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#48853 by MtnArch
Sat Jun 26, 2010 10:29 pm
I know that this thread dates back to 2005, but I'm at a point of chucking my current desktop that I bought a year ago (from a local computer shop) that continually throws errors (you name it ... it's seen it - no keyboard, new CPU, no boot record, etc.) and I've spent more time troubleshooting it than it's worth.

Neil (or anyone else) - what would be your suggestion(s) for a 75th and a 90th percentile system for today, given what X3 requires?

#48854 by Nick Pyner
Sun Jun 27, 2010 8:00 am
MtnArch wrote:given what X3 requires?

I don't think DataCad is particularly demanding. I'm pretty sick of my laptop but the problems are all down to operations like startup and house keeping. When it come to running DataCad, it really is quite OK, and any new desktop would run a better processor than mine.

The operating system is likely to be the cause of my woes. It is Vista Biz. I suspect the criterion these days is the o/s and you have to have the architecture of the day to match it. In short, you get beaten by the bloat.

I was seriously impressed when using my brother-in-law's Vista Desktop. It was a quad core 2.8 with 2Gb of RAM. I suspect the four cores are what is needed, and my next box won't have anything less. I don't think there is anything unusual about four-core chips these days.

It may be that there is nothing seriously wrong with your computer, it's just that the operating system is in a mess. That can be fixed by a clean install.
#48856 by MtnArch
Sun Jun 27, 2010 10:18 am
It's had a clean install done - twice! Each time the problems keep coming back. An initial guess is there are problems with the HD, but all tests show it to be okay. I think it's just possessed!
#48857 by RParker
Sun Jun 27, 2010 11:21 am
MtnArch wrote:It's had a clean install done - twice! Each time the problems keep coming back. An initial guess is there are problems with the HD, but all tests show it to be okay. I think it's just possessed!

I've had the same thing happen - turned out to be a bad memory (ram) chip. Local shop was able to test and saved a whole bunch of money by replacing the ram instead of the box.
#48858 by Neil Blanchard
Sun Jun 27, 2010 12:08 pm
Yes, it could be bad RAM, or it can be a failing motherboard (often in the power regulation section).

I would get a fast Intel dual core, or possibly a quad core if your budget allows, with 4-8GB of RAM. Get 4GB if you will be using a 32bit flavor of Windows (and you will "see" 3GB) or if you can use a 64bit version, go for the 8GB. RAM is pretty low cost these days. I'd get 500GB-1TB hard drive at a minimum. Video card should have dual DVI outputs, so you can use two LCD monitors.
#48860 by MtnArch
Sun Jun 27, 2010 12:33 pm
They've tried swapping almost everything out with other products trying to pinpoint it, but nothing failed or didn't fail. Really frustrating!

Thanks for all of the input, though!
#48865 by Nick Pyner
Sun Jun 27, 2010 7:23 pm
MtnArch wrote:They've tried swapping almost everything out with other products trying to pinpoint it, but nothing failed or didn't fail.

I assume that includes switching the RAM? The only time I have experienced something similar, it was the RAM. It cost me a lot of time, stress, and money to fix that.

I guess, if they really have been assiduious in this, the motherboard is due for retirement, and you may find that is all that is needed. The rest of your gear is pretty new, after all.

There was a season when a lot of cheapo short-lived capacitors were put on motherboards. When they died the motherboard died but, I understand, died permanently, so this is probably not your particular problem. You will see now that most motherboards have "quality capacitors" written on the box. Make sure yours does too.
#48867 by MtnArch
Sun Jun 27, 2010 11:20 pm
Yeah - they swapped out the RAM, too. I'm just going to give up on this box and see if they'll take it in trade (since it's only a year old and they built it) towards a newer, better one.
#68662 by Neil Blanchard
Wed Apr 27, 2016 8:52 am
I will be building a new Windows computer this weekend - actually my son Nicolas will be building it:

Intel i5 6600K 3.5GHz CPU with Scythe Kotetsu heatsink
16GB DDR4 low latency SDRAM
Samsung M.2 500GB SSD (boots wicked fast!)
2TB Western Digital Black hard drive (5 year warranty, high performance)
Asus Z170 LGA1151 motherboard (overclocking potential)
FSP AURUM 92+ 650W 80 Plus Platinum PSU ( >92% efficient)
Phanteks Enthoo Pro M ATX midtower case - power supply and hard drive at the bottom, and 140mm fans
Windows 10 Home Full (comes on USB flash drive) and Asus DVD burner drive (for legacy optical disks!)

It only lacks a video card to be a +90th Percentile system - nVidia is coming our with new GPU's in a month or two, and I will decide what to get then. The onboard video is pretty good now, and the motherboard has 4 (FOUR!) video output ports: VGA (analog), DVI (digital and being phased out), HDMI, and Display Port, too. It also has 3 (THREE!) slots capable of having a video card.

I am looking forward to the M.2 SSD in particular. Going back to Windows is not great, but I will be using Win10 with ClassicShell, - so it will look and work like Win7, at least.

I'll post pictures when I can.
#68758 by Neil Blanchard
Sat Apr 30, 2016 2:03 pm
Okay, here's some pictures:


Video card coming soon, after the next gen nVidia chips come - they are close to 2X faster than the current gen! The loop of wire (USB 3.0 front ports) will get rerouted up out of the way.

It is currently overclocked to 4.0gHz at ~1.28 volts, and sitting at 49-50C right now, running Folding@Home on high, which is very CPU intensive.

The star of the show is actually the M.2 SSD which is the small green daughterboard with the white label near the lower right of the motherboard. It boots from off to Windows login in 5-6 seconds.
#68764 by David A. Giesselman
Sat Apr 30, 2016 4:15 pm
I really like the PSU being in the bottom of the case!
#68780 by Neil Blanchard
Mon May 02, 2016 10:18 am
Hi Dave,

Yes, this is something that originated with the Antec P180 case - Antec consulted with Mike Chin who started the site Silent PC Review, and now it has been adopted by many designs. The hard drive bays are at the front of the "tunnel" that houses the PSU. On the Phanteks case I used, there is a grill above the PSU, so it is not sealed. There are filters on the bottom air intake into the PSU, and on the front intake (though the side slots are not filtered). The top is also a grill, which would be a place to mount a large radiator, if you were water cooling it.

The video cards today are the hottest things in the system, followed by the CPU, so putting the hard drives and the PSU at the bottom keep them cooler.
#68791 by Neil Blanchard
Tue May 03, 2016 7:57 am
For 2D work in DataCAD it is pretty darn good. Having plenty of system RAM is important, because video uses some of this. I have been working here at work, on a (first gen?) i3 with the onboard video for a long time; and it has only 8GB of system RAM; video uses 2GB. My new home computer is FAR faster than this one, because the Intel video is much better now in the 6th gen i5, and because I have 16GB of system RAM.

I did open some DataCAD drawings with all 3D entities at home, and then it slows down significantly. And certainly to work in SketchUp, you will want a very fast video card.

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