Page 1:Build A PC For Your Kid
Page 2:Picking A Platform: Comparing Intel And AMD
Page 3:Cooling On A Low-End Budget
Page 4:Memory Capacity And Data Rate
Page 5:Choosing The Right Power Supply
Page 6:The Case And Other Components
Page 7:Benchmark Results: Without Discrete Graphics
Page 8:Adding Discrete Graphics
Page 9:Benchmark Results: With Discrete Graphics
Page 10:Two Builds Call For Two Winners
Cooling On A Low-End Budget
Bundled Thermal Solutions Don’t Cut It
Neither Intel’s nor AMD’s included CPU coolers are quiet or efficient. And both can run into major trouble if your ambient room temperature is too high, making it a hazard to open your windows in the summer. Consequently, we looked for CPU coolers that would operate a lot more effectively, while respecting our low-budget aspirations. We ended up choosing two Cooler Master-based solutions for testing.
Cheap or affordable? You don't always have to call in the big guns
These two models cost about $18 and $35, respectively. AMD's A8-3850 is most likely to run into trouble with a smaller heat sink, since it runs warmer than the other three CPUs. So, first, let's see if the larger cooler is necessary, or if we can get away with the smaller one.
Temperature and Noise Benchmarks
Surprisingly (and pleasantly, the smaller heat sink manages to cool all four processors adequately. It did reach its limits, though, so if you want to really emphasize conservative acoustics or turn your thermostat up to save money on the electricity bill, the larger cooler might be advisable.
Blowing up(ward): This is a common problem with tower coolers and Socket AM2/3 systems
Of course, while the thermal benchmarks are important, it's also critical that your heat sink of choice fits into the case you want to use. This can be a problem for AMD-based systems. If the original bracket is used to mount the CPU cooler on the motherboard, heated air is often blown toward the top of the case instead of the back. If you have a graphics card installed underneath and there's no ventilation up top, the resulting cooling setup will probably turn out to be sub-par.
You can use a bigger heat sink, but it won't help much
|CPU/APU||Cooler Master Hyper TX 3 (Evo)||Cooler Master 212 Evo|
|Intel Pentium G620||Good||Very Good|
|Intel Celeron G530||Good||Very Good|
The cheaper heat sink/fan combination manages to cool all four tested systems, including AMD’s 100 W-TDP APUs in a closed case. However, the larger, more expensive model buys you more headroom for higher temperatures and less noise. We’re calling this one a draw and recommending that you make your choice based on personal preference.
Now, for a look at system memory.
- Build A PC For Your Kid
- Picking A Platform: Comparing Intel And AMD
- Cooling On A Low-End Budget
- Memory Capacity And Data Rate
- Choosing The Right Power Supply
- The Case And Other Components
- Benchmark Results: Without Discrete Graphics
- Adding Discrete Graphics
- Benchmark Results: With Discrete Graphics
- Two Builds Call For Two Winners