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  • #46
    I believe that if you're PC has an OEM copy of Windows 7 and was built after 2012 or so (I might be wrong on that), then you should be able to upgrade it to a licensed copy of Windows 10 for free.

    I moved all my PCs to Windows 10 years ago. I've got one Windows 7 VM in the office that I interact with. Its interface looks positively ancient, probably because I didn't opt to install "Classic Shell" on my PCs when I upgraded them

    My main PC has performed flawlessly running Win10 until recently. Now it's bluescreening at odd times. The error suggests a hardware issue, which I suspect it is - the salt air here really isn't all that friendly to PC motherboards. It is almost seven years old though (it will be 7 this October, so maybe it's time for an upgrade . I built it to replace an old Dell XPS PC that was running Windows XP. BTW, if you're a DIYer, you have to try building your own PC rather than ordering one from one of the usual companies. It can be a lot of fun choosing the components and getting everything to work together. It really isn't that difficult to do. I opted to go with onboard graphics with my 2013 build because I was trying to reduce the PC's power usage as much as possible (it was going to be left on 24x7). My monitor uses more power than the PC when it's running...

    Brian Steele
    www.diysubwoofers.org

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    • #47
      Originally posted by Brian Steele View Post
      .. BTW, if you're a DIYer, you have to try building your own PC rather than ordering one from one of the usual companies. It can be a lot of fun choosing the components and getting everything to work together. It really isn't that difficult to do.....
      ^^This^^ Being this a DIY oriented forum, I'm surprised there isn't more DIY computer geekery going on. So..I'm just going to shamelessly show off my modded Mac G5 case, now full of PC This one, however, was not a bolt-in affair




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      • #48
        That's pretty nice work! My build was more of a stealth build, with the aim being to get maximum performance/watt (electricity is pretty expensive here, currently at the equivalent of US$0.34/kWh, and it's been as high as US$0.43/kWh). It runs 24x7. Or used to run 24x7. I might strip it down this weekend to see if I can find what piece of hardware is causing the problem. If it's the motherboard, not much I can do about it but replace it. The last picture below shows how the internals compare to the Dell PC that it replaced (the one on the left). Oh, and subsequent to taking these pictures, I moved the fan from the CPU cooler and placed it to the rear of the case, to improve the cooling within the case.

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        Brian Steele
        www.diysubwoofers.org

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        • #49
          Originally posted by Brian Steele View Post
          It runs 24x7. Or used to run 24x7. I might strip it down this weekend to see if I can find what piece of hardware is causing the problem. If it's the motherboard, not much I can do about it but replace it.
          I just got done building a new HTPC in addition to upgrading the old one to Windows 10 (to use as a spare if the new one fails). One thing I've been impressed with in the new generation of motherboards is the flexible fan control. The new motherboard I got has three fan headers: one CPU fan header and two case fan headers. They are four-pin headers, but can be configured in the BIOS for four-pin PWM fans, three-pin analog fans, or auto-detect. Each fan can be configured with a custom curve of percent of full speed vs. sensed temperature, with multiple breakpoints in the curve. And for the case fans, one can specify whether the sensed temperature to be used for the curve is CPU temperature or "system" temperature (origin unclear). This is great news for those who appreciate quiet computing.

          If you end up getting a new motherboard and CPU, I can share specifics of low-power solutions that I've searched out and used.

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          • #50
            That sort of fan control sounds similar what I have with my current Asus Gryphon board. The PC case though came with this HUGE fan that at low velocity keeps the components within a decent temperature range. If I do a build from scratch, I'm going to go with a case with a similar-sized fan.

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            Brian Steele
            www.diysubwoofers.org

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            • #51
              Originally posted by Brian Steele View Post
              That sort of fan control sounds similar what I have with my current Asus Gryphon board. The PC case though came with this HUGE fan that at low velocity keeps the components within a decent temperature range. If I do a build from scratch, I'm going to go with a case with a similar-sized fan.
              That software is impressive. I've limited my fan control experiments to what can be done in the BIOS, but it looks like even better things can be done within Windows itself.

              It seems also that 140 mm fans have become commonplace in low-noise cases now. I got what I thought was a "mid tower" with 140 mm fans for my server, and was somewhat shocked at how big the case was. Serves me right for not having done my homework more carefully. That said, the system, despite being bigger than I wanted it to be, is super quiet with its 140 mm fans just putt-putting along to keep things quiet.

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              • #52
                HTPC geekery. A thin mini atx, with an i5 6500, 8gb DDR4, and 128gb NVMe, running KDE NEON. Not fanless, but still quieter than my noisy house. The power supply is just an old 90 watt laptop wall wart. The NEON user interface is super-duper customizable, if you want to take the time to set it up. Its way more powerfull than needed to watch cat videos on the Youtubes



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                • #53
                  I have three PC I built for media use. One uses a true fanless power supply - the other two use a semi-fanless. AMD Athlon 5350 or 5370 CPU with large passive cooling, and SSD. No moving parts, the APU has no problems whatsoever with video processing including upconverting SD at 1080, Kodi runs flawlessly on it, as does my measurement software and various emulators. Each runs 8gb of DDR3.

                  Not the most inexpensive solution due to the fanless power supply, but it doesn't get any quieter than zero moving parts. Other than some aspects of modern web design sucking RAM and clock cycles like no tomorrow, I find them to be fast enough. I run HDMI out to various AVR type things and let them do the heavy lifting on audio processing.

                  Since AMD killed the Athlon quad core Kabini there are very few legitimate options for fanless HTPC. I don't think the entire system pulls 40 watts at full load, and it is running pretty constantly. I brought my fancy cased version as front end for DDIY one year.

                  Anyways, been using Win10 for almost four years at work and the only complaints I have are visual - who decided borderless windows are a good thing?
                  Don't listen to me - I have not sold any $150,000 speakers.

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                  • #54
                    IF your software is not W10 compatible, then make it a dedicated flight simulator with W7 and take it offline or keep a back up and risk putting it online occasionally.

                    IF you decide you want W10, then download the windows install tool previously mentioned. It is still free assuming you have a valid W7 or newer key. I've done dozens. Fresh install in all cases. Most Dell's. No issues to date. I recommend dual core processor with 4gb ram minimum. A $20 SSD helps perk up these older machines. Basically if it runs W7, it will run W10.

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                    • #55
                      Have a question....

                      Having gone to windows 10 on all my stuff years ago, my Father in law just asked me if his 10 year old PC With windows 7 STILL>>>>(which he uses very rarely) could be updated to windows 10 EASILY.....

                      I have no idea.....??? I know supposedly the Free windows 10 supposedly ran out a few years ago...not sure what to tell him, that he would understand, being in his early 70s??

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                      • #56
                        Here's an update to my eariler post. I received my SSD from Best Buy (fast free shipping!) and created a Win10 USB using the Media Creation Tool on the Microsoft website. Disconnected the HDD and plugged in the SSD. Inserted the USB stick with Win10 on it and turned the computer on. It immediately booted from the USB and began the install on my new SSD. I initially said I didn't have a key, and it went right ahead with the install. After completion, I loaded Chrome and did a few other things to see how it was running. No issues and it's nice and fast compared to Win7 and a HDD. Then went to Settings to activate Windows. It took my Win7 key with no problems. This is an OEM key received with a refurbished HP desktop about 4 or 5 years ago.

                        So another confirmation that you can still indeed upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 for free.

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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by kevintomb View Post
                          Have a question....

                          Having gone to windows 10 on all my stuff years ago, my Father in law just asked me if his 10 year old PC With windows 7 STILL>>>>(which he uses very rarely) could be updated to windows 10 EASILY.....

                          I have no idea.....??? I know supposedly the Free windows 10 supposedly ran out a few years ago...not sure what to tell him, that he would understand, being in his early 70s??
                          Check the Win10 hardware requirements. If they are adequate, then a free update should be possible using a Win10 USB created with the Medai Creation Tool. One thing to check is does he have the Win7 key. If not, he won't be able to activate Win10.

                          Easy? That's a good question. Depends on how tech savy he is. Some of us in our 70s can do this stuff!

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                          • #58
                            Originally posted by johnnyrichards View Post
                            I have three PC I built for media use. One uses a true fanless power supply - the other two use a semi-fanless. AMD Athlon 5350 or 5370 CPU with large passive cooling, and SSD. No moving parts, the APU has no problems whatsoever with video processing including upconverting SD at 1080, Kodi runs flawlessly on it, as does my measurement software and various emulators. Each runs 8gb of DDR3.

                            Not the most inexpensive solution due to the fanless power supply, but it doesn't get any quieter than zero moving parts. Other than some aspects of modern web design sucking RAM and clock cycles like no tomorrow, I find them to be fast enough. I run HDMI out to various AVR type things and let them do the heavy lifting on audio processing.

                            Since AMD killed the Athlon quad core Kabini there are very few legitimate options for fanless HTPC. I don't think the entire system pulls 40 watts at full load, and it is running pretty constantly. I brought my fancy cased version as front end for DDIY one year.
                            My latest HTPC build uses an Athlon 200GE. It's 35W rather than the 25W of the Kabini CPU you mentioned, and dual-core rather than quad-core. It has hyper-threading though, and supports 4 concurrent threads. It benchmarks a little faster than the quad-core A8-5500 it replaced, which was 65W. I've never tried a fully fanless solution, but for a a couple of builds I used these big Scythe Ninja heat sinks with just a single case fan close to the CPU, running off the CPU fan header. Both of these builds died an early death, but I have no way of knowing whether that cooling approach was to blame. I've found that having a fan attached to the heat sink yields much cooler CPU temperatures.

                            I've noticed that fanless PSUs are becoming harder to find than they used to be, and the available ones tend to be higher in power and in the $175-$275 range., which is ridiculous. I did find an off-brand one, a 550W Mistel MX550 for $110. It seems to be working okay so far, but apparently their support, including warranty, is virtually nonexistent. 550W for an HTPC with a dinky 35W CPU is absurd overkill, but I like to have parts with a standard form factor for ease of replacement.

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                            • #59
                              Originally posted by johnnyrichards View Post
                              ..Anyways, been using Win10 for almost four years at work and the only complaints I have are visual - who decided borderless windows are a good thing?
                              I've grown to like the look. However, I think developers have gone too far in an effort to make the programs look "clean", without a thought to usability. Specifically, a lot of programs/apps have hidden buttons or menus that don't appear unless you hover over them. This is bad design. Also, it's often not clear if a clickable text link brings you an additional program dialog, or just kicks you out to a web page. Again - bad design.

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