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*First build: is this OVERKILL?

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May 20, 2012 3:47:00 AM

Hi,

Total newbie at DIY computers here. Total non-gamer, zero video editing. My only priority is the ability to multi-task massively w/o slowing down, freezing up, or outright crashing.

I was wondering if the quality of the motherboard, memory, and chosen boot drive makes any noticeable difference. Because a DIY desktop only costs maybe $100 more than an OEM desktop or comparable laptop, and I tend to assume that the OEM machines usually use the cheapest available hardware in order to maximize profits.

The main thing I need is a system that will provide the utmost stability and speed for massive multitasking. And I'd like it to last for at least 3-5 years.

Typical multi-tasking usage looks like this:

3-5 Chrome windows open, each one with 10-15 tabs including guzzlers like YouTube, Facebook and Pandora
Skype
Excel
Word
Foxit PDF Reader
MS Security Essentials
JetAudio music player
Notepad
Calculator
Desktop widgets: clock, calendar, CPU monitor, Network monitor
2-4 folder windows open

What I've assembled so far, about $680 shipped (mostly from Newegg)...not ordered yet, just shopped::

Asus P8B75-M motherboard (HDMI, USB 3.0, SATA III)
i5-3450 Ivy Bridge CPU
Crucial M4 128GB SSD
8GB GSkill Ripjaws DDR3 PCR12800
Antec Sonata III case & 500W power supply
Windows 7 HP 64bit SP1

Would such a system likely provide significantly more speed and stability than an i5 laptop with the equivalent CPU, same SSD and equivalent memory?

Is the system I'm proposing already overkill for my needs? Should I go cheaper, maybe with an AMD A6 or A8 CPU instead?

All comments and suggestions/alternatives welcome...thanks.

PS. I will be using a USB DVD reader/burner and a number of USB disk drives for most data/media storage.

More about : build overkill

May 20, 2012 1:44:35 PM

You may want to grab the i5-3570 for beefier IGP.
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 20, 2012 2:22:57 PM

The A8 would do fine, too.
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May 20, 2012 3:17:30 PM

o1die said:
I'd go for a smaller htpc case, such as this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... with this power supply: http://shopping.dallasnews.com/ROP/ads.aspx?advid=2519&.... As far as laptops go, you could get by with a low end model. Frys had a dual core celeron for only $237 on friday as part of their anniversary sale. It had 4 gb of ram and was made by asus. A good deal.


Would that Celeron laptop provide a noticeable improvement over my current Asus UL50VT with:

Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300
NVIDIA GeForce G210M graphics with 512MB DDR3 VRAM
4GB DDR3 RAM (max capacity)
Intel 80GB SSD
WD Black 500GB
Win7 HP

Right now, with 3 Chrome windows open for a total of maybe 35 tabs and no other apps running, it's saying 85% memory usage already. The SSD has helped a lot but the SU7300 is still a bit laggy, definitely more so than my girlfriend's i3 Asus (and she doesn't have an SSD).

****

That's a nice-looking HTPC case you linked to, and the $20 power supply is awesome, thanks. But from the Newegg reviews I read, it seems that the case fans are a bit noisy...this is something about the Antec Sonata that I really liked, its reputed dead silence. Do you know of a smaller, slimmer case with the same reputation for dead quiet as the Sonata? I would only use a maximum of one internal 3.5" bay for a spinning HDD, one 2.5" bay for the SSD, and *maybe* one 3.5" bay for a BlueRay player some day. The case would just sit under my work desk.
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May 20, 2012 3:23:53 PM

Pyree said:
You may want to grab the i5-3570 for beefier IGP.


Would a total non-gamer like me really need the better IGP, though? I don't even play those Facebook games, lol. Probably the most graphic intensive thing I do is VLC Media player and rudimentary photo editing with IrfanView or Picasa.
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May 20, 2012 3:38:14 PM

FinneousPJ said:
The A8 would do fine, too.


yeah these AMD APUs are at such an attractive pricepoint but *on paper* are a lot slower than the Intel Sandy/Ivy Bridge CPUs.

What I can't figure out though is whether those much faster Intel speeds would make any noticeable difference for someone with my mundane, low-graphics, non-gaming usage.

Hard to find an answer on these boards because it seems like 95% of the posters are gamers. :) 
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 20, 2012 3:48:45 PM

The tasks you listed are not computationally demanding unless you're using Excel for running scripted simulations in which case it might be, but then you'd also be better off using other software :p  Short answer, no it would not make a noticeable difference. You'll find the addition of an SSD to be far more significant for these sort of "mundane" computing tasks.
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May 20, 2012 4:31:14 PM

FinneousPJ said:
The tasks you listed are not computationally demanding unless you're using Excel for running scripted simulations in which case it might be, but then you'd also be better off using other software :p  Short answer, no it would not make a noticeable difference. You'll find the addition of an SSD to be far more significant for these sort of "mundane" computing tasks.


OK, thanks...that's what I was suspecting. No, my Excel usage is just as primitive and mundane as all the rest of my PC usage, lol.

Speaking of SSDs, on my Asus laptop (and all laptops, AFAIK) I am stuck with SATA II whereas on the proposed DIY desktop I'd finally get SATA III...would *that* make any noticeable difference, or is the SSD already so fast anyway that it wouldn't?

Because if there's no noticeable difference between SATA II vs III for someone with my usage, then it might make more sense to find a desktop-replacement laptop over an actual desktop PC just for space-saving and future ease of moving.
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 20, 2012 4:48:46 PM

Sata III isn't that much faster except in limited applications. Not worth changing boards for; I didn't notice that much faster boot times. And the celeron laptop wouldn't make any difference; keep what you have.
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 20, 2012 4:52:58 PM

Both my desktop and laptop at the moment use SATAII but I believe the difference might be significant if you're constantly moving huge amounts of data. I wouldn't recommend a laptop though; I hate using my laptop compared to my desktop.
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May 20, 2012 5:15:09 PM

o1die said:
Sata III isn't that much faster except in limited applications. Not worth changing boards for; I didn't notice that much faster boot times. And the celeron laptop wouldn't make any difference; keep what you have.


How about this one, do you think there would be noticeable improvement? (I'd upgrade to an SSD and add an extra 4GB DDR3 for 8GB total)

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Samsung+-+17.3%26%2334%3B+S...
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May 20, 2012 5:18:13 PM

FinneousPJ said:
Both my desktop and laptop at the moment use SATAII but I believe the difference might be significant if you're constantly moving huge amounts of data. I wouldn't recommend a laptop though; I hate using my laptop compared to my desktop.


Why do you prefer the desktop, because you have a larger monitor and keyboard? I can relate; sometimes hook up my laptop to a 24" Samsung LCD and a Logitech keyboard/mouse, love having dual screens...seems to be the best of both worlds if there's no significant performance advantage for me with a desktop.
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 20, 2012 7:58:56 PM

Yeah for general computing it's that indeed. But if you have a screen and keyboard + mouse anyway, where's the space saving? :lol: 
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 20, 2012 8:51:22 PM

Can't tell if the samsung laptop board supports sata III; you'll need to go to samsung's webpage for this laptop to find out or write their tech support. I would wait for a good rebate and install it yourself. The 128 gb are around $100 now; a mushkin with sandforce controller was only $103 the other day at newegg with no rebate.
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May 20, 2012 9:04:08 PM

FinneousPJ said:
Yeah for general computing it's that indeed. But if you have a screen and keyboard + mouse anyway, where's the space saving? :lol: 


well, a 6-7lb desktop-replacement laptop is still a lot smaller and lighter than a desktop's CPU case that weighs 20-25lbs usually. Just thinking about when it comes time for me to move, since I tend to be rather nomadic.
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May 20, 2012 9:08:12 PM

o1die said:
Can't tell if the samsung laptop board supports sata III; you'll need to go to samsung's webpage for this laptop to find out or write their tech support. I would wait for a good rebate and install it yourself. The 128 gb are around $100 now; a mushkin with sandforce controller was only $103 the other day at newegg with no rebate.


I've never heard of any laptop that supports SATA III. In any case, you said it doesn't really make that much difference vs SATA II...or did I misread?

Already have a 128GB Crucial M4, Buy.com had it for $100 shipped a couple weeks ago so I grabbed it.
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 20, 2012 10:11:17 PM

No it doesn't for most applications. There may be a few high end laptops that support sata III, but it's not worth the price difference.
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May 21, 2012 12:53:18 AM

All IB chipset comes with at least 1 SATA III controller.

zenrunner92 said:
Would a total non-gamer like me really need the better IGP, though? I don't even play those Facebook games, lol. Probably the most graphic intensive thing I do is VLC Media player and rudimentary photo editing with IrfanView or Picasa.

No, you should be fine. It's just that HD 4000 is my minimum threshold for graphic performance. If I didn't make that comment, I would have go for the alternative and recommendation you to add a dedicated GPU later.
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