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Advice on building a business PC

Last response: in Systems
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August 23, 2011 1:56:43 AM

Hi all,

am looking at upgrading my dads work PC. currently he has a amd6000+ which is very dated obviously.

at home i recently built him an AMD x4 965, and he would like a faster machine than this for work, as he spends 80% of his computing time at work.

i dont have a budget set in mind, but i know he wont be able to afford anything like an i7 2600 (i absolutely LOVE my i7 2600k), so was thinking of some of the lower i3 / i5's

as he is a real estate agent, he often deals with large images (4mb jpeg files) he has on average 20gb of picture files and 2000+ contacts in Outlook 2010. that would be his main use.

am i thinking along the right lines of the sandybridge processors ? or would there be something else more suited to the job ? .. also considering the possibility of a small SSD (OCZ Vertex2 60gb perhaps)

from the research i have done, the AMD 965 is on par with the Intel i7 870 (1156), however majority of research i have found points towards gaming rather than business application.

so i guess my question is, would an i3 2120 (being dualcore) be enough of an 'upgrade' over an AMD965, or would he need to go to something like an i5 2300/2500 to see/feel a difference ? i am not sure if the budget would allow an i5 + SSD. so how would an i3 2120 + SSD perform vs i5 2300/2500 with 7200rpm drive.

or should i be looking at something entirely different ?

also one more quick question, would it be fair to assume that onboard graphics would perform the same in regards to opening 4mb picture files, as a dedicated graphics card?

also, 4 vs 8gb ram will need to be decided at some point too :) 

sorry for the long poorly structured post! i appreciate any input :) 

-ReaperZ
August 23, 2011 2:28:21 AM

To be clear, any computer aside from a netbook has plenty of RAM, processing power, graphics and drive space for a business environment.

I highly suggest this computer which is small and quiet:
http://www.dell.com/us/p/inspiron-zino-hd-410/pd?oc=ddd...

Don't get any of the upgrades offered.

SSD?
They are great, but my advice is to wait another year then buy one when prices are down and quality is up then use a CLONE utility and swap drives.
August 23, 2011 2:37:34 AM

My other advice would be to install Acronis True Image and use a USB hard drive to periodically backup the computer.

A second internal hard drive is easier, but I still recommend using a USB drive and hook it up only when doing backups (so once per week). This is more reliable as it prevents viruses or power issues from damaging the USB drive.

If you need any more advice I'd be glad to help.

*The hard drive is almost always the weakest link in a non-gaming system. A super-fast CPU won't make much difference when dealing with pictures it's reading from the drive, however it's not a bad idea, at $400 to get a new computer to be quiet and more reliable because it's newer and has Windows 7.

The only drawback I see with this computer is that it probably uses a 2.5" hard drive which would be slower than most 3.5" hard drives. Not sure about Warranty, but you could either replace it with a faster drive (WD 500GB Scorpio Black: max 103MB/sec) or an SSD, then use the main drive that came with it as a USB drive (just buy a case) or as a second drive if the Zino HD has a second drive slot (does it? I'm not sure). If it did, I'd have two drives installed and use the second for Backups of not only Windows but any other important files like pictures. Although I STILL recommend an additional USB drive for backups.

**SSD, again:
In my experience a 120GB drive is the optimal size for Windows 7 64bit. I THOUGHT 60GB would be enough and it turned out I was mistaken. After a year the updates and other files add up.

If everything is working on his current sytem, another option is to simply replace the SSD. i would choose the 120GB OCZ Agility 3 drive which has been on sale for $160 at NCIX.
Related resources
August 23, 2011 2:41:53 AM

photonboy that is untrue in this case .. my father finds that the AMD x4 965 does NOT have enough processing power for his needs. so "any computer aside from a netbook has plenty of RAM, processing power, graphics and drive space for a business environment' is not a valid statement here.

i doubt that the AMD Athlon™ II X2 P360 faster than an AMD X4 955, as we are comparing an X2 to an X4.

That HTPC does not list what type of hard-drive is in it. if i were to buy a 1tb 7200 drive, it would be the F1 spinpoint drive for obvious reasons.

also, i should have added this to the first post, the case will be the following
CoolerMaster HAF 912 Advanced. http://www.coolermaster.co.nz/product.php?product_id=66...

the O/S will be windows 7 64bit home premium.

All critical data is backed up daily to a server, so backup usb solutions arent required. However one advantage of an external USB vs RAID drive drive you forgot to mention is theft protection!!!! something often overlooked, specially in business worlds
i do appreciate your input however :) 
August 23, 2011 2:49:10 AM

Not enough processing power?

I'm not sure what he uses it for but that is surprising. He could open the Task Manager (CTRL-ALT-DEL) and observe his CPU history to see if it's hitting 100% during normal use (aside from Antivirus or starting up).

I'd be glad to reboot and provide more advice, but I think I'd need more specifics about exactly how he'd use this computer.

FYI, I know pretty much everything there is about building computers. I have a degree in Electronics and I'm a retired Radar Technician. I just give advice because I enjoy it.

I'm a heavy gamer and have spent a lot of time looking at how to build a balanced system and where bottlenecks occur.

Backing up and planning for Recovery of crashed computers is another issue. Luckily Microsoft "encouraged" me to do more research but in all fairness it turns out that most issues are not Microsoft's fault and or more hardware or non-Microsoft software issues.

Anyway, I'll monitor this and feel free to ask more questions if need be.
August 23, 2011 3:02:41 AM

i know a fair amount in regards to building PC's myself :)  .. if i had it my way i would be installing a Linux distro onto his PC !

his home PC will never hit 100% processing power (the AMD 965) , i have also recently built my mother an AMD965, and next to my i7 2600K @ 5.18ghz (woot!) even general loading of multiple documents/images the difference is night and day .. both running the same O/S. i dont understand the architecture entirely of how these machines work, however the Intel i5 / i7 machines i have used seem to be considerably more 'responsive' even with low performance demanding tasks (opening word/outlook etc). is that a fair statement in your view ? my friends i5 2500 totally slaughters the AMD 965 in every way, even at stock speeds.

basicially, the old man is impatient LOL, im just trying to provide him with a more responsive option, hence why i was hinting at SSD, especially in terms of loading up those large image files. 4mb is an average, certainly not a maximum !
!