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HP Tower w/ 12GB Ram, dual boot Windows 7 and 8

Posted on 2014-03-10
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Last Modified: 2014-03-14
I'm looking at this computer at Costco and wondering if it's a) a good idea and b) a good deal. What are your thoughts?  I want to use it primarily with my music program which is SONAR X3 Producer. Will the 12GB be noticeably more robust than my current 8GB?

Thanks,
John
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Question by:gabrielPennyback
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Joe Jenkins earned 300 total points
ID: 39919622
Hello.

I don't see a link to the actual system so I can't validate some of your questions.  The amount of RAM won't necessarily give you a "faster" experience but can't hurt.  Many things affect the performance, particularly with intensive software like music production software.  I have used Acid Studio, Virtual DJ (extensively) and Sony Vegas and many Adobe products and when you get into multiple layers , etc, there are quite a few factors that come into play.

Some notable ones include:
Speed of the RAM
Speed of the Processor
Speed of the front side buss
Type and speed of hard drives

Hard drive almost always slow things down.  They are the slowest item on the machine in many cases.  If the newer machine has SSD hard drives compared to 5400 RPM or 7200 RPM standard hard drives, you will see a marked difference in overall speed and performance.  

Having a good add-on card for video and audio helps quite a bit as well.  Music and video software is also very processor intensive, particularly when using higher bitrates.  Being able to offload some of those calculations onto quality add-on cards helps take some load off of the processor.

I hope this helps.
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by:gabrielPennyback
ID: 39919739
RE: "If the newer machine has SSD hard drives compared to 5400 RPM or 7200 RPM standard hard drives, you will see a marked difference in overall speed and performance.'  Very helpful info, it never occurred to me to look for that. Thanks!

I'm going to leave the question open for a little while, but i really appreciate your advice.

~ John
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by:nobus
ID: 39920320
any reason for the dual boot?
what is the current ram use on your system?  maybe you don't even need 8 gb, since the minimum required is 2 GB  :  https://www.cakewalk.com/products/SONAR/X3-Producer/

you can check that by running task manager
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by:Joe Jenkins
ID: 39920434
John, no problem.  Happy to help.  

Nobus, I have seen some of these machines that he's talking about from Costco.  Many times the tags are marked wrong and says "dual-boot" but in reality, they come installed with Windows 7 and include a disc to upgrade to Windows 8.  I saw one like this last weekend in fact.  I'm seeing a lot of our corporate laptops come in this way as well.
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by:SandeepWalve
SandeepWalve earned 100 total points
ID: 39920535
Make sure you have good amount of Cache Memory for your CPU. 4 MB or 8 MB Cache Memory is good to start with. Higher the Cache memory your CPU will be quicker in performance.

Not sure what type of RAM is given in this, but I prefer Corsair RAM with Heatsink which perform much better than normal RAM. Maximum MHz you have the RAM will perform better.
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by:gabrielPennyback
ID: 39920886
This is all great input. Couple of questions:
What kind of computers (or motherboard or OS) come with Corsair RAM with Heatsink
What would a computer that has all of the features mentioned be likely to cost?
What store would be likely to have one? I'd be a uncomfortable buying something like this online
Regarding the double boot, the way the guy at Costco put it was that you could switch between 7 and 8, not run both simultaneously which I've heard is possible.

Thanks,
John
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by:gabrielPennyback
ID: 39920945
One more question: There's an HHD vs SDD comparison that I resd here: http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9134468/Review_Hard_disk_vs._solid_state_drive_is_an_SSD_worth_the_money_?taxonomyId=12&pageNumber=3

The article concluded with this line: "The final word: For most users, this a good time to consider buying a higher-end HDD that should deliver more-than-enough performance -- and plenty of room to grow -- while you wait for SSD prices to drop further."

Can you give me a list of all the specs I should be looking for in an HDD computer? Processor (Is Intel a must for my purposes?), drive speed, cache, ram, etc.

Thanks,
John
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by:Joe Jenkins
ID: 39921039
Depending on the part of the country you are located in, there are Tiger Direct locations (that used to be called CompUSA) that can offer a machine like this.  It's rare you're going to see something with these kind of specs off the shelf at a big box store like Best Buy.  You can certainly get a machine with similar specs and change out the SSD drives yourself.  It's very easy and usually the software to clone the current drive to the new SSDs are included with the software.
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by:nobus
ID: 39921052
i always try to use Intel SSD : http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/solid-state-drives/solid-state-drives-ssd.html

they're very good - i use one for 3 years now, and they are best spent money i ever had for a PC -  it boots up in 20 sec !
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by:Joe Jenkins
ID: 39921079
Yes, I agree on the Intel SSDs.  I have a couple of these in notebooks and they are excellent.
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by:gabrielPennyback
ID: 39924573
The more answers I get the more questions I have! If this gets too tedious, please let me know and I'll reward points and continue my questions in a new post.

Best Buy has a DELL desktop for $829.99 w/ these features:   4th gen Core i7  |  3.4Ghz (with Turbo Boost up to 3.9Ghz)  |  8MB CACHE  |  8GB RAM (expandable to 32GB)  |  1TB HD  |  Windows 7 (which I keep hearing is much better than 8 or 8.1)

So, if I got this machine and swapped drives with an SSD, would I be able to install the Windows 7 OS on the SSD Drive with no issues at all?

The least expensive Desktop SSD's I've seen are here: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=7739494&CatId=5300  and  http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=8466638&csid=_61    Are they good?

The bottom line for me I guess is can I (with virtually no hardware aptitude) put together a computer with a fast reliable processor (like Intel 4th Gen i7), hi cache, 8GB RAM or better, HDMI and VGA options for monitor, and Windows 7 installed on the SSD for under $1,000?

Thanks,
John
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by:Joe Jenkins
ID: 39925430
That machine would be an excellent choice.  

I would choose the Samsung over the ADATA if those were my options.  The Samsung has good reviews.  I spoke to my rep at Tiger Direct and he agrees that it's an excellent drive.

You shouldn't have to reinstall anything.  Most of these drives come with software that allows you to pretty easily transfer the entire contents of the old drive to the new drive.  

I have faith in you!
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by:Joe Jenkins
ID: 39925434
One final comment on your last paragraph, even with no aptitude, it's not as hard as it looks.  You have people like us here to help but replacing the hard drive with an SSD is done almost every day by people who also have no experience with it.  

You should be fine.
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by:nobus
nobus earned 100 total points
ID: 39925698
>>  can I (with virtually no hardware aptitude) put together a computer with a fast reliable processor   <<   sure you can.
just be sure to read up the motherboard manual, with install details, and following it.
then you can choose in detail what you want
i would suggest an ASUS MOTHERBOARD, - you've already chosen the cpu
with Questions, you can ask here

ps your link does not work for me
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by:gabrielPennyback
ID: 39927824
Thanks for the continuing responses.  

For joejenkinsjax
RE: "You shouldn't have to reinstall anything.  Most of these drives come with software that allows you to pretty easily transfer the entire contents of the old drive to the new drive."  My understanding is that you can't just transfer an OS from one drive to another, it has to go through an installation process. Can you just transfer it and all the registry items and dlls go exactly where they need to go, NO issues? That would be great if true.

For nobus:
RE: "i would suggest an ASUS MOTHERBOARD ..." I don't know what motherboard comes with the Dell XPS desktop described above. Does it matter?

Also what are your opinions on Windows 7 vs 8?
Thanks,
John
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by:Joe Jenkins
Joe Jenkins earned 300 total points
ID: 39927935
On your first question, Yes, there is software available that "clones" a drive.  It takes an exact copy of the source drive and copies it to the new drive.  The SSD software is typically included.  If not included, there are many freely available online that you can get online.

I believe that nobus was answering your question literally of "building" a machine.  IN this case, you're not building the machine from the ground up but purchasing an already built machine and replacing 1 component.

Windows 7 vs 8.1 -  I have used Windows 8/8.1 since the beta release on my laptops and have not experienced any of the nuances and general "disdain" for it that maybe purists complain about.  Working with and supporting computers has been my career for nearly 20 years and it's software.  You adapt to the changes and move on.  Most of people's complaints are that they don't like how it looks.  Truth be told, honestly, once you click the "desktop" pane and move into the desktop, it looks and works just like Windows 7.  Windows 8.1 is very stable and is great with hardware recognition out of the box.  I have found very few pieces of software that aren't compatible with it so I don't see any issues with it.  However, if you are currently using Windows 7 and are comfortable with it, there is no reason that Windows 7 won't continue to work great for you for the foreseeable future. It will be supported with patches for many years to come so it will be great for you.
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by:gabrielPennyback
ID: 39927996
Thanks, Joe (I'm going to assume that that's your firstname :- )  So that old registry/dll problem is a thing of the past? That would be great. I'm definitely getting close to feeling that I can make an informed decision. Am I correct in assuming that I can keep the installed hard drive and just add the SSD and make it my boot drive?

And thanks for confirming my assumption about Nobus' post.

I must say I hate the chopped up look of Windows 8 (what were they thinking!!?) but it's good to hear that it's not the performance problem people keep implying it is.

Thanks,
John
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by:gabrielPennyback
ID: 39928004
I may still post some more questions here if that's okay, I just wanted to get some points out there sooner rather than later.

Thanks,
John
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by:gabrielPennyback
ID: 39928024
Here's another similar computer I just came across on Tiger Direct: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=8229471&srkey=A50-G1200  After what you had to say about Windows 8, I'm comfortable with having it for the OS.

Please compare it with the Best Buy computer and let me know if one is noticeably superior. http://www.bestbuy.com/site/xps-desktop-8gb-memory-1tb-hard-drive/4629073.p?id=1219100306654&skuId=4629073&st=4629073&cp=1&lp=1

Thanks,
John
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by:Joe Jenkins
ID: 39928052
They are very similar in configuration.  The only real notable differences is in the RAM and video card.  

If I were choosing, I would take the Asus.  It has 2x the RAM and 2x the Video RAM of the other machine from Best Buy with comparable cost.
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by:nobus
ID: 39928579
i don't see  a link to a Dell XPS ?  -note that none of 2 links do work, i get access denied
>>  I don't know what motherboard comes with the Dell XPS desktop described above. Does it matter?     <<  that is not building it yourself

i suggest ASUS, because they have a good name in motherboards - and support
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