - I still think the issue is a grounding problem somewhere. Have you sourced power from some other room yet, and plugged the PC and sub in to the same power strip for testing purposes?

No. Not yet. I have a dozen other things in the room hooked up on the same circuit and none of them create this kind of noise isolated to only the LFE channel. Also, the amp I am using is running off another rooms circuit for more power. The amp is isolated from the rest of the gear.
post #92 of 114
Daver - Not that I've heard of. The diver model is the same as Vista/7, and the desktop really is just Windows 7 with some nice background tweaks going on. I'm sure some stuff will be broken here and there, but it won't be nearly to the level it was when we shifted to WinNT in Windows 2000, 64-bit OS at Vista/7, or the new driver models of Vista.

Think Vista to 7 interns of compatibility. Except for the very rare odd thing, everything just worked.
post #93 of 114
Won't get my disc copy until Monday. I should probably start backing up my stuff and find my software keys to reinstall my software. I haven't even tried win8 yet, but the $109 deal for the full version I figured was pretty good.
post #94 of 114
Got the Win8 Pro Upgrade for $15 and interestingly enough, upgraded straight from the Release Preview, which I thought they said wouldn't be possible. Also bought the Start8 program from Stardock for $5 to give me the regular style start menu back. So all in all, fully functioning legit Win8Pro that looks and feels just like Win7 for $20. Good deal imo.

Haven't decided yet whether I want to do the upgrade on my desktop or not, but I have a second promo code to get it for $15 that's valid until the 31st of Jan, so I have time to decide.
post #95 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by darklordjames View Post

Daver - Not that I've heard of.

Cool, thanks DLJ.

Which SSD did you go for? I've been kicking around the idea of adding an SSD on my Win machine.
post #96 of 114
The Crucial M4 128GB. $100 on Amazon seemed like a pretty good deal, or $185 for the 256GB. Performs better than the equivalent Samsungs, cheaper than the equivalent Intels. Those are the only three brands I trust to make an SSD correctly, so that's where my search stopped and I made my purchase.

Windows and a 32GB swap file leaves me with 50GB left over. I am considering putting another 64GB SSD in there to get the swap file on to its own channel of bandwidth. Also thinking about NTFS compression which reduces bandwidth which is limited, but eats CPU cycles which I have plenty of. NTFS compression works wonders on making platter drives load faster, I just need to look in to how it effects TRIM functionality and write cycles on an SSD.
post #97 of 114
Hey James, are you able to use a Xbox 360 controller or RF Remote with the Windows 8 Metro UI? I've been thinking about upgrading to 8 because it would be nice to be able to navigate my PC without a KB+M set up on my home theater set up. It would be a great compliment to programs like Steam Big Picture and XBMC.
post #98 of 114
Trogdor - It's on my list of things to investigate. I'm thinking a combination of iPad Remote Desktop and Steam Big Picture with a 360 gamepad will be my control, but I'm not sure yet. Gamepad in the Start screen sure would be nice.
post #99 of 114
Results: Natively the Metro Start screen does not respond to the 360 gamepad. It would with some mapping software I imagine, but then you'd probably get in to weird issues with games that natively support the controller. Remotes tend to just be arrow keys, which do control the Start screen.

Also too: I had a nagging feeling that 32GB of ram may have been overkill. Earlier today, on a relatively fresh install of Win8, I noticed that I had 16.5GB of stuff pre-cached. Another 3.5GB was being used for open programs and whatnot. 20GB of ram, eaten. Sure, SSDs are fast, but not even close to being in the same neighborhood as just having the thing loaded in to ram before you even know you want to use it. wink.gif Given that 32GB is the same $150 today as my first 128MB stick of PC-100 was, I'd say money reasonably well spent.
post #100 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by darklordjames View Post

Also too: I had a nagging feeling that 32GB of ram may have been overkill. Earlier today, on a relatively fresh install of Win8, I noticed that I had 16.5GB of stuff pre-cached. Another 3.5GB was being used for open programs and whatnot. 20GB of ram, eaten. Sure, SSDs are fast, but not even close to being in the same neighborhood as just having the thing loaded in to ram before you even know you want to use it. wink.gif Given that 32GB is the same $150 today as my first 128MB stick of PC-100 was, I'd say money reasonably well spent.

Thanks for the update!

So is this just a Win8 thing? I have a 4 year-old Win7 64-bit system and running on 8gigs of RAM. It chugs pretty badly when first turning it on, so much that I usually avoid turning it on and just use the laptop. tongue.gif

I"m thinking of adding SDD to help this, and wondering if while I'm in there just throw other 8 gigs in. So will I need to add Win8 to take advantage of that extra RAM? That's taking my $100 upgrade to around $300, which I guess is ok if it's worth it.
post #101 of 114
An SSD with Windows 7 makes a huge difference. Though I haven't tried it yet, perusing the Windows 8 review on the verge says it's even faster to load. I didn't see what hardware they ran it with, HDD or SSD.
post #102 of 114
Daver - Precaching has been around since Vista, so it will also work in Windows 7. Windows 7 does have a 16GB ram cap in Home Premium though, so another 8gb is all you can do without spending the $40 on Windows 8. If you're running DDR3, I would certainly move to 16gb. If you are still on DDR2, then I would skip it since that stuff is ungodly expensive these days.

An SSD will help more with loading Windows at the start. Precaching helps with loading other programs after Windows is up and running.
post #103 of 114
$115 SSD + 3.5" adapter
$40 Window 8
$65 for 2x8GB, or $35 for 2x4GB depending on the current ram in your slots
$190-220 for a solid upgrade
post #104 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by darklordjames View Post

$115 SSD + 3.5" adapter
$40 Window 8
$65 for 2x8GB, or $35 for 2x4GB depending on the current ram in your slots
$190-220 for a solid upgrade

Thanks for your suggestions - it seems like a no brainer. And looking at my embarrassingly ancient build (hey, that was back in 2007!), I only have 4gigs of DDR2 RAM, not 8. No wonder it chugs so much. tongue.gif

So it looks like in addition to the SSD + 3/5" adapter, I should put another 4gigs in, and then, why not - Windows 8 to make it feel like a new computer.
post #105 of 114
SSD prices keep plummeting. Black Friday might be a good time to grab one. Also, some brands include the adapter.
post #106 of 114
Daver - You're on DDR2 still. Ouch. I feel that pain. The prompt for my upgrade was being stuck on 6GB of DDR2 with it costing just way too much to move up to my 8gb cap. Luckily my CPU has a DDR3 controller on board as well, so all I had to do was a motherboard change then add dirt-cheap DDR3.

Your best bet is the SSD, then see if you can Ebay up some cheap used 2x1gb or 2x2gb DDR2. Beyond that, it's new mobo/CPU/ram combo time.

If I wasn't using that DDR2 to build a Steam box, I'd ask you for shipping cost and send it out to you. Sorry, bud. smile.gif

Edit: Now that I click the link, $55 for 4GB of DDR2 isn't too terrible. Still expensive, but not the $100 it was when I was looking at replacing my 2x1gb with 2x2gb.
post #107 of 114
Daver - For a second I floated the idea of dropping a 3ghz quad core in there. Then I looked at the used prices and quickly realized that a new $80 motherboard, DDR3, and a six-core AMD would be a better spend.

Just to price it, for the sake of exercise:

$80 AM3+ motherboard
$65 16GB DDR3 1600 CAS9
$140 AMD FX-6300 6-core 3.5ghz
$285 - The same price as getting a 2.8ghz quad core LGA775 CPU.

In the end, the SSD and 8GB would probably result in a better moment to moment experience, especially on boot. Having more cores in there would give you better gaming, especially if a newer GPU was added in at some point. Gah! That balance between cost and performance, eh? smile.gif
post #108 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by darklordjames View Post

$80 AM3+ motherboard
$65 16GB DDR3 1600 CAS9
$140 AMD FX-6300 6-core 3.5ghz

That's incredible bang-for-buck for jumping to contemporary computer! If I was still gaming on the PC, I would also go this route, and even so - this still might be a cool Xmas project. But then I would want a new video card. tongue.gif

btw, I'm skipping the RAM for now and just went with the Crucial m4 SSD, and in a "what the heck" moment, opted for the 256gig model, figuring I can copy everything over. I'm mainly after getting my aging PC to a point where I don't feel like I have to turn it on 10 minutes before I want to start using it. From the sounds of it, a fresh Windows install on a SSD is the solution.

Oh, and I'll probably move to Win8, just to feel like I have something new.

Thanks again for your help and suggestions!
post #109 of 114
Thread Starter 
You all pitching in to build me another HTPC or something?

tongue.gif
post #110 of 114
Thread Starter 
Still have the noise issue. It's barely perceptible in Windows but during games its quite noticeable when all hell isn't breaking loose. I noticed the pitch of the hum/noise/rumble changes with darkness and brightness levels.

Maybe it's my videocard since I'm using HDMI audio thru it...obviously.

HELP ME!!!
post #111 of 114
Is vsync on in games? My Radeon makes a weird high-pitch noise when it runs at too high of a framerate, like a physical thing on the card is making noise. This doesn't transfer to the audio system at all though, and goes away when the framerate is locked at 60hz or lower. Probably unrelated, but you should be running with forced adaptive vsync anyway on your Nvidia card.

I still say make sure the amp and PC are plugged in to the same circuit at the same point for testing purposes. The problem is far more likely to be sourced in the analog power world than in the digital software world. Brightness sounds like a weird thing the be related though. The PC doesn't care if it's spitting out 00 or FF for a brightness value (in 256 level hex values). FF's don't cost more in power than 00's. smile.gif The projector will be grounded to the PC though, and the projector may throttle the bulb up or down for different brightness values, changing the power draw and therefore the reliance on ground. In a modern house ground should all run back to the same box, but in an older house ground may be more localized. American power standards are terrible, and I have learned far too much about how frankenstein they are in upgrading my 1953/1980-combo power system to something that supports modern devices. Something you can legally do under US federal electric code and may want to consider is dumping ground all together. You can run two-pole power to a three-prong plug if the wall socket is a GFCI outlet (those switching ones you find in your bathroom). GFCI with two-pole power is actually safer for human life than three-pole standard plugs. I had to install GFCI outlets throughout the 1953 section of my house in order to legally plug three-prong devices in. That was a "first week" project for my livingroom last September when we moved in. smile.gif

So, maybe you want to isolate everything touching the home theater through GFCI. Don't take this as legal advice of course. I know what federal code is. I don't know what your local city and Cali state code is. Like everything, federal is an absolute, then state, county and city layer on top of that. It's possible that your city requires anything newer than 1975 to have grounded plugs regardless of GFCI. For quick testing purposes though you can totally open your wall sockets and disconnect ground to figure out if moving to groundless GFCI will solve your problem without buying a half-dozen $12 outlets. Again, disclaimer: Make sure those outlets are re-grounded before you walk away from them, and don't play with household electricity if you aren't comfortable with the basic safety rules. smile.gif I'm comfortable with testing for live wires by grabbing them with my thumb and forefinger, knowing that the resulting muscle spasm caused by a live 120v wire will force me to let go. I know how to use a multimeter to test wires before I get to that stage. I also know not to mess around with 240v because that will cause some lasting damage if you are careless. I don't know your comfort level.

I thought you lived in Colorado. Did you move recently, or am I thinking of someone else?

EDIT: Now that I think further, I believe a guy I used to play COD4 with live in CO. When playing TDU you lived in CA.
post #112 of 114
Build related:

128GB SSD for the OS drive? Awesome. Snappy snappy snappy. I can finally let my disc-based drives spin down without sacrificing too much responsiveness, massively extending their useful life expectancy.

Windows 8 Pro upgrade for $40? Awesome. A lot of behind the scenes tweaks went in to this.

My pair of 1TB drives set up in software mirroring through Windows Disk Management for automatic redundancy? Awesome, doesn't rely on motherboard functionality, doesn't break AHCI, and doesn't fail when changing motherboards.

32GB of RAM? Awesome. Looking at Task Manager right now, 28GB is cached. It took a couple of days, but Windows figured out how to eat all of my ram. I'm guessing that a good chunk of that 28GB is all of Team Fortress 2.

All I have left on my main PC is the CPU which I was thinking about purchasing today as the balance on one of my credit cards is too low for optimal credit score. Everyone worth buying from is out of stock though. Then it's on to case, GPU, HDD and OS for the Steambox.

"I wish I had more RAM..." is turning in to "Eight hundred dollars later..." wink.gif
post #113 of 114
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=4904561&CatId=7339

The FX-8350 finally dropped to reasonable normal prices instead of launch rarity prices. $200, eight cores, 4 gigamahertz? Sold!

Now to wait impatiently for it to arrive... All that's left is to grab an SSD, HDD, PSU and GPU for the Steam box. smile.gif
post #114 of 114
While running Torchlight II.


Got my FX-8350! Torchlight II is pretty heavily single-threaded, so was dipping down in to the 40fps range as it maxed out a single core on my Phenom II X4 3ghz. It still pushes a single core on this 4ghz beast pretty hard, but the dips are now to 55fps during heavy battle, and not noticeable. I probably could have pushed it to a solid 60fps by dropping in an Intel 3770K, but that $140 extra can be better spent in plenty of other places. smile.gif Overall? This upgrade exemplifies just how terribly CPUs have stalled. In comparison to my CPU from 2009, I picked up 33% more clock speed and 4 more integer units at roughly the same instructions-per-clock. Normally a 3-year CPU gap would be a "My god this is fast! Woo!" feeling, with large frame-rate increases. Here, Windows feels the same and the single game I've played that struggled to hold 60fps now gets a whole lot closer. At this rate, I estimate 2016-2017 for my next CPU upgrade.

It frees up the Phenom II for my Steam box. That was the point in the first place, so mission accomplished! wink.gif
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