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# 136543 30-Nov-2013 22:18
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Hi all, I've been meaning to upgrade my PC for some time, but every time I look into it I get overwhelmed and put it off....so I thought i'd ask for some help from the experts! I have built a PC before....in 2006. This is pretty much still the PC i'm using today (new monitor) but it slows to a crawl with any real multitasking. I used to be a PC gamer, but I now I play a bit of 360 and that's about it. I use my PC for surfing the net, managing media and a bit of work (office etc). Gaming is really not the focus. So i'm looking to upgrade my motherboard, CPU and RAM and i'm also thinking of getting an SSD. I intend to keep my case, PSU, keyboard, mouse, monitor (new) and storage drives which are:

- Dell U2312HM Monitor - 23" 1920 x 1080
- Lian Li PC-7B Plus II Mid Tower case (can fit up to ATX)
- Coolermaster 500W PSU (Not 100% on model).
- Seagate Barracuda 2TB 7200rpm HDD
- Microsoft wireless keyboard and mouse -  I'm not really on a tight budget, but I don't see great benefit on spending a lot because I don't think my needs demand it!

I don't intend to purchase a discrete GPU because I think integrated graphics will do. 
Here are the main questions i'm toying with:

1) AMD or Intel? I understand intel CPUs better, I find the AMD lineup some what more confusing.

2) If I go intel, how much would I benefit from an i5 over an i3?

3) If i'm not really gaming, how much impact does the graphics have on 'productivity' performance?

4) Would there be any benefit of an A series AMD APU over a Core i3/i5?

5) Will an SSD make a significant difference?

I guess once i've narrowed down AMD vs Intel, then i'll start thinking about specific CPUs, motherboards etc and I may have some more questions. For anyone that takes the time to reply, let me say thank you in advance!

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  # 943536 30-Nov-2013 22:20
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1)  If anything the latest Intel Haswell and soon Broadwell is a step change and I would only recommend Intel unless your budget does not fit

2) yes even for non gaming tasks

3) from your description and intent, the main issue for you would be when you use multi monitor configurations

4) there are benchmarks out there that can help you come to a conclusion - I would go with Intel at this stage

5) a SSD will make a night and day difference, if anything consider this as your main priority component to upgrade



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  # 943538 30-Nov-2013 22:37
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Awesome, thanks for the prompt reply.

I'm happy with the monitor I have at the moment and don't plan to get a second.

As for benchmarks, i'll have another look. Most benchmarks i've seen tend to be tailored to gaming.

 
 
 
 




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  # 943639 1-Dec-2013 10:51
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I've had a go at putting together a parts list. I'm really interested in any thoughts, changes, criticisms etc.

http://pricespy.co.nz/list.php?l=109881&view=m

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  # 943650 1-Dec-2013 11:20
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Roughly speaking I wouldn't change anything from your build list, however, I would add an additional SATA II drive (as an optional update in the future) and also you will need an OS license (I would probably design for windows 8) which will be an additional $200.

Also, the minimum spec CPU I would put in a home system would be a Core I5, especially if you are planning to use on-board graphics.

If you are not planning on adding additional components, what about the GA-H87N-WIFI as a mainboard? There are a few features on the board that may be of interest.




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  # 943655 1-Dec-2013 11:27
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Hi Twoseven,

Thanks. I don't think I need additional storage at the moment (the 2TB drive has a lot of room on it).

I intend to transfer my current Windows 7 licence to this new PC (don't see any great benefit in upgrading to Windows 8).

I had a look at the GA-H87N-WIFI and I can't see what may be useful features? Could you please elaborate?

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  # 943661 1-Dec-2013 11:50
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Strictly speaking, you can't carry the Windows 7 on to your new machine unless you bought full version W7 rather than the cheaper OEM version which is more likely.

The OEM license is for the original build only. Replacing cpu motherboard etc counts as new machine which requires new operating system licence.

A.




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  # 943667 1-Dec-2013 12:08
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boonrider: Hi Twoseven,

Thanks. I don't think I need additional storage at the moment (the 2TB drive has a lot of room on it).

I intend to transfer my current Windows 7 licence to this new PC (don't see any great benefit in upgrading to Windows 8).

I had a look at the GA-H87N-WIFI and I can't see what may be useful features? Could you please elaborate?


There isn't any real difference for the this board and the one you are selecting.  General rule of thumb, the chipset matches the OS version so Halswell (G/H8) introduces Win 8 supported features (it is a general rule). 

I typically use the smaller boards because it means I can use a smaller chassis - less cables and more portable.  Most of my machines now are Wifi based, I only have one machine that uses fixed cable and that is my gaming rig (and the freeview recorder). I'm also starting to use Widi a little bit (now that I have discovered that it is easy to use in Win 8).






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  # 943695 1-Dec-2013 14:10
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for $150 go i5 (compared to i3). I can't remember specifics but they are all different. some 2 core with 4 thread some 4 core with 8 thread. get i5 4570 but I can't remember why ... I just remember someone advicing that.

just my 1 cent!




Swype on iOS is detrimental to accurate typing. Apologies in advance.


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  # 943705 1-Dec-2013 15:07
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joker97: for $150 go i5 (compared to i3). I can't remember specifics but they are all different. some 2 core with 4 thread some 4 core with 8 thread. get i5 4570 but I can't remember why ... I just remember someone advicing that.


Not bad advice; I'm wondering if the OP really needs an i5 though.    @boonrider: What sort of work will you do on it and what do you mean by "manage media" ?

The i5 4570 is a certainly a good option if you don't want to overclock or just want a small overclock but still want good performance.  It is regarded as a bit of a sweet spot, particularly for gaming,  but also day to day.  It should be nicely future proof. You will pay for it though; The real question is how much you want to spend.  Just to expand on it a bit more on the i5 ,etc:

The i5s are quad core which is good because software is starting to utilize more cores more effectively.  i5s withouts a K can only be overclocked a limited amount wheres the K can get some quite nice overclocks - to give some idea my i5 4670K 3.4Ghz currently runs at 4.4 Ghz on air cooling.  IF you're not looking at overclocking at all definitely don't go for a cpu with a K in the model.

Hyperthreading presents a single core to the OS as 2 cores and (sort of) allows the OS to run 2 threads on it at the same time.    It might be worth it on a dual core CPU these days, but I generally am not too bothered especially on a quad core cpu - mainly because you'll pay extra for CPUs that support hyperthreading, it doesn't give that much performance benefit unless you're doing something that's very heavily multi-threaded, and CPUs with hyperthreading tend to run warmer than those without. 


@OP if you're not looking to stretch your budget to an i5, then I'd consider going AMD (e.g. Asus M5A97 R2.0 mobo  +  FX-6300) instead of the i3. You'll save a bit of money up front and get more cores, which IMO would be useful long term.

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  # 943707 1-Dec-2013 15:10
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Given you keep your computers for a while I'd probably go i5 and 16GB RAM. I got the pro version of that SSD, just because it uses MLC memory (2 bits per cell) rather than TLC (three bits per cell) - should be more reliable and last longer.

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  # 943723 1-Dec-2013 15:42
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I really wouldn't recommend 16GB right now - RAM prices are still way up after the Hynix fires.

As for MLC vs TLC - the OP sounds just like the sort of light user who TLC should be perfect for - I very much doubt endurance issues will even come into play within 10-15 years for the OP.

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