Upgrading PC

ac12

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I finally found the service manual for the computer.
Only ONE SATA-3 connector, two SATA-2 connectors. drat.
So SATA-3 for the SSD and SATA-2 for the HD + optical.

Only one 3.5" drive bay. That is the problem with these small case computers.
I will have to use a stacked adapter to fit two 2.5" drives (SSD + HD) where the 3.5" drive was.
So, I can't reuse the 3.5" HD, except in an external USB case.
Or . . .
Because the SSD is so small and light, I might be able to find a place to wedge it into place.
Then I can keep the 3.5" drive inside.
 

ac12

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The replacement i5, 4-core CPU arrived today, but . . .
What was someone saying in another post about losing stuff, and buying it again.
I can't find my thermal paste, so I just placed an order with Amazon for another syringe of it. :mad:
I'll probably find it, after the computer is rebuilt. sigh

Ordered a 256GB SSD to use as the system drive. Should arrive next Friday.
If I can't find a place to screw mount the drive, I'm going to take your advice about the 2-side adhesive tape to mount it inside the case.
I agree about these small case. I HATE THEM.

I plan to spend next weekend rebuilding the PC and reinstalling the OS and SW.
 

John King

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^ a quick and dirty fix for the thermal paste is to scrape the paste off the old CPU and apply to new one. Rearrange old paste on the existing heat sink to get a good mating.

Replace when the new paste arrives.

I could donate both a decent case and new thermal paste, but 10,000 odd miles is a bit far to drive ...
 

doady

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I built my computer 12 years ago and the big size is actually one of my main complaints about it. 6 PCI slot motherboard and ATX case is too much, but Micro ATX wasn't as popular back then, so I never thought of it. Even Mini-ITX might be enough today. But of course there should be room for both a 2.5 inch and 3.5 inch drive. Even with NVMe,maybe you want to add a secondary 2.5 inch SSD if not a 3.5 inch HDD. Another thing I must have in a new case is an external drive bay for an optical drive, but that is rare too, especially for mITX cases.

Another important thing to look out for in a computer case is "positive" air flow, i.e. more intake fans than outtake fans. And of course, each intake fan should have a dust filter. Saves a lot of trouble and headache in the long run. And larger cases more likely to have more intake than outtake.

Sad to hear the update could not complete and now computer will not start. Reminds me I had so much trouble with DOS and Windows back in the day. I thought those times were past. Maybe that's why I have waited so long to upgrade to a new machine. Windows 7 on my current machine has been stable for over 10 years now. But then again, the later Windows machines I've built for family and relatives since have been stable too as far as I know. If the failed update was just a rare situation, that is still unacceptable.
 

ac12

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The prior Win10 release was a 19xx, so no longer supported, and that basically forced the update to 20H2.
I could do a Win10 21H1 update/repair from DVD and it will probably fix it. But at this point, why bother, since I planned to do a clean Win10 install when I do the CPU and SSD upgrade.

Agree about positive air flow into the case. VERY few cases have that. Most suck the air out via the power supply, and some have a secondary exhaust fan between the Power supply and the expansion cards. And without an intake filter, the inside gets DUSTY. When I open a PC, I usually take it outside and blow the dust out, before I work on it.

In the case of the small cases, I can stack two 2.5inch drives (SSD + HD or SSDx2) into a carrier that fits into a 3.5" bay.
But in the case of these computers, I want to minimize the $ I put into them, so I plan to keep the 3.5" drives, if I can. If not a 1TB 2.5" HD is about $50.
 

John King

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A pile of decent PC cases ...

E-M1_MkII_JAK_2017-_C312587_eW.jpg
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ac12

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First of two PCs partially done.
CPU replaced (now 4 cores) and SSD installed. The HD will go into my wife's computer, as the data drive, to pair with the SSD.
The CPU replacement went easier than I expected. The hardest part was cleaning the old thermal paste off the CPU heat sink.​
For some reason, the 21H1 install did not like my product key, so I could not install 21H1 directly. So I had to do it in steps.
Win10 1909 installed, updated to 20H2, now updating to 21H1.​

SSD for the 2nd computer is sched to arrive on Fri.
I plan to do it's rebuild next weekend.
 

ac12

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First of two PCs partially done.
CPU replaced (now 4 cores) and SSD installed. The HD will go into my wife's computer, as the data drive, to pair with the SSD.
The CPU replacement went easier than I expected. The hardest part was cleaning the old thermal paste off the CPU heat sink.​
For some reason, the 21H1 install did not like my product key, so I could not install 21H1 directly. So I had to do it in steps.
Win10 1909 installed, updated to 20H2, now updating to 21H1.​

SSD for the 2nd computer is sched to arrive on Fri.
I plan to do it's rebuild next weekend.

First PC is up and running on 21H1 :)
The 20H2 and 21H1 updates ran VERY fast compared to the old 2-core + HD setup. I'm happy.

I just checked and the SSD delivery for the 2nd PC was moved up to "tomorrow" :biggrin:
Rebuild just got moved up to Wednesday.
SW reinstallation will probably be a few days later, after I'm satisfied that the rebuild at 21H1 is stable.

Then I get to play network, to get the comptuers sharing with each other.
 

ac12

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First PC is up and running on 21H1 :)
The 20H2 and 21H1 updates ran VERY fast compared to the old 2-core + HD setup. I'm happy.

I just checked and the SSD delivery for the 2nd PC was moved up to "tomorrow" :biggrin:
Rebuild just got moved up to Wednesday.
SW reinstallation will probably be a few days later, after I'm satisfied that the rebuild at 21H1 is stable.

Then I get to play network, to get the comptuers sharing with each other.

I got impatient, and upgraded the CPU in the 2nd PC, from a 2 core i3 to a 4 core i5.
I was inspecting the computer, to prepare for the upgrade, and saw that the CPU was easy to access, so I decided to do the CPU upgrade. And it was pretty simple (having done the CPU upgrade on the 1st PC). Again the hardest part was cleaning off all the old dried thermal paste from the heatsink.​
The CPU heatsink was so CLOGGED with dust that I don't think the fan could blow any air through the heatsink. :( So it was good to have done the CPU upgrade, and clean out the heatsink. Especially since the i5 will be running hotter than the i3.​
Now I am just waiting for the SSD to arrive (tomorrow), to put it in, and start the OS install.
 

speedy

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At this point you are correct it isn't the HD, it is something else that the Windows upgrade is doing, or not doing.
The HD is probably making it take longer, but I doubt it is the problem.

I've seen updates take over 12 hours before, on HD computers, but never more than 24 hours.
Ha. I'm hearing ya. I left my 15.6" Windows laptop untouched for about a year I think, pretty reasonable CPU (i7 4700 quad core) 8GB of RAM, fired it up over the weekend, & it took about 24 hours to get through all its updates, reboots etc, & get back to its normal self. SSD's are cheap as now, $70 gets you a 500GB 2.5", but it's not worth upgrading my lappy, as I hate the screen, & the screen hinges are cracked & held together with duct tape. I use it for my travel computer, last time I went through customs, they made me fire it up & prove that it actually worked, as they were suspicious it was going to be used for nefarious purposes :rofl::rofl::rofl:
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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You should try to consider a PC case upgrade if you are cramped on space and the improved airflow can give you a boost of performance. Have you mentioned the generation of i5? Because the turbo boost on a newer generation is a lot more effective and if you have the thermal headroom the CPU will clock itself higher and gets you a bit more MHz.
Cleaning the heatsinks and fans it's very important to keep the PC running well, dust acts as an insolator, it will keep the heatsinks very hot and the effectiveness of fans to cool very low. They should be clean at least once every 6 months. Using canned compressed air is the best way because it keeps the risk of damage low and makes it easy to get into noocks and crannies. Isopropyl is also the safest way to protect the components from damage and clean very well (though it will leave plastic looking Rey, it's normal).
The cheapest Fractal Design cases have very good airflow design to keep the PC cool, less then 50 $ if I remember correctly. Negative air pressure has higher pact on dust buildup so make sure you have dust filters on the intakes and not filters on the exhausta and cleaning those filters often, especially for pet owners and smokers.
The best way to clean thermal paste of is use blue paper towel soaked with isopropyl and do not use anything to scratch the paste off even if it's rock solid because it can damage SMDs on the CPU and it can make grooves in the cooler coldplate.
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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First PC is up and running on 21H1 :)
The 20H2 and 21H1 updates ran VERY fast compared to the old 2-core + HD setup. I'm happy.

I just checked and the SSD delivery for the 2nd PC was moved up to "tomorrow" :biggrin:
Rebuild just got moved up to Wednesday.
SW reinstallation will probably be a few days later, after I'm satisfied that the rebuild at 21H1 is stable.

Then I get to play network, to get the comptuers sharing with each other.
The problem with hard drives is they tank extremely hard when they have to do read and write at same time. Which most OS tasks involves as well and image and video workflows. While hard drives can have up to 150 MB\s performance that gets cut more then half where you read previewa in Lightroom and export\import files or apply changes multiple images at the same time.
Updates are the worst because they read and write files at the same time (for security reasons) and it can be very painful to update, even on SSDs.
From personal experience I find that for image workflow the best way to work is OS and Lightroom on one SSD and Lightroom catalogue and import files on a 2nd SSD. What performance you have on the SSD does not matter significantly because the access time AND the separate read and write of 2 different drives is what gives the system it's snappiness.
One 120 or 240 GB SSD for the OS and a 500 GB SSD (or more if you have the budget) would be an ideal mix (and necessary of you have very large Catalogue with Previews, like over 10.000 images)
 

ac12

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SSD arrived and installed. :)
I found a place to put the SSD, so that I can keep the HD. Wedged in and held in place by the wires/cables around it.
There is lots of air space, but very little surface space to attach it to.
It is a good thing that SSDs are light, and don't care about how they are mounted.

Why is it that when I open up a computer and work on it, I ALWAYS cut my finger(s) on something in the case :(

Now to connect it, power up and install the OS.
 

ac12

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OS install was BUMPY.
I think the first 21H1 DVD was bad. It kept stalling, over and over. :mad:
I downloaded 21H1 again, and burned another DVD. This one successfully installed. Straight to 21H1 :)
It is going through updates now.

Thanks for the tip. I have to check out the Coolermaster cases.
 

John King

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OS install was BUMPY.
I think the first 21H1 DVD was bad. It kept stalling, over and over. :mad:
I downloaded 21H1 again, and burned another DVD. This one successfully installed. Straight to 21H1 :)
It is going through updates now.

Thanks for the tip. I have to check out the Coolermaster cases.
Never hurts to have several bootable copies of the OS around.

I've found that W7 boot disks will also boot Vista and other versions. This then allows running of full boot time CHKDSK from the command prompt. Can be VERY useful ...

BTW, how's it running now? Big improvement?
 

ac12

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Never hurts to have several bootable copies of the OS around.

I've found that W7 boot disks will also boot Vista and other versions. This then allows running of full boot time CHKDSK from the command prompt. Can be VERY useful ...

BTW, how's it running now? Big improvement?

HUGE improvement

On PC1, 2-core to 4-core, +SSD
Old setup: The major updates 20H2 and 21H1, took overnight to run.
New: The two updates from 1909 to 20H2 to 21H1, each ran in what felt like minutes. Well less than 30 minutes, including the restart.

On PC2. 2-core i3 to 4-core i5, + SSD.
Power ON startup.
With the old setup, I could go make coffee and it would still be running when I got back. This was the most painful part of using the old computer. ANY restart of the computer was painfully slow.​
New: Power ON, startup is a HUGE improvement.​
Weekly updates:
Old: When it ran some of the larger MS weekly updates, it could take the computer out for HOURS. That was REALLY frustrating. How are you supposed to work when the update makes the computer unusable until it finishes? That was/is my beef about auto updates, and why I always turn them OFF. This was my scenario at prior companies:​
I come into the office for an early meeting, plug the laptop in, turn it on, and it starts to update. The laptop is unusable until the update completes. I tell the boss, that my computer is running an automatic update, and I can't do anything on my computer until the dang update finishes. He is MAD, but neither of us can do anything.​
I argued with IT when they implemented automatic PUSHING updates to the computer. Because that was sometime the cause of the above problem. Pushing updates only works for computers that are left on the network and left on, so the update happens at night, NOT for laptops that are taken home.​
New: When I ran the post 21H1 install update, it ran MUCH faster, maybe less than 15 minutes (I did not time it). So I am not dreading the large weekly Windows updates anymore.​
Wife's task is to bring home the software file from the office, with the CDs and keys, so I can reinstall the software.​
Once my wife uses it, I may end up swapping this computer with the one at her office, and doing the same CPU+SSD upgrade to that one.​
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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SSD arrived and installed. :)
I found a place to put the SSD, so that I can keep the HD. Wedged in and held in place by the wires/cables around it.
There is lots of air space, but very little surface space to attach it to.
It is a good thing that SSDs are light, and don't care about how they are mounted.

Why is it that when I open up a computer and work on it, I ALWAYS cut my finger(s) on something in the case :(

Now to connect it, power up and install the OS.
That's usually a sign of a very cheap or old PC case before the build quality improved with bend inwards edges and better material quality.

OS install was BUMPY.
I think the first 21H1 DVD was bad. It kept stalling, over and over. :mad:
I downloaded 21H1 again, and burned another DVD. This one successfully installed. Straight to 21H1 :)
It is going through updates now.

Thanks for the tip. I have to check out the Coolermaster cases.
Try to keep the installation on USB sticks, the installation will go a lot faster since DVD is very limited in terms of read speed. On a decent USB Windows 10 can install in about 15-20 minutes.
 
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