Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Dell Studio XPS 8100 home PC (Part 2)

... continues from Part 1 ...


The Dell 0T568R motherboard (OEM by Foxconn)  in Studio XPS 8100 computer has 4 slots for DDR3 SDRAM 1333Mhz dual channel memory. This motherboard can support up to 16GB of memory.

I have chosen 8GB (4 x 2GB) of memory for my computer. In fact, the default 4GB (2 x 2GB) is already sufficient for normal use, but I planned to use virtualization with VirtualBox and allocate 2GB for each virtual machine, therefore I go for 8GB at additional cost of RM390 from the default 4GB configuration. Anything above 8GB will need to buy for the 4GB RAM module and the price will be very high.

Dell equipped my computer with 4 Kingston KP223C-ELD  PC3-10700 dual channel DDR3 memories, running at 9-9-9-24-2T 667MHz with Enhanced Performance Profiles (EPP).

Hard drive

The Dell 0T568R motherboard (OEM by Foxconn) with Intel H57 chipset  in Studio XPS 8100 computer has an Intel SATA RAID controller which supports for either RAID 0 or 1 only.

By default, it comes with 1 x 1TB Seagate 3.5" ST31000528AS Barracuda 7200.12 SATA 3GB/s hard drive with Native Command Queuing (NCQ) and 32MB cache. Its maximum data transfer rate can go up to 300MB/s.

I've decided to get another 1TB hard drive for additional RM481 and go for RAID 1 for data protection against hardware failure. (Now I realized that this cost is actually very high, as we can get the same hard drive for less than RM200 in DIY market.)

Dell formatted the hard drive into 3 partitions, one is for its utility and diagnostic tools, another is used to store a factory installation of OS image (and those pre-installed software) for disaster recovery purpose. The main partition is a big C:.

It is simple and easy to separate the C: partition into two (C: and D:) and can be done within minutes.

On 20 September 2010, I wrote about "Resizing harddisk partition in Windows Vista or Windows 7".

Optical drive

By default, Dell Studio XPS 8100 is equipped with single 16X CD/DVD burner with double layer write capability. It is a Hitachi-LG HL-DT-ST DVD+-RW GH50N SATA writer.

There are options for Blue-Ray reader, Blue-Ray writer, either in combo drive or dual drives. However, the cost is pretty high.

It is good to have Blue-Ray together with display card and monitor that supports HD, but as the Blue-Ray movie discs are selling at high price, and the Blue-Ray data discs are also selling at high price. Considering that I might not be keen on Blue-Ray products due to its price at the moment, I've decided to stick with the default DVD+-RW writer.

Note that the reading and/or burning speed of a combo drive is slower than the single drive in those Dell's optical drive options.

Interestingly, the DVD+-RW writer of this Dell Studio XPS 8100 is concealed behind a cover, with its open/close toggle button beside that cover.

... continues to Part 3...


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