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#269721 4-Apr-2020 15:26
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I'm looking to replace my workhorse i7 2600K workstation, which is almost a decade old, with another workstation. The USB ports are becoming unreliable, and there's no enough space for expansion inside mostly because of the massive Noctua cooler blocking slots, otherwise it's ok. I'm looking for something very solid and reliable that is likely to last 6-10 years reliably, like my current machine has - though I had to swap out the odd faulty component.

 

I'm undecided on buy vs build. I've built all my past PCs with components I choose, but I'm not sure I can be bothered. If it's a lot cheaper, build, otherwise if I can find something suitable, buy. Plus I never do that well at cable routing, things like fan control, etc. I'll probably completely replace rather than reuse these components, but I'll keep current monitors, keyboard, mouse. Max $2500, but I would spend less rather than get slightly faster components.

 

I'm not in a hurry, I can wait until lockdown finishes. The current PC works ok.

 

Here's what I use it for, in about this order:

 

  • General internet and email
  • Work - nothing too intensive, Word, light software development, running four web browsers with many tabs open at a time in the AWS console
  • Video and photo editing about once a month - my 2600K is plenty fast enough for this with no video card, I use Premier Elements which I'm not sure supports using video cards anyway
  • Video transcoding - every couple of months I might do a batch, again 2600K is fast enough
  • Absolutely NO gaming

Key requirements:

 

  • Physically holds and allows connection of at least two SATA SSDs and three spinning disks, plus room for an expansion card or two. That probably means mini tower or tower case.
  • Single thread performance at least as good as the i7-2700K
  • 16GB RAM is probably enough, but 32GB if it's not that much more expensive. considering ECC RAM for reliability,
  • I'm leaning towards AMD Ryzen as they seem to be good performance and good value, but I have to buy a video card with them whereas Intel has something ok built in, so I'm not too bothered
  • Plenty of USB ports built into the motherboard - absolute minimum six, ideally more
  • I will reuse keyboard, mouse, monitors, and most of the spinning disks, but I would want an m.2 primary disk maybe 256GB (I have others SSDs and disks for data)
  • Prefer fairly quiet. I have a "quiet" case right now with padding inside, not sureif it helps much, but it makes it more difficult to get components in
  • I'm in no hurry, can do after lockdown finishes

Key questions:

 

  • Any suggestions where I can buy something suitable, that's good solid quality? Nothing proprietary so I can replace parts that fail.
  • AMD vs Intel for this use?
  • If build is recommended, any suggestions for motherboard, video card, etc? Think midrange CPU, lower midrange video card if one is required

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  #2454472 4-Apr-2020 15:57
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Your 2600K has done well to last as long as it has. Our 3xxx series systems are long gone, all dead and replaced with 7xxx or 8xxx gear.

 

Any computer store will be able to custom build something to your specifications using standard components. Specialist hardware aside, I buy all my computers from PB Tech and have them assemble them for me using the parts I specify. It doesn't cost much and if anything doesn't work correctly, they'll sort it out. They do have pre-built systems, but I find I can get better hardware for a similar price if I specify my own. Part of the reason is there are often components I don't need (e.g. fancy cases), and my discount doesn't seem to bring pre-built systems down in price by much.

 

I buy Intel myself, mainly due to bad experiences at work with AMD and Intel systems with crappy chipsets in the early 2000s. AMD is winning on core count at the moment, but I'm quite happy with 4 Intel cores for my workload, which includes some video editing and a bunch of software development. If a 2600k is good enough, I'm sure you wouldn't be disappointed with a cheap i5.

 

I recommend the business chipsets if going down the Intel route. I can't make recommendations for AMD.


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  #2454474 4-Apr-2020 16:02
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Are they building PCs during lockdown?. The last one I purchased prebuilt was terribly put together, and it was done by one of the big Auckland computer companies at the time. When I got it the harddrive hadn't been secured properly, so it had detached and was bouncing around inside the box, hitting all the components. etc. I got a refund and built it myself. The benefit is you can also spend more time making sure it is all tidy, and good cable management.  


 
 
 
 


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  #2454490 4-Apr-2020 16:10
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mattwnz:

 

Are they building PCs during lockdown. The last one I purchased prebuilt was terribly put together. When I got it the harddrive hadn't been secured properly,. so it had detached and was bouncing around inside the box, hitting all the components. etc. I got a refund and built it myself. The benefit is you can also spend more time making sure it is all tidy, and good cable management.  

 

 

I'm not sure if the are building custom systems at the moment. I suspect not.

 

I've never had a system that wasn't well put together. The person I dealt with at Penrose used to assemble all of my computers himself, but the most recent ones were assembled in Manukau. I actually open them up and undo much of the cable management. I'm more interested in being able to get components in and out quickly than them looking pretty on the inside.


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  #2454493 4-Apr-2020 16:13
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I built a Ryzen 2600 system a year ago. I was a bit unsure after negative experiences with AMD many years ago. It's been superb and I have no regrets.

There's no real reason to choose Intel in the desktop space IMO unless you were doing a dedicated photo editing machine and solely focused on single thread performance. Ryzens are generally cheaper than the equivalent Intel chip and have more cores / threads so it's a no brainer.



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  #2454494 4-Apr-2020 16:14
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After lockdown is fine, not in a hurry. I can build a PC myself no problems, bit fiddly, I'd probably rather someone who does it all the time does a good job of it. I haven't really found a decent custom option on PB yet, but haven't looked much.

 

AMD had some troubles a couple of decades ago, but lately have been good I think. I'm ok with either brand.

 

A lot of software still has a single threaded critical path, which is why I think single thread performance is important. I do a bit of editing in Photoshop and Adobe Bridge, which uses all cores for batch stuff, but I think the main UI is single threaded. Single threaded performance hasn't made massive gains in the past decade:

 

  • i7 2700K: 1700
  • i7 9700F: 2883 (50% gain)
  • Ryzen 7 3700X (chosen randomly): 2679

The all cores gain is pretty big, with the i7 2600K getting 5400 points, the 9700 at 14,000 and 3700X at 22,700. Enough to upgrade given things are wearing out.

 

 


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  #2454508 4-Apr-2020 16:32
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Personally, I'd say carry on building your own. That way you get exactly what you want without needing to compromise anywhere. I built a computer (@freitasm and @michaelmurfy helped out) almost a year ago and even though some of the tech behind some of my gear is getting on a bit it's an absolute flyer. I'm still really happy with and can easily see it lasting me a number of years to come yet. I've listed out my components and their price at the time below:

 

  • Case: Cooler Master Silencio 352 Silent MATX Mini Tower - $125.00
  • PSU: EVGA 650 GD 650W 80+ Gold Power supply - $120.75
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte Q370M D3H GSM PLUS mATX for Intel 8th Gen CPU - $257.31
  • CPU: Intel Coffee Lake Core i7 8700 6 Core 32Ghz 12MB LGA1151 - $511.75
  • CPU Fan: CRYORIG C7 Top Flow Low Profile CPU Cooler 92mm fan - $56.35
  • RAM: HyperX Fury 16GB DDR4 2666MHz CL16 Black - $182.85
  • SSD: Intel 760P 512GB M.2 2280 NVMe PCIe Gen 3 X 4 - $171.35
  • Optical Drive: LG GH24NSD1 internal SATA DVD writer black - $28.75
  • Fan power supply splitter cable $6.05
  • Orico nano USB Bluetooth 4.0 adaptor - $20.00

Total cost $1480.16 - all parts from PB Tech.

 

Later purchases:

 

  • Nvidia GeForce GTX1070 from another Geekzone user - $307.02 including shipping
  • Crucial MX500 2.5inch 500GB SSD - 125.35

Bringing my total outlay to still under $2k at $1912.53.

 

The RAM was a little expensive when I purchased it, it since fell to $132.55 per unit but has risen to $159.94 quite recently.

 

The case is a mini-tower and has slots for multiple internal drives as well as 3 USB at the front (2 x USB 3.0) and a card reader. The motherboard I selected (mATX as it was originally in a 2U case I picked up from another GZ user) has another 4 built in USB sockets and drives the case USB's from a header. Whatever you get should have a combination of these to give you what you want. It also has padding to help with noise control and it is pretty quiet.

 

If you don't want to go down the track of buying a video card sticking with Intel is really the only choice you have. If you do want to go there, I'm thinking of selling the one I have as it's not quite suitable for my needs so feel free to PM me. In terms of performance for stuff like video editing, it all depends on what processors you're thinking of as to which one would be best. At the price point you're looking at there's going to be little difference so it would come down to whether or not you could justify the expense of a video card ('expense' being a variable term depending on which one you were looking at) given that video processing is CPU, rather than GPU, intensive.

 

From the description of your needs, a system similar(ish) to mine would be ample. From what I understand, you're in the J'Ville/Newlands area? I'm in Tawa so after the current distancing restrictions are over you'd be more than welcome to pop over and see/hear my system if you wanted.

 

Edit: added a couple of missed words in sentence 2.


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  #2454511 4-Apr-2020 16:34
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I just built a Ryzen 3700x for myself for work after being an incredibly die hard Intel fan pretty much excluslively since my 386DX. I had a brief daliance into AMD which was a complete mess and I swore off them. My one has 32GB memory, 500GB Evo Plus Samsung and a mid range graphics card. Its very very quick. If Intel don't have an answer for AMD's price vs performance balance in the next 12 months, both my Virtual Lab Server and Home gaming PC's may well be AMD too.

 

I went with a B450 Motherboard as the main reason for the x570 platform was the PCI4 slots for much faster storage, but in workload stuff at work, it's not something I'd notice.

 

Despite being in IT myself, I let DTC in Auckland build my last 2 PC's. The margin they charge is minimal, they are responsive and the build quality has been pretty good. Perhaps not computer lounge tidy, but 90% I'd say, maybe higher, and my last computer built with Computer Lounge was a real pain. Lots of issues. Not to say I don't think CL are good, just not price difference good enough.

 

 


 
 
 
 




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  #2454516 4-Apr-2020 16:49
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Thanks Dratsab, networkm. I'm leaning towards a midrange AMD Ryzen, with a low end nVidia card. I guess once I choose the CPU then I find a matching motherboard and RAM. To work out, I have is choosing fans that work properly so they only go as fast / loud as they need to, and a cooler that's effective enough without being huge.

 

Also need a case that can take that number of drives.

 

Never heard of DTC, but if it's only a bit more expensive to have them do a solid build then sure.


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  #2454520 4-Apr-2020 16:53
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I'd go Mid-range video card, nothing super low. Requirements can change.




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  #2454525 4-Apr-2020 17:16
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Video cards can be changed out easily. I'd get the cheapest good brand of a video card that has the outputs I need.

 

Currently thinking selecting my own components and building myself or having someone do the physical work. Maybe AMD Ryzen (maybe the 3700X ?), would need to find ECC RAM, motherboard (what options are there for platforms, what brand is good?), fans, video card, etc. I'll look at one of the big hardware sites for recommendations later for the components, but suggestions welcome.


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  #2454528 4-Apr-2020 17:21
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I wouldn't go below a 1650 if I were you. A 1660 would be a reasonable choice too I think.

 

If I were you I'd skip the ECC Memory and get more faster storage. I can count on 1 hand the number of faulty memory modules I've seen in the past 5 years.

 

 


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  #2454531 4-Apr-2020 17:30
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Yeah I’m not sure why you’d go for ECC memory? Unless you are going fully redundant on the storage etc it seems like overkill? Are you doing anything that it would cause serious disruption if you had to rerun?

 

If you go Ryzen invest that money in faster memory - Ryzen performs much better with faster memory.


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  #2454535 4-Apr-2020 17:47
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Handle9:

 

Yeah I’m not sure why you’d go for ECC memory? Unless you are going fully redundant on the storage etc it seems like overkill? Are you doing anything that it would cause serious disruption if you had to rerun?

 

 

Assuming you knew you needed to rerun. Data corruption is an insidious thing.

 

I'm not concerned with ramping up core counts, but ECC on cheaper Intel systems is something I'd like to see.

 

EDIT: Data corruption is the reason I only use Intel NICs. I once had a motherboard where data transmitted over the network would randomly become corrupted. I was using an early ZFS port on FreeBSD and initially assumed that something was wrong with the RAID. It took many hours of copying large files to track down the issue to the checksum offloading on the crappy built-in Ethernet controller.


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  #2454537 4-Apr-2020 17:54
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SirHumphreyAppleby:

 

Handle9:

 

Yeah I’m not sure why you’d go for ECC memory? Unless you are going fully redundant on the storage etc it seems like overkill? Are you doing anything that it would cause serious disruption if you had to rerun?

 

 

Assuming you knew you needed to rerun. Data corruption is an insidious thing.

 

I'm not concerned with ramping up core counts, but ECC on cheaper Intel systems is something I'd like to see.

 

EDIT: Data corruption is the reason I only use Intel NICs. I once had a motherboard where data transmitted over the network would randomly become corrupted. I was using an early ZFS port on FreeBSD and initially assumed that something was wrong with the RAID. It took many hours of copying large files to track down the issue to the checksum offloading on the crappy built-in Ethernet controller.

 

 

If you are going down that route you really should be going redundant on storage etc otherwise it doesn’t make much sense.

 

Ramping core counts suits the way many people use their PCs (lots of windows open at the same time etc). YMMV obviously.


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  #2454538 4-Apr-2020 18:01
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Handle9:

 

If you are going down that route you really should be going redundant on storage etc otherwise it doesn’t make much sense.

 

 

Redundant storage won't help if the data being written to it is corrupt. Bad memory can also corrupt data when a drive is repaired/replaced. If the buffer being used for parity calculations is corrupt, you can say goodbye to your data.

 

That's why we have backups in addition to RAID6 and checksums of every file being stored.


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