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December 28, 2010 6:03:23 PM

My PC is 3 years old and I want to replace it. It has Lancaster8-GL6, Intel 945GC, Pentium E2180 (C) (2.0GHz /800 MHz) 1 MB L2 cache, 2 GB (2 x 1 GB) DDR2 PC2-5300 (2 DIMMS); Runs @ 533, 320 GB 7200 rpm SATA 3G (3.0 Gb/sec).

I run Linux on it and I do web dev work.

Problem is that sometimes the whole system is slow, it makes a bit of a scraping noise now when it boots up, and Win 7 in VBox just rebooted my whole PC twice in a row. I need to run Win 7 on occasion to check how my websites render in IE8.

I open a lot of windows generally (in Xfce) and if I open a LOT and I don't use one for a while, then when I switch to it, it's slow to open. Overall things are slow, like Firefox.

I spoke to someone now and he is offering me an Intel H55 with i3 or i5, 4G RAM and a 500 GB disk. I didn't yet get the full details of each, but the price is 560 USD for i3 and 755 USD for i5.

I wanted to ask for any advice. This sounds reasonable to me but I am not a hardware person.
Thanks.

More about : hardware

December 28, 2010 6:04:56 PM

What is the video card if any in the offers?
a b à CPUs
December 28, 2010 6:20:15 PM

Um... No! The H55 (LGA1156) platform is "dead" and offers no upgrade path down the road. For an Intel build it would be better to wait until Sandy Bridge is released in a few weeks, then take another look at the prices (or come back to the forum for advice).

Open to an AMD build? For those prices you could make out very well with an AM3 platform build pretty heavily (four cores, SSD, GPU). If hosting VMs and doing web development I would suggest 8+ GB of memory...
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a c 131 à CPUs
December 29, 2010 12:33:41 AM

sadams04 said:
Um... No! The H55 (LGA1156) platform is "dead" and offers no upgrade path down the road. For an Intel build it would be better to wait until Sandy Bridge is released in a few weeks, then take another look at the prices (or come back to the forum for advice).

Open to an AMD build? For those prices you could make out very well with an AM3 platform build pretty heavily (four cores, SSD, GPU). If hosting VMs and doing web development I would suggest 8+ GB of memory...

And by your definition of "dead", how is the AM3 socket less "dead"? There will be nothing more than the 6 core phenom II models released for that socket.
As for waiting, the waiting game can be played forever my friend. Wait 10 years and you can get something much better than the best available now for only $300!
But seriously, yes you are right it is always better to wait. But one cannot wait forever. Especially since this guy is not building his own system.

Both computers will be much faster than what you have now. If it were me, I would go the i3 route because you will have no issues with the setup and you will save some money.

Also, it looks to me like you have nothing that could make use of the i5's 2 extra CPU cores. So unless that changes, save your money with the i3.
a c 131 à CPUs
December 29, 2010 12:47:38 AM

Quote:
Safe money? Here we go again with the fan boy stuff.

Wat? I'm a fanboy because of the two options he presented I chose the least expensive one?
a b à CPUs
December 29, 2010 5:41:11 AM

Facts are what you need. i3's are good for small box comps for surfing the web and watching movies but that's about it in my opinion. If it's the i5 it might be ok but that mostly depends on what motherboard comes with it. If the motherboard supports i3, i5 & i7 you can work up to better processors if needed. Their might not be any NEW CPU's coming out for the 1156 but the current ones work great. If you start with an i5 , (and which i5 is he selling you?), and the mobo supports i7 you can put an i7 875(K) in it down the road if you find you need more cores and threads. Ask for a list of the components he wants to sell you and post those. There's nothing wrong with an i5 build if it's put together properly, and should work well for you from your description of what you're doing with it. Is this a new set of components or is he selling you his old one? A whole unit or just some parts to put in with yours? Sorry, I can't tell you it's going to be good without knowing what IT is. For $755 it might be just what you need, but again - DETAILS DUDE DETAILS :pt1cable: 

We're the hardware guys so you tell us what might come your way and we can recommend the duck or buck strategy,
December 29, 2010 9:30:43 AM

Video card is not being offered--I anyway already have two GeForce cards and my video needs are pretty simple--two heads but no video nor games.

To clarify, I don't host any VMs. I do web dev on my workstation and often I need to fire up a Windows VM just to check a website in IE8.

I am open to AMD--I personally have no particular preference. I prefer quality, however. I once bought a cheapie from a cheap online store and I got exactly what I paid for. :( 

As far as four cores, I really don't know about this. I run Arch Linux and Xfce and the LAMP stack and jEdit (Java based editor) and Firefox and Thunderbird. All "normal" apps which AFAIK would indeed not be able to take particular advantage of a quad core. Makes sense then apparently to take the dual core i3. Good point, Enzo Matrix.

Regarding Sandy Bridge, I can ask my seller. I recently moved and in my old town I had a guy I trusted. Now I am not 100% sure but this guy seems trustworthy and knowledgeable and was recommended to me. But I should note that I am in Israel so I don't know how long it takes for the latest and greatest to make it over here. :) 

suteck, I will get full details today. He is selling a brand new system, complete, that he will put together--a tower with a power supply etc. etc. all new. He sells PCs privately, but like I said he seems genuine and he happens to be part of a small-knit community so people here know him. Anyhow, you seem to think I will see significantly better performance with i5? My biggest CPU users are Apache/PHP and MySQL and sometimes Firefox when I run pages with very heavy JS.

> We're the hardware guys so you tell us what might come your way and we can recommend the duck or buck strategy.

Excellent. I'm a software guy. :) 

I am a question-answerer on two certain software forums (admin on one even) and I must say that you guys are very friendly and helpful over here. :) 

Thanks.
a c 129 à CPUs
December 29, 2010 2:06:01 PM

For a short-term fix, you might see some improvement if you add RAM. It isn't worth spending a lot, since it's DDR2 which is becoming obsolete. Still, going from 2GB to 4GB will probably make a visible difference.
a b à CPUs
December 29, 2010 2:43:17 PM

Yeah, I'm kinda partial to the i5's over the i3's. I have a dual core on a laptop and I run the sidebar app that shows both cores and memory usage while computer's running and I often watch both cores run up to 100% for anywhere from a couple of seconds to a minute. I don't use it for anything to intensive, unrar-ing, some utube videos and things like that. but I hate to see it at max - probably means it could do a little more or run a little faster if I had a little more. I'm sure the price is closer to $175 as opposed to $110 for the i3 or so but I like a little wiggle room. It sounds like you do multiple things at the same time so I'd hate to see you get something that could already be running at full potential even for short periods of time. Don't like the ~200 usd gap if the cpu is the only difference but I don't know what prices are like where you are. If you can give us the specs on both systems he wants to sell/build you - preferences aside - I'd like to rate em before I recommend em.
January 6, 2011 12:33:06 PM

The guy I was talking to never responded to me so I spoke now to a proper store and asked for the details and he said:

Mobo either Intel® Desktop Board DG43NB or Intel® Desktop Board DH55HC
I5 650
4 GB of DDR 3 1066 MHz
1TB hard drive 7200 RPM SATA II either Hitache or Western Digital
LAN card 1K
Intel Video Card
Sound card
Case and Power Supply
DVDRW 22

Price in Israel is

2200 Israeli shekels =~ 618 U.S. dollars

I have a spare GeForce 8400 GS video card so I don't think I need his. I also asked about a Silent Case and he said that could provide an Antec case for an extra $80 - $100.
January 6, 2011 12:37:37 PM

I pressed Submit not Preview. :( 

I meant to add that he added the video card I think because I mentioned that I run two monitors. I would like three in reality but he says that a mobo with two PCIexpress slots is very expensive and I have seen that a vid card with 3/4 outputs starts at $250 - $300.

So I was thinking of trying to use a splitter on one of my outputs. I anyway use a double wide desktop in Linux (as opposed to two separate desktops) so triple wide would suit me fine I think. :) 

Thank you for any input.
a c 131 à CPUs
January 6, 2011 12:43:07 PM

CaptainDirk said:
I pressed Submit not Preview. :( 

I meant to add that he added the video card I think because I mentioned that I run two monitors. I would like three in reality but he says that a mobo with two PCIexpress slots is very expensive and I have seen that a vid card with 3/4 outputs starts at $250 - $300..

Not true. At least where I'm from:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec makes good cases as well so that's an assurance.
January 6, 2011 1:15:47 PM

Dude, you're a better searcher than I. I bought my GeForce in the USA actually. :) 

OK, maybe I will get that card you found.

Thanks for that!
a b à CPUs
January 6, 2011 10:58:17 PM

Hate to ask a dumb question but how many parts / how easy is it for you to buy US or Newegg? We'll make more suggestions based on that answer.

As for the choices given I would go with the Intel® Desktop Board DH55HC. The other board doesn't even support the i5 processor.

The board also already has onboard Gigabyte LAN so you won't need the LAN card 1K.

Depending on what kind of sound quality you're looking for this board also has 8 channel high definition audio so you shouldn't need the sound card either. So you've should save some money not having to include those.

What is the brand of PSU? Not sure about Israeli's choices but you need a well recognized brand or you stand to lose out if it's a cheap brand and it shorts out on you.

The card that Enzo Matrix suggested is a great card and should do everything you want it to, so if you chose that one that's something else you will want to take into consideration with the power supply. You will need at least a 450W PSU that's recommended for that card and it should have a 6 pin video card connector so you don't have to use 2 of your 4 pin molex connectors.

I like the Western Digital over the Hitache. Only personal preference because I've had some of each and the WDs held up better. The best is Seagate though. That's mostly what I'm running now and if you can buy from Newegg then this SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM for only $70 would be ideal.

I can make some recommendations on cases that might suite you well if I know you can but US / Newegg or give me some choices that your guy is giving you. Let us know about those couple of questions and then we'll see about the rest.
a c 131 à CPUs
January 6, 2011 11:20:15 PM

I agree with suteck on everything.

Not so sure about the seagate as being the best though. However, their bad reputation may be all due to the 7200.11 drive fiasco. I've heard really good things about samsung. Personally, I have 3 WD drives, a 500GB black, a 1TB green and a 1.5TB green EARS. No issues.
January 9, 2011 12:12:41 PM

> Hate to ask a dumb question but how many parts / how easy is it for you to buy
> US or Newegg? We'll make more suggestions based on that answer.

It's not too hard but I would only do that for something I can slap in myself easily like a video card. For the basic machine I want to buy it, finished, from this supplier.

> As for the choices given I would go with the Intel® Desktop Board DH55HC. The other board doesn't even support the i5 processor.

Great. Also I will note about LAN and Audio cards not necessary.

Well, wait a second. What if the choices were wider? Seems by your "As for the choices given" you might recommend a different mobo if let's say ANY mobo was an option?

> I can make some recommendations on cases that might suite you well if I know you can but US / Newegg or give me some choices that your guy is giving you. Let us know about those couple of questions and then we'll see about the rest.

He said he can get most anything I want--it's just a matter of price.

Thank you for your assistance!
January 9, 2011 1:31:48 PM

Just a few more thoughts for the OP from another Linux user.

- The symptom you describe of coming back to a window and finding it sluggish tells you that that process was swapped out to disk. You can eliminate that by adding more RAM. Both VMs and web browsers seem to be huge RAM users. (I think the VMs may actually require that all of the guest memory space be resident in memory.) I've brought a system with 4GB to a standstill by starting a VM w/out shutting down the browser first.

- If you're running gnome, you can add applets to the panel that show CPU speed for each core. (I'm not sure you have more than one core at present.) On my system I seldom see more than one core (of a two core system) 'light up' at any given time except when I'm transcoding DVDs. But if you're running web server, database server, dev environment and web browser (and occasionally a VM) on the same PC, you may load up several cores at once.

I'm following this forum because I plan to upgrade a desktop in the tot too distant future. Were I to buy today, I would probably go with an AMD based solution as they seem to be less pricey at the lower end of the spectrum. My present choice is the ASRock Extreme3 mobo because it has some SATA III and USB 3.0 ports (to provide some future proofing.) I would probably go with 8GB RAM because it's not that much more expensive than 4GB. I'm torn between getting something like the Phenom II X2 555 - which would probably meet my needs - or just abandoning all restraint and springing for an X4 965.

Either way I should have a system that will meet my needs (browsing, S/W development, occasional video transcoding) for a few years.

-hank
a b à CPUs
January 9, 2011 10:37:17 PM

OK I would ask your new builder about prices for these - and I'll give you prices and links from Newegg so you can see if their close to the mark. If some of the suggestions are too much when he quotes them to you let me know and I will search for alternatives.

Motherboards - First recommendation is the GIGABYTE GA-H55-USB3 LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard. It's selling for $100 now so that's a good price if you can get it for that or a little more.
- - - - - - - - - - - Second choice is the ASUS P7P55D-E LX LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard. It's going for $120 now so close is good.
These boards are free shipping to most places so If you start the transaction to see what shipping would cost you, if anything, you might suggest one of these to your guy. Also, they support all three, i3, i5 and i7 so you can upgrade later to a quad core if you like. The extra cores might help along with the extra memory.

As for cases - My first choice is the COOLER MASTER Storm Scout SGC-2000-KKN1-GP Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case for only ~$95.
- - - - - - - - - -And second place is the Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case for about $70. Both of these get really good ratings and reviews and I see a lot of people who got them really like them.

For the Power Supply Unit I would go with the CORSAIR Builder Series CMPSU-600CX 600W ATX12V v2.3 Active PFC Power Supply for ~$60 after MIR for my first choice. The OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ600MXSP 600W ATX12V for only $55 with MIR as my second choice. Both have the >80% efficiency, are set up to run the previously mentioned great video card and are at a decent price, (here).

Like I said, You should check with the people you're going to be doing business with and see what they will charge you for parts and to put them together for you and see what the results are. The one thing I didn't cover is the memory. Once you decide on what board you're getting we can look into that further. I know you can get single 4 Gigabyte sticks for up to 16 gigs total, for the gigabyte board, when you want to start building it up.

Also, I didn't mention the processor because it sounded like you were already locked in to the i5 for your price & purposes?

January 16, 2011 2:10:26 PM

His response to these ideas was "This guy doesn't live in Israel" :) 

So based on what is available, I gave him your preferences and my PC is on order with the Antec case and your mobo suggestion etc.

Thank you very much for your help!
!