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New Computer Build Recommendations

  1. Aug 10, 2015 #1
    Yes, it finally happened. My Core2Duo build that I created in 2007 finally took a c@%$. This stinks, because I was planning on milking that baby for another decade. The only upgrade I made to it since 2007 was last summer (2014), when I was forced to upgrade to Windows 8.1. So I broke down and purchased that at office depot ($104) along with a 2TB Seagate hard drive (another $104) to "future proof" my purchase so I could "port" the drive/OS into a new build should it become necessary, which now I'm going to have to do. I also bought 2 more gigs of DDR2 RAM last summer ($20), and a cheap soundcard ($20) because Windows 8 did not recognize my old Soundblaster card.

    So I thought I was getting off cheap. Just about $250 to upgrade my system until we sent humans to Mars. That's what I was hoping. But it only lasted a year...sure enough, there was a catastrophic failure somewhere on the mother board. I thought it was just a power supply issue, an easy $50 fix, but my buddy at the local computer repair store dashed that hope as we were troubleshooting the problem. Just imagine him shaking his head discouragingly from side to side.

    So now I'm confronted with having to design a new build?! I used to have fun doing this in the old days but it's been 8 years since I've built a computer, and I'm hopelessly lost. Can someone guide me? The big change over the last 8 years is that I almost exclusively use a laptop. I only use the desktop mainly to port data storage from the laptop and to do some light video editing. That's why I was hoping to milk my old build for a few more years, I rarely use the desktop, but I like to have one regardless.

    In any case, I've been an Intel guy my whole life, but I'm thinking of going AMD on this desktop build because AMD is so much cheaper. I'm hoping someone can recommend a good, inexpensive, "bang for your buck" setup.

    Here's what I got, I can cannibalize the power supply (430W), the video card, the sound card, and the hard drive/OS. All I really need is a new motherboard, CPU, and DDR3 RAM. The RAM is easy, I can get 8 Gigs for 40 bucks. What I need advice on is the motherboard/CPU. This is what I'm thinking for the CPU:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819113286

    But I'm not sure about the motherboard, I was thinking this one:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131872

    But I'm not sure about compatibility issues. One thing I want to take advantage of is NVIDIA's 3D vision engine. Are NVIDIA cards compatible with AMD motherboards? I would assume so, but I've never bought an AMD system and have been so out of the loop over the past decade, etc.

    So I'm hoping to get through this by spending less than $300, which will include the motherboard, CPU, RAM, and a cheap ($30) case. If anyone has any recommendations, please do tell.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 10, 2015 #2
    So... full disclosure, I'm an AMD nut. Have been for years, even after Intel finally demolished their compute advantage with the i3.

    AM3+ CPUs are fully compatible with GeForce video cards (I have an AM3+ with the 8350 Black CPU). Given your system was built in 2007, it should be PCIe, but there were still some AGP motherboards floating around back then, so you should double check that. You'll also want to verify your hard disk is SATA not PATA, and that your power supply is 24pin with a separate 4 pin CPU power and PCIe power. The trouble with trying to reuse old hardware....

    I'm a fan of ASUS tech support. Their level of support on an out-of-warranty laptop convinced me to go with them when I upgraded to a new laptop, and I've since bought other devices from them as well with no regrets.
    The 970 chipset should support any FX CPU, so that 6300 should be good with that motherboard. The ASUS website should list CPU compatibility for that motherboard should you want to confirm that.
    That CPU should be a million times better than anything from 2007, so go for it. It should handle games fine, but might be a bit slow on high-CPU tasks like video rendering.
    This was the last case I bought - it was about $30 when I ordered it (in 2013). It's discontinued now, but you ought to be able to find something similar. I liked this one because at the low price it still came with rolled edges and came with a case fan.
    You will probably need a new power supply, just based on the age. Most PSUs don't last 4 years, much less 8.
    (Tangent: I built a system in 2007 with a Seasonic 700 watt PSU. When I chose to build a new system in 2013, I was still within 2% on all my voltages under load. I was rather impressed, since it'd run 24/7 for the first 3 years, then spent 2 years powered off in a basement, then came back online 24/7 again. That old system is still running, a hand-me-down to my dad. Needless to say, I went with a Seasonic PSU on my new build.)

    Don't forget to account for incidentals - CPU heat sink and fan, thermal paste, case fans, etc.

    I will note that which computer you use can change over time. Once I got my ASUS ROG I almost entirely quit using my desktop for months - didn't have time for the hardcore games, most of which would play on the laptop anyway, and the laptop was already up and running. But since I got my Surface, I've almost quit using the laptop and have gone back to the desktop when I don't need to be mobile (bigger screen, better speakers, etc). I say this because you might want to think ahead to where you might be in a year or two - if your life situation changes and you start using your desktop a lot more regularly, will it still suit your needs? (Will it do everything you need if your laptop dies and your desktop is all you have?)
     
  4. Aug 10, 2015 #3
    Thanks for the response. That's kind of the deal...whether to go low ball or whether to future proof the system. If I wanted to go the future proof route, I'd probably buy a low-clocked Core I7. But I'm not sure what I'm going to need 3-4 years from now, so I'm kind of inclined just to get the cheapest system I can create for now. It's not my typical MO, but I'm seeing an opportunity to fix my current dilemma for under three hundo.

    I know what your saying, but we tested the PSU and it checked out OK. I replaced it 3 years ago, so it's not the original. However, I learned from my computer repair buddy that getting a short on your motherboard is a relatively rare event, and that seems to be what happened in my case. Could it be a PSU related issue? Who knows.

    Ok, thanks, that's what I was looking for.

    All my drives are SATA, and PCIe issue is moot because that will obviously come with the new motherboard. I want to eventually get a 3D vision ready Nvidia card, but I'm not going to worry about that for the initial build.

    Speaking of which, does the FX CPU I listed in my earlier post have the video engine on the chip like the Intel chips do? I don't think the motherboard I listed has onboard video..
     
  5. Aug 10, 2015 #4
    The AM3+ CPUs don't have the graphics SOC. You're probably thinking the AMD APU, which is essentially a Radeon built onto the CPU die and only available for FM2/FM2+ boards. I haven't played with any of the FM2/APU stuff, so I don't know a lot about it. That is the direction AMD has been going with their processors, so you'll get newer hardware that route. (Note - FM2 motherboards will have the HDMI port on the back, but it's just a header - you need the APU in order to have on-board graphics. Don't think they make FM2 CPUs that don't have the APU, but it's something to keep in mind just in case.)
     
  6. Aug 17, 2015 #5
    It surely would be nice to know what caused the mobo short. Certainly it can just be a case of bad luck and by going with Asus you minimize repeating that possibility but I do hope and encourage you (if you don't already) to monitor temperatures on a regular if not constant basis. In general AMD runs a little hotter than Intel counterparts with stock heatsinks and fans. It really is worth the $30-$40 to get a high performance HS/Fan(s) kit like this ====>
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103065

    For reference I'm currently using an i5-3550 and right now with 211 processes running at 13% Avg CPU my Core temp average is 36 C or roughly 97 F. Heat is he enemy of electronics and can cause parameter shifts and even runaway thermals so do keep it cool if you want long-lasting. Don't skimp or overuse thermal paste and seek tutorials on proper application if you're unsure.

    In any case, best wishes.
     
  7. Aug 18, 2015 #6
    I've used arctic silver thermal paste on my last two builds along with after-market heat sinks. However, I don't think you should pay for these things when you buy a CPU, they should come packaged with a reliable heat compensation mechanism in my opinion.
     
  8. Aug 18, 2015 #7
    Manufacturers don't ship trash for HS/Fans..... they ship "adequate". For me what is "adequate" for General Public, General Use" is simply not sufficient so I will gladly pay to idle t 30C instead of 45C. Cars, and anything that can be "hot rodded" is the same if I care enough.
     
  9. Aug 18, 2015 #8
    I'm a fan of Zalman... http://www.newegg.com/CPU-Fans-Heatsinks/BrandSubCat/ID-1647-574
    In 2007 I put a Zalman 9700 in my 2006 build and dropped my CPU load temps by 15c. (Cut an additional 5 degrees out with an XClio case.) The best part was that I could reuse the fan when I upgraded from an Athlon X2 to the 8350. I haven't done a slew of double-blind scientific tests, but the Zalman thermal paste is comparable to Arctic Silver (still gooey after 6 years!).

    Of course, if we start recommending the products we actually love, this build will go from $300 to $1000 in the blink of an eye.
     
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