Peppermint OS Community Forum

General => Hardware => Topic started by: cfx795 on December 25, 2017, 10:31:47 pm

Title: upgrading my desktop
Post by: cfx795 on December 25, 2017, 10:31:47 pm
I got some Amazon gift cards for Christmas... Perhaps I'll upgrade the desktop computer, I'm running peppermint 7. I thought I might get an NVMe drive, and/or a new cpu.

I've currently got a G3930 Celeron, I was thinking maybe upgrade to either a pentium G4600, or maybe if I'm feeling really scrappy, maybe an i5 7500.

But... there's a pretty big price dif between those two chips. The Pentium chip is about $80, whereas the i5 is at least $180. Right now it's $195. Is it worth it? I mean, I'm not too unhappy with the Celeron chip, to be completely honest. I think I'm a  pretty low-power user. I must be, because most people on these forums positively gasp in horror when you say "Celeron." I recently read an Amazon review of the i5 in which the reviewer said "plays 1080p video flawlessly" and I was thinking: dude, my Celeron plays 1080p video flawlessly, and it cost $40!

Seems like the best value would be the Pentium, for my usage, which is pretty minimal. Hyperthreaded, and the Intel Graphics 630, as opposed to 610 for the Celeron (which is fine, as far as I can tell...)

I suspect that a lot of people think they need a lot more processing power than they really ever need, or use. Then again if I had unlimited funds, I probably wouldn't think much about $300 for an i7 or whatever. Like driving your Maserati or Porsche to the supermarket to get a dozen eggs and a gallon of milk. Performs the task flawlessly.

Title: Re: upgrading my desktop
Post by: VinDSL on December 25, 2017, 11:21:33 pm
Here' my 'go to' site, when researching hardware - it's the 'Gold Standard' for stuff like this IMO: https://goo.gl/AtcUqz

Study that page for awhile, and tell me what you think ...  8)
Title: Re: upgrading my desktop
Post by: VinDSL on December 25, 2017, 11:36:48 pm
I suspect that a lot of people think they need a lot more processing power than they really ever need, or use. Then again if I had unlimited funds, I probably wouldn't think much about $300 for an i7 or whatever.

I have Core i5 in my Dell 'desktop box', and a Core i7 in my Dell ''road warrior', and truthfully I can't tell an ounce of difference in performance, between the two. They're both blindingly fast.

Personally, I'd go with the quad-core i5. I don't have any problems with them. Everything else meh ...
Title: Re: upgrading my desktop
Post by: scifidude79 on December 26, 2017, 12:11:30 am
If you want a bit more kick without going all the way to the i5, there's always the i3.  Just that small upgrade from the Pentium to the i3 is a pretty big kick.  There's an i3-7100 on Amazon right now for $114.90.  That's not a major price hike over the Pentium, but it will give you a performance boost that you'll notice.
Title: Re: upgrading my desktop
Post by: PCNetSpec on December 26, 2017, 07:17:39 am
If your CPU is already powerful enough for what you use it for, and if you don't currently have an SSD, you're gonna be much better served with an SSD.

If on the other hand you already have an SATA III SSD and your thinking of jumping to NVMe .. "probably" not worth it .. so far I haven't heard anyone say "Wow the difference is amazing" the way they do when going from an HDD --> SSD.



You're right, most people have CPU's way above whasystem tt they need, there are usually other bottlenecks in their systems that they'd benefit from 'widening' first .. processing grunt isn't everything any more, an i3 with a decent graphics card will make a better gaming system tan an i9 with a poor one.
Title: Re: upgrading my desktop
Post by: scifidude79 on December 26, 2017, 09:26:32 am
I'm thinking of doing a new build next year with an i3, SSD, and a decent amount of RAM.  That's all I need, really, since I don't really need a beast of a desktop anymore.  Those new i3s have plenty of kick for most tasks anymore.
Title: Re: upgrading my desktop
Post by: cfx795 on December 26, 2017, 01:04:23 pm
Thanks to everyone for the input. You've given me a lot to think about. The reason I was pondering that Kaby Lake Pentium is because it's similar to previous generations of i3, in that it (Kaby Lake Pentium) is "newly" hyperthreaded, and there's also the same integrated graphics as with the i3/5/7.

Of course, I think the newest i3's are actually quad-core, right? Whereas the previous generations were dual-core and hyperthreaded. But I don't have the right motherboard for the newest i3, and so that's a whole other matter...

A lot of the discussion about cpu's and gpu's seems to always hinge on gaming. I don't game. Solitaire perhaps, but that's not what we're talking about, right? I do have a SATA3 SSD. My motherboard has a couple of those sockets for the NVMe drives, and so I thought, well, I could upgrade the SSD.

Pertaining to what PCNetSpec said about folks generally having more-than-ample cpu for their needs, it's occurred to me that the reason for that might be that people tend to ask around before purchasing a processor, and since the discussion so-often hinges on modern gaming or some other advanced thing that 90% of us aren't generally engaged in, a lot of people tend to be steered towards a more high-end processor, thinking that anything less will be "underpowered."

In one of the Amazon reviews, one reviewer said he thought the i5 was a "good entry level cpu" and I'm thinking dude! An i5 is NOT an "entry level" cpu!! And simultaneously wondering... where do people GET these ideas?? I'm not questioning that some people may very well require or want more processing power, just suggesting that a lot of people really don't need it, or ever use it...

On the other hand, maybe this isn't so much about what I need right now as it is sort of future-proofing my desktop system, there's always that possibility that I could eventually engage with some applications that might just require a bit more than what I presently have... I mean, maybe I'll game? Someday? Because I'll try WoW and it'll be like crack or heroin, and snowball effect for my need for an i7 and $1200 water-cooled graphics card? Well, maybe. (I'm being somewhat facetious, it'll never happen.)

I haven't really ruled out, say, an i5 cpu. I have this Amazon credit - about $250. But Amazon jerks their prices around, that i5 7500 was $180 a week or so ago, and now it's $195. So I'll be damned if I'll pay 195.

What about a discrete graphics card like PCNetSpec mentioned? Given my rather light usage, would this be a noticeable improvement for a non-gamer? I'm beginning to think I'd be happy with a Commodore 64 (circa 1985) or an Atari console. Hah hah!
Title: Re: upgrading my desktop
Post by: VinDSL on December 26, 2017, 01:38:08 pm
Perceptions are funny.

I'm happy, as long as a computer 'thinks' faster than I do., e.g. it has to wait for me -- not me having to wait for it.

If it takes a Computer A a second to do a task, but Computer B takes two seconds, I perceive Computer A to be twice as fast as Computer B, but Computer B seems 10 times slower than Computer A.

As long as the 'magic electronic box' doesn't get in my face, while I'm dancing on the keyboard, it's all good  ;)

Title: Re: upgrading my desktop
Post by: cfx795 on December 26, 2017, 01:50:07 pm
Perceptions are funny.

I'm happy, as long as a computer 'thinks' faster than I do., e.g. it has to wait for me -- not me having to wait for it.

If it takes a Computer A a second to do a task, but Computer B takes two seconds, I perceive Computer A to be twice as fast as Computer B, but Computer B seems 10 times slower than Computer A.

As long as the 'magic electronic box' doesn't get in my face, while I'm dancing on the keyboard, it's all good  ;)

Yeah I think if you've never had really high-end components... you (often) probably think what you have is just fine. Someone with a mechanical HDD sees no need for an SSD. Someone (ie: me) with a Celeron cpu questions the need for an i5... etc. Of course I've seen the improvement an SSD makes, so I have a feel for that. But I've never paid more than $100 for a processor, so I really don't know what that's like, so that's what I am trying to make sense of...
Title: Re: upgrading my desktop
Post by: scifidude79 on December 26, 2017, 01:53:36 pm
Heh, I have an 8 core, but I donít need that kind of power anymore.  Iíve seen good performance in i3 processors for basic tasks.
Title: Re: upgrading my desktop
Post by: cfx795 on December 26, 2017, 01:57:43 pm
Heh, I have an 8 core, but I donít need that kind of power anymore.  Iíve seen good performance in i3 processors for basic tasks.

Wow. Eight cores? Is that an i9 or an AMD chip?
Title: Re: upgrading my desktop
Post by: VinDSL on December 26, 2017, 02:24:22 pm
Wow. Eight cores?

Heh! I used to have a contributor -- a pilot -- that had an 8-core AMD machine.

He needed the extra steam for a flight simulator program he was running.

Looked awesome, when he uploaded screenshots of his flight simulator + Conky running.  ;D
Title: Re: upgrading my desktop
Post by: PCNetSpec on December 26, 2017, 03:55:01 pm
If what you have is powerful enough and the money is burning a hole in your pocket have you considered a better monitor .. the amount of people I've seen struggling with massively overly specced machines yet have tried to save money by sticking with an old rubbish monitor....

They seem to overlook it's the primary window to their computer.

It's also something that can be moved to any new machine in the future, should yoo decide to upgrade.
Title: Re: upgrading my desktop
Post by: cfx795 on December 26, 2017, 04:33:29 pm
If what you have is powerful enough and the money is burning a hole in your pocket have you considered a better monitor .. the amount of people I've seen struggling with massively overly specced machines yet have tried to save money by sticking with an old rubbish monitor....

They seem to overlook it's the primary window to their computer.

It's also something that can be moved to any new machine in the future, should yoo decide to upgrade.

The monitor is new : https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16824014523 It's the 21.5" model, shown there. I mean, it's fine, it's nothing exotic, obviously, I got it for just under $75 and it has a great picture. Worst thing about it is that it's only 21.5" I guess. But what if I bought another? A dual-monitor configuration? Can you just run one monitor off the VGA port and another from the DVI? How does that work? Are there some considerations or adjustments to make with the (Peppermint 7) OS? Would the iGPU (Intel 610) support that?

I see there's the 27" monitor linked on the same page there, but it has built-in speakers. I think I'd rather just roll with the usb-powered speakers I've already got.
Title: Re: upgrading my desktop
Post by: VinDSL on December 26, 2017, 06:40:39 pm
A dual-monitor configuration? Can you just run one monitor off the VGA port and another from the DVI? How does that work? Are there some considerations or adjustments to make with the (Peppermint 7) OS? Would the iGPU (Intel 610) support that?

Like all things computer, there are different ways of accomplishing this. but... I'm as lazy as the next guy.

I simply stuck a low-end nVidia card (https://goo.gl/Ca3gK1) in this machine, and run three monitors off of it:
Works like a charm. 

The integrated mobo graphics chipset isn't being used  ;)
Title: Re: upgrading my desktop
Post by: scifidude79 on December 26, 2017, 07:12:12 pm
Heh, I have an 8 core, but I don’t need that kind of power anymore.  I’ve seen good performance in i3 processors for basic tasks.

Wow. Eight cores? Is that an i9 or an AMD chip?

It’s an AMD.  I used to do a lot of CGI rendering.  It’s a beast for animation, but not really necessary for most tasks.  I use very little CPU percentage doing most tasks.  So, the CPU basically just draws a lot of unnecessary power.  I think it’s a 125W processor, more than twice the power draw of the i3 I’m looking at.  Plus, I have a beefy GPU, because I used to game on my desktop.  I have a separate gaming machine now, so I don’t need all of that for a desktop.
Title: Re: upgrading my desktop
Post by: tetricky on December 27, 2017, 08:01:04 am
I do things the other way around....instead of buying expensive new things, i buy fast well built old things.

So, for example, a Dell Precision T3500 workstation (circa 2009/10) with a Westmere quad core (8 threads) processor, and 12Gb RAM is currently priced around £100. I've picked up a number of these recently with Quadro 4000 graphics cards. Costs a bit more in electricity to run than a modern machine, but they are built like tanks and last well, and have a bang per buck that you wont get near with modern lines.  I'm paying £5-15 for compatible xeon p[rocessors from ebay, and circa £20-30 for an 8Gb EEC stick.

Makes a great platform for cad, studio work, or a virtual machine host.

so my outlandish suggestion would be dont upgrade the processor, buy something like this, offload workload to this in a server/workstation capacity, and use the existing computer as a browsing/content platform.

Just turn the workstation off when you are not using it, depending on memory and number of HDD's they can run in the 80-200W region. P.S. you can set auto on based on a timer from the BIOS, so I have mine turn itself on at 9am on weekdays, ready for me to amble from the bedroom to my office. Except I use a T5500  (Dual socket, ie two processors, and a lot more RAM).  16 threads, and 72Gb RAM - which cost an almost outrageous £200! It includes a windows licence, but I don't use it.

I find you get a lot more speed this way than having a "fast" bleeding edge hardware...but I'm happy to run different VM's for different tasks and just access services from a simple terminal  - which is the role I use peppermint in, on my laptop for example.
Title: Re: upgrading my desktop
Post by: scifidude79 on December 27, 2017, 12:05:39 pm
The graphics update alone will be worth it for some people when it comes to the decision to upgrade or to stay with older hardware.  I have an Intel motherboard from 2009 that's a great board, but the onboard GPU just won't perform as well as the ones built into the newer i-series processors.  And, I'm not talking game performance or anything, just general use performance like watching videos will be better on a newer GPU.  Newer RAM will also be faster and upgrading your amount of RAM will be cheaper for DDR4 than for DDR2.  And, there's that whole energy consumption thing.  So, there are benefits.

Of course, there are benefits to the older hardware such as price out of pocket for a system.  But, the issue with buying used is that it comes with no warranty and you know nothing of the history of that hardware.  You don't know what someone did to it before the sold it.
Title: Re: upgrading my desktop
Post by: cfx795 on December 29, 2017, 05:00:55 pm
Sci
I'm thinking of doing a new build next year with an i3, SSD, and a decent amount of RAM.  That's all I need, really, since I don't really need a beast of a desktop anymore.  Those new i3s have plenty of kick for most tasks anymore.

Right on. So you're talking about the newest Coffee Lake i3's, they're four physical cores, and the (Coffee Lake) i5's are four cores/eight threads. At the time I put together this desktop system, the Coffee Lake motherboards were a LOT more expensive than the Kaby Lake motherboards, so I went with Kaby Lake. I guess I could upgrade the mobo, but you know... it just never really ends. You can never keep up.

If we're talking specifically about the Kaby Lake lineup there doesn't seem to be a gigantic, compelling difference between the Pentium vs i3. They've got the same integrated graphics, and they're both hyperthreaded, dual-core. The Kaby Lake i3's are a bit higher frequency, than the Pentiums.

To tell the truth, I decided what I need most are a new winter jacket and boots - it's suddenly very cold here. But I might still get an NVMe SSD and a larger HDD, maybe 2TB. Maybe upgrade the CPU when I get my tax return in Feb or March. Maybe.
Title: Re: upgrading my desktop
Post by: scifidude79 on December 29, 2017, 05:32:44 pm
Actually, I dug out my old LGA775 mobo and my Wolfdale Celeron.  Cleaned that all up and added 4 GB DDR2.  I installed Peppermint 8 and she purrs like a kitten.
Title: Re: upgrading my desktop
Post by: cfx795 on December 29, 2017, 06:07:43 pm
Actually, I dug out my old LGA mobo and my Wolfdale Celeron.  Cleaned that all up and added 4 GB DDR2.  I installed Peppermint 8 and she purrs like a kitten.

Yeah I had a 10 or 12yr-old 40GB HDD that I picked up used for $6.50, that was perfectly fine. Fast? Definitely not! But it was quiet and perfectly functional. Worked fine. I think there's something to be said for old components that still have useful life left in them. Why not?

EDIT: Not that cutting edge isn't super-fabulous and lovely, but you really pay a premium for it, versus if you're willing to amble along just behind that edge, sort of recent, reasonably modern, but not bleeding-edge. Just my opinion. There's that point, of course where your old stuff just won't keep up with modern applications, but none of my stuff is anywhere near that point.

You still can't touch a 300-Series Coffee Lake mobo for less than about $100, I just looked. I think that i3 you speak of is about $130 on Newegg. That's not bad, but yeah, it just all adds up...
Title: Re: upgrading my desktop
Post by: scifidude79 on December 29, 2017, 06:36:01 pm
Actually, with Peppermint 8, that Celeron dual core is plenty fast for me.  I also have a Pentium dual core from back then, but the boost of running that is insignificant over the Celeron.  About the only thing I may do to speed up the system is put in a SSD.
Title: Re: upgrading my desktop
Post by: PCNetSpec on December 30, 2017, 06:42:23 am
if I had $250 - $300 to play with I'd likely look for another Dell E6530 .. I love these things, and as tetricky suggests a second PC would allow you to offload some tasks.

Not to mention, a solid well built laptop adds portability (and relaxing on the sofa) to the equation :)
Title: Re: upgrading my desktop
Post by: cfx795 on December 30, 2017, 06:51:02 pm
if I had $250 - $300 to play with I'd likely look for another Dell E6530 .. I love these things, and as tetricky suggests a second PC would allow you to offload some tasks.

Not to mention, a solid well built laptop adds portability (and relaxing on the sofa) to the equation :)

I'll look at that. I decided I needed a new boots and winter jacket, there's no longer quite as much to play with. There are a lot of different directions to go with upgrading the desktop. I'm sort of considering that new i3 8100. But I'd need a new mobo. I'll look at that Dell.