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Some advises to build a new rig.

jigebren
... as a Newt
jigebren
... as a Newt
Joined: 5 Dec 2009, 11:38 PM

5 Feb 2015, 09:56 PM #1

Splitted from the Post your hardware specs! topic.
pawer126 @ Feb 4 2015, 08:18 PM wrote:
jigebren @ Feb 4 2015, 07:36 PM wrote:If anyone is versed in current hardware market then I'm ready to take any advise though. :P
I'd be happy to advise you on a new build though. I may not have the most cutting edge tech but I do keep myself very up-to-date on what's new and powerful. Give me a budget and I can find you the parts.
Hmm, don't want to go offtopic... but thanks for the proposition (I'll split the topic if needed). You can see from my current config that I really don't aim at being on the the cutting edge, I almost never play modern games, the only reason I'd like to take a bit of care about the GFX card is that Blender needs an NVidia card with CUDA 2.0 or higher to use GPU rendering with Cycle. And as for the CPU, it's just because for a lot of tasks like compiling / compressing, the faster it goes the less time is lost waiting for a task to be finished. So I can't resign to buy a low-end one, I'd be happy with a descent i5 but when I see the price of a cpu alone... :blink:
So, I don't know if a budget between 400 & 500€ sound reasonable (without screen of course ;) ) but I just don't feel like spending much for hardware that will become obsolete in less than a couple of years. Without false modesty I consider myself a rather "power-user", but I don't really need a high end computer "to-be-proud-of" though, just something that is efficient to avoid losing time in everyday work.

What I would dream of:
CPU: the more the better but I won't pay for an i7...
RAM: More than 4GB
GFX: an NVidia card that's good for Cycle rendering in Blender
A small SSD for OS and a bigger HDD for data.
Sound card: don't care.
A tower that doesn't try to look like a Decepticon.
OS: likely Win7 with Linux dual boot.
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Alphacraft
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Joined: 18 May 2011, 01:39 AM

6 Feb 2015, 07:11 PM #2

Hmm, that is a challenge. I don't blame you for not wanting to spend a lot, but you will have to accept some compromises at that price point. I have some questions so I can find which compromises are "more acceptable" (for lack of a better term) for you:

*Are you OK with AMD processors? They may not be as fast or efficient as Intel parts on an apples-to-apples basis, but their price-performance ratio is really nice; you can get an overclockable quad-core for less than 100€, not that you're into that sort of thing ;)

*When you say bigger hard drive, is that somewhere around the 1TB range? I've seen some from Amazon.de for ~55€, but as with anything else, more capacity gives you a better value but at a higher price.

*Is Windows 7 part of the total build cost? I know some people consider only the physical hardware in the price of the build but others factor in software as well.

*Where are you willing to buy parts from? AFAIK there's no instant part comparison sites like PCPartPicker for France, and I'd rather not go digging through obscure (at least to me) sites that require a translator for me to navigate.

I'll try my best to find a good deal on 8GB of RAM, since IMO 4 just isn't enough for a new build these days, especially one for Blender. I think that for your needs, a no-frills card like the Nvidia GeForce GT 730 1GB will do, since it has CUDA 3.5 and the Blender-recommended amount of RAM for non-production use. I was thinking a 64GB Sandisk SSD for the OS, as they're generally fast and cheap. As for the case, I think the microATX form factor is fine for you since you're not going to be adding piles of add-in cards or disk drives to your rig. I've seen a lot of Zalman cases that are cheap but don't exactly meet the not-Decepticon requirement :lol:

My apologies in advance if I'm geeking out too much :P
The Obsoletist, a YouTube channel about making the most of old technology.

Formerly known as pawer126
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jigebren
... as a Newt
jigebren
... as a Newt
Joined: 5 Dec 2009, 11:38 PM

6 Feb 2015, 11:20 PM #3

Hey, thanks pawer, that's very kind from you.

I wonder about the cpu... For whatever reason I remember I had decided I'd better go with Intel. Maybe it was because at the time of launching them, i3-i5-i7 where pushed as very appropriate for intensive tasks like 3D rendering, etc. And from that day on I dreamed the life would be sweeter when I had one. ;) As I told I'm really no longer aware of the current hardware trend, neither of the actual difference of AMD compared to Intel today.

For the hdd I think I'll go for something like this one:
Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 - SATA III 6 Gb/s - 2 To
which I already own for my external hdd. I don't really need much space for the internal hdd, but a bigger one will delay the time when I'll have to buy yet another external one, so according to the best ratio price / size I'll decide which size is more appropriate, 1To or more.

>>Is Windows 7 part of the total build cost?
No, just the hardware.

>> Where are you willing to buy parts from?
That'll be a real issue, since prices are probably not the same in France actually, and I understand you're not going to check a site that sound like Chinese to you. Just for info, the most reliable sites (probably not the less expensive) I used to buy from in France are ldlc.com and materiel.net, so that's probably where I'll go.

I agree on the RAM size, 8Go sound like a reasonable choice.
So far I'm trusting you for the gfx card. I just read that it exists in several memory bus size, and that the 64bit one would not be a good option... The GDDR5 (?) would be the best of the three, but I have no idea about the consequence on the price so far.
I don't know if and SSD is actually practicable in this budget, but once again this is the kind of config I was thinking to for years, so I really have to reach that goal. :D Well, even if it costs me a little more...

You don't have to apologize for anything, I'd be the one to apologize to take your time for that. ;)
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Alphacraft
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Joined: 18 May 2011, 01:39 AM

7 Feb 2015, 02:57 AM #4

No problem! I love helping people out with tech the best I can, so you're really doing me a favor :lol:

The Core i-series debuted in late 2008, so the assertion that they were good for rendering was perfectly valid then. Not so true anymore, a whole lot changes in 6+ years. You might hear a lot of talk about "Intel CPU's are better than AMD's at everything" or maybe something a little less fanboyish, but it really depends on how you look at it. If you have a Core i5 at 3.5 GHz and an AMD Athlon X4 at 3.5 GHz, then yes, the Core i5 will stomp all over the AMD CPU. The difference is, the AMD CPU isn't meant to compete with an i5. The 3.7 GHz Athlon X4 860K http://www.materiel.net/processeur-sock ... 107788.htm) will cost you 78€, while the 3.1 GHz Core i5 4440 http://www.ldlc.com/fiche/PB00152678.html goes for 178€, more than double the price. The i5 is faster for most things, but it's not twice as fast. Plus, Blender uses all the processing cores it can, so the cheaper AMD option will be quite close in performance to the i5. Ultimately the decision is up to you, but from my point of view it makes no sense to pay more than double when Blender can make the most of an AMD processor.

As for the hard drive, the best price on those two sites for a 1TB drive is this Toshiba for 54€: http://www.ldlc.com/fiche/PB00134399.html. Moving up to 2TB, the price increases to 75€ http://www.ldlc.com/fiche/PB00152552.html and again to 95€ at 3TB http://www.ldlc.com/fiche/PB00152553.html. Anything above that is a worse deal. These are all pretty average drives, which is all you need.

I can't recommend cheaping out on the RAM; good RAM is a necessity in my mind, having learned the hard way how important it is ;) For 81€ you can get this high-speed, high-quality kit, and I can say that since my uncle used the same RAM (albeit at a slower speed) in his video editing/encoding machine, and it's performed admirably. http://www.materiel.net/barrette-memoir ... 72625.html

The GFX card is a bit trickier to pick out. I haven't come across many specific recommendations, and the GT 730 I suggested might not be enough in retrospect considering that some Intel graphics processors are actually faster. If you're feeling paranoid about performance, the GTX 960 is brand new and a really nice card, but I doubt you'll accept the 200€ price tag. http://www.materiel.net/carte-graphique ... 12399.html The 109€ GTX 750 is a lot more reasonable, and still a good rendering GPU. http://www.materiel.net/carte-graphique ... 00403.html. If that's still too expensive, the GDDR5 GT 730 is as low as I'd feel comfortable recommending you to go, at 56€ http://www.materiel.net/carte-graphique ... 05724.html.

If you want to splurge on an SSD (and you should, they're fantastic even on old computers that severely bottleneck the transfer speeds), a 120GB won't cost too much more than a 60/64GB model, and it will offer very fast (450MB/s) transfer speeds and some nice breathing room for dual-booting for 58€. http://www.materiel.net/disque-ssd/king ... 87611.html.

Now for the case. This one goes for 23€, but it's not particularly durable and the inside looks very dated, not that that's a huge issue :lol: http://www.materiel.net/mini-boitier-pc ... 84150.html You might have better airflow and a better looking rig with this one for 30€ http://www.materiel.net/boitier-pc/ante ... 10506.html.

We haven't discussed the power supply or motherboard, so I'll assume you want something along the lines of "just enough to make the other parts perform at their best."

There's a great deal on this Gigabyte mobo http://www.materiel.net/cartes-meres-so ... 95881.html, 49€. It has the best chipset in its class so this is a very good price.

With the best parts I have listed in each category, you're looking at a power draw of about 310W max, so you'll want at least a 400W power supply, and more is great. This one's highly rated and doesn't cost too much, coming in at 48€: http://www.ldlc.com/fiche/PB00105016.html. I wouldn't run this PSU with a GTX 960 and an overclocked processor, but for one of the less lofty configurations it'll get the job done.

I don't know if you need a Blu-ray/DVD drive or not, so I'll let you handle that ;)

With these "blueprints", if you will, you're looking at a total cost of 389€ for the basic configuration (1TB hard drive, GT 730, no SSD, cheapo case) and 639€ for the premium (3TB drive, SSD, GTX 960, better case), plus another 100 if you really want an i5. These prices don't include shipping charges; I'm willing to find the parts, but I'm not figuring out shipping! :P All told, I think you'll be very happy with any combination of these parts. You might want to throw in a few case fans just for good measure, as good airflow will let the processor use its boost function more when needed.
The Obsoletist, a YouTube channel about making the most of old technology.

Formerly known as pawer126
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jigebren
... as a Newt
jigebren
... as a Newt
Joined: 5 Dec 2009, 11:38 PM

7 Feb 2015, 07:06 PM #5

I really didn't expect my call to be answered that fast, and with such efficiency. :)
Well, I'm really grateful for the work you've done, pawer... And you even took care to check each part on French websites, I couldn't have asked for more.
Unfortunately I've been too busy "in real life" today to check anything a bit deeper, but from a quick preview it already looks really promising.
I'll get back to you with a few questions / comments quite soon I think.
:cheers:
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revolting
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revolting
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Joined: 27 Sep 2013, 08:01 AM

8 Feb 2015, 07:47 PM #6

That's wise Jig "For example, who of you wanting to build a tower does not first sit down and calculate the expense to see if he has enough to complete it?", Keep it up dude :)
AKA geceb
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jigebren
... as a Newt
jigebren
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Joined: 5 Dec 2009, 11:38 PM

13 Feb 2015, 11:54 PM #7

Sorry for answering so late pawer, don't know why I always feel like postponing when it comes to checking hardware website. :rolleyes:

So though I'm actually rather happy with the suggested config, I still have a few concerns.

1) You almost convinced me to go with AMD, I read some rather bad reviews about this one (but personally I'm a bit wary of guys that spend their days running benchmarks...) and I've seen another chart where it was shown as providing the best value for money at the same time.
(In any cases it's likely to be so much better than my current cpu that I think I can only be happy with it.)

I noticed that the MB has an integrated graphic chipset, which I believed could have been nice eg. for dual screen, or simply to create a similar rig without buying a dedicated gfx card (I have in mind to build the same rig for my father but he clearly has no need for a dedicated gfx).
But if I'm not mistaken, I also noticed it just won't work with this AMD cpu, will it?

2) So, is it a good choice to take a MB with an integrated gfx if the cpu don't support it, or conversely, is it a good choice the take a cpu that won't enable the gfx on the MB?

The first 23€ case is so dated it's no longer sold... ;) The second one would be ok, but seems a bit bigger.
3) If the MB is a Micro-ATX, it may be a better choice to have a case that support on Micro-ATX, not ATX (which I suppose make the case bigger), don't you think?
4) Second point I'm worrying about, this one only has plugs for USB 2. Don't know then where I'm supposed to connect the USB 3 ports of the MB?
I think I could spend a bit much than 30€ for the case BTW...
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Alphacraft
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Joined: 18 May 2011, 01:39 AM

14 Feb 2015, 01:28 AM #8

Haha, no worries, I totally understand.

1. I've found that reviews of the 860K are about 95% positive when you don't consider the people who didn't do their research beforehand (they needed to update their MB's BIOS first). Well-maintained CPU's are usually the most reliable parts in a PC, and it's quite rare to get a dead one out of the box. But you're right, the price-performance is simply fantastic (more on that below).

2. Marketing confusion strikes again. The MB doesn't actually have iGFX. What you're seeing is support for iGFX that are included in the A4/A6/A8/A10 series of APU's. When you have an APU (accelerated processing unit), you get to have both an AMD CPU and GPU on the same chip, in which case you'd use the onboard video outputs to hook up to your monitor. With a proc like the 860K, the iGFX are disabled from the factory and price is reduced accordingly, which is why discrete graphics are necessary and the price-performance is so good. So really, any motherboard that accepts an APU has support for iGFX but you can only use them if you have an APU that has them included. In your case, it's a moot point anyway since discrete GFX are non-negotiable. I hope I worded that correctly :unsure:

3. I'm glad the 23€ case isn't available, it's fugly :lol: Either microATX or ATX will work, but you're right, microATX is smaller. The only point where it becomes an issue is if you're considering an upgrade to an ATX MB down the road (not likely :P ) or if you're paranoid about airflow (bigger case, more airflow options). I would go for a microATX case myself, since I have both sizes and I prefer the smaller size, even though building the PC is a little more of a challenge for my clumsy fingers.

4. That was an oversight on my part. USB 3 on the case is really handy, and you've done yourself a huge favor by not blindly trusting my choice of case :lol: If you like the blue accent, look at this one: http://www.materiel.net/mini-boitier-pc ... 86141.html. If not, try this: http://www.materiel.net/boitier-pc/silv ... 97897.html. I don't know what your tastes in case design are, so go ahead and look at as many cases as you have the time or patience for.
The Obsoletist, a YouTube channel about making the most of old technology.

Formerly known as pawer126
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