Massive PC overhaul, it's been a while. Any advice?


Captain Jack Sparrow

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Okay guys, some of you may remember that I was away from PC Review for quite a long time, about 6 years. The Black Pearl has been operating with a 2010 spec all this time! She's really starting to show signs of age, so I'm planning a complete overhaul.

Admittedly, I haven't been playing that many games this year, as I've been busy with assignments for University, but with Rise of the Tomb Raider releasing on PC next month, this must be the perfect time.
Since then, believe it or not, The Black Pearl has not been upgraded or changed in any way, apart from components which had failed, I replaced these with equivalent components.

Although this information is available on my forum profile, here is my current spec. Yes, I know it's dated, don't judge!

"The Black Pearl"
Motherboard: MSI 870-C45
CPU: AMD Phenom II 975 Black Edition (3.6GHz)
Graphics: MSI Radeon R9 290 GAMING 4G (4GB)
RAM: Some cheap DDR3-1333 Corsair ValueSelect (2 x 4GB)
PSU: Thermaltake Toughpower XT 875W
Storage: FDD, slot loading DVD writer, additional DVD reader

Samsung "SpinPoint" 500GB HDD (This 9 year old HDD is the OS drive. It's started corrupting system files, so I'm pretty sure that it's going to die soon),
Western Digital "Blue" 500GB HDD (This drive is 5 years old, it's still working properly),
Western Digital "Green" 640GB HDD (This drive is also 9 years old but still seems to be working properly)
OS: Windows 7 Professional x64

I've already purchased some new components. I can't buy them all at once because my credit card limit won't allow this. But here's what I've got so far...

ASRock 890FX Deluxe5 motherboard (external link, ASRock)
PNY CS2111 480GB SSD (external link, PNY) [this was a free gift. The OS HDD will be replaced with this]
As you can see, my overhaul is far from complete. I am still missing a CPU and RAM.
Let's start with the CPU. This motherboard is not designed for 220W CPUs (I think they're incredibly power inefficient anyway), so I'm limited to the AMD FX-83xx series.

Here, I have two options, either the AMD FX-8350 (external link, AMD), or the AMD FX-8370 (external link, AMD). There's roughly a £45 price difference between them. Is it really worth it?
Also, is my Corsair H60 closed-loop CPU cooler (original version, not the 2013 version) [external link, Corsair] sufficient for the CPUs mentioned? I will not be overclocking the CPU under any circumstances.

Next, let's move on to RAM. I'd like to install at least 16GB RAM. I am considering a configuration of either 16GB (2x8GB) or 32GB (4x8GB):


My only concern with these is that they are not listed on the official motherboard memory support list (external link, ASRock), there only seems to be a very limited range of RAM modules on here. Do you think that this is likely to cause any problems? Will I have to set the RAM timings manually?

The PSU and graphics card will remain the same. The R9 290 is enough for me, and I'm certain that my 875W PSU has plenty of reserve power for this overhaul.

For storage, I'll keep my Western Digital "Blue" 500GB and "Green" 640GB HDDs for now. I'll also keep my slot loading DVD writer and additional DVD reader. These optical drives are IDE, but the motherboard does have an IDE channel, so this won't be an issue. I'll also keep the floppy drive, the motherboard appears to have a floppy connector, please don't ask why I still need a floppy drive. Seriously. Don't.
Under the floppy drive, I have an unoccupied 3.5" bay. I am considering adding a card reader here, as I don't yet have one in The Black Pearl, and my BlackBerry Z10 uses a microSD card for its media storage. I hate having to dig out my laptop just for this, so installing a card reader in The Black Pearl is probably a good idea.

USB 2.0 or USB 3.0, that is the question.
Which one do you think is a better choice based on real-world performance?

That concludes my great PC overhaul for now. Please leave your thoughts about my proposed build. Don't forget to explain why. No Intel or AMD fanboyism, remember that I've already purchased the motherboard, so it's gonna be AMD!

Thanks in advance.

- Capt. Jack Sparrow.
 
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muckshifter

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I'm not an AMD Fanbouy, I just happen to use an AMD 8350FX system

your MB should have no problems with your choice of memory, (it maybe they just never tested it), nothing wrong in changing your preference to something that is listed.

The FX CPU supports 'upto' 1866MHz and the AMD 8350 is a fantastic CPU.

I'd go for 2x8 memory, then, if ever needed, you'd have a couple of spare slots to 'upgrade' from. 8GB is really a 'sweet' spot for Windows (XP, 7, 8,9,10) 16GB is the nice, overkill if not video rendering, 'entry' level these days. :)

Your 'closed loop' should be fine, but if you have any doubts, I can highly recommend the NZXT. X61 Kraken as it will run very quiet with the 8350FX. Be sure you can mount it your case though.

USB 3, is backward compatible ... if you are given a choice between USB2 v USB3, the answer is simple ... performance? what is performance? :p


:user:
 

Abarbarian

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You can get the Fx-8370 for £169 and the FX-3850 for £ 146 both with a free game and a water cooler. Me I would go for the 8370.

https://www.alza.co.uk/amd-fx-8370-...a-2_negative&gclid=CNLavNTpsc8CFeop0wodEKkFtw
https://www.alza.co.uk/amd-fx-8370-...a-2_negative&gclid=CNLavNTpsc8CFeop0wodEKkFtw
https://www.cclonline.com/product/2...ler/CPU0416/?gclid=CJDa5OPosc8CFcSRGwodQPUAmQ
https://www.cclonline.com/product/2...ler/CPU0416/?gclid=CJDa5OPosc8CFcSRGwodQPUAmQ
I have used both suppliers with good results.

Looks like you are building a neat system, if a tad dated but if you do not game then it should be fine. Bit puzzled as to why you went with a mobo with a Northbridge: AMD 890FX. A Northbridge: AMD 990FX would be a better fit for anyone using a ssd.

As to memory choose the speed you want then find the cheapest good brand you can find. Top end memory is really only useful for gamers and folk who need the fastest memory for a specific task.
https://www.cclonline.com/product/2...ler/CPU0416/?gclid=CJDa5OPosc8CFcSRGwodQPUAmQ
Muck's is dead on the money with 16 GB and USB 3.0.

Linux will fly on a machine like your new build :p:lol:
https://www.cclonline.com/product/2...ler/CPU0416/?gclid=CJDa5OPosc8CFcSRGwodQPUAmQ
 

Captain Jack Sparrow

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I'm not an AMD Fanbouy, I just happen to use an AMD 8350FX system

your MB should have no problems with your choice of memory, (it maybe they just never tested it), nothing wrong in changing your preference to something that is listed.

The FX CPU supports 'upto' 1866MHz and the AMD 8350 is a fantastic CPU.

I'd go for 2x8 memory, then, if ever needed, you'd have a couple of spare slots to 'upgrade' from. 8GB is really a 'sweet' spot for Windows (XP, 7, 8,9,10) 16GB is the nice, overkill if not video rendering, 'entry' level these days. :)

Your 'closed loop' should be fine, but if you have any doubts, I can highly recommend the NZXT. X61 Kraken as it will run very quiet with the 8350FX. Be sure you can mount it your case though.

USB 3, is backward compatible ... if you are given a choice between USB2 v USB3, the answer is simple ... performance? what is performance?
I'm probably going to go for 16GB DDR3 1866MHz. It seems like a sweet spot between the capacity and clock speed. The NZXT Kracken X61 won't fit in my case, thats why I really wanted to stay with the Corsair H60, as I know this will fit fine.

About the USB2.0 / USB 3.0 card reader, what I meant is would there really be any performance benifit with a USB 3.0 reader, as I've never seen a SD card's write speed exceed 12MB/s. Like, would it be worth it?

You can get the Fx-8370 for £169 and the FX-3850 for £ 146 both with a free game and a water cooler. Me I would go for the 8370.

https://www.alza.co.uk/amd-fx-8370-...a-2_negative&gclid=CNLavNTpsc8CFeop0wodEKkFtw
https://www.cclonline.com/product/2...ler/CPU0416/?gclid=CJDa5OPosc8CFcSRGwodQPUAmQ
I have used both suppliers with good results.

Looks like you are building a neat system, if a tad dated but if you do not game then it should be fine. Bit puzzled as to why you went with a mobo with a Northbridge: AMD 890FX. A Northbridge: AMD 990FX would be a better fit for anyone using a ssd.

As to memory choose the speed you want then find the cheapest good brand you can find. Top end memory is really only useful for gamers and folk who need the fastest memory for a specific task.
Muck's is dead on the money with 16 GB and USB 3.0.

Linux will fly on a machine like your new build :p:lol:
The reason I went for an 890FX chipset is because the equivalent motherboard with the 990FX chipset is the AsRock 990FX Extreme4 and it seems to be rarer than the holy grail. Trust me, I really tried to find one of these, but couldn't. Even finding the AsRock 890FX Deluxe5 was hard enough, but these are the only AM3+ motherboards I could find which still feature IDE and Floppy connectors.

Thanks for both of your posts, I've decided on the AMD FX 8370. @Abarbarian, I checked your links, both CCL and alza state that the processor is supplied with a "Wraith" cooler. This is not a water cooler and there's no mention of a free water cooler offer. Also, only CCL seems to be doing the free game offer, they state that Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is included as a free download with the processor. Could you please explain this further?

- Capt. Jack Sparrow.
 

Abarbarian

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@Capt Jack Sparrow Well the Wraith is a air cooler and as you said you were not doing any oc'ing it should do just fine. I'm pretty anti water cooling as my water cooler sprang a leak after 13 months.

The game is a on-line download as the site states and is a standard way of offering a game promotion. Looks pretty straightforward to me.

Your download voucher will be supplied via your CCL registered email usually within 7 working days from delivery, Simply log on, register and get your game code, then redeem at https://www.amdrewards.com/amdrewards/. Terms & Conditions Apply. Offer available on orders placed between 00:00 on 23rd August 2016 and close of business on 31st December 2016, or while supplies last.

About the USB2.0 / USB 3.0 card reader, what I meant is would there really be any performance benifit with a USB 3.0 reader, as I've never seen a SD card's write speed exceed 12MB/s. Like, would it be worth it?

Yes. You can get pretty fast cards these days fairly cheaply if you shop around.

Had not realised you needed IDE and Floppy connectors. Mind you you can get usb floppys and external ide docks. Both are old tech and personally I would go for the newer chipset to make the best of ssd's.

Here is a bit of info on chipsets

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/motherboard-buying-guide,4596-2.html
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/motherboard-buying-guide,4596-2.html
You can get Pci-e add-on cards for ide.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/StarTech-com-Port-Express-Controller-Adapter/dp/B000YAX13Y

Ain't it fun burning your brain out with all the different choices. :lol:
 
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Captain Jack Sparrow

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@Capt Jack Sparrow Well the Wraith is a air cooler and as you said you were not doing any oc'ing it should do just fine. I'm pretty anti water cooling as my water cooler sprang a leak after 13 months.

The game is a on-line download as the site states and is a standard way of offering a game promotion. Looks pretty straightforward to me.





Yes. You can get pretty fast cards these days fairly cheaply if you shop around.

Had not realised you needed IDE and Floppy connectors. Mind you you can get usb floppys and external ide docks. Both are old tech and personally I would go for the newer chipset to make the best of ssd's.

Here is a bit of info on chipsets

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/motherboard-buying-guide,4596-2.html
You can get Pci-e add-on cards for ide.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/StarTech-com-Port-Express-Controller-Adapter/dp/B000YAX13Y

Ain't it fun burning your brain out with all the different choices. :lol:
Thanks, but as the motherboard has already been bought, there's no changing my mind now.

About the game download code, what if you've paid through PayPal? I don't buy anything online unless it can be paid with PayPal, so would they send the game's download code to the PayPal account's email address? Somebody else is buying the CPU and RAM on my behalf and I obviously still want the game!

I need IDE connectors, because I paid top-dollar for fancy slot loading DVD drives, but they were IDE. For the amount of money that they cost, I'm not prepared to give them up yet. SATA slot loading DVD drives are available, but they're expensive. I suppose an IDE controller card could work, but it's just not worth the hassle.

A floppy connector is essential. There are some vintage programs which I run with VMware on a Windows 95 virtual machine. An internal floppy drive is a must, because USB floppy drives don't work well with virtual machines, in my case the guest OS didn't even recognise that it had been attached, but an internal floppy drive worked properly. Internal floppy drives are also useful when performing BIOS updates, which (in my experience) can't be done with a USB floppy drive.

I'm not really bothered about SSD performance, I've used HDDs all my life until recently, when I installed an SSD for the first time in an old socket 939 system, the performance improvement was more than enough for me. This old motherboard didn't support AHCI (so the SSD can only operate in IDE mode) and even then, it still performed much better than a HDD.
Obviously with this new motherboard, I will install Windows 7 with AHCI mode enabled.

- Capt. Jack Sparrow.
 
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Abarbarian

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Thanks, but as the motherboard has already been bought, there's no changing my mind now.

About the game download code, what if you've paid through PayPal? I don't buy anything online unless it can be paid with PayPal, so would they send the game's download code to the PayPal account's email address? Somebody else is buying the CPU and RAM on my behalf and I obviously still want the game!

Your download voucher will be supplied via your CCL registered email usually within 7 working days from delivery,

Easiest way to negate problems later on would be for your chum to give you the loot for the cpu and let you order it yourself. :cool:
 

Captain Jack Sparrow

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Easiest way to negate problems later on would be for your chum to give you the loot for the cpu and let you order it yourself. :cool:
I'm not the one to gloat :blush:, but it's a present because I'll soon be graduating with a 1st. However, I was told, "Terms and Conditions apply", so I can't just have money! :D Anyway I will be ordering it this weekend, that's an AMD FX-8370 CPU and 16GB of the cheapest DDR3-1866 RAM that I can find. Cannot wait to start this big PC overhaul... :cool:

I still need to think about which card reader I will choose though. :user:

- Capt. Jack Sparrow.
 
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(graduating with a 1st). Congratulations Captain Jack all that hard work rewarded, well done.:thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb:
 

floppybootstomp

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Congrats on achieving a first, great news :thumb:

But tell me, you're staying with IDE cables and want to use a non-USB floppy disk drive?

Both are ancient history I'm afraid, I couldn't quite believe what I was reading.

I did read your reasons why you wanted to stay with that dated technology but the time comes when it's time to ditch the past and get modernised.

Most modern motherboards now update the BIOS through operating system based software, I've updated the BIOS for my MSI board three or four times since new that way.

But hey - each to his own... ;)
 
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Captain Jack Sparrow

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Thanks for all the congratulations guys! Much appreciated. :cool:

Congrats on achieving a first, great news :thumb:

But tell me, you're staying with IDE cables and want to use a non-USB floppy disk drive?

Both are ancient history I'm afraid, I couldn't quite believe what I was reading.

I did read your reasons why you wanted to stay with that dated technology but the time comes when it's time to ditch the past and get modernised.

Most modern motherboards now update the BIOS through operating system based software, I've updated the BIOS for my MSI board three or four times since new that way.

But hey - each to his own... ;)
In my experience, every motherboard I've used up until the one mentioned in this thread required an internal floppy drive to update its BIOS, so I chose to keep the floppy and IDE ports. I think this motherboard will be good for a quite a long time anyway.

I bought the AMD FX-8370 CPU (plus a free copy of Deux Ex: Mankind Divided) and 32GB of HyperX Fury 1866MHz RAM which arrived today. All I'm waiting for now is for the card reader.

I can't wait to get this underway. But there's a lot of cleaning up and backing up to do on the current system first... not looking forward to that!

- Capt. Jack Sparrow.
 

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