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  1. #1
    Sep 2013

    What if you put "Stability" at the top of your wish list?


    This is my first post to the site, though I have been reading your forums for some months. Thank you for your service in helping me and others like me.

    My question is: If you value stability of the system, especially compatibility and stability of hardware, drivers and software working together, would you change anything on the current mid-range system?

    Background on my question
    I want to build a PC to replace a ten year-old system running WinXP. If I could, I would go back to the small business shop that built the one I have. I believe buying a system built locally by someone who took the time to do it right saved me hours of frustration with compatibilty issues. Unfortunately, his business didn't survive.

    My reasons for building one this time around are:
    1)I think it will be fun to build one, and 2)If I start from scratch and load a "clean" installation of the OS, the resulting system will boot faster and be more stable than buying a commercially built system. 3) I will learn things in the process that will help me maintain a stable system for the next five years.

    When comparing to my old system, the three things I would like to improve are:
    1. I would like the system to boot from a cold start to desktop in less than a minute.
    2. I would like to be running two monitors at the same time, simply because I think that it will be cool to give each of my eyeballs its' own monitor to look at.
    3. I would like for my wife to not call me when I am travelling to report that the computer is taking forever to start up, freezing, or the default: "something strange just happened, what should I do?" My life is increasingly being defined as travelling for work, and returning home to fix what broke while I was away so I can leave again.

    I believe the main sources of instability in our old system relate to: Accumulated crap from software installs and upgrades, damaged and obsolete drivers in the video card and other components, and the rapidly widening gap between applications, operating system and component drivers. I thought about just backing up the data files, wiping the hard disks and doing a clean install. However, given that it is a WinXP system on a motherboard that only supports PATA, not SATA drives, I conclude it is time to move to a younger model. It also seems more fun than putting up crown molding and painting the living room.

    You will ask, "what do we use the machine for?" The honest answer is mostly office applications: MS-Office, Quicken, Web Search, watching videos, simple computer games and occasionally some video and photo editing. I would probably experiment with some computer games if I had a system that worked well enough to make the experience engaging.

    I was thinking to just buy the components for the mid-range system because that's about how much money I want to spend. It has the dual monitor support on the graphics card, a SSD which I believe to be the magic key to a fast boot, and probably enough capacity in the data pipes to load these bloated application files as fast as they can be loaded. You will note that building a system for the lowest cost is not so important to me.

    Then I started to wonder about the relative newness of the listed components. Is it better to spec components that have been out for a year and established reliability and compatibility?

    I tried to write this in a way that could provoke some thought and diversity of opinions. I will appreciate all input. Just to end with the question: If you were to build a modest system with a premium on reliability and stability, would you make any changes to the current mid-range system to incorporate components with more established history? If so, what do you recommend? Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    Dec 2000
    a galaxy far, far away...

    Re: What if you put "Stability" at the top of your wish list?

    If you want your PC to boot fast (and continue to do so), simply use an SSD as your primary drive.
    IMHO, probably the number one reason for computer slowdowns over time is malware/adware. I use Avast (free) and rarely have had problems. If I do get a severe malware infection, it's my own fault. I've never been able to disinfect my PC with ANY anti-virus once it's been infected so I simply do a "soft-rebuild".
    With Windows XP, I would do a soft rebuild every six months to restore performance. Now, using an SSD and Windows 7, I think I've gone 2 years without a soft-rebuild and I'm still doing great. I have more problems with my internet providers choppy performance than my PC itself. I dumped them and went with FIOS and have been very, very happy!!

    My video "tribute" to Armed Assault.

  3. #3
    sttubs is offline Always learning something
    Feb 2004
    Rock Falls, IL

    Re: What if you put "Stability" at the top of your wish list?

    The mid range build should be nice & stable for you. The memory has gone up in price lately. The SSD listed is a little old, OCZ's current models are the Vertex 4 or Vector SSD. The Samsung 840Pro is a nice unit. If you are from the US will probably have the best prices.
    AMD 8350 w/Xigmatek Dark Knight Night Hawk Ed - Asus M5A99FX PRO R2.0 w/4x4gb GSkill Ripjaws 1600 CL7 - Samsung 850 Evo 500gb - WD Black 5Tb - Gigabyte 980 Ti Xtreme Gaming OC Ed - Win 10 Pro 64bit - Lite-On iHES108 - White Corsair 500r w/Corsair AX860i 860W - ASUS VG248QE 144Hz


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