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What is your current PC config?

sscadminsscadmin DarkOne
What is your current rig specs that you use for gaming and do you plan on upgrading soon?



Use this example to list your machine specs:


<br />
CPU:<br />
Memory:<br />
HDD:<br />
Gfx Card:<br />
Snd Card:<br />
Input/Joystick:<br />
«1345

Comments

  • sscadminsscadmin DarkOne
    edited 4:54AM
    CPU: Core2Duo 6420

    Memory: 2GB

    HDD: 1x 120 and 2x300GB

    Gfx Card: MSI GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB

    Snd Card: Fatal1ty Extreme 64MB

    Input/Joystick: Mouse/Keyboard ... Joystick broken :cry:



    I thought about upgrading this year but will more than likely do it next year after reading the min/max system requirements of some upcoming games.
  • edited 4:54AM
    CPU: AMD Phenom II X 940 Black Edition (3 GHz)

    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-MA790FX-UD5P

    Memory: 8 Gigs Kingston HyperX 1066 mhz (OC'd to 1333)

    HDD: 1 320 gig Split in half for Dual Boot Vista 64 and XP, 2x 750 7200 rpm Game Storage Drives

    Gfx Card: ATI HD 4860 1 GiG DDR3

    Snd Card: See MainBoard (Latest Realtek HD Dolby Pro Chip)

    Input/Joystick: G-15 KB, G-11 Mouse, Thrustmaster Cougar HOTAS JS Sytem
  • sscadminsscadmin DarkOne
    edited 4:54AM
    Nice rig Omega. I have been debating whether to go with Phenom II for my next build is it a solid performer for you so far? And Kingston rocks for memory that's all I ever buy and there support is great.
  • edited 4:54AM
    absoulutly the best AMD since the the 486 dx4 120 - having been a system builder most of my career I've always used AMD (except for the K5 era that was a dark time for AMD) for gameing they've always preformed well for me and my clients AND most of the time they're significantly cheaper then thier Intel Counterparts - btw the x 955 BE should be out soon about 3.4 ghz and has been tested to stable OC @ over 7 GHz
  • sscadminsscadmin DarkOne
    edited 4:54AM
    Safe OC up to 7Ghz that is truly amazing. You would think if they could OC it that high why not just step up the chip at the factory and come out with 5-6Ghz chips and get people snatching them up and put pressure on Intel. AMD has to do something innovative because there stock isn't doing that great and I think the only thing that keeps them really in business is the low prices on their chips and ATI gfx cards.



    But I hope to build another machine for myself for Xmas, that's only if Santa can still afford it after all the kids :)
  • edited 4:54AM
    CPU: Intel Core2Duo 3ghz

    Memory: 2048mb Kingston 800mhz

    HDD: Western Digital 320gb SATA2

    Gfx Card: Asus/nVidia GF8800GT 1024mb

    Snd Card: M-Audio (damn, can't remember which model... the basic one!)

    Input/Joystick: Saitek X52 Flight Control System, Saitek Eclipse keyboard, Logitech G5 mouse, Wingman Formula Force GP wheel



    I have yet to find a game that slows it down dramatically with everything maxed. It has breezed through Doom3 and Quake4, rFactor racing sim with a full grid, and EVE fleet battles of 50vs50 with all bells and whistles turned on :)
  • sscadminsscadmin DarkOne
    edited 4:54AM
    Well I broke down and going to upgrade my PC. It is a small upgrade from what I have now but this way the cycling of computers through the house please everyone. I picked out everything needed for the new PC and you will love the price at the end...



    GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P Motherboard - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813128387

    Acer X233Hbid Black 23" 5ms HDMI Full 1080P Widescreen LCD - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6824009163

    3.5 Floppy Drive

    SAPPHIRE 100269SR Radeon HD 4890 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814102830

    Thermaltake V9 Black Edition ATX Computer Gaming Chassis - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811133074

    OCZ StealthXStream 700w PSU - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817341019

    AMD Phenom II X4 940 Deneb 3.0GHz - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6819103471

    4GB G.Skill DDR2 1066 Memory - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820231166

    Samsung 750GB HD - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6822152099



    Even came with a 4GB USB Stick all for the price of $1014 that's with the shipping. I couldn't pass up the deal almost every item was on sale. That AMD CPU was under $200 and only processor higher is the 3.2Ghz plus the AMD's can overclock like mad :) I will upgrade to 8GB memory once I get my hands on Windows 7 and if I have the extra cash come Xmas I might get another Radeon HD 4890 for crossover.



    If I get some of the rebates back (which total over $50) I will have built this pretty good machine for under $1000 not bad at all. Oh I left out the sound because I already have a Soundblaster Fata1ty gamer board and a Lite-On dual layer burning going to use. I'll take some pics when I get it all, its my birthday this weekend so I bought a present I will use :)





    What ya think? Oh NewEgg you rock!
  • edited 4:54AM
    Yeah... that baby's gonna rock !!! Post some FPS tests when you get it :)
  • PINBACKPINBACK SSC Moderator
    edited 4:54AM
    At this time a very VERY small notbook with intergrated graphic and a mighty atom processor :lol: (bet you all green with envy :lol: :lol: )so it looks like I will not be playing any games :cry:
  • sscadminsscadmin DarkOne
    edited 4:54AM
    PINBACK wrote:
    At this time a very VERY small notbook with intergrated graphic and a mighty atom processor :lol: (bet you all green with envy :lol: :lol: )so it looks like I will not be playing any games :cry:




    Pinback did you have another PC before the notebook? What happened to it?


    r3dfiv3 wrote:
    Yeah... that baby's gonna rock !!! Post some FPS tests when you get it :)




    What should I use to benchmark the system and I will post what I have. I haven't modified the new system at all and haven't tweaked anything all stock settings. Actually I think maybe my memory timings might be off but I need to do some reading on how to set them up just right to get the best FSB speed.
  • edited 4:54AM
    OS XP Pro Sp 3

    CPU: Intel 2 Quad Q6600@2.4 GHz

    Memory: 4GB of Corsair running 3.25 used

    HDD:

    Gfx Card: 8800 GTS

    Snd Card: none

    Input/Joystick: S 52x pro
  • PINBACKPINBACK SSC Moderator
    edited 4:54AM
    Darkone wrote:
    PINBACK wrote:
    At this time a very VERY small notbook with intergrated graphic and a mighty atom processor :lol: (bet you all green with envy :lol: :lol: )so it looks like I will not be playing any games :cry:




    Pinback did you have another PC before the notebook? What happened to it?




    I have a big box pc,but it's not with me at the moment.Although it's in need of an upgade
  • BasBas
    edited 4:54AM
    OS:

    XP Home SP3

    Processor:

    AMD Athlon(tm) 64 Processor 2800+, MMX, 3DNow, ~1.8GHz

    Memory:

    1024MB RAM

    Hard Drive:

    160 GB

    Video Card:

    RADEON 9550

    Gamecontroller:

    Eh, it is my bro's thingy, from logitech, very cloned from the PS controllers, lol ^^



    Just a q - Do you use a real joystick or a gamepad for space-sims?
  • sscadminsscadmin DarkOne
    edited 4:54AM
    Since I haven't updated my specs since my new system build here they are...



    CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 940 Deneb 3.0GHz

    Memory: 4GB G.Skill DDR2 1066 Memory

    HDD: 1x 750GB and 1x 300GB

    Gfx Card: SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 4890 1GB w/ 256-bit GDDR5

    Snd Card: SB Fatal1ty Gamer

    Input/Joystick: Logitech Attack 3 ($40 cheapo)


    Bas wrote:
    Just a q - Do you use a real joystick or a gamepad for space-sims?




    Joystick personally. But I would love to be able to play using my PS3 Bluetooth controller that would be great. I have too look into that to see if there is some hacks available.
  • edited 4:54AM
    Main Left:
    <br />
    CPU:           iNtel Ci7 920<br />
    Memory:     12GB (6x 2GB)<br />
    HDD:          750GB and then some <br />
    Gfx Card:   GTX285 + 8600GT<br />
    Snd Card:   onboard<br />
    Input/Joystick: Razor copperhead mouse<br />
    nv 3D geforce vision + 120hz monitor<br />
    




    Right side:
    <br />
    CPU: X2 4400+<br />
    Memory: 2GB<br />
    HDD: 500GB<br />
    Gfx Card:  HD2900XT + PPU<br />
    Snd Card: onboard<br />
    Input/Joystick: A Mouse<br />
    




    Upgrade oh yes.

    Planning on replacing my HD2900XT for 5870 2GB, need something DX11 but aren't in a hurry next year or so. There isn't out a dX11 game I like.

    Lookin for a windows home server.

    Windows 7 family edition for all my 3 gameRigs. Waiting for a dutch verion.



    So I lookin for a full native using DX11 Space game. But Aim afraid I wont find any :(
  • sscadminsscadmin DarkOne
    edited 4:54AM
    You running a 64bit OS on the first rig SuperG? Because 32bit OS doesn't support that much memory. There still isn't any DX10 space games :)



    JGE and BP will probably have modes for DX10 I would guess. I wanted to get the ATI 5870 but wasn't out when I built, so far my 4890 runs everything with settings on full without issue.
  • edited 4:54AM
    Isn't there a 64bit version of XP? If so, I'd like to pick it up. XP only sees 3GB of ram, not the full 4GB that I have installed.



    I bought 2 Radeon 4850s when I built my rig several months ago because I read somewhere that, at the time, 2 4850s in crossfire configuration out-performed the best $600 cards. In hindsight I think I would've been better off spending the money I spent on 2 4850s and picked up something really nice, like a 4890 (How much were those several months ago?). Reason being, nothing in winXP is even capable of reading crosffire, so when I play a game it's as if it's running off one card only. And even on my Vista boot paratition, only a handful of games are crossfire enabled. What's the damn point?? Wish somebody told me before I built my rig...
  • sscadminsscadmin DarkOne
    edited 4:54AM
    I build all my PC's and do lots of reading before I make all equipment choices for the guts of the system. But it has paid off, I never have system crashes and the PC's usually go through the house cycle without issue (me, wife, kids).



    The 4890 I bought this year and think I found a great deal on NewEgg for $210 at the time. I probably won't even waste my time buying XP 64bit Shant. I would just get Win7 64 bit professional (has winXP built ito OS). I usually just get a single gfx card that is beefy and not go with the SLI/CF because the extra money would be better spent on more memory and a top of the line MB.
  • edited 4:54AM
    I build my PC since 80386 even put a weitec Co_PU in 80387 socket. I prefere to put full mem capacity upfront. So I wont have to upgrade that. So CPU maybe for a afordable 6core. And gcards.



    For DX11 Gcard, TMSC has some problem producing 40nm chips. So AMD can't keep up with demand. but I don't mind as there isn't any DX11 game out yet that I realy want to play.

    Don't like Raceing games. so don't care about Dirt in DX11. Wenn there comes a DX11 I realy want then i go look out for a DX11 card.

    Maybe sooner if I want to fool around with the DX11 SDK with dX11 hardware.



    OS used:

    X2 3200+ X1800XL XP 32

    X2 4400+ HD 2900XT Vista Ultimate 64

    X2 5400+ Vista Ultimate 64 // currently disasembled

    Ci7 GTX285 8600GT Vista 64 premium (W7 RC build 7100)



    I think I was 64bit ready from june 2007. But I had just 2GB
  • farcodevfarcodev Far Colony Developer
    edited 4:54AM
    current system:<br />
    CPU: Athlon X2 4400+ (3800+ o/c since 2 years)<br />
    Memory: 2Gb<br />
    HDD: 1.3Tb in total<br />
    Gfx Card: 7900GTX/512Mb<br />
    Snd Card: Audigy<br />
    Input/Joystick:keyb/mous<br />
    OS: XP 32bits
    



    system i'll buy in 2010:<br />
    CPU:i920/950/960 (i'll see when i'll be ready in march/april)<br />
    Memory:6gb<br />
    HDD:dunno yet<br />
    Gfx Card:a 285 or 295<br />
    Snd Card:<br />
    Input/Joystick:
    
  • edited 4:54AM
    Darkone wrote:
    I probably won't even waste my time buying XP 64bit Shant. I would just get Win7 64 bit professional (has winXP built ito OS).




    I've been reluctant to mess with Windows 7 at this point because I've had so many issues with Vista. At least with Windows XP, everything just works. No crashes, no nothing. And I keep hearing about people having compatibility issues with Windows 7. Have you not encountered anything like that?
  • sscadminsscadmin DarkOne
    edited 4:54AM
    I know I took Vista off my machine and put XP back on but I do have Win7 Pro at the house and will eventually put it on. Overall Win7 is a lot better product than Vista and hearing good things from people and reviews. XP is now starting to be feature limited and soon you won't see those nice visuals you see in game screenshots because XP won't support DirectX10-11.
  • edited 4:54AM
    There's not much wrong with early vista if you keep just these two rulez in mind, way back then.

    1 ) It has a new driver model so every hardware vendor you use, need deliver or have avaible for DL, brand new Vista drivers. Some company do very well for some of there hardware early on. Other won't release one much later or never. And focus on new hardware. Also in very competing hardware the Vista version runs behind XP.

    2 ) It has higher ( memory ) requierments.



    So some don't

    Don't put it on old hardware because you often will not comply to mem requierments.

    Some hardware just isn't supported. That your problem and your first party that can help you will be the vendor of that hardware. if not. Solution is stick to XP.



    Some do's.

    Build your system after Vista release to decent Vista spects. Like 2GB no less And something DX9 ish GPU

    Use Components with already steady Vista support.



    Pitfalls.

    Some OEM put Vista on cheap underspect systems like NEtbooks or real cheap PC or note books. With little memory and weak CPU's. That are just bad buys. A cat in a bag.



    Falls bashing

    Trow a Vista copy on old to realy old underspect hardware. But Linux and XP run's so well on it!!! Then stick with that.

    Bad Vista experience garanteed.

    Buy or build a cheap underspect PC but you took heavy weight Vista, that is just bad OS choice.



    Today there SP2 for Vista. Driver support is high Os is mature.

    W7 is just a name chance to avoid the bad name Vista is brandmarked with. W7 is a Vista refresh. A SP2 extended a second edition.

    Vista paved the way for W7. the chicken egg problem with drivers has taken on Vista.



    W7 has a OEM Netbook version. A light version for light spect hardware. Not in retail avaible. For Vista there was later a special XP OEM deal.



    So i did my homework and with that have a good Vista experience for Years.



    I would go for W7 for new bells and whistles. Better SSD and multitouch support.

    Mem prices are low for some time so comply to mem spect is currently no problem, compared back in the early day's of vista.



    Vista game performce. nV ruled the marked in those days. But have also Vista driver problems. And demanded from MS to make some DX10 Features optional. Like Virtual video memory architecture driver support. Because nV was the main dX10 target market. MS complies. ATI(AMD) was better Vista and DX10 ready but out of sight R600 disaster. The retail GPU market is hard and unforgiving. And XP vs Vista game review where exclusive nV only. Until one took ATI also into play and was suprised.



    Now Vista has it's market share and AMD and nV are up to level for vista driver support.

    Have nV for PhysX and 3DGeforceVision,TWIMTBP games. And a AMD rig for GITG games



    That's my argumentated opinion about Vista.
  • edited 4:54AM
    I have a dual boot system so I had a great chance to compare/contrast XP and Vista. Games do look/play better on Vista, that much is beyond question. It could be simply because Vista has dx10 and XP has dx9, not sure.



    Vista has way too much garbage programs running in the background. Before I upgraded my fan, I couldn't play games on Vista because my system would overheat and crash. And it wasn't just games. If I tried to run a resource heavy program, it would overheat and crash. Same games/programs in XP? No problem.



    XP starts up much faster too. Probably because I've widdled down the startup processes to around 16 or 17. In Vista, the lowest I could get the number of running processes down to was in the mid 30s'.
  • sscadminsscadmin DarkOne
    edited 4:54AM
    SuperG wrote:
    I would go for W7 for new bells and whistles. Better SSD and multitouch support.




    I want a SSD drive for my next system since the price on them now is just a wee bit to high for my blood. Vista was a resource hog on my machine for a while but I had a lot of crap installed on the machine. I have Win7 64bit waiting to install I just haven't found the time to off load all my crap unto another drive.



    I did run into some 'microsoft certified driver' issues with some of my older hardware which was a pain sometimes but I hear Win7 is really good and hope to put it on my machine during the Xmas holiday sometime.
  • edited 4:54AM
    Darkone wrote:
    SSD drive ... the price on them now is just a wee bit to high for my blood.




    Don't feel as though you are missing anything huge. SSD drives are only fast at searching. Transfer rates are 30-100x faster for SATA disk drives. Also, SSD's have a finite number of read-write cycles, so you know from the start that your expensive SSD drive will eventually fail (although maybe not much sooner than your disk drive).



    SSD's are awesome for things like tiny laptops or netbooks because they boot quickly, are low-power, and are fantastically rugged compared to a disk drive. But, overall, SSD's are slower than disk drives in general-purpose use.



    I think I read somewhere that you build your own boxes, so maybe the following perspective will help. Use your SSD drive for your system drive, which typically experiences many seeks against many small files. For swap space and any large kind of data (ie, games), use a hard disk.



    With that perspective in mind, you could do a proof-of-concept by using a flash drive rather than an SSD for your system drive. An SSD is just a flash drive with an SATA interface, so it will give you a pretty good idea of what to expect from a future SSD. A $20 flash drive is big enough for Windows, as long as you put swap space, programs, and data elsewhere.



    B
  • edited 4:54AM
    Wow I can't believe that...I thought the whole point of SSD was speed and to eliminate moving parts so as to last longer. If they're slower than SATA and they're gonna break down around the same time, and they're many times the price per GB...what incentive is there to buy them??
  • edited 4:54AM
    Shant wrote:
    Wow I can't believe that...I thought the whole point of SSD was speed and to eliminate moving parts so as to last longer. If they're slower than SATA and they're gonna break down around the same time, and they're many times the price per GB...what incentive is there to buy them??




    Well, there are some terrific advantages to SSD's for some applications. For those jobs, they probably are worth the extra cost. But SSD's are not better in every way than hard drives... not even close.



    Think about using a phone book (remember those big paper things that people had before Switchboard and Google?). It takes a certain amount of time to find a name that you are looking for, and a different amount of time to copy the phone number, address, etc. If you use a photocopier then you can speed up the copy part of the job but you don't speed up the lookup part.



    Similarly, disk drives have two major kinds of speed that approximately summarize their performance: Seek Time (lookup) and Transfer Rate (copy time). There are other specs of interest, but those are the two most popular.



    SSD's are perhaps 100x faster than disk drives at Seek Time. Even faster than that in some cases.



    Hard drives are 100x faster than SSD's at Transfer Rate (sometimes more).



    So, sure, SSD's are very fast at some tasks. Other tasks perform better on hard disks.



    Boot performance is, by and large, a non-issue for big computers. They stay on all the time, so it usually doesn't matter if they take several minutes to boot. Some servers take 10 minutes or more to boot, but they get booted perhaps a dozen times a year.



    However, boot performance is a HUGE issue for portable devices like, say, a phone. If your phone took more than a second or two to wake up, you would not be happy, right? Laptops are in between -- people who carry them around a lot like to put them in standby or hibernation mode and want them to be able to wake up quickly. SSD's are good at that part -- the waking up or booting.



    On the other hand, for large multimedia jobs, database work, games, and other tasks that work with large files, a hard disk's superior transfer rate will blow the socks off of any SSD.



    A few years ago, the life span of flash memory was an issue. Now they are good for millions of read/write cycles, which is not so bad. But there is more to reliability than lifetime. A hard disk, for example, can read and write until it dies of old age or damage. And therein is the key to SSD's advantage -- they are not as vulnerable to damage as hard disks. Hard disks are quickly destroyed by heat (which they generate a lot of) and shock. Shock is common for laptops, like dropping your laptop or even bumping it while it is writing to disk.



    SSD's are nearly invulnerable to shock. They are vulnerable to heat, but they do not generate as much heat as a hard drive, so they have less trouble with heat.



    Also, SSD's can be MUCH smaller than a disk drive for the same capacity. It's just a couple of chips, after all.



    So SSD's are fast at boot/waking up, rugged, cool, low-power, and small. All of those factors are good in portable applications.



    But SSD's will not be replacing your disk drive for your gaming computer anytime soon.



    B
  • edited 4:54AM
    It boggles my mind that SATA drives transfer data 100x faster than SSD. I thought the whole reason hard drives took as long as they did to transfer data was because of the...for lack of better term 'manual' way it works. What exactly is it that prevents SSD drives from transferring at the same/faster clip? Will they catch up to or surpass hard drives eventually?



    I've been of the opinion that hard drives have been seriously lagging in terms of advancement behind other components. I build my own rigs as well, but prior to this computer the last time I'd built one was around 99 or 2000. Didn't do any gaming with it ofcourse. it had a standard ata hard drive in it. Extremely slow compared to today's drives...on paper anyway. When I built this new rig several months ago, I put the fastest available SATA drives in it and naturally was expecting a big boost in the data transfer department. Honestly, I can't tell any difference. Moving a couple gigs from one drive to another, or from one part of the same drive to another, still takes a few minutes like my old computer did.



    I was looking forward to SSD drives really advancing the ball in that department. Guess I was wrong.
  • edited 4:54AM
    Shant wrote:
    It boggles my mind that SATA drives transfer data 100x faster than SSD....

    I thought ... hard drives took as long as they did ... because of the ... 'manual' way it works.

    What exactly is it that prevents SSD drives from transferring at the same/faster clip?

    Will they catch up to or surpass hard drives eventually?




    Short Version: Look at RAID 0 (or 0+1) rather than SSDs for a major performance boost.



    Long Version: Back in the days when supercomputers were the size of a tractor trailer, there were folks who advised, "Never trust a computer that you can see over the top of." :) In those days, there was a lot of talk about the difference between "cpu speed" and computer "throughput". Nobody talks about it that way anymore, but the concepts still hold. There are many different parts of a computer, and the overall throughput of the machine is dictated by the bottlenecks caused by the slowest individual components.



    Hard drives have evolved at a pretty good clip. The second IBM PC -- not even the first -- had a 5 megabyte disk drive that cost several hundred bucks. Now you can buy a terabyte drive (a million times larger) for under $99. Speeds are way up, too... but so is the size of the data that you move around. If you take a closer look at the number of megabytes per second that you transfer between drives, I'll bet that you are moving many more bytes now than you did a few years ago.



    In fact, disk drives became so fast that their transfer rates exceeded the fastest rate that the old parallel ATA bus (16 parallel wires) could handle. The limiting factor was the speed of sending an electrical signal (reliably) through the wires themselves! It's sort of a long topic, but wires do not transmit electricity at the speed of light... and several wires together may have different speeds, so there were a lot of electronics involved in splitting up bits across multiple wires and then putting them back together at the other end. Electronics can be pretty fast, but there are still limits. In order to keep controller costs down, it was necessary to develop a new technology, which turned into the Serial ATA "bus" (kinda-sorta-one wire, plus a couple more for power and control signals).



    SSD "drives" are just memory with an SATA controller so that they can be used in place of a disk drive without any other changes to the computer. Most of the SSD drives that you hear about use flash memory. Flash memory is far cheaper than the RAM that does most of the calculation work in a computer, which makes it economical to consider using flash instead of a hard disk for some applications. Flash memory also does not require power to hold it's memory state, so you can turn off the power and not lose your information, just like a disk drive.



    Although flash is cheaper than RAM, it is not nearly as fast. To fully explain why takes me about an afternoon -- I actually teach a class on this. But the short version is that a bit of flash memory is much larger than a bit of RAM, and size roughly equals speed in semiconductors. Smaller = Faster.



    You are partially correct in that the mechanical nature of disk drives limits their Seek performance. So, yes, SSD's are much faster in that department. But hard drives are very, very fast at reading and writing a lot of data. SSD's will not surpass hard drives in performance or cost for handling large amounts of data anytime soon. Eventually we will run into physical limits regarding the size and speed of our current idea of semiconductors. That will lead to new technologies, and it is hard to guess what will happen to performance and cost then. It is conceivable that, 100 years from now, solid state memories might become more economical than hard drives. But it won't happen until some major technology shift.



    There is more to the story... SSDs are faster at reading than they are at writing, for example. Again, that makes them better for things like the operating system, which doesn't change rapidly compared to data. But anything that requires saving lots of memory will be much faster on a hard drive.



    Solid-state drives can be made that are much faster than a disk drive, but not with flash memory. A battery-backed RAM drive can do the job, but an 8GB RAM drive costs something like $600, compared to 1,000GB of disk for $100.



    But even a RAM drive is not all that much faster than a hard disk in most applications because it is limited by the performance of the SATA bus. So you spend a ton of money for a minuscule amount of drive space that loses its memory when it loses power, and you still don't get a huge performance increase. :(



    You are also correct in thinking that disk performance is a major bottleneck in today's computers. So, if you really want to speed up your disk drives, the way to do it is RAID 0 (or 0+1 if you want both speed and reliability). RAID 0 uses two or more identical disk drives in a way that splits up read and write across the drives. This has several advantages, but one obvious advantage is that it divides the transfer across two or more SATA channels, thereby multiplying the throughput of the array. This improves performance dramatically. It turns out that modern motherboards are approximately as fast as two SATA channels, so two drives in your array is all you need for a low-cost performance improvement.



    In other words, you can buy two 1-TB drives for $100 each and make a 2-TB array that is nearly double the throughput of a single hard drive. Server versions of Windows have RAID software built in, so that's all you need -- just two disk drives -- to double your performance. It's a sweet deal. With XP/Vista/Win7 you will need to add either software or a RAID card complete the job, but they are cheap these days, too. I wouldn't be surprised if there is open-source RAID software, although I have never looked.



    The bottom line is that SSDs are not the answer to overall disk performance, but the cheapest possible RAID configuration is.



    B
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