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 Post subject: Rate my recent build (non-gaming home PC)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 4:11 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 11:24 am
Posts: 9
I recently updated an old mid-tower desktop, for non-gaming home use (MS Office, email, web surfing, and video streaming). Very light gaming (Settlers of Catan, FreeCell, etc.); fancy GPU is NOT required. I cloned old HDD, and continue using existing Windows 7 license vs. repurchasing OS. Total cost, including shipping, ~$500.

Recycled components from old desktop PC:
    GPU: 1TB NVidia GeForce GTS 250 (MSI)
    RAM: 16GB (4x4) DDR3, 800 MHz, 11-11-11-28 (GSkill)
    DVD-RW: Unknown maker & specs
    Multi-card reader (5" slot @ front of case)
    WiFi: MSI 802.11g PCI wireless adapter

Purchased components:

My Questions to the Forum:
    Did I get decent bang for the $500 I spent?
    Did I make any errors that are worth fixing at modest cost?

Thanks,
Wild_Horses


Last edited by Wild_Horses on Fri Mar 07, 2014 4:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Rate my recent build (non-gaming home PC)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 4:25 pm 
Smithfield
Smithfield

Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:37 pm
Posts: 5407
Since you're not doing anything too intensive for the build, I'd say the only glaring error you made purchase wise was the CPU. The most I would've gotten is a Core i3, and one of the lower power models to save as much energy as possible. Some other things of note, there doesn't need to be a video card or 16 GB of RAM (but I don't really care since it was recycled). I'd also say you could've lowered the PSU a notch to like 300W.

For generic use I find it better to save on as much power consumption as possible.


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 Post subject: Re: Rate my recent build (non-gaming home PC)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 5:21 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 11:24 am
Posts: 9
Thanks!

I tend to have tons of active tabs when online, which has often taxed my home desktop and work laptops over the years. So the RAM (16GB) and Core i5 CPU were both consciously chosen overkill items.

The PSU was based on the NewEgg tool/calculator for determining needed PSU wattage -- it said I needed 480W. That seemed high to me, but I have always had great service from NewEgg, and knew of no reason to distrust their PSU selector tool. My old Rosewill 300W PSU still works, but is hideously loud, so I was actually glad. Had the NewEgg tool said 300W was enough, I wouldn't have made the change. It seemed unwise to continue using a 300W PSU when the "expert system" tool said I needed 480. I could have gotten a Corsair or Cougar 480-500W for ~ $40, but chose to splurge a little on the SeaSonic (for quality vs. wattage), because I've had to replace a couple of cheap crap PSUs over the years. An extra $35 didn't seem exorbitant (in total $ vs. %) vs. risk of collateral damage if PSU fails.

Thanks again!
Wild_Horses


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 Post subject: Re: Rate my recent build (non-gaming home PC)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 6:07 pm 
Smithfield
Smithfield

Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:37 pm
Posts: 5407
Most power supply calculators overestimate by a gross deal I've found out, but only because a lot of power supplies only produce their wattage at 25C or something like that (lab conditions). It's better to assume the PSU will operate at 40C. In any case, I've put in a Kill-A-Watt on four builds and found out that even under a nominal load like a game, power supply calculators are often over 150% to 200% what really seems to be a sweet spot (double that of a nominal load, because most PSUs are most efficient at 50%).

The only time in my experience that I've ever, truly maxed out my hardware is if I ran Prime95 and Furmark. Some people will say just get the biggest one you can afford because you use less wattage, it's happier, and you have room for future expansions. If I were to play that game, then honestly people should be getting kilowatt power supplies then if they can afford it. And future expansions are only a concern if it's another video card.

So this latest build I have is putting all the data I gathered to the test. It's more or less a high-end gaming rig with a 450W PSU. And it still doesn't pull more than 230W when running an intense game.

In any case, I also use http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp . Though I think everyone else bases their calculators off this.

I also don't believe in going overkill in anything except hard drive space (because I'm a packrat). The problem is that sure, you can afford it now, but you never know, you could've spent the money on other things. If you make informed decisions on your hardware choices rather than just plugging in higher numbers, you have less of a chance of making a regretful purchase. Because from what I see, you could've spent say... $300-$350 for this build and it would still be sufficiently powerful for your tasks. What could you have used that extra $150 for?


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