Every other Saturday, Mathieu from Hardware Revolution goes through his e-mail inbox and previous comments and answers five to ten of the best questions left by you, the readers, on computer hardware topics and many other things.

Got a question? Post it in the comments and make sure to subscribe to the comments to read other people questions and my answers!

Let’s get started!

Q: Which versions of Windows 7 support the virtual Windows XP mode?

A: Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate, both in 32 and 64 bit.

Note that you can buy an eligible version of Windows Vista and upgrade to the corresponding version of Windows 7 when it’s available on October 22nd.

Eligible Windows Vista Business copies will get you an upgrade to Windows 7 Professional. You can obtain them here, in:

Eligible Windows Vista Ultimate copies will get you an upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate. You can obtain them here, in:

Q: Will I see any performance difference if I use a motherboard with 8X PCI-Express slots, for a Crossfire or SLI setup?

A: Only in one case and that is if you use an older motherboard that still uses the older PCI-Express 1.0 slots. With any recent motherboard equipped with PCI-Express 2.0 slots, you will not see any difference between 8X and 16X and this is true for even the highest-end setup. You will get a performance hit from using a 4X slot though.

You can read an excellent review on this matter with a Core i7 920 and three Geforce GTX 285 in Three-Way SLI by Hot Hardware here.

Q: Are there any good SSD (Solid State Drive) available for less than 100 dollars?

A: Hardly. There’s a PQI 32GB at $85: but I have very little information on it, regarding the controller and if there’s TRIM support, which I highly doubt.

It’s not the fastest drive, but it’s the really low latencies that matter for SSD and quick booting/quick launching applications. I wouldn’t recommend it, it’s more at your own risk.

Instead, I would recommend that you read my latest guide, the Best SSD for your money: August 2009 edition where I give many tips regarding SSD, what you need to know and which SSD offer the best value right now.

Q: Are SLI ready motherboards also support Crossfire?

A: No, with one exception: Motherboards based on Intel’s X58 chipset, with the socket 1366 for Core i7 CPUs, all support Crossfire.

Q: Is there a cost efficient way to combine SSD with RAID to make a relatively cost efficient system at the same time as having a fail-safe auto-backup system?

A: You can use RAID on SSD in the same way as you can use RAID on mechanical hard drive, it’s the exact same process.

However, it’s hardly cost-efficient to do so at this point as SSDs are still very expensive and you have to remember that if you use RAID 1 for data redundancy, you will effectively only have the capacity of one of two drives. Considering the capacity of SSD, this is hardly desirable.

The best solution is to use a single SSD to host Windows and frequently used or heavy programs to have them load faster and to use two higher capacity mechanical hard drives in a RAID 1 setup by themselves for data redundancy.

Once you installed Windows, make a copy of your SSD and save it on your RAID 1 hard drives. That way, you can restore your Windows installation back to when it was working flawlessly if you run in any trouble.

You can also use a software to automatically backup important files to your RAID 1 setup on a daily basis.


Have any question? Leave it below in the comments and I’ll answer it.
That’s it for today. Have a great weekend!