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Yesterday's Tech is So Sweet(PC building thread)

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by bearfoot, Nov 22, 2018.

  1. bearfoot

    bearfoot SUSPENDED

    Jan 27, 2005
    schenectady, ny
    I'm sure there are some PC builders here. I occasionally like to bloviate about my system, not because it's a Threadripping, quad-GPU, 2000watt machine capable of running NASA as a background app, but for the optimization those of us with "budgetary concerns" can attain when we customize our PCs.

    Indeed, this is the definition of a PC, and we are carrying on the tradition that goes to the Apple II, IMO the first real PC (irony aside). The Apple II was a PC because it was customizable with the same expansion slots on a motherboard design we see today.

    Anyway, I have been getting great life out of my AM3 build, and am impressed with how well the processors hold up even today. Again, I don't mean as the uber-alpha of CPU's, but in practical terms -

    so, my 2009 AM3 build was:
    Athlon II X3, 3.1 ghz
    4GB DDR3-1600
    Radeon 5770 1GB

    and this was put in the same green Xqpack I've had since 2005, with a 430watt Antec PSU that has run flawlessly since 2006.
    That rig had a slight GPU bottleneck, and when gaming did a fine job with titles like GTA IV and Skyrim.

    Now, a Ryzen 3 2200G alone can outperform my old CPU and GPU on 65 watts. New tech is amazing!
    But yesterday's tech, I would argue, is sweeter. Especially when you plan an upgrade path into your build. I meant to do this years ago, but my initial build was so strong, there wasn't much need for it until now.

    So, I doubled the RAM to 8GB. But will need another 4GB to meet min. spec for ProTools 2018. If anyone's curious, yes ProTools 2018 will run ok on 8GB, but I do get occasional loading/saving errors that thankfully do not affect the project.

    No sooner had I upgraded the RAM, that a local person listed a Phenom II X6 1045t + aftermarket cooler, for $25. This is what I mean by sweet. That was around a $200 processor, and even today on ebay it trends around $60 with no cooler. I got the "new" CPU working last night, after a few harrowing botched BIOS updates (there were a lot of Biostar boards of very similar versions - thankfully the BIOS flash app rejected the wrong BIOS's)

    The Phenom II base clock is only 2.8ghz, but it uses an auto-turbo mode similar to what Intel did at the time. If 3 cores are idle, it boosts to 3.3ghz. The turbo can be disabled of course, and regular overclocking procedures employed. I intend to wring every last Mhz out of it, just for the fun of it.

    So now this just leaves the GPU. With black friday tomorrow, I may spring for a RX 560, which appears to be a perfect match to Phenom II X6.

    Yes, it's "ancient" tech, but it fulfills the design path of the PC I put together. I don't care about the latest AAA game titles. Maxing out yesterday's system for 10x lower cost makes an OG happy.
    Mr_Moo, FilterFunk and rendevouz like this.
  2. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    I have 2 brothers who are into the latest PC's so every once in awhile I get some of their "outdated" stuff for pennies on the dollar. So, I now have 6 PC's and a couple of laptops that I keep for different purposes.

    I don't really throw anything away and still play games on a Pentium III with Win 98 SE and a Voodoo 3 video card. I love playing Quake, vintage Tomb Raider, Jedi Knight, and other early 3Dfx games.

    Two PC's have Win XP (one is dedicated to HiFi music recording with pro quality interfaces) and another uses Linux Mint (just for the heck of it). My fastest computer is about 5 years old and runs Win 7 and I only use the built in graphics board so it's pretty much useless for games.
    bearfoot, Mr_Moo and Dominic DeCosa like this.
  3. OldDog52

    OldDog52 Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2011
    My Windows desktop machine is approaching 10 years old. I built it from parts, was a high-end system at the time. It’s a quad-core Intel I7 something, don’t even remember what speed or generation. Has 8GB RAM and a graphics card that was high-end at the time (again I don’t recall what exactly it is). I upgraded the box to Windows 10 when the upgrade was being offered for free and that has mostly worked fine. No real issues.

    Except one: When this system runs Windows Update, it takes HOURS for it to get through the task. It sits there and grinds away on the hard drive forever before it actually does anything. I usually have to start the update before I go to bed and hope it’s finished in the morning. Usually it still requires several reboots.

    I only use the system for apps that run only on Windows and for that the system works great. Maybe someday I’ll get ambitious and build a newer one up from parts.
  4. T_Bone_TL


    Jan 10, 2013
    NW Mass/SW VT
    On the one hand, I enjoy getting new life out of old boxes, mostly by loading Debian and LXDE onto them. It's particularly satisfying when someone hands me a Windows or Mac laptop that has become useless and I can hand it back to them useful.

    On the other hand, the power cost of old tech is not trivial, particularly if it's on most or all of the day. On that basis, I have older CPUs that I won't use even if they can "do the job" because a newer CPU (and associated peripherals) will literally pay for itself in less waste heat, in fairly short order. There's a heck of a difference between "runs on 20 watts" and "runs on 80 watts (or 150) watts."
    Mr_Moo likes this.
  5. We have a computer here at the station that we use that has Windows 98 on it. A guy walked in one day and said "Is that an actual, working Windows 98 machine?". I said, "No, that's two, actual, working Windows 98 machines!". Fist bump!

    We even have a computer with Windows 3.1 on it we use for just word processing tasks, IE a typewriter.

    Mr_Moo likes this.
  6. FilterFunk

    FilterFunk Everything is on the ONE! Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2010
    As I read this, I just smiled and nodded my head as if I knew what any of it meant!:laugh:

    I can only handle tech once it's all put together by someone way smarter than me!
    Thick McRunfast likes this.
  7. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois

    We have a computer at work that keeps track of our inventory and employee records and some other stuff. It's the same 486 with MSdos that we've been using continuously since the early 90's. The idea is that as long as it still works and doesn't give us any problems, we don't need to update it.
    Mr_Moo likes this.
  8. bearfoot

    bearfoot SUSPENDED

    Jan 27, 2005
    schenectady, ny
    Yes, it seems that most of that era of software will not run in Win 10, and though this is anecdotal, I have never had a success with compatibility mode in any version of Windows. I wish I kept that K6-III processor...

    That might be due to having only a small amount of space left on the HDD. I would clear out that drive, and of course make sure its totally defragmented before doing an update. Also, one of the major functional upgrades I forgot to mention is putting Windows on an SSD. It's like a 15 second boot-up now.

    This Phenom II is rated 120 watts , that is roughly twice that of a Ryzen 5, let's say. To run the Phenom 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, it will cost $45 per year more than the Ryzen 5 system. That is at 17cents per kwH, the average in my area.
    I still don't like wasting energy, but we're talking 60 watts, and I don't run my system anywhere near 12 hours /day, 7 days a week.
    I agree with you in principle. I didn't run A/C all last summer - mastered the use of the box fan via a firefighter website's info. Not running A/C for one summer saved 10x the amount of energy we're talking about.

    BS, you're smart enough not to waste your time on PC geek minutia. :D It's nothing more than lego with expensive components, and shopping/reviewing for deals before you buy.
    FilterFunk and Mr_Moo like this.
  9. OldDog52

    OldDog52 Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2011
    The system has 2 7200 RPM 2TB drives, both less than a year old, both only about 10% full (boot drive & data drive). The drive upgrades were in part to alleviate space problems. The old drives were 150GB WD Raptors.

    I also have a Windows 10 laptop, with an SSD, that takes almost as long as the desktop to do a Windows update. It’s also an overnight project.

    Agreed, an SSD dramatically improves overall performance. But I only use the desktop system for like 5 hours a month.
  10. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I had to reinstall Windows 98 in a piece of medical equipment not long ago. It runs in the background with the equipment app as the interface. I had to go to the local community college electronics department to get a copy. :D
  11. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    I thought you were going to post pictures of your new PC build with top of the line hardware that you put inside of an Apple IIe chassis.

    I am disappoint.

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