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slicer4ever

advice on pc build.

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i'd like to pre-face this with a thank you to everyone, and the parts have already been ordered(as of last saturday night), so future advice is unnecessary.

You haven't really said what you want to use this machine for. Gaming? Development? A bit of both? Something else?

Too right, I did forget to preface this with it's purpose. this is going to be mostly focused as a gaming rig.

If it's for gaming, I'd spend an extra few dollars and upgrade your GPU to a 7870 (you also get 3 free games with it).


see, you coudn't have chimed in with this a week ago? =-), if i had seen this one before ordering everything, for ~20$ more, i would have grabbed it(although the one i chose now has a 30$ rebate, so technically this one would have been 50$ more after everything). 


Either way, I'd say your CPU is a bit anemic. Everything I've read points to the i5 3570K as price/performance sweet spot. 
 
*Admittedly, it was written by an insane person and has the single worst code organisation I've ever seen.


how do you mean by "anemic" ?
regardless, i suspect when it comes to gaming, my gpu is more likely to be my bottleneck, then my cpu in todays world.

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if you use your PC for anything important you need a UPS

 

once you factor in the cost of a UPS

it is usually cheaper to buy a laptop - they have very good UPS built in ...

 

modern laptops have powerful enough GPU to play GTA4 BF3 etc with decent settings

they have room for 2 or 3 hard disks and can support 3 external monitors

they use little power and make little noise

 

buying desktops just doesn't make sense any more

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Sorry I'm going with the others on the SSD- this very box I typing on has a 40gig ssd for the os, a 1 tb and 250gb, and I am forever having to monitor the ssd it because it fills up- a lot.

 

You need enough for windows and all your programs- my windows 7 ult windows folder is 22gb and I have 13gb in program files.

 

120gb is a nice round number.

Pretty sure my current machine has a 32gb SSD (they were more expensive a while back) and I've never had any problems. But it only has windows + visual studio + dev stuff, everything else goes on the spinning disk....

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if you use your PC for anything important you need a UPS

 

once you factor in the cost of a UPS

it is usually cheaper to buy a laptop - they have very good UPS built in ...

 

modern laptops have powerful enough GPU to play GTA4 BF3 etc with decent settings

they have room for 2 or 3 hard disks and can support 3 external monitors

they use little power and make little noise

 

buying desktops just doesn't make sense any more

 

Till it comes time to fix something, or upgrade...

 

I bought a UPS several years ago, it has been overhauled once so far, and is due for another sometime soon, but debating between an overhaul or carting it off to the office as is and replacing my home one. 

 

Personally, I don't want any screen that comes attached to a laptop. They generally suck, are small, have poor colour accuracy, and aren't nearly as cost effective as buying external monitors. If I'm going to be buying external monitors anyway, then why waste money on an inferior third screen that is going to be rather awkward to position anywhere? 

 

Then there are USB ports, which are generally lacking. Personally I like to have a number of things hard wired to back USB ports where they're out of the way (And dealing with hubs on the desk just mean even more cords to screw around with. No thank you.) I haven't seen a laptop that will support my mouse, keyboard, wacom tablet, Screen Calibrator, two printers, scanner, plotter, and mill, high res webcams, and a few external audio gear bits. I really have no idea what all is plugged into the main system at this time.

 

Hard drives? I have six currently, plus two optical burners. 

 

 

Needless to say, there are lots of reasons why building a tower make a lot more sense than a laptop. (Beyond heating and cooling issues. I've yet to find a laptop that comes close to matching the processing power of my desktop that I can't basically fry an egg on.)

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I've yet to find a laptop that comes close to matching the processing power of my desktop that I can't basically fry an egg on.

Really though, that's a +1 for the laptop and a -1 for the desktop. I mean, you get to make breakfast while you game, no moving required. Heck, if you don't mind an oven on your legs you can make breakfast and game while still in bed.

 

/s

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I'd say its not a cut and dried decision between laptop and desktop, and that it depends on your needs and patterns of use -- the price, power, or cost-effectiveness of hardware really only enters into it as far as it either drives your needs or budgetary limitations.

 

For me, I want a relatively-powerful computer that I can move around and be comfortable working on when necessary, and I want to use that same machine with better amenities when I'm working at home. As such, I have a high-end Lenovo laptop (W530), which is pretty much maxed out, and a dock that supports USB 3.0 and three high-resolution monitors. For what I spent, I could have built a more powerful desktop workstation -- or, I could have built a similarly spec'ed desktop for probably half the cost. Why didn't I take one of those options? Because I value being able to take my working environment with me when I need to be mobile, or just want to spend an afternoon setup in a coffee shop somewhere.

 

Although there are people who really need all the power that can be crammed into a desktop computer that would not be well-served by *any* laptop, and there are those who's budgets are so constrained that they simply can't afford the premium that portability demands while still getting a decent machine, most users fall somewhere in the middle, and can be well-served by either desktops or laptops. Obviously, portability will cost more, but if you're in the middle group you can choose the balance of power and affordability that's best for you.

 

Most people don't need 6-8 CPU cores, 1000w PSUs, Triple-SLI with 13" GPU cards, or 6+ hard disks. Few actually do, though many more think they do. Honestly, if external GPUs were more practical right now, I'd invest in one of those and a good NAS, and probably never buy another desktop computer again. As we're not quite there yet, if I build up a new gaming rig this fall (seeing as the laptop takes care of my work needs), I'm going small-form-factor: Haswell ITX board, a compact 550w PSU, a couple fast 2.5" SSD drives, as much RAM as the board will take, and as large a single GPU that the PSU will feed and will physically fit inside the case. The older I get (or perhaps, the more I move between residences) I keep finding that less (stuff) is more.

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my alienware m17x has 6 usb ports 3 external monitors 2 hard disks

 

and never gets hotter than 80c even after 24 hours of stress testing

 

I can open the case in 30 seconds and replace any main component in minutes

 

it has a quadcore i7 and GTX660

and was cheaper than equivalent PC + UPS

I never look at the built-in monitor

 

and it uses 1/6 the power of my last desktop

 

also the economies of scale are with laptops now

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my alienware m17x has 6 usb ports 3 external monitors 2 hard disks
 
and never gets hotter than 80c even after 24 hours of stress testing
 
I can open the case in 30 seconds and replace any main component in minutes
 
it has a quadcore i7 and GTX660
and was cheaper than equivalent PC + UPS


Those are good points, but there are a few things to consider.
You night be able to open the case, but good luck finding an upgraded gpu or CPU for your machine.

Also your i7 and gtx are almost certainly mobile parts, so you can't really compare the prices

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It makes no sense to "upgrade" a PC

because paying for 2 CPUs or 2 GPUs but only using 1 is throwing money down the drain

 

What makes sense is to build a machine at the price/quality/performance sweetspot, load it with RAM and don't tinker with it

 

The market for desktop PCs is now tiny - laptops now outperform desktops on price/performance

 

When you factor in the UPS laptops are the only choice

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It makes no sense to "upgrade" a PC
because paying for 2 CPUs or 2 GPUs but only using 1 is throwing money down the drain
 
What makes sense is to build a machine at the price/quality/performance sweetspot, load it with RAM and don't tinker with it
 
The market for desktop PCs is now tiny - laptops now outperform desktops on price/performance
 
When you factor in the UPS laptops are the only choice


dude....are you high?

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Your linked PC components are not fairly balanced at that prize range.

I did a build list for you, it is $17 more, but has better power supply, processor, video card, heatsink, SSD and HDD. Plus cheaper RAM.

 

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-8320 3.5GHz 8-Core Processor ($149.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.98 @ Outlet PC)
Motherboard: Asus M5A97 R2.0 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($94.99 @ Microcenter)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($93.99 @ Adorama)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($65.98 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7870 2GB Video Card ($234.99 @ Amazon)
Case: NZXT Source 210 (White) ATX Mid Tower Case ($39.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: SeaSonic G 550W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($79.99 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: LG UH12NS29 Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($87.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $977.86
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-06-24 15:12 EDT-0400)

 

I noticed that you already bought your items, my condolences.

Edited by Indloon

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if you use your PC for anything important you need a UPS

 

once you factor in the cost of a UPS

it is usually cheaper to buy a laptop - they have very good UPS built in ...

 

modern laptops have powerful enough GPU to play GTA4 BF3 etc with decent settings

they have room for 2 or 3 hard disks and can support 3 external monitors

they use little power and make little noise

 

buying desktops just doesn't make sense any more

On the contrary. Laptops are "kind of acceptable" when you need a computer on the road. This is little surprising, since that's what they're made for, too. As compared to "no computer" they simply win. Otherwise they are overpriced and simply pathetic.

 

The difference in performance between a laptop and an equally priced desktop is not somewhere around 20% or 30%, but rather around 8-10 times. It's even more drastic with what are they called... ultrabooks, convertibles (that is, tablets with an attachable keyboard)?

My 4 year old 2.6 GHz desktop (which is already rather slow compared to its more recent brother) runs at approximately 5-6 times the speed (wall clock) as compared to my 1.8 GHz Atom convertible that costs as much as that desktop did 4 years ago.

 

And then of course those tiny screens...

 

An entirely sufficient UPS (which will give you around 20 mins) costs under 100 euros, by the way. It's not like you need UPS for 12 hours. If you're desperate on saving money, you get one for half as much money too, which is still sufficient to do a proper shutdown without data loss.

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The difference in performance between a laptop and an equally priced desktop is not somewhere around 20% or 30%, but rather around 8-10 times. It's even more drastic with what are they called... ultrabooks, convertibles (that is, tablets with an attachable keyboard)?

 

Hyperbole much?

 

Please show me how to build this as a desktop for < $200.

 

http://www.xoticpc.com/sager-np8250s-clevo-p157sm-p-5870.html

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My conclusions after 8 years of computermerizing is that any laptop with desktop-like performance is not going to really be used like a laptop because even if it weren't trying to melt the universe one direction at a time, it would be running out of battery in five minutes anyway.

 

Plus more than one monitor feels like a necessity at this point. 

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The difference in performance between a laptop and an equally priced desktop is not somewhere around 20% or 30%, but rather around 8-10 times. It's even more drastic with what are they called... ultrabooks, convertibles (that is, tablets with an attachable keyboard)?

 

Hyperbole much?

 

Please show me how to build this as a desktop for < $200.

 

http://www.xoticpc.com/sager-np8250s-clevo-p157sm-p-5870.html

 

What about that? I see "starting at $1750", not "<$200". Mind you, "starting". Not worth reading any further.

 

For $1750 you get a beast of a desktop. One that, regardless of colorful advertizing and buzzwords, performs a task in 1 second that takes 10 seconds (wall clock time) on an equally priced laptop.

 

Dude, do not try to kid me, I see this every day. My wife works home office for the Devil, and every task that I can perform "instantly" on my home desktop (which is not the most powerful nor most recent machine), no matter how trivial it is, takes 5-6 times as long. My work desktop has about 2.5-3 times the horsepower as compared to my private one.

 

Telling someone that a laptop is as good as a desktop (except for the special case of needing a computer on the road!) is as ridiculous as claiming that Windows 8 is better than Windows 7. This simply defies reality. Yes I know you work for Microsoft, no thank you, not interested in how awesome it is.

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The difference in performance between a laptop and an equally priced desktop is not somewhere around 20% or 30%, but rather around 8-10 times. It's even more drastic with what are they called... ultrabooks, convertibles (that is, tablets with an attachable keyboard)?

 

Hyperbole much?

 

Please show me how to build this as a desktop for < $200.

 

http://www.xoticpc.com/sager-np8250s-clevo-p157sm-p-5870.html

 

What about that? I see "starting at $1750", not "<$200". Mind you, "starting". Not worth reading any further.

 

For $1750 you get a beast of a desktop. One that, regardless of colorful advertizing and buzzwords, performs a task in 1 second that takes 10 seconds (wall clock time) on an equally priced laptop.

 

Oh please. You know your claim is ridiculous. The base specs include:

 

Intel® Haswell Core™ i7-4700MQ (2.4GHz - 3.4GHz, 6MB Intel® Smart Cache)
NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 780M 4,096MB PCI-Express GDDR5 DX11
16GB - DDR3 1600MHz Dual Channel Memory (2 SODIMMS)
750GB 7200RPM [Serial-ATA II 300 - 16MB Cache]
6x Blu-Ray Reader / 8x DVDRW Super Multi Combo Drive
 
You stated that the equivalent desktop would have been 8-10x cheaper, so show me how to build this for less than $200. A huge chunk of that price is the video card. If we dropped it down to a 770M instead of a 780M, you could cut $400 off the price with otherwise equivalent hardware. If we go with the 765M, we can get the same laptop for under $1k which even further destroys your ridiculous 8-10x claim.
 
I'm not saying desktops aren't cheaper for equivalent specs, I'm saying your numbers are bullshit.

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You stated that the equivalent desktop would have been 8-10x cheaper, so show me how to build this for less than $200.

This is a stupid argument but that is absolutely not what he said, at all. Not that what he actually said is accurate -- or even meaningful. It was a nonsensical claim, but you transposed "performance" and "price". He compared his desktop (presumably first gen Core) to a first gen Atom piece of junk, too.

Edited by Promit

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This is a stupid argument but that is absolutely not what he said, at all. Not that what he actually said is accurate -- or even meaningful. It was a nonsensical claim, but you transposed "performance" and "price". He compared his desktop (presumably first gen Core) to a first gen Atom piece of junk, too.

 

You're right. I read that completely wrong. 

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Regardless, claims of 20-30% and 8-10x are equally misinformed. A "typical" high-end (not enthusiast) Desktop is probably 50-100 percent faster in CPU terms and 200-400 percent faster in GPU terms. That's a pretty reasonable observation, I think. So, even if you're in the position of working on a game that targets the highest-end desktop PCs, a typical higher-end laptop still probably falls into the band of hardware you want to support, albeit at some "sane" resolution like 1080p. In fact, its quite reasonable to take the view that all that extra GPU power on a desktop is usually spent simply pushing more pixels, rather than spending 2-4x the compute resources on the same number of pixels, so the CPU disparity probably is the primary difference.

 

Of course, if you're a programmer building a huge application, you want as many of the fastest cores that you can afford, and if you're a 3D Modeler, artist, or Engine developer you want as much GPU as you can get too, and you can get more of those things in a desktop.

 

I'm in the exact opposite position as Samoth -- My 6 month old laptop is rather easily 2 or 3 times faster than my 3-year-old Overclocked desktop in every respect but graphics. The Quadro K2000M (Kepler-based, 384 cores) doesn't have nearly the same throughput as the Radeon 6990 in my desktop -- but the Quadro has the same hardware capabilities, and enough throughput to run games like borderlands at 1920x1200, with high settings at greater than 60 fps. If you choose well, a laptop won't stop you from doing anything at all, you'll just reach the finish line a little more slowly -- and without breaking the bank.

 

Comparing any "fat core" like an i-Series Processor, Core-2-duo, or even the ultra-low-end Pentium and Celeron-branded parts is unfair -- You're talking a clock-speed advantage of 1.5x minimum and 4x maxium, out-of-order execution, 2-3x more instructions in-flight, more cache, more memory bandwidth, wider SIMD. Architecturally the Atom mixes technology that was between 1 and 3 major generations old when it was introduced -- its even further behind now (the next-gen Atoms are more modern, notably they incorporate out-of-order execution for the first time, and will come in 4-core SKUs).

 

If one isn't moved by the portability argument at all, absolutely build yourself a nice desktop, but if portability is a requirement or simply a nice-to-have then you can have a "good" laptop for the price of a "really good"--but not "enthusiast"--desktop. If you can have both, more power to you.

Edited by Ravyne

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You stated that the equivalent desktop would have been 8-10x cheaper, so show me how to build this for less than $200.

This is a stupid argument but that is absolutely not what he said, at all. Not that what he actually said is accurate -- or even meaningful. It was a nonsensical claim, but you transposed "performance" and "price". He compared his desktop (presumably first gen Core) to a first gen Atom piece of junk, too.

 

a) Yes exactly.

b) No, he compared his first gen core to his latest gen Atom junk, and an entry-level second-gen core desktop to a notebook that has "core i5" printed on it in big letters.

 

In the first case, what takes one second on one takes 10 seconds on the other, and in the other case, what takes 1 second on the first takes 5 seconds on the second. No point arguing about some theoretical stats on paper if what you get out of it in real time is as telling as this. Laptop simply can't keep up with desktop (at comparable price). If launching an office program takes close to 1 minute, and if copying three pages of text over to Outlook keeps the laptop busy for 3 seconds (which is "no delay" on desktop), there's no arguing about.

 

Though as I said, performance is not what laptops are designed for either, so it's a silly endeavour in the first place. A laptop is something you can take with you, that's it first and foremost important design criterion (actually, the only important one). Buying a laptop instead of a desktop to do dekstop tasks (and more, claiming that buying a desktop does not make sense because you can instead buy a laptop) is silly. That's what I'm saying.

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Simple common sense:

 

- If you rely on your PC you need a UPS

- A 700W UPS costs £600

- Laptop has UPS built-in

 

Therefore laptop wins on price/performance IF you consider the UPS

 

Given that laptops (like my Alienware M17x) can do everything a desktop can do (multiple hard disks, multiple monitors, powerful GPU, quadcore hyperthreaded CPU)

it very rarely makes sense to buy a desktop

 

Also nobody pays the sticker price for Alienware ... you always get 15% to 25% off the website price by typing in a coupon code

 

A few years ago there was one big reason NOT to buy laptops - the GPU drivers were specific to the manufacturer

 

That is no longer the case, my drivers come direct from NVidia - so they are always up-to-date, just like a desktop

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Simple common sense:
 
- If you rely on your PC you need a UPS
- A 700W UPS costs £600
- Laptop has UPS built-in
 
Therefore laptop wins on price/performance IF you consider the UPS

 

Even with that factor, the desktop will still come out on top for price/performance, once you amortise the cost of the UPS over it's expected lifetime (a UPS will typically last several years, whereas most people upgrade their computers every 2-3 years). 

 


A few years ago there was one big reason NOT to buy laptops - the GPU drivers were specific to the manufacturer

 

Call me when they settle on a standard hardware interface so I can upgrade the gpu. 

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Simple common sense:

 

- If you rely on your PC you need a UPS

- A 700W UPS costs £600

- Laptop has UPS built-in

Not sure where you buy them, but a standard APC UPS costs between 99 and 150 euros here, depending on where you buy it and on how many Watts (anywhere from 500 to 800) you want. That's much closer to £100 than to £600.

 

Replacing the UPS battery after 3 years costs around 42.80€ at Amazon (original manufacturer parts). I could probably find them cheaper too, but at that price it's not worth wasting my time looking.

Replacing the laptop battery (again, using original manufacturer parts) costs around 120€. Of course you can get third-party laptop replacement batteries for around 40-50€, too -- but you must not compare apples and oranges.

 

Also, laptop batteries (at least the ones I've had) tend to actually break after 2 years, or after being through airport controls 6-8 times (no idea what the hell they're doing to them!). I replace my UPS batteries every 3 years because .... well, because they're 3 years old. But actually, I'm replacing them without an urgent reason. I still have to see one failing.

Edited by samoth

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I don't understand the whole UPS thing. We had like one blackout in the past 10 years here. Even if I lost 5 minutes of work (I use ctrl+s a lot), it doesn't justify paying for some special device or switch to a laptop. Can someone explain the necessity of UPS?

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