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Non Gamer PC question

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July 20, 2011 8:32:20 PM

I've been watching this forum for a while now and reading old posts, but haven't been able to get a good feel for what I should do for my non-gamer situation. It seems that by far most people on here are building gaming PCs with occasional video/graphic editing systems. So, I decided to jump on and ask a question about my specific situation.

Currently I have a three monitor computer where I usually am running music, two browsers with multiple tabs open on each, and a couple spread sheets/word documents with a few background programs (VPN, child monitoring keylogger/periodic screen capture) running. I also occasionally do some video editing where I max out all four cores and frequently do a lot of photoshop editing, but my MAIN priority is no hangups when I'm doing several things at the same time other than editing. My current quad core 64bit system gets bogged down pretty regularly (despite a recent reformat and clean install) and my monitoring system shows that it isn't maxing out the cores or the memory when this happens. I'm not sure what the problem is, but it is motivating me to get a new (probably just better synched mobo/proc/graphics) system. I imagine the best thing to avoid this problem in the future will be making a system where I can run my OS on an SSD. It seems like the new core i5 and i7 would be best for this. So here are a few questions:

1-are the core i5 and i7's really the only way to use an SSD for my OS or are they just the best option due to their optimization
2-what would you recommend for me considering the multiple medium/low cpu intensive tasks that I usually am running simultaneously (also, I'm open to AMD)
3-what other things could I do to make my system as smooth/fast as possible other than more RAM, good mobo/proc combination (I'll figure that out when I decide on my proc), and SSD for OS? For example, do 10k spin HDD's help much over the normal 7500k spin ones?

Thanks,
Carson

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a c 327 à CPUs
July 20, 2011 9:12:23 PM

1) What is your current configuration?

2) Do you have a budget?

2) Ram is the key to keeping everything running without interference. I might think 8gb would be fine, normally,but ram is cheap, so I would consider a 16gb kit.
You might want to read this article, it identifies what a triple monitor situation might use.

3) For a cpu budget over $125 or so, it is hard to beat sandy bridge.

4) I suggest a Z68 based motherboard. That will give you two attachments for 1920 x 1200 monitors. You will need a discrete card for one or two additional ones. Something around $50 would do fine.

5) I love the SSD. Everything will feel much snappier. A 80 to 120gb unit would do the job. If all your data will fit on 200gb or so, then get a 250gb ssd. Otherwise, plan on using 1tb drives for overflow and backup. Large drives are a bit faster. It might be good to put your editing files on separate drives to reduce interference. More is better.

6) 10k and 15k drives are very good for random access, or at least they used to be. The higher rotation speed reduces the latency time, but not the data transfer time.
For fast random i/o, like the os does, you can't beat a SSD. A ssd will be 10x than the best hard drives today in random access, and 2-3x in data transfer speeds.
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a c 103 à CPUs
July 20, 2011 9:17:42 PM

1. As long as your OS is windows 7 or Vista and your motherboard supports AHPI or something like that then the processor makes no difference.
2. Depending on your budget an Athlon x3 or x4 is a good cheap option and a Phenom x 4 is a bit more but the i5 or i7 are better if you can afford them though only the video editing will benefit from the extra spend.
3. Sorry not really sure but SSD are a mile faster than anything else.
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July 20, 2011 9:31:43 PM

1) What is your current configuration? I am at work right now and will get the exact specs when I'm home in about 45 minutes

2) Do you have a budget? Not too much. I am more interested in getting the best bang for my buck than I am in getting cutting edge so that is my main driving factor rather than an actual limit

2) Ram is the key to keeping everything running without interference. I might think 8gb would be fine, normally,but ram is cheap, so I would consider a 16gb kit.
You might want to read this article, it identifies what a triple monitor situation might use. Thanks for the article, I'll read that tonight

3) For a cpu budget over $125 or so, it is hard to beat sandy bridge. Thanks for the confirmation on that, it seems like even if I'm not gaming focused, sandy bridge is the way to go. The only decision is i5 or i7 and i5 might be my best option

4) I suggest a Z68 based motherboard. That will give you two attachments for 1920 x 1200 monitors. You will need a discrete card for one or two additional ones. Something around $50 would do fine. I don't follow you on the "two additional ones." I currently have a single graphics card running three monitors off a single slot and I'll move that over to my new pc most likely since it is a pretty new card.

5) I love the SSD. Everything will feel much snappier. A 80 to 120gb unit would do the job. If all your data will fit on 200gb or so, then get a 250gb ssd. Otherwise, plan on using 1tb drives for overflow and backup. Large drives are a bit faster. It might be good to put your editing files on separate drives to reduce interference. More is better.

6) 10k and 15k drives are very good for random access, or at least they used to be. The higher rotation speed reduces the latency time, but not the data transfer time. Thanks for the info on the data transfer. That is probably why they aren't more popular.
For fast random i/o, like the os does, you can't beat a SSD. A ssd will be 10x than the best hard drives today in random access, and 2-3x in data transfer speeds.
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a c 147 à CPUs
July 20, 2011 10:43:16 PM

if you're not maxing out your cpu or memory that only really leaves your network and harddrive subsystems. An SSD does not need a modern processor, just more modern OS. Win7 works great.

Feel free to drop an SSD into your current rig and see if that clears up your problem.

At worst you have to transfer it (the SSD) to your new system so its not money lost at all and just might save you a few hundred $mackers on building a new pc.

PS - many SSD kits (as opposed to the bare drive) come with a usb to sata cable and software to copy your current installation to the SSD and save you from reinstalling windows though it sounds like you're a pro at that now. <grin>
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July 20, 2011 10:59:46 PM

Here are my current pc's specs, thus the need for improvement :-)
intel core 2 quad q9400
mobo Dell OFM586 (chipset intel P35/G33/G31)
4 mb DDR2 pc2-6400 (400 MHz) ram (bought this w/ 64 windows to get greater ram, but the piece of crap mobo limits me to 4mb
ATI Radeon HD 5570 graphics card with three monitors
Vista Home premium 64 bit
WD HDD ATA 500GB and 2TB drives
2 optical drives
integrated audio
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a c 327 à CPUs
July 20, 2011 11:34:57 PM

The performance with a 2500K will be quite a bit better. The bench is at stock, 3.3, and the "K" will oc nicely to 4.0 or better.
Get an aftermarket cooler, it need not be expensive. Xigmatek gaia or cm hyper 212 should be about $30.
It will keep your cpu cooler and quieter.

You will need a P67 or Z68 based motherboard in order to OC.
Using your current video card is fine.
The real key is adding the ram. The ram is cheap, so going to 8gb or 16gb is not that expensive. I understand that photoshop is 64 bit enables so it can use lots of ram to speed up processing.
Windows 7 home premium 64 bit will be better than vista. I don't think you can reuse your dell oem license.

Consider abandoning the ide disk drives, at least for the OS. Modern sata drives are cheap, and faster Current motherboards are phasing out legacy adapters, but
you could could always get an add in controller if you really wanted to hold on to them.
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a c 147 à CPUs
July 21, 2011 12:19:27 AM

that motherbd should have four Sata2 ports, not IDE. So I still recommend trying an SSD first unless you want to build a new pc.
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a b à CPUs
July 21, 2011 3:46:45 AM

I agree with popatime
try a SSD in the system you have now
plus buy Windows 7 Premium 64 bit retail
both can be used in a new build later
and the difference between Vista and Win7 is amazing
combined with the SSD it will feel like new system

that Q9400 should be able to handle what you are doing
then wait for Intel Ivy Bridge and AMD Bulldozer
going from a Q9400 to SB doesnt really makes sense

Also I bought WD VelociRaptor 10k 160gb for my OS drive
I got it for $51 on Ebay
I couldnt afford a decent size SSD so a 10k drive is a good second choice
It has the same sustainded data rate as my Seagate Barracuda 7200.12
110mb/s
and has half the access time 15 vs 7
so it made a nice improvement

but of course a SSD is even faster
just costs more per GB
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July 27, 2011 4:34:07 AM

King, sorry for the late reply. I was running Ragnar race this weekend. The main thing that is keeping me from sticking with my Q9400 is the mobo it is on. It limits me to 4GB ram. I customized the pc w/ dell and took the stock ram. When I went to increase the ram later I found out the mobo limitation and couldn't believe it. I told them specifically I wanted to go 64 bit so I could get more ram. That's why I want to do it myself this time :-)
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a b à CPUs
July 27, 2011 5:21:25 AM

I 100 % agree with you

I am a "fortunate" owner of a Dell Optiplex 745 (see config under more info)
so my mobo can have 8gb of DDR2667 or 4gb of DDR2800 so I went for a deal on
Gskill DDR2-800 CL5 4 x1gb
I did that because they were only $50 for the set on craigslist and they guy
let me install and test at his house
I also did that with the idea that I could reuse in future build
but now the CPUs (amd x 3 Rana 4xx) I am looking at use DDR3 (plus its cheap now)
so knowing that I would of got 4 x 2gb of DDR667 instead
a little bit slower but not noticeable and would have had more ram especially for my VMs
(I use Oracle Virtual Box for XP and LInux virtual machines)

1) what is Ragnar race (sounds like rally racing?)

2) the I5-2400 is a good chip if you dont plan to overclock

awesome info on this link
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/288241-31-faqs-build-...

learned alot from those links on that sticky :) 

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July 27, 2011 2:35:24 PM

Yep, ragnar was a relay in NW Washington. I'm not a runner so I'm still hurting....

It looks like the i5 2500k is the one for me. I'm building up from there!
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a b à CPUs
July 27, 2011 3:25:49 PM

2500k is awesome choice

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July 28, 2011 2:18:49 AM

Best answer selected by cheroxy.
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a b à CPUs
July 28, 2011 4:09:02 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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