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digitalmars.D - [OT]: Memory & Performance

reply "Chris" <wendlec tcd.ie> writes:
If you had the choice between:

- 4 GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz - 1 X 4 GB
- 8 GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz - 2 X 4GB ( + $49.00 )

Is it worth the extra money or is the increase in performance not 
worth mentioning? Any experience with that.

The processor

4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-4700MQ Processor ( 2.4 GHz 6MB L3 
Cache - 4 Cores plus Hyperthreading )

Thanks.
Sep 03 2013
next sibling parent reply "Wyatt" <wyatt.epp gmail.com> writes:
On Tuesday, 3 September 2013 at 16:15:51 UTC, Chris wrote:
 If you had the choice between:

 - 4 GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz - 1 X 4 GB
 - 8 GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz - 2 X 4GB ( + $49.00 )

 Is it worth the extra money or is the increase in performance 
 not worth mentioning? Any experience with that.

 The processor

 4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-4700MQ Processor ( 2.4 GHz 6MB 
 L3 Cache - 4 Cores plus Hyperthreading )

 Thanks.

That's a little pricey for a 4GB DIMM, but the prospect of living with less than 8GB is unfathomable with my usage habits. Do you run a lot of things? Do you use browser tabs? Do you compile code? If the answer to any of these is "yes", more memory will probably help. If nothing else, you benefit from OS caching to memory and not swapping. That's a nice thing to have. -Wyatt
Sep 03 2013
next sibling parent Dmitry Olshansky <dmitry.olsh gmail.com> writes:
03-Sep-2013 21:48, Wyatt пишет:
 On Tuesday, 3 September 2013 at 16:15:51 UTC, Chris wrote:
 If you had the choice between:

 - 4 GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz - 1 X 4 GB
 - 8 GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz - 2 X 4GB ( + $49.00 )

 Is it worth the extra money or is the increase in performance not
 worth mentioning? Any experience with that.

 The processor

 4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-4700MQ Processor ( 2.4 GHz 6MB L3 Cache
 - 4 Cores plus Hyperthreading )

 Thanks.

That's a little pricey for a 4GB DIMM, but the prospect of living with less than 8GB is unfathomable with my usage habits. Do you run a lot of things? Do you use browser tabs? Do you compile code? If the answer to any of these is "yes", more memory will probably help.

+1 The more the better. Esp with i7 it should be a nobrainer, BTW doesn't i7 have 3-channel memory controller? I then would go 3x4Gb, maybe cheaper ram.
 If nothing
 else, you benefit from OS caching to memory and not swapping.  That's a
 nice thing to have.

 -Wyatt

-- Dmitry Olshansky
Sep 03 2013
prev sibling parent reply Jacob Carlborg <doob me.com> writes:
On 2013-09-03 23:10, Chris wrote:

 The machine I was looking at is this one:

 https://www.system76.com/laptops/model/gazp9#

A laptop! Buy parts a build your own desktop :) -- /Jacob Carlborg
Sep 03 2013
next sibling parent Jacob Carlborg <doob me.com> writes:
On 2013-09-04 10:48, Chris wrote:

 You are actually right. I should look into that possibility too, given
 the pricing policy most companies have. Thanks for the comment. Do you
 have any tips or useful links?

I usually look at sites that compare prices. These usually give an idea of what's available on the market. Then just go through each component you need and find a price/performance ratio you're satisfied with. Then find where those components are cheapest and you think you can trust that company/site selling them. Also read about the components of the vendor's site. -- /Jacob Carlborg
Sep 04 2013
prev sibling parent Marco Nembrini <marco.nembrini.co gmail.com> writes:
On 04.09.2013 10:48, Chris wrote:
 On Wednesday, 4 September 2013 at 06:47:15 UTC, Jacob Carlborg wrote:
 On 2013-09-03 23:10, Chris wrote:

 The machine I was looking at is this one:

 https://www.system76.com/laptops/model/gazp9#

A laptop! Buy parts a build your own desktop :)

You are actually right. I should look into that possibility too, given the pricing policy most companies have. Thanks for the comment. Do you have any tips or useful links? PS First I started to write my own programs, now I'll build my own machines! :-)

I used http://www.reddit.com/r/buildapc/ , it's got great info and people willing to help you choose the best/cheapest parts.
Sep 04 2013
prev sibling next sibling parent "jerro" <a a.com> writes:
 The more the better. Esp with i7 it should be a nobrainer, BTW 
 doesn't i7 have 3-channel memory controller? I then would go 
 3x4Gb, maybe cheaper ram.

AFAIK that was just the Nehalem core i7.
Sep 03 2013
prev sibling next sibling parent "monarch_dodra" <monarchdodra gmail.com> writes:
On Tuesday, 3 September 2013 at 16:15:51 UTC, Chris wrote:
 Is it worth the extra money or is the increase in performance 
 not worth mentioning?

It won't do *squat* to your performance. However, what it *will* do is allow you to do twice as many things at the same time, before you start swapping (at which case performance goes down. A lot.) That said, if you can afford it, it's nice breathing room (especially for windows).
 + $49.00

For $55.00 you can buy the whole 8 gigs, You can easily get 4 gigs for 30$. If your merchant is billing you 50$ for an extra 4 gigs, don't take it, and buy them yourself on some other retailer. As long as we are off-topic: Make sure you get an SSD. I would not consider buying a computer without one today. I dare say that today, it is *the* most important thing to have in a computer. Today, if your computer has an SSD, and at least the 4 gigs of memory, then it is basically fast enough to do mostly anything that's not 3D, or massive number grinding. It will allow flying through files, coding, surfing with tons of tabs etc... I'm on an "punny" i3U laptop, with integrated graphics, but there's an 256G SSD. Truth be told, unless I'm playing video games, I can't see any difference in terms of performance compared to my desktop.
Sep 03 2013
prev sibling next sibling parent Nick Sabalausky <SeeWebsiteToContactMe semitwist.com> writes:
On Tue, 03 Sep 2013 20:58:32 +0200
"monarch_dodra" <monarchdodra gmail.com> wrote:
 
 Today, if your computer has an SSD, and at least the 4 gigs of 
 memory, then it is basically fast enough to do mostly anything 
 that's not 3D, or massive number grinding. It will allow flying 
 through files, coding, surfing with tons of tabs etc...
 

I'm on a 4GB machine with no SSD (and much less than i7, only a mobile 2-core) and I find it to be plenty fast for anything non-3D. Not saying that an SSD (and i7) wouldn't be even better (and much hotter in the case of i7), I'm sure SSD et al would be a noticeable improvement, but FWIW I haven't had performance problems. But I tend to avoid resource-hogging programs, so YMMV. [1] My brother has an i7 Macbook - you could almost cook food on the underside of that thing!
Sep 03 2013
prev sibling next sibling parent "H. S. Teoh" <hsteoh quickfur.ath.cx> writes:
On Tue, Sep 03, 2013 at 04:29:30PM -0400, Nick Sabalausky wrote:
 On Tue, 03 Sep 2013 20:58:32 +0200
 "monarch_dodra" <monarchdodra gmail.com> wrote:
 
 Today, if your computer has an SSD, and at least the 4 gigs of
 memory, then it is basically fast enough to do mostly anything
 that's not 3D, or massive number grinding. It will allow flying
 through files, coding, surfing with tons of tabs etc...
 

I'm on a 4GB machine with no SSD (and much less than i7, only a mobile 2-core) and I find it to be plenty fast for anything non-3D. Not saying that an SSD (and i7) wouldn't be even better (and much hotter in the case of i7), I'm sure SSD et al would be a noticeable improvement, but FWIW I haven't had performance problems. But I tend to avoid resource-hogging programs, so YMMV. [1] My brother has an i7 Macbook - you could almost cook food on the underside of that thing!

Perfect, so one could browse the latest dmd git commits while boiling an egg for breakfast (under the computer). Just the thing for D enthusiasts. :-P T -- Famous last words: I *think* this will work...
Sep 03 2013
prev sibling next sibling parent "Ramon" <spam thanks.no> writes:
On Tuesday, 3 September 2013 at 16:15:51 UTC, Chris wrote:
 If you had the choice between:

 - 4 GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz - 1 X 4 GB
 - 8 GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz - 2 X 4GB ( + $49.00 )

 Is it worth the extra money or is the increase in performance 
 not worth mentioning? Any experience with that.

 The processor

 4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-4700MQ Processor ( 2.4 GHz 6MB 
 L3 Cache - 4 Cores plus Hyperthreading )

 Thanks.

That very much depends on your usage scenario. My rather old (T500, 2*2,8 GHz, 4GB, normal hard disk) notebook still feels perfectly fine even for the occasional movie. For Windoze I don't know but for linux and FreeBSD a 4GB dual core system is absolutely OK and that includes software development even with IDE unless you use Eclipse. Unless you want to compile linux or gcc or the like frequently a Core7 is actually overkill/luxury. Generally speaking though, you might want to always have 2 (equal size) RAMs rather than 1. As for SSDs, I have one on my main system and it's nice but frankly, with linux buffering and enough RAM the difference usually isn't that noticeable. A+ -R
Sep 03 2013
prev sibling next sibling parent "Chris" <wendlec tcd.ie> writes:
On Tuesday, 3 September 2013 at 17:48:22 UTC, Wyatt wrote:
 On Tuesday, 3 September 2013 at 16:15:51 UTC, Chris wrote:
 If you had the choice between:

 - 4 GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz - 1 X 4 GB
 - 8 GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz - 2 X 4GB ( + $49.00 
 )

 Is it worth the extra money or is the increase in performance 
 not worth mentioning? Any experience with that.

 The processor

 4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-4700MQ Processor ( 2.4 GHz 6MB 
 L3 Cache - 4 Cores plus Hyperthreading )

 Thanks.

That's a little pricey for a 4GB DIMM, but the prospect of living with less than 8GB is unfathomable with my usage habits. Do you run a lot of things? Do you use browser tabs? Do you compile code? If the answer to any of these is "yes", more memory will probably help. If nothing else, you benefit from OS caching to memory and not swapping. That's a nice thing to have. -Wyatt

Thanks to all for the replies. Yeah, the answer is "Yes". It's the whole shebang: Youtube + compiling + surfing with tabs, image editing, recording and editing music, watching DVDs etc etc. The machine I was looking at is this one: https://www.system76.com/laptops/model/gazp9# If you go to "Configure & Buy" you will see that the original price soon skyrockets, if you configure it a bit e.g. 16 GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz - 2 X 8 GB ( + $139.00 ) 240 GB Intel 530 Series Solid State Drive ( + $249.00 ) [...] I would also have to pay $130 shipping + 23% VAT on top of that. Unfortunately it's the same story with every brand. I have looked at many brands now and they all have the same pricing policy. Cheap at first sight but then it goes up and up, if you want better specs. This one is at least a pure Ubuntu machine (no Windows fees) and other brands often get bad reviews (plus they are not really cheaper and might have issues with Ubuntu). Maybe I could buy the memory myself at a later stage, if I notice any performance hits. As regards the SSD, it's still a lot of money. Are those hybrids any good? Performance wise? E.g.: 750 GB 7200 RPM SATA III Hybrid Hard Drive with 8 GB SSD ( + $109.00 )
Sep 03 2013
prev sibling next sibling parent "Ramon" <spam thanks.no> writes:
On Tuesday, 3 September 2013 at 21:10:17 UTC, Chris wrote:
 As regards the SSD, it's still a lot of money. Are those 
 hybrids any good? Performance wise? E.g.:

Theoretically yes. Practically probably not that much for most typical workloads. Looking at your scenario: The best performance/price ratio for you is quite doubtlessly RAM. 8 GB should do fine. With some VMs and lots of browsing and possibly movie transcoding you might want to even consider 16GB.
Sep 03 2013
prev sibling next sibling parent reply Jonathan M Davis <jmdavisProg gmx.com> writes:
On Tuesday, September 03, 2013 18:15:50 Chris wrote:
 If you had the choice between:
=20
 - 4 GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz - 1 X 4 GB
 - 8 GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz - 2 X 4GB ( + $49.00 )
=20
 Is it worth the extra money or is the increase in performance not
 worth mentioning? Any experience with that.
=20
 The processor
=20
 4th Generation Intel=C2=AE Core=E2=84=A2 i7-4700MQ Processor ( 2.4 GH=

 Cache - 4 Cores plus Hyperthreading )

Only $49 difference? I'd definitely go for the more memory. Of course, = I always=20 go for high performance over price unless the difference is really pric= ey, and=20 I wouldn't want as little memory as 8 GB either. I always use the maxim= um=20 memory that my motherboard will support. And memory is cheap these days= , so=20 out of all the things that you could do to improve your computer, it's = not=20 particularly expensive. But I guess that it all depends on how mch you'= re=20 willing to spend. - Jonathan M Davis
Sep 03 2013
next sibling parent Jacob Carlborg <doob me.com> writes:
On 2013-09-04 12:36, Nick Sabalausky wrote:

 Heh, yea. Personally, I'd find 128-250GB unbearably small unless it was
 in addition to a beefier secondary HDD. My current system (a laptop) is
 320GB and I find that very tight. It wouldn't even be good enough
 for me if I wasn't using my prior computer (a desktop) as a 2.5 TB (or
 so) file server.

I completely agree. I have 500GB on my system disk (I have a couple of disk for storage in addtion) and it's quite small. Especially when I have a couple of virtual machines installed. -- /Jacob Carlborg
Sep 04 2013
prev sibling parent Jacob Carlborg <doob me.com> writes:
On 2013-09-04 12:45, monarch_dodra wrote:

 I ended up installing a ZFS based NAS at home. I got 4TB of data,
 snapshotted hourly, and replicated on secondary backup.

 I use it as my centralized storage solution. Regardless which computer
 I'm on (Home PC/Home laptop/ work laptop, wife's laptop, TV server,
 tablet), my files are there with me, with no need for data transfer.

 All of these have about <120 Gigs of local storage, except for the home
 laptop, which is 250 (useful for taking stuff when not at home). In any
 case, I don't believe in having local storage anymore.

 You don't need to go hardcore with a server or anything, but I think
 external storage is a superior solution. They make 2TB 2.5" external
 drives nowadays. All they need is a USB port and they are good to go.

I wouldn't mind having that. I just don't know where to put one. -- /Jacob Carlborg
Sep 04 2013
prev sibling next sibling parent "Chris" <wendlec tcd.ie> writes:
On Wednesday, 4 September 2013 at 05:04:00 UTC, Jonathan M Davis 
wrote:

 Only $49 difference? I'd definitely go for the more memory. Of 
 course, I always
 go for high performance over price unless the difference is 
 really pricey, and
 I wouldn't want as little memory as 8 GB either. I always use 
 the maximum
 memory that my motherboard will support. And memory is cheap 
 these days, so
 out of all the things that you could do to improve your 
 computer, it's not
 particularly expensive. But I guess that it all depends on how 
 mch you're
 willing to spend.

 - Jonathan M Davis

You are right of course. I prefer to spend a little bit more money and have a better machine. I was only wondering, if there is a real difference between the two. If there is a real difference, I would even go for the 16 GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz - 2 X 8 GB ( + $139.00 ), but that would break the bank. Also I wonder if I could get it cheaper somewhere else and add it afterwards. The SSD, yes, I'd love to have one but they are still so darn expensive.
Sep 04 2013
prev sibling next sibling parent "Chris" <wendlec tcd.ie> writes:
On Wednesday, 4 September 2013 at 06:47:15 UTC, Jacob Carlborg 
wrote:
 On 2013-09-03 23:10, Chris wrote:

 The machine I was looking at is this one:

 https://www.system76.com/laptops/model/gazp9#

A laptop! Buy parts a build your own desktop :)

You are actually right. I should look into that possibility too, given the pricing policy most companies have. Thanks for the comment. Do you have any tips or useful links? PS First I started to write my own programs, now I'll build my own machines! :-)
Sep 04 2013
prev sibling next sibling parent "monarch_dodra" <monarchdodra gmail.com> writes:
On Wednesday, 4 September 2013 at 08:43:53 UTC, Chris wrote:
 On Wednesday, 4 September 2013 at 05:04:00 UTC, Jonathan M 
 Davis wrote:

 Only $49 difference? I'd definitely go for the more memory. Of 
 course, I always
 go for high performance over price unless the difference is 
 really pricey, and
 I wouldn't want as little memory as 8 GB either. I always use 
 the maximum
 memory that my motherboard will support. And memory is cheap 
 these days, so
 out of all the things that you could do to improve your 
 computer, it's not
 particularly expensive. But I guess that it all depends on how 
 mch you're
 willing to spend.

 - Jonathan M Davis

You are right of course. I prefer to spend a little bit more money and have a better machine. I was only wondering, if there is a real difference between the two. If there is a real difference, I would even go for the 16 GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz - 2 X 8 GB ( + $139.00 ), but that would break the bank. Also I wonder if I could get it cheaper somewhere else and add it afterwards.

Honestly, 4 is "usually enough", but a bit more never hurts. 8 is "*more* than enough". Getting anything more than 8 is really just wasted money, unless you have a *very specific* use case that requires it: Specifically, the only one I can think of is having a VM farm server. Or maybe some *super*heavy* image processing or video editing. Other than that, no, I would not cough up an extra +90$ for the +8 Gigs (I suppose +139$ is compared to the base 4 Gigs?). Especially when you can get a 128 Gig SSD at that price. BTW: About the "hybrid" drives. AFAIK, they used to be "better than not hybrid, I guess but still leaps and bounds inferior to an SSD". That said, their algorithms get better every day, so I don't know. I think the real choice depends on what kind of storage volume you *need*. I'd *default* back to a hybrid, if having a single SSD didn't fit my volume needs. But even then, external 2.5" drives are dirt cheap nowadays, so...
Sep 04 2013
prev sibling next sibling parent "Dicebot" <public dicebot.lv> writes:
On Tuesday, 3 September 2013 at 16:15:51 UTC, Chris wrote:
 If you had the choice between:

 - 4 GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz - 1 X 4 GB
 - 8 GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz - 2 X 4GB ( + $49.00 )

 Is it worth the extra money or is the increase in performance 
 not worth mentioning? Any experience with that.

 The processor

 4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-4700MQ Processor ( 2.4 GHz 6MB 
 L3 Cache - 4 Cores plus Hyperthreading )

 Thanks.

Adding memory normally does not improve performance. Lack of one harms it though. My simple rule of a thumb is "Am I using more than 2/3 of existing RAM in typical working scenario? Then buy more." (I only needed 8 GB because of virtual machines and tmpfs abuse)
Sep 04 2013
prev sibling next sibling parent "Chris" <wendlec tcd.ie> writes:
On Wednesday, 4 September 2013 at 09:09:49 UTC, monarch_dodra 
wrote:

 BTW: About the "hybrid" drives. AFAIK, they used to be "better 
 than not hybrid, I guess but still leaps and bounds inferior to 
 an SSD". That said, their algorithms get better every day, so I 
 don't know. I think the real choice depends on what kind of 
 storage volume you *need*. I'd *default* back to a hybrid, if 
 having a single SSD didn't fit my volume needs. But even then, 
 external 2.5" drives are dirt cheap nowadays, so...

SSDs: Well, memory needs are medium to high in my case. Recording and editing music eats up a lot of space, and GBs keep accumulating as I keep old versions of projects, original versions of images alongside the edited versions, download programs, libraries and plugins, maybe the odd VirtualBox installation (and I lack the discipline to transfer old files every X weeks to an external drive, just as I hate doing the dishes). I agree that 128-250GB are loads and it takes a while to run out of space, however, it happens faster than you think these days, because more and more stuff is stored on computers (music libraries, pictures, movies and whatnot). So I'm not sure about SSDs. They are still a bit too expensive (price / storage), in my opinion. But maybe if I build my own desktop, I could find a good compromise. A good solution would be a SSD for running programs and a SATA drive next to it to store the data. (Which is admittedly not too far from the external drive solution :)
Sep 04 2013
prev sibling next sibling parent Nick Sabalausky <SeeWebsiteToContactMe semitwist.com> writes:
On Wed, 04 Sep 2013 11:40:41 +0200
"Chris" <wendlec tcd.ie> wrote:
 
 I agree that 128-250GB 
 are loads and it takes a while to run out of space, however, it 
 happens faster than you think these days,

Heh, yea. Personally, I'd find 128-250GB unbearably small unless it was in addition to a beefier secondary HDD. My current system (a laptop) is 320GB and I find that very tight. It wouldn't even be good enough for me if I wasn't using my prior computer (a desktop) as a 2.5 TB (or so) file server. Maybe I'm just weird (well, I know I am ;) ), but what I lack in processor needs I tend to make up for in storage needs. OTOH, my server is only a few gigs HDD, and that's been fine so far. *shrug*
Sep 04 2013
prev sibling next sibling parent "monarch_dodra" <monarchdodra gmail.com> writes:
On Wednesday, 4 September 2013 at 10:36:14 UTC, Nick Sabalausky 
wrote:
 On Wed, 04 Sep 2013 11:40:41 +0200
 "Chris" <wendlec tcd.ie> wrote:
 
 I agree that 128-250GB are loads and it takes a while to run 
 out of space, however, it happens faster than you think these 
 days,

Heh, yea. Personally, I'd find 128-250GB unbearably small unless it was in addition to a beefier secondary HDD. My current system (a laptop) is 320GB and I find that very tight. It wouldn't even be good enough for me if I wasn't using my prior computer (a desktop) as a 2.5 TB (or so) file server. Maybe I'm just weird (well, I know I am ;) ), but what I lack in processor needs I tend to make up for in storage needs. OTOH, my server is only a few gigs HDD, and that's been fine so far. *shrug*

I ended up installing a ZFS based NAS at home. I got 4TB of data, snapshotted hourly, and replicated on secondary backup. I use it as my centralized storage solution. Regardless which computer I'm on (Home PC/Home laptop/ work laptop, wife's laptop, TV server, tablet), my files are there with me, with no need for data transfer. All of these have about <120 Gigs of local storage, except for the home laptop, which is 250 (useful for taking stuff when not at home). In any case, I don't believe in having local storage anymore. You don't need to go hardcore with a server or anything, but I think external storage is a superior solution. They make 2TB 2.5" external drives nowadays. All they need is a USB port and they are good to go.
Sep 04 2013
prev sibling next sibling parent "Dicebot" <public dicebot.lv> writes:
On Wednesday, 4 September 2013 at 10:45:50 UTC, monarch_dodra 
wrote:
 You don't need to go hardcore with a server or anything, but I 
 think external storage is a superior solution. They make 2TB 
 2.5" external drives nowadays. All they need is a USB port and 
 they are good to go.

SSD + sshfs <3
Sep 04 2013
prev sibling next sibling parent "Wyatt" <wyatt.epp gmail.com> writes:
On Wednesday, 4 September 2013 at 08:48:52 UTC, Chris wrote:
 On Wednesday, 4 September 2013 at 06:47:15 UTC, Jacob Carlborg 
 wrote:
 On 2013-09-03 23:10, Chris wrote:

 The machine I was looking at is this one:

 https://www.system76.com/laptops/model/gazp9#

A laptop! Buy parts a build your own desktop :)

You are actually right. I should look into that possibility too, given the pricing policy most companies have. Thanks for the comment. Do you have any tips or useful links?

think a desktop is the way to go. For a laptop, I prioritise battery life and weight above all else, these days; if I need heavy lifting, I'll just SSH into my desktop. Best part is, that portable unit only sets you back about the difference between a high-end laptop and its desktop equivalent. If this isn't an urgent purchase, definitely watch for sales and discounts; play your cards right, and you should be able to get a nice Haswell box for about $600 with a display. You've more-or-less missed the US Labour Day sales, so the next big "events" will probably be Halloween, and then Black Friday (which is completely bonkers). Outside of that, weekly specials are...well, weekly (though usually weak). Outside of the big names, pricewatch [0] and slickdeals [1] are probably still useful for finding low prices, though you'll end up chasing across a bunch of different retailers on that path. Another useful tool is the "Camelizer" [2], to see price history for a potential buy. If you let up know roughly where in the world you are, someone else may have some idea of what retailers will let you dodge overseas shipping costs if it's a pressing concern. On to matters of part selection, since it sounds like your first build, some general tips: - As a rule of thumb, if it's a "generic" brand part, avoid it like the plague. If there's one lesson I've learned, you tend to get what you pay for with computer parts (...up to a point. Those 6-core Xeons aren't really priced to move). If you're unsure, look up reviews on Newegg and Amazon. - Don't get _too_ caught up in the numbers. A couple hundred MHz one way or another on a part won't be world-changing. On the other hand you're probably not going to buy a new machine for a few years and my experience is you won't bother upgrading anything but RAM and maybe GPU. - Do make sure to get a decent power supply. A crappy PSU will cause headaches and instability. Pay special attention to the PFC rating: efficient power delivery is good unless you live in a state where electricity is dirt cheap. Also keep an eye out for "Modular" PSUs, which is a nice perk for keeping internal cable clutter low. - Get a decent power supply even if one comes with whatever case you buy (some people don't like their machines to be a pile of parts on the desk. I call them "uninspired" ;) ). The pack-in PSU tends to be awful (as a rule of thumb, if it's not heavier than it looks, it's rubbish). - I'd avoid motherboards from Foxconn, Biostar, and ECS. Budget manufacturers, and I've had poor reliability from them in the past. - For Linux, particularly pay attention to the network hardware on the motherboard. Buying something with Broadcom is playing with fire. Atheros and Intel are your friends. - If you don't need high-end graphics, the on-die Intel or AMD solution should serve well. (It's too bad the Iris Pro trim isn't available on the Haswell desktop parts; that even stacks up favourably against low-mid tier GPUs). - The stock cooler that comes with a modern CPU is actually fairly decent. No need to get an aftermarket version. - A basic cheapo case is plenty for probably 95% of builds. If you can get one with a removable motherboard tray, that's a nice feature, but not essential. - If you need a discrete GPU and you're using Linux, I'd personally look for some kind of fanless Radeon. I find the general driver situation is just better for AMD cards. - There's a lot of fluctuation in display prices right now, but getting one for under a hundred bucks is probably doable. - You probably don't even need an optical device these days. Just boot from a USB stick. Hope that helps! -Wyatt [0] http://www.pricewatch.com/ [1] http://slickdeals.net/ [2] http://us.camelcamelcamel.com/camelizer
Sep 04 2013
prev sibling parent "Chris" <wendlec tcd.ie> writes:
On Wednesday, 4 September 2013 at 13:11:36 UTC, Wyatt wrote:
 On Wednesday, 4 September 2013 at 08:48:52 UTC, Chris wrote:
 On Wednesday, 4 September 2013 at 06:47:15 UTC, Jacob Carlborg 
 wrote:
 On 2013-09-03 23:10, Chris wrote:

 The machine I was looking at is this one:

 https://www.system76.com/laptops/model/gazp9#

A laptop! Buy parts a build your own desktop :)

You are actually right. I should look into that possibility too, given the pricing policy most companies have. Thanks for the comment. Do you have any tips or useful links?

think a desktop is the way to go. For a laptop, I prioritise battery life and weight above all else, these days; if I need heavy lifting, I'll just SSH into my desktop. Best part is, that portable unit only sets you back about the difference between a high-end laptop and its desktop equivalent. If this isn't an urgent purchase, definitely watch for sales and discounts; play your cards right, and you should be able to get a nice Haswell box for about $600 with a display. You've more-or-less missed the US Labour Day sales, so the next big "events" will probably be Halloween, and then Black Friday (which is completely bonkers). Outside of that, weekly specials are...well, weekly (though usually weak). Outside of the big names, pricewatch [0] and slickdeals [1] are probably still useful for finding low prices, though you'll end up chasing across a bunch of different retailers on that path. Another useful tool is the "Camelizer" [2], to see price history for a potential buy. If you let up know roughly where in the world you are, someone else may have some idea of what retailers will let you dodge overseas shipping costs if it's a pressing concern. On to matters of part selection, since it sounds like your first build, some general tips: - As a rule of thumb, if it's a "generic" brand part, avoid it like the plague. If there's one lesson I've learned, you tend to get what you pay for with computer parts (...up to a point. Those 6-core Xeons aren't really priced to move). If you're unsure, look up reviews on Newegg and Amazon. - Don't get _too_ caught up in the numbers. A couple hundred MHz one way or another on a part won't be world-changing. On the other hand you're probably not going to buy a new machine for a few years and my experience is you won't bother upgrading anything but RAM and maybe GPU. - Do make sure to get a decent power supply. A crappy PSU will cause headaches and instability. Pay special attention to the PFC rating: efficient power delivery is good unless you live in a state where electricity is dirt cheap. Also keep an eye out for "Modular" PSUs, which is a nice perk for keeping internal cable clutter low. - Get a decent power supply even if one comes with whatever case you buy (some people don't like their machines to be a pile of parts on the desk. I call them "uninspired" ;) ). The pack-in PSU tends to be awful (as a rule of thumb, if it's not heavier than it looks, it's rubbish). - I'd avoid motherboards from Foxconn, Biostar, and ECS. Budget manufacturers, and I've had poor reliability from them in the past. - For Linux, particularly pay attention to the network hardware on the motherboard. Buying something with Broadcom is playing with fire. Atheros and Intel are your friends. - If you don't need high-end graphics, the on-die Intel or AMD solution should serve well. (It's too bad the Iris Pro trim isn't available on the Haswell desktop parts; that even stacks up favourably against low-mid tier GPUs). - The stock cooler that comes with a modern CPU is actually fairly decent. No need to get an aftermarket version. - A basic cheapo case is plenty for probably 95% of builds. If you can get one with a removable motherboard tray, that's a nice feature, but not essential. - If you need a discrete GPU and you're using Linux, I'd personally look for some kind of fanless Radeon. I find the general driver situation is just better for AMD cards. - There's a lot of fluctuation in display prices right now, but getting one for under a hundred bucks is probably doable. - You probably don't even need an optical device these days. Just boot from a USB stick. Hope that helps! -Wyatt [0] http://www.pricewatch.com/ [1] http://slickdeals.net/ [2] http://us.camelcamelcamel.com/camelizer

Thanks a million. PS The location would be Republic of Ireland (UK should be fine too, shipping wise).
Sep 04 2013