Thinking of rebuilding home PC - Suggestions needed

vbimport

#1

Hi all,
Just after a few suggestions of upgrades, if a few people would be so kind :slight_smile:

This is what my home PC has at the mo’

AMD Athlon II X2 240
MSI K9N6PGM2-V
NVidia 9500GT 1GB
2 x 2GB DDR2
WD 320GB SATA2 HDD
LG 22x DVD Drive
Windows 7 x64

I’m looking at buying a LiteOn iHBS312 so thought I might have a look at a new mobo, CPU and graphics card.
Which will probably mean new memory and a larger HDD or SSD.

I use it for:

  • Games like The Sims 3 + expansions, Command & Conquer, Diablo 3 etc
  • DVD/BR burning/playing, converting videos to other formats etc
  • Uni- large word docs, multiple pdfs, heavy satellite internet use.

I just want to spend what I need to, as I don’t do online gaming etc so I don’t need the biggest and the best.
Simple tips or brands to get would be helpful too
Thanks


#2

Well, at the present time I think the Intel cpu’s are the best buy, and the sweet spot of performance/price ratio is probably the i5 3570 or i5 3570k if you plan on overclocking. The CoolerMaster Hyper 212 Plus is a reasonably priced aftermarket cpu cooler if you want to overclock.

I’ve never used an MSI motherboard, so if those are your preference, I don’t have any suggestions. I generally use Gigabyte or Asus motherboards, but on my i5 build, I went with an Asrock Z77 Pro 4. It has been running fine, but I do have some issues with the design of the motherboard…its not very convenient with my particular layout. You can probably find a Z77 chipset board with USB3, and 6gb SATA for about $100-120 (US).

8gb of DDR3 ram is probably all you’ll need. Buy from good brands like Corsair, Crucial, G.Skill and Kingston.

For an SSD, I’d look at Samsung 830 or 840 series, or Crucial M4. Size of your operating system ssd…well that’s a personal choice. I’d get 120-128gb at a minimum. I wound up with a Crucial M4 256gb.

It sounds like your gaming requirements aren’t that demanding. I’ll let someone else advise you on the video card. By the way, what size and brand of power supply do you have? That could be a very important bit of information.

Video encoding is going to be the most demanding thing you’ve mentioned. I like to have one hd as source and a second as the target. How much space to get depends on your budget and how you tend to store video. I think you should at least price a 1tb drive, or even a 2tb drive to add to what you have. May not be absolutely necessary, depending on how you use your computer.


#3

I don’t plan on overclocking, I don’t think it’s something I need to do.

I was meant to get a Gigabyte mobo, the MSI was a stuff up on the company’s part. I’m open to any suggestions, based on what is good on the market at the moment.

I had some problems with the RAM I have at the moment, so thanks for the brands. And for the SSD info, I’ve never had one before.

I keep my gaming to consoles mainly :slight_smile: and I have no idea what power or fan etc I have. Open to suggestions there too, or instructions on how to find out so I can post it here.

Space shouldn’t be an issue, I have three external HDDs that should last me until I need to think about adding another internal one.

Thanks very much for your input Kerry.


#4

Asrock is one of the better manufacturers these days for budget minded folks. Your current motherboard is a MicroATX board. Is your case large enough for a full ATX board, or are you limited to MicroATX? I’ve just been looking at the Z77 chipset boards, but there are four or five available from Asrock, MSI and Gigabyte in a low price range and MicroATX form factor.

To find out information on your power supply, you’ll have to open the case and look at the sticker on its side. This should tell you the manufacturer, model number and the watts that it is rated.

Since you aren’t going to overclock, I see no reason to spend a lot of money on ram. Plain old DDR3 1600 should be fine. I’ve been using G.Skill and Corsair on my computers for some time now, with good results.


#5

[QUOTE=Session9;2659636]
This is what my home PC has at the mo’

AMD Athlon II X2 240
MSI K9N6PGM2-V
NVidia 9500GT 1GB
2 x 2GB DDR2
WD 320GB SATA2 HDD
LG 22x DVD Drive
Windows 7 x64

I’m looking at buying a LiteOn iHBS312 so thought I might have a look at a new mobo, CPU and graphics card.
Which will probably mean new memory and a larger HDD or SSD.

I use it for:

  • Games like The Sims 3 + expansions, Command & Conquer, Diablo 3 etc
  • DVD/BR burning/playing, converting videos to other formats etc
  • Uni- large word docs, multiple pdfs, heavy satellite internet use.

[/QUOTE]

Since you are replacing the MB, Processor, Memory, and Graphics Card, this means a new computer. So I would suggest getting a new Case and PSU. Then you can take your time, and there is no down time on your existing System. Like Kerry said going with a good MB and an Intel Processor are the way to go. :cool:


#6

In the BARGAIN BASEMENT section, there’s a discussion about 4Tb Drives and their yo-yo’ing prices. The last several comments have concerned retailer tactics for the upcoming Black Friday sales - in about 30 days. These are enough to make me save up my spare change for this event. wink wink, nudge nudge…

For the Intel “1155” motherboards, they’ll likely offer built-in video, cooperating with the built-in video in most of the i3 or i5 chips. Some people use that arrangement initially and then add a separate video-card if a favorite game doesn’t play properly.

Motherboards… ASUS usually gets credit for having the best ‘auto-overclocking’ utility. Gigabyte often has more ‘features’ built onto a motherboard (2 more SATA3 ports, for example). ASROCK offers a lot of features, too, and if you need a Floppy connector, they’re the ‘only game in town’. They are often the least expensive of these top three. MSI’s offerings can be mysteriously higher priced for some feature sets, and then much lower, too - kind of ‘all over the place’. BIOSTAR has a “T” series that is excellent but their “A” series are merely inexpensive - and still not the cheapest.

I select ASUS boards when it’s in a “set it and forget it” location. I select ASROCK when I think I’m going to add stuff to it - especially hard-drives because ASROCK will generally offer more higher-speed SATA3 connectors (4 or even 6, compared to the Intel standard ‘2’).

Prices are often within $40, regardless of all the competing models or brands - not very substantial, and then it comes down to “which offers the most features I will use”.


#7

[QUOTE=ChristineBCW;2659672]In the BARGAIN BASEMENT section, there’s a discussion about 4Tb Drives and their yo-yo’ing prices. The last several comments have concerned retailer tactics for the upcoming Black Friday sales - in about 30 days. These are enough to make me save up my spare change for this event. wink wink, nudge nudge…
[/QUOTE]

I second that, the more storage you can get for a decent price, the better. For some reason you seem to have never enough GBs (or TBs now :slight_smile: )


#8

Just a reminder - bootable drives should be 2Tb or less.


#9

[QUOTE=Kerry56;2659648]Well, Asrock is one of the better manufacturers these days for budget minded folks. Your current motherboard is a MicroATX board. Is your case large enough for a full ATX board, or are you limited to MicroATX? I’ve just been looking at the Z77 chipset boards, but there are four or five available from Asrock, MSI and Gigabyte in a low price range and MicroATX form factor.

To find out information on your power supply, you’ll have to open the case and look at the sticker on its side. This should tell you the manufacturer, model number and the watts that it is rated.

Since you aren’t going to overclock, I see no reason to spend a lot of money on ram. Plain old DDR3 1600 should be fine. I’ve been using G.Skill and Corsair on my computers for some time now, with good results.[/QUOTE]
I have a normal size case, so any form of board should be fine. Unless I go with a new case, then I will probably look at a mid size.
I will find my power supply details tonight.

[QUOTE=alchav21;2659650]Since you are replacing the MB, Processor, Memory, and Graphics Card, this means a new computer. So I would suggest getting a new Case and PSU. Then you can take your time, and there is no down time on your existing System. Like Kerry said going with a good MB and an Intel Processor are the way to go. :cool:[/QUOTE]
Cheers. I will have a think about that when I get a total cost on the internals and see how I go.

[QUOTE=ChristineBCW;2659672]In the BARGAIN BASEMENT section, there’s a discussion about 4Tb Drives and their yo-yo’ing prices. The last several comments have concerned retailer tactics for the upcoming Black Friday sales - in about 30 days. These are enough to make me save up my spare change for this event. wink wink, nudge nudge…

For the Intel “1155” motherboards, they’ll likely offer built-in video, cooperating with the built-in video in most of the i3 or i5 chips. Some people use that arrangement initially and then add a separate video-card if a favorite game doesn’t play properly.

Motherboards… ASUS usually gets credit for having the best ‘auto-overclocking’ utility. Gigabyte often has more ‘features’ built onto a motherboard (2 more SATA3 ports, for example). ASROCK offers a lot of features, too, and if you need a Floppy connector, they’re the ‘only game in town’. They are often the least expensive of these top three. MSI’s offerings can be mysteriously higher priced for some feature sets, and then much lower, too - kind of ‘all over the place’. BIOSTAR has a “T” series that is excellent but their “A” series are merely inexpensive - and still not the cheapest.

I select ASUS boards when it’s in a “set it and forget it” location. I select ASROCK when I think I’m going to add stuff to it - especially hard-drives because ASROCK will generally offer more higher-speed SATA3 connectors (4 or even 6, compared to the Intel standard ‘2’).

Prices are often within $40, regardless of all the competing models or brands - not very substantial, and then it comes down to “which offers the most features I will use”.[/QUOTE]
Thank you for all of that :slight_smile:
I might look at a small internal SSD for my OS and documents, another larger internal for game data, and keep my external drives for all the other necessities (music, movies etc).
I might have a look at Asrock, assuming I can find them in Australia.

Is built-in video going to play my Sims games and expansions without trouble? If I know it might have trouble, I’d rather look at separate parts straight up.

Thank you all for your help everyone, I’ve never ‘built’ a PC before, getting the right bits for what I’m using them for can be really confusing.


#10

Going by this graphics card hierarchy chart, your 4 yr old 9500 GT is regarded as basically equal to the Intel HD 4000 graphics you get with an i5 3570 cpu. The integrated graphics aren’t well regarded by gamers, but should be fine for most other uses. I am using the integrated graphics on mine, but I don’t play many games.

That said, a Radeon HD 6770, like this one will run rings around the integrated graphics in games. Its a pretty good buy under $100 (US). If you have more money to spend on graphics, newer more powerful cards are certainly available. But staying near the cutting edge in gaming graphics is an expensive proposition. And more powerful graphics cards require high end power supplies.


#11

[QUOTE=Kerry56;2659892]Going by this graphics card hierarchy chart, your 4 yr old 9500 GT is regarded as basically equal to the Intel HD 4000 graphics you get with an i5 3570 cpu. The integrated graphics aren’t well regarded by gamers, but should be fine for most other uses. I am using the integrated graphics on mine, but I don’t play many games.[/QUOTE]

Wow, you’re quick :slight_smile:
Thank you.

A newb question- can a graphics card be added to any setup or will I need to make sure my mobo or something else can adopt one?


#12

Virtually all motherboards these days have a pci-e 16x slot to use with a videocard. The only ones that might not are designed for servers or perhaps some industrial applications.

Many motherboards will offer two pci-e 16x slots, so you can run two video cards in tandem.

One very big question when looking at video cards is how much power they draw. And they will take more power than virtually anything else if you get a high end card. You need to make sure that your power supply can support such a card, and that it has the correct connectors needed to attach to one.

For example, the Sapphire card I linked requires a 400w power supply according to the manufacturer (though they tend to exaggerate things a bit). I would think a 400w psu would be a minimum anyway for this new system you are building. If you are trying to decide on power supply manufacturers, you should consider Corsair, and Seasonic as a couple of first choices.


#13

Fantastic.
I have a lot of researching and eBay scouring to do.
Unless some kind person is so bored they’re willing to help me :slight_smile:

Another question…I need the LiteOn drive linked in OP asap as mine has died and is giving me nothing but coasters. It will plug straight into my current mobo in the old LG’s place, won’t it? Being SATA?


#14

[QUOTE=Session9;2659896]
Another question…I need the LiteOn drive linked in OP asap as mine has died and is giving me nothing but coasters. It will plug straight into my current mobo in the old LG’s place, won’t it? Being SATA?[/QUOTE]

Yes, it should work as a direct replacement.


#15

I have just upgraded (rebuilt) my PC a few weeks ago (spec in sig). I definitely recommend an SSD at a minimum. I went for the Samsung 830 256GB in the end so I could get all my games and programs onto an SSD but also looked at the Sandisk Xtreme and the Crucial M4 and could have gone for either of the 3. However, in the real world theres little difference between times loading things from the OCZ agility 3 I used to have (with a 1st gen core i3 running on the slower SATA II bus) and my current setup which gives you an idea of the improvement an SSD makes (as the current processor is much faster on paper). Of course everything is smoother with the newer CPU.

Motherboard wise I went gigabyte simply as I have never had a dud gigabyte board and I like the blue PCB, but you cant go wrong with Asus either (but will pay more for the same spec as a gigabyte AFAIK). I’ve also read good things about ASROCK. I personally went with the 3570K CPU to give me some headroom to overclock when the system starts to age as I intend this PC to last me 2-3 years hopefully.

Cant comment on performance vs your setup as no experience at all with AMD since the Athlon Thunderbird days. However everything I have read says go intel as AMD have a lot of catching up to do and theres very few apps (if any?) that can use the 6 core chips AMD are producing for example to their potential.

GFX wise the intel onboard graphics are better than previous generations but probably no better than a budget discreet card. I have the 9600GT which is one up from your 9500GT IIRC and its next to be replaced and looking through reviews the HD4000 integrated graphics dont even come close to my old NVidia, but if you arent going to play the latest games the 9500GT will probably suffice for a while yet - personally im looking at the NVIDIA GTX660, but even the likes of the GTX650 or Radeon HD7770 would be an upgrade from your current card. HWCompare.com can give you a theoretical idea of the speed of you current card vs newer models but unless you are having stuttering or quality issues in games I would save your cash.

One thing the Z77 chipset (and some Z68 IIRC) boards have is a feature where you can use a small SSD to cache your conventional hard drive which is supposed to speed things up but cant comment as haven’t used this myself. However, memory is cheap atm so this could be a good way to speed load times up if you are on a budget.


#16

Thanks tarby.

I had a GH22 drive as well, it only lasted around 2yrs. Installed my new iHBS312 yesterday, haven’t tried it out yet, trying to find good blank BD media is proving difficult where I live, not sure I trust eBay with it.

I have been looking at the i5 and either a Gigabyte or Azrock board. As long as there’s enough sata/3 plugs for my BD drive, HDD and SSD (when I get one or two) I will be cruising.
The MSI board I have will only function with one RAM stick for some reason, so all the more need to do this soon. 2gb RAM just isn’t doing it for me!

I figure I will keep my graphics card with the new board until it craps out.

Oh, before I forget - while I was putting the new drive in, my power supply is a PowerCase PDEZ-524 500w, see here. What specs will I need to make sure a new one has? Or will this one be OK until after a new mobo/cpu etc is bought?


#17

[QUOTE=Session9;2661530]

I had a GH22 drive as well, it only lasted around 2yrs. Installed my new iHBS312 yesterday, haven’t tried it out yet, trying to find good blank BD media is proving difficult where I live, not sure I trust eBay with it.

[/QUOTE]

Have a look here for some outstanding good BD-R one of your countrymen found on E-bay. You may want to PM him for info on those.


#18

You really need to get rid of that psu. Look for a new one from Seasonic, Corsair, PC Power and Cooling…or even a Fortron Source.


#19

[QUOTE=Session9;2661530]Thanks tarby.

I had a GH22 drive as well, it only lasted around 2yrs. Installed my new iHBS312 yesterday, haven’t tried it out yet, trying to find good blank BD media is proving difficult where I live, not sure I trust eBay with it.

I have been looking at the i5 and either a Gigabyte or Azrock board. As long as there’s enough sata/3 plugs for my BD drive, HDD and SSD (when I get one or two) I will be cruising.
The MSI board I have will only function with one RAM stick for some reason, so all the more need to do this soon. 2gb RAM just isn’t doing it for me!

I figure I will keep my graphics card with the new board until it craps out.

Oh, before I forget - while I was putting the new drive in, my power supply is a PowerCase PDEZ-524 500w, see here. What specs will I need to make sure a new one has? Or will this one be OK until after a new mobo/cpu etc is bought?[/QUOTE]

Your components (and possibly your electric bill) will thank you for replacing that power supply. Cheap power supplies are a good way to cause instability, and the 500w output spec’d is probably optimistic. I would go for 550w+ plus to give you some headroom and a brand such as Corsair, Seasonic, Antec, etc. If looking at reviews of power supplys dont trust anything that doesn’t measure the actual electrical voltages and how stable they are as anything else is just opinion really. There is a reason budget power supplies are so cheap, and decent electrical components cost money. Expect to pay at least double (or triple) the price your PSU is listed for on that site.


#20

[QUOTE=WTexSkeptic;2661708]You really need to get rid of that psu. Look for a new one from Seasonic, Corsair, PC Power and Cooling…or even a Fortron Source.[/QUOTE]

[QUOTE=tarby;2661826]Your components (and possibly your electric bill) will thank you for replacing that power supply. Cheap power supplies are a good way to cause instability, and the 500w output spec’d is probably optimistic. I would go for 550w+ plus to give you some headroom and a brand such as Corsair, Seasonic, Antec, etc. If looking at reviews of power supplys dont trust anything that doesn’t measure the actual electrical voltages and how stable they are as anything else is just opinion really. There is a reason budget power supplies are so cheap, and decent electrical components cost money. Expect to pay at least double (or triple) the price your PSU is listed for on that site.[/QUOTE]

Thanks guys. Was expecting that :slight_smile:
Corsair TX550M or CX600v3 OK? eBay says about $150 or $120 for those.