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The "What PC are you building/upgrading/repairing?" thread

Discussion in 'Computer Talk' started by Quintillus, May 29, 2019.

  1. Quintillus

    Quintillus Archiving Civ3 Content Supporter

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    This forum has been pretty quiet for awhile, so what better subject to try to liven it up than to talk about computers we have built, plan to build, or are upgrading?

    I've been considering upgrading my Core i5-2500k off an on for seemingly forever, but so far the combination of the price, the satisfactory performance of what I already have, and the amount of time I'm willing to dedicate to the upgrade haven't yielded anything. Still, both the Ryzen 1600 (hex-core for $80) and the upcoming Ryzen 3000 series have me thinking perhaps this will be the year. I kind of miss the excitement of huge performance jumps, but I'm also amazed by the value of the chip I bought in 2011.
    What I have done recently is disassembled my laptop to fix a disconnected hard drive. I think it's the third time I've disassembled this laptop in the six months I've had it, but it's definitely the quickest time yet, and with some DIY work to secure the hard drive in place, I think the fix might work this time.
     
  2. Smellincoffee

    Smellincoffee Trekkie At Large

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    I'm contemplating a Ryzen upgrade, myself. It will be a while yet, though, as I completed a GPU and PSU upgrade earlier in the summer, my first ever. I bought a prebuilt in 2016 from Best Buy and finally worked up the nerve to try modifying its components. It originally came with a small MSI card, but I replaced it with a Vega 56 I bought off ebay, with a larger power supply (750 over 300) to match. I'm largely happy with the HUGE difference it made in game visuals and appearance, but since the upgrade I've had several games which will inexplicably force the computer to do a hard restart -- Civ 6 and American Truck Simulator. Not sure what's the issue there. The card was used, I think, and perhaps some of its memory is faulty? Anyway, next year I'm batting around the idea of doing a complete overhaul: my current motherboard doesn't allow for any real CPU upgrade, so I'd like one with an AM4 socket and something from the Ryzen series. This would also mean having to upgrade the ram, too. Weirdly, even though this computer was manufactured in 2016, it has DDR-3 ram. Before that, however, I will try cloning my HDD to an SSD.
     
  3. Quintillus

    Quintillus Archiving Civ3 Content Supporter

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    The first things that comes to mind for that Vega issue is perhaps it needs a driver upgrade (and that raises to "likely" if it's still using the original 2016 drivers). Too old of drivers can cause all sorts of odd issues; I had issues with both Civ3 and Civ4 needing a driver upgrade when I first tried to play them back in the day.

    If that's up to date, something along the lines of what you mentioned with a mildly faulty component comes next. You could try underclocking the Vega - either core clock, or memory - by 10% or so and seeing if that makes a difference. I have an old nVIDIA card where, although I can overclock its core clock by 33%, if I overclock its memory by 1%, it behaves quite oddly. A minor underclock for stability may well be worth it.

    It sounds like you have the right priorities for upgrades. HDD to SSD makes a huge difference in responsiveness, if you're still on HDD for your boot drive, and SSD prices have plummeted over the past year or two.

    I still haven't pulled the trigger on a Ryzen rebuild. It's still a case of Sandy Bridge being adequate well over 95% of the time, and it not being worth the combined time + money cost for CPU + motherboard + RAM being upgraded. Although Zen+ chips are now available at attractive prices, along with the original Zens.
     
  4. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Emperor

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    Don't know if it fits this thread or not, but I'll be upgrading the church office computer to Windows 10 soon. An old Dell mini-desktop that quite some years ago I upgraded to a Pentium DualCore E5300 processor (I think that's the best this old motherboard supports) and installed a Radeon X1300 video card when I installed Windows 7. It has 3GB of RAM. I don't expect this to go well, but that processor and memory exceeds the minimum specs for 32-bit Win 10 (currently running Win 7 Pro 32-bit) and the video card is not supported but allegedly still works if you install the drivers in compatibility mode.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2019
  5. Lemon Merchant

    Lemon Merchant Superconductor Moderator

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    Radeon cards tend to run the fans too slow and that causes overheating, which then causes the machine to reboot or stall. Try setting your fan speed manually at about 65% in your games profiles for all of your games. The problem might go away. If not, it is a driver issue. When these things happen to me, I always report them to AMD. Sometimes they get fixed if enough people complain about them.

    Since I've done that, I have had no reboots or stuttering from my cards. Your mileage may vary of course.
     
  6. shadowplay

    shadowplay (boss music)

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    These are the parts I've ordered for my first PC build:

    Ryzen 3800x @ 3.9ghz CPU (was able to get it for $10 more than the 3700x which was my original target)
    GeForce RTX 2070 Super GPU (I know it's kind of pricey but I looked at the stats and felt this card had the most value for the money)
    Asus Tuf Gaming x570-plus Motherboard
    Patriot Viper Steel 16GB DDR4 RAM 4133mhz
    Intel 660p Series M.2 2280 2TB hard drive
    Corsair RM Series RM750 80 Plus Gold Fully Modular ATX PSU
    ROSEWILL CULLINAN MX RGB Tempered Glass Case

    I managed to keep to my goal of not going over $2000 Canadough by $4 :D

    I also got a reasonably priced 4k monitor.

    This is to replace my desktop which is from 2008... hoping I'll get another good run with this new one.
     
    Birdjaguar likes this.
  7. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Emperor

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    I just ordered a Dell small formfactor desktop machine with an Intel i5-4570 processor. It may end up donated to the church after I get thru playing with it. (trying different operating systems and such)

    That's a "Haswell" chip with Intel HD Graphics 4600. That might be new enough to play Civ 6 with the integrated graphics but I doubt it. It will be interesting to see. Any idea whether I can hook up the Displayport to my TV with just a passive adapter cable? (I don't know if Dell uses DP or DP++ ports) or I may have a spare Sapphire 5450 card in my parts bin with an HDMI port...
     
  8. Quintillus

    Quintillus Archiving Civ3 Content Supporter

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    I'll be curious to hear how Windows 10 does on the X1300. Off the top of my head I can't think of any reason why it wouldn't work if it does with 7, but it is a 14-year-old graphics card.

    That sounds like a pretty solid build, shadowplay. One of my co-workers ordered something pretty similar over the weekend. And I think this is a good time to order a system for longevity. Core in 2006; Nehalem in 2008; Sandy Bridge in 2011; Ryzen in 2017; and Ryzen Gen 3 this year are the standouts of the past decade and a half.

    I still haven't made the jump from Sandy, but did spend some time researching motherboards over the past week. Narrowed it down a good amount, and now I'm debating the merits of PCI Express 4.0 - whether it's worth going X570 over B450/X470, and if so, whether it's worth adding a PCI Express 4.0 SSD. On the one hand, a 970 Evo looks like a better value. On the other hand, even before accounting for performance improvements, the PCI Express 4.0 SSDs are still quite a bit better value than my last SSD from a couple years ago.
     
  9. leif erikson

    leif erikson Game of the Month Fanatic Administrator Supporter GOTM Staff

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    Have been a bit amazed at the change in sites like Logical Increments.

    Last year they had nearly all Intel chips for CPU recommendations. This year, there are only 1 or 2, the rest are all AMD. :eek:
     
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  10. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Emperor

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    I ordered that used i5 PC to practice on, and it got here 2 days ago. Turns out Intel 4600 graphics is good enough to play Civ 6, at least with low settings. I haven't played a full game to see if it falls apart later.

    I've reinstalled the OS several times, trying different things. Found out it's very important to *not* have a network connection when you power up Windows 10 the first time and are setting up the administrator account if you want to use a local account rather than your Microsoft account and "Windows Hello". Latest install was 32-bit Windows 10, and somehow I ended up with a free upgrade from Windows 10 Home to 10 Pro; I did not have the option to install or activate Home, and the Pro version activated automatically with a digital license. I think what happened is this PC originally had Windows 7 Pro installed (it has a worn Windows 7 sticker on the case) and that is the digital license it used to activate. So I wasted $35 getting Windows 10 Home preinstalled ;)

    Wife is excited to have some of her old Windows 3 and DOS software working again that she hasn't seen in about 15 years. It runs on 32-bit OS but not 64-bit, and all our computers are 64 bit except this one.
     
  11. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Emperor

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    I ordered another used computer to donate to the church instead of upgrading that old one (I will probably upgrade the old one too just to do it, but don't want to rely on it) A small Dell 7020 with a i3-4150 processor, 4GB of RAM, 250GB HDD, and no operating system.

    It just got here about 2 hours ago. It's not as clean as the previous one I bought even tho' it's the same cosmetic grade ('A'). It's kinda dusty and has more scratches, and one of the PCI slot covers is missing. But doesn't look bad and it only cost $77. I may have a blank half-high cover somewhere...

    It has a little Windows 8 Pro sticker on the case with no license key printed on it. I think 8 used a digital license like 10 does. I wasn't sure if Windows 10 would activate automatically, or if I'd have to burn one of my Windows 7 license keys, but it did activate as soon as I allowed it to connect to the Internet. :) I started a worldcomunitygrid workload, and its benchmark was as fast as the machine with the i5 processor (and faster than my i7 work laptop but only 4 processors instead of 8) I'll let it complete the dozen or so tasks it downloaded and then uninstall WCG.
     
  12. leif erikson

    leif erikson Game of the Month Fanatic Administrator Supporter GOTM Staff

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  13. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Emperor

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    Yes, I am. :thumbsup: And learning a lot of almost useless information about Windows in the process.
     
  14. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Retired Moderator Supporter

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    I noticed that too. Seems like a big shift. Scary for me; I've been on Intel since 1986.
     
  15. Quintillus

    Quintillus Archiving Civ3 Content Supporter

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    I've been on Intel since 1999 (AMD 486 before that). I think it's a good thing, having serious competition for the first time since the Athlon/Pentium 4 era. Although, I am not an Intel shareholder or employee... if I were I would probably consider it a lot more scary!
     
  16. leif erikson

    leif erikson Game of the Month Fanatic Administrator Supporter GOTM Staff

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    Have been building systems with AMD CPU's for years because of the price/performance ratios. I just hope AMD's success with Ryzen performance doesn't result in price inflation... :eek:

    Now if they can get their video chips to run cooler and compete more directly with nvidia. :please:
     
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  17. Quintillus

    Quintillus Archiving Civ3 Content Supporter

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    Yeah, their recent GPUs have not tempted me to upgrade from my RX 480. Maybe the RX 5600 will hit a sweet spot, but in general the price:performance ratio has not improved in several years, and the power consumption hasn't really either. If I had to upgrade today, I'd probably go with a 1660 Ti, or maybe a 1660 Super.
     
  18. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Emperor

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    The old PC upgraded to Win 10 x86 build 1909 just fine, and I just got the X1300 graphics card working. I downloaded the Win 7 driver cab for it from Microsoft, then the CAB wouldn't install directly for some reason (maybe because it didn't see any compatible hardware) so I extracted all the files from it using Pea Zip, then I installed the display driver from Device Manager. Did not have to use compatibility mode for anything, although I don't seem to have Catalyst Control Center -- I don't think it was included in the Microsoft drivers. I might check at Dell or AMD for that.

    The church management software won't run in '10 for some reason, so at some point I will have to put the old HDD back in (I cloned the drive before I started this) so the pastor can export all the data to put it in a spreadsheet or something. Then I don't know what we will do with the old computer because we also have the much newer one I donated. Maybe keep it on Windows 7 but only use it offline.

    Edit: And I just got the church software working on W 10. I copied *all* the old DLL and VBX files into its working directory instead of having it find them using the PATH environment variables. Pastor will be happy; he doesn't have to migrate anything for a long time now.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
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