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Build Advice First build - advice welcome

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Dangthrimble, 9 Feb 2014.

  1. Dangthrimble

    Dangthrimble What's a Dremel?

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    Hi,

    My current PC, an old HP Pavilion, is getting long in the tooth. I need to replace it and am considering putting together a system myself. I am not a gamer, and therefore have no need for raw processing power and overclocking. However, I often find myself needing to get the PC up and running quickly, often have multiple applications open (typically some or all of browser with multiple tabs, email client, word processor, spreadsheet, text editor, password manager, accounts package, pdf reader, plus one or two portable apps off a USB3 memory stick) and want them to load quickly and be able to switch between them quickly. I am also keen to drive my two monitors digitally at 1920x1200. Consequently I am considering an SSD (128-256Gb), a minimum of 8Gb RAM and a two digital graphics ports, HDMI or DVI. I already have a wireless keyboard and mouse, 200GB and 1TB HDDs and I connect to my all-in-one printer/scanner over the network.

    I decided to go online and look at a number of makes of PC to see whether I could customise one to roughly what I believe the spec should be. The closest I got was a Lenovo ThinkCentre M83 Tower Desktop customised (according to their web site) as follows:

    • Intel Core i5-4570 Processor (6MB Cache, up to 3.60GHz)
    • Windows 8 Pro 64
    • Q85_Mini TW_85%Power280W_M83
    • 8GB PC3-12800 DDR3 UDIMM (4GBx2)
    • Integrated Graphics
    • Integrated Audio
    • 128GB Solid State Drive, 2.5", SATA
    • 9 in 1 Card Reader
    • DVD Burner/CD-RW, SATA
    • Integrated Gigabit Ethernet
    • Internal Speakers Tower
    • Chassis Intrusion Switch
    The total price was £800.79 and would be at the top of my budget.

    My proposed custom build currently stands at:

    The total bill to date comes to £632.32, though once I've firmed up on the spec I will check around to see if I can better the prices of the individual components.

    I haven't chosen a PSU, DVD burner or processor heatsink yet and would value suggestions, together with comments on the proposed build above, any alternate recommendations and any help with anything I may have overlooked. Also a view on whether this would be a better PC than the Lenovo, or any other pre-built PC.

    Thanks,

    Dangthrimble
     
  2. BeauchN

    BeauchN Modder

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    For what you need the computer to do that doesn't look like a bad start. I'd query whether you need 16GB of RAM, you could go with 8GB to start (2x 4GB) and add another 8 later if you really need to. With RAM prices the way they are at the moment it is worth thinking about. Personally I would also suggest looking at a Samsung SSD - they are verywell regarded on these forums - and you may want to look at a 250GB one as it will probably fill up fairly quickly.

    PSU-wise you won't need any more than a few hundred watts - This 500W Corsair will be plenty and give space if you want to add a GPU later

    With the FT03 you need a slim, slot-loading drive. Here is one on scan, but there are a few to choose from. These usually require a combined sata data and power adapter rather than use the two separate cables.

    The CPU should come with a heatsink, as you can't overclock with either that board or that CPU I wouldn't worry about spending money on a third-party one.

    Whether it is better is something only you can answer. Building it yourself should be cheaper and give you a certain sense of satisfaction. It also allows you to only load on the software you need rather than getting all the rubbish that usually comes with a new computer. It will also look far better than that Lenovo (in my opinion at least). But, Lenovo take on the hassle of building it and will offer you a warranty.
     
  3. Kronos

    Kronos Multimodder

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    Adding a little to the above . I found a 128Gb SSdDto be plenty but I do have 2 x 1TB Sata HDD's to handle all my personal stuff.
    As for the slot drive the one I bought for my FT03 came with the required cable but I am not sure if they all would do.
     
  4. Dangthrimble

    Dangthrimble What's a Dremel?

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    Thanks for the advice. I've taken on board what you've both said and have also upped the spec for the SSD, PSU (decided I wanted it to be fully modular) and RAM to give:

    • OS: Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit
    Ive also looked at the suggested LiteOn DL-8ATSH optical drive and tried to find more details on their web site. Though the drive is available on quite a few sites, none of the LiteOn sites reference it at all which strikes me as very odd! I was also unable to determine whether it came with the combined cable that was mentioned.

    Assuming I go with the LiteOn plus cable, the price currently stands at approx. £790, though I will be trying to better it. Considering the improvement this spec is over the Lenovo, it feels like a good deal.

    Just to round off the build description, the 3 HDDs I have are:
    However, the 500GB HDD is in my old HP and I may keep that as a Linux box.

    Thoughts?
     
  5. rollo

    rollo Modder

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    Id say most important of all is to have fun building your first build. Go slow and you can not really make mistakes anymore, Once its completed you can say you built it yourself.

    Corsair 500 wat psu listed above is fine. Any Sata 1tb hd will suffice, Any slim slot loading dvd writer will suffice there is next to no difference between them pick one that matches your cases colour would be my suggestion.

    Rest of your build is fine and unless your planning to overclock the stock cooler enough a touch loud would suffice. If you want something better the Corsiar H60 is a cheap and easy install option. ( Ebuyer was selling them for under £40 a couple of weeks ago )

    You want to avoid big heavy air coolers with the case you have simply because they may not fit.
     
  6. Dangthrimble

    Dangthrimble What's a Dremel?

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    Thanks for the advice. As I said at the beginning, I don't plan to overclock so I think I'll go with the stock cooler and if it struggles or is too noisy I can look to upgrade subsequently.

    Just need to find the best prices, place the orders and wait for things to start arriving. I intend to enjoy the build process and, since my faithful old HP is still chugging along, I can take my time like you say (though I can't wait to use the result of my labours!).

    Presumably I'll need to buy some thermal paste for the CPU and an anti-static wrist strap, but are there any other minor items I may have overlooked?

    Finally, to answer my own question, the LiteOn doesn't come with a SATA power and data cable but the nice folks at Scan have suggested to alternative cables:
    The difference in price is only 72p but I think I'll go with the cheaper one as I don't think I'll need the extra length (20cm vs 40cm).
     
  7. Kronos

    Kronos Multimodder

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    You will need thermal paste as for an antistatic wrist-strap. Though I have one it has been some years since I actually wore it. I don't think static is as big an issue as it once was,of course I might be talking rubbish here.

    My slim optical came with a dual power/data cable similar to your first link. But either will do.
     
  8. Wonky

    Wonky What's a Dremel?

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    Why would he need thermal paste if he is simply going for a stock cooler? Should come with it pre-applied and would be more than enough for his needs.
     
  9. chewbaccas_nan

    chewbaccas_nan Minimodder

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  10. Kronos

    Kronos Multimodder

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    It has been a while and had forgot that a stock cooler comes with a square of paste.
     
  11. dancingbear84

    dancingbear84 error 404

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    Your specs look to be good. I would question whether you need an optical drive at all these day to be honest. I have one, and very very rarely use it? If you think you may need to use one occaisional, consider an external DVD drive? Again 16gb RAM seems like a lot, but i don't know what you intend to use it for.

    I can run plenty on my machine at any one time including virtual machines, and don't find RAM to be a limiting factor.

    I would always recommend using a strap. They are peanuts and give you piece of minute. Static must cause a problem to components, hence why they ship them in anti-static bags. Buy one and give yourself piece of mind.

    An SSD is, in my opinion, essential. There are 240gb options available at ebuyer and amazon for the ludicrous price of 86 quid

    Depending on your usage and the fact that you don't want to be gaming, would it be worth considering a smaller case, motherboard and build?

    Don't get me wrong, I happen to love big cases, especially the FT-03 and have toyed with buying one myself, but sometimes someone has to ask the question "Why?"
     
  12. kenco_uk

    kenco_uk I unsuccessfully then tried again

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    Good choice on the SSD :). Has anyone picked up OCZ SSDs after the company liquidated?

    Can you stretch to faster ram? As you're using the igpu, it will benefit from faster ram. Perhaps go for Kingston HyperX Predator PC2400.
     
  13. Dangthrimble

    Dangthrimble What's a Dremel?

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    I know my spec is a little OTT in places: 16GB RAM, larger case than the components require, etc.


    As far as the case is concerned, my son built his PC around the FT03 a couple of years back and I really like it. And, since it has a slot for an optical drive, why not use it? Further, I tend to run my PCs until they get too long in the tooth and I don't know what I might want to do with this PC in the future. Consequently, having the space to expand seems to make sense.


    As far as the RAM is concerned, 16GB might be a little extravagant but, should the need arise, I would be able to upgrade all the way to 32GB without having to replace the existing RAM.


    I know it's hard to justify future-proofing, but I also know I have the money at the moment and it feels sensible to build the system around the components I've identified whilst the money can be guaranteed.
     
  14. Dangthrimble

    Dangthrimble What's a Dremel?

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    As far as faster RAM is concerned, the motherboard and processor are only rated up to 1600MHz, as are the Corsair Vengeance DIMMs.
     
  15. dancingbear84

    dancingbear84 error 404

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    It all makes sense to me, like I said, I happen to like large cases too, but sometimes people do things without any thought for the alternatives. If I was to build my rig today, I would probably go for something smaller, just as it lives in the living room.

    I also tend to future proof when I am looking for stuff these days too.

    Build it yourself, have fun doing it and revel in the happiness that you have just built something, just be careful that you don't get the upgrade bug. It has happened to most of us here!
     
  16. kenco_uk

    kenco_uk I unsuccessfully then tried again

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    Unavoidable, sorry! There's only one cure and hey, you've got two kidneys right? (Or, you know someone with two ;)).
     
  17. Dangthrimble

    Dangthrimble What's a Dremel?

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    One thing that's just struck me ...

    ... If "I often find myself needing to get the PC up and running quickly", should I consider the Asus Vanguard B85 with its support for Intel Rapid Start Technology? Has anyone used either that motherboard and/or Rapid Start? If so, what is your experience?

    Thanks.
     
  18. shah

    shah Minimodder

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    I just put my pc to sleep mode and it takes a couple of seconds to boot up again.
    I am not sure of any drawbacks but maybe someone can point them out?
     
  19. Wonky

    Wonky What's a Dremel?

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    To be fair, most PCs with SSDs are pretty rapid in booting up. Or at least in my own experience thats true.
     
  20. Dangthrimble

    Dangthrimble What's a Dremel?

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    Of course, The Vanguard also comes with a 5 year warranty and 4 USB 3 ports, compared with the 2 on the B85M-G, though it appears the audio isn't quite as good. The latter doesn't bother me too much as I normally have the PC muted and listen to my music via my iPod.
     

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