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Thread: New build advice
07-09-2013, 06:40 PM #1
New build advice
I'm helping my brother put together a new PC. I have a rough outline of the components I'm looking at, but I'd like advice on specifics, especially finding a decent cheap case and motherboard. He's upgrading from an aging laptop and budget is fairly tight at £600 as it needs to cover everything except a monitor. It's primary use is going to be for video and photo editing so a decent CPU is higher priority than the graphics card, though he will be using it for gaming too.
CPU: Looking at an i5 4570 for £155. From the benchmarks I can find its significantly better than anything AMD offer at that price. Not convinced its worth paying £25 extra for the option to overclock with a 4670K, as that likely means buying a 3rd party cooler and possibly a more expensive case on top.
Motherboard: Not sure here. Needs 4 RAM slots so that rules out a lot of cheaper mATX boards. Not really concerned with overclocking ability and he's unlikely to ever be using multiple graphics cards. A Firewire port would be nice but not essential. Estimating £70-90.
RAM: I really think 2x 4GB sticks is the minimum here as video editing is RAM-hungry. On the other hand its very easy to upgrade later. Will look around for whatever seems like the best value when we purchase. Looks like around £50 for 8GB.
Graphics: Some variant of the Geforce 650, around £80-100. Looks like it offers similar performance to my GTX460 which should be fine for now, maybe even go for a cheaper one as its another easy upgrade. Also runs cool and doesn't draw much power, which is good.
Case and PSU: I'm estimating £100 for both, though we haven't picked specific models yet. I'm aware of the need for a decent quality PSU, probably £60 for a 500-600W model from a decent brand. Not sure about getting a case for £40, might be able to spend a bit more if it's worth it. Anyone have suggestions there?
Hard Drive: 1TB should be around £50. SSD would be nice but I don't think it's practical within the budget.
Windows: I know XP could be installed on 3 machines with a retail copy155, is that still true for 7? I have a retail version of Home Premium, if we have to buy it, it looks like another £70.
KB & Mouse: Nothing fancy, a £20 bundle should be fine.
That all works out at around £600 if we need to buy Windows. Priority here is getting stuff that will either last a long time or can be easily upgraded later; any suggestions to that end will be appreciated.
07-09-2013, 08:00 PM #2
AMD CPUs are quite good for video editing and the like, though it does depend on what programs are used. The problem with AMD is that singlethreaded performance is lacking, and they make up for it with more cores for the same price. That doesn't help in software that is unable to utilize more cores, and that often includes games. Which is why Intel is often preferred for gaming.
You could save some money with an AMD CPU, freeing up some room for a good motherboard and CPU cooler, and perhaps a better graphics card. The GTX 650 is kinda bad value. Paying a little more gets you quite a good boost in performance. Or if you stay at the low end, you could at least go AMD instead. Nvidia don't really seem to care about the low end, so AMD usually offers better value there. And that's still the case - the 7750 is pretty much just as fast as the 650, but cheaper. The 7770 is considerably faster without costing too much more. From the 7790 and 650 Ti up, they more or less match each other every step of the way (apart from the 780 and Titan, for which AMD has no equivalent).
07-09-2013, 09:30 PM #3
Will take another look at benchmarks - I think it was the FX-8350 I looked at for £150 and it seemed to benchmark consistently slower than various i5s even for stuff like video encoding despite having 8 cores. 7750 and 7770 also appeared to be slower than the 650 for about the same price.
07-09-2013, 09:51 PM #4
Here's the conclusion re. the GTX 650:
As for the CPUs it depends on what program you use. If it's well threaded, the FX-8350 is pretty close to the much more expensive Core i7s. If it's poorly threaded... even Core i3s are faster.
07-09-2013, 10:51 PM #5
Ah, confusion between the 650 and 650Ti on my part. I can see some 650Tis for under £100 but I'll have another look at the AMD cards too.
08-09-2013, 01:02 AM #6
The HD7850 isn't much more expensive, but a bit faster than the 650 Ti Boost. The normal 650 isn't really worth it IMO, especially not if you're also getting the 4570 cpu.
08-09-2013, 09:50 AM #7
7850 is still probably most cost effective bang for buck gpu you can buy today. not to mention its second to none oc potential
08-09-2013, 12:43 PM #8
You can get the 7790 and 650 Ti for around £95, while the 7850 and 650 Ti Boost start at about £120. Not really better value. They're faster, but not MUCH faster.
Here's another graph, in this case the 7790 ends up a bit ahead of the 650 Ti, but the 7850 and 650 Ti Boost are effectively tied:
08-09-2013, 01:55 PM #9
As far as benchmarks go, can I take the 4570 to be around the same as a non-overclocked 3570K? Some of the charts I'm looking at don't include the 4570 yet.
I'm still undecided on the AMD CPUs. Tomshardware's benchmarks place the FX-8350 as high as the i7s for video stuff, but on bit-tech it doesn't come out looking anywhere near as good. It also scores significantly lower for gaming performance in both sets of benchmarks, and seems to draw a hell of a lot of power under load. Some of the cheaper AMD CPUs do offer good value for money, but the CPU is the main area I'd really prefer not to compromise on too much, as it's more awkward to upgrade later.
08-09-2013, 02:40 PM #10
It runs 200 MHz slower but does 5-10% better per clock cycle. So they end up pretty closely matched.
AMD processors do draw a lot more power, and their performance varies a lot depending on whether the program or game is well-threaded or not. Intel is more predictable.
09-09-2013, 08:03 PM #11
Revised build, looking at spending a bit more on the case and PSU and saving some on the graphics card, though I'll be seeing my brother later this week to find out what he thinks about that. Personally I prefer a good quality case that will last longer than the rest of the components.
Case: Corsair 200R
PSU: Seasonic S12II 620W
CPU: i5 4570
Graphics: Radeon HD7770
Motherboard: still haven't picked one. Is there any good reason not to go with the cheapest board that offers the features we want? I've budgeted £90 here but may be able to save some towards a better graphics card.
Sticking with the i5, the high power use and inconsistent performance of the AMD CPUs puts me off. Even in the Premiere benchmarks they're only slightly ahead of their Intel equivalents. It's only in stuff like file compression and benchmarks specifically testing multi-core performance where the difference is significant. I've heard occasional talk of problems using AMD cards with Intel CPUs, is there anything in that?
09-09-2013, 10:17 PM #12
I had the same thought process when I bought my current case (an Antec Solo). Now I have a very old case that's in excellent condition. But I still have to replace it if I want front-panel USB3.
I wrote the above, and then I saw you were considering the 200R, which is not an expensive case. It's a great deal, I hear -- solid and at the right price.
You don't need the 620 Watts. You can run that system on a 400W PSU with room to spare, so you might be able to find a PSU that's cheaper at the same quality. Like this one, which is a rebadged Seasonic S12II 450W, but goes for 38 pounds instead of 55.
09-09-2013, 11:21 PM #13
Reasoning behind the power supply is my past experience where I had a supposedly decent quality 520W PSU that was fine when I bought the PC but turned out not to be enough 2 years later when I upgraded the graphics card. Though I also have 4 hard drives and a bunch of PCI cards that probably add up significantly despite not drawing much power individually.
Just checked out a PSU calculator for this PC and even with the planned upgrades it looks like 500W will be more than sufficient, so I'll downgrade that.
10-09-2013, 08:55 AM #14
Well, yeah. If you're planning on putting a 300W video card in there some day, 450W might be shaving it a little close.
Make sure you get a PSU made by Seasonic (which include rebadge jobs like that XFX one) or another reputable manufacturer. Reading reviews usually tells you who made which particular unit.
10-09-2013, 06:50 PM #15
I've just come across the information that not all PSUs work properly with Haswell CPUs, unfortunately including that XFX model. Any opinion on Be Quiet PSUs? That model has some good reviews, and seems to be growing in popularity for budget systems, but it's not a brand I'm familiar with.
11-09-2013, 01:43 PM #16
They don't support C6 sleep state. If you want a Seasonic which does that, you have to be prepared to put down the money.
The unit you proposed is not Haswell compliant. It is a good PSU for the price, but I would go with the XFX. It's cheaper, doesn't suffer from false advertising and is made by guys with a reputation for good PSUs.
11-09-2013, 02:14 PM #17
C6 sleep state doesn't really matter on desktops anyway, and any decent BIOS/UEFI will allow you to disable it.
11-09-2013, 03:14 PM #18
It's off by default on most motherboards anyway.
11-09-2013, 07:40 PM #19
11-09-2013, 07:47 PM #20
The manufacturer claims it is, so if the reviewer takes that at face value that could happen.
The sleep state is disabled by default on desktop motherboards (I read), so you don't have to do anything.