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So I built a new PC ...

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melek
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So I built a new PC ...

Postby melek » Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:30 pm

While my computer was OK, it was starting to show its age.

It was a quick build after the previous computer up and died. I think the motherboard was at fault. I replaced the power supply, and it failed to power up.

At that point, there was no reason to continue put any more money into a Pentium IV-powered PC.

The most recent was powered by an AMD Athlon III 3.1 Ghz CPU and a 1GB NVidia 520 video card. The computer had 8GB RAM and was dual booting nicely on Windows 7 on a 256GB SSD and Linux on a second 256GB SSD with an internal 500GB hard drive for file storage. I keep hardly any working files on either SSD - just the operating systems and programs.

However, when trying to render a video, the computer couldn't handle it and usually shut down from overheating. My solution was to remove the side of the computer and point a small powerful fan into the side.

* * *

The new computer uses an AMD Ryzen 7 1700x CPU, double the amount of RAM at 16GB and a 4GB AMD Radeon RX 550 video card, although that might get replaced next year. The motherboard is an ASRock X370 Taichi. I kept the hard drives, although I plan to swap out the 500GB, which is starting to run short on space.

Since building the last computer in 2011, quite a bit had changed, and I spent a solid month deciding on the components.

Some of the fans have LED lighting, but that didn't mean as much to me. Although it's a gaming PC, I'm using it for productivity. If you don't know it, a gaming PC will give you the best performance, because games push the hardware far harder than most consumer and business applications.

Actual assembly took me longer than expected - nearly 90 minutes, because I had to keep referring back to the motherboard manual (thankfully, a printed manual) to make sure that I was connecting various wires to the right headers on the motherboard.

This computer also has liquid cooling for the CPU.

Total price: Just over US$1,000, paid for by selling off a bunch of things (including cameras).

Most of the parts were bought from Newegg, although a few were from Best Buy.

The performance of this computer is very good. Definitely, the fastest computer that I've ever owned and a huge energy sucker with an 850-watt power supply. The previous computer had a 450-watt power supply, and I thought that was excessive.

The case is the Fractal Design Arc Midi R2, which I really like. It has an understated design, but it's rather massive - four inches longer and two inches taller and wider than my previous case.

One irritating note: Microsoft somehow convinced AMD (and Intel) to not support any other Microsoft OS except Windows 10. Getting Windows 7 up and running was such a pain that I caved and installed Windows 10. I use Windows primarily for video and audio editing and some photo editing.

Linux was easy to install on the other SSD. If you do a dual-boot system, install Windows first and then Linux. I live in Linux about 90% of the time now.

Linux has support for my older Epson scanner, which is no longer recognized under Windows 10. Corel offers AfterShot 3 Pro for Linux, and it works very well.

I do nearly all of my writing in LibreOffice, and I can install Opera, Firefox and Chrome (Chromium) on the Linux side. I use Opera as my main browser, because I can create Speed Dial folders that I categorize according to site content.

I also added a new keyboard: a Lenovo mechanical gaming keyboard (on a closeout sale from Amazon for $35) and a Logitech G403 gaming mouse, which was low cost and feels really nice.

I'll post a photo of the new computer on the weekend.
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-Mike Elek

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Re: So I built a new PC ...

Postby jamesmck » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:08 pm

melek wrote:One irritating note: Microsoft somehow convinced AMD (and Intel) to not support any other Microsoft OS except Windows 10. Getting Windows 7 up and running was such a pain that I caved and installed Windows 10.


That's depressing. I hope never to go beyond Windows 7. Is this widely known? Good luck with the new machine. Which Linux do you use?
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Re: So I built a new PC ...

Postby Julio1fer » Tue Oct 10, 2017 9:40 pm

Well done Mike. You can use that box for heating in the winter!

FWIW I was forced to use Windows 10 in a laptop; it is not that bad after getting used to it. I remember being fondly attached to Windows 98 anyway.
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Re: So I built a new PC ...

Postby titrisol » Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:25 pm

I was forced to upgrade to W10 at work... kinda works but then it doesnt
I really don't get how can they make a mediocre product worse!
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Re: So I built a new PC ...

Postby melek » Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:31 pm

I had Windows 10 on the former PC. It was constantly asking if I wanted to purchase an app or needed help with something.

No, thanks, I'm just here to work. This went on repeatedly, several times at random times every day for two weeks until i uninstalled it in a fit of frustration.

On the Linux side, I have Ubuntu Studio on the new PC, LXLE Linux on an Asus X205TA notebook (2GB RAM, 32GB hard drive - neither can be expanded) and Manjaro Linux on a Lenovo Yoga 11e (Third Edition).

On the desktop and the Lenovo, I run Windows XP in Oracle VirtualBox for those times when I need to do some quickie image editing.

The Linux program, GIMP, is too complicated for me, or I'm too old to want to spend time to understand another interface.

I'm using two monitors, which allows me to run Windows XP in BirtualBox on the right and whatever I need on the left.

Linux also supports virtual desktops, so I'll often have e-mail running on the second desktop or perhaps an MP3 player or something else.

I share my certain folders with VirtualBox so that I can make image editing changes quickly without having to e-mail files back and forth.

Here's my dual monitor setup:
dual_01.jpg
And with Windows XP running on the right:
dual_02.jpg

Once you have your Windows XP (or 7, 8 or 10) in a VirtualBox, you can run it on multiple computers by copying the folder to the other computer.
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Re: So I built a new PC ...

Postby PFMcFarland » Fri Oct 13, 2017 11:38 pm

I used to think that was all fun, building your own PC, but like cars and such, I've grown tired of working on them. Haven't done a thing to my old Dell Dimension 4400 (Pentium IV with Win XP Pro) since upgrading ages ago, but it still cranks right along, thanks to some good AV software (Webroot). It is a bit arthritic though, and like me suffers from spells every once in a while.

I did get a 17" laptop from Dell that came with Win8.1, which was almost immediately updated to Win10. Don't like it with either system, though that may be because I didn't bother to get a touch screen model, which Win10 is designed for. But at least I was able to switch it into "Classic" mode. Only problem with that is it doesn't stay in Classic, you have to reset it every time you boot up. But yeah, getting bugged with calls for getting this app or that app is really annoying. I did think about just wiping it clean, Mike, and installing Linux, but I guess that is out of the question if it's like what you ran across with the MS blockade.

It has sat for so long, I'm pretty sure the AV license has run out on it. I originally was considering it my desktop replacement, but it is so unwieldy, and the screen is only half properly view-able at most angles that I just kind of hate it. And it's not even paid off yet.

So I'm considering getting a smaller model that has enough to do photo editing, and I can put a cell dongle on so I don't have to hook up to sketchy WiFi connections when I'm on the road. And a touch screen.

PF
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Re: So I built a new PC ...

Postby P C Headland » Sat Oct 14, 2017 4:14 am

What image editor(s) are you using on Linux? Darktable is not too bad, and I used to quite like using Lightzone.
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