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I want to build you a computer

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I've been talking to Brad and he's going to be building me a machine. I'll post a review here when it's received, but from previous dealings with him and all the other feedback from other happy customers, I know I'll get nothing but the best :)

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Review, huh?

Brad didn't build my computer, but he mailed me a piece of his brain to help me build one.

...ok, but really, he walked me through choosing parts and gave some build advice and my computer hasn't really had any problem at all. It's been running great since May 2011 because of this guy. To anyone on the fence reading this: you can trust him, he knows his stuff.

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Review, huh?

Brad didn't build my computer, but he mailed me a piece of his brain to help me build one.

...ok, but really, he walked me through choosing parts and gave some build advice and my computer hasn't really had any problem at all. It's been running great since May 2011 because of this guy. To anyone on the fence reading this: you can trust him, he knows his stuff.

i should point out that the thread was 52 emails long before i told him to put up (buy the stuff) or shut up (go away) =)

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This is sorta off topic, but not worth making a whole new thread for:

My 160GB PS3 recently died due to power issues and I'm thinking about recycling as many parts as I can, if I cannot fix it.

Has anyone ever tried to use a PS3 hard drive as an external backup drive for a PC and maybe PS3 backup files? If so, what hardware and software did you use and what is that process of making this conversion?

Also, would it be possible to reuse the PS3's blu-ray drive on my PC?

Any other ideas of what I can do with the other parts, besides sell them as spares?

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This is sorta off topic, but not worth making a whole new thread for:

My 160GB PS3 recently died due to power issues and I'm thinking about recycling as many parts as I can, if I cannot fix it.

Has anyone ever tried to use a PS3 hard drive as an external backup drive for a PC and maybe PS3 backup files? If so, what hardware and software did you use and what is that process of making this conversion?

Also, would it be possible to reuse the PS3's blu-ray drive on my PC?

Any other ideas of what I can do with the other parts, besides sell them as spares?

the HDD should be the same as any other one...just plan on formatting it when you get it out.

blu-ray drive, no. honestly you can usually sell the whole pile of parts on ebay or craigslist for ~50$-75$ if you really want.

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Question to you, prophetik, since this thread is alive again:

I know a couple years back you preferred WD hard drives to any other company, their caviar black series in particular. Are they still good these days? I'm likely going to need another HD soon, since my current ones are filling up quickly, and I'm looking at various 1TB and 2TB drives (not sure what size I want to get). Thoughts?

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Question to you, prophetik, since this thread is alive again:

I know a couple years back you preferred WD hard drives to any other company, their caviar black series in particular. Are they still good these days? I'm likely going to need another HD soon, since my current ones are filling up quickly, and I'm looking at various 1TB and 2TB drives (not sure what size I want to get). Thoughts?

Totally going to ninja this.

Yes, and don't get Caviar Blues. Hard drives are pretty much the most volatile part of a PC and WD has a good track record.

What say you, prophetik?

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blues are fine for general use.

HDDs have come pretty far in the last year or so, honestly, as the removal of most of the taiwanese factories from the production line forced them to actually fix the issues plaguing their factories (and in turn, the drives themselves). i'm fine with most of the new seagate drives, and the offbrands are decent if nothing else. i still prefer caviar, though, over other drives if price is equal.

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On the note of hard drives, I need to get a new one for my laptop.

What are your opinions on the Seagate Momentus XT hybrids (a standard hard drive with a small NAND flash amount that loads commonly used programs into it)?

Is it worth going with that over a WD 7200rpm assuming equal price?

This is going into a laptop that I intend to use for gaming, so please keep that in mind.

Edited by HoopyFrood

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read this for my opinion on hybrids.

i am of the opinion that, since laptops should never be primary storage, SSDs are always the better option. they're more durable to the dings and knocks that laptops often take, they're exceptionally fast, they generate little heat, and they last as long as the laptop if not more, whereas standard HDDs are expensive for the size, noisy, slow, and susceptible to most of the environmental issues that laptops are exposed to.

a 120gb Vertex 3 or Agility 3 or Enhanced Cronos is 85$. this is stupid cheap. buy that instead. my desktop primary is a 120gb SSD, and not only does it boot W7 cold in 30s, i've got six games (including two MMOs) on it and don't have issues with space or loading times. get an external for heavy storage.

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I can vouch for the 120 SSD, I use to have a 32 gb one, and I couldn't upgrade to SP1 for a year due to space.

I've got a question, one of my friends just got an older computer which while can still run new games on the lowest settings, I was wondering what's a way to upgrade for cheap, and I mean really cheap. The way I see it, changing just about anything in there will make it so the only thing left will be the case. What would you recommend, and on a side note, what do you think about the AMD A10-5800k?

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it's pretty hard to recommend upgrades when you don't tell me what he's running. what gpu, ram, and cpu are in it? how old is it?

i would not recommend upgrading to any AMD chip at this point. some of the numbers look ok, but real-world performance is lacking. that said, i wouldn't pay less than 100$ for a CPU on a gaming machine, so there's that too. the APUs that AMD is selling is OK if you know you can't go with a graphics card, but who builds a gaming machine with no graphics card? it wouldn't make any sense.

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I'm thinking of building, or asking to have built, a computer designed for longevity and bang for the buck. Something like the $1000 gaming PC in the system value builds on Tom's Hardware, just as a rough example.

Would there be any reason to wait a few months? Perhaps for any specific, really good components to come down in price or for some other reason I'm not seeing.

I'm out of touch, and I've never built a PC (all I've done is some basic research, although that a couple years ago), so I figured that this would be the best starter question.

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OK, another hard drive question:

If a drive is only going to be used as a storage duplicate of another drive for backup purposes, are the those cheaper "green" drives good enough for that? What about video playback off of them?

I'm not going to be installing programs or anything of that sort on them, I know they're much slower than the 7200 drives, but those 7200 drives are also so much more expensive. I'm looking at the Samsung EcoGreen F4, WD Caviar Green and Seagate Barracuda Green specifically right now and I'd like an opinion. I'd rather not spend a huge amount of money on top-performance if I don't actually need top performance.

Also, are the 3TB drives worth it right now? I'm trying to decide on whether I should instead get two 3TB drives instead of three 2TB drives.

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5400 rpm drives are slower, but they aren't that slow

I've actually got a 1.5TB WD green for my external storage and streaming stuff off of it is just fine

Edited by Gollgagh

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5400rpm drives are great for storage, but don't load games and stuf on them. like, my backups are 5400rpms (because i'm poor), and my htpc stores movies on a 5400rpm drive.

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If you need to reinstall Windows on your custom-built PC (the one you build for me), does it matter if your disk is suited for a specific device(ie Dell)?

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If you need to reinstall Windows on your custom-built PC (the one you build for me), does it matter if your disk is suited for a specific device(ie Dell)?

yes, since that installs all the crap that comes with dells, not to mention probably won't work since your computer isn't signed as a dell.

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When you are considering hard drives for backup purposes, you need to be careful of issues, but you may be worrying about the wrong issues. Here's why.

Between these three types of drives, it doesn't matter whether you use "green" or "black" or "blue" (but "red" is different, see below) for backups. All of these drives are differentiated by speed, price and power consumption, not by storage space. Thus, green drives are clearly superior to blue or black if we just consider those three, because speed is irrelevant for backups.

What you need to worry about is something called an "unrecoverable read error," which tends to happen once in about every 10TB written to green/blue/black drives, which nowadays is unacceptably high. If you are backing up 2TB of data, for example, you have a 10% chance of 512 bytes (one sector) of that data being destroyed by corruption. These errors usually occur as the drives sit in storage over time, because cosmic rays and magnetic fields slowly eat away at the data. I have two zip files from 1997 that I just discovered had succumbed to this error at some point.

A one-in-ten-trillion shot sounds like no big deal, but this is a serious issue because if you are backing up huge files, like a 30GB mail inbox, one byte out of order can destroy all the E-Mail.

The issue is made worse by the issues of compression and encryption. Encrypted files are stored out of order, and sometimes the next block of data depends on the previous block of data being able to be successfully decrypted. If you encrypt or compress a hard drive, and then it develops an unrecoverable read error, all of the data on the drive can be lost.

There are two solutions to this problem: you can buy "enterprise grade" hard drives, such as Seagate Constellations, which are ten times less likely to develop the issue and far faster than standard desktop-grade drives - but they cost twice as much as desktop drives. The second solution is that, every month, you run a program that reads every single byte of every backup drive and compares it to the original. Since unrecoverable read errors are more likely to occur when bytes haven't been read for a long time, reading frequently reduces their likelihood.

Myself, I have 12TB in a RAID 6. Every fourth Saturday and Sunday, I retrieve four cheap 3TB green drives from work and synchronize them to the main array, and then have the computer verify every byte on all backup drives.

But if you don't have a RAID, and you are just copying one drive to another, you don't have that initial redundancy from the RAID. In that case, consider buying an enterprise-grade drive to use as your main drive (since it will be fast, and those drives rarely fail), using the current cheap drive as the backup for an absolute last resort, and reading every file from the backup drive when you perform a backup. Most likely, the enterprise drive will never fail and the desktop drive will be more useful in the case you get infected with a virus.

Note: this solution is expensive. It will likely cost $200. Keep in mind that data recovery is more expensive, and desktop drives are failure-prone. Believe it or not, I had one of the desktop drives fail WHILE IT WAS MAKING A BACKUP - and Kroll Ontrack wanted $6,000 to recover it. I was able to do it myself by teaching myself about NTFS from the ground up, losing four entire Saturdays and Sundays and still paying $1,700.

Remember, people think nothing of paying $500-1000/yr for expensive cameras or cell phone service with cameras and videos - and then after ten years, they place their $10,000 worth of videos on a $50 backup drive (if they back up at all) and wonder why they lost all the pictures.

OK, another hard drive question:

If a drive is only going to be used as a storage duplicate of another drive for backup purposes, are the those cheaper "green" drives good enough for that? What about video playback off of them?

I'm not going to be installing programs or anything of that sort on them, I know they're much slower than the 7200 drives, but those 7200 drives are also so much more expensive. I'm looking at the Samsung EcoGreen F4, WD Caviar Green and Seagate Barracuda Green specifically right now and I'd like an opinion. I'd rather not spend a huge amount of money on top-performance if I don't actually need top performance.

Also, are the 3TB drives worth it right now? I'm trying to decide on whether I should instead get two 3TB drives instead of three 2TB drives.

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Time to post a review of the machine I picked up from Brad last Sunday (we live about 3 hours apart, so we met up rather than have it shipped).

The machine is great, and the only trouble I've had with it so far is that the front USB ports, which I don't really need to use anyway, don't seem to be drawing enough power. I looked at the connections myself - we both think something got knocked loose a bit in transit - and my first attempt didn't solve the issue. But, that's really minor anyway, since there are enough ports on the back.

Putting together a computer isn't all that hard, but where Brad does more than most is his attention to detail and perfectionism. The inside is seriously *perfect*: well laid out, all the cords out of the way and neat, making it really easy to do additional upgrades (I added a laptop drive as a second hard drive). He also pre-installed things like firefox and some useful addons.

The other big plus was that when he gave me an initial price and parts list, I'd suggested just getting 6 GB of RAM. When I paid him a week after that, he went to order, found comparable RAM that was the same price for 8 GB, and made that swap. I wasn't expecting it (and didn't notice it in the parts list he sent back after he'd ordered, oops!) so it was a nice surprise to realize it was better than I expected.

I highly recommend him to anyone wanting a computer built.

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The more I read about the machines Brad builds the more I realize I need one of his computers

then I look in my wallet and remember why I can't have one

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Time to post a review of the machine I picked up from Brad last Sunday (we live about 3 hours apart, so we met up rather than have it shipped).

The machine is great, and the only trouble I've had with it so far is that the front USB ports, which I don't really need to use anyway, don't seem to be drawing enough power. I looked at the connections myself - we both think something got knocked loose a bit in transit - and my first attempt didn't solve the issue. But, that's really minor anyway, since there are enough ports on the back.

Putting together a computer isn't all that hard, but where Brad does more than most is his attention to detail and perfectionism. The inside is seriously *perfect*: well laid out, all the cords out of the way and neat, making it really easy to do additional upgrades (I added a laptop drive as a second hard drive). He also pre-installed things like firefox and some useful addons.

The other big plus was that when he gave me an initial price and parts list, I'd suggested just getting 6 GB of RAM. When I paid him a week after that, he went to order, found comparable RAM that was the same price for 8 GB, and made that swap. I wasn't expecting it (and didn't notice it in the parts list he sent back after he'd ordered, oops!) so it was a nice surprise to realize it was better than I expected.

I highly recommend him to anyone wanting a computer built.

mike forgot the part where we met at a five guys and i delivered the machine, and then we hung out for a little while while marveling at the 50-flavor pop dispenser. also a critical part of this build.

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mike forgot the part where we met at a five guys and i delivered the machine, and then we hung out for a little while while marveling at the 50-flavor pop dispenser. also a critical part of this build.

Heh, yes. Best pop machine ever.

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