Tweak Econobox for minimal graphics

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Tweak Econobox for minimal graphics

Postposted on Sun Nov 27, 2011 8:48 pm

I am looking to replace a HP dc5700 with the Econobox. I would like to take a step back on the 6850 and bump the processor up. The reason is my son wants to run "Rollercoaster Tycoon 3". It requires: Any ATI Radeon or GeForce 2 with 32MB RAM. (not much). What graphic card should I consider? System will also be used for browsing, occasional word processing, some folding. Thanks.
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Re: Tweak Econobox for minimal graphics

Postposted on Sun Nov 27, 2011 9:07 pm

Your use case doesn't really justify building a new computer in my opinion. At the super low end (where your use case is), you're probably going to get a cheaper machine buying it then building. My sister just bought a laptop for $450 that would be able to max Roller Coaster Tycoon 3. I would assume that any computer you can buy (as long as it's not a nettop/netbook) will be able to run RCT3, but I could be wrong about that. To be safe, you may want to go with a system with AMD integrated graphics as those will be able to run it for sure.

The other question is why you want to bump the processor up? You're not doing anything intensive with this computer, except for the ocassional folding. Upgrading the CPU won't really give you much of a boost in Microsoft Word or web surfing.
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Re: Tweak Econobox for minimal graphics

Postposted on Sun Nov 27, 2011 9:55 pm

Thanks. I am giving AMD integrated graphics a look, specifically Llano. I have used an AMD E-350 and I prefer more horsepower for general tasks.
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Re: Tweak Econobox for minimal graphics

Postposted on Sun Nov 27, 2011 10:25 pm

You can play all of todays games at good detail quality with an AMD 5770/6770 graphics card, they can be had for as low as $80 after MIR but that's really overkill for RCT3. The econobox in general is overkill for your needs, but it would probably last you quite a few years which is a good thing. As for a well-rounded light/moderate gaming machine with some longevity, a 5770/6770 is a pretty good place to be. A 6570 would be a closer fit for your current gaming needs and costs $40 after MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121474
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102934

The i3-2100 is a pretty decent processor, I would probably stick with that unless you have some need for more processing power that's not coming across in your original post.

You can save a couple bucks going with this motherboard. ASRock is a sister company of ASUS. They offer very similar products for less money.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157236

In case you didnt know, hard drive prices are about double what they used to be a month ago due to flooding in Taiwan. Recycling/reusing an old hard drive is a good idea until supply/prices return to normal.

Steer clear of AMD Llano processors. They may have good integrated graphics, but their processing power is dismal and they suck alot of power. Besides, the integrated 6550D graphics in the A8-3850 is roughly equivalent to a $20 AMD 6450 discrete graphics card (after MIR).
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/amd-fusion-intel-core-i3_5.html#sect1

Here is a good article about best gaming graphics cards for your money.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/fastest-graphics-card-radeon-geforce,3067-7.html
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Re: Tweak Econobox for minimal graphics

Postposted on Sun Nov 27, 2011 11:36 pm

But a lower-end CPU/mobo and get a used NV or ATi/AMD graphics card, preferably from a forum from someone reputable rather than eBay (although I've sold on eBay and would consider myself reputable :) I've been burned once buying on eBay too - card didn't work right under 3D load.) Or get a Sandy Bridge with HD 3000 graphics, that would probably be enough for that particular game, give you a fair amount of CPU power, and leave room for upgrades too.
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Re: Tweak Econobox for minimal graphics

Postposted on Mon Nov 28, 2011 12:05 am

PhilipMcc wrote:I am looking to replace a HP dc5700...
http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm ... 49646.html
Does it have a Core2Duo or a Celeron processor?

Option 1:
$135 Intel Core i3-2105 dual-core hyperthreading 3.1 GHz LGA1156 processor
$125 -20 combo Asus P8H67-M Evo

Option 2:
$140 AMD A8-3850 quad-core 2.9 GHz socket-FM1 APU
$100 -13 combo Asus F1A75-M
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Re: Tweak Econobox for minimal graphics

Postposted on Mon Nov 28, 2011 6:58 pm

Agree the priorities were out of kilter. (What I want is a Xeon 1230 and a big NV card). I am replacing a PC that is not my primary PC. That was purchased refurbished and has done well for 3 years. The current processor is a Core2Duo 6300. It looks like both the Llano and i3-2105 will be a nice performance bump. I am leaning toward the Llano because I want to remove the video card as a point of failure. Is this silly?
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Re: Tweak Econobox for minimal graphics

Postposted on Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:55 pm

PhilipMcc wrote:I am leaning toward the Llano because I want to remove the video card as a point of failure. Is this silly?

...Not sure how many graphics cards have failed on you, but I haven't had any.
Here's my argument, Llano is probably perfect for your current needs. HOWEVER, its processing performance is definetely not as good as Intel Sandy Bridge (Llano is an AMD Athlon CPU with integrated graphics). The Llano graphics core isn't going to get any better either. It looks as if you'll be keeping this rig for quite a while. Buying a Llano with "just enough" power is a recipe for quick obsoletion. Not to mention that Llano's successor (Trinity) will not fit in the AMD FM1 socket so the A8-3850 is the best you'll ever be able to put in there without buying a new mobo. The 3850 has less processing/gaming power than the i3-2100 which is the lowest of the Intel SB "i"-series processors.
http://techreport.com/articles.x/21813/9 (see how high up on those charts the 2100 is? Now look toward the bottom for the A8-3800)
My prediction is that within a couple years when your son graduates from Roller Coaster Tycoon to something more demanding, you'll be needing a discrete graphics card anyway. At that time you'll be kicking yourself for not getting more processing power to start with.
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Re: Tweak Econobox for minimal graphics

Postposted on Tue Nov 29, 2011 12:41 pm

PhilipMcc wrote:I am leaning toward the Llano because I want to remove the video card as a point of failure. Is this silly?

Probably. The only two things that really kill a video card are physical abuse or long periods of high-temperature operation. On most lower-to-middle-end cards where you want to be shopping, overheating should never be an issue, and I've got middle-end video cards in the parts bin that were run 24/7 for a few years and would still run today if I plugged them into a system.

You can still start with a system that has integrated graphics, but ideally, don't pigeon-hole yourself into a system with no expansion potential unless you want to be rebuilding the core components again in a couple years.
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Re: Tweak Econobox for minimal graphics

Postposted on Tue Nov 29, 2011 1:01 pm

PhilipMcc wrote:Agree the priorities were out of kilter. (What I want is a Xeon 1230 and a big NV card). I am replacing a PC that is not my primary PC. That was purchased refurbished and has done well for 3 years. The current processor is a Core2Duo 6300. It looks like both the Llano and i3-2105 will be a nice performance bump. I am leaning toward the Llano because I want to remove the video card as a point of failure. Is this silly?


Llano is perfect for your needs. Just buy a cheap mobo and call it a day. It's true that there are (many) faster CPU out there, but as somebody told you, you won't see much difference with your current workloads. If, in the future, you need more CPU, you can always use the Llano system as HTPC (with the capability to play some basic games thanks to the GPU).

Anyway, it's your choice. With the i3-2105 you'll have maybe 5% more speed overall (the 3850 is better for some things, usually multithreaded and the i3 is better for single threaded loads), but you'll have to spend probably more on the mobo and buy a GPU. And unless the GPU is passive cooled, you'll have a noisier system (another fan to the mix). Just make your numbers. If you can buy the 2150 system with a passive cooled GPU, at the same price or 5% more, go for it. If not, go for Llano.

(The reason for the passive cooled GPU is to be able to salvage the system in the future as HTPC)
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Re: Tweak Econobox for minimal graphics

Postposted on Tue Nov 29, 2011 6:18 pm

rechicero wrote:And unless the GPU is passive cooled, you'll have a noisier system (another fan to the mix).


I had a Sapphire 5570 I loved with a little fan that I never heard. I even have a pretty quiet system IMO. This is why I suggest the 6570 from Sapphire in my previous post which is essentially the same thing. Also, $40 after MIR is a steal. (It's originally $75)
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Re: Tweak Econobox for minimal graphics

Postposted on Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:56 pm

Thank you team TR. Mission accomplished. I went with these:
6570
i3-2120
Asus P8H67 mobo
am posting from it and very pleased. Took most of Boxing Day to get RCT3 running. What a pain. The best advise came from the steam forum. Also have vdrift set up and we're having fun with that. Could not have done it without you.
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