Windows 10 Finally! – Upgraded Computer

XPS 8900

Subject: Dell XPS 8900 Desktop | Intel Core i7 | 4GB Graphics | 32 GB Memory

It took me three years to finally get my new computer configured the way I wanted it. I purchased a Dell computer from Costco a few years back, with every intention of switching over from my old Windows 7 machine to this newer one. Well, that was the plan anyways.

So, what took me so long?

First off, I never felt the need to get onto the new machine, plus I was not looking forward to getting all the programs moved over to the new computer. I had other computers and laptops that I had been using for work and personal use, and this project kept being pushed onto the back burner. I would venture to say there are many out there that have been in the same boat.

Why did I do it?

Microsoft Windows 7 support ended in January 2020. That right there was the main reason I changed over when I did.

So, what did I do and how did I do it?

Before I switched over, I wanted to install a fast Solid State Drive (SSD) drive in the new computer. With the price of SSDs dropping in recent years, I purchased a 1 TB SSD drive in place of the mechanical disk drive to begin with. Well, that didn’t work out as planned because I already had 900 GB of files and programs on my old computer that I did not want to give up or archive. So then, I decided that I was going to go to a super duper upgrade for a very fast speed and install a Sabrent 2TB Rocket NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 Internal SSD High Performance Solid State Drive (SB-ROCKET-2TB). The idea here was that the onboard plugin socket for a PCIe M.2 device would be the fastest access for a relatively low price.

The installation of the Sabrent 2TB Rocket NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 Internal SSD High Performance Solid State Drive (SB-ROCKET-2TB) was wrought with technical issues. I could never get the BIOS to recognize the M.2 drive as the system drive. I was pulling my hair out on this one! I finally gave up with that idea, and sent the drive back.

The next idea was to install a 2 TB SSD drive as an additional drive to the 1 TB SSD drive I first installed. I picked the following: Samsung 860 QVO SSD 2TB – 2.5 Inch SATA 3 Internal Solid State Drive with V-NAND Technology (MZ-76Q2T0B/AM). This drive installation and being able to make it the boot drive went relatively easily. I did a completely clean install of the Windows 10 software and all the updates. I was happy with that and the machine was fast!

Next steps:

Now, I had to figure on the best way of getting all my programs and files over to the new computer. I was resigned to the fact that I was going to have to update a number of the programs regardless. Such is life with computers. So, I did do some research out there to find out the best way to transfer the programs and files from the old computer to the new one. I ended up purchasing PCTransfer Professional Software from EaseUS.

The PCTransfer Professional program worked great over the network. I was able to get all my programs and files moved over. However, even with the successful transfer of most of the programs, there were a few that still did not function properly. I found out that some of the programs needed to be installed fresh no matter what. Once again, this is par for the course of computer upgrades.

How do I like Windows 10?

As far as my like or dislike of Windows 10, that really isn’t an issue with me. It’s all about getting familiar with where everything is located. I have been using Windows computers, Apple Macs and Chromebooks for ages. So, each operating system has its strength and weaknesses. There are some things I prefer to do on the Windows machine and some things I like to use the Mac for. However, for my everyday computer for Internet use, I rely on using a Google Pixelbook Chromebook. The portability aspect and the ease of use come in second nature on a Chromebook.

What are the next steps on the desktop computer equation?

Real estate on the computer monitor is what I am looking at next. I’m looking for high resolution and a BIG screen!

What should I get? That is the question. Suggestions are welcome.

Building a Computer – Start With Selecting The CPU

Intel Core i7Here is a good way to think about the process of building a new desktop computer, or evaluating a pre-built computer if you are thinking of going that rout. This process helps in determining the cost of the computer vs performance of the computer. It’s a great way to compare apples to apples – though we are talking now just of the non Apple computers. If you want an Apple computer, then that is a totally different evaluation process to consider.

AMD FX-9000 5GHz

AMD FX 295WThe first place to begin in your analysis, is starting with the processor. At the start of the search for a CPU, I don’t really care if it is Intel or AMD at the moment. That evaluation will follow later. Actually, you can select one AMD CPU and one Intel CPU that would be potential candidates for the heart of the computer. The criteria I am looking at is; I am interested in finding the fastest, best value for the money CPU, without going to the extreme in pricing (unless price is no concern – then go for the fastest CPU). Keep in mind, the high end CPUs are all fast, it’s just some are light speed fast for having to spend way too much money for that highest speed in my opinion. To put this in perspective, I doubt your old CPU of just four of five years ago even shows up on the lowest numbered CPUs because of the age of obsolescence that naturally occurs on all PCs as newer, faster, and lower power chips become available for the consumer markets. You can search for your CPU in the past charts if you are interested to see where it would be located on the list of CPU speeds and CPU Benchmark website.

Take a look at the following High End CPUs list (this list is updated regularly):

CPUs High End

Begin first by looking from the top down. In my mind, the best way to do it, (and this is how I built a top of the line computer several years ago) is look at the high end CPUs. This list can be sorted with speed, or price to performance numbers.

Now keep in mind, I don’t recommend getting the most expensive one, but there is the price to performance number to consider. Click on the one that makes the most sense in the list to begin with. Then take a look at the other recommended price to performance recommendations.

For example, after looking at the list, and then sorting, I clicked on this Intel Core i7-4930K @ 3.40GHz at $579.99:

Intel Core i7 4930K @ 3.40GHz

Keep in mind, the CPU I clicked on was listed at number 9 as of this posting date for the fastest CPUs – from the first list sorted by CPU speed.

After I clicked on that one, it recommended better price to performance CPUs in one of the charts below:

CPU Value (CPU Mark / $Price )
As of 12th of November 2013 – Higher results represent better value
AMD FX-8350 Eight-Core
45.40
Intel Core i7-4770 @ 3.40GHz
32.97
Intel Core i7-3770 @ 3.40GHz
32.49
Intel Core i7-3770K @ 3.50GHz
30.89
Intel Core i7-3820 @ 3.60GHz
30.65
Intel Core i7-4770K @ 3.50GHz
30.37
Intel Core i7-2600K @ 3.40GHz
24.91
Intel Core i7-2600 @ 3.40GHz
23.78
Intel Core i7-2700K @ 3.50GHz
23.73
Intel Core i7-4930K @ 3.40GHz
22.24
Intel Core i7-3930K @ 3.20GHz
21.22
PassMark Software © 2008-2013

If you click on each of them, you can see the specifics on the pricing and speeds. Notice also that the AMD FX-8350 Eight-Core has the best price to value number. If you click on that one, you will see that it has an overall rank of #59 in the list of CPUs. That pricing is about $199.00

Okay, so let’s for a moment consider that the price of the CPU will be somewhere between $200.00 to $580.00.

Now, we need to figure out if we want to go with AMD or Intel. That is another topic for discovery.

Also consider that while the speed of the CPU is certainly important; video speed and video memory size, memory speed and amount of memory, hard drive type, and MOB caching are important considerations too.

Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX HD

Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX HD

Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX HD

Finally got my smart phone. I decided to go with the Motorola RAZR MAXX HD for a number of reasons. Great camera, high quality construction, and long long battery life.

Long battery life was number one in my book. The DROID MAXX HD had the longest battery life of the phones I was looking at. The choice in the phone came down to the Samsung S3 and the RAZR MAXX HD. Both phones had great reviews, and most all the specs were very close, however there was the aspect of battery life that set it over the top. Read all the RAZR MAXX HD specs here. By the way, my wife and daughter got the DROID RAZR M models. They were looking for something a bit smaller but still with full performance features.

By the way, we got the phones at Costco, for the Verizon network. Costco had some great deals on two for one phones. Actually, it was too good to pass up. It ended up being the best price around, along with many accessories for free, and full rebates for all the Verizon startup fees for all the phones.

Now, I consider myself a Mac, PC, iPad, and Android person. I guess I am quite the button pusher. You know, the guy that just has to push all the buttons on everything he sees.

Another thought for anyone looking at getting one of these Android phones, remember the cord that comes in the phone box is actually the data cable, and not just a charging cable. I wanted to transfer some files to my phone directly using a USB data cable. I did not know at first that my other USB cables were charging cables only. Don’t make the mistake I made. If you try to use a charging cable and hook it up to your computer, the phone will never show up on the desktop or using one of the programs on the Mac to transfer files between the two. Costco provided an accessory pack, with a couple of cases, a mobile plug, and USB cords; but these were just charging cords inside the packs.

I also have DropBox on all my devices and can easily sync files between each of the devices. However, I wanted to make sure that I could simply upload directly with the USB cable. There are also some other WiFi programs available from the Google Play Store to transfer files using your private WiFi network and a browser. It looks like those could come in very handy.