Installation question for long-time Windows 7 users

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CA_Steve
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Installation question for long-time Windows 7 users

Post by CA_Steve » Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:55 am

I plan to finally migrate over to Windows 7 from XP sometime in the next month or so when I move to an SSD for OS/apps. One PC will migrate this spring. My other PC will stay with XP until I decide to do a new build...maybe next year when Ivy Bridge comes out. I have a couple of XP licenses. I always do a clean install with a new OS.

I have a couple of options:
1) Get an OEM Home Premium full license @ $99 for the 1st PC now. Wait for the other until the build.
2) Get the 3-pack Family upgrade for Home Premium @ $125.
3) Bend over and get the full retail version. Not likely.

Both of the viable options have their own peculiarities:
- I believe the current methodology for a clean install of the upgrade version involves some extra hurdles (install, don't activate, install again then activate...or something like that).
- If you install the OEM version and then replace major components (not sure what MS defines as major) it may lock the OS until you plead with MS for reactivation.

So, I'm looking for some feedback so I can decide on the least painful path.
- What is the current method for clean install of the Win 7 upgrade disk for current XP licensees?
- What triggers OS reactivation with the OEM version and how have you dealt with it?
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Re: Installation question for long-time Windows 7 users

Post by DaveLessnau » Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:59 pm

The Microsoft page for a clean install of Windows 7 over an existing XP setup is here:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/wind ... -windows-7

The meat of the thing is under the Step 3 tab on that page. An alternate rendition of those instruction would be:

http://www.winsupersite.com/article/win ... media.aspx

That version even talks a bit about the Family Pack and the double-install you mentioned.

Don't forget to do full system images and backups if at all possible before doing this. That way you can recover if things go bad. Also, to avoid all of this dance if you ever have to wipe your installation and start over, get a full system image done on your system as soon as it's set up and store that image someplace safe.

As far as OS reactivation prompts, I can't answer (since I'm not running an OEM version). In my case, I've only seen one once when I changed motherboards. Simply running the Activate Windows tool fixed it. I also had Office 2007 (but Windows 7 didn't care about it) hit me with a re-activation request when I added memory. Again, no problem.

Also, you might have to do some finagling if you're moving from x86 to x64 versions of OSes. Read here:

http://www.winsupersite.com/article/win ... ows-7.aspx

And, as far as pricing, Amazon is selling what *appears* to be the retail (i.e., non-OEM) upgrade version for $106:

http://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-Windows ... 025&sr=1-2

I can't guarantee that it's retail instead of OEM, though.

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Re: Installation question for long-time Windows 7 users

Post by andyb » Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:04 pm

The "retail" AKA "I am a mug" licence is off-limits due to the stupid cost with no benefit.

Upgrades are never a great idea if you actually have to install another OS then actually upgrade. I did hear some rumours some time ago about being able to do a "clean-install upgrade" but I never found out if it became reality.

The "family-pack" is certainly cheaper if you need 3 licences, the obvious points of interest are that you really want the 64-bit version, that means that all 3 machines need to be 64-bit capable, but additionally it should make it easier (in theory) to install 2 machines now, then when you come to "upgrade" one of those machines you can use the 3rd licence to do it, then use one of the original licences again later.

One of the main problems with the shitty licencing bullcrap that MS force upon the people who give them cash is that if you install the OS, then activate it, then you find out that your brand new mobo/HDD is faulty and it trashes the OS they might not like you re-activating the same code again in a short time space - I have run into this problem before and ended up having to put a non-legal OS on the customers machine (with their blessing) because of this - so be wary.

As far as the actual triggers of re-activation, its pretty weird and random. Although as a general rule your motherboard (almost) always counts, and if your machine is made by a big OEM your HDD can also count, CPU, RAM, PSU, Keyboard, Mouse and other external devices no, everything else is random but rare, so basically its the motherboard in most home builds that counts, but even then if its say 6-months after you first activated your copy of W7, and you install the same licence on a new PC it might activate staright away with no questions even though it is still activated and working on the old PC - this is of course dangerous if you have Automatic Updates turned on, and you might find that your licence gets red-flagged and deactivated.

There is one further option if you are concerned, get your licence and dont activate it, use a naughty method until you replace your PC then simply re-install using your legitimate code take an image of the drive once you are happy and everything will work just fine.

Finally, there is a little trick when installing W7, choose to create a partition, it will then tell you that it will create a 100MB partition for some reason that I dont care about, and then will make the "main" partition after that. What you do is then delete the "main" partition, and extend the 100MB partition to your desired size, simply finish the install as you would do otherwise.


Andy
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Re: Installation question for long-time Windows 7 users

Post by Fire-Flare » Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:25 pm

I don't know if you've considered this option, but when I install Windows I copy everything that I don't want to lose onto another hard drive then copy them back after the install is complete. It's a lot of work but saves me headaches.

A twist on this idea is to also buy a new hard drive with Windows and install it on that, then you can connect the old drive next to the new one and copy your data over.
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Re: Installation question for long-time Windows 7 users

Post by ces » Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:31 pm

andyb wrote:The "family-pack" is certainly cheaper if you need 3 licences, the obvious points of interest are that you really want the 64-bit version, that means that all 3 machines need to be 64-bit capable, but additionally it should make it easier (in theory) to install 2 machines now, then when you come to "upgrade" one of those machines you can use the 3rd licence to do it, then use one of the original licences again later.
Could you explain this? I don't understand what you are explaining.... maybe not even the assumptions you are making. Can you explain it with more words and also explain the befits of it?

Also the family pack installs can be done as 64 bit or 32 bit or a combination them... can't they?
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"Aristotle calls man the rational animal. All my life I have been seeking evidence to confirm this" Bertrand Russell
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Re: Installation question for long-time Windows 7 users

Post by andyb » Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:03 pm

Could you explain this? I don't understand what you are explaining.... maybe not even the assumptions you are making. Can you explain it with more words and also explain the befits of it?
Sure can. I am making a number of assumptions. You always get rid of your oldest PC first and re-circulate the PC's so you always have the newest one. The oldest PC wont run W7 very well, but you will install it anyway, to get the end user ready for their next PC which runs it much better. You can fill in the details yourself.

You have 3x licences, A, B and C, you also have 4 PC's, 1, 2, and 3 that you currently own, 1 is going to be replaced by 4 in 6-months time, so you only actually have 3 PC's in use at any one time. A, B and C are just codes, but the PC's get newer as the number goes up, so 1 is the oldest and will be replaced by 4 which will be the new PC.

This means that you can install A on 1 right now, and install B on 2, and C on 3 whenever you like, the idea being that if you are going to stop using 1 when you replace it with 4, enough time would have passed between activations to not cause a problem, but it also gives you enough time to mess around with that machine changing settings and so on, that by the time you install it on the other PC's you will get them right first time and not have to re-install those PC's as they will be around for a long time still.

Lastly, it means that you can mess around with imaging. If you create a W7 image that is not activated and does not have a serial code, but has been tweaked to your liking and using your settings, even with apps and utilities insatlled but NO drivers, the image has a much better chance of working on another machine, although some machines are far better for this task than others, and make sure that they all either have AHCI turned on or off as this usually causes an instant blue-screen that stops the image from working until you turn AHCI on/off in the BIOS and then re-image the drive.

This means that you can mess around a lot, activate and use W7 for months in the good knowlege that when your next machine turns up you can either install it from an image, then activate it and install drivers, or simply install it from scratch knowing that your activation should go through, and if asked by MS you can give them the date it was activated and just tell them that the HDD died - never tell them anything else, as they can waste your time by asking stupid questions.
Also the family pack installs can be done as 64 bit or 32 bit or a combination them... can't they?
Good question, I dont know. I simply assumed that they would all be the same version, down to the bittage.


Andy
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Re: Installation question for long-time Windows 7 users

Post by ces » Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:11 pm

andyb wrote:Lastly, it means that you can mess around with imaging. If you create a W7 image that is not activated and does not have a serial code, but has been tweaked to your liking and using your settings, even with apps and utilities insatlled but NO drivers, the image has a much better chance of working on another machine, although some machines are far better for this task than others, and make sure that they all either have AHCI turned on or off as this usually causes an instant blue-screen that stops the image from working until you turn AHCI on/off in the BIOS and then re-image the drive.
Drive clone has capability that permits you to do a backup image of a boot drive, then install it on the boot drive of another computer. The refer to it as a "to the metal" image which is somehow done independent of the drivers. Never tried it though.
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Re: Installation question for long-time Windows 7 users

Post by CA_Steve » Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:15 pm

Thanks for the tips. Keep em coming. Also, if it wasn't clear from my OP, I will be installing Win 7 on a newly formatted drive - I am not installing it over XP.
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Re: Installation question for long-time Windows 7 users

Post by andyb » Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:43 pm

I will be installing Win 7 on a newly formatted drive - I am not installing it over XP.
Good.

Another tip. I started doing this on my test rigs some years ago (due to Windows needing a re-install every 3-6 months due to getting abused, infected, compromised and occasionally wiped by accident), and have migrated this to all of my other systems, and will continue to do so.

Have a "boot partition", or as is more realistic now have a "boot SSD". The simple idea being that on a HDD you have a smallish partition that is plenty big enough for all of the apps and utilities, page file, hibernations file, system restore if you use that and whatever else you can think of. You then create a second partition to fill the rest of the drive, then tell windows that the second HDD partition is "D:" and the ODD is "E:" (this helps later), you finally "move" your user data to the "D:" drive, and take an image of the FAT (boot table or whatever else your imaging software calls it) and the "C: Drive". This then means that if everything goes pear-shaped you can simply re-image over the "C:" drive and you dont have to worry about losing a great deal - there is always something, firefox's bookmarks for example. This makes life much easier for backups as well, as you only need to manually backup the occasional item that refuses to live on "D:" meaning you can simply backup the whole of "D:" to somewhere else, and "C:" is then worthless as there is little or no user data on it to care about.

I used to use a 32GB partition on my test rigs for a couple of reasons, it was smaller than the smallest drives we were likely to see (40GB), there were no problems on using drives above 32GB in capacity on machines that didnt see partitions bigger than 32GB, and it was easily enough for the test rigs. The software took care of expanding the partition to fill the rest of the drive. As I have a 64GB SSD there was no point in not using all of it, so that is now my current "boot partition" size.

There used to be valid reasons for people partitioning big drives in the past, but right now this is the only one I know of, and it is very useful.


Andy
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Re: Installation question for long-time Windows 7 users

Post by CA_Steve » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:05 pm

I've used multiple partitions for years, typically C for OS and apps, D for media, E for docs. The E drive started out as a 700MB partition - easily backed up to a CD. Now, it's a couple of GB and contains a Truecrypt folder (easily backed up as an encrypted archive onto multiple thumb drives).

I have never had success with imaging/restoring a C drive when I run multiple partitions. Acronis always gave me crap about backing up/restoring to a different sized drive or wanting to delete partitions. gah.

The plan with this upcoming build is to get a 128GB class SSD and overprovision the hell out of it. Format for 2 partitions (C for OS/apps, D for docs) and use an existing WD640GB for media.
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Re: Installation question for long-time Windows 7 users

Post by SebRad » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:39 pm

Hi, the copies of Windows 7 FP that I have have both 32 and 64bit disks in them.
It IS an upgrade licence BUT easy enough to get round. you mentioned you have XP installs so just install XP minimally, like to the first full boot, don't worry about drivers or anything else at all, on the machine (or leave the original install, especially if working)

Boot off the Windows 7 DVD and during the "Upgrade" process you can tell it you want to re-partition/format the HDD so your old Windows is blow away anyway.
You can't directly upgrade a x86 OS to x64 anyway. I've done several like this with no problem at all. In fact one of them was an XP install from another machine, just transferred the HDD (which wouldn't then even boot due to HW changes) put in the upgrade DVD and away it went!

I also managed to "upgrade" (with bit registry hacking) a dodgy copy of Windows 7 Ultimate x64 with W7 HP FP x64 and it wouldn't activate itself. I had to call up the phone number and ended up speaking to someone (nice man in India I think!) and confirmed was Family pack and no this was only the 3rd use of it and was given activation code and all been working fine for months since.

Hope this helps, Seb
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Re: Installation question for long-time Windows 7 users

Post by andyb » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:42 pm

Hi, the copies of Windows 7 FP that I have have both 32 and 64bit disks in them.
It IS an upgrade licence BUT easy enough to get round. you mentioned you have XP installs so just install XP minimally, like to the first full boot, don't worry about drivers or anything else at all, on the machine (or leave the original install, especially if working)

Boot off the Windows 7 DVD and during the "Upgrade" process you can tell it you want to re-partition/format the HDD so your old Windows is blow away anyway.
You can't directly upgrade a x86 OS to x64 anyway. I've done several like this with no problem at all. In fact one of them was an XP install from another machine, just transferred the HDD (which wouldn't then even boot due to HW changes) put in the upgrade DVD and away it went!
Thats really good to know thanks.


Andy
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Re: Installation question for long-time Windows 7 users

Post by colm » Wed Mar 16, 2011 12:33 pm

I use oem premium,
always do.

did not know of the 3 license deal...

go clean, I find upgrades go goofy perfectly.
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Re: Installation question for long-time Windows 7 users

Post by Plekto » Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:15 pm

Also be aware that the Pro version has XP compatibility more while the lesser versions are crippled and don't have it.

Spend the extra money on it.

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Re: Installation question for long-time Windows 7 users

Post by ces » Thu Mar 17, 2011 12:55 am

Plekto wrote:Also be aware that the Pro version has XP compatibility more while the lesser versions are crippled and don't have it.
WOW. Are you sure about that?

Does that mean that my MS Word 2007 won't install on my Home version of Win 7?
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Re: Installation question for long-time Windows 7 users

Post by SebRad » Thu Mar 17, 2011 4:26 am

Hi, almost all applications (especially MS ones) will install just fine on all versions of Windows 7.
They all have "compatability" settings to try to fool the program it's on an older version of Windows for older / troublesome apps. I think in some case 32 bit will have less trouble than 64bit. 64bit Windows has no legacy 16bit support at all!

The "XP Mode" is aimed at legacy or cutome business applications that are [badly] programed in such a way as they will only work under Windows XP, and will not work with the "normal" compatability settings.
What the XP mode gives you (I think) is a well integrated virtual machine. Effectively a virtual machine is run and runs the application and is then presented in a normal window.
You can achieve a similar effect with MS Virtual PC, (thats free - and is what's used by XP Mode!) if you have a copy of XP you can install on it.
The MS virtual PC doesn't have great graphics support so games are pretty much out!

I've have Windows 7 x64 and had no problems with pretty much anything installing on to it.
For other people the only thing I've had to resort to a virtual machine for was an old Sage package that would only almost run under Windows. Just created a virtual PC with minimal XP install and Sage in the startup group and created a shortcut to the VM on the desktop so it's pretty much one click to open it.

Hope this helps, Seb
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Re: Installation question for long-time Windows 7 users

Post by DaveLessnau » Thu Mar 17, 2011 4:31 am

ces wrote:
Plekto wrote:Also be aware that the Pro version has XP compatibility more while the lesser versions are crippled and don't have it.

WOW. Are you sure about that?

Does that mean that my MS Word 2007 won't install on my Home version of Win 7?
What he means by that is that Pro, Ultimate and Enterprise come with a virtual machine for XP. IOTW, you can fire up a virtual PC of XP from within Windows 7 and run any particular piece of software that won't run under Windows 7 but did under XP (I've never run into anything like that). Here's the link:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/wind ... ws-xp-mode

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Re: Installation question for long-time Windows 7 users

Post by ces » Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:10 am

DaveLessnau wrote:
ces wrote:
Plekto wrote:Also be aware that the Pro version has XP compatibility more while the lesser versions are crippled and don't have it.

WOW. Are you sure about that?

Does that mean that my MS Word 2007 won't install on my Home version of Win 7?
What he means by that is that Pro, Ultimate and Enterprise come with a virtual machine for XP. IOTW, you can fire up a virtual PC of XP from within Windows 7 and run any particular piece of software that won't run under Windows 7 but did under XP (I've never run into anything like that). Here's the link:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/wind ... ws-xp-mode
Does that mean that my MS Word 2007 won't install on my Home version of Win 7?
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Re: Installation question for long-time Windows 7 users

Post by DaveLessnau » Thu Mar 17, 2011 10:26 am

No. Word 2007 will install just fine under Windows 7.

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Re: Installation question for long-time Windows 7 users

Post by Reachable » Thu Mar 17, 2011 11:03 am

If I remember correctly from over a year ago: Windows 7 upgrade will only preserve files and settings from Vista. From XP you essentially do a clean install.

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Re: Installation question for long-time Windows 7 users

Post by ces » Thu Mar 17, 2011 11:28 am

Reachable wrote:If I remember correctly from over a year ago: Windows 7 upgrade will only preserve files and settings from Vista. From XP you essentially do a clean install.
That is my recollection.
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"Aristotle calls man the rational animal. All my life I have been seeking evidence to confirm this" Bertrand Russell
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Re: Installation question for long-time Windows 7 users

Post by aristide1 » Thu Mar 17, 2011 4:20 pm

DaveLessnau wrote:What he means by that is that Pro, Ultimate and Enterprise come with a virtual machine for XP. IOTW, you can fire up a virtual PC of XP from within Windows 7 and run any particular piece of software that won't run under Windows 7 but did under XP (I've never run into anything like that).
If you own something like say an old Nikon SCSI scanner the Nikon software has problems running on newer OS's. XP Compatibility should resolve those issues. Sounds like I could break out the old Pro Pin-ball I stopped using a while back.


Supposedly when buying an "upgrade" version the very first screen should ask you if you want to overlay the old OS or do a clean install upgrade. I can't confirm that though.
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Re: Installation question for long-time Windows 7 users

Post by Plekto » Fri Mar 18, 2011 7:33 am

Some programs won't run. Anything that you have to run in compatibility mode under XP of course, is unworkable either way.(case in point, say, GTA3 series - has to be run in Windows 2000/98 mode under XP). Windows 7 simply pukes it up in either mode.(game loads but no mouse - sorry) When an issue happens, it is almost always mouse and sound driver issues. If the game doesn't play nicely with DirectX, it won't work with Windows 7 either way.

That said, Windows 7 is the next "Windows 2000" - Vista was like Windows ME was and served as a stop-gap to keep from losing (more) market share to Apple. 90% of Microsoft's efforts, even at the time Vista was announced was going into Windows 7 development. They just needed to stall for 2-3 years or so until it was ready.

MAME and other emulators won't work, either, though in most cases you're just better off booting up into *IX (I prefer Mint Linux myself as it has the sound and video drivers pre-installed), since MAME and other programs usually have a version for Linux. A lot of people do this anyways as Windows emulators under *ix tend to emulate 98 and XP environments pretty well by now. That said, one of the reasons almost a decade ago to get Windows 2000 pver 98 was because it had some nifty tools to help you run Windows 95 applications fairly seamlessly. I suspect that the "XP emulation" will be fairly important for many older games (just look at the Steam forums about it - it's about 10-15% of older games from what I can tell) and will work significantly better than the 3rd party options.

I've seen copies of Pro for as little as $10 more than the home version, so IMO, it's worth getting at that price difference, since there are a few networking and utility differences as well.

Ultimate runs about $120 as near as I can tell if you get bulk/OEM pricing(no fancy box or manual), and is a must if you switch between languages regularly as it will allow you to do so easily.(this was a feature in XP only if you custom-ordered a multi-language version) This is far more than switching the language - you can make your machine look and work like it was installed in Japan or Israel or wherever else you would have bought it outside of the U.S.

CA_Steve
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Re: Installation question for long-time Windows 7 users

Post by CA_Steve » Fri Mar 18, 2011 1:55 pm

While this side conversation on home premium vs pro vs ultimate is interesting, I had looked over the differences between them and realized I did not need any of the features beyond Home Premium. When it gets to be time to make a decision, I'll run the compatibility s/w from MS and go from there.

My primary concern was regarding ease of installation and whether to buy the 3-pack retail upgrade or just get a single full OEM license for now. Thanks for the inputs.
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

CA_Steve
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Re: Installation question for long-time Windows 7 users

Post by CA_Steve » Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:15 am

I finally got around to installing the C300 128GB SSD and Windows 7. I went with the Home Premium Family Pack upgrade. It was probably the smoothest install I've had in years - none of the oddball workarounds XP seemed to require. Win 7 did a great job finding the appropriate drivers for my peripherals.

I used the Custom Install, then reinstall and activate method on the virgin SSD. Note that the Family Pack came with both 32-bit and 64-bit disks.

I have one or two apps that may or not work in Win 7. However, I still have the HDD with XP attached to the PC. The Win 7 boot loader sees the old OS and asks me whether I want to load the old OS or Win 7. So, you don't need Windows Ultimate or whatever to get a dual boot mode.

Finally, moving to Win 7 allowed me to enable Direct X 11 in World of Warcraft. This, plus the SSD, was a big performance bump.

Now, an SPCR on topic note. Since my OS and apps are on the SSD, the media hard drive spins down after a few minutes. I never realized how much of the PC's sonic signature was the WD Blue 640GB. Dammit. :)
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

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