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Time for a new desktop, sooo what to do now...


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#1
Barnys

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Hi

We are in Germany and currently have an ageing desktop running Vista Ultimate.  We have had it for many years and now it is starting to show its age (particularly the hard drive).

 

So it is time for an upgrade…  But where to start?

I would like a machine that has more than we need today, we don’t need a “gaming” computer but we do stream/play video and there is also some graphics work to be done.  We also need the box to be able to handle multiple large/complex Excel files, something that on occasion has taxed our current computer.

 

My biggest problem is simply that I don’t know how to compare/measure one system against another, or compare one component brand with another.  Do we stick with 32 bit, is more ram a useful goal, is it better to have two hard drives (or perhaps 1 HDD and 1 SSD), how big does the power supply need to be etc etc..? 

Then there is the operating system; I am happy to see the back of Vista and had thought of trying Windows 7 but I cannot find a genuine copy of Win 7 anywhere online.  There are lots of copies available but they all appear to be retail copies of OEM licenses, copies from some undefined source or pirated enterprise versions.

 

We considered buying a new box from a place like MediaMarkt de.  However, I would like to try for something that is less generic and more upgradeable (should we need it).  Also, I have looked online and found a number of options e.g. this one sold by CSL computers.  But I have no idea if its internals are good quality and are a good match (and we would need to upgrade it to Win 7 Ultimate (at 110€) so we can change it to English)    https://www.csl-comp...jk2l1&pl=st_top.

 

And then there is the self built option which sounds like fun (or perhaps a challenge).  Is building a system a viable option re-cost, we are looking at a budget of up to around 500€ for an English language machine.  The 500€ value is loosely based on retail prices.

 

 

I know this is a little vague but it literally is the start point so any suggestions, thoughts, observations are welcome.

 

 

Regards

 

 


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#2
Caliburn

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Self-building is definately the cheaper option (considering how much OEMs insanely inflate the cost of their systems). If you're looking for graphics (ie. complex graphic design and video editing), then you're probably looking at AMD Radeon. (around £91) In terms of Operating Systems, I'd tend to recommend Windows 7 or 8.1, as Vista can be unstable at times. You shouldn't really need a specialized CPU for large excel files, although a decent amount of RAM (6-8 should be plenty), would be beneficial.


Edited by Caliburn, 29 March 2015 - 08:47 AM.

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#3
iammykyl

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Gday Barnys/

​Unavailability of Windows 7 is due to End Of Live, so would jump straight to W8.1 64 bit as 32 bit systems limit usable RAM to 4GB.

I also recommend a self build, you get better quality parts than those in the computer you linked, it only has integrated graphics, not the best for photo/video editing.

 

What  Graphics software do you use?

Please give the brand/model of the monitor you are going to use.

Will you need new keyboard/mouse?

 

Your budget may be a bit limiting as aprox €100 needed for the OS. 

 


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#4
Barnys

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Thanks for the replies.

 

Hmmmm, time to reset the thinking a bit.

The short to medium term emphasis is to replace our shaky Vista machine and I would like to have a go at building our next computer… what could possibly go wrong with this plan.

 

First, the budget; although 500€ was a goal, it was essentially a number chosen because of what I had seen online/retail, so perhaps a 500-600€ upper limit may be better.

I had intended to use our old screen (a Philips 200VW), mouse and keyboard and upgrade as needed.

 

As for the general specifications, I think it might be better to aim for the strongest (highest spec) base setup that is upgradable.  So, I think a high(er) quality graphics option can wait. 

 

Regards.


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#5
iammykyl

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Gday and thanks for the update.

The build has an excellent upgrade path for a CPU and video card, have configured with the best core parts for as close to your budget as I could get.   There was a limited choice of retailers on CPP, so you may be able to find the same brand parts cheaper.  

 

Monitor only has a VGA input. > http://linfotech.co....ps 200VW8FB.pdf

You would connect to the D-Sub port* on the MB,  (another name for VGA*)  Download the MB manual so you get familiar with it's functions. > http://www.asrock.co...o3/index.us.asp

 

You will be using the Intel HD graphics and look later for a discrete GPU.

 

Build for you to consider and I am sure you will have questions, > http://de.pcpartpicker.com/p/Bt2LnQ


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#6
Barnys

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Hi

 

Thanks for the reply; PCPARTPICKER is a useful site.

Yes I do have some questions :-)

 

My first question is more generic than specific to the example you posted for me. 

How is the power consumption/needs calculated?  I have read it is a good idea to allow some spare capacity (some say as much as 100w) and I see the system is rated at 189w, but how much is needed for fans and USBs especially if they are used for charging.

 

I have seen examples of builds where people use 2 Hard drives and use Raid 1 to set them up as a kind of automatic backup (I think it is called mirroring), is this a good idea? 

I ask because Hard Drives are relatively cheap and from what I understand it is easier to configure this during the initial setup.

 

Thanks for the input so far

 

Regards.


Edited by Barnys, 01 April 2015 - 04:00 AM.

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#7
iammykyl

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To calculate system power requirements, you can find the draw for each part, manually, then add a percentage for capacitor ageing.   Fans would use 12v max each, other peripherals are negligible, and a bit of leeway, or use an on line one like this, > http://extreme.outer...culatorlite.jsp.

Even for a fairly modest build, they are way over the top.   Take a look at this first page, Test System, then go page #9 to see the actual power draw, still under 500W.

http://www.hardwarec...c-review-4.html  What is most important to consider, is the Amps delivered on the 12v rails.

The PSU selected will power a high end system, including a single GPU like the GTX 970.

I have seen examples of builds where people use 2 Hard drives and use Raid 1 to set them up as a kind of automatic backup (I think it is called mirroring), is this a good idea?

For the boot drive, I say no as you loose performance, better to use a SSD and perform daily or weekly drive imaging.

For Data storage is OK, but again you get poorer write performance, much better to us RAID 5.

http://www.thegeekst...evels-tutorial/

http://www.overclock...ows-7-ultimate/

Budget permitting, I go for a SSD Boot Drive, a 1TB Data HDD and an external backup drive.  Then set up scheduled backups. 


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#8
Barnys

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Thanks for the reply and links.

 

I am working through the components and am now on to cooling.

 

I have been online investigating cooling "advice" and views.  There are lots of examples/discussions which tend toward a "look how big this cooling system is..."  theme :-)

As best as I can ascertain, the best practice is to have good/unhindered airflow ideally entering the bottom front area of the case and exiting through the upper top/rear, is this correct?

 

Also, one thing that isn’t discussed much is the issue of dust and dust filtering.  I think the NZXT Source 201 Elite case doesn’t have an inbuilt dust filter so, assuming dust will always be an issue, is a fix simply a matter of fitting a generic aftermarket filter?

 

Regards


Edited by Barnys, 02 April 2015 - 12:41 AM.

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#9
iammykyl

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Yep, front to back airflow with as little as possible clutter.

Filters are really a must, especially if you have cats or dogs.   You can buy ready made filters, with magnetic or Vulco edge strips. If you can achieve a positive pressure in the case, this helps rubbish entering through other entry points. .


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#10
iammykyl

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Been a while since we heard from you.   How are things progressing?   An update would be appreciated.


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#11
Barnys

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Hi

Thanks for keeping in contact.

 

Because we have not done a build before we have been doing a LOT of online research…  So that took some time.

I got a bit distracted... started looking at graphics cards, CPU coolers, SSD's, fans etc etc.  There seems an endless list of parts and parts options

 

But long story made short we now know a little more, have returned to the original list and have ordered the parts, some should be here soon :-)

 

One more question;

We are going to upgrade the screen soon so full screen high(er) resolutions will be needed, so would a cheaper graphics card be a useful short to medium term improvement when compared to the onboard graphics functions.

 

Regards


Edited by Barnys, 15 April 2015 - 01:45 AM.

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#12
iammykyl

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I did do a reply to your questions, but posted to the wrong topic, my apologies.

I would complete the build as specified, get used to the quite different OS.

Upgrade the Monitor and see if you are happy with the onboard video performance, IF not happy, consider a card like this, > http://www.vortez.ne...c_review,1.html


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