I've been building computers since the 486sx25 days and I've been contemplating a new build for my aging P4 2.4 system. After having seen the advent of Micro, Pico and Nano-ITX, I've been debating about whether or not any such ___-ITX build would work for me over the traditional ATX style.
I use my PC for net browsing, downloading stuff (vids, mp3s, large files), Office, Photoshop, a RealFlight flight simulator program, and other generic computing stuff. I'm not a hard core gamer or hosting any networks on my machine. However, the simulator I have is rather taxing, though my current setup keeps up ok.
The system I have has held up, in mostly the same configuration (same MB, CPU & RAM) for the last 5 years. So, I'm looking to build something that could possibly provide me with somewhat the same life expectancy.
I'd really like to downsize my computer if possible, take up less space and maybe even suck up less power if possible.
Am I asking too much from the smaller platforms?
My current rig:
MSI Neo-2-LS Bios V2.5
P4 2.4 Northwood PGA478 800MHz FSB OC'ed to 3.0ghz (250mhz x 12)
Swiftech MCX4000/Panaflow 80mm
(2) Corsair CMX512-4400C25PT = 1gig
BFG nVida GeForce 6600GT AGP
WD400JD 40gig SATA
Enermax EG465P-VE 431W
As far as power saving, you could do a great deal by upgrading your PSU a bit. Newer PSUs are more efficient and probably deliver the best power savings of any component. Enermax has some good ones, quiet too.
Otherwise, any upgrade will consume more power.
Any significant upgrade would need to be on a MATX type board. You would clearly benefit from a quad core and a PCI-E card, so anything less doesn't make much sense.
Ok, so after some more reading, is it me or is it now possible to obtain better processing performance then what I currently have and still downsize by going with either the Mini or Micro ATX form factor?
I don't see much info or reviews covering the latest boards or builds on Tom's main site.
If I can get similar performance out of a smaller package that Tom's $625 E5200/Gigabyte ga-ep45-ds3l or asrock p45xe system in a Mini or Micro, I'll go that route.... besides, things can only get smaller in the future
Ok, so if I want to go for a smaller desktop I'm thinking starting with something like:
A E5200, comparable video card to the Radeon HD 4850 512mb, 2 - 4.0 GB of DDR-2 PC2-6400, a 400w+ PSU and I was just gifted a VelociRaptor 300g drive.
Any further thoughts on this combo?
I've thought about going the laptop route, but I feel that it wouldn't allow me as much upgradability like a desktop. Besides that, I don't really need the portability and I could always use my girl's laptop if I need to compute on the go.
My current computer has evolved over the last 5 years using the same MB and CPU, which has proved quite a value. I've upgraded the PSU, video card, memory, and hard drives over the years.
I appreciate your support of thw Q6600, but it is a bit out of my price range. I'm looking at building something for less then or around $600 (MB + CPU + RAM + Video + PSU).
It seems that a Dual Core or Core 2 Duo CPU will be a major step up from a 5+ year old CPU technology, in addition to a more modern video card any way we look at it.
The quad core would be great, but the most intensive program I run aside from Photoshop is my flight sim which has suggested optimal requirements of:
For best graphical performance.
Dual Core 2.4GHz CPU
2 GB RAM
3D Accelerated Video with:
512 MB dedicated video memory
(Pixel Shader 3.0 support)
My current system runs the program pretty well and my controls are practically real-time. Enough so for the sim to actually simulate reality without causing any under-processed distractions.
I may, at some point in the future dabble in some video editing, but that's not even certain.
I had just thought that maybe a smaller MB form factor was out there that could give me the same or better performance then I have now and offer a little bit of upgradeability as funds become available.