What specs for a solid, modern computer?

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Re: What specs for a solid, modern computer?

Postby Graf Zahl » Wed Oct 31, 2018 6:55 am

No, even if some people want to make you believe that it's fine.

Any current OS has the same problem: It basically forces the paging files, the default location for installed programs and the user's home directory onto the same drive as the operating system - and even without your explicit doing there's a lot of stuff that will accumulate there over time.

My current home directory contains roughly 15 GB of data. Add to that the OS itself, paging files and everything in the global Program Data plus apps installed into Program Files (i.e. the stuff that won't let me choose another location) and everything that'd end up on the host drive amounts to roughly 70 GB.
An SSD will develop problems if it's nearly full, and with a 60 GB drive you may just be losing performance once it surpasses 55 GB.

Get 128 GB at the very least.
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Re: What specs for a solid, modern computer?

Postby wildweasel » Wed Oct 31, 2018 10:36 am

While admittedly, I do install certain things to C:\Program Files (mostly productivity apps, small utilities, and things like the Adobe Creative Suite), I'm running a 256 GB SSD, of which 106 GB are used. I'm with Graf - you'd want at least 128 GB for your OS to live "comfortably" on one of these.

For what it's worth, I've been advised to move the paging file to a non-SSD - I have a small-ish (150 GB) hard drive that is basically set aside for use as a swap drive. I moved the paging file there, as well as configuring my Adobe programs (and other things) to use that drive as temp storage, as it's rather helpful when the temp storage lives on a different drive from where the project files live.
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Re: What specs for a solid, modern computer?

Postby Graf Zahl » Wed Oct 31, 2018 10:48 am

wildweasel wrote:For what it's worth, I've been advised to move the paging file to a non-SSD



Hard to do if you don't use one anymore. I have 2 SSDs in my system and let's not even talk about the MacBook I use at work...
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Re: What specs for a solid, modern computer?

Postby SHayden » Wed Oct 31, 2018 1:11 pm

Yeah, I thought it's probably too small for OS, but right now I use it for games and some programs.
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Re: What specs for a solid, modern computer?

Postby RexS » Wed Oct 31, 2018 2:26 pm

Graf Zahl wrote:
wildweasel wrote:For what it's worth, I've been advised to move the paging file to a non-SSD



Hard to do if you don't use one anymore. I have 2 SSDs in my system and let's not even talk about the MacBook I use at work...


Are you worried about losing data? My understanding is that a failed SSD is 100% unrecoverable, where as old fashioned mechanical drives can be stripped and the data ripped out, even if the moving parts stop working.
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Re: What specs for a solid, modern computer?

Postby Graf Zahl » Wed Oct 31, 2018 2:28 pm

All my important data is either on Github and Bitbucket or backed up on some cloud server and for stuff that's too sensitive on an USB stick that's stored outside the house. If I really suffer some damage the loss will not be catastrophic.
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Re: What specs for a solid, modern computer?

Postby Matt » Wed Oct 31, 2018 6:49 pm

I basically did what Rachael suggested on page 1 about 7 years ago (as to general principles, not those specific recommendations!) and I have no serious thoughts about upgrading any hardware.

That said, I've got a question: how important is it to change the motherboard? Does it make any sense for me to just upgrade the CPU, RAM and GPU and leave the rest as is?
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Re: What specs for a solid, modern computer?

Postby Rachael » Wed Oct 31, 2018 6:59 pm

Use the motherboard as long as you can. Once you upgrade your CPU though, it's highly likely you'll have to switch it out - and if that's the case, you'll have to buy them together.

Unfortunately CPU's and motherboards are very specifically make for one another. It seems like a new socket type comes out every 6 months.

Luckily, if you have a 3GHz+ CPU with at least 4 cores, it will likely be a very long time before you actually have to change it. The chances of it dying due to hardware failure are higher than it becoming completely obsolete before it does.
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Re: What specs for a solid, modern computer?

Postby RexS » Wed Oct 31, 2018 7:37 pm

Matt wrote:I basically did what Rachael suggested on page 1 about 7 years ago (as to general principles, not those specific recommendations!) and I have no serious thoughts about upgrading any hardware.

That said, I've got a question: how important is it to change the motherboard? Does it make any sense for me to just upgrade the CPU, RAM and GPU and leave the rest as is?


There's no point upgrading the CPU without the motherboard. Unless you got like an i3 bottom end CPU for a certain socket, and then wanted the i9 when it comes out, the huge changes in technology and infrastructure often results in an entirely new socket and chipset on the motherboard. Adding RAM and upgrading GPU can have a huge effect on game performance, but like Rachael and others have said, that depends on a lot of variables. I gained 40FPS+ in 4k Doom 4 Ultra (3840x2160) just by changing from a Geforce 960 to Geforce 1060, but I already had an i7-8700k and 64GB of RAM with everything on a SSD, so my bottle neck was very clearly my 960. (My video RAM was very clearly choking out, I monitor all of that stuff on my keyboard. So that means some video RAM data was going to system RAM, and that obviously isn't the goal in 2018 modern games where every millisecond counts) If your video card isn't the bottleneck, upgrading it will help you but only do so much if you are throttled by your system memory, CPU, or something like that.
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Re: What specs for a solid, modern computer?

Postby RexS » Wed Oct 31, 2018 7:51 pm

Rachael wrote:Use the motherboard as long as you can. Once you upgrade your CPU though, it's highly likely you'll have to switch it out - and if that's the case, you'll have to buy them together.

Unfortunately CPU's and motherboards are very specifically make for one another. It seems like a new socket type comes out every 6 months.

Luckily, if you have a 3GHz+ CPU with at least 4 cores, it will likely be a very long time before you actually have to change it. The chances of it dying due to hardware failure are higher than it becoming completely obsolete before it does.


I had an original i7 960 and 18GB of DDR3 with that Geforce 960 and I ran Doom 4 in 2K (2560x1440) in ultra with absolutely no problems at all, despite it being literally the first generation of i7. I upgraded my entire system later, but that was... more retail therapy as I face this horrible grief in my life. But that original i7 never gave me a problem, once. You're totally right. I'm going to share my new rig below, but I don't want to hijack this thread so it's in spoilers.


Spoiler:
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Re: What specs for a solid, modern computer?

Postby vólentiæn » Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:29 am

my system runs most modern AAA games perfectly fine, my specs are
GTX 960 msi 4g
i5 2500 cpu (eww i know)
1tb hdd
128 gb ssd
8gb ddr3 ram
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Re: What specs for a solid, modern computer?

Postby Enjay » Tue Nov 06, 2018 2:46 pm

I have one of those really crappy little laptops sold by supermarkets (didn't buy it, given to me by someone who found out it was useless). It has a 32GB storage unit (probably basically just the same as a USB stick or something) and it does actually have a functioning copy of Windows 10 on it. However, 32GB is stupidly small for a modern OS, almost nothing can be installed on the machine and even Windows updates can often fail because there isn't enough space to download and install the updates. I did actually install the recent 1803 update on to it just to see if I could and, oh man, all the stupid hoops that I had to jump through to get it to happen. No idea what kind of psychopath thought 32GB was an acceptable size for a computer with a modern OS on it.

Anyway, my main machine has a 445GB SSD (plus a 4TB HDD) and, yeah, even though 32GB can kind of run Win 10, 60GB is still far too small IMO.
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Re: What specs for a solid, modern computer?

Postby RexS » Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:21 pm

vólentiæn wrote:my system runs most modern AAA games perfectly fine, my specs are
GTX 960 msi 4g
i5 2500 cpu (eww i know)
1tb hdd
128 gb ssd
8gb ddr3 ram


But I imagine not in 3840x2160 in Ultra (+Maxed AA). 960 is a good card, but I had that paired with 18GB of DDR3 and an i7 and it choked hard on new games in 4k.
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Re: What specs for a solid, modern computer?

Postby Sandro » Thu Nov 08, 2018 11:14 am

Thank you for your replies everyone ! Rachael, your post is very precise, thanks for your time.

Unfortunately, some idiots thugs decided to break some cars for Halloween while I was at my climbing gym, including mine ; they broke a window, stole my car's id, and killed its radiator so I cannot even drive to go to work for now... so I guess I'm gonna have to wait a month or two more before I can buy a new comp.

In response of that poorly event, I decided it was funnier for me to increase my budget and get stronger components. So, well, I'm currently making spreadsheet to compare the prices, will post it here when it's done.
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Re: What specs for a solid, modern computer?

Postby wildweasel » Thu Nov 08, 2018 11:23 am

If you're not already, I suggest plugging your parts list into pcpartpicker.com as they will figure out which stores have the best prices for individual parts and which parts are compatible with each other.
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