Buying a New Computer + A Sad Story

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SavingWithBabies
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Re: Buying a New Computer + A Sad Story

Post by SavingWithBabies »

You should be able to mix and match GPU and motherboard brands without issue. The only reason I could see some advice suggesting otherwise is if someone where buying RGB (fancy lighting) enabled versions and wanted to use the same software to control both the GPU and motherboard lights. I don't do RGB and it sounds like the software for RGB is trash basically so using non-OEM software for it is better anyway so I wouldn't worry about that.

It is always better to wait but now might be better than any other time to wait for these reasons:

- GPU availability and pricing are finally going back to more normal from a severe shortage but prices are coming down to MSRP or slight sale and MSRP is jacked up (some brands are lowering MSRP)
- newest Intel CPU will use DDR5 which is very very early, expensive and slow -- early adopter tax is too high on it
- current AMD CPU offerings are fine -- the recent price drops and the release of the Ryzen 7 5800X3D make them competitive gamer-wise again (reality: everyone is GPU limited anyway once you get to certain actually nice resolutions) -- but the next generation is coming out later this year on a brand new CPU socket which means the current AM4 socket, which has been in use for quite a while, is ending but AM5 should continue support for a while too (so if you buy now, you are end of lived on the current AM4 socket motherboard, if you wait and buy AM5, you'll be able to keep the motherboard when upgrading to a newer CPU)
- it really does look like the Ethereum 2.0/merge/whatever you want to call it is actually happening sometime soon -- everyone likes to say that they keep saying that but my money is on it actually being true this time -- when that happens, the GPU market is going to implode (as it has started to) due to miners dropping out and selling used cards

As to buying mining cards, I actually think they are fine as long as the pricing is good and the seller is reputable. There is nothing inherently bad about using a GPU for mining. Silicon doesn't really wear out. Fans do. Warranties run out. I wouldn't over pay. And if I could buy a non-mining card for 10-15% more, I'd go that route.

Riggerjack
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Re: Buying a New Computer + A Sad Story

Post by Riggerjack »

Lots of good info here.

I would like to add further consideration be given to the case and power supply. The parts nobody cares about. But these are also the parts that last. I'm on my 2nd PC in this case, 3rd use of the power supply.

A large case makes everything easier: cooling, routing cables, repairs. So my PC case is huge. When I upgraded to water cooling, plenty of room for radiators and fans.

Power supplies come in "quality bands" for how efficiently they produce power. Bronze/Silver/Gold type marketing. This is a big hit for heat (who wants to remove the heat introduced by a cheap power supply with active heat dissipation?) and long term operation costs. When I last bought a power supply, I overspent. I have no regrets.

In a few years, when it's time to upgrade again, I'll keep the old case and power supply; and add new components, again. The ATX form factor has been stable for a long time now, I expect it to continue into the future.

zbigi
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Re: Buying a New Computer + A Sad Story

Post by zbigi »

SavingWithBabies wrote:
Tue Apr 12, 2022 3:59 pm
There is nothing inherently bad about using a GPU for mining. Silicon doesn't really wear out. Fans do.
Also, solders from thermal cycling (as Sclass pointed out in another thread)? Although there might be not that much cycling if the machine is running 24/7 :)

basuragomi
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Re: Buying a New Computer + A Sad Story

Post by basuragomi »

Electromigration is a concern for chips that have been overclocked or otherwise thrashed about power-wise, mining GPUs are likely to experience both.

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Re: Buying a New Computer + A Sad Story

Post by jacob »

@Jean - I flew Thrustmaster HOTAS (FLCS+TQS) back in the '90s. I had a 100MHz PentiumIII (paid about $2200---I worked months to save for that) and 20fps+ was considered pretty good back then. The argument was that anything above 25fps appeared continuous to the human eye anyway. (PAL TV updates at 25fps). Kids these days talk about 60fps+. To me that's just mindblowing... is it even possible to see the difference---like your comment on the difference between 1080 and 4k. I mean, I still watch youtube at 360p. I think it's easier to "go forward" so pretty much anything will likely look astounding to me given my 20 year gaming hiatus. I tried "going back" a few times, e.g. booting up a C64 or an 8MHz AT PC ... and it was almost impossible to comprehend how this (a resolution of 320x200, say) once looked quite acceptable. I figure [the lack of] hedonic adaption will work in my favor.

Anyhoo, I'm more likely to spend my time nerding out over complicated flight systems (see e.g. https://chucks-guide.nyc3.digitaloceans ... 0Guide.pdf ) and spending 10 mins doing ramp starts than marveling at the cinematic qualities of the rendering, so I plan to direct at least 1/3 of the "budget" towards building a desk-cockpit with HOTAS, pedals, and possibly MFDs. (MFDs are the multifunction displays, as seen in "modern" glass cockpits).

Insofar this gets out of hand, we do happen to have (that is, we could rearrange the existing screen park) one 27" screen in the center and two 23" to the sides + two USB driving 7" screens for the MFDs.

I'm definitely concerned about paying for [computer] features that I'll eventually realize that I never needed in the first place. I think therein lies the challenge of starting any new tool/skill-set. I'm basically a WL1-2 kind of gamer. Copying and Comparing and Compiling [context-free] notes... no clue about evaluating the various merits of different systems. I have noticed that some of the flightsimmers I'm following on youtube are using off the rack systems, so maybe this is a clue [to me] that I'm overthinking this.

@zbigi - Yes, this [kind of gaming] is distinctly anti-ERE for all kinds of reasons. The activity wastes money through depreciation like no tomorrow, it has no transferable skills, the skill development is hardly anything that's useful to the community or the world; it's neither tradable, nor does it save or potentially earn money to the level I suspect I'll pursue it. But ... I think it'll be fun [to me] even if it's not very meaningful at all. At this point a setup would cost me maybe 0.25% of my NW. That's pretty cheap as far as midlife crisis goes. I'm less concerned about the actual price than I am about the value I'm getting (cf. not wanting to pay $10 for a cup of coffee).

@Fish/Riggerjack/SWB - One potential concern is that in the summer, this room will easily hit 85F+(30C+). Is this something I should be concerned about? It seems that these days everything comes with a large number of large fans. Another thing I like about my current setup (intel nuc + 19" screen) is that the power draw is so low (20-40W) that I can just leave everything on all the time w/o detecting it in the electricity bill. The wiring in this house is old enough to trip the curcuit breaker if I run the microwave and the blender at the same time. If a gaming PC really eats 750W, it begins to get sketchy to run two on the same 15A circuit. This house only has TWO circuits for ALL the wall outlets in the entire house :shock:

I've definitely noticed the LED circus. This seems to be something some care a lot about. I suppose it's the cheaper version of putting aluminum rims or other bling on a car. I don't care about it at all. You should see my road bike + cycling outfit---color-coordinated it is not. I plan to keep the computer under the table.

I do not plan on overclocking. I'm not pursuing the "latest and greatest" cinematic experience (see my answer to @Jean above). My tendency with computers has been to "use them up and out", possibly doing some palliative care near the end (new battery, new OS, ...) rather than "riding" the technology wave and upgrading along the way. I'm too lazy to do that.

Scott 2
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Re: Buying a New Computer + A Sad Story

Post by Scott 2 »

Is a cloud gaming approach viable for this need?

https://www.ign.com/articles/flight-sim ... e-playable

I was always impressed by the ingenuity flight/racing enthusiasts put into physical builds around the PC. I can only describe that work as skillful. Maybe even ERE compatible. Not when someone buys a kit, but when they construct it from raw materials.

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Slevin
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Re: Buying a New Computer + A Sad Story

Post by Slevin »

+2 to the cloud gaming approach.

My buddies and I did a calc back at the beginning of lockdowns on payback time of cloud gaming using NVIDIA's service (which was costing maybe, $5 a month or something due to being new). For what you got back, even at $20-30/ month (and if you weren't playing an ultra ping-dependent game) it never ever made sense to buy the actual hardware due to deprecation costs, etc. And that was before the insane inflation of GPUs. Basically, you can offload the depreciation costs and increased electricity costs to a server farm, and what you need instead is a fairly good and stable internet connection. Since we are all working in tech from home, we all had one of those anyways. 2 of my buddies (not me) would regularly game using the streaming service, and over the course of the year they used it (maybe even nearly daily) it worked about 99% of the time at a small fractional amount of the cost of buying a new gaming computer.

zbigi
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Re: Buying a New Computer + A Sad Story

Post by zbigi »

jacob wrote:
Wed Apr 13, 2022 10:39 am
Kids these days talk about 60fps+. To me that's just mindblowing... is it even possible to see the difference
I believe it can be most noticeable in FPS games, where rapid head (viewpoint) movement translate to a lot of fast angular movement of stuff on the screen. So, if you for example turn around fast enough, stuff that's far away from you will actually jump a significant distance (in pixels) between individual frames - possibly significant enough to be picked up as non-continuous movement.

macg
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Re: Buying a New Computer + A Sad Story

Post by macg »

jacob wrote:
Wed Apr 13, 2022 10:39 am
@Fish/Riggerjack/SWB - One potential concern is that in the summer, this room will easily hit 85F+(30C+). Is this something I should be concerned about?
Back in the day, before laptops being commonplace, I built tons of PC towers for myself and friends. This was back when they used to have PC parts conventions around, pre-ebay, Amazon, or Newegg lol. To the temperature question, I always went with the theory of having a bigger case and throwing in some extra fans. I know now they have all the fancy water cooled stuff, which is great, but unlikely to be needed for this use case. So it comes down to 2 things I would think - sound, because more fans = more noise (although there are ways to minimize this), and as you mentioned, electricity usage. I unfortunately don't have any input on the electricity usage questions, although I'm sure there are calculations out there to figure it out.

All that being said, I would think (unless things have changed drastically) that normal usage in 85 degrees won't be an issue. And if there's concern, throwing 2 more fans in would definitely be fine. I myself have never had issues with laptops/gaming consoles/old PC towers in similar settings temperature-wise - and laptops and gaming consoles have far worse fans/airflow then you would end up having with a custom built tower.

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Jean
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Re: Buying a New Computer + A Sad Story

Post by Jean »

I assumed you wanted to build a pc, but with the current situation, prebuilt aren't that much more expensive than self built. They still are a little bit, but with the GPU shortage prebuilt can be a reasonable option.
Usually, the problem with prebuilt are as follows:
-you pay a premium (which is much smaller today), when i built my PC, i paid 1100 for it including screen and periferals, a prebuilt with worse specification was 1500. I would probably have to pay 1800 for a prebuilt similar to my pc.

-You get good part where the name impresses (think about how much RAM, GPU chipset, CPU name), but you get proprietary powersuply and motherboard, where they cheap out on component, which can inder the thermal and durability.

Apparently, humans notice difference beetween 144 and 60 fps.

I think you will appreciate a decent graphic card if you plan to run DCS.
The two i mentioned (AMD RX 6600 or NVIDIA RTX 3060, or something equivalent, RX5700 or RTX 2070, so on generation before, but one grade higher) should be fine. I think something more expensive is probably a waste of money, but it still would make a noticeable different, just not one that i personnaly value at several hundred CHF.
People usually waste money on motherboard and CPU. around 200 for CPU and 100 for motherboard are enough. People tend to think that if they spend 500-2000 on a GPU, they should spend similar amount on mobo and CPU, but it won't buy you usefull features if you only intend to game.

i agree with riggerjack on buying a good power supply and a big case (big case can be cheap, i paid 30 for mine).
A 650w power supply doesn't mean it will always draw 650w. It's just that most power supply are most efficient around half capacity.
But while gaming you should draw around 30 watt. If heat is a concern, AMD GPUs allow to easily reduce the power draw.
On mine (rx 5700xt), if i set the power draw down to 50% from factory setting, i only lose around 5% of the performance.
I don't know if Nvidia GPU offer a similar feature. probably yes.

Riggerjack
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Re: Buying a New Computer + A Sad Story

Post by Riggerjack »

All power consumed by your PC becomes heat.

So that room that is 85 degrees w/a 20-30 watt heater, will be much warmer, with a bigger heater (PC), unless you take pains to move the heat somewhere else.

The efficiency rating of your power supply is how much of the energy it uses, becomes available for use as DC within your PC, and how much is converted into heat at the power supply.

As each component uses power, each becomes a little heater.

Moving heat out of the case and into the room is as far as a PC build is concerned with heat.

You, as the user, then need to consider how this heat is dealt with at your own level.

It's nice in the winter...

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Re: Buying a New Computer + A Sad Story

Post by jacob »

I finally "built" a pc. I've been looking at pcpartpicker et al. for literally years, but I just couldn't bring myself to 1) spend that much on a depreciating asset; 2) buy something new(*); and 3) risk getting a bunch of parts and not being able to make it run(**).

(*) It's interesting how I changed over the past 30 years. My 30 year younger self thought nothing of dropping $2000 (That's $4000+ in today's money) on new computer and even thought of buying it as an achievement to strive for.

(**) I still carry a bunch of windows-trauma from the 1990s due to unresolved device conflicts in Win95.

A couple of months ago I randomly discovered the magic of the "Dell Optiplex". There's an entire community on youtube taking these old office computers and beefing them up to entry-level gaming performance for around $200-300 total; often taking a power drill or a dremel to the case or applying esoteric adapters to make things fit. My kind of people!

Here's what I ended up with (shipping included, tax not included):
  • Dell Optiplex 7020MT with an i7-4790 CPU ($105 used)
  • HP 512GB 2.5" SSD ($30 new)
  • 4x4GB Crucial Ballistix Sport ($7 used)
  • ASUS Geforce GTX 1060 OC Dual-fan 6GB ($115 used)
  • MSI MAG A550Bronze PSU ($50 new)
  • 24pin->8pin optiplex power adapter ($15 new)
Total: $322

+ extras that were used in the process:
  • SATA->USB cable ($10 new)
  • Displayport->HDMI cable ($10 new)
Total: $20

+ some parts that possibly could maybe be sold/traded to recover some cost:
  • 290W Optiplex PSU
  • AMD Radeon HD8490 C553 1GB
  • 1TB HD
  • Displayport->HDMI cable
Total: ?

It's likely that I paid some "stupid tax", but I expected that and keeping the total costs low, the stupid tax should also be low. Also, I don't know if I overpaid because GPU prices are currently higher-than-normal. You can get an Optiplex for $50 w/o Windows and drive(***), but this one came with the i7-4790 and a Win10 license (apparently, you can run Win10 legally w/o registering?) guaranteed to run.

(***) The easiest way for businesses to dispose of these is simply to take out the drive and sell the rest AS-IS which is how you can get these on eBay for down to $30 plus shipping.

There are some upgrade paths. It doesn't pass the so-called Win11 "health check", but there are ways around that. It is possible to transfer the system to a new case (thanks Optiplex community). The PSU is commonly used in contemporary entry-level builds. The 4790 could be replaced with a 4790K for a 10% boost in clock. The mobo doesn't allow overclocking though, but 3.6GHz to 4.0GHz is still an improvement although I don't know if it's worth it.

Is $322 for what is essentially an 8 year old computer a good deal? I don't know for sure(*). One of the benefits is that I'm easily impressed having taken a gaming hiatus between 1995 and 2022. My frame of reference is anchored at the milliPotato level so even "low quality" settings look fantastic to me and 20fps is "quite alright". Another concern was the tremendous power consumption of modern computers. Summer room temperature gets above 85F+ here and I wanted to avoid adding a 700W space heater on top of the afternoon sun. Also, the GPU could have been cheaper (EVGA 1060 for around $75 used + the power draw of that is low enough to power it off of the original PSU via a SATA power adapter, thus saving about $100 for the same performance---there's a lot of vids doing that, but given my temperature/usage I thought it too risky?), but I was also concerned that its boxed in blower might not cope with the summer heat. But I don't know. What's important is that it now runs DCS World which was my standard to meet.

(*) Online benchmarks show that a contemporary entry-level build for $600 would be about 60% faster in both CPU and GPU. That's $5/percent, which seems expensive to me?

Overall, this "build" was a lot less frustrating than I anticipated based on previous experience. It's hard to understate the value of being able to look things up on the interwebs and watch a youtube video walking through the process step by step. This makes it accessible at the lowest one or two Cs of the CCCCCC-ladder. Compare to the 1990s where you were left with a CD containing possible outdated drivers and a 4 page booklet of a manual.

loutfard
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Re: Buying a New Computer + A Sad Story

Post by loutfard »

I'm a fairly demanding computer user except when it comes to the gpu. My second hand Thinkpad X series laptop costs 100€ preasssembled. It's very low power, compact and has excellent battery life. My wife has the same model, and we have one common spare. 300€ and our computing needs are being fulfilled for a few years.

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Re: Buying a New Computer + A Sad Story

Post by jacob »

Some random "benchmarks"...

DCS World (TF-51D free flight over Tbilisi) at 1920x1080 using MSI afterburner and Rivatuner data. Also using TrackIR if that matters.
Low preset: 90-100fps
Medium preset: 70-80fps
High preset: 45-50fps (while buzzing the buildings)

This is wayyyy beyond what I expected!

In comparison, DW's AMD A9-9425 (APU with built in Radeon something something) as well as the C553 mentioned above ran the low settings somewhere between 5fps and freeze-crash if the scenery changed too fast, like in a turn.

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Chris
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Re: Buying a New Computer + A Sad Story

Post by Chris »

jacob wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2024 8:18 am
Another concern was the tremendous power consumption of modern computers.
True, but thanks to better frequency scaling, SSDs, and other factors, they also idle at lower power, which is most of the day.

Back in my gaming days, frames/sec was my benchmark. Now when I replace a PC, my benchmark is kWh/day. How things have changed :-)

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Re: Buying a New Computer + A Sad Story

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Chris wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2024 11:41 pm
True, but thanks to better frequency scaling, SSDs, and other factors, they also idle at lower power, which is most of the day.

Back in my gaming days, frames/sec was my benchmark. Now when I replace a PC, my benchmark is kWh/day. How things have changed :-)
I was amazed at how much battery life I'm getting out of a MacBook Air with the newer silicone chips from Apple. ~15 hours of web browsing and ~12 hours of video. At this rate, it will take 8-10 years to reach the maximum discharge cycles on the battery.

SSD, low voltage CPU, no fans to speak of.

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Re: Buying a New Computer + A Sad Story

Post by jacob »

Chris wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2024 11:41 pm
Now when I replace a PC, my benchmark is kWh/day. How things have changed :-)
This also holds for the rest of my fleet which consumes about 20W. That's low enough to leave them on 24/365.

I find it mindblowing that some of the biggest gaming rigs have PSUs in excess of 1000W. That's comparable to a steam iron or a microwave oven.

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Re: Buying a New Computer + A Sad Story

Post by jennypenny »

2Birds1Stone wrote:
Fri Feb 02, 2024 1:28 am
I was amazed at how much battery life I'm getting out of a MacBook Air with the newer silicone chips from Apple. ~15 hours of web browsing and ~12 hours of video. At this rate, it will take 8-10 years to reach the maximum discharge cycles on the battery.

SSD, low voltage CPU, no fans to speak of.
I have a 2016 13" mac air and the original battery is just now reaching the end of its life.

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Re: Buying a New Computer + A Sad Story

Post by delay »

2Birds1Stone wrote:
Fri Feb 02, 2024 1:28 am
I was amazed at how much battery life I'm getting out of a MacBook Air with the newer silicone chips from Apple. ~15 hours of web browsing and ~12 hours of video. At this rate, it will take 8-10 years to reach the maximum discharge cycles on the battery.
Yeah, MacBook Air is something else. Battery life is great, no driver or OS or hardware problems, good resell value. Survived a fall out of my backpack when cycling.

I bought one in 2011 for ~900 sold for 600, for ~1000 in 2013 sold for 300, and 2020 for 1130 currently worth ~800. That's 1300 euro for 13 years of daily problem-free laptop usage. Amazing is the right word!

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Re: Buying a New Computer + A Sad Story

Post by white belt »

jacob wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2024 8:18 am
Another concern was the tremendous power consumption of modern computers. Summer room temperature gets above 85F+ here and I wanted to avoid adding a 700W space heater on top of the afternoon sun. Also, the GPU could have been cheaper (EVGA 1060 for around $75 used + the power draw of that is low enough to power it off of the original PSU via a SATA power adapter, thus saving about $100 for the same performance---there's a lot of vids doing that, but given my temperature/usage I thought it too risky?), but I was also concerned that its boxed in blower might not cope with the summer heat. But I don't know. What's important is that it now runs DCS World which was my standard to meet.
I use my 2017 laptop for some gaming, although really the most resource-intensive tasks are screen-recording while gaming (streaming) and video editing (mostly rendering). I upgraded to 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD. The processor is an Intel i7-7500U 2.7GHz, so a bit less beefy than what you just built. The laptop works fine for all of my tasks in current winter indoor temps that are around 60-65F, but I do worry about performance in summer temps that can get into the 80-85F range. One nice thing about a laptop is that I can easily relocate when I render things overnight. The current procedure is to put it in the hallway outside my room so the light from the screen doesn't keep me up, but I could see myself moving it to the basement that's 10-15F cooler to render in the future. Of course, the next level of this would be just to keep my entire workstation in the basement (or similarly cool room). There might be more optimization that's possible but I haven't gone on a deep dive of computer performance behind the basic benchmarks.

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