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New PC: recommended upgrades to improve durability/reliability?

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January 11, 2012 11:29:54 AM

Hi. I'm looking to buy a new desktop that ticks the following boxes:

- Reliable and durable
- Price: £500 to £1000
- Use: mainly internet, playing/storing music/films, some work/study stuff (Word/Excel etc); ie don't need gaming spec

Up to now my 1st choice is a Chillblast Fusion Neptune:

http://www.chillblast.com/Chillblast-Fusion-Neptune.htm...

From the website it looks like it can be fully customised/upgraded but the basic spec for £500 is:

Intel Core i5 2500K Processor 3.3 GHz
Asus P8H61-M LE/USB3 Motherboard
Intel GMA HD Graphics
EZCool A200B Basic Case
8GB PC3-10666 DDR3 Memory
24x DVD-RW/CD-RW Optical Drive (Black)
1000GB SATA 7200rpm Hard Disk
500watt EZCool PSU
Onboard High Definition Audio
Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit OEM

Basically what I'm wondering is:

1) Is this a good deal?

2) What upgrades would you recommend to make it more reliable/durable?

Any advice would be very appreciated.
January 11, 2012 12:24:56 PM

Doesn't sound like a bad deal.

The motherboard is kinda old, but it will work.

The PSU is not something I would want to live with, but something like an Antec Earthwatts 380 or 430 is pretty cheap usually.

I like the 2500k and 1 TB HD.

As far as OEM systems go it seems to be OK for the price.
January 11, 2012 12:36:48 PM

Ill change the motherboard with P67 or Z68.
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January 11, 2012 2:16:09 PM

Thanks for those replies.

According to Chillblast website the available motherboard/PSU upgrades are (extra cost in brackets):

Asus P8H67-M PRO Motherboard with USB 3.0 Price: [+£29.00]
Asus P8Z68-V LE Motherboard Price: [+£39.00]
Asus P8H67-M EVO Motherboard with USB 3.0 and Firewire - B3 Price: [+£59.00]
Asus P8P67-M Micro ATX Motherboard Price: [+£59.00]

Xigmatek Premium Grade 400W PSU (Recommended by ChillBlast) Price: [+£25.00]
Xigmatek Premium Grade 500W PSU Price: [+£30.00]
Corsair Ultra Low Noise 600W PSU Price: [+£35.00]
OCZ StealthXstream 2 600W PSU Price: [+£35.00]
BeQuiet Pure Power 530W PSU Price: [+£55.00]

Would the cheapest of each of those be good enough for non-gaming use?
January 11, 2012 2:26:27 PM

One other thing - I noticed someone on another forum said he wouldn't keep a hamster in the EZCool A200B Basic Case let alone a PC (lol). So was wondering if case/fan upgrades would be worth the extra £ in terms of more reliability/PC lasting longer?
January 11, 2012 3:49:26 PM

Fans are worth their weight in gold in terms of making your computer last longer. Good PSUs too.

The only name brand PSU on that list is the Corsair so I would get that one.

I would get the P8Z68 motherboard too.

It is +L75 which is not cheap, but I think it is for the best.

I am not a big fan of the EZCool case either. For that matter I have never heard of anyone who is a fan of EZCool cases.

A good case is an investment that continually pays you back. You get one good case and you can use it in every computer you ever make after that. It will keep every one of them just as cool as the first one. You may have to replace a $2 fan once every few years, but the housing will remain if it is of good construction.

On the low end, the Antec 300 and HAF 912 are great bargains usually.

The EZCool case may work for you, but I certainly wouldn't take it forward to your next build. You may want to plan on replacing the computer a year or two sooner than you otherwise would with a better case too. Internal heat that isn't removed efficiently is the bane of long lifetimes for computers.
January 12, 2012 10:12:52 AM

Thanks Raiddinn.

Being lazy I don't mind spending a bit more initially if it means less chance of things going wrong, so I'll prob take your advice about fans/motherboard/PSU upgrades.

Will prob go for a better case too - although not too sure if it'll ever house a PC put together with these clumsy hands!

Again, thanks for taking the time to give advice, it's very appreciated.
January 12, 2012 1:06:58 PM

Raiddinn said:
I would get the P8Z68 motherboard too.
Just been reading around to try and get my beginner's head around differences in motherboards/CPUs etc, and came across the following:

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/297754-12-asus-p8p6...

In the 2nd reply ko888 wrote:

Even if you don't OC the best motherboard of the two you've listed is the P8P67 PRO. It's able to supply much more stable power to the CPU than the P8Z68-V LE. It supports two graphics cards in CrossFireX or SLI at x8/x8 whereas the P8Z68-V LE doesn't.

If you don't plan on OCing then don't buy a K suffixed CPU.


---

Do you agree with him?
January 12, 2012 1:52:56 PM

x16/x8 is a lot better for gaming than x16/x4, but you mentioned you don't need a gaming spec computer.

I usually suggest 1 card setups because (in my opinion) the drawbacks of 2+ video cards make it not worth getting instead of one better card. That being said, there are some pretty good advantages to going with 2 cards (cost, usually).

In any event, that isn't going to be a major selling point here.

Not sure the angle he is going for with the stable power to the CPU thing. Whatever he means by it that is the first time I heard of it and I hear people discussing these sorts of boards all the time on here.

In any event, I can't imagine that the Z68 would fail to provide adequate power to the CPU in general. If it did then it wouldn't be sold till it was fixed.

As far as "If you don't plan on OCing then don't buy a K suffixed CPU" goes, he has a point. If you are 100% sure you aren't going to do it then you can get by without the K just fine.

That being said, if you pay the $20 or whatever premium for the K version you may get to the point 3 or 4 years out when your processor isn't doing so hot anymore. Without a K on there, you would have no option but to replace it. With a K on there you have the option of trying to see if you can squeeze more out of it.

More options is better in my book if they come cheap. $20 may buy your processor another 2 years of useful life. If so, it is a bargain. If not, well you only lost $20.

In any event, OCing is getting easier and easier. Both AMD and Nvidia have really simple tools in the graphics software now that allow you to just add a little bit onto a slider bar and hit OK and its done.

CPUs are more complicated, but they are getting easier too, especially with the newer stuff like UEFI BIOS (on the Z68, but only EFI BIOS on the P67).

The difference between these two boards in that regard may be small, but its still there.

The Z68 also has stuff like Lucid Virtu which can be kinda nice too as an added bonus.

Anyway, it is a complicated subject, but a general rule of thumb to go buy is that newer is usually better in the computer world.

If you are talking about really good old stuff vs really bad new stuff then not so much, but these boards are more like regular old stuff vs regular new stuff so its not really skewed like that.

In your situation, I would take the Z68 without thinking too much about it.
January 13, 2012 10:15:54 AM

Thanks Raiddinn.

Raiddinn said:
it is a complicated subject


I'm finding that! As with buying cars, I usually just buy PCs 'off the peg' without giving much thought to how changes to stuff 'under the bonnet/hood' affect performance, so all these letters and numbers are a bit daunting.

Basically I was just checking to make sure I wouldn't be paying more money for less performance (and it seems from what you say that I wouldn't be).

Thanks again.

January 13, 2012 4:27:22 PM

A lot of things are this way for me too.

I have some decent car knowledge you could say. I understand in a general sense what almost all the parts are trying to accomplish.

That being said, if you just put me in a room with a car broken down into as many pieces as possible I would have some difficulty putting it together.

My dad, though, has done quite a bit of work personally "under the hood". Sometimes he buys cars at a junkyard or buys a car off a person so he can take parts from them and put them into his own car to upgrade it or repair it.

If you put 2 trucks in front of me and told me to mix and match stuff from the two to create a single working vehicle, I couldn't do it, but he can.

He just understands that stuff on a level I can't even begin to grasp.

On the other hand, I can fix computers infinitely better than he can. He has barely used any in his whole life and I have spent the majority of my own life in front of a keyboard.

Just uses two different skillsets.

That being said, you are in good hands around here. We tend to have the skillsets people like you need and for the most part we do pretty well helping people to plan ahead to avoid pitfalls.

I am sure you know how to do something equally valuable for us too in your field of business.

Anyway, I don't think anything is seriously wasteful according to what has developed throughout the thread.

Between the Ford Fusion of PCs and the Ford Mustang of PCs you are more looking at the Mustang with your setup. It isn't the bare minimum necessary for getting from point A to point B nor is it really anywhere near, say, a Shelby GT Cobra either.

Money isn't being thrown at it lavishly, but it is spent where it makes sense to provide more horsepower, better handling, and so on.
January 17, 2012 11:36:40 AM

Raiddinn said:
I am sure you know how to do something equally valuable for us too in your field of business.


*wistful face* Ah, if only! Obviously this isn't the forum for mental health talk, but let's just say long-term depression / social phobia etc have made learning / employment / maintaining friendships difficult (hence me not knowing anyone with PC knowledge). A lot of the time with depression, trying to think feels a bit like I imagine trying to eat would feel with a mouth full of cotton wool.

Anyway, think I should just get it ordered now. Thanks for all your replies, been very helpful.
!