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Hardware Thread, Replacing the innards of Viglen Omnino II in Technical; I am considering upgrading the gizzards of our Viglen Omnino II machines, taking them from their current 3 1/2 year ...
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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Replacing the innards of Viglen Omnino II

    I am considering upgrading the gizzards of our Viglen Omnino II machines, taking them from their current 3 1/2 year old Core 2 Duo processors to something more modern.

    I've already checked the following:

    PSU - 300W
    Motherboard size - microATX
    Graphics - onboard, or low profile card.

    Now, the question is, what to put in them, processor-wise.

    I'm thinking possibly - Intel Core i3-2120 3.30GHz processor, ASUS P8H67-M EVO motherboard and then stick 4GB RAM in there too. That should come to about £185 per machine to do.

    Anyone have any thoughts? Would replacing the hard drives with an SSD be a good move too? http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Compo...roductId=43618 Something like that?
    Last edited by localzuk; 11th March 2011 at 09:51 AM.

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    Wow, how we would love the be in the position of thinking about replacing Core 2 Duo machines!

    We've got 1.7GHz P4 generation (Skt 478) Celerons still in service here with no money to plan to replace them!

    The i3 plan sounds awesome though :-)

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    PeterW's Avatar
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    Spec seems fine, you may fine you have to remove the CPU fan duct if your case lids have these due to the position of the CPU sockets on 1155 & 1156 boards. Also any reaosn for that board specifically? You might want to check out the -LX & -LE versions as these will be a lot less tight width wise.

    Once you have decided which components you are set on perhaps get a single set and just upgrade one to make sure you do not hit any gotchas, you could also grab an SSD and compare it to the current hard drives you have to see if you will get much real world benefit.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterW View Post
    Spec seems fine, you may fine you have to remove the CPU fan duct if your case lids have these due to the position of the CPU sockets on 1155 & 1156 boards. Also any reaosn for that board specifically? You might want to check out the -LX & -LE versions as these will be a lot less tight width wise.

    Once you have decided which components you are set on perhaps get a single set and just upgrade one to make sure you do not hit any gotchas, you could also grab an SSD and compare it to the current hard drives you have to see if you will get much real world benefit.
    The board was chosen because it is MicroATX, the same as the case has in it now - so it'd be a straight swap mounting-wise.

    And there aren't any CPU fan ducts in the ones we have.

    I am considering doing one to start, to see how it goes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Anyone have any thoughts? Would replacing the hard drives with an SSD be a good move too?
    Definitely, but is 50GB sufficient (especially with Windows 7)? Once Windows has formatted it, the 50GB Vertex 2 will have a usable capacity of 46.5GB if it uses 32nm NAND or 42.78GB if it uses 25nm NAND. Likewise, the 60GB Vertex 2 has a usable capacity of 55.9GB and 51.2GB respectively.

    Unless you run OCZs toolbox program on it, it is impossible to tell which one you're going to get until after you have actually bought the SSD. As you can see from the toolbox thread on their forums there are a lot of unhappy customers.

    And so we get back to the issues swirling around OCZ and their marketing of the Vertex 2 and Agility 2 lines of SSDs. OCZ made the switch to 25nm NAND last week. The only problem is they didn't make any branding or packaging changes. The net result, is consumers are getting a product with a fundamental technology change and a material change in capacity for drives under 180GB. Customers pay the same price for a smaller capacity drive and OCZ nets higher profits with the reduced cost of the smaller 25nm flash. As noted, a 120GB drive goes to 115GB, but it gets worse the smaller you get. A 60GB turns into 56GB and a 40GB into 36GB. It really hurts if you go the boot-drive SSD route, where every last megabyte is needed with an average Windows 7 install with a few applications included. You lose roughly 4-5GB for enhanced wear leveling and the smaller capacity drives see the largest percentage versus total capacity taken away. OCZ is comfortable with leaving the brand names as-is and has no plans to be more transparent to the user when it comes to usable SSD capacity. Buyers of the OCZ SSDs are rightfully displeased. (Source)
    There is also a separate issue relating to the number and size of NAND chips OCZ uses in their Vertex 2 SSDs. You can read more about this here.

    Obviously, you could get exactly the same SF1200-based SSD from another manufacturer and not have to worry.
    Last edited by Arthur; 12th March 2011 at 01:41 PM.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Good point, I didn't factor in Windows 7, as we use XP at the moment - but it is quite probable that we'll move to 7 during the life of these machines.

    So, what about a 128GB size such as this one - Kingston 128GB SSDNow V100 2.5" SATA-II Solid State Hard Drive - Aria Technology

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    I am considering upgrading ... current 3 1/2 year old Core 2 Duo processors to something more modern.
    Wow.. we're in the same boat crc-ict. Just bear in mind that if they are OEM licenced then technically the licence is attached to the original hardware and shouldn't be carried across when making major changes (such as to the motherboard).
    We still have too many P4s still in usage and our newest computers we're getting are actually refurbished HPs! Have you got a home for the core 2 processors, as we are now resorting to ebay to source cheap Pentium Dual-Cores to stick in compatible motherboards with Pentium Ds.

    I wish we could afford even 1 computer of Core i3 or better :/

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgsmith View Post
    Wow.. we're in the same boat crc-ict. Just bear in mind that if they are OEM licenced then technically the licence is attached to the original hardware and shouldn't be carried across when making major changes (such as to the motherboard).
    Another good point! Didn't think of that, yes they are OEM licensed, and then upgraded via schools agreement at the moment. That adds another £60ish to each machine. *sigh*

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    The V100 you linked to uses a JMicron JMF618 controller which would be a good choice for use with XP, but you can get better performing SSDs for your money depending upon how much space is required. It's worth mentioning that the V100 does get really hot for an SSD - around 42-45įC!

    Personally I would go with any of the following...


    The Intel drive will be the most reliable, while the SandForce-based SSDs will be the fastest.

    SandForce continues to be the sensible choice, at least in terms of performance per dollar for a boot/application drive. I am careful to mention it as a boot/application drive because if you start storing a lot of incompressible data on the drive (e.g. movies, music, photos) then SandForce quickly loses a lot of its performance advantage. Then you're left with Crucial's RealSSD C300 which delivers more consistent performance regardless of data, at the expense of lower steady state write performance. Without TRIM, the C300 can quickly get into a not-so-great performance situation.

    If you don't want a SandForce drive and are running an OS without TRIM support, the V+100 is probably a better option than the C300 thanks to its aggressive garbage collection. I realize this isn't the simplest recommendation, but that's the reality of today's SSD market. There are a lot of great options, but nothing is absolutely perfect. (Source)
    Kingston used the Toshiba T6UG1XBG, the same chip powering storage in the latest-gen Apple MacBook Air, to power the latest generation of the SSDNow [V+100]. This controller offers a couple of key advantages over others on the market: extremely low power consumption (more on that a little later in the review), and the ability to perform OS-independent garbage collection (i.e. on operating systems that donít support the TRIM protocol). (Source)

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Graphics - onboard, or low profile card.
    Now, the question is, what to put in them, processor-wise.
    Just seen something in PC Pro which might be relevant: I think motherboards based on the H67 chipset support the Core i3's snazzy built-in graphics capability, whereas P67 chipset motherboards offer CPU overclocking facilities, which in your case would probably be less useful. An H67-based motherboard might be your best option as it would avoid the need for a discreet graphics card, but still give you decent ("HD-capable", seemingly) graphics.

    I have a Core i3 home server machine which is passivly cooled, so power requirements must be pretty low. I don't know if passive cooling options are generally available for the Core i3, I bought my Core i3 system from Tranquil as a complete machine, but (near-)silent, cool-running systems would be a definate bonus in most (cramped, overheated) ICT classrooms.

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    80GB SSD is perfect for the task, will make the machines nice and speedy (in comparison to what you had), and should be up for the task. We have installed around 20 programs on our machines and still have 20GB spare (from 60gb HDDs)

    Licences will need to be updated (as mentioned before), however if you speak with MS they usually do a deal where you can transfer the licences, as long as the stickers stay with the machines. The fee for this is around £20 per licence if I remember rightly.

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    At some point this week I will be writing a fairly detailed forum post on the use of hybrid drives in education machines. Ideally suited, large capacity, cheap price.
    I seem to recall that OCZ labelled their 25nm parts as the vertex 2E ?

    I also have to ask what core2duos you currently run? There are very no i3's that I would consider an upgrade to any of the better core2's - I'd say anything from an e6600 up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    An H67-based motherboard might be your best option as it would avoid the need for a discreet graphics card, but still give you decent ("HD-capable", seemingly) graphics.
    The other advantage to the H57 is the ability to use the i3's QuickSync feature which enables you to encode videos really fast. By fast, we're talking more than twice as fast as the six-core Phenom II X6 1100T! However, for some bizarre reason, Intel chose to put the fastest HD Graphics GPU in the Core i7-2600(K) which most people are going to use with a P67 motherboard.

    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    I have a Core i3 home server machine which is passivly cooled, so power requirements must be pretty low. I don't know if passive cooling options are generally available for the Core i3
    The processors which Tranquil use in their ixL-S systems (i3 2100, i5 2400S, i7 2600S) are all 65 watt parts so wouldn't be too difficult to cool passively. Intel also make several other low power processors such as the 35w Core i3-2100T and the 45w Core i5-2500T (both of which will work in standard motherboards). If you want to go even lower than that without resorting to an Atom or Zacate APU, there's the 25w AMD Athlon II x2 260u.

    To build a passive system yourself is pretty simply, either stick a massive tower heatsink like the Thermalright HR-02 / Scythe Orochi on your CPU, or buy a case where the case itself is the heatsink e.g. HDPlex H3, H5 or H10 (Review).
    Last edited by Arthur; 13th March 2011 at 09:07 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by synaesthesia View Post
    I seem to recall that OCZ labelled their 25nm parts as the vertex 2E?
    Unfortunately they didn't, which is why so many people were upset. OCZ are switching all of their > 40GB SSDs across to 25nm so it won't be that long before you can't buy any 34nm drives. Selling a 51GB SSD as 60GB surely counts as false advertising?
    Last edited by Arthur; 13th March 2011 at 09:16 AM.

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    The 50GB SSDs should be alright with Windows 7 as long as you don't cache profiles locally, it would be the minimum size though and for longevity I would be looking at 80GB.

    I assume that you need to use MicroATX boards due to the constraints of the case as they are almost always much less reliable than full ATX ones.

    Also if you are looking at using integrated graphics up the CPUs to i5s, I agree that the i3s are really no better than a late model Core 2 in any real regard other than power usage. Having used a couple of i3 systems with integrated graphics they are really junk, either up the CPU or use a seporate one.

    You can't even get a smooth screen capture with Expression Encoder using integrated i3 graphics, they really are weak and are easily outperformed by previous solutions that were integrated on motherboards of Core 2 gear. The i5 stuff does seem much more robust though. i3 = Celeron

    You should be able to get away with much smaller, quieter cooling and power usage if you were able to step up to the 1155 platform but those are not really cost effective for larger deployments at the moment, well not here anyhow. The 1155 chips with larger, even stock coolers from a 1156 chip will probably be able to run passive for a reasonable chunk of the time due to the much more fine grained control of the power running through and used by the chip.
    Last edited by SYNACK; 13th March 2011 at 10:10 AM.

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