Jump to content
  • 0

Upgrading to a refurbished desktop puter for SL.


Chassie Rowley
 Share

You are about to reply to a thread that has been inactive for 1459 days.

Please take a moment to consider if this thread is worth bumping.

Question

For the last 5 years, I have been using an HP g6-1d21dx lappy for all of my SL needs. I have ran this machine through situations one would/should never place a laptop. Dragging it from home in a small gunny sack, under all sorts of weather conditions. Even went as far as having it slide off my car trunk to the ground. It dinged a corner of the laptop with a small crack and slightly damaging the CD drive. I picked it up and fearing I would see a spider web pattern to the screen, lucked out and saw the screen was fine.

It currently runs an AMD A63429M APU with Radeon HD graphics 1,60Gmz and Win 7 Home. I upgraded the memory from 4 GB to with an additional 4 GB card, giving me 8 GB memory. The keyboard has been replaced since it got to a point of not able to see the letter impressions. When I log on, it is taking a noticeable longer time to rez/render my surroundings with lots of grey items. I wait until they all load up and proceed. When I TP somewhere, the greyness/wait time returns. My FPS is usually between 10-15 while in low/medium settings.

Short to say, I worked this poor thing to its limits and it needs to be replaced. I will use it for other SL activity, but not as my prime unit.

That's my Taxicab confession, now I will tell you what I am looking for.

A full tower med/upper end refurbished desktop with a minimum 3.00Gmz/8 GB memory and expansion slots for additions (GeForce video card for instance). Should I stay with AMD or run with another brand? What specs should I look for in product descriptions? My geekness level is low, so I come to the masses for an assist. Amazon and Fry's Electronics have some nice deals in refurbished units and they offer some protections with purchases. Walmart does the same, but I hesitate in buying a computer at the same place I can buy milk, bread and a pair of socks. I'm looking at a $300-$350 budget. As for a monitor, not too worried there. I'm concerned with getting the right guts for a much better SL experience. I would love to run as close to ultra as I can with a higher FPS. I miss shadows and point lighting.

As sure as I am typing this, there is someone who has done the same and came away happy with their experience. So...

Any suggestions? I thank all in advance.

Edited by CharlieMack
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 answers to this question

Recommended Posts

  • 0

$300 to $350 is tight and will probably limit you to very refurbished or privately offered second hand machine.

On the upside: even a config in that price range should outperform your current APU laptop, even though it was a good idea that you added more RAM to it as that helps immensely with its performance.
I'll browse a bit and see what's on the market...

Do you feel comfortable to assemble parts on your own, guided by written and YouTube tutorials on how to setup a computer? 
That would allow you to handpick parts... though actually, if you managed to add more RAM to a laptop, you probably should be fine with replacing a GPU in a tower case and such stuff.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

>300-350$

Yeah, youre going refurb or really basic desktop.

Here's the best I could compile with pcpartpicker for around 300$. You're going to be pirating Windows or using linux for SL. 

https://pcpartpicker.com/list/7tHswV

Now this ain't fancy but its not ya know, crap. Athlon x4 950 is the newest generation of AMD processors, on the AM4 socket, B350 motherboard chipset may even let you overclock a bit. Otherwise its a basic quad-core, its not fancy and doesn't even have integrated graphics, but it will handle SL just fine due to its decent single thread performance.

4gb of DDR4, you can add another stick of that or go with a single 8gb instead. I personally recommend a single 8gb for an upgrade to 16gb in the future. As this machine is technically just fine to be upgraded from bottom tier to extremely high end with only a PSU, CPU and GPU upgrade. B350 chipset can take you from Athlon and 550 to R7 1800x and GTX 1080ti.

1tb 7200rpm WD blue, its tried and true, no need to complicate things. Add a 120gb ssd for ~50$ if you want. Same goes for the case, its a basic Rosewill Matx case, nothing fancy but its not cheap crap and will work fine.

For the GPU I went with the RX 550. The cheapest 2gb variant, it performs on par with a 750ti and that's more than enough for SL in 1080p. Its low power, quiet and performs okayish.

And finally for the PSU is a Seasonic 520w bronze unit. Its basic but its seasonic, which is a really nice brand and they have a good reputation to where I trust even their absolute cheapest models.

 

If you don't want to build a PC, which I highly reccomend doing on this budget, you can go the path of the used optiplex. And this works on a lot of different tiers too. From an Optiplex 780 you can pick up for maybe 30-60$ you get an 8000 series core2duo, 4gb of ddr3 and usually a mid size HDD and windows 7. From there you can upgrade to the chipsets respective core2quad and 8gb of ddr3, more storage, and then add a low power GPU. If its a full width tower anything that's pci power only will be fine, GT 730, 750ti, R5 250, RX 550/460, GT 1030, etc

If its low profile SFF you need a small card though, and low profile gpus can be more expensive than their full size counterparts.

Other than all that, hit up sites like newegg and look for prebuilt PC's or part combos in your price range. Look for a decently modern quad-core on something that has room to upgrade. For example, https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883286338

its an HP Pavillion Pavilion 550-339, which is kinda, meh? But its an A10-8750 with 12gb of ram and a 2tb HDD, comes with what looks like an R7 240? The A10 isnt bad, performs a little bit lower than the athlon x4 950 but only by a little bit. Still a decent quadcore. HP Says it can be upgraded aswell, considering its just an FM2+ board in there. And it has a full pcie x16 slot with room for a large double slot card in the future. Though that would be kind of a waste on FM2+ tbh. I imagine going up to something like a GTX 1050ti or RX 560 would be a good upgrade in the future. And because its ATX you could upgrade the power supply and everything if you wanted to.

https://support.hp.com/lt-en/document/c05235551

 

Edited by cykarushb
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

In terms of potential upgrades, you have much more options with the PCPartsPicker list by cyka. 
My only concern: don't settle for just 4 GB. A single 8 GB stick, later on adding a second one with the same specs for a total of 16GB is a smarter way to go.
Well, and the powersupply is quite likely too oversized for such a moderate setup.

Also consider this ... if you manage to save roughly $250 to add to your budget, you can get the base components for a fine little Ryzen system for roughly $565, see the attached image.
Actually, even the Ryzen 3 1200 would do for $20 less, I simply prefer the 1300x due to its higher clocking.
That's a base which can be upgraded with ease, the current AM4 sockets are predicted to run with future refreshes of the Ryzen CPUs. More RAM, a better GPU, a SSD ... unlike those refurbished office machines where you have to carefully check for compatible parts and upgrade possibilities.
You simply get more value for your money in the long run. 

Please disregard any old crap that AMD offered... no FXes, no FMs... they are slow and absolutely not on par with their new technology. 

Monitor: something like this, https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824160167 , ideally, for roughly $90.
Keyboard and mouse from a retail offer or like this, https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16823126097 for $16.

If you don't plan to continue using your laptop, your Windows license could be connected to a Microsoft account and thus transfered to your new desktop using the same Windows account... at least that works over here, but I hope it's also possible in the States. Would save $100 for a new license.

You could also post links to offers you have found on Ebay and such and you'll get a review.
If there's something starting with an i5-2400 or 2500(k) and one of the mentioned GPUs like the GTX 750ti or even a GTX 660 / 760 / 770 for Nvidia or R9 270 / 280 / 370 / 380 for AMD, preferably with 2GB VRAM or more, at least 8 GB RAM like you said, and the rest... that should show much improvement.

ryzennewegg.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
29 minutes ago, Lillith Hapmouche said:

In terms of potential upgrades, you have much more options with the PCPartsPicker list by cyka. 
My only concern: don't settle for just 4 GB. A single 8 GB stick, later on adding a second one with the same specs for a total of 16GB is a smarter way to go.
Well, and the powersupply is quite likely too oversized for such a moderate setup.

4gb is realistically fine for a single instance of SL and a web browser or whatever. But as i said, 8gb would be better, 16gb really wouldnt be used, at all, on a system like this. Ive only got 16gb in my Athlon 5350 + 750ti build because i use to have 32gb and didnt want to split the 16gb kit when i sold the excess ram. I never get over 6gb of ram usage even with 2 viewers open with firefox going with multiple tabs. 8gb is the better option for a future upgrade though, to be able to hit 16gb.

The PSU is fine, its 520w bronze, while that system wont draw near that PSU's even most efficient output level, 520w gives you room to upgrade to a 95w processor and higher wattage GPU in the future. Meaning you could stick with it from Athlon + 550 to 1800x + 1080ti like i said. I personally wouldnt use a bronze rated PSU with a system like that, id upgrade to gold/platinium first, but the 520w will be fine for a single GPU build. And theres no reason to downgrade to save 5-10$ just so you dont have a higher wattage PSU than you really need. By all means i couldve gone with a 350w OEM Seasonic one but theres no real reason to do so.

And no harsh feelings, but for the love of god to not buy a low end Corsair PSU, thats just screams "dead in a year". Corsair makes some nice high end stuff, EVGA is great for the 700-900w zone, but Seasonic is the best overall. Best low end stuff, best mid tier stuff, best high end stuff. And thats not just brand preference, thats like over a decade of proving to be the most reliable.

Also dont buy a 270-290x or 370-390x GPU, theyre still sought after by bitcoin miners and their prices are way higher than their performance is actually worth. My R9 280x's were a nightmare as well because they are 300w cards, they are loud, they are hot, and they dont even perform that well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

The 270/280s or 370/380 ... I actually didn't even mention the x90s ... are merely a hint what kind of AMD cards would be on par with the Nvidia versions and which seem quite likely to be found in such a used machine. If the cards haven't been sold on their own due to the mining boom, it's quite unlikely that it'll push the price in a full second-hand computer.

Limiting yourself to 4 GB RAM? Can be ok for a second-hand purchase. In a new one, I personally find that next to negligent. Buy cheap, buy twice...

I don't object to Seasonic in general, I merely stated that more than 500w is quite likely oversized for a midrange system. Neither am I aware of numerous reports of the CX-M series blowing up in numbers, even though it is low end. Yet it offers much fresher technology than your choice from 2008. And you hopefully don't seriously recommend such an old tech power supply like the S12II to be paired with a GPU of the 1080(ti) kind, with no individual power regulation and requiring an adapter to make up for the second 6+2 Pin string. 

The American power supply market seems to be pretty black and white anyway. Either complete crap on the low end or massively oversized, sometimes also crap, piecies costing a small fortune. Economic middle range? Good luck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

The budget kills a lot of possibilities.

If you start watching eBay you may find an individual unloading a machine after they upgrade. So, January, post-Christmas is a good time to shop for deals. There are people that rebuild computers and sell them on eBay. So, you can get good machines at great prices, US$200 to $600.

If you want to up your geek-score read my hardware articles targeted at SL users. You can skip the deep-geek and get the basics. For instance the viewer is threaded, runs multiple tasks. But, the render engine is pretty much a single task. So, a faster CPU is more important than lots of cores. So, 3.5GHz vs 2.4GHz is more import criteria than 8 vs 4 cores.

A dedicated video card is better than integrated video. Those using 3GB vs 6GB of video ram say there is a noticeable difference in performance. I have 6 and haven't tried 3.

4GB of system ram is minimum and several argue 8GB should be the minimum for any kind of performance. More and faster is better. 64-bit operating systems are nearly mandatory. They are certainly important for performance and reliability running SL.

The Intel vs AMD debate changes by who made the latest release. I'm an Intel fan. For general gaming the debate of 'best' gets techy. To simplify, since AMD favors more cores over speed and Intel favors fewer but faster cores, for SL Intel has an advantage. If you are working with a particle collider then AMD has an advantage. If you play various games, it is a hard decision. If you are primarily an SL player, Intel is a pretty clear choice. Also, the shift to phones and tablets is driving down the price of desktop CPU's. You can get a deal on eBay. But, shop smart. Right now eBay 7th gen CPU's are selling for more than new 8th gen CPU's.

Refurbished computers are great for offices. Dell, HP, and others sell refurbished. But, many of those refurbished and new Dell and HP units are Core2 models, 9 generations back. For SL the performance sucks. So, when marked refurbished, one has to pay close attention to the details. Otherwise, I think they are a great buy.

CPU's come in i3, i5, and i7. Eight generations worth of them. My i5-6600k is a sixth gen CPU, about a year old. When buying any iCore pay attention to that red number.

All iCores will work with SL. Performance comes with the i5 and i7 fifth gen and up. I think the i7 is overkill for SL. 8th gen CPU's are not for upgrades as they require a new chipset to work 100%, so new motherboard.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
On 10/23/2017 at 11:04 AM, Lillith Hapmouche said:

I don't object to Seasonic in general, I merely stated that more than 500w is quite likely oversized for a midrange system. Neither am I aware of numerous reports of the CX-M series blowing up in numbers, even though it is low end. Yet it offers much fresher technology than your choice from 2008. And you hopefully don't seriously recommend such an old tech power supply like the S12II to be paired with a GPU of the 1080(ti) kind, with no individual power regulation and requiring an adapter to make up for the second 6+2 Pin string.

500w+ gives you room to upgrade without having to buy a new PSU. You could totally go with something like 300w for these low end builds. But why lose 220w of headroom and the 80+ bronze rating, and the connectors, and the future upgradability to save 10-15$?

The problem i have with low end CXm power supplies is that they are not made by corsair, they are made by a company called CWT (Channel Well Technology), and they do not use quality components in their devices. They have a decently high failure rate compared to other power supplies in their rating range, ive personally had two of them die, one which refused to work after moving parts to a new case, and one that was DOA and had to be RMA'd.

Seasonic, even on the low end is made with fairly good quality components, and its made by seasonic. They dont make bad power supplies, i pick them now every time i need a PSU when i do builds simply because they have the best options for the price, and their quality is unmatched on every level from the low end to the high end.

Also it has a 6+2 and a 6 pin pcie power connector which is enough for a 1080ti. Aftermarket 1080ti's may or may not have dual 8 pins, there are many variants however that use the OEM 6 + 8 pins. A 1080ti is a bit dramatic of an example and i personally wouldnt put one on bronze, but you totally could and it wouldnt cause on any problems so long as you dont OC that or the CPU.

Quote

If you start watching eBay you may find an individual unloading a machine after they upgrade. So, January, post-Christmas is a good time to shop for deals. There are people that rebuild computers and sell them on eBay. So, you can get good machines at great prices, US$200 to $600.

This is a good idea as well, pick up resale prebuilts for cheap, or anyones old office PC with at minimum a 2nd gen i5 and you can toss a decent GPU in there and be golden. Semi-modern lga 1155 stuff can be found for ~150-200$ on ebay.

Quote

Those using 3GB vs 6GB of video ram say there is a noticeable difference in performance. I have 6 and haven't tried 3.

SL is never gonna go over maybe 1gb of vram usage unless youre playing in extremely high resolutions like 1440p or 4k. For 1080p or less like 99% of the users here, if it has 2gb it will be fine. More or less vram isnt going to cause an issue. You want a generally better performing GPU but buying something with 8gb just because it has 8gb wouldnt be a buying strategy.

Quote

But, many of those refurbished and new Dell and HP units are Core2 models, 9 generations back. For SL the performance sucks.

Something core2duo/quad would be fine, especially some of the newer machines. I ran SL fairly well on a Core2duo E6700 and a Gt710 for quite a time, and honestly compared to OP's APU, a C2D E8400 or something you find in later c2d prebuilts would be a decent performance increase. Moving up to a Core2Quad would be adequate for SL if paired with a decent GPU. A 6600 is slightly better than my Athlon 5350, especially in single core performance, so something like that with a 750ti would give you an experience similar to mine, which is pretty good, 25-35fps in 1080p on generally high settings.

And a c2q + 750ti prebuilt is a VERY common project and you can find lots of them on ebay and other sites.

Basically one of these:

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA8WV5MM3588

Get one of these:

https://www.ebay.com/i/272875471134?chn=ps&dispItem=1

Drop in one of these:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/182851099301?epid=1581939926

(edit, there may be a size constraint since i think that 780 is inverted ATX, so go with an EVGA mini or Zotac 750ti, since theyre shorter and fit in pretty much anything, that EVGA one on ebay is an example but its a longer variant with two fans)

Bam, 170-180$ for a PC with a Core2Quad, 750ti, if you got another 20 bucks to spare, pick up a second HDD and another 4gb of ram and youre good to go. That right there will play SL just fine, no problems whatsoever in 1080p on medium/high settings.

Edited by cykarushb
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You are about to reply to a thread that has been inactive for 1459 days.

Please take a moment to consider if this thread is worth bumping.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...