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Home PC Build

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September 26, 2012 10:37:28 PM

Hey everyone,

Im currently building a PC for my mother. Her laptop is about 6 years old and has served her well but it's time to upgrade. I have two options and am not sure which to go with, one build is cheaper and the other one is more expensive. The PC will be used for alot of web browsing, Microsoft office suite and some very minor photo editing.

So far these are are confirmed specs (out of my last gaming pc):

Antec 500w PSU
8gb DDR3 1333mhz Ram

I was thinking of a H61 Chipset mobo as im not going to OC or anything like that.
Also an OCZ vertex 2 120gb SSD as they are dirt cheap at the moment and i dont want sata 6gb/s as its really nothing special.

The big question is the CPU, here are my current ideas:

Cheap build: Pentium G850- seems to out perform AMD

Expensive build: i5 3470 - Over kill?

If you have any suggestions for any parts feel free to add it in.

Thanks

More about : home build

September 26, 2012 10:52:05 PM

well really anything will do lol, how much more is the i5 to the pentium? If u want the pc to last for basic use, then the i5 would b better if the cost isnt too bad. And a i3 would b better than the pentium for a little extra.

Also a amd A6/A8/A10 with integrated gpu will be great for gpu and cpu power.



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September 26, 2012 11:06:06 PM

A Pentium of any type kinda sucks in modern day computers for general work compared to even dirt cheap AMD Athlon II x4s. It will do the job just fine but it won't be as good. It only wins in very lightly threaded work and multi-threaded is the way that the industry has been heading, something that AMD has a distinct advantage in at most budgets. Even the i5s don't beat the much cheaper FX-61xx/62xx CPUs in this and are actually beaten by the still cheaper FX-81xx CPUs.

Things like gaming can favor Intel as can other single/lightly threaded workloads, but that's not future-proofing.
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September 26, 2012 11:11:13 PM

Well what i'm wanting to do is future proof. I know 8gb ram and an OCZ vertex will be great for years to come for what the pc is needed for. Whenever i look at benchmarks AMD is so sh*t compared to intel, for example i read 3 benchmarks and the G850 bet the 6100 in all but 1 or 2 areas, i have always liked intel more
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September 26, 2012 11:29:49 PM

What type of Vertex? If it's not Vertex 4, I worry about it lasting that long. Even then, an Intel 330 SSD will probably have longer-lasting NAND memory anyway and might thus be a better, albeit generally slower and more expensive, alternative.

The FX-6100 has almost three times more performance except in single/dual-threaded compared to the Pentium G850. If this is about future proofing on Intel, don't go lower than an i5. Unlike AMD, Intel doesn't have the benefit of high core counts that will mean higher and higher performance as software gets more well-threaded. The G850 can't even come close to an FX-4100, let alone an FX-6100.

Furthermore, Intel CPUs aren't necessarily better than AMD even in lightly threaded performance such as gaming and outdated software. For example, an FX-8120 with one core per module disabled will compete with the lower clocked i5s excellently in performance per remaining core because with one core per module, the entire module's front end is available to the remaining core, improving its performance.

For the more adventurous, there's also P state altering that can be used to treat the second core of each module more like a virtual thread rther than the true core that it is, again, optimizing the CPU for it's minimalistic front end.

AMD has great CPUs even today, they simply don't configure them properly for Windows 7. Windows 8 rectifies this greatly with improved scheduling, but for Windows 7 users, the above are great methods to force Windows 7 to work with AMD's CPUs properly.
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September 26, 2012 11:35:00 PM

Vertex 2, if i have to put more into an ssd ( pointless with a sata 2 h61 mobo ) that then means i have less to spend on an cpu
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September 26, 2012 11:38:18 PM

fx 6100 is about the same price as an i3. This pc will be fully game free aswell
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September 27, 2012 12:11:37 AM

oabornezo said:
fx 6100 is about the same price as an i3. This pc will be fully game free aswell


The FX-6100 has far more future-proofed performance than any i3.
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September 27, 2012 3:07:54 AM

Yes but performace wise is it better?
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September 27, 2012 3:13:30 AM

oabornezo said:
Yes but performace wise is it better?


That's exactly what I'm saying. The FX-6100 has more performance and as software improves, it will be able to utilize the 6100's six cores better and better. The similarly priced i3s with a mere two cores with Hyper-Threading simply can't keep up once four or more of the 6100's cores are well-utilized. A lot of software today can already do this, so the i3's days aren't simply numbered, they're already over. Only outdated software such as some games that use five or six year old engines favor Intel's dual-cores and even that is starting to fade with more modern games.
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September 27, 2012 3:16:22 AM

Is the fx series better than like the A6 and A8 series?
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September 27, 2012 3:18:01 AM

oabornezo said:
Is the fx series better than like the A6 and A8 series?


The A series is a bunch of low-end CPU+GPU combos. The FX series is AMD's highest end consumer CPU product line. They are better CPUs, but they aren't necessarily better values for low-end gaming computers.
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September 27, 2012 3:19:13 AM

Would that mean i would need a gpu aswell or would i be fine without one?
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September 27, 2012 3:31:13 AM

I'm still seeing far too many bad benchamarks for amd, i really want to fast performace, responsiveness and quick loading times for applications
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September 27, 2012 3:31:59 AM

That would depend on what motherboard you choose or more accurately, on the chipset of your motherboard. Some of the FX compatible chipsets have an integrated video chipset. A modern discrete card would be better, but it is unlikely that you'd have any issues with it unless you want to play games.
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September 27, 2012 3:33:15 AM

oabornezo said:
I'm still seeing far too many bad benchamarks for amd, i really want to fast performace, responsiveness and quick loading times for applications


Can you show me these benchmarks? Perhaps I can put any fears to rest if I know what I need to address.
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September 27, 2012 3:44:35 AM

If itsnt for games grab any old HD5/6/7 or GT5/6 that catches your money senor... I mean eye. The 6100 is a fine Choice on mutil threaded functions things will get more and more threaded as time goes on.
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September 27, 2012 3:47:03 AM

Fx 4100 4170 or 6100? even 8120? all cheaper than i5
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September 27, 2012 3:52:33 AM

The 4170 is just a 4100 with the voltage and frequency settings heightened. The 6100 has one more dual-core module than the 41xx CPUs (two more cores) and the FX-8120 has one more module than the 6100 for a total of eight cores. The 8120 is the best here, but only spend as much money as you want to. Also, the 8120 is faster than the top i5s in highly threaded performance, so there's no reason to spend more money.

Given that you want this build to last, maybe you should wait for Piledriver (the successor to the Bulldozer micro-architecture that is used in the current FX CPUs). It's even better than Bulldozer and is supposed to be out within a month or two. If you must buy now, then the FX-6100 or the FX-8120 (depending on how much you're willing to pay) are my recommendations.
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September 27, 2012 3:54:38 AM

I'd rather buy now as i have next week off and im meant to be doing it then, so should i go for the most future proof option? im thinking the fx 6100
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September 27, 2012 4:02:37 AM

The FX-6100 is a great choice. The FX-8120 only has a maybe 25% or so performance advantage with all cores utilized, but is usually more than 25% more expensive. By the time the 6100 is no longer adequate like six to ten years from now, the 8120 wouldn't be much better anyway.
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September 27, 2012 4:03:45 AM

For "my old mother who will doing mostly Office and minor photo editing and is currently using a 6-years old laptop", it makes very little sense to worry about future-proofing since whatever you buy today will likely last her another 6+ years.

If cost is a significant factor, I would go with something like an A6 or A8. If cool(er) and quiet is more important, I would go with i3-3220 or i3-3225. Either option will likely still be several times faster than whatever she currently has and get the job done for the next 5+ years unless she suddenly decides to get into FPS games or become a video editing buff, in which case she would likely end up wanting to start over with a new system even if you got her a FX8150.
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September 27, 2012 4:11:27 AM

Its not all about futre proofing though, i need responsiveness and speed. If i do something on her current laptop, it freezes and has to load when i right click on icons etc, it makes me very frustrated.
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September 27, 2012 4:39:07 AM

Sluggish responsiveness in trivial tasks usually has more to do with low RAM than CPU. In old laptops that have not been cleaned, it can also be caused by dust clogging the radiator(s) fins.

I am still using a 3GHz Core2Duo with 8GB RAM for moderate CAD, programming, VMs and gaming. Still plenty fast for most of what I need to do on a regular basis. The thing that occasionally makes me wish to upgrade is when I load too many programs/projects and run out of RAM and wish I had 16GB.

If I can do all that on an "antique" CPU and still not feel like performance is much of an issue, I doubt an i3-3220 which would be a nice upgrade even for me would be inadequate for your mother and your occasional use.

I made my own mother buy a laptop based on an AMD E350 CPU witg 6GB RAM and even that super-low-end CPU still feels plenty fast enough to handle everyday office, web browsing, etc. tasks. It certainly feels several times faster than the old 2GHz P4 with 512MB RAM she had before. So far, she is extremely happy with it and so am I.

Just for fun, next time you reboot your PC, try turning off HT and all but one core in BIOS. I bet your system will still feel several times faster than your mother's laptop even though you now have about half the processing power of an i3-3220.
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September 27, 2012 5:11:23 AM

Do you think 8gb 1333mhz ram would be sufficient?
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September 27, 2012 5:16:28 AM

Just getting an SSD will also help greatly in responsiveness. 1600MHz memory might be a little better, but for what you want to do, I doubt that there would be a difference. 8GB is a great capacity for what you want.
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September 27, 2012 5:17:29 AM

Yes, an ocz vertex 2, only sata 2, didnt see much point in sata 3 and 6gb/s
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September 27, 2012 5:25:50 AM

New SSDs can be much faster, but for your usage, I don't know if you'd actually use the great performance increases of modern SATA6Gb/s SSDs. I doubt it. It's not that there isn't a point in them and it's definitely not that they aren't much faster (sometimes several times faster), it's just that you need to do something storage intensive to really benefit from them.
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September 27, 2012 7:53:14 AM

Ive seen a few bad reviews for AMD. I think Intel is the better option, but depends on the price difference really.
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September 27, 2012 11:23:20 AM

oabornezo said:
Do you think 8gb 1333mhz ram would be sufficient?

If you are going to use the IGP, I would recommend 1600 just in case. If you are going to use add-in graphics, even 1066 would be enough.

Since 1600 is priced almost the same as 1066/1333 though, not much sense in buying something slower unless the CPU does not support it.
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September 27, 2012 12:17:43 PM

petermead83 said:
Ive seen a few bad reviews for AMD. I think Intel is the better option, but depends on the price difference really.


People keep talking about bad reviews, but no one is linking them here for me to explain.
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September 27, 2012 12:22:40 PM

luciferano said:
People keep talking about bad reviews, but no one is linking them here for me to explain.

He probably meant "bad review" as in not winning many benchmarks against Intel. In that case, practically all reviews show that to some extent.
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September 27, 2012 12:54:33 PM

InvalidError said:
He probably meant "bad review" as in not winning many benchmarks against Intel. In that case, practically all reviews show that to some extent.


All reviews (excluding gaming reviews) should have AMD winning some benchmarks and Intel winning some unless they pit Intel's top end CPUs against AMD's lower end CPUs. For general productivity and average workloads, more cores really can and usually do matter, so AMD tends to have an excellent showing here. They should only have disappointing reviews in gaming reviews and that's just because the vast majority of games are console ports originally from the Xbox (only three cores and one of which was used by the OS instead of the games IIRC) and/or use old game engines.

For regular usage, AMD is generally superior (not always, but generally) to Intel at any given price range until we go above the price ranges where AMD has any CPUs. For example, Phenom II x4 CPUs are available as low as $90 and sometimes cheaper, but they beat even the top i3s in highly-threaded performance considerably. The FX-4100 is a little more overpriced, but it still has this advantage to a lesser extent over the i3s and the FX-4170 has this to a greater extent than even the Phenom II x4 models with a better price than the 4100. Then we have the FX-6100 and if you look around, other FX-61xx or FX-62xx and Phenom II x6 models for between $100 and $140 that trade blows with the more expensive Sandy and Ivy Bridge i5s in highly threaded performance. FX-81xx can trade blows with i7s in highly threaded performance, yet the FX-8120can literally be half the price of the i7s.

Keep in mind that I'm talking about second and third generation Intel models, IE Sandy and Ivy Bridge, not Nehalem/Westmere (I'm sure that you'd all understand that without me stating it, but I just want to be thorough). Intel can have better single/lightly threaded performance at most budgets (still not all, but never far behind when they are behind, which isn't often), but that's less important except for outdated software (such as gaming) and gets less important every day.

I'm not trying to say anything like that Intel might not do the trick for any of you, but for future-proofing, AMD is the better option unless you want to spend a lot of money for something such as a six-core Intel i7. Even more important than AMD's current highly threaded performance advantage is how AMD's platform is more future-proofed. If an FX-6100 is not enough at any time, the motherboard (assuming that BIOS updates are kept up) will still support several new generations of AMD CPUs such as Piledriver, Steamroller, and probably also Excavator, so you can cheaply upgrade the CPU for a huge boost several years down the line instead of having to replace the motherboard and RAM in addition to the CPU like you would with Intel to get the same performance boost.

Sorry if this was a little long and rant-like; I wanted to try not to miss anything.
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September 27, 2012 5:51:44 PM

This topic has been moved from the section CPU & Components to section Systems by Mousemonkey
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September 27, 2012 8:53:19 PM

luciferano said:
All reviews (excluding gaming reviews) should have AMD winning some benchmarks and Intel winning some unless they pit Intel's top end CPUs against AMD's lower end CPUs. For general productivity and average workloads, more cores really can and usually do matter, so AMD tends to have an excellent showing here. They should only have disappointing reviews in gaming reviews and that's just because the vast majority of games are console ports originally from the Xbox (only three cores and one of which was used by the OS instead of the games IIRC) and/or use old game engines.

For regular usage, AMD is generally superior (not always, but generally) to Intel at any given price range until we go above the price ranges where AMD has any CPUs. For example, Phenom II x4 CPUs are available as low as $90 and sometimes cheaper, but they beat even the top i3s in highly-threaded performance considerably. The FX-4100 is a little more overpriced, but it still has this advantage to a lesser extent over the i3s and the FX-4170 has this to a greater extent than even the Phenom II x4 models with a better price than the 4100. Then we have the FX-6100 and if you look around, other FX-61xx or FX-62xx and Phenom II x6 models for between $100 and $140 that trade blows with the more expensive Sandy and Ivy Bridge i5s in highly threaded performance. FX-81xx can trade blows with i7s in highly threaded performance, yet the FX-8120can literally be half the price of the i7s.

Keep in mind that I'm talking about second and third generation Intel models, IE Sandy and Ivy Bridge, not Nehalem/Westmere (I'm sure that you'd all understand that without me stating it, but I just want to be thorough). Intel can have better single/lightly threaded performance at most budgets (still not all, but never far behind when they are behind, which isn't often), but that's less important except for outdated software (such as gaming) and gets less important every day.

I'm not trying to say anything like that Intel might not do the trick for any of you, but for future-proofing, AMD is the better option unless you want to spend a lot of money for something such as a six-core Intel i7. Even more important than AMD's current highly threaded performance advantage is how AMD's platform is more future-proofed. If an FX-6100 is not enough at any time, the motherboard (assuming that BIOS updates are kept up) will still support several new generations of AMD CPUs such as Piledriver, Steamroller, and probably also Excavator, so you can cheaply upgrade the CPU for a huge boost several years down the line instead of having to replace the motherboard and RAM in addition to the CPU like you would with Intel to get the same performance boost.

Sorry if this was a little long and rant-like; I wanted to try not to miss anything.


Thank you, but i see the FX series is AM3, will it move to FM1 with the next gen of cpu's?
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September 27, 2012 9:08:48 PM

oabornezo said:
Thank you, but i see the FX series is AM3, will it move to FM1 with the next gen of cpu's?


FM1 is effectively dead. There will be FM2 for the Trinity APUs, but I don't know how long AMD will stick with it nor what they'll do once they're done with it. FX is AM3+, not AM3, although the confusion is understandable because they are inter-compatible. The next two or three generations of FX CPUs are supposed to be on the same AM3+ socket, but I don't know where AMD will go from there. They might merge the APU and the CPU sockets or they might keep them separate and update each independently. For example, AMD might make the generation of CPUs after AM3+ is finished compatible with a new APU socket, or they might make a new CPU socket and a new APU socket that remain separate and not compatible.

Basically, AM3+ has a very solid future for the next two or three years of updates with good enough performance after that to last a few more years after AMD stops updating the socket with new CPU families before you need to upgrade.
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