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Edge1
But these go to 11.
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join:2006-03-01
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Been a long time...buddy needs to upgrade (inexpensively)

Hey all,
Used to spend a fair amount of time here but life got in the way and, hey, my machine has been great . OTOH my friend's PC has pretty much died. He doesn't really game but does have his tower hooked up to his TV in addition to his monitor, both of which are very nice (1920x1080 I believe).

Anyway, he's pretty much in line for a whole new set of hardware. mobo, cpu, ram, probably a better hdd. He's good from a PSU perspective. He'll also need Windows 7 (assume home premium?). Anybody have any solid recs that would keep him sub-$500-ish? I know adding Windows in there is a killer. A new fully assembled machine wouldn't be out of the question either.

Thanks for any feedback. This has always been one of the most helpful forums I've found here at DSLR.

-Dave



Krisnatharok
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join:2009-02-11
Earth Orbit
kudos:12

1 recommendation

Does your friend have any HDD-heavy applications for his computer (i.e. ripping DVDs, storing streams, gaming, etc.)? If not, he could probably get away with only an SSD for storage space. If he does do any of that, he could always get an HDD now and an SSD later. Here is my build minus a boot drive, which leaves you $100 for either an SSD or HDD:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD A10-7700K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($149.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: MSI A88XM-E35 Micro ATX FM2+ Motherboard ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-2133 Memory ($94.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ OutletPC)
Total: $399.95
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-03-03 13:47 EST-0500)

Benefits of the AMD APU is a much more powerful integrated GPU than is available in Intel chips, with "good enough" CPU performance for traditional HTPC/home PC applications. Even without a dedicated GPU, this rig can handle moderate gaming.
--
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.



Edge1
But these go to 11.
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That looks like a great set of options, Krisnatharok. I'd say "no" to the HDD-heavy stuff, other than maybe wanting to take a spin with Skyrim occasionally.

Your recs also give me a jumping off point to potentially steer down or up on individual components. I've been out of the game so long (no pun intended) that I needed a starting point. This could even be an ending point. Going to evaluate these items individually, give him my perspective, and its ultimately his choice. I'm pleased with the 8GB RAM and the pricing on Win 7. An SSD is the kind of "extra" if you will, that he would probably support. I've been putting one off for a long time but I may go there too soon. Thanks again. You rock!



Edge1
But these go to 11.
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join:2006-03-01
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Reviews:
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1 edit
reply to Krisnatharok

Sounds like he wants to move quickly (just offered him your suggestions). Any particular affordable SSDs stick out to you? I saw an A-Data for around $80 or so which seemed fine. He's got an old-school (read: huge) tower which would probably need an adapter for the SSD - is that right?



Krisnatharok
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Earth Orbit
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1 recommendation

SSD's can be taped anywhere, as long as the PSU supports SATA power connectors and the mobo has SATA (this one does). Otherwise, you need a 2.5"-to-3.5" adapter for the SSD to put in a hard drive slot. The APU is great bang-for-buck. I chose one of the cheapest A88X chipsets which comes with some better features of FM2+ mobos (options are A55, A75, and A88): »en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison···28FCH.29

Since APUs use the DDR3 system ram as memory ram as well, APU's differ from traditional rigs in that the speed of the ram can greatly effect performance. Considering upping the DDR3-2133 to DDR3-2400: »www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a···20231587

Samsung, Kingston, Corsair, Intel--all make good SSDs. I've personally owned Samsung, ADATA, OCZ, and Dell SSDs without issue. A solid pick would be the Samsung 840 EVO for $90: »www.amazon.com/dp/B00E3W15P0/?tag=pcpapi-20

If you are willing to splurge a little, the cheapest 240 GB SSD is $125, but your friend would likely really appreciate the extra breathing room such a size offered: »www.amazon.com/dp/B00A1ZTZNM/?tag=pcpapi-20

--
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.



Krisnatharok
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reply to Edge1

said by Edge1:

That looks like a great set of options, Krisnatharok. I'd say "no" to the HDD-heavy stuff, other than maybe wanting to take a spin with Skyrim occasionally.

A 120 GB SSD will give him room for the OS plus maybe two or three games, depending on size. You want to leave a good part of the SSD (at least 20-25%) free to allow for the automatic garbage collection, so bumping up against your SSD size will also mean your SSD will start slowing down.

I'm primarily a gamer, and my laptop previously had a 128 GB SSD (ADATA) internal boot drive, and I used a 1 TB external data drive. I have since replaced the boot drive with an internal 256 GB SSD (Dell, purchased here on DSLR) and swapped the optical bay for an internal 1TB data drive. My desktop also has an internal 512 GB SSD (Samsung), with a 2 TB data drive. My wife's ultrabook has a 256 GB boot drive (unsure on make/model), but she does not game at all and just browses the web and does school on it.

Starting out, I would not recommend smaller than 240/250/256 GB as a boot drive, unless the person literally does not game at all and just uses the computer for general purpose (or plays only a single game like League of Legends or WoW).
--
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.


Edge1
But these go to 11.
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Interesting. I was originally thinking a 128 GB SSD supplemented by a 1TB 7200 RPM HDD. Games/video/audio and so forth on that second hard drive. Mostly just OS and apps on the SSD. I'll be talking to him more tonight probably - his back's against the wall and he needs a machine pretty quick. I did his last build a long time ago and he's down with this approach. I did not even realize there were "APUs" out there, lol. I'm pretty sure his old case does support micro-ATX. I'm excited for him, whether he chooses the piecemeal build approach or just a new pre-assembled machine. Obviously I much prefer the former. Thanks I really appreciate you taking the time to help us out, and so quickly. More to come...

PS I also love that PCpartPicker...where was that when I needed it, ha ha



Krisnatharok
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APU (Advanced Processing Unit) is just AMD's marketing speak. It's just a chip with "good enough" compute performance but powerful graphics performance (for an iGPU at least).

If he already has a 1 TB SSD, the 128 GB will be fine for an SSD.
--
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.



Edge1
But these go to 11.
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reply to Edge1

Well hot damn he ordered the parts plus an SSD. Guess I know what I'll be doing this weekend. Thanks again!



Edge1
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reply to Krisnatharok

Excited about doing a build again. Quick question on the GPU side...am I reading correctly that the on-die will perform about par with a Radeon 5770? If so, he should be pretty happy.



Krisnatharok
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said by Edge1:

Quick question on the GPU side...am I reading correctly that the on-die will perform about par with a Radeon 5770? If so, he should be pretty happy.

That sounds about right. The 7700K is one step down from the top APU (the 7850K is $28 more for two more compute cores in the GPU portion of the chip and slightly higher clockspeeds), but both have unlocked multipliers, so your friend could probably OC his chip if he puts an aftermarket cooler on it.
--
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.


Edge1
But these go to 11.
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Nice. Pretty sure we'll go stock initially. Would hate to leave a lot of potential untapped though. I need to brush up on OCing again. He's excited. Again its much less a gaming rig than an htpc/basic work (MS Office) computer. Its great that he's getting such current technology at prices within his budget. A lot of room for growth going forward.



Edge1
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reply to Edge1

Put her all together last night and installed Win 7 - runs like a champ! SO fast to boot. MSI sure has prettied up their BIOS as well. One thing that I noticed right away was uncomfortably high CPU temps. Yes, it must be what true what they say about stock AMD coolers. Temps averaged around 50 C - at idle . Now I used pretty old thermal compound remover and Arctic Silver...so I'm sure that didn't help.

So a natural followup question is: does anyone have any recs on a decent aftermarket cooler?
--
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Q9400
8800GTS 512



Krisnatharok
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Depends on the budget and the size constraints. The Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO/Plus are pretty good bang-for-buck for several generations of chipsets, now. Closed Loop Coolers (CLCs)/All-in-ones (AIOs) can offer superior cooling but at a premium (the Corsair H100i clocks in at just under $100, but is one of the best out there).
--
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.



MacGyver
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Another vote for the 212 EVO, just make sure it will fit in the case because it is HUGE.



Edge1
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reply to Krisnatharok

Thanks Krisnatharok and MacGuyver. Given he's got a mega case from the mid 2000s I'm pretty sure the 212 EVO will fit. There are so many options out there that its confusing...I appreciate your narrowing it down. Cost is an issue, so again the 212 is the attractive option.


asdfdfdfdfdf
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reply to Edge1

I would just keep an eye on the temps under normal usage. This isn't a gaming machine or anything that has extreme usage so you probably don't need to worry about the temps.



Edge1
But these go to 11.
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Noted - we'll keep an eye on it. Won't take action yet.

PS. Good to see you out here still helping folks asdf..etc



MacGyver
Don't Waste Your Energy
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I took the same approach. It wasn't until I tried encoding video that the stock Intel cooler quickly showed it wasn't up to the task. Then I switched to the 212 EVO and I have had no regrets.



Edge1
But these go to 11.
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reply to Edge1

Sorry - another question. He took it home after we assembled it at my place (used an ancient vga monitor - no problems). He fired it up and his display isn't right, describes it as being "less than 600 pixels high". He's using a DVI connection to a nice 1920x1080 Samsung. I'm anticipating that I'll figure this out pretty quickly, but since this is an APU is there anything I should know with respect to dialing in his resolution?



Krisnatharok
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Did he try to reset the resolution on the desktop? Right-click the desktop background, go to screen resolution, and then adjust?
--
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.



Edge1
But these go to 11.
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join:2006-03-01
USA

That was my first thought but then I'm like "nah, it can't be that simple" Have a text out to him now...



Edge1
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reply to Krisnatharok

OK he says the screen resolution drop down is at 640x480 and is greyed out. Display says "generic PnP monitor on standard VGA graphics. Yet its a DVI monitor. Man, I've been away from this stuff too long. Perhaps that's an option that needs addressed in BIOS?



Krisnatharok
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Go to device manager, and I forget the exact label (on a work comp w/o admin privs atm), but I think it's under Displays. He can drop that down, uninstall or update the driver, and then tell it to go out and find one, or he can download the right one (for the display, not the iGPU), and point the installer at it.

Is he still using the DVI cable or a Dsub/VGA cable?
--
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.



Edge1
But these go to 11.
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If we only installed the drivers that came with the motherboard, can I assume he doesn't have the full set of drivers for the graphics portion of the processor?



Krisnatharok
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1 recommendation

He can download the latest drivers needed for his APU here:

»support.amd.com/en-us/download#



Edge1
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Thanks again Kris - you're a good man!



Krisnatharok
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Just to be clear--what I initially described was changing the drivers used for the display--not the iGPU. I've never had to mess with display drivers before (I believe it prompts the system to re-detect what type it is), but it's another avenue if (re)installing the GPU drivers doesn't help at all.
--
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.



Edge1
But these go to 11.
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We're good. He needed the Catalyst graphics drivers . Also gave him a DVI cord...he was using VGA :P...thanks again!