Grease a 9-inch springform pan, or line with parchment paper if desired.
If using whole graham crackers, break the crackers into manageable pieces, and pulse the pieces in a blender or food processor.
Combine the sugar and graham crackers in a medium-sized bowl.
Add melted butter to the mixture, and combine well.
Press the crust into the bottom and sides of a springform pan. Use a measuring cup or drinking glass to press the crust into an even thickness.
Bake the crust in the oven for 10 minutes. If too much browning occurs, cover the pan with foil.
Lower the oven temperature to 325°F.
Beat the cream cheese at medium speed in a stand mixer until fluffy. Then add 1 1/3 sugar, and continue mixing until combined.
Add vanilla and eggs (one at a time), just until the yolk is mixed in. Do not over blend, since this will make the cake denser.
Gently fold in the sour cream.
Pour the mixture into the springform pan, and bake for 1 hour.
Turn the oven off, and let the cheesecake stand in the oven for another 30-40 minutes.
Remove the cheesecake from the oven, and run a knife around the edge. Do not remove the sides of the pan yet.
Let the cheesecake cool for 15 minutes. Then, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours.
Remove the sides of the pan when ready to serve.
Rinse and dry strawberries. Then, cut half of the strawberries in half, and dice the remainder.
Combine strawberries and sugar in a saucepan. Cook on low to medium heat for about 10 minutes or until the fruit breaks down to create a jammy texture.
Reduce the heat, and continue stirring. Then, add a small amount of water to the cornstarch before pouring the cornstarch into the saucepan.
Add vanilla to the strawberry syrup, and stir until blended.
Add the strawberry halves, and stir until just coated.
Remove the strawberry topping from the heat. Let cool before refrigerating until ready to serve.
When adding the topping, flip the strawberry halves face down on the cheesecake for a prettier presentation.
The cheesecake may still wobble in the center when done. The cake will become firmer as it cools. Overbaking may result in a cracked or cratered cheesecake.No water bath is needed if the cheesecake is cooked at a low temperature and allowed to sit in the oven until done.For best results, add the strawberry topping just before serving. The cheesecake will last in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. You can also freeze the cheesecake for 1-2 months, if desired. Cut the cheesecake into portions, and add the strawberry topping after defrosting for best results.