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Old 11-14-2017, 01:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Upgrading my computer - faster & more efficient

My current computer has been faithfully chugging along since its initial build back in 2008! I did a processor and video card upgrade in 2011, and added some additional ram in 2013. However, its getting a bit on the slowish side, and power consumption on the newer setups is drastically lower than my current setup. So, I am looking to upgrade to something faster, and more efficient.

The current setup is:

Athlon II X3 455 3.3ghz 95w
MSI K9N2G Neo-FD AM2+/ AM2
XFX Radeon HD 6870
G Skill DDR2 800 2x2gb + Kingston DDR2 800 2x2GB
OCZ Vertex 3 Series MAX IOPS 120 gig SSD
Western Digital Caviar SE16 250gb HDD
2x ancient optical drives that rarely even are plugged in (this saves on power consumption)
Rosewill Green 530W 80 PLUS certified power supply

Samsung 21.5" LED LCD
Acer 24" LED LCD
Running windows 7


This wonderful machine (just the box, not monitors, etc) idles around 130W doing absolutely nothing. This is after much tweaking to reduce it. It used to be well over 150W. Looking at reviews on newer systems, they should idle around 20W!

So, this is the new setup that I am considering.

Intel Pentium G4560
MSI B250M PRO-VDH
2x 4gb sticks of PC2400 ram
Samsung 850 EVO 500gb M.2 SSD

I'll reuse the power supply, monitors, rarely used optical drives, and reinstall Windows 7. The rest of the old compy pieces will go on ebay to recoup some of the cost of the upgrade. I checked this and was pretty surprised at what I think I can get for those older bits.

I haven't finalized or ordered anything. If anyone has any suggestions for the new build I'm all ears. I use the computer mainly for office applications and web work. It occasionally does see some SolidWorks use, but its not too drastic. I am hoping the integrated graphics will do well enough for this.

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Old 11-14-2017, 02:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I replaced an older ~40 watt idle HTPC with a tiny ~5 watt idle PC similar to the Intel NUC. I've got an external 4TB hard drive connected that contains my files and Plex content. That adds a few watts, but it's normally spun down and in low power mode.

Using integrated video will help reduce power consumption quite a bit, as well as using an Intel over AMD chip. Intel has the lead on reducing transistor size and power consumption.
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Old 11-14-2017, 03:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm also thinking of doing something fun with this build. Just to try something different, I'm thinking I'll make this a caseless build.



Here is my current desk setup. The computer is currently in a case in the lower left cabinet. It takes up the whole cabinet. I was thinking that I would mount the motherboard to the desk hutch behind the right monitor. The only other item to place is the power supply which can probably sit on the desk behind the monitor. This frees up the cabinet for storage and/or other use. I'm not planning on fancy lighting or anything like some wall mount designs do, but it would save some space, and look a bit more geeky (which I like).
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Old 11-14-2017, 07:13 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Windows XP and later were tied to the motherboard. Earlier versions were tied to the hard drive. So, if you change the motherboard, you may have a hard time reauthorizing Windows 7. Research this first to be sure this isn't an issue.
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Old 11-14-2017, 11:22 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Looks like it should be fine for your needs. You'll still have 2 RAM slots free, so you'll be able to add more in a few years for a midlife performance boost (if needed).

For your case idea, I would chop up an old case to utilize the mounting. You don't have a cat or other critters that would rub up on the bare motherboard, do you?
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Old 11-15-2017, 09:33 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sid View Post
Windows XP and later were tied to the motherboard. Earlier versions were tied to the hard drive. So, if you change the motherboard, you may have a hard time reauthorizing Windows 7. Research this first to be sure this isn't an issue.
Thanks, I will look into that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by vskid3 View Post
Looks like it should be fine for your needs. You'll still have 2 RAM slots free, so you'll be able to add more in a few years for a midlife performance boost (if needed).

For your case idea, I would chop up an old case to utilize the mounting. You don't have a cat or other critters that would rub up on the bare motherboard, do you?
Ram slots, yeah, that is one reason I went with the MSI board I picked. Current use of my computer puts me in the 4-5 gig range. I can see that not being enough in years to come. Its nice to be able to upgrade later when ram is less expensive.

Good idea on chopping the case. I may do that. I actually did scrounge around the basement thinking I had an old case I could chop up. The alternative is 3d printing the mounting provisions which is my current plan. Once I get the motherboard (ordered last night), I will design the mounting system.

No pets of any sort, and it'll be tucked away behind the monitor, so it should be protected from bumps of any sort.
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Old 11-15-2017, 09:42 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I would just go AMD Ryzen if I was you. Ram and cpu play a huge part in overall computer performance nowadays. DDR4 ram is still expensive, but if you Craigslist shop, you can save a bundle and have a fairly good PC. Don't worry too much about power consumption, at idle modern GPU's/CPU's downclock to very low frequencies and draw extremely little power.

I know this is just for web stuff, but I recently built my parents a new computer(Ryzen 5 1600) (albeit, theirs was 1400$) and their computer was only 4 years old (AMD bulldozer). It has been 3 weeks and I still get the occasional 'This thing is so much faster' texts from dear old mom. All she does is web browsing, YouTube and Facebook. (the expense part of it is because my youngest brother wants to play video games).
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Old 11-15-2017, 09:54 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I was originally very happy to see AMD out with a viable and good product and was going to go with a Ryzen CPU. However, the efficiency benefit of going with Intel and its integrated graphics tipped the scales in their favor. I don't need a dedicated graphics card, and can save money and energy by not using one.
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Old 11-15-2017, 09:57 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Oh yea Intel is the way to go then. I definitely, if I was you, would get at least a quad core cpu from Intel. Browsing will be noticeably more responsive, and media consumption (even at minimal levels) will be much more pleasant. As for ram, definitely get 8-10G. DDR3 is dirt cheap.
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Old 11-15-2017, 10:42 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I definitely thought the same thing about a quad core. I was recommended the Pentium based off of the guys over at Silent PC Review. They focus mainly on building quiet computers, but quiet also tends to be efficient as well. The benchmarks for my Athlon X3 vs the Pentium show the Pentium to be quite superior despite having one less core. Of course it does have hyperthreading too which helps it out. I will give it a shot and if I don't like it, I will upgrade to an i3.

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