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My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

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Kraken
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My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by Kraken » Wed Jun 28, 2017 7:02 pm

I finally have the means to replace my 7-year-old Cyberpower gaming PC. I want a new Cyberpower gaming PC that will last me as long, or that can be upgraded down the line.

I'm overwhelmed by the options and not sure where to start. I dove in anyway and started customizing this. It's $1278. I would ideally like to keep it closer to $1000 and would appreciate any suggestions for painlessly saving some bucks, but I can go this high for a kickass system with decent future-proofing:

Code: Select all

 Power Metter 600 Watt
Operating System: Windows 10 Home (64-bit Edition)
July 4th Featured Promotions: CYBERPOWERPC Skorpion K1 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard w/ Kontact Blue Switches and Programmable RGB LED Lighting
Gaming Chassis: APEVIA X-Pioneer Mid-Tower ATX gaming case w/USB 3.1, Side Panel Window (Black & Blue)
Laser Engraving: None
Freebies: None
Lighting: None
Extra Case Fans: 3X 120mm Case Fans for your selected case
Noise Reduction Technology: Anti-Vibration Fan Mounts
CPU: Intel® Core™ Processor i5-7600K 3.80GHZ 6MB Intel Smart Cache LGA1151 (Kaby Lake)
Performance Tuning Protection Plan by Intel: None
Venom Boost Fast And Efficient Factory Overclocking: No Overclocking
CPU / Processor Cooling Fan: CybepowerPC Asetek 550LC 120mm Liquid Cooling CPU Cooler (Single Standard 120MM Fan)
Coolant for Cyberpower Xtreme Hydro Water Cooling Kits: None
Motherboard: MSI Z270-A Pro ATX w/ USB 3.1, 2 PCIe x16, 4 PCIe x1, 6 SATA3, 1 M.2 SATA/PCIe [Intel Optane Ready]
RAM / System Memory: 16GB (8GBx2) DDR4/3000MHz Dual Channel Memory (Corsair or Major Brand)
Video Card: GeForce® GTX 1060 6GB GDDR5 (Pascal)[VR Ready] (Single Card)
Sli Bridge: None
EVGA Power: None
HTC VIVE Virtual reality Headset: None
Freebies: None
Video Capture Card: None
Power Supply: 600 Watts - Standard 80 Plus Certified Power Supply - SLI/CrossFireX Ready
M.2 SSD: None
Freebies: None
INTERNAL PCI-E SSD CARD: None
Hard Drive: 120GB WD Green SSD + 1TB SATA III Hard Drive Combo (Combo Drive)
Secondary Hard Drive: None
Hard Drive Cooling Fan: None
External Storage: None
Optical Drive: None
Optical Drive 2: None
External Optical Drive: None
WiDi Router: None
Internal Wireless Network Card: None
Sound: HIGH DEFINITION ON-BOARD 7.1 AUDIO
LCD Monitor: None
Cables: None
Speakers: None
Internal Network Card: Onboard Gigabit LAN Network
Keyboard: CyberpowerPC Multimedia USB Gaming Keyboard
Mouse: CyberpowerPC Standard 4000 DPI with Weight System Optical Gaming Mouse
Mouse Pad: None
Headset: None
Gaming Apparel: None
Gaming Gear: None
Internal USB Expansion Module: None
External Wireless Network Card: None
Wireless Routers/Hubs: None
Docking Station: None
Bluetooth: None
Flash Media Reader/Writer: None
Video Camera: None
Power & Surge Protection: None
USB Hub & Port: Built-in USB 2.0 Ports
External USB ADAPTER: None
Security Software: None
Professional Wiring: None
Ultra Care Option: None
Warranty: STANDARD WARRANTY: 1 Year Parts WARRANTY
Service: 3 Years FREE Service Plan (INCLUDES LABOR AND LIFETIME TECHNICAL SUPPORT)
Rush Service: Standard processing time: ship within 5 to 10 Business Days
The case can't be more than 17.5" tall to fit my desk. The one I chose meets that requirement and isn't too fancy. I currently have a simple Thermaltake.

Pretty sure I want 16GB RAM (my current rig has 8GB).

I'm lost when it comes to comparing CPUs and video cards. I currently have: Intel(R) Core(TM) i5 CPU 760 @ 2.80GHz, 2801 Mhz, 4 Core(s), 4 Logical Processor(s), so I'll want an upgrade from that.

My current video card is AMD Radeon HD 6900 Series with 1GB memory. I am agnostic when it comes to AMD vs NVIDEA. Is the card that comes with this configuration overkill? I don't care about VR.

Motherboard? Haven't a clue. Currently have ASUSTeK.

My current machine has always been dogged by excess heat and it's noisy, so I'd like to make sure I have ample cooling and it would be great if it's a little quieter.

OOPS I can see that I'm going to need to add a wireless card.

OOPS measured wrong; I have a 17" max height, so Imma need to change that case.

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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by Punisher » Wed Jun 28, 2017 10:48 pm

what do you want to use the computer for and why are you replacing your existing one?
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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by Kraken » Thu Jun 29, 2017 2:07 am

Gaming in general (mainly strategy, but some others as well). I'm replacing it because it's 7 years old and it can't play Fallout 4, and because I have a rare opportunity to blow some money on something I want.

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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by Daehawk » Thu Jun 29, 2017 2:57 am

You'd do better with 2 SSD drives but that costs more of course. Ive not heard anything bad about combo drives....well other than its still a rotating platter so it will be slower.

Dont worry about the GTX 1060 being overkill. Its barely better than my GTX 770. The 900 series is a lot like it. But it does have more pipes or something. Id try for a 1070 at the least but thats of course more again. I guess get it and look for a 980 ti on Craigs List :)

On the PSU side Im not a fan of no name but it does say its 80+ cerified..but 80 what?..bronze? silver? gold? Platinum? Gold is the lowest Id look for. Also Id want 850watts. Especially if you want to upgrade stuff later on...you just know it will all want more power.

Case seems standard but if you're happy thats all that matter. Here is an unboxing of one.

CPU and memory is fine. I guess the rest is fine really. Again just my thoughts.
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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by Paingod » Thu Jun 29, 2017 7:53 am

In terms of cooling and noise, a case is generally a case - what makes the difference are the components and fans. You should be able to tell if one (or more) of your device fans is making excessive noise. I built my last computer with noise concerns in place, and from more than a few feet away, you'd never know the PC was on. The chassis fans, CPU fan, and power supply fan are all "quiet" models. It only gets a good hum going when it's a hot day to begin with.

My last build was the following... The shown costs are all more than a year old, so some of the parts are less - but it's still very over the $1000 budget and the case doesn't fit.
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel Core i5-6600K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($254.88 @ OutletPC)
CPU Cooler: CRYORIG H7 49.0 CFM CPU Cooler ($34.50 @ Newegg)
Thermal Compound: Noctua NT-H1 3.5g Thermal Paste ($12.88 @ OutletPC)
Motherboard: Asus MAXIMUS VIII HERO ATX LGA1151 Motherboard ($219.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 Memory ($99.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Mushkin Reactor 1TB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($259.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Mushkin Reactor 1TB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($259.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 980 4GB Twin Frozr Video Card ($479.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Case: Phanteks Enthoo Pro ATX Full Tower Case ($107.99 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Corsair 850W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($152.95 @ B&H)
Total: $1883.15
The pros and cons of this build so far:
  • The motherboard requires immediate updating to work correctly.
  • The Corsair RAM crapped out on me, but their customer service was great in replacing it.
  • I had a single incident where the BIOS-controlled RAID0 array was lost - but rebuilding it miraculously salvaged my data.
  • The performance of this system otherwise has been outstanding for my needs. No problems with any games, from Fallout4 to SubNautica to Skyrim to MechWarrior online.
  • I don't do VR, but I think the video card could support it.
  • Whisper-quiet running noise, slight hum with high-end games or hot days.
  • I've been installing everything I buy - 270 Steam games, 70 GOG games - and still have 450GB of space left.
In looking at your list, I tried to wedge it into PartPicker. They didn't have all the same components, so maybe pricing can be a placeholder? I also don't know how to get a keyboard in there and keep it under $1000. I'm not sure if the CPU fan fits in the chassis without more checking. The below is kind of a rough first draft, based on your list kind of meshed with a $1000 build from PartPicker.
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel - Core i5-7500 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($187.89 @ OutletPC)
CPU Cooler: CRYORIG - H7 49.0 CFM CPU Cooler ($42.44 @ OutletPC)
Motherboard: *ASRock - B250 Pro4 ATX LGA1151 Motherboard ($76.98 @ Newegg)
Memory: *ADATA - XPG Z1 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-2400 Memory ($99.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Mushkin - ECO2 120GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($58.88 @ OutletPC)
Storage: Seagate - BarraCuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($42.49 @ Amazon)
Video Card: EVGA - GeForce GTX 1060 6GB 6GB SC GAMING Video Card ($288.89 @ B&H)
Case: Apevia - X-PIONEER-BL ATX Mid Tower Case ($47.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: *EVGA - SuperNOVA G3 550W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft - Windows 10 Home OEM 64-bit ($89.89 @ OutletPC)
Total: $1000.43
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
*Lowest price parts chosen from parametric criteria
Generated by PCPartPicker 2017-06-29 08:34 EDT-0400
Last edited by Paingod on Thu Jun 29, 2017 8:37 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by Daehawk » Thu Jun 29, 2017 8:23 am

Since I looked a lot at prices today for ya I can tell you off the top of my head with Pains build....

1. You can save $50+ by getting a real nice Gygabyte mobo
2. You can save $300 by getting a 250g SSD and a 1-2tb mechanical drive
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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by TheMix » Thu Jun 29, 2017 8:50 am

When I got mine, I ditched the storage option they had (which was similar to your option). I upgraded the SSD to ~500 and skipped the other drive. I've since pulled the 1TB from the computer I replaced. Eventually I'll also pull the 500 SSD and maybe the 240 SSD as well. So if you old computer has decent storage, you may be able to re-use it (depending, of course, on how well you trust the drives).
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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by hitbyambulance » Thu Jun 29, 2017 3:11 pm

what's the processor in your current CPU? if it's decent enough, you could probably just get by with a second-hand graphics card replacement and keep going with this PC for a few more years. (i have an eight-year-old CPU with a more recent GPU in my machine and it works great.)

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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by Kraken » Sat Jul 01, 2017 5:51 pm

This afternoon I thought I'd take another stab at configuring this proposed machine, as I was hoping to buy it this weekend and get that cool keyboard for $5. First thing to do was to find a case that will fit my desk. I have a height limit of 17". Turns out that Cyberpower doesn't have any cases shorter than 17.5". Yes, I looked at all of them.

OK, my ancient desk has a space behind a door that's meant for a computer tower. Height is no problem there, but width is only 7". Narrowest case I found at Cyber was 7.5". Not crazy about having the machine completely out of sight anyway if I'm going to buy a pretty case.

If I move the computer to the printer stand next to my desk I don't have any size restrictions, but my monitor cable isn't long enough to reach that far. Suppose I could buy a longer cable. I'm not wild about having the machine 5 or 6 feet away but suppose I could get used to it.

I could put it on the shelf over my desk (which is what's limiting me to 17"), but then it would have to sit sideways, which would be kind of weird. I guess I could get used to that, too.

I could put it on the floor next to my subwoofer, but then I'd have dust and vibration issues, not to mention nowhere to put my feet, and again my fancy-ass new case would be out of sight.

I could theoretically buy a new desk. I'm not especially fond of the old particle-board monstrosity that I've been using for the past 28 years. I'd need to choose the desk before I chose a new computer case, just to ensure that there aren't any new constraints on size. That's overkill.

So I compared cases for 90 minutes and hit a wall. Reckon it's going to either sit sideways on the shelf over my desk, so I'd want one with a smallish window and subdued lighting, or else it's going to move to my printer stand. That's the least-weird configuration. Looks like a 10' VGA-VGA cable is cheap...now I need to make sure VGA is what I have on both ends. Is that what a new video card will output?

Sorry, I'm thinking aloud here. Nothing's ever as easy as it should be.
hitbyambulance wrote:what's the processor in your current CPU? if it's decent enough, you could probably just get by with a second-hand graphics card replacement and keep going with this PC for a few more years. (i have an eight-year-old CPU with a more recent GPU in my machine and it works great.)
Intel(R) Core(TM) i5 CPU 760 @ 2.80GHz, 2801 Mhz, 4 Core(s), 4 Logical Processor(s). Really don't know how that stacks up against a new CPU.

I also don't know how to determine the biggest and baddest graphics card that my case and mobo could handle. As much as I would really like an all-new computer, my existing case is looking friendlier after today's research. If I can persuade my old machine to run Fallout 4 smoothly I might keep it around for a couple more years just to put off the hassle of reconfiguring everything.

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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by Daehawk » Sun Jul 02, 2017 2:33 am

Looks like a 10' VGA-VGA cable is cheap...now I need to make sure VGA is what I have on both ends. Is that what a new video card will output?
I haven't seen a VGA output on a video card or monitor in at least 10 years. Most these days are lucky to still have a DVI. The rest is HDMI and Display Port.
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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by Kraken » Sun Jul 02, 2017 12:03 pm

Daehawk wrote:
Looks like a 10' VGA-VGA cable is cheap...now I need to make sure VGA is what I have on both ends. Is that what a new video card will output?
I haven't seen a VGA output on a video card or monitor in at least 10 years. Most these days are lucky to still have a DVI. The rest is HDMI and Display Port.
My monitor is probably 10 years old. Guess I should unhook my cable and try to figure out what each end is now. It's all just plugs to me.

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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by TheMix » Sun Jul 02, 2017 12:27 pm

The case that I recently got from them (Thermaltake View 27 black Mid-Tower Gaming Case w/ Gull-Wing Window Skylight View + 4x RED Riing Fans) would likely look pretty cool sideways. I even splurged a little bit and got additional lighting with a remote control that lets me change the colors. Though that may have been silly since the case comes with a bunch of fixed red lighting...

The Thermaltake Core P3 Open Frame + Support Wall-Mounting Gaming case w/ USB 3.0 not only might look really cool sideways, apparently it's designed for it...

Regarding the monitor, if your monitor only supports VGA, then you really should focus on upgrading that. Though I'd be surprised if even at 10yrs old it doesn't support more than VGA. I've been using HDMI for a LOT longer than that.

Oh, and I should note that my lighting also comes with a dimmer. So if you are really worried about ligthing, you may want/have to spend a little more for some options. I'd also recommend sticking with red lighting; it is far easier on the eyes.
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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by Daehawk » Sun Jul 02, 2017 2:46 pm

Ya my case is all red. it came with some then years later I added some cold cathodes in 2014.
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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by dfs » Sun Jul 02, 2017 5:33 pm

Kraken wrote:If I move the computer to the printer stand next to my desk I don't have any size restrictions, but my monitor cable isn't long enough to reach that far. Suppose I could buy a longer cable. I'm not wild about having the machine 5 or 6 feet away but suppose I could get used to it.
I believe this is the way that I'm going to go. A 10'HDMI cable goes for $5 if you look around. You'll need a set of audio cables for headphones and microphone and if your keyboard and mouse are wireless, you will be good to go.

Paingod:I have also been out of the consumer hardware realm for some time. OEM Windows 10 has media? or is it just a code and I download the software to my own media and build the system from there?

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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by Z-Corn » Sun Jul 02, 2017 6:10 pm

As your attorney I recommend you replace your monitor as well. You can probably find a cheap one on woot that will serve you well...

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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by Kraken » Sun Jul 02, 2017 6:45 pm

I like my old Samsung monitor and it still works fine. Don't want to replace it unless I have to. I'm quite sure it doesn't have an HDMI input, but I imagine I can find an HDMI-to-whatever-it-is cable.

Now that I've made the conceptual leap of moving my PC farther away, noise won't be much of an issue anymore, and I'm free to choose whatever case I want. Think I'll take another stab at building a machine tomorrow. Would still like to wrap this up by the Fourth if possible.

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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by hitbyambulance » Mon Jul 03, 2017 12:03 am

Kraken wrote:
hitbyambulance wrote:what's the processor in your current CPU? if it's decent enough, you could probably just get by with a second-hand graphics card replacement and keep going with this PC for a few more years. (i have an eight-year-old CPU with a more recent GPU in my machine and it works great.)
Intel(R) Core(TM) i5 CPU 760 @ 2.80GHz, 2801 Mhz, 4 Core(s), 4 Logical Processor(s). Really don't know how that stacks up against a new CPU.

I also don't know how to determine the biggest and baddest graphics card that my case and mobo could handle. As much as I would really like an all-new computer, my existing case is looking friendlier after today's research. If I can persuade my old machine to run Fallout 4 smoothly I might keep it around for a couple more years just to put off the hassle of reconfiguring everything.
i have an i7 960 with an nVidia GTX 960. i can run Doom 2016 at mostly Ultra settings... it helps if you didn't upgrade your old monitor, also (can run at a higher speed at a not-super-ultra-high resolution)

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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by Kraken » Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:20 pm

Well, I decided to put the money that I had set aside for a new gaming rig toward a new car instead, so my window of opportunity closed again. I can squeeze another six months or a year out of my old Cyberpower rig. But this thread will rise again, eventually, O yes it will.

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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by Kraken » Wed Jul 04, 2018 7:20 pm

Arise, thread!

My gaming rig is a year older and I once again have squirreled away enough money to replace it. I once again checked Cyberpower's mid-tower cases and could not find any that will fit my desk. That leaves me with buying a new desk (moving it in and my old one out would be a herculean task), reconfiguring my cramped office, or shopping somewhere else. I'd consider sending them my old rig to reuse the old case if that didn't mean being without it for days or weeks. No, I don't have the expertise to perform a guts transplant myself.

They do have this Zeus mini line, but I'm concerned that it's TOO small. The whole point of a desktop machine is being able to upgrade and tinker with it, and while I don't do that very often, I wouldn't want to surrender the option. Is the mini case a bad idea? It would solve my space problem, and they do have some nice rigs in my price range. I'm looking at the 1070 with 256-gig SSD and 2T hard drive.

I emailed them to ask if they have any mini-towers are shorter than 17.5", but the shortest one I found was 17.7".

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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by Anonymous Bosch » Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:53 pm

There are much better custom PC builders these days than Cyberpower, so try exploring what their competitors have to offer, e.g. eCollegePC.com or Digital Storm.
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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by Daehawk » Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:51 pm

Always liked the look of Digital Storm.
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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by Kraken » Thu Jul 05, 2018 6:42 pm

I guess shorter cases are not popular anywhere anymore.

None of Digital Storm's cases are short enough to fit my preferred space. One of their high-end configurations is narrow enough to fit a secondary space under my desk, where it would be behind a door, out of sight. Air circulation would not be good there. First attempt at configuring a build in that case with a 1070 video card came to $2,236, which is LOL territory...$750 over budget for a computer that would be hidden in a cabinet and might have heat problems; upgrading the cooling system raises the price even higher.

eCollege has a lot of cases, but loading them one-by-one to see their specs would take forever, and some don't list their dimensions anyway, so I emailed them. We'll see what they say.

If eCollege doesn't come through with one that will fit, I'm going to have to look at reconfiguring my office (Cyberpower hasn't answered my email yet, but I'm fairly sure they don't have one). It's kind of dumb to constrain a new PC over such a mundane thing as case height, but I would really like to slip my new machine into the same space that my last three machines inhabited.

Here's another question: My Samsung Syncmaster 2243bwx still works fine and I have no desire to replace it. However, it doesn't have an HDMI port. If I get a rig with a GeForce 1070 or 1080, will that use my DVI connection, or is my 9-year-old monitor going to be obsolete?

Are there any other custom-build vendors that people here like?

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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by hitbyambulance » Thu Jul 05, 2018 7:19 pm

Kraken wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 6:42 pm

Here's another question: My Samsung Syncmaster 2243bwx still works fine and I have no desire to replace it. However, it doesn't have an HDMI port. If I get a rig with a GeForce 1070 or 1080, will that use my DVI connection, or is my 9-year-old monitor going to be obsolete?
yes, video cards still have DVI connections. (and if you ever run into a situation, like with laptops or SBCs where they have Display Port or HDMI only, converter dongles and cables are cheap)

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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by Anonymous Bosch » Thu Jul 05, 2018 7:42 pm

Kraken wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 6:42 pm
Here's another question: My Samsung Syncmaster 2243bwx still works fine and I have no desire to replace it. However, it doesn't have an HDMI port. If I get a rig with a GeForce 1070 or 1080, will that use my DVI connection, or is my 9-year-old monitor going to be obsolete?
The GTX 1070/1080 use Dual Link DVI-D ports. If memory serves, a Dual Link DVI-D port supports both Single and Dual Link cables, so you should be fine. The difference being, Dual Link DVI-D can output 1080p at a 144Hz refresh rate. Using an older Single Link DVI-D cable and monitor means you're stuck with an inferior 60Hz refresh rate.
Kraken wrote: Are there any other custom-build vendors that people here like?
There are a number of other custom PC vendors I'd recommend, but most tend to be pricier than eCollegePC and Digital Storm. Here are the other custom PC builders I'd suggest in no particular order:
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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by RunningMn9 » Thu Jul 05, 2018 8:40 pm

The other alternative of course is to not go with one of these custom builders, but instead to focus on some of the builders that aren’t so custom.

The problem you might face though is that you want small and you want performance (7 years worth) and you want cheap. I feel like we’re in “you can pick two out of three” territory. :)

I’ve built my own systems for more than 30 years. When I was last in the market for a new PC I started at CyberPower and after five minutes I gave up and just closed the site never to return. It’s just too much.

If you want to be able to select from 18,745 different components, they can definitely do that. But I’ve gotten to the point where selecting the computer (and it’s parts) is in such a distant second place to actually using it, that I changed what I was looking for and just bought an Alienware laptop (by far the best computing experience I’ve ever had).

I’m not suggesting you go the Alienware route (they can do small and fast, but not cheaply), but I would suggest really considering what value there is to you when it comes to the customization side of things.
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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by jztemple2 » Thu Jul 05, 2018 9:48 pm

I've owned two Falcon Northwest rigs and have been very happy with the build quality and the software installation. They are expensive but worth it if you can afford it.
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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by Kraken » Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:19 pm

RunningMn9 wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 8:40 pm
The other alternative of course is to not go with one of these custom builders, but instead to focus on some of the builders that aren’t so custom.

The problem you might face though is that you want small and you want performance (7 years worth) and you want cheap. I feel like we’re in “you can pick two out of three” territory. :)

I’ve built my own systems for more than 30 years. When I was last in the market for a new PC I started at CyberPower and after five minutes I gave up and just closed the site never to return. It’s just too much.

If you want to be able to select from 18,745 different components, they can definitely do that. But I’ve gotten to the point where selecting the computer (and it’s parts) is in such a distant second place to actually using it, that I changed what I was looking for and just bought an Alienware laptop (by far the best computing experience I’ve ever had).

I’m not suggesting you go the Alienware route (they can do small and fast, but not cheaply), but I would suggest really considering what value there is to you when it comes to the customization side of things.
A $1500 budget should put me just above "cheap" territory. I am prepared to skimp on the video card because that's a really easy component to swap out, and because the prices on them fall quickly. I can get fine performance from a 1060 today and replace it with a 1080 in a few years when all the kids are buying 1100s. I don't want to compromise on the CPU or SSD because those are hard to replace.

As far as components, I want reliable names with reviews I can compare. I don't feel strongly about Western Digital over Seagate, but I want either one of those over Acme. I also don't want to get stuck with proprietary components like Dell. I'd be happy with a preconfigured system if it doesn't cut corners with a no-name power supply, for instance. My current PC is still chugging along after eight years and I expect the same from its replacement.

I'm confident that I can configure a very good middle-of-the-pack system after I either find the case that I want or decide to live with a machine sitting sideways atop my shelf instead of fitting under it and facing forward like god intended. There's no good reason that the next PC can't fit where all of its ancestors did. It's not like today's components need a case that's 3" too tall...that's just what the market has gone to. Ffs, they aren't even putting optical drives in them anymore -- that ought to shave 1.5" off the height right there.

If I can't find what I want in another week or two I'll concede that it doesn't exist and move on from there. Wife is lobbying me to replace my computer desk, because Wife thinks the Furniture Fairy will just make the old one go away and a new one appear.

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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by Daehawk » Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:00 am

Simplest would be to gut your's and stick new stuff in. Or even build a microATX machine. But you said that was out. :)

Here are two things I found just searching for micro ATX stuff. And I know nothing of them and never owned a micro ATX system

https://www.ibuypower.com/Site/LandingPage/mATX

This one looks promising....but you build it :)

https://techbuyersguru.com/1400-compact-micro-atx-build
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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by RunningMn9 » Fri Jul 06, 2018 7:21 am

Kraken wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:19 pm
As far as components, I want reliable names with reviews I can compare.
Well, there is certainly only one way to ensure that, and that's the path that you are on.

You mentioned $1500 which is certainly outside of the "cheap" territory when it comes to desktops, but in your earlier posts I thought you were trying to get back closer to $1000, which is firmly in the territory where compromises probably have to be made.

I definitely understand where you are coming from, and really the only way I could get past it was by choosing to go the laptop route, where you just don't have a choice as there is too much custom hardware inside. But that got me the technology level I wanted (high end Core i7 processer and 1080 GT graphics), in a mobile package (since I do have to travel with it a few times a year).

But it doesn't sound like a path that you're looking for. I wish you luck in your quest.
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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by Carpet_pissr » Fri Jul 06, 2018 8:08 am

IMO, reuse your existing case and DIY it. It’s not rocket science to put a rig together, and there are so many more resources today to guide you than when I started doing it decades ago.

If it’s your only PC in the house,then I would be less inclined to suggest this route, but assuming that’s not the case (ha!), think of it as a learning experience. Think of the glory!

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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by Daehawk » Fri Jul 06, 2018 10:46 am

You can totally rebuild a system in under 1 hour. Its all the software and OS that takes many more hours to install, update, and configure. Took me all day last time.
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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by RunningMn9 » Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:03 am

IIRC, Kraken has expressed a lack of desire to do a self build in the past. So a suggestion to self-build probably isn't any more useful than my suggestion to consider pre-builts given his OP. :)

That said, it is far easier to build a modern PC (assuming we aren't talking exotic cooling), since there just isn't that much that goes into them anymore (dedicated sound cards are virtually irrelevant, no need for network or wifi cards usually). Processor + Cooling, Memory, Video Card and some hard drives and away you go.
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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by Zarathud » Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:12 am

Even self contained water cooling.

Easier to swap out computer parts than tune up your modern car.
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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by Daehawk » Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:14 am

I disagree on the sound card unless you're a gamer. I am and have to have one. All the onboards Ive seen were bad compared to dedicated sound. Of course my mobo is a ASUS P8P67 Deluxe. Its 7 years old. But I dont think they have improved any. I really can tell a big difference.
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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by The Meal » Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:16 am

Kraken wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:19 pm
As far as components, I want reliable names with reviews I can compare. I don't feel strongly about Western Digital over Seagate, but I want either one of those over Acme.
For SSDs you want to look at Micron, Samsung, and SanDisk.
I also don't want to get stuck with proprietary components like Dell.
What proprietary components is Dell putting into modern desktops?
I'd be happy with a preconfigured system if it doesn't cut corners with a no-name power supply, for instance. My current PC is still chugging along after eight years and I expect the same from its replacement.
If you avoided bottom-of-the-barrel builds from Sams Club and the like, this is probably a decent fit (or at least the route with the fewest trade offs). IIRC Dell's got a pretty nice desktop configuration site. Full disclosure: my modern experience (last five years) is with their laptop builds, so I may be somewhat out to lunch.
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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by Kraken » Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:46 am

The Meal wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:16 am

What proprietary components is Dell putting into modern desktops?
Quite a few years ago Dell was slammed for using in-house components (motherboards, IIRC) that would only accept other in-house components...like they were trying to become Apple. That might no longer be true. Probably isn't. IDK, I don't follow industry news.

I appreciate everybody's feedback. Ultimately I will probably have to abandon my fixation on case height and simply relocate the PC; at that point, my options will be wide open. But I'm too stubborn to do that just yet.

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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by RunningMn9 » Fri Jul 06, 2018 12:22 pm

Daehawk wrote:I disagree on the sound card unless you're a gamer. I am and have to have one. All the onboards Ive seen were bad compared to dedicated sound. Of course my mobo is a ASUS P8P67 Deluxe. Its 7 years old. But I dont think they have improved any. I really can tell a big difference.
We’re all gamers, and literally no one has to have one. You can still want one, but I can say with absolute certainty that it’s not something Kraken is going to care about. Along with 99% of the rest of us.
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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by Carpet_pissr » Fri Jul 06, 2018 12:36 pm

RunningMn9 wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:03 am
IIRC, Kraken has expressed a lack of desire to do a self build in the past. So a suggestion to self-build probably isn't any more useful than my suggestion to consider pre-builts given his OP. :)

That said, it is far easier to build a modern PC (assuming we aren't talking exotic cooling), since there just isn't that much that goes into them anymore (dedicated sound cards are virtually irrelevant, no need for network or wifi cards usually). Processor + Cooling, Memory, Video Card and some hard drives and away you go.
I get it, and he also expressed that in THIS thread, but compared to options like shipping the builder his case, or scouring the internet for a builder that has a case with very specific and hard to find (apparently) dimensions, it seems like the best option. Not only is the hardware install MUCH simpler these days, the OS is as well, esp. with Windows 10. And with SSD's just ridiculously faster to boot (ha!).

Compared to the case/desk work he's doing, or prepared to do, I think the build your own option is much easier.

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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by Kraken » Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:03 pm

RunningMn9 wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 12:22 pm
Daehawk wrote:I disagree on the sound card unless you're a gamer. I am and have to have one. All the onboards Ive seen were bad compared to dedicated sound. Of course my mobo is a ASUS P8P67 Deluxe. Its 7 years old. But I dont think they have improved any. I really can tell a big difference.
We’re all gamers, and literally no one has to have one. You can still want one, but I can say with absolute certainty that it’s not something Kraken is going to care about. Along with 99% of the rest of us.
Actually, I accidentally fried the sound on my mobo when I was cleaning out my case a couple of years ago, so I had to add a sound card. Granted, I bought a cheap one, but it made no difference in sound output. Most PC sound is recorded in the lossy MP3 format anyway, so the playback equipment won't affect it much.
Carpet_pissr wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 12:36 pm
RunningMn9 wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:03 am
IIRC, Kraken has expressed a lack of desire to do a self build in the past. So a suggestion to self-build probably isn't any more useful than my suggestion to consider pre-builts given his OP. :)

That said, it is far easier to build a modern PC (assuming we aren't talking exotic cooling), since there just isn't that much that goes into them anymore (dedicated sound cards are virtually irrelevant, no need for network or wifi cards usually). Processor + Cooling, Memory, Video Card and some hard drives and away you go.
I get it, and he also expressed that in THIS thread, but compared to options like shipping the builder his case, or scouring the internet for a builder that has a case with very specific and hard to find (apparently) dimensions, it seems like the best option. Not only is the hardware install MUCH simpler these days, the OS is as well, esp. with Windows 10. And with SSD's just ridiculously faster to boot (ha!).

Compared to the case/desk work he's doing, or prepared to do, I think the build your own option is much easier.
Objectively, you're probably right. However, the stakes are too high and the odds of getting everything right on the first try are too low for me to take that chance. If I could practice on somebody else's machine first.... :lol:

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Re: My turn, at last: Help me configure a PC

Post by RunningMn9 » Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:23 pm

Kraken wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:03 pm
Actually, I accidentally fried the sound on my mobo when I was cleaning out my case a couple of years ago, so I had to add a sound card. Granted, I bought a cheap one, but it made no difference in sound output. Most PC sound is recorded in the lossy MP3 format anyway, so the playback equipment won't affect it much.
In addition to lossy compression of the audio source material, unless you have high end headphones (reasonably north of $100) or a reasonable good external surround sound system, it won't be noticeable to just about anyone. And if you do have that sort of equipment, well I guess you need to justify it some way, so why not light money on fire on a sound card? :)
And in banks across the world
Christians, Moslems, Hindus, Jews
And every other race, creed, colour, tint or hue
Get down on their knees and pray
The raccoon and the groundhog neatly
Make up bags of change
But the monkey in the corner
Well he's slowly drifting out of range

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