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Scott P

Figuring out a new build/buy

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The computer in my signature is getting a bit old and slow. It also runs a bit warm. I figure the time has come to upgrade. I just have no idea what direction to go. I am a stay at home dad of almost three year old twins. I can't even remember the last time i played a game. I know nothing of Photoshop, but do use it very lightly. Honestly, it's mostly cropping and auto-correct type stuff. It's basically become a machine for web surfing, some online video streaming and Microsoft Office type stuff. I would like to get back into a STarcraft II type gaming, but I honestly do not think I have the time. 

 

So, the question becomes this. Do I build a new machine, buy a pre-built, upgrade my current one, get a laptop or get something like a Surface. There have been plenty of times when I've wanted something more portable or handheld. But I always feared that they had limited capacity in regards to performance, capacity and usable lifespan. But, when faced with the reality of my current usage patterns, they might be more than adequate. 

 

I've been building these things since 1995, so it's a hard habit to break. My computer sits inside my desk, so heat build-up is a problem. My current case is about as big as I could go and I would most likely reuse it. My drives should be fine, unless I opt for an additional SSD. My monitor is only 1680x1050, so I would like to upgrade that. Adding a second one is not in the current plans, but could be in the future. I also have an Insignia 1080p tv that I would use as a second display until then via HDMI. I've always build AMD since they were cheaper. But I do not have any brand loyalty. I figure this build should last several years unless things change.

 

Any suggestions on which direction I should go? Any component recommendations? My budget is under a $1,000 all in. I'd prefer it to be lower than that if possible. 

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Just a few random thoughts - I assume you are using Windows as your OS? If so, have you upgraded to Win10? And is it a retail or OEM copy?  Reason I ask is that you may need to factor that into the budget if you need to purchase a new copy of Windows if you build a new system. 

 

A pre-built system does have an advantage of coming with Win10 installed. You can always get a cheaper pre-built, and use your SSD to speed it up.

 

You can look at the upgrade path for a fresh AMD CPU and perhaps some faster memory.  Your board is AM3+ / FX capable, so you have a nice range of FX processors available - but the higher end units will generate more heat, so you may need to upgrade the cooler too. And changing a CPU may force a Windows reactivation, so be prepared for that.

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I am running Windows 10. It is an upgrade from the Windows 7 Pro pre-order. I figured on having to buy a new OS copy. It's been seven years, so that seems fair. The heat considerations were a concern of mine to resist a simple CPU upgrade. 

Edited by Scott P

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I have a buddy with the computer in a cabinet and he mounted a couple of fans in the back of the cabinet to improve the temps - worked well for him.  Anyway - the new tablets are quite powerful, and affordable, so that may be a path worth researching.

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