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Old 08-24-2013, 03:18 PM   #1
NotAComputerGuy
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Very Newbie Question Regarding New Hardware


I'm looking to upgrade my computer as I want it to be faster. It's currently 3.0Ghz and most processors these days aren't that fast, but I think that if I get a newer processor, it will have more than one core, and therefore be faster. As such I think I need a new motherboard, and my RAM at the moment will probably be outdated. My shopping list as such is:

Motherboard + Processor
RAM

I obviously have a case and a power supply. How do I find out what 'Computer form factor' I have, so ensure I get a matching one to switch my existing computer over with? It's a standard computer to me, which according to Wikipedia looks like Standard-ATX, but I have the choice of the follow: ATX, Extended ATX, FlexATX, M-ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX, SSI CEB, SSI EEB. The manual talks about ATX and EATX, which I guess is referring to extended ATX? Is there a simple way to determine which of these I have?

Are there likely to be other hurdles that I've not accounted for?

Thanks, I'm very grateful for any feedback, tips or advice.
 
Old 08-24-2013, 03:51 PM   #2
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When you narrow down your selection to the form factor and are ready to select the motherboard, be sure to research how well that board is doing out in the wild. I didn't do this with my previous motherboard and ended up with nothing but trouble.
 
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Old 08-25-2013, 02:31 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NotAComputerGuy View Post
I'm looking to upgrade my computer as I want it to be faster. It's currently 3.0Ghz and most processors these days aren't that fast, but I think that if I get a newer processor, it will have more than one core, and therefore be faster.
I dont know where you got the idea that 'most CPUs aren't that fast' (meaning 3.0GHz). Most CPUs around today are reach higher GHz than 3.0GHz.

You're in for a pleasant shock. You cannot measure the performance of a CPU on MHz alone.

I dont know what CPU you have, I would guess a single core P4 3.0GHz. They were totally outclassed by Core 2 Duo CPUs in the 1.8-2.1GHz range. Not just due to the extra core, Pentium Ds (dual core version of the P4) are also slower than Core 2 Duo CPUs with much lower GHz.

Theres been a few improvements since then, and every time CPU performance has got better.

A current i3/i5 or AMD APU/FX CPU at 3.0GHz would be miles and miles faster than any old P4.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NotAComputerGuy View Post
How do I find out what 'Computer form factor' I have, so ensure I get a matching one to switch my existing computer over with? It's a standard computer to me, which according to Wikipedia looks like Standard-ATX, but I have the choice of the follow: ATX, Extended ATX, FlexATX, M-ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX, SSI CEB, SSI EEB. The manual talks about ATX and EATX, which I guess is referring to extended ATX? Is there a simple way to determine which of these I have?
There are a few ways to figure this out.

The easiest is probably to run lshw, find your motherboard model and then figure out if your current motherboard is ATX/mATX/mITX/etc..

Quote:
Originally Posted by NotAComputerGuy View Post
Are there likely to be other hurdles that I've not accounted for?
You'll need a new power supply. You will probably need a new HDD and CD/DVD drive (IDE is gone now, its just SATA).

Got a budget?
 
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Old 08-25-2013, 04:59 AM   #4
NotAComputerGuy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
I dont know where you got the idea that 'most CPUs aren't that fast' (meaning 3.0GHz).
I think the problem comes with my lack of understanding in computer performance and using the adequate phrases to describe what I mean. I was looking at the processors available and a few examples had the cycles per second were quoted as such
Quote:
Intel Celeron G1610 2.60Ghz (Ivy Bridge) Socket LGA1155
I believe that would still be faster than my current CPU though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
I dont know what CPU you have, I would guess a single core P4 3.0GHz.
Thanks to your utterly wonderfully suggestion of "lshw", I can tell you that I have an Asus P5LD2-TVM-SE-SI with a Intel(R) Pentium(R) D CPU 3.00GHz. And it's a ATX form factor. Huzzah!

Quote:
Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
You'll need a new power supply.
Is that due to a plug connector thing or performance/specification? Will I need a new hard drive if I have a SATA hard drive already?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
Got a budget?
Not really. I don't want this for gaming, purely to make Firefox, Chromium, video and music that little bit faster as they're all rather slow compared to my brand new laptop downstairs to the point it is a little tedious.
 
Old 08-25-2013, 05:38 AM   #5
cascade9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NotAComputerGuy View Post
I think the problem comes with my lack of understanding in computer performance and using the adequate phrases to describe what I mean. I was looking at the processors available and a few examples had the cycles per second were quoted as such

I believe that would still be faster than my current CPU though.
Yeah, its complicated....but here something that might help you get an idea of why MHz isnt a good way to measure performance-

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/x...marks,128.html

Just click on any of the tests to see the comparison.

All the CPUs used in that test are limited to 3.0GHz, even though some of them run faster than 3.0GHz stock. There are various different P4 models, the Intel Pentium 4 HT 660 is one of the fastest models they made. Most 3.0Ghz P4s were slower, due to lower FSB (Front Side Bus) and CPU cache. P4 HT 660 is an 800MHz FSB/2MB cache model, lots of P4s were 533/400MHz FSB and 512/1024K cache.

Just showing one test as an example-

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/x...0.92,2776.html

As you can see, the P4 HT 660 @ 3.0GHz takes 516 seconds to complete the 7-zip file compression test. Something newer, like the i5-2500K does the same job in 217 seconds.

While a Celeron G1610, or similar 'Pentium' would not be as fast as the i5-2500K (due to CPU cache) they would be similar in performance.

A cheap AMD FX 6XXX/4XXX, AMD A8/A10 or Intel i3 will be at least twice as fast as your old P4 even for single threaded only applications. For multithreaded/multicore capable tasks, they would be even faster....

Quote:
Originally Posted by NotAComputerGuy View Post
Thanks to your utterly wonderfully suggestion of "lshw", I can tell you that I have an Asus P5LD2-TVM-SE-SI with a Intel(R) Pentium(R) D CPU 3.00GHz. And it's a ATX form factor. Huzzah!
Asus says ATX...but it looks like a mATX (micro ATX) motherboard to me and I've seen some sites that agree with me.

http://www.motherboards.org/reviews/...ds/1558_2.html

Do you know what computer case you are using?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NotAComputerGuy View Post
Is that due to a plug connector thing or performance/specification? Will I need a new hard drive if I have a SATA hard drive already?
The power supply specs changed between the days of the P4 and now. While old PSUs can sometimes be used, its better to run the newer power supplies. Not just because of the changed draws, but also because newer PSUs tend to have much better efficiency....and its best not to risk $150-250+ of new parts to an old and probably tired PSU.

If you have a SATA HDD, you shouldnt need a new HDD. The newer HDDs are faster, but I dont know if its worth getting a new one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NotAComputerGuy View Post
Not really. I don't want this for gaming, purely to make Firefox, Chromium, video and music that little bit faster as they're all rather slow compared to my brand new laptop downstairs to the point it is a little tedious.
Should make a big difference upgrading to something new.

What CPU does laptop run?
 
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Old 08-25-2013, 05:53 AM   #6
NotAComputerGuy
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Thanks for the information. I guess it's like trying to measure a vehicles performance purely by the size of the engine. By that theory motorcycles should be pretty slow and Heavy Goods Vehicles pretty fast.

My laptop has an i5, but I'm not sure which one at this very moment. All I know is it's got 4GB of RAM and a solid state drive and it flies, everything is pretty instant when using it, unlike this computer which takes about 10 seconds to load up Firefox/Rhythmbox etc.

The case I have is "Verre V770", which unfortunately doesn't mention much about what motherboard fits inside it.
 
Old 08-25-2013, 06:04 AM   #7
cascade9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NotAComputerGuy View Post
Thanks for the information. I guess it's like trying to measure a vehicles performance purely by the size of the engine. By that theory motorcycles should be pretty slow and Heavy Goods Vehicles pretty fast.
Yes.

Verre V770 seems to be an ATX case. It should fit most ATX motherboards...the only thing that worries me is that it appears to have very few mounting holes so some boards which need some of the less commonly used mounting holes might not fit.

If you're got an i5 laptop it will be a dualcore model (with hyperthreading). A desktop i3 will be about as fast, maybe slightly faster than the CPU in your laptop.
 
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Old 08-25-2013, 06:16 AM   #8
NotAComputerGuy
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Haha, so whilst my shopping list started off as:
  • Motherboard
    CPU
    RAM
It's now:
  • Motherboard
    CPU
    RAM
    Power Supply
    Case
Which leaves a hard drive and graphics card (let me guess that PCI express x16 isn't 'in' any more).

In many ways I guess this is a good thing as I can look at the 'barebones' bundles that various companies offer, which leaves less chance of me 'doing it wrong'.
 
Old 08-25-2013, 07:43 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NotAComputerGuy View Post
Which leaves a hard drive and graphics card (let me guess that PCI express x16 isn't 'in' any more).
It still is. But if you aren't into gaming their usually is no point in using a dedicated videocard, the current AMD APUs (A4-A10) and the Intel CPUs (all of them) have inuilt video devices that will handle normal desktop usage just fine.
 
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Old 08-25-2013, 09:47 AM   #10
NotAComputerGuy
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I need a graphics card for my multiple displays. When writing research and articles, I need web browsers, office suite and pdf readers open at the same time, often looking at the all at the same time. I have 3 displays at work which is nice, but I have no idea how to set that up, so I'm stuck with my 2 displays at home.

Looking at prices of the parts and attempting to build myself vs this company who will provide a 'barebones' system for a similar sort of price, it looks as though I would be better off in having someone build it for me and saving a potential lot of hassle. I'd love to compare prices and unfortunately ebuyer, the only other reputable IT company I know of don't do anything similar. Can people recommend UK companies for providing a system with graphics and optical and hard drives?

Finally, I read that Intel works better with Linux than AMD does, is this still true, or will both products have the potential to cause me problems? Is it literally just a matter of personal preference, or is one better than the other?
 
Old 08-26-2013, 06:22 AM   #11
cascade9
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OK, the 'barebones' systems are probably the easiest to get....but there are drawbacks.

They typically have 'yum cha' (generic and cheap) power supplies. I personaly dont trust really cheap power supplies. Even though this power supply is quite cheap, its very good, and should give you more than enough power to run your system.

Corsair Builder Series CX430, 38.38-
http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/c...020046-uk.html

The cheaper barebones have AMD A55 or Intel H61 chipsets. They work fine, just are missing some features that could be good to have later, mainly SATAIII controllers (both chipsets only have SATAII). Since SSDs are just getting cheaper, do give a boost to system performance, and a good one is already faster than SATAII, having at least 1 SATAIII port is a good thing IMO.

I'm not sure which way you will go, AMD or Intel, or if you would perfer a smaller (mATX) over ATX system, so this is just an example.
ASUS P8B75-M LX, 54.98-
http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/c...-g0eay0kz.html

BTW, that board should support dual monitors. I'd still be temped to get an nVidia or AMD video card for if the system is mostly used for media, or if you decide you really want 3, 4 or more monitors. Its a LGA 1155 socket motherboard and any LGA 1155 CPU should work. Novatech has various LGA 1155 CPUs, ranging from the Celeron G1610 (33) through Pentium G2XXX (50-62), i3 3240 (100) i5 3330 (150). *edit- you could also get an i7, but novatech seems to have sold them out, and they arent worth the cost increase over the i5 IMO.

4GB DDR3 (2 x 2GB) is very cheap-
G.Skill RipjawsX 4GB (2x2GB), 33
http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/c...l9d-4gbxl.html

I'd be temped to go for 8 GB (2 x 4GB) but that would cost something like 55-60.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NotAComputerGuy View Post
Looking at prices of the parts and attempting to build myself vs this company who will provide a 'barebones' system for a similar sort of price, it looks as though I would be better off in having someone build it for me and saving a potential lot of hassle. I'd love to compare prices and unfortunately ebuyer, the only other reputable IT company I know of don't do anything similar. Can people recommend UK companies for providing a system with graphics and optical and hard drives?
I think novatech will assemble the system for you. Might be a minor cost involved.

If you are getting the system built for you, its probably easiest and cheapest to have a HDD and CD/DVD drive installed by that company at the time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NotAComputerGuy View Post
Finally, I read that Intel works better with Linux than AMD does, is this still true, or will both products have the potential to cause me problems? Is it literally just a matter of personal preference, or is one better than the other?
I've never had any issues with Intel or AMD CPUs wit linux. They are both supported very well.

Intel video vs AMD video is messy. Intel only does open soruce drivers, and generally have pretty poor video features/low power (for example, they have only just got dual monitors working with the onobaord video, about 10 years after nVidia and AMD made the ability to run dual monitors prety much standard). AMD has open source and closed source drivers, the open soruce drivers work well but can have power management issues. The closed source drivers also work well, but there are always people with problems (various reasons).

Last edited by cascade9; 08-27-2013 at 02:17 AM. Reason: typos
 
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