limping 7 year old hardware

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limping 7 year old hardware

Postby Pfife » Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:58 am

As the title suggests, I last got a new computer over 7 years ago (back in college). Last night it got to the point where it took about a half an hour before anything would load or run smoothly. Load times on WOW and my few other games (D3 and SC2) have also become a problem. I've been talking with a co-worker that knows more hardware than me and it sounds like my hard drive or ram are dying. At this point I think it would be better if I just got a new system. The only problem is that I don't really have the money I used to for it. The good news (for me) is that I don't think I'll have a problem keeping my monitor, mouse, keyboard, external HD and I have a copy of my current OS (Windows 7 ultimate) with more installs available. All I am really after at this point is a new tower and everything that goes inside (but I plan to skip the sound card this time). Finally, my point of this thread; are there any resources anybody could recommend for buying a new tower, power supply, mother board, HD, disk drive, processor, ram, graphics card, cooling system and anything I'm forgetting for possibly under $500? If anybody is interested, I got some screenshots of CPU usage and Memory usage of trying to use Chrome 10 minutes after booting and my device manager list: http://imgur.com/a/pk3A6

Edit: I plan to actually build this one myself (with help) and will do what I can to limp along with what I have if my only option is to go with something pre-made.
Edit2: I am well aware of Ars Technica. But the last budget box they put up still came over $500 when I took out the screen and peripherals.
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Re: limping 7 year old hardware

Postby fuzzygeek » Thu Aug 22, 2013 12:29 pm

There's a guy on MMO who posts builds about once a quarter. It looks like they sticky the suggestions in this thread:
http://www.mmo-champion.com/threads/986 ... ple-Builds

Extreme Budget Gaming 370
MoBo: MSI B75MA-P33 – $49.99
CPU: Intel Celeron G1610 – $49.99
RAM: G.Skill 1333MHz 2x2GB – $35.99
GPU: Sapphire Radeon 7770 GHz – $104.99
HDD: WD Caviar Blue 500GB – $59.99
PSU: Antec VP-450W – $39.99 Review
Case: Antec VSK-4000 – $34.99
--------------------------------------------------
Estimated Total Price – $376

Extreme Budget Gaming 460
MoBo: ASRock FM2A55M-DGS – $49.99
CPU: AMD A8-5600K – $99.99
RAM: G.Skill 1600MHz 2x2GB – $37.99
GPU: PNY GTX 650 Ti – $129.99
HDD: WD Caviar Blue 500GB – $59.99
PSU: Antec VP-450W – $39.99 Review
Case: NZXT Source 210 – $39.99
--------------------------------------------------
Estimated Total Price – $458

Budget Gaming 570
MoBo: ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP – $74.99
CPU: Intel i3 3220 – $129.99
RAM: G.Skill 1600MHz 2x4GB – $64.99
GPU: HIS Radeon 7850 – $159.99
HDD: WD Caviar Blue 500GB – $59.99
PSU: Antec VP-450W – $39.99 Review
Case: Xigmatek Asgard – $39.99
--------------------------------------------------
Estimated Total Price – $570

You could shave a few bucks off the last one by keeping it at 4GB RAM and using the video card from the previous build; that gets pretty close to your $500 mark.
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Re: limping 7 year old hardware

Postby Pfife » Thu Aug 22, 2013 1:23 pm

Thanks for the reply. I think I managed to completely forget about those posts on mmo-champ. I've been doing a bit of digging and have also come across the following:

http://lifehacker.com/5840963/the-best-pcs-you-can-build-for-600-and-1200
http://www.hardware-revolution.com/best-budget-gaming-pc-computer-august-2013/

I'll be doing more research this weekend and seeing if I can come up with something closer to $300. I'll likely keep my decisions on this thread and post my final build and where I'm getting it. If anybody thinks I'm heading to a bad decision, please let me know.
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Re: limping 7 year old hardware

Postby Koatanga » Thu Aug 22, 2013 1:43 pm

A lot of salesmen will try to advise you to get the K series chips and Z series MB in the Intel range because they are overclockable. If you are like me and never plan to do any overclocking, you can save money by getting an H-series MB and the normal chip. I recently replaced my CPU and MB and went with the i5 4570 because it was the sweet spot in the performance/price curve. I set up a simple spreadsheet and compared the benchmark speed from http://www.cpubenchmark.net/ with the cost of the CPU + MB (since different CPUs require different MBs). I then divided the PassMark score by the cost, and came up with an index. The highest index score within my price range was then the best value-for-money.

It's a very simplistic way to approach it, and different CPUs perform differently in different environments with different programs, so the PassMark score isn't the end-all thing. It does, however, help you navigate the Intel vs AMD, i3 vs i5 vs i7, 1 core vs 2 core vs 4 core, L1 cache, L2 cache, etc. and get a handle on how they sort of really compare.

I think your budget is lower than mine due to the need for all the other stuff, but the approach should still be valid. Just find the lowest prices you can for the "other stuff" and then compare CPU/MB and cost and go for your best value-for-money.

Here in New Zealand there is a website called PriceSpy that compares prices from multiple stores. I am sure there's something like that in the US. it's worth looking into.

For reference, I paid $448 NZD for my CPU/MB, at around a .8 exchange rate, which would be $358 USD. However, parts cost more here because of our smaller market size.

Other factors:

I was interested in going Intel, because AMD performance is pretty crap on that benchmark list and because AMD goes for the many-cores option when not all programs use multiple cores.

I set my max at 4 cores. I went for the socket-1150 MB because I reckon by the time I need to do anything with a CPU (replace or upgrade), the socket-1155 chips will be hard to find.
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Re: limping 7 year old hardware

Postby Pfife » Thu Aug 22, 2013 3:21 pm

I would say that all went over my head, but it was closer to just bouncing off and landing behind me. I don't think I can really factor in all that out of inexperience and current focus on the $$$ over potential performance. I'm just aiming for something that will run my blizz games with wowhead and vent up once it is assembled.

Edit: The only things I really want to aim for are Intel on the chip and either Nvidia or AIT on the GPU. Other than that I will get whatever will keep going for another 5 to 7 years.
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Re: limping 7 year old hardware

Postby Koatanga » Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:35 pm

Pfife wrote:I would say that all went over my head, but it was closer to just bouncing off and landing behind me. I don't think I can really factor in all that out of inexperience and current focus on the $$$ over potential performance. I'm just aiming for something that will run my blizz games with wowhead and vent up once it is assembled.

Edit: The only things I really want to aim for are Intel on the chip and either Nvidia or AIT on the GPU. Other than that I will get whatever will keep going for another 5 to 7 years.

Well, that's kind a the point - all the cores and L1 cache and i3 vs i5 stuff went over my head until I found a benchmark site that says X CPU is faster than Y CPU. It boils down the potential of the chip to a single performance number than I can understand and place a value on. Then I can compare the scores of processors to see which is the highest performing, and therefore has the longest life expectancy.

Intel has several chip series - Celeron (G-series), i3, i5, and i7 for home desktop PCs. They have different ranges within each, and based on several factors can cost more or less than each other.

Just looking at the builds referenced earlier, the Celeron G1620 scores 2,786 on the benchmark test. The i3 3220 scores 4,233. So that gives you a basis for comparison between the two. The i3 would have a much longer life expectancy as a gaming CPU than the Celeron.

I used to have an Intel Core2 Quad 8400 processor. It's around 4 years old, but it scores 3,241 on the test. I'd be silly to replace that with a shiny new Celeron, because my performance would decrease. The one I replaced it with scores 7,162 (one of my criteria was at least twice the performance of my old chip). However, it also tells you that the Celeron, although cheap, gets its ass kicked by a 4-year-old processor. Not much value there.

If you don't have much to spend, you might have a look at the AMD offerings. The i3 3220 scores 4,233 for $120, while an AMD FX-6300 comes in at 6,385 for $110. That's nearly half-again the performance for $10 less.
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Re: limping 7 year old hardware

Postby tullock » Thu Aug 22, 2013 6:04 pm

Find out if you have a microcenter store near where you live. They have phenominal cpu/motherboard bundles that can't be beat anywhere online. You just have to patiently say no to all ofthe extra stuff they try tto sell you by getting you in the door.
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Re: limping 7 year old hardware

Postby Fetzie » Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:02 pm

I used to have an Intel Core2 Quad 8400 processor. It's around 4 years old, but it scores 3,241 on the test. I'd be silly to replace that with a shiny new Celeron, because my performance would decrease. The one I replaced it with scores 7,162 (one of my criteria was at least twice the performance of my old chip). However, it also tells you that the Celeron, although cheap, gets its ass kicked by a 4-year-old processor. Not much value there.


It isn't that simple though.

Which applications are tested for that benchmark? I bet it isn't games.
Games tend to load up a single core and have minor loads on the others. This is because it is easier to code for a single core, and gives greater compatibility with older hardware.

In addition, the only thing that an i3 has on a Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge Pentium dual-core is Hyperthreading. And games don't use hyperthreading. You can pretty much halve the i3's score for gaming purposes.

What I would do with a 500 dollar budget, if I had a copy of Windows I could re-use:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($92.13 @ TigerDirect)
Motherboard: MSI 970A-G43 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($67.24 @ Amazon)
Memory: Corsair 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($59.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.98 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: Asus Radeon HD 7850 1GB Video Card ($143.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Case: NZXT Source 210 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($29.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Antec 450W ATX12V Power Supply ($38.18 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS95 DVD/CD Writer ($15.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $507.47
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-08-22 22:54 EDT-0400)

or

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i3-3210 3.2GHz Dual-Core Processor ($109.10 @ TigerDirect)
Motherboard: ASRock B75M-DGS R2.0 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($57.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: Corsair 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($59.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.98 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: Asus Radeon HD 7850 1GB Video Card ($143.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Case: NZXT Source 210 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($29.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Antec 450W ATX12V Power Supply ($38.18 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS95 DVD/CD Writer ($15.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $515.18
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-08-22 22:58 EDT-0400)

You can't fit a quadcore intel CPU in a 500 dollar budget, they start at 177 dollars just for the processor on its own.

The Microcenter motherboard and cpu bundle deal is probably out of his price-range, I don't know if they'll still do it for Ivy Bridge stuff (and the low-end IB stuff at that).
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Re: limping 7 year old hardware

Postby Koatanga » Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:13 pm

Fetzie wrote:It isn't that simple though.

Which applications are tested for that benchmark? I bet it isn't games.
Games tend to load up a single core and have minor loads on the others. This is because it is easier to code for a single core, and gives greater compatibility with older hardware.

In addition, the only thing that an i3 has on a Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge Pentium dual-core is Hyperthreading. And games don't use hyperthreading. You can pretty much halve the i3's score for gaming purposes.


I realise it isn't that simple, and in fact said it was a simplistic way to look at it and that different processors perform differently in different environments and with different applications.

The score is a PassMark score, using this software: http://www.passmark.com/products/pt.htm

And as I mentioned, my main reason for moving to the Haswell platform was availability of processors if or when I need to replace a CPU on down the road. The Sandy/Ivy Bridge systems are 3+ years old now, so if I get a power spike that takes out the CPU in another 2-3 years, will I be able to get a processor? Or will it be like trying to find a socket-775 processor now?

On the AMD system, I am curious why you went with the Phenom 965 instead of something like the FX 6300. I am not big on AMD so I don't even know their big differences, 965 is a quad-core running at 3.4 ghz while the 6300 is a 6-core (3 physical) running at 3.5 ghz with "turbo" up to 4.1 ghz. This isn't a criticism, I am genuinely curious. The score disparity between the two is quite large.

Also this comparison: http://cpuboss.com/cpus/AMD-Phenom-II-X ... MD-FX-6300

It's available in a pretty cheap at $119 including a motherboard. http://www.microcenter.com/site/product ... ndles.aspx
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Re: limping 7 year old hardware

Postby tullock » Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:47 pm

The microcenter amd bundles are far better deals than the Intel ones with the fx6300 and entry level mobo for 120, but a 4670k and entry level z87 starts at 255$, which will brutally destroy an i3 for 170$. If you want the pc to last 5+ years I wouldn't even consider a dual core as an option, not when there is only an 85$ gap.

Edit: but yeah if his 500$ budget is firm he would have to make a cut somewhere else. Its just a harsh reality that a 650$ computer is going to have twice the cpu power and twice the graphics power of a 500$ pc. Hate to see someone pay 150 for a 1gb 7850 when 3gb 7950s with custom coolers are starting to hit the 200$ mark on sale.
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Re: limping 7 year old hardware

Postby Fetzie » Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:56 am

On the AMD system, I am curious why you went with the Phenom 965 instead of something like the FX 6300. I am not big on AMD so I don't even know their big differences, 965 is a quad-core running at 3.4 ghz while the 6300 is a 6-core (3 physical) running at 3.5 ghz with "turbo" up to 4.1 ghz. This isn't a criticism, I am genuinely curious. The score disparity between the two is quite large.


Because the Phenom has a higher IPC than the FX (what matters for gaming). The FX processors shine in applications in which you can really use those extra cores (you'll even see higher performance in WoW while streaming/recording with an FX 8350 than an i7 3770K), but when you aren't doing stuff like that and are only gaming the Phenom will win (ever so slightly) and while their higher clock speed does compensate somewhat for this, they do run hotter (and thus the CPU heatsink fans are louder and more annoying) than Phenoms.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/product/102?vs=699

Scroll down to the gaming benches. The Phenom is very close, and costs 30 dollars less. I don't think that Microcenter deal includes a motherboard, that is just the price if you buy it at the same time as a motherboard (making the total cost close to 200 dollars). If the OP can't get to a Microcenter, then I'd say get the Phenom instead. If he needs more power later on he can always upgrade to a better AM3+ compatible CPU (that motherboard should take pretty much anything). AMD has a much better track record for backwards compatibility with new CPUs and old motherboards.

I mean, if I had a working computer and a 500 dollar budget I'd wait until I had 650-700 dollars. Because then you can get an FX 8310 or an i5 3330 (use the B75 chipset for the motherboard) and a 7950 if you are lucky with rebates and sale prices (and don't live anywhere with sales tax) and that would blow any phenom II x4/FX 6300/Pentium G2120/i3 3220 and 7850 computer out of the water; you would likely get at least twice the performance for 20% more money.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3330 3.0GHz Quad-Core Processor ($177.97 @ Outlet PC)
Motherboard: ASRock B75M-DGS R2.0 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($57.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: Corsair 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($59.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.98 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Source 210 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($36.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Antec 450W ATX12V Power Supply ($38.18 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS95 DVD/CD Writer ($15.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $647.05
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-08-23 06:56 EDT-0400)

(or an i5 4570 on a B85 motherboard for ten dollars more - you'd have to check the PSU is haswell compatible though, some PSUs can't handle the super-low power states and think the PC is turned off when the CPU is just idling)
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Re: limping 7 year old hardware

Postby Pfife » Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:02 pm

I hate to do this to everybody helping (because holy hand grenade this was a lot more than I expected) and discussing all this, but I was expecting to take this a lot slower. And possibly lower on price. I've been eying the stuff in the 300 range on the links I found earlier. As much as I want to get the parts and build this now, I also want to wait and make sure I can afford my property taxes and get the house prepped for the baby (January). If my machine dies, then I'll be going for the cheapest one I think I can work with (gotta start doing weekly backups). I will likely PM a few people for further discussion on parts and getting the most for my money. But by all means, keep the discussion going. I need to learn all this sooner or later and should have this discussion to reference when either I or my computer finally crack.
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Re: limping 7 year old hardware

Postby tullock » Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:17 pm

If you do have a microcenter by you, the fx6300 option for 120$ does in fact come with a motherboard. Its a cheap board, but it is absolutly included in the 120$ price. Just Google microcenter amd bundles or microcenter Intel bundles and you can get the current list for either brand.



Edit: the original problem does sound like your hard drive is dying, or possibly your window is corrupt from the dying hard drive or dying memory. After doing your backups you can do a couple of no/low cost things. Google memtest and make a bootable CD to test your memory without your hard drive/windows getting in the way. If that passes then format your drive and do a clean install of windows, and if the problem persists it is almost certainly hard drive related, and you can buy just a new hard drive and carry it over to the new system when you build it.
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Re: limping 7 year old hardware

Postby Pfife » Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:54 pm

tullock wrote:If you do have a microcenter by you, the fx6300 option for 120$ does in fact come with a motherboard. Its a cheap board, but it is absolutly included in the 120$ price. Just Google microcenter amd bundles or microcenter Intel bundles and you can get the current list for either brand.



Edit: the original problem does sound like your hard drive is dying, or possibly your window is corrupt from the dying hard drive or dying memory. After doing your backups you can do a couple of no/low cost things. Google memtest and make a bootable CD to test your memory without your hard drive/windows getting in the way. If that passes then format your drive and do a clean install of windows, and if the problem persists it is almost certainly hard drive related, and you can buy just a new hard drive and carry it over to the new system when you build it.


Looks like the closest Microcenter near me is in Orange County (so I could hit it during Blizzcon...). I checked their site online and will likely use it if necessary if I think the Intel chip/MoBo combo will save me some $$$. The backup/restore is something I have actually been putting off for a while. I don't need to backup much thanks to all my media being on my 1TB HD. I really just need a snapshot of my desktop for a few things and a system restore would be easy. I'm kinda waiting for the weather to cool down before I do that (so hopefully next month).
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