Saturday, 4 April 2009

Windows computing: learning part II

So I've got a long way down the road to upgrading my computer. As ever, as I learn more, the more find I don't know and the more my original ideas have to change. I've also had a bit of assistance in understanding how some of this works.

Here's where I'm at:

The most important thing I'm learning (and this will be useful for those buying a new system) is that by buying a well specified machine first off, from a good source, I have a whole load of very good system components. The machine is over 3 years old but most stuff is suitable for quality upgrades with current components. In the past, I've found technology has passed my system components by, limiting my upgrade options. Not now. [For the nerdy: I find my motherboard is fully PCI-Express & SATA 3.0 compliant, with plenty of expansion space and will take DDR2 667 to 8GB. That's far more capability than I was expecting.]

For the first time in my PC buying life, I think standards are sufficiently stable that I can reasonably expect current upgrades to be compatible with any box I put together in 2 or 3 years' time. In the past I bought what I thought were future-proof systems, only for all the standards to move. This also falls into line with my theory that for most uses, computing power is converging on sufficiency.

I'm going to move my main working storage out of the box but not Ethernet, as I was planning. Turns out there's this external SATA (eSATA) spec. Pretty obvious in hindsight but I wasn't aware of it before. (I don't keep up to date with all technical stuff - prefer to update my knowledge as needed.) Looks easy enough to install a controller and external box. This will make future system upgrades easier - I can just move the storage over to a new configuration, or just do an intenals upgrade on the current box. [Nerdy bit: I'll be running 2 eSATA boxes each as RAID0, with the PCI controller running RAID1 between them. That way I get fast speed and redundancy against drive and controller failure.]

On top of all that, a memory upgrade and an SSD to replace my boot drive. Seems like a lot, but I reckon I can do the whole thing for about $600 (controller, 2 drive bays, 4 drives @500GB, memory & SSD), which is what I've typically paid for single drive upgrades in the past. (I remember doing a storage upgrade to 500MB for about that money years ago - at the time that storage had just dropped to under £1 per MB. Now it's more like £0.10 per GB.)

No comments:

Post a Comment

I like comments, especially constructive ones.
Comments get emailed directly to me before publishing , so if you want to get in touch drop a comment.
All comments moderated by me before being published, keeps the spam at bay.