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Thread: Advice required, first upgrade in 5 years.

  1. #1
    I'm just looking Tifosi's Avatar
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    Advice required, first upgrade in 5 years.

    Right I've not upgraded since I bought my current rig in circa 2005 (specs below). I think it's time for an upgrade however I have several conflicting issues:

    1) I spend most of my time web browsing and emailing these days my hardcore gaming days are gone

    2) I really want a power efficient machine, I currently tend to be lazy turning it off despite autoshutdown scripts since I often leave it on downloading or backing up overnight which is a real overkill for anything power hungry. My old CPU drew 56w todays CPU draw nearly double!!

    3) I'd still like the ability to play the odd game Crysis, Starcraft and use Photoshop without too much lag. This conflicts with 2) I think.

    4) I hate chucking old working hardware away / selling it for peanuts. I still have my last 3 rigs working from the last 10 years...I'll just have to get over this, I just downgrade the role of my previous rig.

    Current rig basics:

    AMD Venice 64 3200 @ 2.0ghz
    2gb Corsair 2x1gb PC3200 DDR
    160gb ATA Seagate (system drive)
    1.5tb SATA300 Samsung F2 HD154UI
    1.5tb SATA300 Samsung F2 HD154UI
    Audigy 2ZS PCI
    Geforce 7800GT

    Now I'd like to get the to reuse some parts of the above to arrive at:

    New cpu (i5 or AMD but which)
    New memory 4gb (dependent on above)
    New mobo with support for IDE, USB 3.0 (dependent on above)
    Add an SSD for the (system drive, price/gb and reliability over size)
    Keep 160gb ATA Seagate (to backup the SSD)
    Keep 1.5tb SATA300 Samsung F2 HD154UI
    Keep 1.5tb SATA300 Samsung F2 HD154UI
    Add another 1.5tb SATA300 Samsung F2 HD154UI to setup in the Samsungs in raid 5
    Keep the Audigy 2ZS PCI
    New GFX something mid stream able to play Starcraft 2 and Crysis but after something relatively quiet my old 7800GT is the noisiest part of my current rig sounds like a hoover.
    I'll probably need a new PSU power efficient
    Keep my current case
    Keep my current optical drives
    Cooling air not water, and I'll probably go for something like http://www.quietpc.com/gb-en-gbp/pro...olers/cnps9700

    I expect to run Ubuntu and perhaps dual boot Windows XP for gaming.

    So key questions are can anyone recommend ideas to fill in the blanks?

    Is there any capacity for me to significantly underclock my rig to reduce power consumption when required, I'm not sure what tools are about these days?

    Intel Wireless Display also interests me, is there any desktop version of this knocking about? or can I shoe horn a laptop wireless card (I believe I need Advanced N + i series cpu) into a desktop?

    Keen to self build. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Headless Chicken Terbinator's Avatar
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    Re: Advice required, first upgrade in 5 years.

    The most energy efficient build would be an i3 based one IMO - roughly the potency of a Core 2 Quad in a extremely good power envelope.

    Match this with a GPU from the ATi 5xxx range. Add to this DDR3 RAM which uses a lot less voltage than standard DDR (some ultra-low voltage kits use as little as 1.2/1.35v) you would be under-cutting your old rigs TDP in no time.

    The main things to consider is Linux has better driver support from Nvidia than ATi - but unless you buy a last generation Nvidia card, power consumption becomes a bit iffy.
    Kalniel: "Nice review Tarinder - would it be possible to get a picture of the case when the components are installed (with the side off obviously)?"
    CAT-THE-FIFTH: "The Antec 300 is a case which has an understated and clean appearance which many people like. Not everyone is into e-peen looking computers which look like a cross between the imagination of a hyperactive 10 year old and a Frog."
    TKPeters: "Off to AVForum better Deal - £20+Vat for Free Shipping @ Scan"
    for all intents it seems to be the same card minus some gays name on it and a shielded cover ? with OEM added to it - GoNz0.

  3. #3
    I'm just looking Tifosi's Avatar
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    Re: Advice required, first upgrade in 5 years.

    Any idea where I can find this 1.35v memory I've tried Ebuyer, Scan and OCuk to no avail. a google returned little for a UK purchase.

    http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/sto...ld-a-nas-box/4

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    Re: Advice required, first upgrade in 5 years.


  5. #5
    Headless Chicken Terbinator's Avatar
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    Re: Advice required, first upgrade in 5 years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tifosi View Post
    Any idea where I can find this 1.35v memory I've tried Ebuyer, Scan and OCuk to no avail. a google returned little for a UK purchase.

    http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/sto...ld-a-nas-box/4
    G.Skill and Kingston do the low voltage RAM.

    I know Aria do sell the G.Skill kits, not to sure about their Kingston offerings though.
    Kalniel: "Nice review Tarinder - would it be possible to get a picture of the case when the components are installed (with the side off obviously)?"
    CAT-THE-FIFTH: "The Antec 300 is a case which has an understated and clean appearance which many people like. Not everyone is into e-peen looking computers which look like a cross between the imagination of a hyperactive 10 year old and a Frog."
    TKPeters: "Off to AVForum better Deal - £20+Vat for Free Shipping @ Scan"
    for all intents it seems to be the same card minus some gays name on it and a shielded cover ? with OEM added to it - GoNz0.

  6. #6
    Not a good person scaryjim's Avatar
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    Re: Advice required, first upgrade in 5 years.

    Realistically the best balance between TDP and performance at the minute is probably the Athlon II X3 400e: a 45W 2.2GHz triple core. You could probably overclock it to ~ 2.5 - 2.6GHz and still keep to ~ 55W while extracting that bit of extra performance.

    If you really want to push the energy efficiency boat out, you'd want to couple that with a Powercolor Go! Green HD5750, *IF* (note the size ) you can find one at retail... it's a HD5750 that's been engineered to not require an extra PCIe power connector i.e. < 75W power draw. Otherwise, you're looking at having to choose between the performance of a 5750 / 5770 and the lower power requirements of a HD5570 / 5670.

    Memory has already been covered above, of course. As far as motherboards go you need to look for an AMD board with either the SB750 or SB850 southbridge chips to get RAID5 functionality...

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    Re: Advice required, first upgrade in 5 years.

    Thought I'd point this out to you now, your going to find most motherboards currently available only have one IDE socket. So if you've got three IDE drives (2 x optical and 1 x HDD) your going to have decide which is more important.

    Personally I'd think about getting SATA optical drives. This gives you the benefit of not having a set of unsightly cables in your case and improves your airflow

    You could turn the 160 gig IDE drive you've got into an external drive by grabbing an enclosure for it rather cheaply

    That said I hate using drives this old for backup purposes and every two years or so replace them as my hard drives only seem to last for three years and then die !

  8. #8
    Bows out! CAT-THE-FIFTH's Avatar
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    Re: Advice required, first upgrade in 5 years.

    There is the 65W Phenom II X4 910e which is also worth considering. The 95W version of the Phenom II X6 1055T is quite energy efficient if you consider the amount of performance it offers for under £160. On the Intel side there are also the 82W Core i5 750S,Core i7 860S and Core i7 870S processors although these are over £200.


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  9. #9
    I'm just looking Tifosi's Avatar
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    Re: Advice required, first upgrade in 5 years.

    Thanks for all of your input guys. My current CPU is rated at TDP 45w so I don't really want to go any higher the rig overall draws 145w, understandably performance per watt of my current system is not as good as these newer chips which is a thought.

    Where I've got to I think is splitting the rig to two boxes:

    Low powered box
    This will become my 24/7 rig providing NAS, Backup, Proxy, VPN termination, Music, Bluray and basic web browsing & e-mail sitting on my desk. Moving the sata drives into this rig based on Atom itx to be used as a NAS running ubuntu on something like:

    AT3IONT-I
    ULV Ram
    Lian Li PQ08
    Bluray drive (?)
    3x SATA drives in soft RAID 5
    Booting from a USB drive with Ubunutu LiveUSB on a persistant installation.

    Desktop
    Keep my current desktop for the time being but strip out the hard drives and use it as my occasional 'performance' rig running games, photoshop and more demanding tasks. Overtime upgrade this to support WiDi + new graphics + power friendly performance chip potentially an i3 or Athlon II X2/3 either should blow my AMD Venice out of the water performance wise.

    Short term I'll add an SSD to my desktop and use the old 160gig drives for back up, I don't mind using old drives as back up drive since I will live with the chances of both the SSD and 160gb IDE driving dying simultaneously. Plus the NAS will keep an image of the drive.

    Laptop
    Ditch my missus' old P4 laptop which runs around 100w and replace with an iPad with all our storage sitting on the NAS.

    Should be able to easily half the power consumption across my IT kit.

  10. #10
    Bows out! CAT-THE-FIFTH's Avatar
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    Re: Advice required, first upgrade in 5 years.

    The 65W 2.6GHZ Phenom II X4 910e costs around £140 whereas the 45W 2.4GHZ Athlon II X4 610e costs around £110. There is also the 45W 2.5GHZ Athlon II X3 415e for around £80.

    The other alternative is to look at undervolting.


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  11. #11
    Efficiency freak Queelis's Avatar
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    Re: Advice required, first upgrade in 5 years.

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    The other alternative is to look at undervolting.
    To that I can agree.

    My story: undervolted my Phenom II X3 720 by 0.1V, all stable (folding@home with all cores at 100% for months). Currently I've unlocked the 4th core, and still I'm undervolted by 0.025 (0.075V wasn't stable). Later on I'll try lowering down another notch to 0.05V less than stock - it does a noticeable difference on temps (see my findings here).

    Mind you, I haven't lowered my clock speed at all (I don't want to lose performance, just have it at the lowest energy consumption level possible ).

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