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Build Advice Building to Last - Any suggestions?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by cswd, 19 Feb 2011.

  1. cswd

    cswd What's a Dremel?

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    Background:
    My last PC has lasted 8 years and it's time to build a new one to last as long!

    I’ve not bought a new PC since 2003 (Mesh Matrix AMD Athlon XP 2600+, 1.5 Gb RAM, 500Gb HDD, XP Home SP3) and it’s 15 years since I last built one - time for something new. The Mesh I’m using is just too slow – it struggles to multi-task (e.g. play songs on Media Monkey, use Word and browse web at the same time) and is useless at processor intensive tasks – e.g. zipping backup files.

    Budget:
    Up to £800, though it doesn’t look like I need that much. Don’t need keyboard, mouse, screen or any other peripherals – I’ll use those I’ve got.

    Main uses of intended build:
    Using the ‘net whilst listening to music, watching HD videos, but also want to use Windows 7 voice recognition (I’ve tried the RC on the Mesh and it seemed pretty good, but needed a bit more RAM & was processor bound). I don’t play games at all but do watch some HD YouTube videos.

    Parts required:
    £
    19 Cooler Arctic Cooling Freezer Pro Rev2
    41 HDD Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB https://www.amazon.co.uk/SAMSUNG-SP...XTI4/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1298152565&sr=8-2
    48 Case Antec 300 http://www.dabs.com/products/antec-300-three-hundred-case-black-6252.html
    74 RAM 8Gb (4Gb x2) 1,333 MHz DDR3 PC3-10600 • CL=9 • Unbuffered • NON-ECC • DDR3-1333 • 1.5V • 512Meg x 64 Crucial http://www.crucial.com/uk/store/listparts.aspx?model=M4A88TD-V EVO/USB3
    41 PSU Antec Earthwatts 380W http://www.amazon.co.uk/Antec-EA-38...1_1?ie=UTF8&s=computers&qid=1298148870&sr=8-1
    81 MOBO ASUS M4A88TD-V EVO/USB3 http://www.dabs.com/products/asus-m...--2pci-ex16--raid-usb3---sata6--atx-6ZF6.html
    70 OS Win 7 HP 64 bit OEM
    119 CPU AMD Phenom II X4 965 http://www.scan.co.uk/products/amd-phenom-ii-x4-965-black-edition-s-am3-34ghz-8mb-cache-125w-retail
    46 BR / DVD RW LG Blu Ray Kit http://www.dabs.com/products/lg-ele...efs=42640000-4294959720-4294956835-4294953226

    540 TOTAL

    Monitor resolution:
    Using a Samsung 2493HM 24” at 1600 x 1200, sometimes at 1920 x 1200, and now and again I run two screens if doing some web design / simple programming (we’re talking very basic stuff though!). The Samsung’s got HDMI, DVI & D-SUB (though I only know what HDMI is out of those – I assume it’s the best to use?!). The second monitor (iIyama HM903DT) has only got VGA inputs.

    Storage requirements:
    1 TB should do, though I’ll probably bring over my current 500 Gb SATA drive as well, for backup purposes. I'll grab a Solid State Drive in a year or two once the technology has settled.

    Will you be overclocking: No
    Don’t intend to overclock – after all, I’m trying to build something that’ll last 8 or 10 years like the last PC so no point stressing anything!

    Any motherboard requirements (no. of USB, Xfire/SLI, fan headers):
    If it’s going to last a long time, I’d like it to be expandable. In particular:
    1) USB 3
    2) SATA 6 Gb/s so that I can slot a 128Gb Solid state drive in for the OS in a few years time once the technology has settled down a bit.
    3) It also needs to take 16Gb RAM.

    Extra information about desired system:
    Would quite like integrated graphics to keep the power requirement down. Also keen on a quiet & energy efficient system if that’s possible.

    Questions:
    Have I missed anything?
    Do I need a separate graphics card, or is built in fine? [Haven't played a game since Elite on a Spectrum!]
    Do any of the AMD Phenom X6’s run at 95W TDP? Would happily spend a bit more to get a couple more cores and lower energy draw.
    Is it worth spending an extra £44 to get the 8Gb memory kit that's DDR3 PC3-16000 • 9-10-9-24 • Unbuffered • NON-ECC • DDR3-2000 • 1.65V • 256Meg x 64 ? Also here: http://www.crucial.com/uk/store/listparts.aspx?model=M4A88TD-V EVO/USB3

    As you can see, I've got a bit of budget spare so any suggestions / improvements welcome!

    Thanks for the help.

    cswd
     
  2. Tom @ CCL

    Tom @ CCL AKA: Yewen

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    My first thought is you have massively over-specced your machine for your uses, you could save quite a bit of cash and have a machine that isnt noticeably slower than your spec.

    We have at CCL a few machines that are triple core 2.90GHz Athlon IIs, 2GB RAM, 500GB Hard Drive with OS for around the £260 mark. Just add a £20 graphics card and maybe another £15 on memory to bring it up to 4GB of Corsair and you will have a machine that is night and day quicker than your existing machine. All for £300 inc VAT.

    SATA 6GBs is something I wouldnt demand on, build for now and not the future otherwise you fall into the expensive motherboard trap when by the time you choose to upgrade to a SSD etc the add-in cards will be under £10.

    We have a 1055T 95W edition in stock at CCL, it is a OEM part without cooler: http://www.cclonline.com/product-info.asp?product_id=56274

    Also why do you need the machine to take 16GB of RAM if you currently use an older machine? 4GB is more than enough for most people, I get away with 2GB of RAM in my work PC with a i7 and a SSD and it handles everything I throw at it just fine.

    I would say lower your budget and try not to fall into the trap of over-speccing your machine for your uses, could even buy a cheaper machine now and then look at doing the same in three years time and you would end up with a much better machine. :)
     
  3. TheBlackSwordsMan

    TheBlackSwordsMan Far over the misty mountains cold

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    I agree with the RAM thing, 4GB is more than enough, 6GB if you have an Intel and want to use the Triple Channel, over this limit its pointless (You and your Ego lol). About the HDD, Spinpoints are great and not expensive but personally I would take a Caviar Black because of them 5 years warranty. I have noticed that you want a 380w PSU, so that mean you dont intend to Overclock, that mean you dont need an aftermarket Cooler. In fact, use the cooler money to purchase a bigger PSU, if you intend to keep this Machine a littlebit longer than a good PSU isnt a Luxe (what about a SeaSonic S12II 520 Bronze ?)
     
  4. Dae314

    Dae314 What's a Dremel?

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    Tom's pretty much spot on in what he said. You don't need 8GB of memory (try 4GB:2x2GB). If you're not overclocking you should go with an Athlon series CPU 640 for quad core or 455 for triple core. You can also get by with a slightly cheaper motherboard like this since the one you listed has crossfire support when you're not even going to use a graphics card.

    As for your specific questions:

    Even most users who run hardware intensive applications don't have a need for 6 cores so 4 (or even 2 or 3) cores should be more than enough for you.

    I don't see you needing anything beyond integrated graphics for what you do.

    Stay in the 1333Mhz range because a lot of 880G motherboards don't support 1600Mhz memory. Also 4GB not 8.
     
  5. cswd

    cswd What's a Dremel?

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    Thanks for the feedback, useful stuff (sorry for the delay responding - on a work trip abroad).

    The main logic behind the build was along the lines of if I'm going to spend £100 a year on a PC, why not spend £600 quid on something that's real quick now (yes, perhaps overspecced) and take the benefit for the first 3 years, rather than buy 2 cheaper PCs in the same time scale, again totalling £100 per year?

    Whilst I know what I use a PC for now, there's things I got close to doing that would have needed serious grunt (e.g. Netflix prize, now closed) and I might need in the future.

    One reason for going down the AMD line rather than Intel is that AM3 looks like it'll still be around a while and, give it 3 or 4 years when it's just about to be retired, I'should be able to spend £50 on the last AM3 12 core, 5GHz processor with on chip GPU...

    Anyway, down to specifics:

    @ Tom @ CCL:
    Good point about getting a £10 SATA 6GBs add-card, I'd just about forgotten that as an upgrade path! (I've just added RAM & bigger & faster HDDs to the current PC, it was a top line processor at the time).

    @ TheBlackSwordsMan
    I'd chosen the aftermarket cooler expecting it to be quieter than a stock cooler. Is this wrong? Can I throttle down a stock cooler so it's a bit quieter given I'm not planning to overclock?

    I really struggled with picking a PSU, so your advice is welcome - I'd rather spend a bit more and get something solid that should last!

    @ Dae314
    I'd assumed that an ATX board would have more (non-graphics related) features than a Micro ATX board, but that's a good reminder to check. As you say, I certainly don't need Crossfire.

    I'll have another work through the options and see what I can settle on.

    Thanks again,

    cswd
     
  6. donok

    donok Every Little Helps .....

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    Corsair psu are solid as can be. I also hear antec psu's are pretty good
     
  7. Dae314

    Dae314 What's a Dremel?

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    Corsair, Antec, Cooler Master, Seasonic, Enermax, PC Power & Cooling, and Silverstone are pretty good PSU manufacturers.

    AMD's next generation of CPUs will be using a different socket (AM3+) source.

     
  8. donok

    donok Every Little Helps .....

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    Be sure to check the exact psu model review as they can vary
     

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