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What do you want from your computer(s)?

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August 8, 2012 3:03:54 PM

This was inspired by yet another post on how dumb someone is because their machine isn't ....

So - what do you want your machine to do for you? If you have several, does each have a different purpose?

I don't do PC gaming. At all. If my machine can handle 1080P video, then the video is good enough for me. The heaviest load that I put on the machine is usually large Java projects in Eclipse, sometimes with an associated database. My home machine smokes my work machine in running through a rebuild and Junit tests.

On occasion I fiddle with music transcoding or effects. I once ran my entire collection of full-res CD rips through Dolby Headphone processing (yes, I have a paid-for license, from back in the day when DH was a plugin to some jukebox software or other). But I don't process video.

My primary demand on my machine is that it be as quiet as I can make it without paying a huge markup to endpcnoise.com or buying the legendary Zalman fanless case (was that $1,200?). I won't go micro or HTPC because I like to play with the hardware, have many drives including two hot-swap bays, and used to depend on my Ultra SCSI card for high-speed peripherals. USB 3.0 now smokes the last! The other things that I want from it are impressively quick response, which the SSD system drive gives me, and not paging on large projects, which 8 GB of memory gives me.

So what do you want from your rig? I know a guy at work who mostly transcodes video. His needs are different, and I'm trying to push him into a Z77 chipset. Do you want yours to run super framerates in Crysis? Use it for producing music and / or video? Overclock for fun? Have a netbook with very little horsepower that lets you take all your documents with you on vacation, and does well at web browsing?

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Anonymous
August 8, 2012 7:38:53 PM

moar! always moar!! :lol: 

i have thought about a cheap netbook or old laptop to check email/web surf but i am thinking of just getting a better phone and plan than my cheap kyocera provides.

i really don't care too much about noise, i have two small fans i raided from an old server that are very loud but the 22" fan in the window pretty much negates that sound. and i only plug them into the molex when it hits 86f in my house. i haven't kept the sides on my case in over 14 years.

as far as tasking i do; some web stuff in dreamweaver and photoshoping with a little flash encoding. not any heavy video editing, what i need can be done in windows movie maker as far as timeline stuff. burning some DVDs along with a decent framerate (45+) in games like far cry 2, cysis 2, CODMW2 and BFBC2 ( got a lot of 2s in that) don't do steam or origin games. i am looking to get a better graphics card; my 550 ti is the limiting factor in gaming so a 570 would most likely be a better balance in my rig without slamming my i3 up against the wall.

being on a limited budget; really just want/need a rig to be rather flexible. unfortunately it won't do one thing extremely well. but it can do most anything i need from it even if it means having the time to get another cup of coffee.
August 9, 2012 1:17:39 PM

Quote:
I'm a nutcase ....

and also want a tablet..

Many of us here are. It's fun.

As to tablets - take two and call me in the morning. No, seriously folks. Before the iPad 3 came out, I decided to get a WiFi tablet because I spent too much time web-crawling in my man-cave instead of being with my family. Now I can sit with the girls and still web-crawl.

My eyes are very demanding; I need a small pixel pitch. Before the "retina display" came out, the highest DPI I could find was in the Asus Transformer eeePad. The name won a worst of the year award; then they won the lawsuit with Hasbro and could just call it the Transformer. It's great for me. Web browsing is actually a little hard to control, but I can download books, crossword puzzles, pirate-translated Japanese manga, New York Times.... I do about half of my reading on it now. I hated the e-readers, because the screens were simply to small. This 10" screen is big enough for me. I recently upgraded to the TF300 model after destroying the first one. I skipped the metal-backed Prime because it had lousy WiFi reception.

I still prefer the experience of reading from paper, but the pad is just SO convenient that it wins out.
Related resources
August 9, 2012 4:45:04 PM

Quote:
I'm a nutcase and have a unit for almost everything and everyone in my household..

Yes, we know. BUT, I'm not critical, because I'm the exact same way.

Right now, I use my PC mostly for modestly-demanding games (mostly older titles), web surfing, some video-watching, email, and perhaps a little writing; and of course hanging out on THG and researching parts and builds. I do my personal finance, figure my annual extortion, and other typical tasks.
My downfall is I like having choices, even if I'm not likely to make them. There are all sorts of things I might want to do, like edit / produce some video, maybe run a Teamspeak or other game-related server, and I'm looking for the next killer game (of my type), which GW2 may well be. This means my system is more capable than my current needs. I don't want to install something or start some project, only to discover my PC isn't up to the task.
I'm also extremely cautious about my data. Most of it is nothing special, but I've got some fiction I've written over the years, family pics, and other things I don't care to lose. As a result, I have a backup PC with copies of all of that, and able to run the same software.
And, I like to mess around a little, but without risking my primary system. I have a THIRD PC for testing stuff, in an open platform (shown in my avatar).
I dislike noise and glare, so I use quiet, low speed fans and moderate overclocks. I like snappy response, so I use SSDs.
I expect my PC to be reliable and to last, so I buy top-quality PSUs (mostly Seasonic) and I started using all-solid capacitor mobos years ago.
I am edging closer and closer to getting a tablet. I used to be an avid reader, and can see returning to that. Something like the Google Nexus 7 may be the thing, but I want a memory slot and my eyes would probably want a 10" screen also. I want physical possession of the books I buy, even if it's only as PDF or other files; utter dependence on "The Vapor" is not an option.
August 9, 2012 5:24:32 PM

I expect my PC to be able to "do it all" (although not necessarily all at the same time).
Another of my downfalls is that I enjoy building PCs, bringing a new system to life. It's an expensive hobby, one reason I am often testing the edges of "how low can you go."
August 10, 2012 8:52:23 PM

Quote:
...so I stand pat and save money..

Ah, graduating from Stickdom! Well done.
August 12, 2012 2:00:54 AM

I want my PC to go to work in my place so that I can stay home and sleep.

Barring that, I would like my PC to be 110% reliable and stable.
August 12, 2012 2:51:34 AM

jaguarskx said:
...I would like my PC to be 110% reliable and stable.

I'm about to build a new rig for my non-gamer wife. I don't mind reconfiguring things, messing with a PC and tweaking things to get it the way I like it, but she hates that. Only her 5.5 yr. old PC developing some flakiness has allowed me to convince her it's time for an upgrade (her stock 720BE has been fine for what she does, even editing and producing [short] video). I'll probably choose an Asus CSM mobo for it, likely with an i3 on it.
August 12, 2012 3:55:43 PM

My situation is computer(s)

My main machine is a multi-use setup running 2 HDDs voltage switch controlled, (meaning flip the switch punch the power button and I'm running old faithful, WinXP Pro 32bit, shutdown, flip the switch, punch the power button and I'm running Win7 Pro 64bit, it's actually 2 machines in one, the HDDs are completely independent of each other), I use Win7 mainly for gaming, different strokes for different folks, I love gaming, and I am strictly a First Person Shooter fan.

I use WinXP for all the other stuff I do, and some of the older programs I use work problem free with WinXP so that's why I still use it, I usually use WinXP for surfing the net, posting here at THGF, for general purpose use, I use a lot of Microsoft Office work for projects I do for this forum, like the ones in my sig, and the overclock guides I've done for Toms. I use it for copying DVDs, for my own personal backup :)  , for video editing and trans-coding, audio editing and trans-coding for the DJ machines, and pretty much any work horse task I need to do.

My main machine is my joy toy, overclocked to 4500mhz, water cooled to what most would call obsessive, but computers are my hobby and what I love to do.

Which brings me to my hardware testing machines running a bare minimum operating system and are used for testing hardware, one Intel 2500K setup and one AMD 965 BE setup, those machines are basically shelved until either I need them or they're hardware upgraded to a new testing platform, crazy to some, but that's what I do, so that things I learn can be shared here.

Why?

Because that's why I joined Toms Hardware Guide back in 2002 in the first place, to help others.

Then I have a dedicated video surveillance computer running 8 surveillance cameras giving 360 degree view of my entire property, because I live in a high crime area, that computer is an Intel CPU and is only running the surveillance cameras period and is also running WinXP Pro.

Two DJ machines one primary and 1 backup both running WinXP Pro, with just the OP/SYS and DJ programming.

So those dedicated machines I expect them to do exactly what they're supposed to do and that's what I want from them.

Every operating system I'm running is legally independently licensed.

Any questions?
August 14, 2012 1:28:05 PM

Quote:
..., I often catch myself as the upgrade fever hits...

I think of it as an itch. I'll walk by an electronics store and find myself wondering what I can stick in the box. :D 
August 14, 2012 9:21:11 PM

WyomingKnott said:
I think of it as an itch. I'll walk by an electronics store and find myself wondering what I can stick in the box. :D 


If my wife had her way, I'd be leashed like a dog even walking by an electronics store! :lol: 

Even though she has thoroughly benefited from my upgrade hand me downs.

The one thing I wish we had available to us, is laptop building the same as desktop.
August 17, 2012 11:05:37 PM

I've got extra screws and probably some standoffs too if you need them.
August 18, 2012 1:23:32 AM

Ok...I'll go scrounge some up right now...

Edit: Ok, tossed a dozen metal standoffs and a couple of plastic ones into a bottle along with a small handful of assorted screws.
August 19, 2012 7:26:06 PM

Quote:
What do you want from your computer(s)?


Come to think of it, if I could get one to clean the house and cook, that would be jammin!
August 20, 2012 12:37:57 PM

4Ryan6 said:
In Overclocking, Learn First, Then Do!

Funny, in almost everything I learn from my mistakes. Still married; I got that right the first time.

wink
August 21, 2012 7:00:54 PM

WyomingKnott said:
Funny, in almost everything I learn from my mistakes. Still married; I got that right the first time.

wink


You got me on that one!

My first marriage was a total nightmare!

This November 23rd my 2nd wife and I, will be married 23 years, so it was the second time for me. :) 

Trust me, she deserves a Congressional Medal of Honor for putting up with me! :lol: 
August 23, 2012 12:53:05 AM

I'm generally satisfied. If I can look at my systems, ask myself "How can I make this system better, for me; and not have a ready answer, I can generally keep the upgrade bug at bay. There may be plenty of room for improvement, but if it really wouldn't affect my experience, I can let it go. How else could I still be running a 970BE?
August 23, 2012 12:45:53 PM

Quote:
... or is the upgrade bug constantly bugging.?

I have a different bug. I am always tweaking my OS.

As I've written elsewhere, I do image backups of my OS after an install. Every time I want to change something, I restore my previous backup, apply updates, do a malware scan, install the new stuff, and make a new image backup. As a result, I feel that I'm running a fairly fresh OS that's not crudded up with partial uninstalls. And malware recovery is as simple as restoring the last backup (kept offline, so I can be reasonably sure that it's not infected).

So my itch is to restore that last backup and tighten up a few things. Right now it's to put in the new video card which will give me an HDMI port, so I can stream movies to the TV in hi-def. But of course I have to restore the last backup first and remember all the tweaks that I've done since then.
August 23, 2012 1:45:13 PM

WyomingKnott said:
I have a different bug. I am always tweaking my OS.

As I've written elsewhere, I do image backups of my OS after an install. Every time I want to change something, I restore my previous backup, apply updates, do a malware scan, install the new stuff, and make a new image backup. As a result, I feel that I'm running a fairly fresh OS that's not crudded up with partial uninstalls. And malware recovery is as simple as restoring the last backup (kept offline, so I can be reasonably sure that it's not infected).

So my itch is to restore that last backup and tighten up a few things. Right now it's to put in the new video card which will give me an HDMI port, so I can stream movies to the TV in hi-def. But of course I have to restore the last backup first and remember all the tweaks that I've done since then.


Why don't you start you a notebook and write down all your tweaking progress so you don't forget them.

I have gone through so many composition books with all the overclocking and roundups and guides I've written here, all the testing that was involved if I didn't write it all down, I would have lost some very good information.
August 23, 2012 1:54:54 PM

Quote:
do you ever get a sense of satisfaction when thinking about your computers in-house.?
I mean if you have all the units tuned nicely and not really needing any kind of upgrade.
so you sit back and just smile or is the upgrade bug constantly bugging.?


Presently the upgrade bug is no problem simply because the best of the best hardware out there is not needed for anything I'm presently running or doing.

Maybe if some machine killing game was released like when the original FarCry came on the scene it was a machine killer of that day, then it was replaced by the original Crysis another machine killer, but since then a game I really like has been no machine challenge, so no need to upgrade.

But if I look over my right shoulder up in the corner of the room the upgrade bug is up there!

Oh Crap! That's a Spider! :lol: 
August 23, 2012 3:49:04 PM

4Ryan6 said:
Why don't you start you a notebook and write down all your tweaking progress so you don't forget them.

It's in a text file that's on the same drive where I keep my Win7 drivers and install packages.
August 23, 2012 3:53:25 PM

Quote:
it's just a funny feeling, for the first time (speaking on all my in-house units) I'm content.
in-house units are listed in my configuration's page.

in-house units? Do you have outhouse units too? I know that some people have phones in there.


August 31, 2012 12:42:24 AM

I want a computer(file server) that can allow me to safely store and manage a movie collection. I'm not a patient person, so I don't like pausing/buffering/etc.

I could be that same computer, but I also want to be able to host a few game servers like Minecraft/CS/TF2. Here I also REALLY don't want any hick-ups.
September 3, 2012 7:43:20 AM

12core 10GHZ 128Bit CPU @ 65W
4GB 5Ghz GPU @ 45W
128GB 5GHZ Cas Latency 1 QDDR @ 25W
10TB SSD 12GB/s @ .5W
BDRW 12GB/s @ .5W
USB 6.0 1.5GB/s @ .5W

October 6, 2012 11:39:25 PM

my computer needs to do whatever I need it to do and not one day become part of Skynet and then turn the tables on me...
October 9, 2012 12:41:41 PM

test_17 said:
12core 10GHZ 128Bit CPU @ 65W
4GB 5Ghz GPU @ 45W
128GB 5GHZ Cas Latency 1 QDDR @ 25W
10TB SSD 12GB/s @ .5W
BDRW 12GB/s @ .5W
USB 6.0 1.5GB/s @ .5W

Good answer to the topic-as-titled. Add gigabit net access for $5/mo and I'll take it.
!