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Case Fixes & New Build Questions


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Got an older PC for right now that I built but noticing some components failing connected with the case.  Figured out that I could replace the case fans easily enough, but the front USB jack is a bit glitchy.  Power supply is of course a question after 14 years.  Sometimes (10% or so of the time) when I put a flash drive in there it won't read or Windows will come back and say it's got problems and I need to run checkdisk against it.  So is it possible to order that part separately or am I stuck into trying to match a fresh one to the case in question (Antec Three Hundred).

Conversely, I thought about going ahead and throwing together a new build when I started to see the ages of some of what I have here, even at minimum a new case.  Is there a good guide anywhere to how much CPUs and other components have improved in the last eight years?  Any ideas on how COVID would limit me finding the components readily?  (Basically trying to figure out whether it'd be worth my time to attempt a rebuild or not, especially since I need a GPU in any event...)

(So basically, case related components possibly on the way to failing, trying to figure out what I can legit do in response to it that would make sense.)

 

Edited by Glenn9999
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8 hours ago, Glenn9999 said:

So is it possible to order that part separately or am I stuck into trying to match a fresh one to the case in question (Antec Three Hundred).

You'll have to check around for spare case parts I think. From my experience, spare parts for cases is only done for certain models by certain manufacturers.

For example: my daily driver, an XP64 machine I call Palouser, has a NZXT Phantom 820 case. Over a decade old by now, the cable management grommets are starting to fall apart and the rubberized coating for some surfaces has degraded, becoming sticky. More concerning though is that one of the case LEDs burned out. When I inquired to NZXT about replacement LEDs or replacement dials for the case lighting controls (which have aforementioned rubberized coating) I was told they don't have replacement parts for the Phantom 820. They couldn't even tell me what sort of LEDs they used, so I have no idea how to replace the LED myself.

Meanwhile, a friend of mine gave me a hand-me-down Windows 10 machine with older specs than Palouser that I call Levanter. My friend very heavily Corsair-themed that PC, with the case being (I believe) Corsair Carbide 500R. This case has a broken front panel exposing the interior. I found that Corsair does sell replacement parts, but I've had trouble locating any Carbide 500R parts. (I've certainly found a lot of Carbide 400C, 600Q/C, and 900D parts though ... )

Try checking Antec's site and see if they sell the parts. If they don't appear to do so, try contacting them and asking if they might have parts in stock, or what to do if they can't/won't sell them to you. You might also have luck checking eBay or Craigslist for spare parts or Antec Three Hundred cases being sold for parts.

7 hours ago, Glenn9999 said:

Is there a good guide anywhere to how much CPUs and other components have improved in the last eight years?

You might get a lot of mileage out of UserBenchmark. That's a site where users test the speed of their components at various tasks and upload the results. You can then compare the aggregate scores of one model against another.

Tonight, in fact, I found out something rather embarrassing for AMD: the recently-released RX 6500-XT had been so hobbled in performance in a bid to make it unattractive to cryptocurrency miners that my GTX TITAN X Maxwell outperforms it in many categories, with an "effective 3D speed" that's 36% faster. (Granted, you shouldn't take the RX 6500 XT as an example of all its contemporaries. AMD's RX 6600-XT leaves my TITAN X Maxwell in the dust.)

Aside from GPUs you can also check and compare benchmark aggregates for CPUs, RAM, SSDs, and HDDs. Even USB thumbdrives.

8 hours ago, Glenn9999 said:

Any ideas on how COVID would limit me finding the components readily?  (Basically trying to figure out whether it'd be worth my time to attempt a rebuild or not, especially since I need a GPU in any event...)

Since 2020 there has been a chip shortage that's made itself felt across a bunch of industries, even the automotive industry. GPU prices skyrocketed as a result, especially as scalpers and miners swooped in and scooped up loads of stock, leading to some attempts at developing video cards either purpose-built for mining or unattractive to miners to try and keep them from depriving other customers of GPUs.

We may finally be seeing the end of this shortage. That all depends on how world events shake out though; the media's already sounding the alarm about another wave of COVID-19 coming out of China, and we may wind up seeing another return to lockdowns and supply chains forcibly brought to a halt, which will just put us back to square one. There's also the fact that the world put most of its eggs in one basket, so to speak, with Taiwan presently producing the lion's share of chipmaking. Something like 60%, I think. If something were to happen to Taiwan, we would all be in for a bad time.

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The chip shortage is only really effecting new products and only certain ones at that. It shouldn't have any effect on buying parts for an old computer or a mid-range new build. You're only going to run into problems if you need highly specific parts.

IMO we are at a plateau when it comes to components being any better than the past few years. In my gaming PC, my CPU came out in 2017 and my video card is from 2018. Are CPU and video cards that are recent better than that? Maybe technically, but not to a point where I could tell the difference and I can run all of the games and programs I want with no performance issues.

My work computers often have issues with detecting USB drives. The notification about needing to be scanned can be ignored for the most part. That happens because the dirty bit is written by the OS, which is normally cleared when you use Safe Remove Hardware option on the drive. In my experience, that is the only thing wrong with drives that make that show up. But for USB detection for rear ports, it can indeed be an issue with the ports themselves or with the board. Front ports are usually remedied by replacing the USB header but those tend to be proprietary to the chassis so getting a replacement may not be ideal. For my one PC where the fronts do not work anymore, and I have no replacement USB header, I just don't use those ports anymore.

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13 hours ago, TrevMUN said:

You'll have to check around for spare case parts I think. From my experience, spare parts for cases is only done for certain models by certain manufacturers.

You might get a lot of mileage out of UserBenchmark. That's a site where users test the speed of their components at various tasks and upload the results. You can then compare the aggregate scores of one model against another.

Thanks for the reply.  I took off the grinding case fan and tweaked it around and blew some duster into it in some angles I couldn't get to with it in the case and it seems to have stopped.  The curious question I have is that there's a wire from it to the front panel (it may be a throttle switch I just stuffed up there to get out of the way when I did the build).  I really wasn't in the mood to figure it out, but it definitely presents a wrinkle in locating a replacement for it.

UserBenchmark is an interesting program.  It pretty much confirmed my thinking that the GPU I have is garbage (2%).  But I notice an interesting trend in planned obsolescence, as I don't think I could locate a good GPU that would be compatible with my main board.  It doesn't seem to be difficult to obtain the parts that I would need for an admittedly long overdue new build, but I did notice the new parts coming in at 2-3X what they were for my last build.  Not to mention the challenge of trying to locate a plain mainboard with no added frills.  I'll have to think about it more.

5 hours ago, Tripredacus said:

The chip shortage is only really effecting new products and only certain ones at that. It shouldn't have any effect on buying parts for an old computer or a mid-range new build. You're only going to run into problems if you need highly specific parts.

IMO we are at a plateau when it comes to components being any better than the past few years. In my gaming PC, my CPU came out in 2017 and my video card is from 2018. Are CPU and video cards that are recent better than that? Maybe technically, but not to a point where I could tell the difference and I can run all of the games and programs I want with no performance issues.

Like I mentioned above, I think there's going to be no issue in finding the parts, more the cost of them.  This being what I feared in writing the COVID remark.  As for the program above, it indicated most of the other parts at about "half", and also helpfully suggested I should turn on DOCP for the memory.  As for using it, it seems mostly okay for what I do with after eight years, but there's certain little gaps in the things that I have attempted with my computer (video capture/rendering, probably would have problems with stuff like Zoom if I tried it) that reveal that GPU to be garbage.

I'll have to think about how I'm going to proceed from here, but I may just be fine if I can locate a GPU that will represent an appreciable upgrade that I know will do that video rendering job a lot more proficiently than what I have now.  Big problem is whether what I find will work with this board I have (PCIe 2.0).

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I think you are OK with Zoom with just about anything. There is more to needing a modern OS for that than anything. I used zoom just once in 2020 and it was on an MSI MS-163K, a notebook from 2009, and it worked just fine.

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Posted (edited)
On 4/7/2022 at 9:14 AM, Tripredacus said:

I think you are OK with Zoom with just about anything. There is more to needing a modern OS for that than anything. I used zoom just once in 2020 and it was on an MSI MS-163K, a notebook from 2009, and it worked just fine.

Was it optimal?  That's what I'm noticing with this one I'm on: Baseline stuff is working (more or less), but there's little cracks showing in a number of those things that are listed above.  Like minor slowdowns and stuff that I am noticing.  Biggest thing being trying to stream a game older than my computer (so theoretically you'd think the computer could handle it) and only getting like 4 or 5 fps and really babying it just to save any kind of video to the hard drive.  Really haven't tried reeling 1080p or 4K vid through it but I know 720p isn't *entirely* smooth either.

Course the scary part is it's looking like a $500-$600 outlay just to upgrade what I got, and haven't even looked into what a new build would be yet.  But then again, GPUs seem to be most affected by the supply shortage, which seems to explain why those are for this system what they were when I did the build.  I'll figure it out.

Edited by Glenn9999
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Well the camera in the MS-163K isn't great but for a video conference rarely is it required to have good picture quality.

Now you talking about streaming, meaning you are broadcasting/recording instead of watching, then that is an entirely different situation. I'd say you need a quad core + HT and 16 GB RAM minimum. Not sure about what video card would be needed. Also many people use a separate PC to handle the streaming aspects in order to reduce overhead on the system actually playing the game.

Just looking now, you can find an older 4 GB Radeon for under $300 on Newegg.

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15 hours ago, Tripredacus said:

Just looking now, you can find an older 4 GB Radeon for under $300 on Newegg.

Probably PCIe 3.0?  The board I have is PCI 2.0 and I can find GPUs for that for $120.  But not sure if it'd be an appreciable enough upgrade to match what the CPU can do, usefulness-wise.  But I can upgrade the CPU and get PCIe 3.0 capability, which is represented in that $600 I quoted (assuming I can find everything, my computer seems to be that old).  

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  • 1 month later...
On 4/6/2022 at 2:51 PM, Glenn9999 said:

but there's certain little gaps in the things that I have attempted with my computer (video capture/rendering, probably would have problems with stuff like Zoom if I tried it) that reveal that GPU to be garbage.

I got my GPU upgrade done.  It turns out I completely underestimated the whole problem.  I really had no idea my computer was being held back that much by the graphics just in general.  Everything loads quicker and with less problems.  Web pages are almost instant now, as well as loading any icons.  I can do HTML 5.0 web game type stuff a lot easier.  I always pictured GPU as more "game-related", but I guess it moves across everything you do these days.  I really didn't imagine it, but I'm seeing just how crippled my old graphics board was in this computer, even just putting something in that parallels the CPU according to UserBenchmark.  I feel like I got about a 40% speed upgrade on this computer and my jaw is still on the floor at seeing how fast it's working now.   (Nothing really intended as an issue/problem, but more of a need to kind of "blog" the results.  I'm still like "Wow.  Just wow.")

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