Creating a SFF/MiniPC "mom" comp

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Creating a SFF/MiniPC "mom" comp

Postposted on Sun Dec 29, 2013 2:15 pm

My mom is currently using an AMD Phenom 2 X6, 8 GB DDR2 ram, a 7200RPM HDD, and is constantly complaining that it just isn't fast/responsive enough for her. She's running Win7 x64, and mainly just uses the machine for Outlook, the occasional Word/Excel doc, watching youtube videos in firefox, and GoToMeeting/Webex webinars. She's wired in to a 100Mb LAN.

I'd like to build her a small form factor computer with either an Ivy Bridge or Haswell CPU in the 3GHz range, 8-16GB of the fastest DDR3 I can stuff into it, a decently sized SSD, a DVD-drive, and maybe a USB3 port or two. I'd love for it to have a DVI output, so I don't have to get an adapter, or buy her a new LCD monitor. She'd use the onboard video and audio, and doesn't need onboard WiFi.

I've looked around NewEgg, and found a few devices, but nothing really contains everything I'll need, or they have an embedded APU/Atom/i3 at really low clock speeds.

Any ideas, or should I bite the bullet and buy a larger Shuttle enclosure, and start buying parts? I'm getting tired of hearing her complain about how it's "grinding" (HDD access noise) and watching her click her mouse like a madwoman, because it doesn't instantly respond to her every whim.

She's 70 years old, so whatever would be as low maintenance, and cooling issue free as possible would be wunderbar.

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Creating a SFF/MiniPC "mom" comp

Postposted on Sun Dec 29, 2013 2:37 pm

I think you be pretty done with an SSD. Your other components don't seem that old for the usage you give to the PC.
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Re: Creating a SFF/MiniPC "mom" comp

Postposted on Sun Dec 29, 2013 2:48 pm

Agreed, just add an SSD to the current machine :).
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Re: Creating a SFF/MiniPC "mom" comp

Postposted on Sun Dec 29, 2013 4:20 pm

It would be awesome to just swap out her HDD for an SSD. Think that'll help with the near constant "spinning hourglass"? It happens, even on a fresh reboot, just opening up Outlook, Word, or Excel. That's why I was wondering if going to DDR3 1333 or 1600 would help, since the fastest her Gigabyte MB supports is DDR2 1066.

I agree about the CPU. That Phenom 2 X6 is right around 3GHz, has tons of L2 cache, and should be more than sufficient for what she's doing, plus the built-in radeon suits her graphics needs just fine. She doesn't game at all. Not even solitare.
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Re: Creating a SFF/MiniPC "mom" comp

Postposted on Sun Dec 29, 2013 4:24 pm

I forgot to ask, I've got a Samsung 840 256GB SSD in my comp, and I love it. Are there any better performing SSDs on the market now? She doesn't need anything above a 256, but anything that'll saturate a SATA connection would be grand.
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Re: Creating a SFF/MiniPC "mom" comp

Postposted on Sun Dec 29, 2013 7:29 pm

You'll find no differences in any task by changing ram. If you get her a SSD thinks will be fast and smooth.

There are some new models which are faster than your 840, but not by much. You could get her a 840 Evo and be done with it ;)
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Re: Creating a SFF/MiniPC "mom" comp

Postposted on Sun Dec 29, 2013 7:35 pm

Jon1984 wrote:You'll find no differences in any task by changing ram. If you get her a SSD thinks will be fast and smooth.

There are some new models which are faster than your 840, but not by much. You could get her a 840 Evo and be done with it ;)



Awesome! Thanks Jon1984!
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Re: Creating a SFF/MiniPC "mom" comp

Postposted on Mon Dec 30, 2013 8:04 am

As other suggested, replacing the hard-drive with an SSD could improve the responsiveness of your mom's existing system.

If you're looking for a really compact new PC, something like the Gigabyte Brix would do the trick. Otherwise, check out some of the SFF/HTPC build threads in the SBA forum.
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