Computer Builds

How using RAID 0 Can Increase Your PC Performance

Nothing new #160; Just wanted to document some of the benchmark results from a recent install I am doing with a Dell Precision 690 Workstation that I picked up from a sale at #160; The full tech specs are at the link above and it came with 2 x Dual-core Intel Xeon 5100 series #160; It also came with no drives and no OS and 4GB of #160; My good friend Kevin Schoonover was able to track down 32GB of RAM, 2 x Dual NIC cards and 4 x 150GB WL150GB SATA drives to add to the mix. I was able to install the memory first and get the system running with 32GB of #160; Click any image to enlarge Shot of the entire #160; RAM slots are the 8 rows bottom right The DIM risers filled with 32GB of RAM. Installed in the box With the box up and running, time to install an #160; In this case I am going to use Windows Server 2012 #160; Selected all the defaults and no additional #160; I could have just as easily installed Windows 7 or Windows #160; Windows Server Gives me more virtualization options for tests later on. The goal was to do some benchmark testing with different drive configurations on this #160; The board offers 4 SATA ports on an Integrated LSI 1068 SAS/SATA controller that supports RAID 0, #160; I haven’t done much with boards and RAID in the past, so I thought this might be a good opportunity to test a few things. I started with a single Drive Western Digital 320GB (WD32000BEVT) drive that I pulled from a HP Laptop back in the #160; I knew the performance was going to be bad, just not this bad!  If one is bad, are two any better?  Well the answer is yes, but not that much #160; This time I used 2 x 250GB (WD25000BEVT) that I had purchased to go with an Icy Dock enclosure a few years #160; They were fairly good drives when I got #160; Performance was better, but still not #160; Configured in RAID 0.     Then came the good #160; First, I put in 2 of the 150GB (WL150GBSATA) drives in RAID #160; The results give the system about a 4x performance boost in both read and write speeds over #160; With 3 drives in RAID 0, the performance was just short of #160; Great #160; Some of that came from fast spinning drives (10,000RPM), some of it came from the benefits of RAID #160; You can find the specs of these drives here:   With 2 Drives With 3 Drives Next steps are some virtualizations #160; Now that the server is running well. You can follow more about Jim’s tech projects by listening to the Home Tech #160; Each Thursday, 8pmC/9EST over at #160; or you can join our community Facebook Page: Facebook Group: If you’d like to subscribe to the show, click on  to update your iTunes library, or for other Podcast downloading applications, please click on the RSS Feed and pick your Pod Catcher of choice! Or, you can now stream the show online at at The Show Announcements and Schedule: Jim’s Twitter: Contact the show at Find us on Facebook: Find this and other great Podcasts from the Average Guy Network at Some links may contain affiliate codes that benefit the Average Guy Podcast Network.
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Back Up / Storage

Mushkin Callisto 120GB SSD Install and Performance Specs

So last weekend I put and Mushkin Enhanced Chronos (MKNSSDCR120GB) 120GB SSD ($150) in my personal PC here at home and saw some amazing #160; I posted about it #160; Later that weekend, I was talking to the Worship Guy at our church and he had seen the post as ask if I thought an SSD drive could speed up the PC the church uses for video #160; It is a Dell XPS 630i with (Core 2 Duo Quad Core, E8200, , 6MB Wolfdale, 65W) but came into our hands with a 500GB OS spinning drive and just 3GB of #160; Of course my answer was YES and how fast can we get one in!  He smiled. Later the next day a Mushkin Callisto 120GB SATA II ” drive was ordered from and shipped with 8GB of new RAM ($100).  Since the PC does a lot of video rendering, more RAM is always #160; The upgrade was smooth and #160; Added the RAM ( DDR2-800 4x4GB) first and turned the PC back on to make sure it was working #160; Checked the Windows Experience Index (Control Panel\System and Security\System) and noticed that the Memory number had changed from a to a #160; A good sign that all was working well. I then pulled the SSD from the box and mounted it to the included ” #160; It was an easy mount into the plastic hard drive mounting brackets and slid it back into the #160; Attached the power and SATA cable plugged the machine back in. I had burned Windows 7 Home Premium x64 to a DVD earlier and used that to reinstall the #160; It took 7 minutes from beginning to #160; Another good sign!  Usually install time on a normal spinning drive can be 30 minutes or #160; After the PC rebooted a couple times, I started in on the Windows Updates as well as some of the normal software that I install on every PC I work #160; A few of the titles are Microsoft Security Essentials, Malwarebytes, Window Live Essentials and such. Below are some of the dramatic improvements that were made with this $250 upgrade: Before After Looking at the results, we see that the scores for both the RAM and the Primary Hard disk went up #160; Both those items had been the #160; RAMs score moved from to and the Primary hard disk moved from to a best score of ! The processor score also jumped up .1 from to #160; Now the Graphics Card is the bottleneck at Bellow is difference between the spinning 500GB HD and the Solid State 120GB #160; You can really see the difference in performance. Before with Spinning Drive After with SSD
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Computer Builds

Jim’s Build – ATOM v CORE i3 – Another Shocking Decision!

If you have been following my discussion to build a Windows Home Server… jims-building-a-new-whs-choosing-the-motherboard efficient-inexpensive-tiny-home-server-love-it-or-leave-it (by Chris Lux) help-jim-build-his-new-whs-frankenbuild-the-motherboard help-jim-build-his-new-whs-reconsidering-some-choices you know that here has been some really good comments and much has been #160; Thanks Home Server Show Community! In the quest to make the right pick, I spent some time analyzing the difference between the Atom and Core i3 #160; There has been much debate in the forums as of late and I wanted to get to the bottom of a few #160; Charts like this help me sort things #160; Since I will most likely be using similar hard drives, I left those off for #160; Although, as I started looking at the drives, that might become an entirely different debate in itself. I chose the Gigabyte Atom board because of the strong recommendation from Pcdoc on that #160; I also leaned that way because most Atom boards only have 2 SATA ports, and this one has #160; It was also very reasonably #160; It was a good combo. I have included a link with each product at Newegg and I didn’t really shop around much #160; If you find better prices elsewhere, be sure to leave it in the comments. Here is a side by side comparison:     ATOM Price Core i3 Price Motherboard GIGABYTE GA-D510UD GIGABYTE GA-H55M-USB3 CPU Intel Atom D510 included Intel Core i3 BX80616I3540 Memory DDR2 800/667   DDR3 2200/1800/1600 /1333/1066/800   Max Supported 4GB   16GB   Slots 1 PCI Slot   1 x PCI Express x16 1 x PCI Express x1 2 x PCI Slots   Storage 1 x ATA 133 2 Dev. Max 4 x SATA SATA RAID 0/1 JBOD   1 x ATA133 2 Dev. Max 7 x SATA 3Gb/s   Video Intel GMA 3150   D-Sub + DVI + Display 1 x HDMI   LAN Realtek 8111D 10/100/1000Mbps   Realtek 8111DL 10/100/1000Mbps   USB 4 x USB   4 x USB 2 x USB   Form Factor Mini ITX   ATX   Case APEX MI-008 Antec Three Hundred Power Supply 250W included CORSAIR CMPSU-400CX Memory WINTEC AMPX 3AXT6400C5-2048  240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM 2GB F3-12800CL9D-4GBNQ 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM  4GB Totals       Cost – So the first big difference of course is with the price between the #160; There is almost a $300 #160; Sure, I could probably shave a few dollars (like $50) off the Core i3 build by only going with 2GB of RAM instead of 4, but every thing else is fairly #160;   In my situation, I could take another $50 off by reusing a Dell PowerEdge Server case that I already own that would work just #160; So we are down to a $200 #160; If that’s no big deal, I am accepting the first $200 to come my way and i3 it is!   Power – There are really two ways to look at #160; The amount of power that would be consumed by the server, and the amount of power needed to run #160; One of the questions then that needs to be asked up front is this, how do you plan on using the server?  Will it serve files, do back ups and hum along quietly 24/7 from a hidden place in your home?  Or, will it host multiple addins, transcode audio and video files and become the center of media consumption for your home?  That is a question that you and only you can #160; The answer might give you the direction to take.   Expandability – Both boards will be able to handle additional hard drives and some amount of PCI expandability if the need arises for #160; Of course, the i3 board will do it more and do it faster with more #160; I really like the fact that the i3 has 2 USB ports and 7 SATA #160; It is missing the new SATA 6 Gb/s ports that are found on most of the newest #160; Is this a major concern?  I could also add up to 16 GB of RAM on the i3 #160; Is that even necessary?   WHS2 – Since no one really knows (except the WHS team in Redmond) what is coming with Vail (and coming soon I hope), it’s hard to predict the processing requirements for a box like #160; Many have speculated that it is going to need more than the Atom can #160; The answer is #160; For now we will just have to wait and see what it brings us.   Going both ways? – So you might be saying, Jim, just pick one and move along (as some have already said in the forums!).  That’s the problem, I can’t, but do I really have to?  That being said, I’m going to track both system builds for awhile and see what kind of developments turn #160; Who knows, maybe I will even do #160; If the Atom doesn’t work out, I’ll move it to the living room and make it the #160; That would make most people very happy!   Looking for your #160; Join  us back in the Home Server Show forums and search for “Help Jim” and you will find the #160; Many have started the journey along with #160; Make sure we are getting thoughts and findings as #160; The community wants to know.
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Jim’s Building a New WHS – Choosing the Motherboard

As I mentioned in The Home Server Show 82, I am going to ask for your advice (or convincing) on all the parts needed to build a new WHS. Starting with the motherboard and CPU, we will have an open discussion at the HSS forums ().  After a week or two on each part, I will make a decision and we will start with the next component. We may even discuss your posts on the show. My priorities will be to get the best value that is available. Not always the cheapest, but not the most expensive either. I want this server to be around for a while as well, but also easy to upgrade when the time comes or the need arises. After some discussion in the forums already, here are some basic guidelines: #160; Onboard video is #160; I don’t want to have to install a video card #160; DDR 3 Memory  #160; Gigabit Ethernet #160; No less than 4 SATA ports Nice to haves: #160; USB 2. 6Gb SATA Not important at all: #160; Anything to do with Audio #160; Memory Support above 8 GB Based on some of our discussion so far, here are some boards that have been #160; For our #160; Currently I have only listed Gigabyte boards due to the recommendation of PCDOC in the #160; Do you have a board that you favor? Jim’s Starting Pick:   MSI P43-C51 LGA 775 Intel P43 ATX Intel Motherboard CPU Socket Type LGA 775 CPU Type Core 2 Quad / Core 2 Extreme / Core 2 Duo # of Mem Slots 4×240pin Mem Standard DDR3 800/1066/1333/1600 (OC) Max Mem Sup 16GB Mem Channel Dual Channel Exp Slots 1 x PCI Express x16  2 x PCI Express x16  3 x PCI Slots SATA 3Gb x 6 Video None – Picked it before I made the requirements LAN Speed 10/100/1000Mbps Rear Panel 2 x PS/2  6 x USB 6 Audio Ports Form Factor ATX Warranty 1 years limited Price / Retailer $ Newegg  Intel Boards:   GIGABYTE GA-H55M-S2H LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI Micro ATX Intel GIGABYTE GA-H55M-USB3 LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI USB Micro ATX Intel GIGABYTE GA-H55-USB3 LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI USB ATX Intel CPU Socket Type LGA 1156 LGA 1156 LGA 1156 CPU Type Core i7 / i5 / i3 Core i7 / i5 / i3 Core i7 / i5 / i3 # of Mem Slots 2×240pin 4×240pin 4×240pin Mem Standard DDR3 2200+/1800/1600/1333/1066/800 DDR3 2200*/1800/1600/1333/1066/800 DDR3 1666(OC)/1333/1066/800 Max Mem Sup 8GB 16GB 16GB Mem Channel Dual Channel Dual Channel Dual Channel Exp Slots 1 x PCI Express x16 1 x PCI Express x16 2 x PCI Slots 1 x PCI Express x16 1 x PCI Express x1 2 x PCI Slots 1 x PCI Express x16 3 x PCI Express x1 3 x PCI Slots SATA 3Gb x 6 3Gb x 7 3Gb x 7  0/1/JBOD Video D-Sub + DVI 1 x HDMI D-Sub + DVI 1 x HDMI D-Sub + DVI 1 x HDMI LAN Speed 10/100/1000Mbps 10/100/1000Mbps 10/100/1000Mbps Rear Panel 1 x PS/2 8 x USB   1 x Optical S/PDIF Out 6 Audio Ports 1 x PS/2 4 x USB 2 x USB 1 x IEEE 1394a 1 x eSATA 3Gb/s 1 x Optical S/PDIF Out 6 Audio Ports 1 x PS/2 4 x USB 2 x USB 1 x IEEE 1394a 1 x eSATA 3Gb/s 6 Audio Ports Form Factor Micro ATX Micro ATX Micro ATX Warranty 3 years limited 3 years limited 1 year limited Price / Retailer $ Newegg $ Newegg $ Newegg AMD Boards:   GIGABYTE GA-MA785GT-UD3H AM3 AMD 785G HDMI ATX AMD GIGABYTE GA-785GMT-USB3 AM3 AMD 785G HDMI USB Micro ATX AMD GIGABYTE GA-790XTA-UD4 AM3 AMD 790X SATA 6Gb/s USB ATX AMD CPU Socket Type AM3 AM3 AM3 CPU Type Phenom II / Athlon II / Sempron 100 Series Phenom II / Athlon II / Sempron 100 Series Phenom II / Athlon II / Sempron 100 Series # of Mem Slots 4×240pin 4×240pin 4×240pin Mem Standard DDR3 1666() /1333/1066 DDR3 1800 (OC)/1666/1333/1066 DDR3 1866(OC)*/1333/1066 Max Mem Sup 16GB 16GB 16GB Mem Channel Dual Channel Dual Channel Dual Channel Exp Slots 2 xPCI Express x16 3 x PCI Express x1 2 x PCI Slots 1 x PCI Express x16 1 x PCI Express x1 2 x PCI Slots 2 xPCI Express x16  3 x PCI Express x1  2 x PCI Slots SATA 3Gb x 6   0/1/10/JBOD 3Gb x 5  0/1/10/JBOD 3Gb x 6 6Gb x 2   0/1/5/10/JBOD Video D-Sub + DVI 1 x HDMI D-Sub + DVI 1 x HDMI D-Sub + DVI 1 x HDMI LAN Speed 10/100/1000Mbps 10/100/1000Mbps 10/100/1000Mbps Rear Panel 1 x PS/2  6 x USB 1 x IEEE 1394a 1 x Optical S/PDIF Out 6 Audio Ports 1 x PS/2   4 x USB 2 x USB 1 x IEEE 1394a 1 x eSATA 3Gb/s 1 x Optical S/PDIF Out 6 Audio Ports 1 x PS/2 4 x USB 2 x USB 1 x IEEE 1394a 1 x eSATA 3Gb/s 1 x Optical S/PDIF Out 6 Audio Ports Form Factor ATX Micro ATX ATX Warranty 3 years limited 2 years limited 3 year limited Price / Retailer $ Newegg $ Newegg $ Newegg Atom Processor/Motherboards   JetWay JNC63P-330-LF Intel Atom 330 Dual Core NVIDIA ION Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU Combo ZOTAC IONITX-F-E Intel Atom 330 (, dual-core) NVIDIA ION Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU Combo CPU Socket Type Motherboard/CPU Combo Motherboard/CPU Combo CPU Type Intel Atom 330 Dual Core Intel Atom 330 Dual Core # of Mem Slots 2x240pin 2x240pin Mem Standard DDR2 800/667 DDR2 800/667 Max Mem Sup 4GB 4GB Mem Channel Dual Channel   Exp Slots   1 x PCI Express x16 1 x mini-PCIE (WiFi occupied) SATA 3Gb x 4 3Gb x 3 0/1/0+1 Video D-Sub + DVI 1 x HDMI D-Sub + DVI 1 x HDMI NVIDIA GeForce 9400 LAN Speed 10/100/1000Mbps 10/100/1000Mbps WiFi IEEE n Rear Panel 1 x PS/2 Mouse & Keyboard Combined connector 6 x USB 3 Audio Ports 1 x PS/2 6 x USB 1 x eSATA II 1 x Optical, 1 x Coaxial 3 Audio Ports Form Factor Mini ITX Mini ITX Warranty 2 years limited Lifetime limited Price / Retailer $ Newegg $ Newegg CPU Chart Chip Name Power / 64bit Virtualization / Hyper-Tranport Price Intel Core i3-540 Clarkdale 4MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 73W Dual-Core Core i3-540 73W / Yes 109 Yes/Yes $ Intel Pentium G6950 Clarkdale 3MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 73W Dual-Core Pentium G6950 73W / Yes 202 Yes / No $ AMD Athlon II X2 255 Regor 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Athlon II X2 255 65W / Yes 205 Yes / Yes $ Intel® Atom™ Processor 330 (1M Cache, GHz, 533 MHz FSB)   8W / Yes 520 No / Yes NA
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