Vista is telling me that my PC’s performance is bottlenecked at the CPU. I have top-of-the-line graphics with plenty of RAM and an AMD Socket 939 mobo with an FX-57 processor. I’ve looked at dual cores for my 939, but each core seems to be clocked lower than my FX-57, and I’m more interested in gaming than multitasking. With this in mind, could you tell me the best processor to put into Socket 939? I’d like this rig to last me at least another year or so.
Microsoft Vista’s performance scores look to the future, so they tend to skew in favor of dual- and multicore machines. Regardless of these scores, your 2.8GHz FX-57 is indeed the highest-clocked 939 chip. The problem? It’s single core. A dual-core 2.6GHz FX-60 will still school it in most newer applications that support multithreading, and you’ll likely be able to overclock the processor to 2.8GHz without problems.
The bad news is that FX-60s are pricey and difficult to find. If you want to go dual core, the cheap route is the Opteron 185—a Socket 939 2.6GHz Opteron with 1MB of L2 per core. It’s basically an FX-60 without the FX. The main difference between the Opteron and the FX-60 is the level of multiplier locking—the former sticks you at 13x—and the reported lower thermals of the Opteron.
If you really want to future-proof your rig, you’re best off saving your cash and investing in a sleek, new quad-core CPU. With more and more games promising multicore support, sinking your cash into a quad-core processor would be the best way to maximize the life span of your rig. Of course, that would entail purchasing a new AM2-based motherboard, as you won’t be seeing any quad cores on 939 architecture.
I am a Roman Catholic priest, and I maintain a network of about 20 computers at the mission here. I want to have a RAID 1 array to boot from and a RAID 1 array for data. I don’t want these four hard drives striped to each other in any way.
I want the boot drive protected by a mirrored array so that if one drive fails, the second can take over. I want the data stored in a mirrored array of drives for the same reason. One of those two mirrored data drives would be removable. Can what I want be done?
What you ask for might be possible, depending on the RAID implementation on the card or motherboard. On an Nvidia nForce 680, for example, you can build two separate RAID 1 arrays using four drives. The RAID controller will identify each drive that you add to an array.
Your plan to swap out the drives could work, but it’s hardly an ideal backup scheme since a mirrored RAID should never be considered synonymous with a system backup. Remember, a mirrored array creates two duplicate hard drives in every sense of the word: If a virus hits your system, that virus will exist on both drives in your array. The same holds true if you accidentally delete a file.
If one drive in a mirrored array fails, you just have to replace it with another drive and the array will rebuild itself back up to a two-drive protected entity. While that’s happening, the odds of the single healthy drive failing are rather low. But if you’re truly worried, you might want to lump all of your drives into a single RAID 6 array. That way, any two drives can fail and you’ll still have a working system and all of your data intact.
How do you go about updating SLI videocard drivers? I have two GeForce 7950 videocards in SLI mode. I have refrained from updating the drivers until I first get some advice. What I think you have to do is uninstall the drivers from both cards and then install the drivers one at a time with reboots and then tell the cards to rebuild the SLI with one the master and one the slave? Is this correct?
Updating an SLI configuration is exactly the same as updating drivers on a single videocard. The Doctor suggests you first reboot your rig into safe mode and uninstall your videocards’ current drivers. To do that, pull up the Windows device manager, expand the Display Adapters menu, right-click each card, and select Uninstall. Next, restart your computer.
|After you uninstall your videocard drivers, your computer will default to a generic VGA mode, which looks like this: ugly and huge.|
Your screen will probably look a bit wonky or Windows may try to find and reinstall your card’s drivers. Don’t let it. Grab the latest 7950 drivers from Nvidia.com and double-click the executable to install them. Allow the program to restart your computer. When your OS reemerges, you might have to set your display resolution back to its normal setting, and you’ll surely have to re-enable SLI for your videocards in the Nvidia control panel. But you’ll now be running the latest drivers, and happiness will ensue.
I own a Compaq Presario desktop with an AMD Sempron 3400+ CPU. I want to upgrade to an Athlon 64 X2 CPU, but I first need to upgrade my motherboard. Will replacing the mobo nuke the factory-installed copy of Windows XP?
Replacing a motherboard will do nothing to the contents of your hard drive—where Windows XP is installed. You could throw your motherboard off a balcony, buy a new motherboard of the same variety, put your computer back together, and everything would be peachy keen.
That said, when you replace your motherboard, you’ll want to reinstall XP. In fact, it’s not really a “you’ll want to” issue so much as it is a “Windows won’t boot” issue. So before your machine is in pieces on the floor, don’t forget to back up your important data!
|Doctor. From Maximum PC, sweet Doctor. Would you please hang out with me? He works across the street up on the third floor of the Shoreline building. I saw him in his Lab, practicing his fixes. I knew you might just send him a computer question to email@example.com. Doctor. From Maximum PC… he’s the Doctor extreme!|