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Old 10-29-2009, 12:44 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default proposed upgrade, looking for opinions

Heres the specs of my current rig; (I first thought to put it in the high performance but its not that great)

XP Pro
Intel Core 2 Quad 2.33GHz processor
4 Gb Corsair Ballistix DDR2 800 ram
Asus P5Q Pro mobo
Radeon HD 4850
Antec Sonata II case
Antec 1000W PSU


In the last about 2 weeks I've been experiencing intermittent system failing. BSOD to several different stop codes. I've run tons of virus scans and I am currently in the 5th stage of a HDD CHKDSK. but I am leaning more towards this being a hardware issue.

I am thinking now that the options for me are one of the following:

1) reload windows XP

or

2) Buy a new HDD and 4 more gigs of ram, and make the switch right now to windows 7.

I am currently a college student so I have access to 7 ultimate upgrade at a decently low price.

The system was originally built for gaming but I have actually been using it for my school work as I am now doing heavy amounts of video editing in 1080p.
So the upgrade, I would roughly be thinking $80 for the next 1TB hdd and then $45 for 2 more 2 gig sticks of ballistix ram (I am going to stay at 800 even though my mobo's standard is 1200) and then $15 for 7 ultimate upgrade.

you're probably saying why get a new HDD? Well I have a tendency to fill all the space I have, being in film school and working in HD kills space. I like to add new drives and take out the older ones as I shift my work so I really never loose anything without really having to back up anything. It made the last upgrade and fresh windows install (about a year ago) take about 45 minutes.
current drive configuration is 1TB C drive 500GB D drive and 500GB E drive.

I guess my real question lies in the OS. I love XP and I don't hate vista but I am still fighting with it. I still liked the file system that XP had. vista makes things a bit harder to find for me. The gadgets bar is pretty nice, I did install that on XP. Is it possible in 7 to set my "theme" to windows classic (2000) look? I have always like the look of my original gray task bar. in both the vista machine and the XP machine I've got a windows 2000 look. and I want to keep that.

so please let me know what your opinions on my situation are. and I'll shut up for now. thanks!
~Casey
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Old 10-29-2009, 02:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: proposed upgrade, looking for opinions

If you go with 64-bit 7, then the additional RAM would help out with the stuff you are currently doing.

As for the BSOds, the error codes would help nail down the reason(s) why. If it is hardware, you really want to replace whatever the problem is and not just guess... as that gets expensive quick.

If it were me, I would get a WD Black 500GB or 640GB for my C: drive, put the 1TB as my D: drive, buy a dock, and then use assorted SATA drives as externals through the dock. I would suggest one of these:
Newegg.com - Thermaltake ST0014U ABS Plastic 2.5" & 3.5" Black USB & eSATA Dual Hard Drives Docking Station - External Enclosures
Newegg.com - Thermaltake BlacX ST0005U External Hard Drive SATA Enclosure Docking Station 2.5” & 3.5” USB 2.0 & eSATA - External Enclosures

As for 7, give the native look of it a shot, two weeks minimum. I would wager that you would find it an improvement.
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Old 10-29-2009, 02:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: proposed upgrade, looking for opinions

I've considered the docks, I know a guy who really likes them, I didn't know that they had come down in price. last I looked newegg only had rosewell's and they were in the 65-70 range and I really don't want to pay over 25 for anything made by rosewell

on the BSOD's I've gotten a ton of 0X0A and 0XD3 and 0X8E, I figure its hardware because its not the same code every time. I've finished running scans on my C drive and it corrected 2 error sectors. we'll see if that helped. but I am going to get some mem tests running too.

what is the best (easiest/quickest) ram diagnostic program? I used to run Prime95 and I've run Memtest+86 but in the most recent versions I just don't know how to either interpret the results or figure out how to run the test.

Thanks!
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Old 10-30-2009, 07:19 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: proposed upgrade, looking for opinions

I went ahead and upgraded to windows 7. its one big step from XP but so far so good. I'm liking everything except the taskbar. (I wish it didn't just expand the **** icon).

I need some more ram but other than that I think it will go well.
~Casey
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Old 10-30-2009, 09:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: proposed upgrade, looking for opinions

Yeah, it takes a little getting used to the new taskbar, but it soon becomes second nature. I would hate to be without it now.
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My Rig: SABLE
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2x4GB DDR3 1600 - 2x2GB DDR3 1600
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