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Daox 11-14-17 11:26 AM

Upgrading my computer - faster & more efficient
My current computer has been faithfully chugging along since its initial build back in 2008! I did a processor and video card upgrade in 2011, and added some additional ram in 2013. However, its getting a bit on the slowish side, and power consumption on the newer setups is drastically lower than my current setup. So, I am looking to upgrade to something faster, and more efficient.

The current setup is:

Athlon II X3 455 3.3ghz 95w
MSI K9N2G Neo-FD AM2+/ AM2
XFX Radeon HD 6870
G Skill DDR2 800 2x2gb + Kingston DDR2 800 2x2GB
OCZ Vertex 3 Series MAX IOPS 120 gig SSD
Western Digital Caviar SE16 250gb HDD
2x ancient optical drives that rarely even are plugged in (this saves on power consumption)
Rosewill Green 530W 80 PLUS certified power supply

Samsung 21.5" LED LCD
Acer 24" LED LCD
Running windows 7

This wonderful machine (just the box, not monitors, etc) idles around 130W doing absolutely nothing. This is after much tweaking to reduce it. It used to be well over 150W. Looking at reviews on newer systems, they should idle around 20W!

So, this is the new setup that I am considering.

Intel Pentium G4560
2x 4gb sticks of PC2400 ram
Samsung 850 EVO 500gb M.2 SSD

I'll reuse the power supply, monitors, rarely used optical drives, and reinstall Windows 7. The rest of the old compy pieces will go on ebay to recoup some of the cost of the upgrade. I checked this and was pretty surprised at what I think I can get for those older bits.

I haven't finalized or ordered anything. If anyone has any suggestions for the new build I'm all ears. I use the computer mainly for office applications and web work. It occasionally does see some SolidWorks use, but its not too drastic. I am hoping the integrated graphics will do well enough for this.

pinballlooking 11-14-17 05:18 PM

You will love that SSD I have a couple of them and been running them for a while. They are fast and dependable.

NiHaoMike 11-14-17 06:12 PM

I would suggest going with AMD Ryzen. Reviews indicate that its efficiency is quite good. Keep the old GPU for now even if its efficiency is poor, so you can wait for a good deal to get a new one. Something like a 1050 or 950 should work well.

pinballlooking 11-14-17 06:57 PM

Order it all on black Friday or cyber Monday

Daox 11-15-17 07:29 AM


Originally Posted by pinballlooking (Post 56278)
You will love that SSD I have a couple of them and been running them for a while. They are fast and dependable.

Thanks. I'm already loving my 120 gig OCZ drive. It used to be pretty finicky, but updating the firmware solved that issue. Although, it did take quite a few updates from them to get it right. I am looking forward to going to a single larger drive again and having everything be on it and fast access.


Originally Posted by NiHaoMike
I would suggest going with AMD Ryzen. Reviews indicate that its efficiency is quite good. Keep the old GPU for now even if its efficiency is poor, so you can wait for a good deal to get a new one. Something like a 1050 or 950 should work well.

I was originally pretty psyched to go with the Ryzen. All of my previous builds have been AMD based and they've all been great computers. However, I was really bummed to find out that it didn't have integrated graphics. With efficiency in mind as a high priority of this build, I didn't want a dedicated graphics card as its just not necessary for how I'll be using the computer.


Originally Posted by pinballlooking
Order it all on black Friday or cyber Monday

That is pretty much the plan. I ordered the motherboard last night. Its a low cost board at $60 normally, and they have a $10 mail in rebate right now. I'll keep it unless another good deal comes up. Until then, I'm hunting for other deals.

pinballlooking 11-15-17 08:58 AM

I had an OCZ SSD in my virtual pinball machine. It failed and they replaced it under warranty.

For my work laptops I went with the better Samsung 840 EVO. I have not regretted it at all.
Switching to SSD I no longer have issues with windows OS at all. I compile a lot and the speed is very useful.

I have been looking at the 1TD Samsung SSD for my laptop may be black Friday….

NiHaoMike 11-15-17 11:48 AM

Intel GPUs have always been quite disappointing unless all you need is something that does office work and next to nothing else, not even high quality video scaling. Find out how much a 750Ti, 950, or 1050 GPU goes for since if you care about video quality, those GPUs will upscale/downscale at a quality level suitable for all but the most dedicated videophiles. (Note: the scaling comes into play when playing a video that is not the same resolution as the display window. For example, if you have a 1080p display and the only content you care about having great quality is in 1080p played fullscreen, then the lack of good scaling is not a problem.)

You can also consider waiting for Ryzen APUs, but I have no idea how AMD does on video quality nowadays. There's a reason Nvidia has been the gold standard (for high quality video) for years. It would be nice if some videophile could comment how well the latest AMD Vega GPUs upscale.

The Tegra X2 has been available for quite some time, but no reasonably priced board available yet. I think they're waiting for AMD to release some low power Ryzen APUs before starting to drop the prices.

The Tegra X1 is easy to find for fairly cheap, about equivalent to some far more expensive Core m CPUs. The real attraction is for HTPC, where good video scaling is crucial. For a general purpose PC, it would easily outperform Atom systems of similar price but probably wouldn't be very futureproof.

medicdude 11-16-17 12:52 AM

Lots of good info on toms hardware, it's my goto source, this page has comparisons of power consumption (I cant post links yet you can just google ryzen power usage)

Looks like they don't normalize it to actual processor performance, so I think intel and the new ryzen is pretty close, enough that it shouldn't really matter, maybe just buy whats cheaper with the mobo.

A big chunk of your power performance will come from near-idle conditions and from GPU when under load, if you aren't doing any real gaming APUs offer great basic performance, but if are going to game at least pick up a geforce1050. I actually have a spare 1050 but its probably not worth shipping all the way from east coast.

Your power supply can have a huge impact on your near idle efficiency, some of them are a lot better than others, you will have to google for test benchmarks for specific models of PSU to find this info. I recommend silver or gold efficiency they seem to have the best price points, bronze if you must (bronze is leagues above not bronze). PSUs are also designed to reach peak efficiency around 50% load; if you are going to be doing a lot of heavy gaming get one that is rated significantly higher than your max power usage (about 1.5-1.7 times), if not heavy gaming you are best off with one barely above what your expected max power draw, so you keep your expected usage close to that 50% mark for top efficiency.

Another nice bonus is if your fans can speed control or shut off under low load, some PSU units can also control their own fan this way. It's not really a huge factor tho.

Turn off your PC and monitor when not using it, this can save you loads of power. Some of the older monitors also have horrendous power reqs compared to newer designs.

EDIT: Also I'd recommend going for a 240GB SSD and using the money saved to grab a 2TB (or whatever) HDD. You can adjust the power settings or straight out disable it if you are not using it, but its great for backups or bulk storage for videos, extra video games, etc. The power savings for SSD is really only significant for laptops, for desktops it's pretty negligible, and actually HDDs can be better for very heavy workloads.

Fornax 11-16-17 10:50 AM

I agree with many of the above comments.
Integrated graphics will do if you don't game a lot or only watch youtube. If you do need discrete graphics go for the mentioned 750(TI), 950 or the 1050.

I do recommend buying a new PSU though, your current one is almost 10 years old and a bit too powerfull for the new setup. It being manmade will fail at some point in time, sometimes spectecularly..
My choice would be the Seasonic G-360 which is goldrated and good quality. (And although it may be 20,- more expensive than other PSU's the buildquality is worth my peace of mind)

Just my 0,02

Daox 11-16-17 12:44 PM

Thanks for the tips guys!

I do have my eye out for a new power supply. I will probably get one after a while. I realize that the 530W is mega overkill. However, I wasn't really able to find great alternatives. I was considering the 150W PicoPSU, but its efficiency isn't all that amazing. I'll check out the Seasonic G-360. I've heard very good things about that brand. There are also a few Dell power supplies that I found on the 80+ website with gold ratings that seem quite nice and are in the ~150W range which is all this machine should pull. They do require a little modding to get working though. Any other suggestions are welcome.

In the mean time, I'll see how bad the ol' Rosewill is at less than 100W load. The ratings could definitely be worse, but its not as bad as I thought it would be. Its funny, but this thing was cutting edge when I picked it up, nobody even knew what 80+ was back then haha.


Efficiency at 100% 82.01%
Efficiency at 50% 85.61%
Efficiency at 20% 84.72%

The main goal I think is to get idle power consumption down as far as possible. This will be by and far a home office machine, very very few games will be being played on it.

I like the suggestion to turn off the computer! So many people leave them on today. For quite a few years now I've gone the extra step and use a smart power strip. When my computer powers off, it cuts power to all peripherals completely. The only draw is whatever phantom power the computer itself pulls which is a few watts.

As for the suggestion about a smaller SSD and HDD, I kind of have that covered. I have a USB 3.0 HDD/SSD dock that I use for backing things up. The 500gb SSD should be good for all my normal needs as my current SSD + HDD isn't even 500gb.

NiHaoMike 11-16-17 03:49 PM

If your always on requirements are very modest, use a Raspberry Pi for that. I mine Curecoin and Foldingcoin with my GPU so my main PC stays running all the time.

This extreme modder got an i3 down to just under 6W at idle.
Probably not as impressive nowadays since a Tegra X1 might be about on par in terms of CPU, far superior in GPU, and is similarly low power.

medicdude 11-16-17 07:04 PM


Originally Posted by Daox (Post 56306)
Thanks for the tips guys!
I like the suggestion to turn off the computer! So many people leave them on today.

Yeah I think this is because no-one likes to wait for bootup, but with a 500MB/sec SSD you can boot cold in about 5 seconds, I wait longer for bios and POST than I wait for windows to load up.

Do pay attention to SSD read/write speeds, they are not all the same, and if you really want obnoxious blazing speeds you can pick up one of the newer M.2 SSDs (must be compatible with your mobo), but they are about 2x as expensive than normal SSDs for the capacity (although 5-6x faster).

NiHaoMike 11-17-17 01:43 PM

I decided to make some measurements on my Tegra X1 platform, a Nvidia Shield TV Pro with 128GB SSD.
It idles at 4.1W, 2D playback at 5.6W (varies with content, have seen spikes of 6.2W with fast movement), and 3D playback around 7W with spikes up to about 12W when scrolling around.

The Tegra X2 should have even better efficiency especially under load, but I don't have one to test. The X1 is already quite impressive if it's fast enough for your needs.

pinballlooking 11-24-17 02:52 PM

SAMSUNG 850 EVO 2.5" 500GB SATA III 3D NAND Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) MZ-75E500B/AM

Did you see this deal good for 11 more hours.

Daox 11-25-17 08:35 PM

Thanks. I did see that. Its a good price. However, I am going to go with the same drive in M.2 configuration.

pinballlooking 11-25-17 08:48 PM

You said that in your setup I missed it.

jeff5may 11-25-17 11:10 PM

I believe you will be pleasantly surprised by the newer Intel processor and its power consumption at and near idle conditions. My son upgraded to an ivy bridge a couple of years ago and it heats up the room way less than the AMD he had before.

Daox 11-27-17 11:46 AM


I did order the rest of my components just the other day, so I hope to have them by this next weekend.

Daox 11-29-17 08:38 AM

I've started getting the components. Its my first time using a M.2 drive. WOW they're crazy small! Very cool stuff.

Here is the 500gb M.2 SSD. It mounts right to the motherboard. No cables to deal with.

pinballlooking 11-29-17 11:36 AM

That looks Sweet...
I cant wait to hear how fast that thing is.

How much was that thing? Did you find a sale?

Daox 11-29-17 11:39 AM

It was the most expensive component at $170. There weren't any sales on the M.2 form factor drive. However, I did use to buy a discounted gift cards to buy the whole setup. I paid ~$265 for $300 worth in cards.

pinballlooking 11-29-17 11:44 AM

I will be well worth it. I work on computers many hours each day for years now. I have never said that drive is too fast. I have bought faster drives many times.

You do CAD stuff. That is even more demanding than what I do with mine.

Daox 11-29-17 12:50 PM

I'm sure that it will. I've loved the 128gig SSD I picked up ages ago. That one cost me around $220 I believe. Before that, I went with SCSI drives and/or raided HDDs for improved HDD performance. It was always a huge bottleneck in systems. Not so much anymore I don't think though.

Daox 11-30-17 04:02 PM

This is a 'next step' deal, but as I said earlier, I am considering getting a new power supply for the computer. There doesn't seem to be a great selection of power supplies for a low power system like this. PC parts picker estimates my max power consumption at ~130W. I kind of doubt it'll even get that high. I'm obviously looking for something as efficient as possible as well. Any suggestions?

AC_Hacker 12-01-17 08:50 PM

Did you mention what you use your computer for?

Daox 12-02-17 11:21 AM

Its a home office computer. So, lots of web apps and office apps.

theoldwizard1 12-27-17 09:52 PM

Sorry for being late to the party !


Originally Posted by NiHaoMike (Post 56279)
I would suggest going with AMD Ryzen. Reviews indicate that its efficiency is quite good.

If you are really going to buy a new computer system, then this is the best suggestion !

The typical desktop and laptop unit have just hit the market. We are still a few months a way from the flood ! I just read a review comparing a Ryzen to an Intel Core i7. Yes, the Intel won all the number crunching benchmarks, but the Ryzen with builtin graphics won everything else ! Watching video, web browsing, office tasks, etc. Best of all the Ryzen used significantly less power.

Rotating media is now strictly for backup ! I will not buy another computer that does not have some type of flash drive for its primary drive.

jeff5may 12-28-17 09:36 AM

The new Intel NUC boards (made for core M processors) and Nvidia Tegra - based boards are both power sippers. Being made for compact systems, cooling fans and/or dedicated power supplies are usually lavish options. A lot of them run off of a laptop power pack and draw nearly nothing while sleeping. Neither setup is made for hardcore gaming, so I won't even go there.

With an SSD and ample DDR3 or DDR4 memory, both systems dominate when playing movies or surfing the internet. If you get a mainboard that will POST fast, these things can boot in 15 to 30 seconds from dead cold. Coming out of hibernation is like using a cell phone or tablet: maybe 5 seconds. Most of the mainboards either have headers for laptop wifi radio cards or have built-in wifi, so connecting to the outside world is no problem. If you need a hardline, they pretty much all have gigabit ethernet ports.

As far as differences between the processors, I would say they compare like this: The Core M based rigs feel more like a windows laptop: better multitasking and more raw power for complicated calculations and simulations. The Tegra based rigs feel more like a tablet or premium android phone: better image rendering, sound and ultra low power draw.

Daox 01-03-18 08:06 AM

5 Attachment(s)
I've had all my components for a while now. I have been hesitant to jump to the new system since I do use my computer quite a bit. However, I am hoping to make the change this coming weekend.

Before doing so, I wanted to get everything else set. To have a little fun, and make this build a little different, I wanted to try a caseless build. This simply means you don't put all your components in a computer case. I decided to mount mine to the back wall of my desk's hutch. Its kind of nerdy and IMO cool looking. I used my 3d printer to make a framework for the motherboard to mount to. It then clips around the hutch's back board and has legs to hold it up.

pinballlooking 01-03-18 08:42 AM

Cool I like it. Put that 3D printer to work.

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