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corbain
20-08-2012, 08:07 PM
My mother is an avid PC gamer, but is as poor as a churchmouse who's had its benefits cut.

She's currently got my old PC featuring an AMD X2 4800+ and an ATI 1950XTX on an Asus A8N-E motherboard. All these were cracking parts in their day ,but lack the necessary muscle to run games like Skyrim and Dayz/ARMA

I've offered to upgrade her PC, but it needs to be as cheap as chips.

We can recycle the case, PSU and storage Hard disk , and i've offered to donate my AMD 5850 GFX card, as i'll be upgrading to a 7850 or possibly 7950

What i'll need to get is a Motherboard, CPU, Memory and an SSD

I've put together this little bundle and would appreciate any comments (using Novatech as there's a branch nearby, and I like having someone I can go and shout at if a part doesn't work!)

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-970A-DS3 AMD 970 (http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components/motherboards/amdam3plus970chipsetmotherboards/ga-970a-ds3.html)


(http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components/motherboards/amdam3plus970chipsetmotherboards/ga-970a-ds3.html) CPU : Phenom XII (http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components/processors/amdphenomx4/hdz965fbgmbox.html)

SSD : Samsung 830 64GB (http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components/harddrives-internal/solidstate/upto128gb/mz-7pc064deu.html)

Memory Corsair 2x4GB (http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components/memory-pc/ddr3-pc3-10666/1333mhz/cmx8gx3m2a1333c9.html)

Total cost will be 240ish which I think is pretty reasonable .

Would appreciate any suggestions or feeback. Cheers!

Tei
20-08-2012, 08:50 PM
It has to be PC?

I heard theres billion of "free" games on iOS. Why a SSD? its not that a luxury item, or that is cheap nowdays?

Good luck with this! :D

corbain
20-08-2012, 09:05 PM
Not quite sure what you're trying to say there Tei.

Yes, it has to be a PC - the games I mentioned she likes, Skyrim and DayZ, aren't on IOS.

The reason for an SSD, is that it gives such a massive overall performance boost to the PC, many people say (including myself) that for it's the best upgrade you can make. And nowdays, they are certainly a lot cheaper than they used to be.

Mohorovicic
21-08-2012, 08:31 AM
The reason for an SSD, is that it gives such a massive overall performance boost to the PC, many people say (including myself)

Didn't your mother tell you not to tell lies?

SSD only improves loading times, bootup time, and overall Windows performance. It does nothing for your FPS in-game. It is a luxury item even in a normal gaming PC.

Check http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-overclock,3106.html for the CPU. For 90 pounds you can have i3-2120, a very good Little CPU That Could, and if you drop the SSD you'll easily have enough cash for i5-2310 which is pretty much the final stop for all gaming builds. Going with Sandy Bridge will also give you a much greater selection of motherboards. Speaking of which, micro ATX boards are usually cheaper and only thing you're missing is a bunch of extra slots you'll never use anyway.

bonkers
21-08-2012, 11:13 AM
SSD only improves loading times, bootup time, and overall Windows performance. It does nothing for your FPS in-game. It is a luxury item even in a normal gaming PC.
Maybe it does not affect FPS directly but (at least in some games) it can reduce loading stutters and the like. And overall reduced loading times improve your gaming performance, just not FPS-wise ;)

But if you really want to keep costs of the setup low I would put the money into something else. 8GB of Ram for example as games like DayZ and Skyrim are some of the few games that actually benefit from more Ram. And to double your Ram it's only about 10 pounds more. So that's really not something you should save on.

Wayward
21-08-2012, 12:00 PM
I'll third Tei and Moho. The 55 you are spending on an SSD could be spent on either doubling your Ram or getting a more powerful CPU. Either way the performance improvements would be far more useful and noticeable than an SSD. They are nice to have, but they are not something you want in a 'budget' build.

As very few games come even close to taxing even a fairly basic CPU, I'd go with an increase in RAM which will affect games beyond their load screens.

corbain
21-08-2012, 12:14 PM
Didn't your mother tell you not to tell lies?

SSD only improves loading times, bootup time, and overall Windows performance. It does nothing for your FPS in-game. It is a luxury item even in a normal gaming PC.



Where did I say anything about FPS.. the boost from the SSD will be more about the overall experience - fast boot times, fast loading applications. Perhaps in the odd game (as Bonkers mentions above) there will be a reduction in loading times. ARMA 2 (and therefore DayZ) will benefit a lot from being on an SSD due to the massive open world constantly loading textures. However, I know she is always saying how her PC feels sluggish compared to the Ipad she has to use at work - an SSD would give the PC that feeling of responsiveness.

I won't be talked out of going for an SSD- at current prices it's within the budget for this upgrade ~250

I can see the value in doubling up on the RAM, it's something I will definitely bear in mind.

As far as Intel CPUs go, the i3 2100 vs the Phenon II x4 is a pretty close race, but even the cheapest intel combo would come in more expensive than the Phenom II and the motherboard i've selected.

What I DO like about the i3, is that coupled with the 1155 chipeset, it offers a much easier, cheaper and higher performance upgrade path than the AM3 socket.

corbain
21-08-2012, 12:16 PM
I'll third Tei and Moho. The 55 you are spending on an SSD could be spent on either doubling your Ram or getting a more powerful CPU. Either way the performance improvements would be far more useful and noticeable than an SSD. They are nice to have, but they are not something you want in a 'budget' build.

As very few games come even close to taxing even a fairly basic CPU, I'd go with an increase in RAM which will affect games beyond their load screens.

For an extra 10 I can double the RAM, which won't break the bank, so i'll go with that instead

http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components/memory-pc/ddr3-pc3-10666/1333mhz/cmx8gx3m2a1333c9.html

Jams O'Donnell
21-08-2012, 12:21 PM
I won't be talked out of going for an SSD- at current prices it's within the budget for this upgrade ~250

That's a shame, because if you dropped that you could get an i5 2500k for the processor (~160). Seems like a no-brainer to me.

corbain
21-08-2012, 12:29 PM
That's a shame, because if you dropped that you could get an i5 2500k for the processor (~160). Seems like a no-brainer to me.

Well I seem to be in a minority here- I was under the impression that most games were far more limited by your GFX card than your CPU these days.

Also, this isn't just about getting the most FPS - it's about making the PC as much of a joy to use as her IPAD. Fast response times, quick boot cycles and applications that pop open the moment you double click are all part of that.

I'm with Alec on this that putting in an SSD was "the single most immediately noticeable system upgrade I think I’ve ever done" (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/04/04/if-you-buy-one-pc-upgrade-this-year%E2%80%A6)

Wolfenswan
21-08-2012, 12:32 PM
That's a shame, because if you dropped that you could get an i5 2500k for the processor (~160). Seems like a no-brainer to me.

Or the i5 2550k. It's slightly better than the 2500k and I've seen it cheaper at a couple of stores here in Germany. The only thing you loose is the integrated GPU which you don't need on a dedicated gaming rig anyway.


Well I seem to be in a minority here- I was under the impression that most games were far more limited by your GFX card than your CPU these days.

You want the best CPU you can afford if she's going to play Arma2/DayZ. GPU is secondary in that case, a decent mid-range card is enough.


On SSD:
With only 64GB this might be full fast, even with only Win7 + Arma2 residing on it. If your mum's a bit tech-savvy/computer-literate this isn't much of an issue but if she isn't it could get irritating.

Also what's the case you're recycling? If it's ancienct you might consider one of the nice and cheap cases on the market, like the Bitfenix Shinobi, Fractal Designe Core 3000 or Midgard II.

PSU is nothing you want to skimp on either. It would be shame if it dies from age and takes out any components with it.

Jams O'Donnell
21-08-2012, 12:40 PM
You want the best CPU you can afford if she's going to play Arma2/DayZ. GPU is secondary in that case, a decent mid-range card is enough.
That's exactly the approach I took when I upgraded last year, and it has worked out well. A good CPU and a Radeon 6770 seem to be able to handle pretty much anything I throw at them.

Wayward
21-08-2012, 01:08 PM
I'm with Alec on this that putting in an SSD was "the single most immediately noticeable system upgrade I think I’ve ever done" (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/04/04/if-you-buy-one-pc-upgrade-this-year%E2%80%A6)

But all that article really says regarding GAMING is 'It makes them load faster' - which we're not contesting. I think, for gamers with a bit of money, they make perfect sense. You're not talking about a straight upgrade from an old hard drive like Alec was, you're talking about sacrificing your CPU and RAM to get slightly quicker load times.

Personally, I'd rather have a better gaming experience with longer load times, then a worse experience that starts quicker. How often do you really sit there staring at a loading screen these days, even on a regular drive?

Not to mention with a 64GB drive, assuming the OS is installed on it, you'll likely not get more than 4-5 games on there at once. Is your mother going to want to keep uninstalling / reinstalling / moving files around to accomodate that?

corbain
21-08-2012, 01:18 PM
On SSD:
With only 64GB this might be full fast, even with only Win7 + Arma2 residing on it. If your mum's a bit tech-savvy/computer-literate this isn't much of an issue but if she isn't it could get irritating.

Also what's the case you're recycling? If it's ancienct you might consider one of the nice and cheap cases on the market, like the Bitfenix Shinobi, Fractal Designe Core 3000 or Midgard II.

PSU is nothing you want to skimp on either. It would be shame if it dies from age and takes out any components with it.

The small size of the SSD is certainly something i'd have to bear in mind when setting it up. With some judicious use of mklink it should be fairly easy to stop it filling up. To my mind though, you've hit upon what is the weak part of this build - the SSD size not the CPU.

The PSU is a Seasonic 650W IIRC and the case is an Antec p182, both of which i'm more than happy to recycle.

Wayward- the reason for the SSD isn't to improve loading times in games. If DayZ loads a bit faster and stutters a bit less, that's a side benefit. The main reason is the make the PC feel fast, zippy and responsive on the desktop and on startup - like an Ipad. So when my mum want's to send a quick email, browse the web - she'll go to her PC and not her Apple device.

I think ultimately what i'll have to do is present both sides of this argument to her and she can decide for herself, after all it's her money. Obviously i'm slightly biased, but I think I can be objective about the arguments both ways.

I can't very well come here and ask for advice, and then ignore it when I disagree!

Mohorovicic
21-08-2012, 01:27 PM
Where did I say anything about FPS.. the boost from the SSD will be more about the overall experience - fast boot times, fast loading applications.

Well, I'm on a pretty standard 7200RPM 1GB HDD(admittely I am short-stroking it) and it takes me six seconds to open a Word file, which is about the most demanding non-game application I have.

I wouldn't pay 50GBP just to knock several seconds off of that time.

And boot time, well... you turn it on in the morning, turn it off in the evening. That's even more of a non-issue.

corbain
21-08-2012, 01:31 PM
SSD + AMD processor

Pros

- Faster boot up times, responsive desktop and applications which appear to load instantly
- Games may load quicker if installed to the SSD and may also stutter less

Cons

- Small SSD may fill up quickly and become an annoyance
- AMD3 socket has no real obvious upgrade path
- AMD CPU not as fast as intel, will potentially result in lower FPS in games

Regular hard drive + Intel processor


Pros

- CPU has better performance in games, potentially better FPS in CPU bound games
- Much better/cheaper upgrade path, no need to change Motherboard to put a substantially better CPU in the future
- greater disk space, no need to micromanage where applications are installed

cons

- slower load/boot times, PC overall less responsive.

corbain
21-08-2012, 01:33 PM
I wouldn't pay 50GBP just to knock several seconds off of that time.


It wouldn't be a case of spending 50 to knock seconds off loading/boot time.

Whichever hard drive we opt for will cost approx 50 - the question is do you value speed or space more

edit - I should mention that her current OS drive is on a 8 year old drive, and i'm not keen to recycle it, hence the need to buy a new one

corbain
21-08-2012, 01:49 PM
An alternative set up without the SSD

I3 2120 (http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components/processors/intel2ndgencorei3,i5andi71155socket/bx80623i32120.html) 89.99

MSI Z77A-G41 Intel Z77 (Socket 1155) (http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components/motherboards/intel1155z77chipsetmotherboards/z77a-g41.html) 69.98

Crucial 2*4GB Ram (http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components/memory-pc/ddr3-pc3-12800/1600mhz/bls2cp4g3d1609ds1s00ceu.html) 39.98

Seagate Barracuda 500 (http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components/harddrives-internal/sata500gbto1tb/st500dm002.html) 49.98

Total : 249.93

Finicky
21-08-2012, 06:21 PM
An SSD , in cheap as chips budget build, for PC GAMING? Are you kidding me? Now I've seen everything, talked about messed up priorities...

Cheap am3 mobo
8GB DDR3 (4GB will be just fine if you want to shave off another 20 euros)
Phenom II 955BE
Arctic freezer pro/64/II or whatever cooler, they are cheap as chips, very quiet and allow you to OC a lot.
500GB spinpoint f3

DONE.

edit: oh wow you'd use the SSD as only storage too?
The majority of that 64GB will after a while be taken up by windows alone (install, updates, page file) and SSD performance tanks if it is full.
You'd only have room to install 1 large game at a time, hell I'd bet you wouldn't be able to install some of the larger ones at all since you simply wouldn't have the space alongside windows and your program files.

It's an extremely simple equation:
-Price per GB is 10 times higher for SSDs than HDDs
-performance difference in games is zero, zilch, nothing, nada, games run from within the ram, not from your HDD. Texture streaming console textures does not saturate a modern HDD...
-a regular HDD already loads all modern games in seconds
-in the build I listed there are no bottlenecks, no inconveniences, no downsides


I can't be the only one baffled by the irony that you would spend tons of time reinstalling/redownloading games and managing disk space so you could save 10 seconds on a once a day boot up sequence and 1 second when you load up your browser, right?(chrome already loads up in 3seconds with a bunch of tabs saved here)

It's just too silly for words.

corbain
22-08-2012, 07:40 AM
Finicky, I'm well aware that SSDs cost more per GB than a regular hard disk, but as i've stated many times already in this thread the SSD isn't there to boost games performance, that would be a side benefit.

The SSD would give the PC that zippy quick feeling like an Ipad, where applications open instantly. The OS would be installed on the SSD, and most desktop applications. If there's any room, then steam mover can be used to put a couple of games on as well.

My mum has kind of fallen out of love with her PC a little, and now uses her Ipad as the go-to device for browsing, surfing etc. I'm trying to make her PC feel as responsive and quick as her Ipad.

By your argument Finicky, it would seem that SSDs are a waste of money, whatever your budget.

When I upgraded to an SSD, i can honestly say it was the best upgrade i've ever done. I put this link up earlier, but Alec really says it better.

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/04/04/if-you-buy-one-pc-upgrade-this-year%E2%80%A6/

Finicky
23-08-2012, 12:54 AM
Finicky, I'm well aware that SSDs cost more per GB than a regular hard disk, but as i've stated many times already in this thread the SSD isn't there to boost games performance, that would be a side benefit.

The SSD would give the PC that zippy quick feeling like an Ipad, where applications open instantly. The OS would be installed on the SSD, and most desktop applications. If there's any room, then steam mover can be used to put a couple of games on as well.

My mum has kind of fallen out of love with her PC a little, and now uses her Ipad as the go-to device for browsing, surfing etc. I'm trying to make her PC feel as responsive and quick as her Ipad.

By your argument Finicky, it would seem that SSDs are a waste of money, whatever your budget.

When I upgraded to an SSD, i can honestly say it was the best upgrade i've ever done. I put this link up earlier, but Alec really says it better.

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/04/04/if-you-buy-one-pc-upgrade-this-year%E2%80%A6/

Sorry for RPS isn't an authority on pc hardware... next you'll probably link a toms hardware article:p

If your pc takes that long to load programs like word or your browser (seconds for me) or explorer (instant) then perhaps your HDD is damaged , more than 85 percent full (hdd performance also tanks incredibly hard if it's full, thankfully you get 1TB of it rather than 64 GB) or full of malware and bloat or you simply have a 5400 rpm one like a WD caviar green, or an older gen one.

I've used laptops with SSDs and while certainly more snappy, the difference compared to a modern HDD is meaningless in practice.

Any non-soccermom malware infested well maintained pc with a modern 7200 RPM hdd with high platter density is already very very snappy.

The only benifit I could potentially see if when moving large files between two SSDs...

It's important to understand how windows 7 works:
It will precache all of your commonly used programs into ram during boot up, and switch out what isn't needed to make room in the background.
After the initial boot up, most of your stuff will be loading from (well rather already be in) the RAM, NOT from the HDD , when you open it, so again here HDD speed is often irrelevant after the initial boot up sequence. More ram will see a benifit here, as the more RAM windows detects the more stuff it will keep precached for you as you multitask.

Why wouldn't your mum not be WAY more put off by constantly being shy for storage space , having to uninstall games to make room for a new one and not having any space for video?

Her facebook and browsing and skype or whatever IM tool she uses and email client and steam and whatever else will be instant after the initial boot up due to how windows works, so again you are spending all this money on a tiny amount of storage just to get a faster boot sequence, faster installs (negligable amount of time spent on these) , and slightly faster loading times in games which are already super short anyhow.

Me thinks all the SSD fans just haven't used a modern high density HDD like samsung spinpoint f3 1GB (1GB version has 500GB platters and is faster than the 500GB versions)...
Or they don't know how to partition their hard drive (making your first partition the boot sector means the outside of the platter (faster reads there) is reserved for your OS and program files meaning faster boot up)
Modern HDD's are faster than the 10k rpm raptor drives from 5 years ago and faster than 2 older 7200 rpm drives in raid 0..

Well that or they have a pc full of crap and like 20 things spamming up their task bar when they first boot up. + having to rationalise having spent 100-250 euros on an SSD + forgetting what their old HDD was like after a fresh install.

Sakkura
23-08-2012, 02:43 AM
OP: Just don't buy your new graphics card before the new AMD price cuts make their way to retailers.

Also, try not to listen too much to Finicky. He seems to have some sort of personal issue with SSDs. Or he's just never heard of hard faults.

Mohorovicic
23-08-2012, 08:05 AM
Whichever hard drive we opt for will cost approx 50

I thought you wanted to recycle the "storage" HDD as the main(and only) hard drive.

If you're planning on buying a new drive either way then sure, go for the SSD.

corbain
23-08-2012, 08:14 AM
I thought you wanted to recycle the "storage" HDD as the main(and only) hard drive.

If you're planning on buying a new drive either way then sure, go for the SSD.

Yeah, the 1 TB storage hard disk would be used for bulk data, and as primary steam volume.

Again, because it's an older disk (prob around 4 yrs old) i would rather not use it as the OS drive.

Thanks for all the advice everyone. I will present the options to my mum, trying not to be biased. Honestly, I thought the main discussion here would be whether to go with Intel over AMD, not SSD vs HD- but you've given me some food for thought.

I'll update here what we went for when (if) I get the green flag.

Finicky
23-08-2012, 02:30 PM
OP: Just don't buy your new graphics card before the new AMD price cuts make their way to retailers.

Also, try not to listen too much to Finicky. He seems to have some sort of personal issue with SSDs. Or he's just never heard of hard faults.

I don't have anything against SSD's, their benifits are just hugely overstated, or rather the snappyness of a decent HDD is understated.
A modern HDD doesn't need 'fixing' it's already plenty fast enough for general use.

The size of an SSD is nice in a laptop (which usually gets a shitty 5400rpm drive anyhow) but other than that ...

edit: and now OP, you claim that you are using the old HDD afterall? You said you wouldn't be using it.
That changes things, if you can reuse the old hdd but it is unfit as boot drive (pretty rare scenario) , and considering current silly HDD price inflation then sure, knock yourself out.

Again that is not what you initially claimed though.
You yourself said you'd have to be managing 64Gb of disk space., not 1064Gb.

corbain
23-08-2012, 03:39 PM
Finicky, I did say in my original post that the storage hard disk was one of the parts being recycled, and that the new SSD or HD would only be for the OS + apps with any leftovers for the odd game.

When i talked about managing the data, i meant more in terms of moving "my documents" to the storage drive and using steam mover to manage games storage location, and generally just having to be wary of the limited space on the C drive.

Essentially there will be an approx 50 budget for a new hard drive/SSD- it comes down to a question of space vs speed

CuriousOrange
23-08-2012, 05:05 PM
Well I seem to be in a minority here- I was under the impression that most games were far more limited by your GFX card than your CPU these days.


It's as it's always been, it varies from game to game. But since I got an i5 2500k I don't ever have to worry about the cpu bottlenecking the pc. Coupled with my 6870 I get incredibly good framerates in everything I play, only occasionally having to lower settings from high.

Defo worth noting I only run at a resolution of 1680x1050.

Shooop
23-08-2012, 08:00 PM
I do hope you're keeping your HDD though. The SSD is nice, but you'll only reap any benefits from it if you're putting your OS on it. And that takes up a substantial amount of real estate - something you don't have a lot of with only 64GB.

A SSD would speed up your game load times, but that's it. There is absolutely no other advantage to having one if you're playing games.

Finicky
23-08-2012, 09:18 PM
@ corbain my bad then it was a misunderstanding on my end.
As shoop says the ssd will really only be as boot drive though , but since in your situation that is all you need (large but old and slow existing hdd) then yeah there is no harm in getting a small SSD. (until your old HDD craps out:p then you get to buy a new one)


It's as it's always been, it varies from game to game. But since I got an i5 2500k I don't ever have to worry about the cpu bottlenecking the pc. Coupled with my 6870 I get incredibly good framerates in everything I play, only occasionally having to lower settings from high.

Defo worth noting I only run at a resolution of 1680x1050.

Tbh if you happened to own an old c2q 9xxx cpu or a phenom II and matching cheap motherboard you could have gotten significantly much higher framerates (or the same framerates at much higher settings ) by buying a better GPU with the money saved from not getting an expensive intel mobo and cpu.

Bang for buck gpu's scale much higher than cpus after a certain point (any decent tri or quad core being that point)