Desktop PC Purchase Advice

SpoonTech

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Joined
Jan 19, 2011
Messages
360
Hi All, I am looking at building a new Desktop PC. I apologise for not using the PC build thread. I felt that this post was of a substantial enough nature not to add it to page 43 of the PC build thread, and its outcomes may be useful to those in the market for a new Desktop.

A bit of info about my use:
  • I do not game much, although there hasn't really been the option as I have been using Mac OS X and Mint for the last two years. I do not plan to game much, so top end gaming performance is not required.
  • I will be using the computer for graphics intensive work which requires a lot of RAM, for Adobe Premiere Pro, Photoshop etc. CUDA support for rendering is an absolute must
  • I am looking for excellent responsiveness in general use system wide.
  • I will run windows 8 on the machine, with a virtualized Ubuntu/Linux Mint running. The virtual machine will be allocated 4GB of RAM, and will need to run almost all the time without slowing down the system too much. (For example, I should be able to edit videos while the VM is running a minimal processing load.
  • I will be running some CPU intensive serial and parallel C++ code for machine learning, image processing, and object detection on a fairly regular basis.
  • I am a hoarder of open browser tabs and apps. I keep tabs I am currently using open, sometimes for up to 3 days. For example, at the moment I am running one chrome window with 26 tab, while running Word, Excel, Acrobat Reader with 4 PDF's, Terminal, iTunes, Activity Monitor, Safari and Photoshop, amongst one or two other things.
  • I have not overclocked a system in five years, and do not plan on it, unless there is the option I may overclock it to get more speed for image processing software.
  • I will be using 2 x 24" Samsung Monitors which have DVI and HDMI inputs, both should be running at 1920 x 1080 without a problem for normal tasks. For things like gaming, one monitor is fine.

My current plan is to buy this system:
Intel Core i5 Haswell 4570 3.2 GHz - R1949 OR Intel Core i5 Haswell 4430 3.0Ghz
Gigabyte GA-B87M-HD3 - R1299 OR Gigabyte GA-B85M-HD3 - R949 OR
2 x 8GB Kingston ValueRam DDR3-1333 MHz - R650 each
1 x Seagate Barracuda 7200 RPM 2TB - R899
1 x 128GB OCZ/Sandisk SSD + Bracket - R1199
1 x Basic Tower Chassis with 500W PSU - R279

Gigabyte nVidia GeForce GT640 GV - R1099 OR
Gigabyte nVidia GeForce GTX650 - R1749 OR
Asus nVidia GeForce GTX650-DC-1GD5 - R1299 OR
MSI nVidia GeForce GTX-650 - R1399
MSI nVidia GeForce GT-640 - R959

The total cost is currently below R8k, it would be nice to get a way with a good system like this at this price. I can go to R8.5k at a push. I would like to go the SSD route, but I hope the SSD will be big enough. I cannot afford a 256GB SSD until their price drops which is doubtful with the current exchange rate trend. Would run it at 30GB for Linux and 98GB for Windows or somewhere around there.

Questions
1) Do you think the 3.2 GHz is worth it over the 3.0 Ghz Haswell, the cost difference is not too large, but I will seldom bother about an extra 6% time wise when the CPU is maxing out.
2) I have convinced myself to go with LGA1150 and Haswell instead of Ivy Bridge, am I correct in paying the extra money?
3) Is a basic 500W PSU that comes with a basic chassis for R270 robust enough, I notice that Corsair and CoolerMaster etc. etc. sell PSU's at a much higher price bracket for that size.
4) Is a 500W supply adequate for those specs?
5) What would the standby power draw be on a machine like this. My N40L Microserver uses between 40 and 65W, with a GeForce GT610?
6) Which of the graphics cards would you recommend for my use case? I am looking into Gigabyte Mobo's.
7) I am a bit out of date with hardware, is it still okay to mix and match brands of Mobo, GPU, or would it be preferable to stick with one brand for both. The MSI GPU's seem to be much more reasonable in price.
8) Its been 6 years since I bought a motherboard, and the spec lists go over my head. Are these boards I've suggested adequate for my needs or would you suggest a lower/higher spec. (I would like at least 2 USB3.0 Ports for future proofing)
 

Chris14

Expert Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2013
Messages
1,039
here is my opinions to your questions
1) it seems is under R200 more so maybe worth it
2) seems correct
3) I doubt 500w psu is enough. so be safe go for 600w plus.
4) see above
5) Not sure, but the supplier should confirm if the PSU is sufficient etc
6) I think those Gigabyte Graphics cards prices u mentioned above is a rip-off. perhaps don't need the top of range ones as you mentioned.
7) If you buy them all from one supplier. Perhaps Rectron then they can help in terms of warranty etc
8) Gigabyte Brands are good.

My questions:
Where are you based?
Where are you buying these from?
 

ponder

Honorary Master
Joined
Jan 22, 2005
Messages
86,407
For what you are doing it sounds like you want more than 4 cores and more than 16GB of RAM.
 

MickZA

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Jan 19, 2007
Messages
7,575
Is a basic 500W PSU that comes with a basic chassis for R270 robust enough, I notice that Corsair and CoolerMaster etc. etc. sell PSU's at a much higher price bracket for that size.
That's not going to be a nice combo to install your build in. I'd budget at least R600 for a decent chassis & PSU.
 

Electric

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Joined
Jul 22, 2013
Messages
14,228
Graphics intensive work will require something other than a gaming card.
I work with cad and use a Quadro fx4600 which is going for about $2000.
 

SpoonTech

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Joined
Jan 19, 2011
Messages
360
Thanks for your answers.

Where are you based?
Cape Town

Where are you buying these from?
Through a friend, from Esquire for some components, and elsewhere for others I think.

For what you are doing it sounds like you want more than 4 cores and more than 16GB of RAM.
I don't think so. I will not be doing the computationally intensive stuff all the time, and if its things where I can leave it running unattended I do not care if it takes 10 days vs. 12 days. when the cost difference is quite big at my current budget.

That's not going to be a nice combo to install your build in. I'd budget at least R600 for a decent chassis & PSU.
I had a feeling about this. I do not need a chassis with alien faces, bright lights and transparent ports. I would like a chassis that is not too loud or affected by vibration of fans, disks etc. too much. Can you point me to a chassis/CPU which you think is suitable? I am not really willing to put down R1k on a chassis and PSU if I can avoid it.

Graphics intensive work will require something other than a gaming card.
I work with cad and use a Quadro fx4600 which is going for about $2000.

I would agree with you to an extent, but I'm not doing any intense 3D shading or rendering etc. Just fairly basic video editing of all my GoPro footage and shots from my SLR.

Its kind of like saying, I need to get to work fast and looking at buying a 1600 Polo over a 1 litre Yaris, yet you are advising me to buy a Helicopter
 

CataclysmZA

Executive Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2010
Messages
5,109
Questions
1) Do you think the 3.2 GHz is worth it over the 3.0 Ghz Haswell, the cost difference is not too large, but I will seldom bother about an extra 6% time wise when the CPU is maxing out.

If you're limiting yourself to just those two, yes. Mainly because the i5-4570 boosts to 3.6GHz, whereas the i5-4430 will only go to 3.2GHz. Considering your use-case, I'd recommend looking at the Core i7-4770 instead, although that may also necessitate a further R400 to slap on a decent air cooler. The stock one runs fine for most people.

2) I have convinced myself to go with LGA1150 and Haswell instead of Ivy Bridge, am I correct in paying the extra money?

Haswell stuff is dropping in price and right now they're about even. An equivalent Ivy and Haswell processor will perform within 5% of each other, but Haswell chips will stay at their Turbo Boost speeds for slightly longer. If you're paying under R2k for the Core i5-4570, I'd say go for it.

I see you're stuck about motherboard choice. I'd go with the H87M-D3H. If you're okay with a ATX-sized board, the G1.Sniper B85 is good value for money.

3) Is a basic 500W PSU that comes with a basic chassis for R270 robust enough, I notice that Corsair and CoolerMaster etc. etc. sell PSU's at a much higher price bracket for that size.

Its rather iffy and if its a Haswell system, I wouldn't chance it. Look at the Cooler Master Elite 344 or the Elite 311 if you're strapped for cash. A Gigabyte PoweRock AX400 or a Corsair VS450 would be fine for your system and neither of them will blow up either.

4) Is a 500W supply adequate for those specs?

Its overkill, to be honest. You don't need one, at least not until you decide to run a GTX660 or something like that.

5) What would the standby power draw be on a machine like this. My N40L Microserver uses between 40 and 65W, with a GeForce GT610?

It'll be under the Microserver's idle wattage. With just the processor, under 40W. With a discrete GPU like the ones listed above, about 60W at idle. At load, you're looking at no more than 180W with a quad-core and discrete graphics, maybe pushing 220W with a Core i7 if you're doing something silly like OCCT testing.

6) Which of the graphics cards would you recommend for my use case? I am looking into Gigabyte Mobo's.

If you're sticking to Nvidia, a GTX650, but only if it packs GDDR5 RAM. If its just for multi-monitor and basic CUDA capability, even a GT630 will be fine.

7) I am a bit out of date with hardware, is it still okay to mix and match brands of Mobo, GPU, or would it be preferable to stick with one brand for both. The MSI GPU's seem to be much more reasonable in price.

Yeah, there's no incompatibility issues today and you can mix and match at will. MSI makes great GPUs and motherboards as well. They're also the only manufacturer that actively tries to match the designs of their products so that everything looks good.

8) Its been 6 years since I bought a motherboard, and the spec lists go over my head. Are these boards I've suggested adequate for my needs or would you suggest a lower/higher spec. (I would like at least 2 USB3.0 Ports for future proofing)

H81, H87, B85 and P85 are all low-budget chipsets and as such don't have all the bells and whistles. USB 3.0 will be relegated to the back of the chassis, at the very least. I would, in any case, recommend a powered USB 3.0 hub to mitigate any issues and make reaching for those ports a little easier, but that's my personal preference.
 

SpoonTech

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Joined
Jan 19, 2011
Messages
360
Wesley, thanks for the detailed advice. Much appreciated.

Would there be any reason to choose the ATX G1.Sniper B85, I would have to get the Sniper from a retailer?

Chassis:

Aerocool VS-92 Black Window Edition
http://www.aerocool.com.tw/pgs/pgs-v/807.html

Power Supplies:

Thermaltake Litepower Power Supply - 450W @ R288.00
http://www.sybaritic.co.za/store/product_info.php?products_id=70318

Gigabyte PoweRock EX Power Supply - 400W
http://www.sybaritic.co.za/store/product_info.php?products_id=107370

http://www.esquire-shop.co.za/ProductDescription.aspx?id=1621351
http://www.esquire-shop.co.za/ProductDescription.aspx?id=1621351

Combined Units:

Superchannel Micro Tower Chassis - 450W - Black @ R341.00
http://www.sybaritic.co.za/store/product_info.php?cPath=50_51&products_id=39991&language=kr

Cooler Master RC-332 Elite 332 Mid Tower Chassis - Black - 350W
http://www.sybaritic.co.za/store/product_info.php?cPath=50_51&products_id=17474

UniQue Midi Tower 450W PSU Black Retail Box 1
http://www.esquire-shop.co.za/ProductDescription.aspx?id=1294812

Any opinions here brandwise?

I'm going with the MSI GTX650, the 3.2 GHz Haswell, 16GB Ram, 2 x DVD Writers I already have.
I already have an old barebones gigabyte chassis I could use, but cooling may be a problem.
Going with the GB-H87M-H3D motherboard, the SSD and 2TB Seagate.
 

Electric

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Joined
Jul 22, 2013
Messages
14,228
I would agree with you to an extent, but I'm not doing any intense 3D shading or rendering etc. Just fairly basic video editing of all my GoPro footage and shots from my SLR.

Its kind of like saying, I need to get to work fast and looking at buying a 1600 Polo over a 1 litre Yaris, yet you are advising me to buy a Helicopter

I clearly misinterpreted your statement;

I will be using the computer for graphics intensive work which requires a lot of RAM, for Adobe Premiere Pro, Photoshop etc.

I still don't think a gaming card is ideal but if that's your choice then it shouldn't be a major issue.
 

SpoonTech

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2011
Messages
360
I clearly misinterpreted your statement;

I will be using the computer for graphics intensive work which requires a lot of RAM, for Adobe Premiere Pro, Photoshop etc.

I still don't think a gaming card is ideal but if that's your choice then it shouldn't be a major issue.

I may have misused the term 'graphics intensive', however the use of Mercury and CUDA in Adobe Premiere Pro rapidly speeds up some of the processes. I do not use any CAD packages at the moment that would require the Quadro in my opinion. The increased number of CUDA cores would help for parallel software, however I will not be running this particularly often so I don't mind the performance loss there.

Based on my own personal experience: if you're performing edits, effects, and scaling in such a way that the GPU can be used, then the GTX570 is literally twice as fast as the Quadro 4K. I actually started with a Quadro 4K, and then moved to a 570. My export times were cut in half when I made the move.

There are specific reasons to use Quadros, like if you use 10-bit displays and whatnot. Otherwise, pass on them. The 'gaming' level GTX cards are going to be faster for the vast majority of tasks.

The above quote is from the Adobe forums. In addition, my budget for the whole system is R8.5k, and therefore a Quaddro is a bit out of range (apart from maybe the Quadro 300).
 
Last edited:

Electric

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Jul 22, 2013
Messages
14,228
I agree.
The quadro is more geared towards line work.

I am not as clued up on gaming cards for graphics use.
I have always used a gaming card at home with great success.

I think you could also get away with a larger ssd at a slightly higher price.
 
Last edited:

CataclysmZA

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Apr 1, 2010
Messages
5,109
Would there be any reason to choose the ATX G1.Sniper B85, I would have to get the Sniper from a retailer?

The build quality is significantly better than regular B85 boards and the layout is well done. It also has a slightly tweaked audio setup, better capacitor choices and integrated Intel Gigabit LAN. Very solid little board, that one, but its a pity that Gigabyte don't make a mATX version of that. Also, I think it's cheaper than the MSI PC Mate boards, which are good but not nearly as impressive.

Chassis:

Aerocool VS-92 Black Window Edition
http://www.aerocool.com.tw/pgs/pgs-v/807.html

Power Supplies:

Gigabyte PoweRock EX Power Supply - 400W
http://www.sybaritic.co.za/store/product_info.php?products_id=107370

That combination there is pretty good. The 12v 4-pin cable to the CPU might not belong enough to reach all the way around the board if you're trying to keep things clean inside, but you can get extensions for it later. The Elite 332 combo you were looking at was also a good choice, but it lacks USB 3.0 ports in the front, which you'll have to buy an adapter for (pretty cheap, those things).

Your old chassis may be fine, so long as you can fit in a 120mm fan to the front and back of the chassis, the front one pulling in cool air, with the rear one sucking out excess heat.
 
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