I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

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Krealr
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I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby Krealr » Mon Feb 01, 2016 3:52 pm UTC

My ~5 old desktop computer seems to have died so I'm looking into a new one.

I plan on reusing all all the peripherals I can so I should just need the tower. My budget is under $1000 (closer to the $800-$900 range would be better or even less if I can manage)

I like to game but almost exclusively play RPG's. Something that would play fallout 4 decently would be nice if I can manage.

It's been a long time since I bought a computer so my knowledge is horribly out of date.

Does anyone have any recommendations on a desktop that would fit that price range?
Some idea about what type of graphics card I should look at to balance cost/benefit? (especially what are comparable cards between NVida and AMD these days?)
Anything else I should look for or avoid?

I was also considering trying to build my own to save some money but am a bit nervous about it. (Last time I built my own system was ~16 years ago and it had cooling issues)

I was looking at the DIY Combo's on newegg, are any of these actually worthwhile? Do they actually have everything I would need? Also am I actually saving much compared to buying a pre-built one off the site. (especially when I add in $100 for windows)

KnightExemplar
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Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:58 pm UTC

Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby KnightExemplar » Mon Feb 01, 2016 4:40 pm UTC

I would definitely recommend building your own, especially if you want maximum price / performance. It is easier than it looks (just like assembling lego pieces), the only problem is if something "bad" happens along the way, you may need some specialized tools to figure out what went wrong. Or... you can return what you expect are the bad components, buy everything again, and have a 2nd go at it (and if that fails again, you have a 3rd go at it... yes, I'm speaking from experience here). Considering the return policies on some stores (ex: Microcenter, Newegg, Amazon), this may be convenient... although you may wait a week or so as everything gets shipped to you again. Retail stores like Microcenter are useful for quicker returns as you guess/check your failed components.

But in my experience, approximately 85% of the time (I've assisted 5 of my friends with builds, plus myself. And of course, only I had the issue. Gahhh... ), even a newbie gets everything right on the first go. And by "assist", I mean I told them what to buy and they built the computer themselves (I was on phone-call if any of them needed help, but none of them ever called). I just want to be honest about the potential problems if you get a "lemon" component for some reason. Honestly, its just like assembling very expensive legos. As long as you plug things into the things that fit the plugs, and as long as they shipped you actual working components... you'll be fine.

I was looking at the DIY Combo's on newegg, are any of these actually worthwhile? Do they actually have everything I would need? Also am I actually saving much compared to buying a pre-built one off the site. (especially when I add in $100 for windows)


Well, the main thing about going full custom is the ability to purchase higher-quality parts on the parts of the computer you care about, and lower-quality parts on the components you don't care about. Take the i5-6400 Combo for example, which is honestly a good start to a computer build at a good price. However, the 500W PSU might be underpowered if you're buying a very-high end graphics card (like the liquid-cooled AMD Fury X), so you might need to buy a new power-supply. Or maybe 500W is just perfect if you're getting a particularly power-efficient card (Ex: NVidia GTX 970), but going NVidia locks you out of FreeSync monitors.

The Seagate 1TB SSD-hybrid Hard Drive is a decent, cheap solution for computer builds. But notice that you have $200+ left in your budget (assuming a $300 graphics card). Therefore, it'd be far far better, at your price point, to purchase a $260 1TB SSD. You'd get far faster loading times (~5 to 10 seconds to cold-boot your computer, level loads across video games will be near instantaneous), although it costs a good chunk more. But your budget can afford it, so you should do it.

Do you need the DVD burner that comes with the combo? No one I know wants one, you either want BluRay writers (if you actually use disks today), or its a waste to buy one.

The Z170 Motherboard is on the higher-end of the scale. Unless you plan to do advanced features (RAID5, Overclocking, Crossfire / SLI), then the Motherboard in that combo has a bunch of features you probably don't care about. Downgrading to a H97 motherboard would save you like $50 to $70... as long as you're happy to live without those advanced features.

You see? Its not that "prebuilt" is improperly priced or anything, its just that any pre-built solution will inevitably be underspeced somewhere (so you have to buy new components to do what you want), and overspeced elsewhere (you are paying for features you don't care about). For this ~$500 computer, it stands very well on its own and actually comes in at a good price point. But by the time you buy a new PSU for your graphics and buy a new SSD for your hard drive, the "waste" of having two PSUs and two storage units starts to eat into your budget.

So building "off" of the combo, you probably can get away with a GTX 970 GPU and 1TB SSD, although this puts you closer to $1100 or so. But if you built full custom, you'd buy a cheaper mobo and sell the Hybrid-Drive and have a computer that is under $1000. The easiest build off of the combo seems to be NVidia GTX 970, a GSync monitor, and then calling it a day after that... but you really should be striving for full SSD at the budget you described. Full SSD is one of the best price/performance components of a modern computer build.

------------------

With that said, its a great baseline to start at, and if you're not really interested in optimizing every dollar out of your build, its probably a hell of a lot more convenient to just buy that DIY combo. Its not at a wrong price or anything, but there's absolutely no way that any pre-packaged solution will match your wants / needs exactly.

---------------

Some idea about what type of graphics card I should look at to balance cost/benefit? (especially what are comparable cards between NVida and AMD these days?)


NVidia has:

Titan X (Ridiculously expensive, "Halo" product)
980 TI
980
970 (Optimal Price/Performance. High end gaming)
960 Ti (Coming soon)
960
950 (Cheapest current solution)

.... And a bunch below that. Mostly older models that drop off the price/performance curve. But we can ignore them.

AMD has:

Fury X (Fastest, roughly comparable to 980 Ti, Liquid Cooled monster)
Fury
Fury Nano (specialized: expensive, designed for small builds)
R9 390X
R9 390 (Optimal Price/performance. High end gaming)
R9 380X
R9 380
R9 370X (Coming soon?? Maybe?)
R9 370 (Entry level gaming)

R7 360 (approximately PS4 / XBox One quality. Low end PC gaming)

I prefer AMD, due to the existence of FreeSync. But NVidia cards tend to have lower power consumption at the same price point, and their "GSync" technology works just as well (although its a hell of a lot more expensive). Drivers are a wash, some games are better on NVidia, others are better on AMD. All this means is headaches for benchmarks, because literally no benchmark is "fair". Every practical benchmark that uses a real game is innately tilted towards one company or the other. :-(
Last edited by KnightExemplar on Mon Feb 01, 2016 5:26 pm UTC, edited 5 times in total.
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wumpus
Posts: 494
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Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby wumpus » Mon Feb 01, 2016 5:19 pm UTC

Two sites you need to know about (obviously in addition to newegg and amazon)
http://www.logicalincrements.com/
http://pcpartpicker.com

Basics:
In 2010 Intel was unveiling the "core" i5 and i7 family. Today we still use the i3, i5, and i7 family. Sure, they run things a little faster, but don't be sure you can notice the difference. In 2010, nvidia was still using the .40nm process (today its stalled at the .28nm process), you should notice a big improvement. SSDs were either seriously expensive or unavailable, today they are standard features. You seriously want a SSD (keep your old hard drive around as backup, bulk storage. But don't be surprised if everything clutters up the SSD). Monitors were almost certainly 1080 back then (I hope), have been mostly stalled at that, but coming up in resolution and size.

Some thoughts:

The first thing I would buy is a new powersupply. Dell is notorious for specing the least amount of watts possible, and power supplies are an item that fails often (and is relatively consistent with what you are seeing).

Power supply:
My strategy for power supplies has been to figure out the watts I need (add up all the wattage the parts need) and then get the greater of the total wattage or twice the "typical" usage. Depending on whats available, I'd also look for a little more headroom, but more wattage than you need typically makes the system less efficient. Just search under "corsair" (or your favorite quality brand. Be careful, this is the easiest place to ship sub-rate hardware parts). Sorting by price (within a quality brand) and look for the wattage you need.

Motherboard:
This gets tricky. Since your old one is a Dell, you probably can't find any real data on it. You might find out what type of processor it can take and upgrade that (if you need it). Assuming your old board can take an i5 or i7, it should have nearly all the modern features you want. One of the bigger reasons to keep you motherboard is that your windows license is tied to it. You might get away with keeping your old system by "repairing" the thing, but keeping the old motherboard means no issues with paying Microsoft for windows 7 or 10. Make sure you can stick whatever hard drives you have plus an SSD or two in the system, I've seen some nasty bios tricks (only one HD and one DVD, don't put a HD in the DVD slot) in Dells).
CPU:
Don't overdo it. There's precious little a CPU has to do in an RPG, but on the other hand you don't want to go through this again in less than 5 years (and note that while the chips get smaller, the tops (and OC'ed chips) stay around the 4GHz range and remain i3s, i5s, and i7s). If you have an i7 or high clocking i5, I'd strongly consider keeping it and upgrading elsewhere.
RAM:
Mostly depends on the motherboard. Go for size first, speed second (if that). Check to see if you can reuse your old ram (you won't be able to if you go Skylake/DDR4). Memory is cheap now, but using your old ram and adding an equal (or double) amount gets you even more ram cheap.
SSD:
Get one. If your budget gets tight, try reusing more parts before dropping the SSD. Note that you don't need *everything* on the SSD, and a bulk hard drive can store all you big stuff and old files (especially if your old hard drive works). SSDs seem to be the only piece of hardware still obeying Moore's law, so don't be surprised if you upgrade it before 5 years.
Monitor[s]:
This sounds like one of the most likely items to re-use. Hopefully it is a fairly large 1080 job (of course, they aren't that expensive now). Another possibility is multiple monitors, especially if you can match a third monitor (mostly for gaming, two are well loved for non-gaming) to your present one[s]. Match size and resolution before going multiple monitors.
GPU.
Another thing you want new. While GPUs have stalled recently, they did improve after 2010.
The GPU is strongly tied to the monitor you choose, and the power supply is tied to the GPU you choose. If you have been drooling over the idea of an Occulus rift, things get even more complicated (and expensive). This is where you scroll along "logical increments" and try to balance things out. But remember, more depends on your monitor than the rest of the system. If you have three monitors, you need three times the pixel mapping of a single monitor system. If you bought a 4x monitor, your GPU will slow down (roughly) by a factor of 4 compared to the HD monitor.
http://www.techspot.com/review/1089-fal ... page2.html [quick and dirty way to compare GPUs]

Now go up and read up at http://www.logicalincrements.com/ so you can put the responses in perspective.

KnightExemplar
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Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby KnightExemplar » Mon Feb 01, 2016 6:00 pm UTC

wumpus wrote:In 2010 Intel was unveiling the "core" i5 and i7 family. Today we still use the i3, i5, and i7 family. Sure, they run things a little faster, but don't be sure you can notice the difference.


Two caveats.

1. Sandy Bridge (2nd generation i5 and i7) was a big step up from first generation, measured in 20% to 30% improvement over first generation. Beyond that, differences are below 10% each generation.

Image

Nehelem (900-series) vs Sandy Bridge (2000-series), vs Ivy Bridge (3000-series) vs Haswell (4000-series). Skylake (6000-series) didn't exist when that picture was made. Broadwell (5000-series) was mostly a laptop chip, and wasn't very popular as a desktop solution.

Today, you're looking at 6000-series (Skylake) vs 4000-series (Haswell) if you're building a computer. Haswell is much cheaper, and uses DDR3 RAM (also cheaper). Skylake has all the new features, like more I/O ports, lower power usage, slightly faster, but of course it costs more.

2. While raw performance numbers have barely improved, power-consumption is significantly better. Intel has focused the majority of their efforts on power consumption instead of performance. This is because the server market AND laptop market cares more about power consumption than performance. Desktop users aren't as profitable either, so the majority of R&D is funneled elsewhere.

Monitors were almost certainly 1080 back then (I hope), have been mostly stalled at that, but coming up in resolution and size.


FreeSync and Gsync have come out since then, and offer much smoother gameplay experiences... assuming you have a compatible graphics card.

Get one. If your budget gets tight, try reusing more parts before dropping the SSD. Note that you don't need *everything* on the SSD, and a bulk hard drive can store all you big stuff and old files (especially if your old hard drive works). SSDs seem to be the only piece of hardware still obeying Moore's law, so don't be surprised if you upgrade it before 5 years.


SSD discussion is rather complicated, because there's a lot of companies trying different things. Long story short, the only TLC that seems worth a damn is the Samsung 850, but even then... I don't know if I can trust TLC yet. So I recommend MLC drives like the Mushkin Reactor for now. There are a lot of higher-end parts if you care about this sort of thing, and there are a ton of "low end" cheap drives available. (and honestly, the worst SSD is hugely better than a hard drive. So I recommend usually bottom-of-the-barrel SSDs, since most people can't tell the difference from the high-end vs low-end) If you do some research here, you're likely to find an excellent deal (very volatile market, the prices change on a weekly basis).

You want a modern SSD that supports TRIM, Native queuing and stuff..., MLC is older and more reliable technology so I recommend that while others are testing the TLC stuff. Mushkin Reactor is one (of many) low-end SSD that satisfies the requirements I personally care about... and seems to be the cheapest right now. But feel free to browse around and pick something else, they're all pretty good, as long as you stay away from TLC. (Even then, the crappy TLC drives are still exponentially better than a hard drive, so its very hard to go wrong if you go SSD. And Samsung's 850 Evo TLC is an exception right now, they seem to be the first company to implement TLC at a decent-quality level... after years of issues.)

FYI: SSDs aren't following Moore's Law. SSDs have dropped from 32nm to 16nm designs in just the past two years, so they were improving faster than process nodes for a good while. Their capacities going forward are now truly tied to fabrication nodes, or dramatic changes in design (like TLC). I personally don't expect them to improve dramatically anymore.
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wumpus
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Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby wumpus » Mon Feb 01, 2016 6:37 pm UTC

Yes, there has been some improvements in CPU since 2010. Still:
SSD vs. no (or tiny, expensive) SSD: an order of magnitude improvement in latency (at least).
2016 GPU vs. 2010 GPU: A fairly large gain 2308 GFLOPS for 960, 748 GFLOPS for the 460 (note, 460 was a pretty impressive value. You could keep one for a long time) - An increase of 300%.
2016 CPU vs. 2010 CPU (at least latest CPU vs. earliest i7 on your chart) 50% increase.

Most of it depends on what CPU you have, and if the motherboard works (it might be hard to find a CPU that works in a 2010 Dell motherboard). Replacing both of these will certainly bring an improvement, but don't expect the leaps and jumps you get from SSDs and GPUs.

Note: I you can buy in person at either Fry's or Microcenter, you can typically get a much better deal (or at least you used to) on a CPU & motherboard bundle than at newegg.
KnightExemplar wrote:FYI: SSDs aren't following Moore's Law. SSDs have dropped from 32nm to 16nm designs in just the past two years, so they were improving faster than process nodes for a good while. Their capacities going forward are now truly tied to fabrication nodes, or dramatic changes in design (like TLC). I personally don't expect them to improve dramatically anymore.


Have you noticed that SSDs tend to go deep/3D? Moore noted that "more transistors are put on a single chip" and didn't say how that density was achieved (and the 3d chips tend to use bigger transistors than the flat ones). Obviously, this can only go so far, but it isn't dead yet. There also doesn't seem to be an end to the price war of the last year+ so buyers are happy.

Intel's 3d/xpoint stuff is a completely different story and likely to scale much further and re-jiggle the entire memory stack. But that shouldn't effect a 2016 consumer.

KnightExemplar
Posts: 5489
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:58 pm UTC

Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby KnightExemplar » Mon Feb 01, 2016 6:48 pm UTC

Have you noticed that SSDs tend to go deep/3D? Moore noted that "more transistors are put on a single chip" and didn't say how that density was achieved (and the 3d chips tend to use bigger transistors than the flat ones). Obviously, this can only go so far, but it isn't dead yet. There also doesn't seem to be an end to the price war of the last year+ so buyers are happy.


Well Intel achieved 3d transistors with Ivy Bridge, so its really just Samsung following on Intel's coat-tails once again. As long as you're using a 3000-series or newer CPU, you're using 3d-transistors.

Only now are SSDs using 3d transistors at the lowest process nodes. (kinda/sorta, Samsung's 3d TLC RAM is on the 40nm node IIRC). Considering that Skylake is 16nm 3D, that tells you how far behind SSDs are against CPU technology (although Micron is 16nm 2d IIRC). Intel's CPUs remain on the best process nodes, and Flash is still only catching up to there. So all of the major breakthroughs in Flash are basically attributed to them jumping from older nodes to newer ones at a rate faster than Moore's Law can produce.

Intel's 3d/xpoint stuff is a completely different story and likely to scale much further and re-jiggle the entire memory stack. But that shouldn't effect a 2016 consumer.


The slides were misleading. The rumors are that 3d/xpoint are RAM-replacement technology, not Flash-replacement technology. They're just abusing the word "memory" to increase the hype of those future devices. It looks like its a real technology, but only with roughly the density of RAM.

wumpus wrote:Yes, there has been some improvements in CPU since 2010. Still:
SSD vs. no (or tiny, expensive) SSD: an order of magnitude improvement in latency (at least).
2016 GPU vs. 2010 GPU: A fairly large gain 2308 GFLOPS for 960, 748 GFLOPS for the 460 (note, 460 was a pretty impressive value. You could keep one for a long time) - An increase of 300%.
2016 CPU vs. 2010 CPU (at least latest CPU vs. earliest i7 on your chart) 50% increase.


True, but once again, Intel is 100% focused on power efficiency instead. They're spending their Process Node research to create more efficient CPUs, because CPUs are finally "fast enough". Checkout the battery life of a notebook between 2010 and today. Batteries are smaller than ever before, and the Surface 4 achieves 4+ hours of battery life on a very light, tiny battery while loaded (8 to 9 hours when not loaded). It isn't that batteries have gotten better, Intel's new CPUs simply use significantly less power than earlier versions.

Speed no longer sells processors. Longer battery lives do however. Longer battery life is then traded-off for lighter devices (the majority of the weight of a modern device is in the battery pack). Laptops in 2010 were running 2 or 3 hours on large and heavy 5000 or 6000 mAh battery packs. Modern devices are running 4 to 8 hours on small, light 3500mAh battery packs... WITH 50% speed increases.

Intel's newest server chips are all about lower-power. Datacenters have literally run out of energy, so cramming more servers into a datacenter requires more power-efficient. The Xeon D sips 30W of power while delivering faster performance than earlier servers (which used to use 100W or more).

Once you factor in power-efficiency, you realize where all of Moore's Law gains have gone on Intel's chips. Its a bit annoying because battery life means jack shit to a desktop, so we desktop users don't really see very many gains worth talking about.
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Krealr
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Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby Krealr » Mon Feb 01, 2016 7:43 pm UTC

Lots to think about, thanks everyone.

I've been messing around on the pcpartpicker site a bit. This is what I'm looking at so far. (I slightly modified a build they already had on the site) Any obvious problems?

A few additional question and thoughts to make sure I'm on the right track.

I'm a bit nervous about reusing too much of the internal hardware without knowing what is actually causing my current issues, especially since this is not the first time I've had hardware issues with this machine. I'm thinking of reusing the hard drive as a backup drive, maybe the RAM if it is compatible, and the DVD drive/burner if I need it.

I'm thinking of going with the 512 GB as opposed to 1 TB SDD, with the intention of reusing my old hard drive as additional storage for picture, documents, and anything not too important speed wise.

If I'm reading it correctly the motherboard supports 16GB of RAM split between 2 slots, is there any practical reason to want more than this? (or at least the option to add more in the nearish future) I saw that some motherboards in the same price range went up to 32GB and 4 slots. I will have to check the RAM on my current computer when I get home this evening to see if I can reuse it or not.

Sound an Ethernet are built into the motherboard so I shouldn't really need to worry about that. (Like I said, long time since I built a computer you used to have to worry about those.)

Does the case actually make much of a difference or can I basically choose whichever one looks "coolest" to me as long as it it the right form factor? (The motherboard is micro ATX so I assume I need a micro ATX case)

I don't know anything about power supplies, I just stuck with the one they recommended. Does it seem like an acceptable brand and wattage? (or is it overkill?)

Do I need to worry about a CPU cooler or additional fans?

And finally, for, now. If I'm buying a copy of windows does it matter if it's OEM or not? (It looks like the OEM versions I've seen are all DVD's so I'd probably try and reuse the DVD drive in my current machine.)

KnightExemplar
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Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:58 pm UTC

Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby KnightExemplar » Mon Feb 01, 2016 8:29 pm UTC

Krealr wrote:I've been messing around on the pcpartpicker site a bit. This is what I'm looking at so far. (I slightly modified a build they already had on the site) Any obvious problems?


There's no "problem" really. Just some key decisions that I want to make sure you understand:

1. You're buying a 4000-series computer, which is the previous generation. This build therefore is focusing on "cheaper price", but again 6000-series isn't much faster than 4000-series, so you're probably fine. The big updates to the 6000-series is that the newer motherboards tend to have support for the newer standards. (Which is crapshot: no one knows if M.2, PCIe NVE, or Sata-Express is going to win over anyway. But if you want to "place a bet", you're probably going to have to get a 6000-series CPU and a 6000-series Motherboard).

I know I mentioned the H97 before, which was Haswell (4000-series). The 6000-equivalent is H170. If you do go for a 6th generation build, note that the vast majority of 6th generation motherboards only support DDR4, which is more expensive than DDR3. (Your old RAM is almost certainly DDR3. So if you're aiming to reuse it, the newest you can go is 4th generation) If you're aiming for a cheaper computer, 4000-series is perfectly fine. Again, 6000-series is mostly for speculating about the next standard of storage, which may play out maybe three or four years from now.

In short: You'll find newer standards like USB-C support, Sata-Express, M.2, DDR4 and so forth with 6000, while that sort of new technology is going to be less common with 4000-series mobos. Keeping DDR3 compatibility seems like a key issue however, which leans towards a 4th generation mobo.

2. Micro ATX isn't much cheaper than a full ATX motherboard. The smaller motherboards are useful for small builds, but the larger motherboards simply have more slots for expansion. More RAM, more PCIe, more SATA. Note that your particular motherboard is sold out right now on Newegg, the closest equivalent is this $80 version. But also note that the microATX motherboard really has absolutely no advantage (aside from size) from the $80 full-size ATX board.

I would recommend micro-ATX only if you are building a smaller, more compact computer... or maybe if you get a significantly better deal (it happens: motherboards go on sale all the time, and maybe the microATX mobo is on sale when you buy.)

3. You are buying a Micro-ATX case. These are a bit smaller than an ATX case. Full-size is just easier to work with: everything is bigger, your hands fit inside, you've got more room to work with... its just a more comfortable. Especially for a newbie builder, I recommend a standard "mid-tower" ATX case. (Full tower is very big. Mid-Tower is approximately the standard size IMO). Most mid-tower ATX cases support micro-ATX anyway (although double-check to be 100% sure). So even if you get a micro-ATX motherboard, it will most likely fit any standard case.

Still, nothing is wrong with a Micro-ATX case, and the smaller size is often seen as a big advantage. (more room on your desk or whatever). Smaller MicroATX cases are the norm for professional offices in my experience. Honestly, just think about the size of the case you want. Full-Tower ATX is huge, Mid-Tower ATX is your standard desktop, MicroATX is a bit smaller, and Mini ITX is the smallest. ITX builds are much more tedious to assemble and also more expensive due to their small size, but you can build some wonderful tiny computers that will surprise your friends.

Spoiler:
Image


4. The GPU you're buying has a lol 1% overclock over stock. I don't... even... wat? I guess its nice to know your 390 will be 1% faster than stock. But its kind of not a big difference... makes you wonder why PowerColor even bothered making an overclock... Hopefully it doesn't change the power requirements very much, but they do list a 750W minimum. (Note that I've gotten the 290X on a 500W PSU, so I expect the 750W "requirement" to be a gross overestimation). This particular PowerCooler R9 390 has a 6+8pin slot, so the card will pull 275W maximum (6+8 pin cannot physically pull more power than that), so that can give you an idea of how to spec-out your PSU.

I'm thinking of going with the 512 GB as opposed to 1 TB SDD, with the intention of reusing my old hard drive as additional storage for picture, documents, and anything not too important speed wise.


Yup, these are the sorts of decisions that someone going full custom can make. There's nothing wrong with this approach.

If I'm reading it correctly the motherboard supports 16GB of RAM split between 2 slots, is there any practical reason to want more than this? (or at least the option to add more in the nearish future) I saw that some motherboards in the same price range went up to 32GB and 4 slots. I will have to check the RAM on my current computer when I get home this evening to see if I can reuse it or not.

Sound an Ethernet are built into the motherboard so I shouldn't really need to worry about that. (Like I said, long time since I built a computer you used to have to worry about those.)

Does the case actually make much of a difference or can I basically choose whichever one looks "coolest" to me as long as it it the right form factor? (The motherboard is micro ATX so I assume I need a micro ATX case)


The case is mostly the bling-factor. Choose the "coolest" design your budget allows for... although try to stay above $30. If you go too cheap, and the crappy build quality will cut up your hands. Shitty cases are really shitty, with sharp edges that can make you bleed.

Higher-end cases are easier to work with, once you hit the $60+ mark, cases require fewer and fewer tools. They all have plastic hinges and stuff that don't need screwdrivers. The $60+ cases have specialized compartments here and there to help hide or organize the wires. $100+ cases start getting sound-proof, shock absorbent materials... but by this point the cases are almost entirely bling-bling factor or "fashion". (ugghhh... Lian Li)

If you are going to spin your wheels focused on making a decision with your case selection, focus on where you'd put the computer on your desk, dimensions, room layout... and that sort of thing. Then choose a case that fits your room the best. There isn't any "technical" decision here, it almost purely an interior-design / room layout question.

I don't know anything about power supplies, I just stuck with the one they recommended. Does it seem like an acceptable brand and wattage? (or is it overkill?)


I dunno Rosewill, they're Newegg's brand. Corsair is the brand name that a lot of people trust. The wattage level is mostly an approximation, digging into the "rails" and how much output capacity is in each is what you need to do if you actually want to be 100% sure. In my experience, I've got a R9 290X running on a 500W Corsair PSU with a 3rd-generation i7. So I'd expect 650W to be more than acceptable.

Do I need to worry about a CPU cooler or additional fans?


The i5-4460 should come with a stock fan. Aftermarket coolers are made for a variety of reasons: the big-daddy (Hyper 212 Evo) is a big, quiet fan... but will only fit in mid-tower cases and above. (Bigger size, slower fan speed for quiet operation). Others may want better overclocking or other features.

Chances are however, stock is fine.

Note that the highest-end 6000-series CPUs do NOT come with a stock fan. If you go with 6000-series, just double check that your CPU comes with a fan.

And finally, for, now. If I'm buying a copy of windows does it matter if it's OEM or not? (It looks like the OEM versions I've seen are all DVD's so I'd probably try and reuse the DVD drive in my current machine.)


Yes... and no. IIRC, Microsoft treats retail versions of Windows a bit better if you ask for support. One common example: transferring Windows to another motherboard is allowed if you buy retail (historically anyway. I'll have to double-check Windows 10 licenses). OEM License is designed to "live and die" with the computer (defined as the motherboard that Windows will detect upon installation). I'm not even sure if Microsoft sells "Retail Installation" copies anymore, so I think you actually have to go OEM. Hopefully someone else can give you a more authoritative answer...
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Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby Krealr » Tue Feb 02, 2016 1:52 am UTC

Alright I'm home now so I can actually look at the current machine again.

It's Dell Studio XPS 8100 if that matters at all.
The processor is an I5-750 (and the motherboard may or may not have issues)
It has 8GB of DDR3 RAM split between 4 sticks. (I haven't checked yet but I assume it's 2GB per stick)
The graphics card is an AMD Radeon HD 5670
The power supply is only 350 watts (probably bad)

I feel like the only thing worth maybe salvaging from the internals is the RAM, the HD as a backup, and the DVD drive if I need one.

I made some adjustments. Switched to atx and went with a a 6000 series CPU/Motherboard and went with a slightly lower power supply since 650W seems excessive when the estimated usage is only 420W. I may still twerk the case but I wanted it on their to help me gauge the total price.

If I'm reading it right the H170 I picked still uses DDR3 RAM so I'm thinking I'll use what I have for now and since the new motherboard goes up to 64GB I can swap out for larger sticks sometime in the future.
Alternatively it looks like I can switch to a DDR4 motherboard for only a couple dollars more but then I also have to buy new RAM. Is the difference between DDR3 and DDR4 enough to worry about for the next few years?

EDIT;

New question, I was putting things in the cart at newegg to see how it actually priced out, and they apparently want to give me a free stick of4GB DDR3 Ramwith my order. Would replacing one of the 2GB sticks with this cause issues?

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Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Feb 02, 2016 4:37 am UTC

I made some adjustments. Switched to atx and went with a a 6000 series CPU/Motherboard and went with a slightly lower power supply since 650W seems excessive when the estimated usage is only 420W. I may still twerk the case but I wanted it on their to help me gauge the total price.


Looks like ASUS released a DDR3 Mobo. Interesting. People knew it was possible, but I wasn't aware of any DDR3 board till now.

EDIT:
New question, I was putting things in the cart at newegg to see how it actually priced out, and they apparently want to give me a free stick of4GB DDR3 Ramwith my order. Would replacing one of the 2GB sticks with this cause issues?


I don't think it'd cause "issues", but I'd be surprised if you could access all 4GB. (I'd expect the RAM to "downgrade" into 2GB to match the other RAM stick in the channel). At very least, you probably (maybe) need matching sticks within the same channel...
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Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Feb 03, 2016 5:48 pm UTC

Erm... hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the motherboard you listed is currently 75% one star reviews on Newegg.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813132577

DDR3 support on 6000-series might be a myth :( :( I want to believe, but... this really is the first 6th-generation motherboard with "alleged" DDR3 support I've ever seen. It might be best to stick with the status quo, a DDR4 6th generation Mobo, or to stick with 4th Generation if that is what you want.

The primary feature of the 6000-series board is the M.2 slot, which you likely won't find on any 4000 board (but you might, and there are PCIe x4 expansion cards that can get you an M.2 slot anyway)
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Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby Krealr » Wed Feb 03, 2016 10:27 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:Erm... hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the motherboard you listed is currently 75% one star reviews on Newegg.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813132577


Yeah I managed to miss that, it's interesting that their microATX equivalent board has better reviews. May just be a small numbers thing. It also has a better review on amazon.

Too bad I went and put my order in last night. :|

I guess I'll give it a shot and hope that the reviewers just had bad luck with their boards. (On the plus side it looks like the manufacturer is monitoring and following up with the people having issues.)

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Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Feb 03, 2016 11:04 pm UTC

If I were given that board to mess around with, I'd try to focus on DDR3L memory. The L means "low power", and is at 1.35V. I'd expect DDR3L to have better compatibility (because the voltage on DDR4 is only 1.2V). You'll end up having to buy new RAM anyway, since DDR3L is a particular kind of DDR3 (1.5V)... but it should be cheaper than DDR4.

That'd be my bet why those issues are going on. The CPU / Motherboard is probably not supplying enough voltage.
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Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby wumpus » Fri Feb 05, 2016 5:51 pm UTC

Eh? If the motherboard doesn't work with DDR3, I'd just return it and get a working motherboard and DDR4. I'm not why you would want a bad motherboard, slow ram, and buy more (expensive) ram. I doubt that you are going to get (desktop) DDR3L any cheaper than DDR4.
- er, checked and they seem to be similar prices. I'd still expect the DDR4 to be somewhat faster (not that it matters so much on a 2.x GHz CPU).

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Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Feb 05, 2016 7:13 pm UTC

Fair point. I agree, just return it and use a DDR4 6000-series motherboard.
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Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby Krealr » Fri Feb 12, 2016 6:39 pm UTC

I just wanted to stop in one last time (hopefully) and say thank you to everyone for your help and advice. Everything is put together and seems to be working great.

You weren't kidding about the speed difference using a SDD drive. It is now painfully slow to use my old work computer. :mrgreen:

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Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Feb 12, 2016 8:14 pm UTC

Note that the Mushkin Eco2 is one of the slowest SSDs on the market as well (slower than even the low-end Mushkin Reactor). You can get even faster if you bought a "quality" drive. Eco2 is a slower, older MLC model, but comes in at a good price point.

But yeah, even the slowest SSDs are significantly better than a hard drive. And the speed differences between SSDs isn't that big. Unless you go with PCIe or M.2 (or some other really out there advanced SSD), you're definitely fine with what you got.
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Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby jewish_scientist » Sun Nov 06, 2016 8:35 am UTC

I want to make my own desktop for the first time. I have 3 goals:

1: It is cheap to make.
2: It can be upgraded when I have more capital later.
3: It can run games.

I know that gaming computers are infamous for being expensive. However, I am ready to make 2 compromises that should help bring the price down. First, I do not care about graphics, with frame rate being the only exception. One of my favorite games is Final Fantasy IX for the Play Station and I love the cutscenes. My only requirement about frame rate is that it is fast enough that my ability to play the game does not decrease because of it. Second, I plan on playing older games on it. The newest games I will probably be playing are flash games on Kongregate and Firefall*.

So, what do you guys think?


*I am not able to recommend Firefall enough. It is the only MMO I have had any interest in playing, with one exception. Extra Credits actually did 5 videos on the game and their biggest criticism of it has been dealt with. If I say anything else about this I will start ranting like a madman.
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Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby KnightExemplar » Sun Nov 06, 2016 3:41 pm UTC

jewish_scientist wrote:I want to make my own desktop for the first time. I have 3 goals:

1: It is cheap to make.
2: It can be upgraded when I have more capital later.
3: It can run games.


#1 means different things to different people. Do you have a specific price point in mind?

#2 only exists for the GPU today. CPUs aren't easily upgradable anymore because CPU-makers force you to buy a new motherboard with the newer CPUs (which force you to reinstall windows, which costs $100 for Windows, maybe $100 for a new motherboard and then anywhere from $100 to $300 for the new CPU).

GPUs can be upgraded by simply replacing the GPU with a newer card later on.

Hard Drives and SSDs can always be added to a computer, but moving data is annoying. It is possible to clone over a hard drive to a smaller SSD if you're careful with the data and know how to partition, but the process is a tiny bit arcane and I wouldn't necessarily plan on doing it unless you're comfortable spending a good chunk of time (hours) working with a non-functioning computer as you figure out details.

#3 depends on the game of course.
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Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby Flumble » Sun Nov 06, 2016 9:17 pm UTC

One other part that's still easily upgradable is the RAM (if you haven't maxed it out for your specific motherboard).
But yeah, building for 'upgradability' is a thing for people who swap parts within a year, because in two/three years the whole system will require an upgrade; and if it doesn't, you probably didn't have an optimal configuration in the first place.

Also note that computers that run basic flash games can be found in a second-hand shop for, say, 50 breads.
And computers that barely run a bad xbox/playstation port (gta 4 comes to mind, but there are far worse offenders) can cost up to 200 breads. (and of course a lot more when you don't improve the weakest link)

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Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby Soupspoon » Mon Nov 07, 2016 12:19 pm UTC

One building tactic might be to go for a higher-end mobo and a lower-end compatible CPU and RAM, in the expectation that you have a servicable machine but will in six months' time be able to go for a more advanced version of the plugins. Perhaps now also at less than the premium they originally were, when they were the hottest of hot bleeding-edge, without the unrealisable temptation of getting the newest of the new components if they aren't actually compatible with the bits you're keeping on with, for whatever reason. Factor in that you'll probably be able to sell the older CPU and RAM on eBay, if you're not totally unlucky with your original choice, even as you might be getting your higher-ends by the same route by the more profligate.upgrader passing on their hand-me-downs.

It'll be under-powered for some things, but Flash games should run on anything that is available. Seriously, I could probably drag out my old W98 machine again and join in with that, after a little software upgrading (and, if not, it'll likely be the OS to blame, now perhaps unsupported by the latest Adobe versions necessary, not the hardware).

But let the spec-minima listed by the games you're interested in be your guide for the current baseline, I would say, assuming you aren't willing to defer even that for the interim. And consider the nature of the problems inherent in being low-spec in any or all ways. An online PvP First Person Shooter might be made frustrating without having the absolute best display options when your opponents are using those themselves in playing against you. Something like Dwarf Fortress, OTOH, can run on vastly hobbled hardware (graphics is barely an issue; processing does not need more than two CPU cores and can run on a single one; it might crawl very slowly but game-time is a movable feast; memory (including virtual memory, so easy to ensure disk space) is probably your biggest requirement if you're a patient player). Kerbal Space Program might be unplayable with low processing capability for the physics but graphics can be turned down to very low if the GPU is lacking all the latest Shader Models/whatever. Or something along those lines, Iif I'm not too wrong.

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Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby jewish_scientist » Tue Nov 22, 2016 5:40 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:#1 means different things to different people. Do you have a specific price point in mind?

Let's estimate it at $200 for the initial investment.

#2 only exists for the GPU today. CPUs aren't easily upgradable anymore because CPU-makers force you to buy a new motherboard with the newer CPUs (which force you to reinstall windows, which costs $100 for Windows, maybe $100 for a new motherboard and then anywhere from $100 to $300 for the new CPU).

Oh man, I was hoping to get a Ship of Theseus type thing going.


Also, my dad says these parts will go together well, and are economically priced. What do you guys think?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... gnorebbr=1

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... gnorebbr=1

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... gnorebbr=1

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Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Nov 22, 2016 5:51 pm UTC

jewish_scientist wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:#1 means different things to different people. Do you have a specific price point in mind?

Let's estimate it at $200 for the initial investment.


Windows 10 is $100, and a monitor is $100 at a minimum.

We can probably get $200 if you focus on JUST the computer.... but its still on the low side.

#2 only exists for the GPU today. CPUs aren't easily upgradable anymore because CPU-makers force you to buy a new motherboard with the newer CPUs (which force you to reinstall windows, which costs $100 for Windows, maybe $100 for a new motherboard and then anywhere from $100 to $300 for the new CPU).

Oh man, I was hoping to get a Ship of Theseus type thing going.


Your timing and price point is just off for this sort of thing. Cheap RAM is DDR3, but DDR4 is the future. Motherboards will only work with DDR3 or DDR4, rarely both (and the ones that do work with both cost more and seem to be unreliable).

The SSD and GPU can survive the computer and work in your next build. So that's gonna be your upgrade path. But DDR3 RAM, CPU, Motherboard, and Windows 10 license lives and dies with your current build.



I like AMD / FM2+ for the price point. At $200, I was going to suggest an FM2+ build.

But you still need RAM, Storage (Hard Drive or SSD), Windows 10, a monitor, a keyboard, a mouse.
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Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby Thesh » Tue Nov 22, 2016 7:16 pm UTC

Also note that that case doesn't have a power supply. You might look into some of the combo deals on Newegg, for example, this includes that motherboard and comparable (but older) CPU, as well as a case with a 450W power supply, 8GB of ram, and 1TB hard drive for $183:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboBund ... bo.3135705

EDIT: Although, looking at the reviews, the power supply in that case is junk.
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Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Nov 22, 2016 9:07 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:EDIT: Although, looking at the reviews, the power supply in that case is junk.


It'd only really become an issue when he upgrades and buys up a GPU.

If he is planning on "upgrading later", spending a little more on a quality 550W power-supply will save a lot of headaches down the road.
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Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby morriswalters » Fri Nov 25, 2016 12:38 am UTC

Unrealistic budget to build. By refurbished with some kind of pci express slot. But that still doesn't hit your price point.

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Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Nov 25, 2016 2:05 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Unrealistic budget to build. By refurbished with some kind of pci express slot. But that still doesn't hit your price point.


I can build at $200 with utter shit specs: low-end FM2+, 4GB of RAM, crappy case, crappy (aka: does not support future upgrades) PSU, and 500GB Hard Drive.

Microcenter has a Mobo+CPU for $65 (FM2+ and A6-7400K), $30 for 4GB, $50 for crappy case+psu, and $40 for a 500gb hard drive.

Utter crap specs and very hard to upgrade, but yeah it costs $185 + Tax and will require Linux (since we can't afford Windows 10 on that budget)... granted, Microcenter Mobo+CPU deals do not exist online (you have to physically go to the store) and I'm relying on black-friday savings... but its definitely possible to hit below the $200 price point.

You just won't upgrade very easily, since you'd have a PSU that won't work with any upgrades (so you'd have to rebuy a PSU later) and you'd have to cut out Windows. Soooooo.... you're well into the point where you're going to spend more money if you want to save money... and without an SSD you'd be living in the past.
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Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby roflwaffle » Fri Nov 25, 2016 9:45 pm UTC

It's kind of tough to build a high quality system for ~$200. It's possible, but you more or less have to get a good idea of how much different components are selling for and then wait for the absolute best deals on those components. Assuming you can reuse your case and hard drive, and had time to wait around, you can get a fairly efficient very low power desktop for ~$120, and of that, the SSD and possibly mini-itx power supply can be used on a new build. $255+ gets you something that's a little more forward compatible that can play Fallout 4, and an extra ~$75-185+ gets you plenty of storage and/or GPU. That's of course excluding the cost of a Windows install if you want to go that route.

A very low end cpu/mobo combo can be had for ~$20 if you're patient.
https://slickdeals.net/f/8584166-ecs-kb ... ner-newegg
A mini-itx high'ish efficiency 160W power supply is ~$25-35 on eh4y ($15 for the DC-DC stuff, $10-$20 for the 12V AC-DC).
8GB of DDR3 1333 ram is ~$10 used
http://www.ebay.com/itm/4GB-x-1-SAMSUNG ... 2156781574
250GB SSD for ~$60
https://slickdeals.net/f/9435103-250gb- ... t-free-s-h

Something that can run Fallout 4 (low'ish settings) on a newer chipset is ~$255+

16GB of DDR4 ram for $65
https://slickdeals.net/f/9339495-16gb-2 ... SiteSearch
1151 mobo for ~$40
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813132871
G3900 for $50
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6819117620

If you need more storage, a 3TB WD hard drive is I think ~$75 with their student discount, a normal 300W 80+ PSU has also been ~$20-$30 after rebate if you need more power, and a GTX 1050 is ~$110.

https://jet.com/product/EVGA-GeForce-GT ... 99acedb10b

Above all else, time will reduce the price of everything, through the normal depreciation of older technology, and the infrequent really good sale (eg $20 Kabini mobo/cpu). The longer you can wait for deals, the less you'll spend.
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Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Nov 25, 2016 10:04 pm UTC

roflwaffle wrote:A very low end cpu/mobo combo can be had for ~$20 if you're patient.
https://slickdeals.net/f/8584166-ecs-kb ... ner-newegg


I know you're proving a point here... but just in case the original topic poster doesn't realize what you're doing here...

The AMD E1 2100 is slower than an iPad. You have absolutely no upgradability here either, because the chip is soldered to the motherboard. Since the Windows license is tied to the motherboard (and the CPU is literally soldered onto it), you have absolutely no upgrade path and are now stuck with a CPU that's slower than your typical iPad (maybe even iPhone)

-------

I think a "serious" recommendation would be to have nothing slower than an AMD AM1 solution. They're at least a tiny bit faster than iPads.

Motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... -_-Product
CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6819113364

But roflwaffle's Intel-based configuration looks a lot better than this one from a performance perspective. The main benefit is that Kabini's GPU can actually game... really poorly... but it can. So the AM1 platform doesn't strictly need a GPU. (I mean, the Celeron also has a GPU on it, but it's even worse than Kabini's)
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Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby roflwaffle » Sat Nov 26, 2016 12:21 am UTC

I bolded the very low power part for emphasis, but my point wasn't that the OP or anyone should build a particular system. I'm emphasizing that if someone can get by with a lower powered and/or older set-up, then they'll have far more time to look for deals/comparison shop, and can probably put together a better gaming rig for less money by waiting for really great deals on individual components instead of buying everything all at once.

To be honest, I don't see the best prices on anything during black Friday. There are discounts, but in my experience, the best deals are semi-random and show up near the end of a financial quarter, especially earlier in the year, but sometimes later in the year too. Companies will clear out inventory to pad their financials and/or release a new product line, and mark downs can be substantial.

Edit1 - AM1's aren't too bad for gaming to be honest, or any halfway decent CPU, even compared to high end i7 desktop processors, since most games lean a lot harder on the GPU. I'm not sure if there are any broad comparison's between mobile ARM processors (ipad) and desktop processors (e2100), but my guess is that newer processors, mobile or otherwise, tend to look better on benchmarks because they have newer hardware instructions that provide a benefit in newer benchmarks.

https://www.pcper.com/reviews/General-T ... -under-450

Edit2 - Now that I'm thinking about it, I wonder if an E2100 could play fallout 4 with a low end discrete video card, like a gt 720 (~$25-$35 used on eh4y). I guess it depends on how much the CPU would limit the GPU.
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Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby KnightExemplar » Sat Nov 26, 2016 10:28 pm UTC

roflwaffle wrote:Edit2 - Now that I'm thinking about it, I wonder if an E2100 could play fallout 4 with a low end discrete video card, like a gt 720 (~$25-$35 used on eh4y). I guess it depends on how much the CPU would limit the GPU.
https://steamcommunity.com/app/377160/d ... 902207238/


The E1 is roughly on the same order as a PS4 or XBox One CPU (which is to say, pretty slow). But since Fallout4 is designed for consoles, its going to not really be affected much by a slow CPU.

In contrast, play a game like Civ6 and you'll need a stronger CPU to handle the intense AI. Depends on the game, really. Notice that in your benchmarks, some games are literally half the speed (even with the same GPU) because they're clearly CPU-throttled.

The FM2+ line gets closer to the "good enough" CPU speed. Its fast enough to make the GPU the main problem on the majority of games. RTS games (Starcraft2 / Company of Heroes) which are simulations and thus CPU-based, would benefit from something more however.
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Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby jewish_scientist » Wed Dec 07, 2016 6:18 pm UTC

I am planning on playing really old games on this computer. Think less of Fallout 4 and more of Myst. Forget 5 years, I am going for a 10-20 year delay. Considering this, and not counting the $100 for Windows (I still have trouble believing that it costs so much), what is a more reasonable budget?

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Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Dec 07, 2016 7:41 pm UTC

jewish_scientist wrote:I am planning on playing really old games on this computer. Think less of Fallout 4 and more of Myst. Forget 5 years, I am going for a 10-20 year delay. Considering this, and not counting the $100 for Windows (I still have trouble believing that it costs so much), what is a more reasonable budget?


You also gotta give up future upgradability. The cheaper CPUs only work with cheaper motherboards.

But if you're going for 10-year delay (ie: 2006 games), the ATI X1900 has a PassMark of roughly 150, and you'd be aiming at a CPU roughly on the order of a Intel Core2.

I'll look through some benchmarks later, but that's how I'm interpreting your post.
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Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby KnightExemplar » Mon Dec 12, 2016 5:46 am UTC

jewish_scientist wrote:I am planning on playing really old games on this computer. Think less of Fallout 4 and more of Myst. Forget 5 years, I am going for a 10-20 year delay. Considering this, and not counting the $100 for Windows (I still have trouble believing that it costs so much), what is a more reasonable budget?


The A8-7600 (and its cheaper brother: the A6-7400k) are $80 and $60 on Newegg respectively. With a $50 FM2+ motherboard, $50 on RAM, and $60 on a low-end SSD, you're basically at $210 without Windows or a monitor.

The A6 7400k gets 2800 passmark (more or less around where a Core2 Quad ran), so its comparable to a CPU from 10 years ago, but the integrated graphics has the features of modern GPUs (DirectX12, Vulkan)... its hard to see how this thing runs games from years ago, but its going to run modern games like Grand Theft Auto V only at 720p and at jittery framerates: http://www.anandtech.com/show/9287/the- ... u-review/3

The integrated graphics is estimated at 3dMark06 of 11269 marks (somewhere on the order of 2x faster than GPUs from 10 years ago). So you should be fine with older games like "Portal", and you'll be able to give modern games a whack (no guarantees that it'd be smooth or even playable however)
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Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby Katsuray » Wed Dec 14, 2016 7:38 pm UTC

For what its worth on the Windows OS purchase, since you're building it yourself you might consider getting an OEM version if available. They're intended to be used on custom (clean) installations and at least in my limited experience aren't locked to a specific computer (or hardware configuration). Between my two builds I've kept the same disk/key, and because of the kerfuffle with Windows editions I was able to opt into each of the free upgrades from Vista to Win 10.

The value of this option does hinge on your desire to continue building your own rigs and Windows' continuation of releasing unpopular editions. (It also depends on the licensing of your purchase which is not necessarily clear.)


Edit: From what I'm seeing now the OS is supposed to be locked to the motherboard with OEM, so take the struck text with many grains of salt. (I'm not sure why my system succeeded in activation; I never had multiple copies at once, but the motherboard is most definitely different.)

More generally, if you don't mind being a few years behind, buying someone else's rig may be the way to go if you want to keep it cheap. It would mean looking for friends/family who are already into this area and are preparing to upgrade, or have upgraded in the last few years and didn't cannibalize their old setup for spare parts. This option would let you tinker with the build as well, doubly so if they did cannibalize for parts.

You mention enjoying console games, I would like to caveat that hardware emulation (if that's what you had in mind) can be very processor intensive, on top of being a licensing hassle itself.

Edited after rereading the thread and double checking about OEM.

jewish_scientist
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Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby jewish_scientist » Fri Mar 31, 2017 3:05 pm UTC

My Dad got me all the hardware for a new computer. He knows what he is doing, so all the parts are comparable. The usually way I would go about building something is to ignore the instruction and put stuff together that looks like their parts fit together. If I do this method with a computer, will something horrible happen?

KnightExemplar
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Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:10 pm UTC

jewish_scientist wrote:My Dad got me all the hardware for a new computer. He knows what he is doing, so all the parts are comparable. The usually way I would go about building something is to ignore the instruction and put stuff together that looks like their parts fit together. If I do this method with a computer, will something horrible happen?


Mostly no.

The main issue is the rare electrostatic discharge... And making sure all the power cables are plugged in. I'm not kidding, a common mistake is to forget the 2nd auxillery motherboard power cable. So make sure you have the square 2x2 cpu power connector as well as the ATX (20+4 pins iirc) powering the motherboard.

Also, crunching the cpu in takes more force than most people expect. Push down on that lever with confidence.

Everything else fits together like legos. Expensive legos.
First Strike +1/+1 and Indestructible.

EvanED
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Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby EvanED » Fri Mar 31, 2017 6:48 pm UTC

The other thing that's a mess, unless things have changed in the last couple of years, are all of the random little tiny headers like the power switch and hard drive lights.

Where they go will be likely printed on the motherboard, but in abbreviated form; I'd look at the manual for those. Also you might see some stuff like case USB cables that could potentially go multiple places, and I'm not sure if all will work or if some would be preferable.

Depending on how well your motherboard is marked, you should also check where you put the RAM. If you put them into the "wrong" slots, you might lose the dual-channel.

Basically, *most* stuff is keyed so there's only one place and one direction it can go. But if it's not clearly keyed, or it is but there are multiple places where it should go, IMO it's worth double checking. Especially for your first build.

morriswalters
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Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby morriswalters » Sun Apr 02, 2017 1:15 am UTC

RTFM. Life is too short to waste time doing easy things wrong, and having to correct them. But life is an adventure.

jewish_scientist
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Re: I need a new desktop, might try building my own?

Postby jewish_scientist » Sun Apr 02, 2017 1:28 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:Everything else fits together like legos. Expensive legos.

It is surprising how many things this is true for.


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