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  #1  
10-11-2015, 03:26 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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I'm building a new computer for encoding! (CPU)

It's also for some heavy-yet-infrequent Photoshop CS5 work as well. (RAM)

So, for once, it's my turn for advice on this forum.

I know some of you are using newer systems than I am. So rather than guess my way through this process, I want to see what you may already know. I usually upgrade every 3-4 years -- but it's already been 6 since the last upgrade! (It's because of my medical issues; I lost years of my life.) I'm a bit outdated on what exists in 2015.

I'm currently using an AMD Phenom II 940 from 2009. For the first 5 years, it was great. Lately, it's had issues with the USB and frequent rebooting when idle. It also runs Windows XP 32-bit, and at 4gb RAM, it's starving if you load an NLE. (This used to be my main ATI capture system, but that task was split to a dedicated system back in 2012.)

My goal is not to be cheap, so "best bang for the buck" is not a factor (and I hate that phrase anyway).
Inversely, bleeding-edge ($$$$!) is not the goal either.

It must have/be:
- 4x eSATA*
- 6x SATA*
- 1x IDE*
- 10x rear USB
- 2x front USB
- 16gb RAM
- 4-5 PCI express slots may be needed, most of them 1x sized*
- ability to use 4tb drives
- no issue with SSD drives; may upgrade C: to 1tb SSD
- Windows 7 Home Premium or Pro
- fanless video card (encoding/photo system is not GPU heavy)
- Realtek onboard audio
- silent power supply (keeping the existing case)
- near-silent heatsink/fan
- system that does not run hot
- should not be a glutton with power -- aka drains UPS, runs hot
- probably Intel CPU, not AMD

Also:
- fw800 is nice bonus, but not required
- at least 2 PCI non-express slots would be safe, but not required
- onboard video will be considered

* There's more than 1 way to get SATA, eSATA, IDE, mostly using PCI Express cards.
- Example: The current Gigabyte motherboard has 7x SATA. 5 are used internally, and 2 are passed to eSATA externally via a simple bracket.
- 4-5 added USB2 ports per PCIe cards seem common
- 1x IDE via PCIe seems available, probably 2x IDE card exists as well
- 2x SATA via PCIe seem common
- 2x eSATA via PCIe seem common, some even have 2xeSATA+2xSATA

Any advice on ANY parts to get, or ANY parts NOT to get, is appreciated.

I don't expect anyone here to plan out the whole system, though that'd be appreciated as well.

Total budget is about $1000/1250/1500.
- 1000 or less is great
- 1250 is probably more realistic
- 1500 if I must -- but it'd better come with breakfast and a free lap dance at that price point!
- excludes 1tb SSD

Given my heavier use of Avisynth these days, it just makes sense to finally upgrade.

Tel me what you know...

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  #2  
10-11-2015, 08:12 PM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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Go Skylake its not that much more over older Haswell boards+CPUs, plus DDR4 dropped in price quickly to become competitive with DDR3.

-Most of the mid range Z170 boards have 6-8 SATA ports, but rarely are any of them eSATA. There is usually a M.2 slot for SSDs on the boards too. You will not find parallel IDE on any modern board, use SATA to PATA bridges or USB3 to PATA adapters (the latter can be had with desktop docking stations).

-One plus is you can forgo the PCIe video card and just use the built-in video, that saves you the slot and noise.

-As for USB, its rare to find a board with a ton of rear facing ports, my Gigabyte GA-EX38-DS4 from 2008 was one of the few with 8(!) available. If you need additional ports, boards usually have 2-3 USB2 headers.

-All modern boards support large HDs with UEFI.

-Any legacy PCI slots on a modern motherboard are going to be run with a PCIe-to-PCI bridge chip. Many of those bridge chips have problems with PCI sound cards. Unless you got a "must have" PCI card that you really need to use, you are better off with a PCIe x1 slot in its place.
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  #3  
10-12-2015, 12:27 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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What is Skylake? Is that the CPU? Hmmmm....

... few minutes later: Seems so. I see the i7-6700K on Newegg: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-559-_-Product

I'd been looking at the Core i7-4790K, and it was suggested to me over at VH as well. But whatever is best is what I need. This will be my main system (hopefully) for another 4-5 years.

What makes it better? (edit: It appears that Skylake is the future, and Haswell is soon to be a has-been?)

Heat is also a consideration. How do they compete on that metric?

I'm looking up i7-6700K vs i7-4790K benchmarks now...

It looks like Passmark is better for the 4790, but real-world tests may be better for the 6700. Both are right around 11. (For fun, I looked at the Phenom II 940 Passmark: about 1.8! So this upgrade will give me a computer that's approximately 6 times faster. 1x per year!)

For me, the big thing is Skylake motherboards seem to be better, more features/slots. Looking closer at those now...

This one looks interesting: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-841-_-Product
Or http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-634-_-Product

Corsair Vengeance RAM seems to be about $100 for 16gb (2x8gb). But there's two models, and I'm not sure what the difference is:
- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-833-_-Product
- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-835-_-Product

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  #4  
10-12-2015, 12:45 AM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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The locked i7-6700 has a lower TDP so it should run slightly cooler. Overall it should run about the same as Haswell heat-wise. The newer platform has greater I/O bandwidth (a few more PCIe 3.0 lines) compared to the older Haswell chips. For future upgradability, having DDR4 RAM is a plus. You can take advantage of higher density modules and eventually lower prices as production shifts.

Of course if you need brute force power and your encoding apps are highly multi threaded, the X99 Haswell-E CPUs are going to be faster since they are available with 6 or 8 cores. It likely won't fit the budget though.
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  #5  
10-12-2015, 01:45 AM
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I'm liking what I'm seeing with that Asrock board and the 6700K CPU. I've also bookmarked a few PCIe cards for adding IDE, eSATA and USB.

What I still lack is an idea on the best:
- QUIET heatsink/cooler
- QUIET PSU

I have a 2014 model Cyberpower UPS. I'd read some documents in the past that stated certain PSUs had issues with some UPS. I need to look into that again. What PSU I buy will be plugged into this UPS. Newegg just says "ATX", but I'm not sure which PSUs are compatible anymore.

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  #6  
10-18-2015, 03:17 PM
TRHex TRHex is offline
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Well, I haven't built a system since my Q6600-based WinXP system so I can't really provide any current advice on specifics; however, a few generalities:

- When I wanted to make my WinXP system silent, I used http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/index.php a lot. The guys there were very helpful and the forum has tons of advice. Though this is likely outdated info for your new system, in the end I used a Hyper 212 Cooler Master with PWM Adjustable Scythe fans; using AIDA64 (paid) I monitored the fan speed and temperatures and turned down the fan speeds to be barely audible (there's also SpeedFan at http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php which is freeware). I also cut out the grill on the case fan to reduce air noise and added acoustic padding to the case itself. I added a harddrive fan, since they definitely run better and last longer when cooler, though those are spin drives (not SSDs). Now I tend to forget the computer is on because it's so quiet, and at times have inadvertently left it on (I don't use it daily anymore). Note: the Hyper 212 probably won't work with a newer processor and I don't know the status of Cooler Master products in other lines; same with Scythe fans, at the time I was buying they were among the top rated and were easily accessible.

- If you're getting an SSD for a boot drive, I'd recommend getting a smaller one, like 120gb or 256gb and using it only for the OS and for installing software. (On my Win7 Pro system I have a 128gb SSD boot drive and years later still have 32gb free). Use imaging software (I use and highly recommend Terabyte's Image for Windows/DOS/Linux at http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/index.htm) and keep clean images of your system drive. Then, every few months restore the latest image to clean out all the gunk that builds up on a daily basis with Windows; or, it's handy when you install software and realize you don't want it.

- I've used Plextor SSDs in the past but I think they're not as spectacular as they used to be. My last SSD was a SanDisk Extreme Pro and I've been very pleased with it. I'm not a hardware fiend of any sort, so I can't say that it outperforms everything else -- but when I was looking for one, I focused on reliability along with performance. Ironically, monitoring drive health with Hard Disk Sentinel showed the SSD quickly (within the first 2 months) dropped to 95% health as it remapped 5 bad blocks -- but it looked like such occurrences are not unexpected and it's been solid ever since (over a year now).

- Also factor in if you want disk-, partition-, or file-level encryption. Many SSDs (but not all) offer built-in encryption though I've never used it. If you use partition-level encryption make sure you over-provision by leaving dead space on your drive (I leave an empty non-formatted partition --this sucks but really helps with performance). Even if you don't use encryption, it's best not to fill up your SSD.

- I can't comment on 4TB drives, though the size makes me a little uneasy. The bigger they get, the harder it hurts when they fail. I stick with max. 2TB drives in external cases so I can exchange them between Win7 and WinXP (XP can only handle a max. size of 2TB). I'm thinking this will be handy for video capture under WinXP and then encoding/processing on my faster i7.

- as for the UPS and power supplies, again I haven't had to research that for a number of years so technology may have changed -- but in general it has to do with "active PFC" power supplies and stepped sine waves. A quick search turned up this. Note that I'm not saying a new power supply won't work with your UPS, it all depends on how clean is the simulated sine wave output on your UPS. I don't know anything about CyberPower but given it's from 2014 I'm guessing it's designed to work with modern power supplies.

- I always liked Corsair power supplies, and for my XP box got a AX750 which was probably overkill and is not running optimally. Power supplies run best under load and I probably don't run at a high enough load to be efficient. But, it's dead silent (no fan).

- Regarding the different memory options from Newegg, the difference is in the speed (19200 vs. 21300). Generally the faster the better, but only if your motherboard supports the speed. If you have multiple memory modules it will always run at the lowest common speed, so it's best to use the same modules throughout. Looks like the RAM timings are different too: 14-16-16-31 vs. 16-18-18-35. But I've flushed what little working knowledge I had of such things so can't help you there. I also don't know what actual difference you'll get from such differences; I've always gone with tech "one less than current maximum" myself, figuring that you'll always pay a premium for the latest/fastest and probably not get the value from it. I could easily be wrong though.

So, much of my specific knowledge is likely outdated but thought I'd throw it out there in case something is useful -- before I turn around and start asking video capture questions.
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  #7  
10-19-2015, 07:27 PM
jbd5010 jbd5010 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
I have a 2014 model Cyberpower UPS. I'd read some documents in the past that stated certain PSUs had issues with some UPS. I need to look into that again. What PSU I buy will be plugged into this UPS. Newegg just says "ATX", but I'm not sure which PSUs are compatible anymore.
So, here's what people are referring to with that --

Certain UPS units provide what's called an "stepped sine wave" as opposed to an actual sine wave AC output. It seems the circuitry to produce a pure sine wave is more expensive (I'm sure it requires more components to smooth out the inverter's output), so some lower or mid-range UPS units output a stepped wave instead. Apparently this causes issues with computer power supplies that have active power factor correction ("active PFC"); it causes them to behave erratically, simply shutting off or putting the computer into a boot cycle.

I managed to get a 1500VA APC UPS on sale, bypassing the issue entirely. But I did sit there trying to decide whether or not to just take the risk on the CyberPower unit or not before the APC went on sale.

I think Newegg puts the particular unit on sale pretty frequently -- APC BR1500G. Has worked great for me so far. I even have the USB port plugged into my FreeNas server and configured so that it gracefully shuts down the server after 7 minutes of running on battery.
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  #8  
10-31-2015, 09:40 AM
merchantord merchantord is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TRHex View Post
- If you're getting an SSD for a boot drive, I'd recommend getting a smaller one, like 120gb or 256gb and using it only for the OS and for installing software. (On my Win7 Pro system I have a 128gb SSD boot drive and years later still have 32gb free). Use imaging software (I use and highly recommend Terabyte's Image for Windows/DOS/Linux at http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/index.htm) and keep clean images of your system drive. Then, every few months restore the latest image to clean out all the gunk that builds up on a daily basis with Windows; or, it's handy when you install software and realize you don't want it.

- I've used Plextor SSDs in the past but I think they're not as spectacular as they used to be. My last SSD was a SanDisk Extreme Pro and I've been very pleased with it. I'm not a hardware fiend of any sort, so I can't say that it outperforms everything else -- but when I was looking for one, I focused on reliability along with performance. Ironically, monitoring drive health with Hard Disk Sentinel showed the SSD quickly (within the first 2 months) dropped to 95% health as it remapped 5 bad blocks -- but it looked like such occurrences are not unexpected and it's been solid ever since (over a year now).



- I always liked Corsair power supplies, and for my XP box got a AX750 which was probably overkill and is not running optimally. Power supplies run best under load and I probably don't run at a high enough load to be efficient. But, it's dead silent (no fan).

I just wanted to pop in here and particularly second these points that TRHex has made.

I've never gone any bigger than 256gb on an SSD and after a somewhat disappointing experience with Crucial I have used Sandisk myself and have been very happy so far. I also like Corsair power supplies but I'm currently using an EVGA unit that has really impressed me. You might look into those.
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