Any PC guru's out there, looking for advice for new desktop

rjstaines posted:
arf005 posted:

Has anyone out there built their own, bought a new one recently or upgraded...??

I have specs in mind, and a budget, but need to run some ideas past someone who knows more than me!

I've done all of these and worked with PCs since the very first ones were marketed by IBM back in the stone age.

So as a PC guru, prone to giving you gigaherz, gigabytes and gigaflops specs, I'd say this to you ARF005... "Buy the most powerful one you can afford to buy - it'll last for years and for much of that time you'll avoid the frustration of an underperforming device.  And secondly, say 'No' to all the additional stuff the salesman says you can't live without - you can live without it, he's telling porkies."

Roger

Precisely what I have always done. Buy the biggest RAM, HDD and the fastest chipset you can afford and forget about the fripperies. Then it will become obsolete more slowly. Buying a PC that is just about OK for current needs means it will be too slow/stupid fairly shortly. My home Dell is 8 years old and just about to be replaced. I reckon 8yrs is pretty good considering the pace of chance in computing

Bruce

The problem with the advice "buy the fastest that you can afford" is that when you get to the top end of performance you're paying a LOT for very small increases in performance, often the top CPU is less than 10% faster than a CPU 2 steps down in performance, but is double the cost.  The same applies with RAM speed.  Amount of RAM is approximately proportional to cost, but if you get a 4 slot MB and only populate 2 slots then you can add more RAM when you need and when it's come down in price.

So: "buy the fastest that you can justify on a performance / cost basis" and don't wast money chasing the last few percent.

Bruce Woodhouse posted:
rjstaines posted:
arf005 posted:

Has anyone out there built their own, bought a new one recently or upgraded...??

I have specs in mind, and a budget, but need to run some ideas past someone who knows more than me!

I've done all of these and worked with PCs since the very first ones were marketed by IBM back in the stone age.

So as a PC guru, prone to giving you gigaherz, gigabytes and gigaflops specs, I'd say this to you ARF005... "Buy the most powerful one you can afford to buy - it'll last for years and for much of that time you'll avoid the frustration of an underperforming device.  And secondly, say 'No' to all the additional stuff the salesman says you can't live without - you can live without it, he's telling porkies."

Roger

Precisely what I have always done. Buy the biggest RAM, HDD and the fastest chipset you can afford and forget about the fripperies. Then it will become obsolete more slowly. Buying a PC that is just about OK for current needs means it will be too slow/stupid fairly shortly. My home Dell is 8 years old and just about to be replaced. I reckon 8yrs is pretty good considering the pace of chance in computing

Bruce

Quite so,   five liters under the hood, a six speed box and four wheel drive will fix anything.

 

Err, sorry. Wrong forum.

Buy cutting edge and change infrequently or buy good spec and change more often.  Over a number of years the cost works out the same.  Whilst the focus on processor, memory speed and storage makes sense it also makes sense to get the best motherboard you can reasonably afford as this will allow you to upgrade the other components as and when you need to.

My approach building computers has generally been to buy last or year before's best (never the current due to the price premium), except graphics card other than for a gaming computer. I then tend not to change anything until something fails, or upgrades in necessary software demand better when I upgrade things. In general terms a bit like my approach to hifi.

Huge posted:
Willy posted:

Just checked my laptop. 120Gb SSD of which Windows 10 Pro consumes only 40Gb. Seems 120Gb is more than adequate for a primary SSD and they can be picked up under 50.

Another vote for DIY and Asus motherboards with Intel CPUs.  Easier to get exactly what you want and be sure that all the critical components are uncompromised. Good components will last longer, means there is an inevitable trickle down and I get my son's old graphics cards when he upgrades

Regards,

Willy.

 

 

120GB system drive (with Win10 consuming 40Gb) only allows for 59Gb of programs before hitting the 80% limit.

Intel CPUs are much more finicky about chipsets than AMD, and there are many more variants of intel chipsets, so it's actually harder to get an uncompromised system.
(I've built both, and Intel systems take at least twice as much time in research to avoid unexpected compatibility issues.  The issues are usually fairly minor, things like certain operations being much slower than expected or certain peripherals not working; they're rarely out and out failures).

The 40Gb is windows and my full compliment of programs! 

I know two people who build/support/repair PCs servers and networks for a living. Both have expressed a strong preference for intel. 

Willy.

Willy posted:
Huge posted:
Willy posted:

Just checked my laptop. 120Gb SSD of which Windows 10 Pro consumes only 40Gb. Seems 120Gb is more than adequate for a primary SSD and they can be picked up under 50.

 

120GB system drive (with Win10 consuming 40Gb) only allows for 59Gb of programs before hitting the 80% limit.

The 40Gb is windows and my full compliment of programs! 

 

Whereas my OS & programs complement on C: is 450GB.

But as always, YMMV.

Willy posted:

...

I know two people who build/support/repair PCs servers and networks for a living. Both have expressed a strong preference for intel. 

Willy.

They likely would do:

First of all they can justify looking through Intel's disparate data sheets on the technical details of their multitude of different chipsets.

Second they probably have access to some of Intel's documents containing their privileged system build information (as we did with my former employer); for instance the ones covering the list of incompatible combinations.  It's still a lot easier to extract the important information from AMD documentation, and there are far fewer incompatible combinations of CPU / chipset / memory.  

This is a significant difference between DIY and professional environments.

From personally building PC's and once running a modest organization all on them of virtual clients (PC based)  upon getting my last computer virus I switched to mac...  

I have NEVER looked back.

To this day some of my tema members have been hell bent on keeping s PC because its what they know...

as I type this... their 9 month old PC is in for a 3 day repair...  my mac...  well using it right now and have never had problems... same with the other 41 macs we have implemented...

You pay on the front end for sure... but save it on the back....

Hm, I bought my first Mac last year.  Took it home, all excited, plugged it in and it didn't work.  Had to take it back the day after for a replacement.  I've used PCs for decades and the only thing that has ever gone on them have been hard drives (2) and power supplies (also 2).  Viruses generally speaking have been well controlled with good house keeping etc.  I like my Mac for some things, and I like my PC for others.

Suzy Wong posted:
Whereas my OS & programs complement on C: is 450GB.

But as always, YMMV.

I have a 2009 Dell XPS Tower top of the line at the time, with early i7, and maxed out bits...  the only things I have had to do are :

1) Replace the 2 original 24" monitors - luckily I bought extended warranty - as both had lines/pixel issues at year 2.5.  They were $500 a piece back then.

2) Added two 4 Port USB3 PCI Express expansion cards - USB2 was king at the time.

3) Upgraded the 1 GB primary to SSD, the 1 GB became a data slave.  Originally I went with Intel 128GB, but with OS, Software and VM's on it, it soon ran out of space ( it's now been placed in a 'usb3 travel case' and used as a fast external hard drive).  That's when I looked at the 500GB and 1TB, luckily they had come down in price so I went with the 1TB Sandisk Extreme. The only issue is the motherboard caps my transfer speed at 3 Gbits ( due to it's age ), when the hard drive can handle 6 Gbits.  But it's got a 10 year warranty and plenty of space for the foreseeable future.   I assure you, you will notice a speed improvement using the PC / opening apps / processing photos et al, as a result of going to SSD - and if you play game's it will certainly help.

So it's been more evolution / than any break fix.  And I'd do the same again too, I'm just glad the prices have come down, as it cost $3k at the time.  It's handled the Vista x64, to Windows 7 x64 to Windows 10 x64 in that time also ( yes, I avoided Windows 8 ).

Audioneophyte posted:

You pay on the front end for sure... but save it on the back....

Yes and no. I have a 2010 15" MacBook Pro (that's still going strong) that kept getting a 'grey screen of death' early when I got it, after 5 visits to the Genius bar they finally agreed to replace the logic board ( this ended up being a known issue for that model ) but after that, it has been solid. But it wasn't an easy 'we'll take care of that' resolution we've come to assume from Apple at the time, I can assure you.

I'm responding from a 13 year-old desktop PC running Windows XP. Never an issue with it. A decade ago I upgraded my RAM from 512K to 1 MB and it just keeps truckin' along. Maybe I'm in the extreme tail of the bell curve? Then again, I happily have no "smart" devices to synch. In many ways I find it more efficient than my 8.1 notebook PC and they run equally fast.

I always took Apple products as the ones with built-in obsolescence.

My name is Adam and I too am responding from a Windows Vista laptop - and hating it.

Might I suggest something a little out of left field?

Like many a would-be nerd I limped along with self-refurbished machines thrown out by friends and the office where I worked. Then I settled down to build my best computer.

The process was slightly tense as parts came from various suppliers and the responsibility for fitting them together was entirely mine. Also, some aspects of the specification were subject to potential improvement in the gap between ordering and delivery - so fast was the pace of development. 

I ended up with a potentially very good Windows XP machine in a lovely case - with huge scope for expansion. That said, I suspect that any uber-nerd could/would have ripped it to shreds but I was happy enough.

When the urge later came to upgrade - memory had changed, high capacity hard discs were now, in the main, serial ATA and video cards no longer fitted in the slots on my motherboard. With luck, I had a nice case and an over-specified power supply.

While I was living in France I ordered a Dell XPS 2710 all-in-one desktop machine - in part as a result of being impressed by the form factor of my niece's iMac.

This proved to be, and has remained, the most satisfying computer I have owned. Such a device would remove your need to bury the gubbins in your cupboard - which could be reserved for NAS, router, etc.

But there's more.
On the very first night the fresh from factory PC connected to the internet and started updating Windows and drivers. The unfortunate result of this was ----- a completely unresponsive brick in the morning.
I thought I was well buggered and wasn't all that delighted with the manufacturer. Skyped Dell Support and they entirely turned the situation around. The technician knew the machine inside out, was calm and logical. He got the machine going and then asked to take remote control - continuing to check all the important parameters and update or change all drivers and potential areas of conflict.
Yes, I was annoyed, upset and disappointed that things started so badly but Dell sorted things out - I know the importance of attempting to leave the customer more than satisfied from my time as Customer Services at Naim.

But that's not all.
Microsoft's recent kind offer of Win10 (Anniversary) update actually broke the motherboard - necessitating an out-of-guarantee replacement from Dell - and a wind back to 8.1. For the money I could buy a laptop but I like this machine and know that any PC will regain its original swiftness - if restored to its original state.
I don't feel that any intervening developments offer a must-have improvement 'for the uses I put the machine to' - Word, Outlook, audio playback, Photoshop (with Google NIK among others) and very basic video editing. It still responds quickly enough to prevent me mashing the OK button impatiently while the machine 'thinks about it'.

As if that weren't enough (!)
Short story - the repair didn't complete and ended up with the machine defaulting back to booting from the hard drive - and re-buggering the new motherboard. You might imagine how calmly I greeted this. I explained the problem to Dell.

Dell have just picked up the machine, are transporting it to Germany, will re-build and install Win 8.1 and all drivers and return the machine to me. Hell - I'd pay the repair cost to go on that trip as a holiday.

Why might this be relevant to your brave choice to build your own?

1: You don't know enough about computers and the subtle interactions between components to guarantee maximum outlay is rewarded with maximum performance.
In a list of desirables for a car one might list: V12 engine, 4-wheel drive, off-road capability, estate car load carrying, etc and end up with the subtraction of all parts.
Maximising the performance of a system requires specific knowledge of how the parts interact. Your processor may be the best you could specify but are you feeding it all it could handle? Do the hard drive cache, RAM, etc talk to each other in the most efficient way? (OK - I'm not very knowledgeable here). Sometimes it might be better to buy something that has been refined - rather than a one-off, theoretically best, configuration.

2: Support. I've built my own machines and got old dog PCs from skips to limp along. I'm presently very, very glad to hand the problem back to the manufacturer and find that they continue to support a model from several years ago - does that sound familiar?

But stop - there's less.
The machine I'd suggest you, at least, consider would (be) have been - http://www.dell.com/uk/p/xps-27-2720-aio/pd but, typically, it isn't presently available!

There are quite tasty 24" versions available - http://www.dell.com/uk/p/inspi...inspiron-24-7459-aio. I've just got used to 27" and like it.

I could easily live without the touch screen although I had thought to re-purpose the whole machine later as a music player with JRiver.

So - just a thought.

Immediate update - the 27" model won't be available for sale. But, perhaps, some points still remain valid. Or not.

Adam, for the Win 10 upgrade to physically disable the MB in your computer isn't a recommendation for Dell even if they did all they can to fix it - software damaging the hardware is a fundamental design flaw in the hardware and is a critical damnation of Dell's design capabilities.

Adam Meredith posted:

I have to say I was bewildered by this.

That said - it may be difficult to plan for actions by presently non-existent viruses.

  Not the first time Windoze has been described as a virus!

Actually A/V packages use heuristic rules to identify virus like activity from novel viruses.

Audioneophyte posted:

your getting 6 years so far out of a mac...  double an average pc lifecycle...

Yes, the company 3 year forced lifecycle refresh is annoying, 'if it ain't broke. don't fix it'...  

Devices nowadays have a greater longevity, not the case even 10 years ago.  Back then the PC's each year were a revolution, now its evolution, this is why PC makers are suffering, no need to refresh as often as we use to.

One of the best kept secrets is considering 5-10 year old high end workstations.

I have recently migrated a HP xw8600 workstation.
These were very expensive at the time an the build quality has to be seen to be believed.

They use 2 x Intel XEON E54XX or X54XX CPUs, ECC RAM (8 slots) with SAS & SATA hard disk interfaces - room for at least 5 hard disks, two DVDs etc.
The typical CPU is around 3.0Ghz Quad core with a NVidia FX4600/5700 video card and use 1333 or 1600 Mhz FSB.
Installing Windows 10 has no problems with drivers....
Check out the contemporary brochure ca.2009 - the latest BIOS is 2012.
https://www.google.com.au/#q=HP+xw8600+brochure

The preferred versions are the HP xw8600, HP xw6600, HP xw6400 in that order.
If your passion is for AMD then the HP xw9400, HP xw9300 are worth considering. 

P.S. I3, I5, I7 etc. are never configured for dual CPU operation....
That's why the power users still utilise XEON CPUs.

Regards
Barry Hart

Thanks for all the input, again.

Looks like my better half isn't keen on something I'm going to open up and add to, so am looking at HP, omen desktop with 32GB etc, but it's coming in at 2k, then plus monitor etc. 

......time will tell if we go this route, got Oct hols first!

 

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