anyone else's builds considered overkill?

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anyone else's builds considered overkill?

Postposted on Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:30 pm

just wondering if everyone builds their pc for way more than they need it for, i understand futureproofing, but i dont really think there is such a thing. I ask because i built a bulldozer system recently, but parted it out and put together a new system from old parts i had lying around, and its still more than i need, as i see my pc use shrink as time goes on.
i went from
amd fx-4100 - 8 gigs ram - 64 gig crucial m4 ssd - 1 tb drive - radeon 4890
to
athlon ii x2 255 -5 gigs ram - 128 gig samsung ssd - 1 tb drive - radeon 4890

this is still more than fast enough for what i do, mostly browsing and watching some hd movies, and now and then some gaming. (mw3, arkham city)
maybe its more the fact that bulldozer isnt all that great to begin with, either way, im bored and rambling.
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Re: anyone else's builds considered overkill?

Postposted on Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:06 am

Guess it depends on how you define "overkill". Your system might be more than what you need now, but how long do you plan to keep it?

Way back when I was a hardcore gamer, I used to do major upgrades on (roughly) an alternating 6-9 month schedule -- GPU and some other peripheral on one swing, system board and CPU on the other. Each upgrade was usually midrange and marginal. But lately my usage profile has relaxed. I got nearly 5 years out of my Skt 939 board with two CPUs and three GPUs, and bought my i5/Z68 system a year ago with the intention of doing it again. I went with 16GB of RAM, and upgraded a couple other non-essential components, just because I could. So 90% of the time it's much more than what I need, but OTOH it chews right through 18MP image post-processing like a fire through a butter factory, so it was worth spending a little extra up front.
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Re: anyone else's builds considered overkill?

Postposted on Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:34 am

you could always grab something equivalent to the cooler master hyper 212+ and go fanless for your athlon ii.
i semi recently bought a deecool gamer storm(because i could, and it was like $27). large items but w/e if you have the space.

temps made a nice step down from the old athlon 64 x2 cooler i threw on from the athlon ii cooler,
even with the single 120mm fan turned off the temps are still lower than either amd stock cooler.

id like to say i wanna upgrade to something new, but a new board with overclocking capability would likely be all i need for now.
dual core still works well enough for most stuff
probably drinking some tea.
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Re: anyone else's builds considered overkill?

Postposted on Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:52 am

I didn't find a direct comparison, but I'd say for your uses the fast dual core is just as good, that's why you don't see a difference. (Heck, the X-4100 was probably slower at some things.) Some very new games can utilize more than 2 cores, but since all you changed was the CPU and actually upgraded your SSD,it's not surprising yuou don't see a major difference.
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Re: anyone else's builds considered overkill?

Postposted on Fri Oct 12, 2012 2:59 am

for stuff like web/video watching, you're generally using 1-2 cores max anyways, performance wise a 3.6ghz fx-4100 vs a 3.1ghz athlon ii x2 isnt gonna be really any different except for price and tdp gaps.
i think piledriver at least makes enough of an increase to make it worth it over bulldozer.
closest comparison i found was using anantech's bench and running an a8-5600k(3.6ghz quad, same clock speed, but architectural speed differences...) vs an athlon ii x2 255 or 265, far as bulldozer went only the fx-8150 was on the benchmark tab
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Re: anyone else's builds considered overkill?

Postposted on Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:38 am

I know I did. X79 with dual 580s last year, its a beast and can literally heat my whole house, lol.

that said, every now and again I do multi-day rendering projects that have become so much more endurable since the build. I also use it for folding when I can. its good, but it was definitely a want vs a need.

I get a new computer every 5 years ~ish so my next build will probably be on skylake(although it might just be on project denver tech 0.0)
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Re: anyone else's builds considered overkill?

Postposted on Fri Oct 12, 2012 7:02 am

I've never owned an "overkill" computer as back when I was into the gaming thing I always had a generation previous sweet-spot. Now I'm rocking an E-350 (dual 1.6Ghz with Radeon 6250 graphics) and I'd consider this to be seriously "underkill" (I can't even play the new Black Mesa mod, built on a decade old game engine!)
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Re: anyone else's builds considered overkill?

Postposted on Fri Oct 12, 2012 7:16 am

I've always gone semi-budget hardware in my systems. The closest I've ever been to the pinnacle of PC hardware is a Barton 2500+ that I OC'd to 2.2GHz and a Radeon 9500 Pro that I unlocked the BIOS on so I could OC it to 9700 Pro speeds (though it still had the 128-bit memory bus so it wasn't quite a 9700 Pro).

Right now it's an i3 2100 and the GTX 460. Definitely looking at budget hardware with the best performance-per-dollar at the time of purchase. Then again I am sticking with a build for 2 years rather than 4-5.
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Re: anyone else's builds considered overkill?

Postposted on Fri Oct 12, 2012 7:37 am

I put a Core i5-3570K into my HTPC. I don't know what you mean by "overkill". :lol:
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Re: anyone else's builds considered overkill?

Postposted on Fri Oct 12, 2012 8:18 am

the bulldozer upgrade was definitely a want upgrade vs a need, but then i needed money more so i sold the board cpu and ram. My plan now is to upgrade my board to am3+, and use that until pile driver comes out, then throw the athlon 2 back in the am2 board i have and use that for htpc use. (right now i have a p4 3ghz ht with 2 gigs ram for that purpose. fan is too noisy though, damn 478 boards)
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Re: anyone else's builds considered overkill?

Postposted on Fri Oct 12, 2012 8:38 am

The build i'd consider overkill would cost more than my house....Naah i keed, it's just that most of the latest games released don't need the highest end hardware to run at 1080p with acceptable frame rates. I mean i've seen a youtube video with a GTX 680 brought to it's knees in Crsysis (the original) but the same card would churn out easily 60 fps in BF3.
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Re: anyone else's builds considered overkill?

Postposted on Fri Oct 12, 2012 8:42 am

No such thing as overkill to me - it just pushes your upgrade cycles further apart. I used to upgrade my video card every year, but those days are now over. I game a lot less with a wife and 2 kids now, so I buy a 400+ video card every 3 years and make it last. Add to that the fact that I play old games like TF2 and Company of Heroes, and my GTX580 will actually be able to play games that I want to play for well past that 3 year period.
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Re: anyone else's builds considered overkill?

Postposted on Fri Oct 12, 2012 8:49 am

willyjwebb wrote:just wondering if everyone builds their pc for way more than they need it for


Yes; I certainly do. Remind me to take a screenshot of task manager with 64GB RAM for you.

On the other hand, the machine built out of spares at the other end of the desk can run any game or app that my main machine does, and almost as fast...

But it can't run ten of them at once. There's something ineffable about checking your open apps and finding that you alt-tabbed out of a game days before, and simply forgot it was still running.

What's a few GB between friends?
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Re: anyone else's builds considered overkill?

Postposted on Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:11 am

I have a Phenom II X6 1055T with 12GBs of RAM and a GTX470, and a nice Agility 3 120GB. It is definitely overkill for my uses except when I'm playing some games. But I won't be upgrading it except for perhaps more storage for a long time to come, and that's what I like. My Athlon XP 1800+ and Ti4200 lasted me 5 years before I had to go off to university, which means it lasted.... wow, 9 years already!
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Re: anyone else's builds considered overkill?

Postposted on Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:21 am

I think this is a common human problem. People really like to "keep their options open" even if the result is sub-optimal.

There's an description of a study in the book "Predictably Irrational" that really illustrates this point. There are two sets of test subjects that are supposed to collect items from three rooms. The "collect" the items by clicking on them with the mouse and navigate between rooms by clicking on different doors. In one group the doors would disappear if you didn't go into the room within a certain time period while in the other the doors did not disappear. In the group with the doors that disappeared, the test subjects were so concerned with keeping the possibility of collecting items in another room open that kept switching back and form between rooms and therefore scored lower than if they had just concerned themselves with collecting as many items as they could while ignoring the possibility that one of the rooms would not longer be available.

You often see this same pattern in people that buy top of the line hardware just in case they might need feature X. Of course, this is different than someone who buys hardware that is very powerful because they're uses occasionally require that level of performance.
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Re: anyone else's builds considered overkill?

Postposted on Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:34 am

kumori wrote:I think this is a common human problem. People really like to "keep their options open" even if the result is sub-optimal.


I thought about relationships when reading that sentence! Haha, but I definitely appreciate the power my hardware affords me... only sometimes. Sometimes I encode video, sometimes I'm in the mood to do folding, or bitcoin mining, and that's when the graphics card really becomes useful. In the summer I wind everything down but in the winter I find stuff for my computer to do so it heats up my room.
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Re: anyone else's builds considered overkill?

Postposted on Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:43 am

My machine is overbuilt for reading Tech Report, yes, and a lot of the other things that take up my day; but I build it for peak usage, not common usage. This is a bit like "inside the second": it's worst-case performance that matters, since routine performance is indistinguishable across a broad swath of hardware. If you never do anything that requires more horsepower, or you're willing to put up with sluggishness when you do, or you're just on a very limited budget, then the considerations are different.
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Re: anyone else's builds considered overkill?

Postposted on Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:49 pm

I'm still using the original i7-920 (X58) in my desktop and it still does the job fabously - even though I've exchanged gpu three time since I first built it (GTX670 now).

I like to have a chassi, motherboard and PSU that's top notch and then I just basically upgrade the rest as needed as I need.

If it's starting to feel slow I upgrade something to make it fast again, simple as that.
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Re: anyone else's builds considered overkill?

Postposted on Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:07 pm

My suggestion is upgrade when you need or want to. If you have the money get the latest and greatest.

Everybody preference is not same so what you do is with your system is your right.
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Re: anyone else's builds considered overkill?

Postposted on Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:33 pm

I've never been able to budget for what I would consider a truly overkill system. That is, until last year, due to a special circumstance that left me with left over money through work that could really only be spent on a computer. In the interest of trying to avoid a post that sounds like "brag, brag - system specs - brag, brag", I'll just say that I now have a PC at home (built last spring) that is extremely overkill in most aspects (although the HD 7970 comes in handy when gaming at 4 MP ).

The thing is, now that I've had the experience of blowing what I consider to be a pretty large chunk of change on an overkill computer (which serves as a casual gaming machine for the most part, along with some light photo editing and media encoding), I'll now feel that much better in future about not being able to justify such purchases. Intellectually, I knew that I could have probably spent as little as 1/2 as much without sacrificing much in terms of experience. However, having finally had the opportunity to blow a large chunk of money on a PC, this has sunk in that much more, and I don't think I'll miss it too much come next upgrade cycle.
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Re: anyone else's builds considered overkill?

Postposted on Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:34 pm

My system (cpu amd 955be was 3 yrs old this past Aug) and it is still overkill for my uses.

Having said that I plopped a 256GB plextor M3 in it around may, much quieter, with faster boot, load and shut down times and snappier overall.

All of my future upgrades concerning my PC will be accessories, like a 27" 2560x1440 ips monitor, a mechanical keyboard, and a nice set of powered bookshelf speakers to complement my soundcard, maybe some audioengine 5+.

However with the exception of the mech keyboard, the other options are expensive and will take some time, could be ready for an upgrade for something else by that time :|
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Re: anyone else's builds considered overkill?

Postposted on Fri Oct 12, 2012 4:08 pm

With time comes knowledge, and I've found that as the years go by, I make smarter and smarter PC purchase decisions. Of course that also requires that you be realistic with yourself about what you NEED from your computer. Sure a better processor might complete a Photoshop effect render 2 seconds faster or a better GPU will get you 5 more fps on your favorite game, but is it really worth the money?

As others have said, your intended upgrade cycle dictates what hardware you buy each time. You also have to consider what you upgrade the most. I tend to go for a reasonably overpowered CPU since I don't typically upgrade that, I need/want it to last 4 years or so. I can stick to a more middle-of-the-road GPU since I like upgrading that every 2-3 years. (if significant improvements have taken place)
I think anyone that's building a system these days NEEDS to include an SSD. That new $120+ CPU is being wasted by your bottleneck mechanical hard drive.

All that being said..yeah, my system is overpowered for my use. That's because it's intended to last me ~4 years. While it's fun to build a new system every year, its not very economical. Also, how can we call ourselves "enthusiasts" if we don't get a little over-enthusiastic once in a while?
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Re: anyone else's builds considered overkill?

Postposted on Fri Oct 12, 2012 4:56 pm

some good replies and i see im not the only one in that position. I Just bought a 2 tb drive today to go with my 1tb and 128 gig ssd, so i think im good for a while now. i have less than 200 gigs of the 1tb used, but i couldnt pass up a 2tb for 60 bucks. I guess thats another case of overkill, this time because i came across a great deal
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Re: anyone else's builds considered overkill?

Postposted on Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:08 pm

well it seems like the scene has changed a lot in the last 15 years. back in the day, it was hard to build a fast enough computer to keep up with the games. It was pretty normal to spend 900-1200 for a computer that was 'mid range'. nowadays you can build a very competitive computer for 600 if you shop s-mart. seems like these days you dont need much to play games at full res. i totally dont miss my voodoo 3 3000.
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Re: anyone else's builds considered overkill?

Postposted on Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:30 pm

The Voodoo 3 3000 AGP was my first actual 3D card. Before that I had had a series of 2D decelerators like a Rage Pro and an S3 ViRGE. It was way faster than the Savage4 in my secondary machine.
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Re: anyone else's builds considered overkill?

Postposted on Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:21 pm

For my first build, I spent around $1500 and this computer will have lasted me 4 years. I can still carry over about $300 worth of components over to the next computer if I want to throw away my current set up.

I think in the future it makes more sense to build cheaper computers, around $700 and upgrade more often.
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Re: anyone else's builds considered overkill?

Postposted on Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:23 pm

I often overbuild "parts" of my systems.

Way way long ago, I had a dual Opteron system with 2 GB and a 1,000 watt PSU for my DAW with five HDDs. Each CPU had 2 cores I think. That was overkill back in the days that single-slot/dual core CPUs were the most popular.

As Windows Vista 64 bit came into popularity, CPUs also got better. Additionally, data storage densities improved for hard drives and RAM, so I was able to build the system I have now.

I like to live with a system for 4 years or more, then make another big jump.

I'm still struggling with the decision to go with a single-slot hex-core i7 or even a workstation with dual E-26xx hexl or octal-core processors. And I'm thinking of putting in a dual-GPU graphic card to boot.

I am CPU happy, yes...but even I know that I don't need 16 cores/32 threads for DAW work or for typing responses on Techreport. :roll: :)

But I do want to get back into rendering and I also want to fold now too. The question for me is...do I really want to spend $4,000 on a new system? I certainly don't "need" to! I think the choice will eventually come down to power consumption expectations. I'm not yet ready to install a PV system on my roof. :o :lol:
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Re: anyone else's builds considered overkill?

Postposted on Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:26 pm

I dunno about overkill... it depends on your perspective. I could've probably gotten 80-85% of the performance for about 40% of the price. Spent a lot more than I usually do, but I've also kept using this computer without upgrades for longer than any other, so maybe it's worth it even from a value perspective (since you do also get the added performance).
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Re: anyone else's builds considered overkill?

Postposted on Sat Oct 13, 2012 12:18 am

My 6C/12T Xeon with 96 GB RAM is definitely overkill. The bottleneck is recursive make >:o. Otherwise definitely not overkill ;-).
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Re: anyone else's builds considered overkill?

Postposted on Sat Oct 13, 2012 12:36 am

We all love overkill. I think the most exciting part is finding overkill that's performance for least cost. As an example, I recently got SSDs for my laptop and desktop, and I've been underwhelmed, despite the SSD stats being exactly as advertised. How, why? I've had excess memory for years and years. Once your OS and main apps are semi-permanently loaded into RAM, your disk speed becomes academic.

Why buy a 250$ SSD if you can get 1/8th the SSD in system RAM for the same price?
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