My new pc is alive, for some time now I’ve been trying to work with a computer that blue screened about 3 or 4 times a month. Clearly this wasn’t much fun as work kept getting lost and I kept getting angry, so after nearly 5 years I managed to upgrade and I’m pleased with the results.
I don’t mean to brag, but I am quite pleased with my new set up and wanted to share it with you. My goals were to upgrade for about £600 and to get a powerful system. I decided to keep my Antec P160 case, Zotac 9600GSO graphics card, DVD Writer and power supply unit – they all work fine (though the case is a bit of a monster!) So now I have an Intel i7 950 (with just a stock cooler), 12GB Corsair vengeance DDR3 ram, a 60GB OCZ Vertex 2E SSD and 2x 1TB HDDs running on a Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R motherboard. I had some issues with a lesser known brand of ram but when I ran into problems was fortunate enough to be able to get a full refund and then went for the corsair that I know and trust. Also one of my HDDs was DOA, so that quickly got RMA’d.
With the new parts installed in my case, which was pretty straightforward and only took 2 hours, I was ready to set up. Previously I had a Western Digital Raptor (36GB) for the OS but found that it was a bit too small but the principle was sound. A fast drive that has the OS and standard drives for data; SSD seem to be fast and from my past experience 60GB should be enough. The 2 HDD I strapped together in RAID1 (mirroring) using the motherboard controller. All my data, mp3s, videos, photos etc. sit here, because the drives are mirrored if one fails the other should be able to continue until I can get a replacement installed and that way I can guard against loosing precious family / baby photos that I would be gutted if they were lost.
The first thing I did after installing the OS was to move the Users directory, this is where the vast bulk of my drive space is used and I wanted to move the folder while it was still empty. It wasn’t particularly hard, just follow along with the instructions in the post to move the folder and set up a permanent symlink meaning that anything that points to C:\Users is mapped through to D:\Users (where I have loads of space). Then I copied the data from my old drive into my profile and was very pleased to see the D: start to fill up a bit, the C: was only about 1/2 full – perfect. I would like to also move the hidden C:\ProgramData folder – but… meh! I also wanted to get on with things.
Something else that was handy was moving the inetpub directory off my C: and onto my D: (again keeping the C: for only installs and D: for data). Using the above link this was also really very easy.
After doing that I simply set up the rest of my software, Visual Studio, SSMS, Office, Live Sync etc. and was back in business.
I have read that SSD are prone to failure so I wanted to set up a weekly System Image which I did using Windows Backup – once a week a full image is made of my OS (currently 29GB – which isn’t much space on 1TB) and should / when the SSD fails I will be able to swap in a replacement and restore from my image and be back up and running very quickly. With all my data on the RAID I’m not worried at all about the OS drive.
Now I have a pretty powerful system, it hasn’t thrown any errors, my OS drive is nice and lightweight and it’s FAST. Also there should be room for me to grow, I shouldn’t run out of space or processing power for a while yet. All in all I’m happy with this, now I just have to persuade work to buy me something to replace what I’ve got and that’ll be good too.
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