Windows 10: Upgrading a very old PC - suggestions?

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  1. Posts : 414
    Win10 x64 Pro -2 desktops, 1 laptop
       5 Days Ago #1

    Upgrading a very old PC - suggestions?


    I have a 9 year old PC, currently serving as a test and diagnosis platform ... plus occasionally an alternate "production" PC (when I want to escape a hot and/or noisy home office and move to the basement). Lately I've been doing a lot of testing and diagnosis so I've decided I should either replace or upgrade this old box to more closely match the capabilities of my "new" 5 year old desktop and 4 year old laptop.

    The old clunker:
    Gigabyte X58A-UD3R (with no UEFI support), Intel i7 930 @ 2.80GHz cpu, 12GB DDR3 ram, a 250GB SSD, 2 500GB HDDs, a w/r DVD drive, and a brand new 550W psu

    The 5 year old desktop:
    ASUS Z87-A, Intel i7 4771 @ 3.50GHz, 16GB ram
    onboard audio and graphics

    The 4 year old laptop
    Notebook W65_67SZ, Intel i7-4710MQ @ 2.50GHz, 8GB ram
    onboard audio and graphics

    I'm reluctant to throw away the old drives and new psu so I'm thinking of getting a new motherboard and cpu (and probably ram unless I can find something that still supports DDR3).

    My needs are pretty minimal. My "production" work rarely drives the cpu of my ASUS beyond 20%. (My backup software sometimes drives it up to 50% with a couple cores briefly peaking at 100% but I don't really care what a backup does to my test box.) A heavy workload my drive ram allocation up to 7GB. No heavy graphics at all.

    I'm having trouble finding a MB / CPU combination that is not expensive overkill. The target demographics for desktop boxes is gamers and I definitely don't need a gaming PC. I would like to keep the mb/cpu combo under $400 but I'll probably have to give up on that ... especially if I need to buy DDR4 ram.

    Even though I'm interested in having the text box sort of mimic my "production" computers, the sets of drivers will obviously never match. That's true now and will be true in the future. Also, I don't know how important cpu matches are. They are all i7 right now, but very different i7s. I would rather stick with Intel just because I know nothing about AMD but I don't feel obligated to sick with i7. I have no idea whether I would notice 4 rather than 8 threads if I picked an i5. Probably not much in performance; maybe a lot in validating fixes if the instruction paths are radically different.

    Anyone have any suggestions?
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  2.    5 Days Ago #2

    Are you wanting to go Intel or AMD?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3.    5 Days Ago #3

    Here's an AMD suggestion.......No Gpu needed as the A10 has it built in/on and you're not a gamer.

    Computer Parts, PC Components, Laptop Computers, LED LCD TV, Digital Cameras and more - Newegg.com
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  4.   My ComputerSystem Spec


  5. Posts : 414
    Win10 x64 Pro -2 desktops, 1 laptop
    Thread Starter
       5 Days Ago #5

    I'll take a look at those. I think I'll stick with Intel.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  6. Posts : 10,694
    Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Pro Insider
       5 Days Ago #6

    @pokeefe0001, something you may want to think about although it may be a little more expensive. Intel changed things with the 8th generation CPUs. Previously the i7's had 4 cores/8 threads. Now with the 8th generation chips the i7's have 6 cores/12 threads. By the same token, the i5's now have 6 cores and even the i3's have 4 cores.

    I don't know what type work your machines are doing, but if your software will use the resources given it, you could get a lot more production from an 8th generation CPU. Even dropping down from and i7 to an i5 would most likely be better than what you are currently running. The newer CPUs have a greatly improved IPC over the older ones.
      My ComputersSystem Spec


  7. Posts : 414
    Win10 x64 Pro -2 desktops, 1 laptop
    Thread Starter
       5 Days Ago #7

    essenbe said: View Post
    I don't know what type work your machines are doing, but if your software will use the resources given it, you could get a lot more production from an 8th generation CPU. Even dropping down from and i7 to an i5 would most likely be better than what you are currently running. The newer CPUs have a greatly improved IPC over the older ones.
    As I said (or tried to say), I rarely do any "productive" work on this PC. I test fixes and new releases (of both Windows and installed programs) on it before putting them on my "real" computers. I try to do potential disruptive diagnosis of problems on it. I run test scenarios on it. (I am currently checking the implications of using WEBDav connections to NAS devices.)

    In other words, CPU power is not a concern on the PC. My primary concern is that fixes that work on it will work on my other computers (knowing that will never be guaranteed because of the different drivers on the 3 computers). I'm not particularly interested in the speed improvement the comes with an increased number of threads. I'm more concerned with what it means to the Windows dispatching routines (of which I know absolutely nothing). My computers currently all have 4 core i7 CPUs with hyperthreading - 8 threads.

    An 8th generation i7 would give me performance I don't need and a "better" configuration than my normally used computers. On the other hand, an 8th generation i5 with 6 threads would be a better match than an older i5 (assuming that the 8th gen i5 still does not have hyperthreading).
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  • Posts : 10,694
    Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Pro Insider
       5 Days Ago #8

    No Sir, an 8th gen i5 does not have hyperthreading. I just wanted to throw that out to you in case it may be of interest. I can see why it may not. I guess your 'best case' scenario would be if all your machines were identical; just a little too expensive.
      My ComputersSystem Spec


  • Posts : 414
    Win10 x64 Pro -2 desktops, 1 laptop
    Thread Starter
       5 Days Ago #9

    essenbe said: View Post
    ... I just wanted to throw that out to you in case it may be of interest. I can see why it may not. I guess your 'best case' scenario would be if all your machines were identical; just a little too expensive.
    And it was definitely of interest! My configurations vary too much for me to loose too much sleep over a mismatch, and I had already be thinking of going to an i5 to save a little money. Now that I know that the 8th gen i5 has 6 cores/threads it makes the i5 very appealing.

    ---

    Oops. I just realized that even though 8th gen Intel CPUs use the 1151 sockets used by previous generations, they require Intel series 300 chipsets. If I choose to go with an 8th gen i5 I have to pick a motherboard that will support 8th gen CPUs. I was going to choose the MB in Plankton's Intel suggestion, but that would limit me to the older CPUs. (I'm glad I've decided against an i7 CPU because then I'd have to figure out if 7th gen i7 is "older" or "newer". )

    I've also discovered that manufacturer's "glossy ad" web pages often don't prominently mention the motherboard form factor.
    Last edited by pokeefe0001; 4 Days Ago at 16:45.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  • Posts : 414
    Win10 x64 Pro -2 desktops, 1 laptop
    Thread Starter
       4 Days Ago #10

    The cost with my config with the gen8 i5 was creeping up to $500. That prompted me to run a test. I disabled hyperthreading and tried running typical stuff - running the old i7 handling just 4 threads. I did not notice an appreciable difference.

    I don't really know how to compare the performance of 4 threads on an old i7 at 2.80GHz with 4 threads on a newer i5 with higher clock rate, but I think it tells me I can live with a 4 core i5. That puts Plankton's suggestion back in the running. His suggested GIGABYTE GA-B250-HD3 has a clock rate of 3GHz.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


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