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Building first new PC in 10 years


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Hey all,

I'm back from the dead, kind of. I've missed out on a lot of hardware-related news over the years. Anyways, I haven't built a desktop in about 10 years (about the same time I joined MSFN) but am planning to build one since I won't be on the go as much as I have been while I was in school (holy crap, just graduated!).

This was my first attempt at speccing it out: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/bNUV

Here's my revised build: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/bP6J

Trying to get the built closer to $1k as much as I can, just not sure what to cut. I would cut the SSD down to 128GB if I wasn't planning a dual-boot with Linux and Windows 7, so I'd like to keep that if possible. The Samsung HDD is there for storage and I'll eventually have another one in there for some RAID1 action.

What will I be using this for? Occasional gaming, media playback, photo editing, file/media store/server. I also need it to have some pep for running some CPU-intensive apps on occasion. What exactly? No idea yet, but it happens from time to time.

Tripredacus will wine about how I asked /r/buildapc before coming to MSFN for help, but that's only because a bunch of friends recommended it.

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why do you use the old 570? They use more power compared to the 670. Or you can try the AMD Radeon HD 7950 or 7870.

The rest seems to be ok. If you only do gaming the CPU is over-sized. Games need a fast GPU. The CPu is less important here. Only a quadcore is required for todays games. So an i5 (with K) is enough.

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Well, as you fully know, I hardly am the one to come to, when thinking of new hardware, since my main interest is elsewhere, but I think even 7 x64 has plenty of space in 64 GB, which is also faster to image... so, I'd like to suggest a RunCore SSD. I use them in my netbooks, and they never gave me grief. The RunCores are not exactly cheap, but they're fast and rugged.

Visit their site and look at the specs. You may find faster elsewhere, but not even near as rugged (while still pretty fast).

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Can I ask why you are sticking with intel?

I can easily build twice the system with AMD.

I also think that vid card is pretty pricey.

I would go with something like this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103961 8-core CPU $170

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157305 SATA 6 & USB 3 MOBO $67

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA0ST08P6223 32 gigs 1333 ddr3 ram $199

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150599 XFX 1gig ddr5 vid card $150

$586 so far with lots of room for the rest. (Plus I went pretty high on the ram)

Edited by Kelsenellenelvian
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Can I ask why you are sticking with intel?

My guess would be: because nobody else builds nice fast CPUs at the moment.

I can easily build twice the system with AMD.

That's *nowhere* near twice the system!

For starters, the AMD CPU is a Bulldozer which are very well known not to perform so great (even compared to their older chips like the Phenom II), it uses about 20W more of power idle (and like 100W extra at full load) which translates into real costs (and heat), and the i5 3570K wins universally across all benches, and by quite a margin. For example, if you look at a simple but decent synthetic bench like passmark, you see the FX8120 scored 7078 vs 7942 for the 3570K. Yep, its 8 cores are slower combined than the i5's 4 cores. That essentially means you get twice as many cores, but that each core runs at less than half the speed of the cores in the i5. That's a very, very bad thing: unless you do a handful of very specific tasks like LOTS of video encoding, you'll never use anywhere near 8 cores in the first place. You just get lots of slow cores that always sit idle and still use power. And when the vast majority of simple apps only have one thread the i5 wins big -- it'll run those programs (the CPU bound part of it) twice as fast. In fact, the cheapo dual core i3's win against the FX-8120 in a lot of benchmarks -- every single-threaded benchmark for starters (and then everything that doesn't make use of a lot of threads for heavy processing, like basically all sysmark benches). Even a mid-range i5 from the previous generation wins against the FX-8120 in all benches, and the 3570K is faster than that. In fact, THG places the FX-8120 in the same "category" as the Core 2 Duo E8600, E8500, E8400, E7600 for gaming... So again, too many slow cores = bad (slow, power hungry), half the cores that are more than twice as fast each = MUCH better.

it does use @ 70 watts more

70 watts extra (assuming that's true), at a reasonable 8.5¢/kWh (cheap hydro power like we have here, taxes in) * 70W/1000W * 24h * 365 days = $52 extra on you power bill per year. Assuming a lifetime of 5 years on the machine, that means $250 wasted, for a CPU that's actually much slower! And based on his current location and what Google finds, it seems to be closer to 22¢/kWh there, so that would be $135/year, or $675 wasted over 5 years. Once you factor that extra cost in, it becomes pretty clear what the best pick is: $230 for the much faster i5 3570K or ($170 + $675 extra power used by it over a 5 year usable lifetime) $845 for a much slower AMD CPU. Assuming they were the same speed (which they're not), the AMD CPU would have to cost negative $615 (as in, "here, take this CPU and $600 in cash with it") to be worth buying!

I also think that vid card is pretty pricey

It's a mid-end gaming card. Considering he wants to do gaming and that it's the main bottleneck on such a system for gaming, I'd say it's a very good pick. Your card is definitely cheaper (by $100) but when you look at any gaming bench, it really shows too (the FPS are almost half of the GTX 570). Now, the card MagicAndre1981 picked is what I would personally call pricey ($400+). It has better performance for sure, but I'm not personally spending that much on a video card anytime soon. Then again, it's by far the easiest piece to replace years down the road when it's become too slow.

I think even 7 x64 has plenty of space in 64 GB

I never looked at RunCore SSDs before (don't recall seeing them in any bench either, but either ways newegg/ncix/etc don't sell them) but 64GB is definitely on the small side. Yes, Win7 by itself will fit, but modern apps can be quite large (e.g. 15GB for the Adobe CS6 suite), and modern games (which he wants to play) even more so! The last game I played (Max Payne 3) takes 35GB by itself... A 120GB SSD would be very restricting to me, but with 240GB or 256GB I'd be OK.

Either ways, I was looking at building a machine fairly similar to what he picked (same exact CPU, same chipset, same SSD, similar video card, etc -- it's also pretty close to my PC at work). My main gripe with it is the ASrock mobo (I'm not really fond of that OEM but I'm not saying it's junk either, just that I'd pick something else).

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ASUS and Gigabyte are the best two IMO, but that comes with a slightly higher price tag. But there are other decent OEMs like MSI. Here's my current shopping list for my upgrade (ncix.com):

Antec P280 XL-ATX Tower Case Black 3X5.25 2X2.5 6X3.5IN 2X120MM Top 1X120MM Rear Front USB3.0 No PSU $104.99 (nicer case IMO)

NCIX Gaming Bundle Deal Intel Core i5 3570K Unlocked CPU & MSI Z77A-G43 DDR3 CrossFire Motherboard $344.99 (great CPU and you essentially get a pretty decent Z77 mobo for $100)

G.SKILL F3-12800CL10D-16GBXL Ripjaws X 16GB 2X8GB Kits 240PIN DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 Desktop Memory $98.99 (8GB doesn't cut it for me)

Crucial M4 Micron C400 SSD 256GB 2.5IN Solid State Disk Flash Drive SATA3 6Gbps $209.99 (a Samsung 830 would be somewhat nicer, but that's $75 more and not in stock)

XFX Radeon HD 6870 900MHZ 1GB 4.2GHZ GDDR5 2xDVI HDMI 2x Mini DisplayPort PCI-E Video Card $174.99 (good enough for my needs, fits my budget -- your GTX 570 gets about 25% higher FPS)

(keeping existing 750W 80+ PSU and hard drives, no optical drive, probably the same HSF as you picked), for a total of $933.95

Edit: I don't think thunderbolt is mature enough to bother (drivers and OS, devices availability, etc), and there's far less of an incentive on a desktop (which already has plenty of PCI-e slots and tons of video connectors on nice superfast GPUs)

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Do visit the RunCore site, and look at the specs.

The specs of the RunCore Pro VI are alright, 562MB/s read (max) 389MB/s write (max) which is alright. There are tons of SSDs around those speeds, including the $65 60GB OCZ Agility 3 at 525MB/s read 475MB/s write. It comes down to pricing mainly, and availability (seemingly you can't buy RunCore products in North America)

Edit: comparing based on MemoryC's prices:

120GB RunCore Pro V

560 MB/s read, 525 MB/s write, 50K random 4KB write IOPS, $131.44 + international shipping from Ireland (and customs clearance)...

Mushkin Enhanced Chronos MKNSSDCR120GB 2.5" 120GB at newegg (free shipping)

550 MB/s read, 515 MB/s write, 90K random 4KB write IOPS, $89.99

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