Your PC's Specifications / Hardware

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Re: Your PC's Specifications / Hardware

Postby Administrator » Wed Nov 23, 2016 8:58 pm

Anachronic wrote:I wish I had a 486 to give my son to play with.

Haha, that's the greatest gift a person can give! My uncle gave me his old 486 when I was a kid, and it was awesome. The thing even had a "Turbo" button on it. Every computer needs one of those

I'm pretty convinced that something is wrong with the mobo, because the reset problem is now persisting with just that one PSU connection...

This is actually a pretty good bet. Motherboard problems are often the wackiest and hardest to diagnose, and the bizarre, spastic, intermittent nature of your issue feels motherboard-ish to me.

Either way if it's the CPU or mobo I'm now looking at new parts, and thinking about AMD as the budget option. Do you have any thoughts on the AM3+ vs. FM2+ sockets? As I understand I'll get a little bit more speed for the money from AM3+, but with FM2+ you have the integrated video. I like the idea of having the video as a backup in case my old video card quits. Considering it's an older video card, I'm wondering if the FM2+ video would be worse or better than the Geforce 560? Having trouble finding that info online. Any idea?

You raise some interesting questions here, man. I was just about the most die-hard AMD guy you could find. It's what I was raised on. My early builds were in those heady days of Duron / Athlon overclocks, and I was a rabid fan of those architectures for their entire lifespans. But as years went by, Intel clearly got the edge in the enthusiast market. Then that edge widened into a significant gap at most price points. Then that significant gap turned into a gaping chasm pretty much the whole way across the board, with Intel even having an edge for cheaper builds.

As crazy as this may seem, I'd recommend Intel even for a budget build. My last AMD was an FX-8150, and the thing just ran so outrageously hot. Stock cooling wasn't usable, and I had to mount a gigantic aftermarket HSF on the thing just to keep it functional under load. Even though, heat was a constant concern, and it showed in the system's lifespan when it died on me last summer.

What price point are you aiming for here, man? You can come away with a very solid i5 CPU / mainboard combination for under $250, it will run cool and long, and rock. If you want to go extremely budget, you can come away with a solid i3 CPU / mainboard combination for under $150, although I would say the extra $100 to bump up to a legit quad core i5 / Skylake would be worth it.

As far as the difference made between different integrated graphics platforms, I really wouldn't worry too much about it. They'll all put you in pretty similar territory, from a functionality standpoint. If you're looking to play modern, 3D games at high settings, a solid GPU is required. Some modern games can be played on low settings using integrated graphics. Most importantly, even integrated graphics will suffice for Outer Colony's rendering pipeline. :)
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Re: Your PC's Specifications / Hardware

Postby Anachronic » Fri Nov 25, 2016 12:27 am

Administrator wrote:Haha, that's the greatest gift a person can give! My uncle gave me his old 486 when I was a kid, and it was awesome. The thing even had a "Turbo" button on it. Every computer needs one of those


I'd forgotten about the turbo button! That's awesome :) It would definitely be cool to have an overclock switch on your computer.

Hear you and agree 100% with your Intel recommendation. Intel clearly has a huge performance advantage, but AMD still hits me right in the pricepoint! So I went ahead and went full miser, and got myself a wee little m-ATX board for AMD's FM2 chip and a last-gen AMD Athlon 845k. It wasn't the cheapest option I could get but close; it was almost the cheapest option my local shop NCIX had in stock. Cost me $170 CAD after tax and 1 year extended warrant (cause I'm a sucker). Probably could have gotten something cheaper online but I was in a bit of a hurry to get it fixed. I could have done a dual-core Intel setup with a better mobo for ~50-60 more but kinda wanted to give AMD another chance for old-time's sake.

Where did you see the i5 setup for ~150? That sounds like a really good deal!

I almost went for a bundle deal on the AMD FX6300 or FX-835 processor. Decided against it because of the heat issue and power consumption. Think I might have done the computer enthusiast equivalent of buying a Fiat.

It's small and quiet, 65W and is running at 15-30 degrees right now. Performance seems OK. Definitely not better (I have less ram 4g too because fewer slots); but not too much worse... but I haven't really tried gaming on it yet. It can probably handle the 30 minutes or so of Super Laser Racer that I play every week. Still have my video card so sometime I'll test it out better.

Sorry for being slow with my responses. Getting a few more writing orders so that's keeping me very busy and preventing game dev updates too. Decided I didn't love the sprites for the stats on those RPG cards and decided to redraw them a few days ago, and it turned into a whole thing before my computer ate itself again. Been working on my laptop which is always inefficient so it's nice to have the desktop working again; even with the downgrade. Will get back to some game dev soon!
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Re: Your PC's Specifications / Hardware

Postby Administrator » Fri Nov 25, 2016 1:15 am

Anachronic wrote:So I went ahead and went full miser, and got myself a wee little m-ATX board for AMD's FM2 chip and a last-gen AMD Athlon 845k. It wasn't the cheapest option I could get but close; it was almost the cheapest option my local shop NCIX had in stock. Cost me $170 CAD after tax and 1 year extended warrant (cause I'm a sucker). Probably could have gotten something cheaper online but I was in a bit of a hurry to get it fixed. I could have done a dual-core Intel setup with a better mobo for ~50-60 more but kinda wanted to give AMD another chance for old-time's sake.

Awwwwwwwwwwww yeah!!! There aren't many things in the world quite as sweet as acquiring some new hardware, especially in the CPU category. I wasn't really even thinking about it, but going last-gen / Athlon quad core was a great call. These are some very nice chips, and that's a price that you totally can't beat. In fact, if I had seen this option, I would've taken it over an i3 at that price point, too.

As far as raw processing power at that price is concerned, I don't think you could've done any better.

I was extremely curious about what NCIX was, so I googled it, and my mind is blown. You guys have a chain of stores in Canada where you can buy a CPU or a motherboard?!! Excluding specialty shops in bigger cities, I haven't seen anything like this in 15 years. Man, NCIX is awesome! My only option is online.

Where did you see the i5 setup for ~150? That sounds like a really good deal!

I was scouting Newegg, as they are my retailer of choice, but you got a righteous deal without even needing to go the online route.

I almost went for a bundle deal on the AMD FX6300 or FX-835 processor. Decided against it because of the heat issue and power consumption. Think I might have done the computer enthusiast equivalent of buying a Fiat.

Again, I think you totally made the right call here. My FX-8150 ran hotter than the sun, and it passed away after 4 years of use. Four years is a pretty healthy life for a heavily used processor, but the Bulldozers were just too hot for their own good. I'm stoked for you, man, and it sounds like you made a really solid acquisition.

Sorry for being slow with my responses. Getting a few more writing orders so that's keeping me very busy and preventing game dev updates too. Decided I didn't love the sprites for the stats on those RPG cards and decided to redraw them a few days ago, and it turned into a whole thing before my computer ate itself again. Been working on my laptop which is always inefficient so it's nice to have the desktop working again; even with the downgrade. Will get back to some game dev soon!

No worries in the slightest! Do you do your development on this machine that you've just resurrected?
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Re: Your PC's Specifications / Hardware

Postby Anachronic » Fri Nov 25, 2016 1:57 am

NCIX is alright, although you gotta wait 15 minutes or so every day to talk to somebody and actually buy something... They do online sales too; might have some sweet deals for all y'all down south with the exchange rate. I always hear about Newegg and have checked it out a few times but never ordered anything.

Yeah I do my dev on this machine. Got about a half hour to get Unity back up and running again and it's not quite as fast as with the old Bloomfield but it'll do for now. The fan with the Athlon is a great design. I like the two-hook system. My old Intel had this awful four plastic pins thing... I broke three out of four of them in five years. That might say more about my hardware ability than the product though... :?
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Re: Your PC's Specifications / Hardware

Postby Administrator » Sat Nov 26, 2016 2:55 am

Anachronic wrote:NCIX is alright, although you gotta wait 15 minutes or so every day to talk to somebody and actually buy something...

Hey man, that still beats waiting a bunch of days for shipping! If there were any kind of local option for buying PC hardware, I'd be all about it. Although I do love and cherish Newegg, and I think my account on the site is 12 or 13 years old at this point. I know for sure that my first Newegg build happened pretty early in my high school career.

Yeah I do my dev on this machine. Got about a half hour to get Unity back up and running again and it's not quite as fast as with the old Bloomfield but it'll do for now. The fan with the Athlon is a great design. I like the two-hook system. My old Intel had this awful four plastic pins thing... I broke three out of four of them in five years. That might say more about my hardware ability than the product though... :?

It's funny, sometimes weird hardware that you wouldn't think is all that important for performance has a drastic impact on game development. I've found that for Eclipse (my IDE), the hard drive is actually one of the most important factors in determining build time and other things. My code base is pushing 300k lines, and if you consider the auto-generated serialization classes that come from protocol buffers, it's almost double that. Something about the huge, singular protocol buffer files chokes out features like auto-complete, and whatever it's doing is extremely disk intensive, so with my old 7200 RPM HDD, I was getting these incredibly annoying auto-complete timeouts with the OC codebase.

I got my hands on this bad boy, and the problems are all gone:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147466&cm_re=samsung_950_pro_m.2-_-20-147-466-_-Product

Build times are vastly improved across the board.

Oh man, and those Intel pin things scare the hell out of me. It was the same to mount my latest CPU on the mainboard, and I always feel like I'm going to break the thing whenever I'm locking those pins in. There's definitely something really disconcerting about them, and the AMD hooks always seemed more straightforward.
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Re: Your PC's Specifications / Hardware

Postby Anachronic » Fri Dec 02, 2016 3:32 am

Administrator wrote:I got my hands on this bad boy, and the problems are all gone:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147466&cm_re=samsung_950_pro_m.2-_-20-147-466-_-Product

Build times are vastly improved across the board.

Oh man, and those Intel pin things scare the hell out of me. It was the same to mount my latest CPU on the mainboard, and I always feel like I'm going to break the thing whenever I'm locking those pins in. There's definitely something really disconcerting about them, and the AMD hooks always seemed more straightforward.


Sweet! Upgrading my harddrive is definitely something I should be looking into. It is time to step into that SSD world. No problems yet with the new cpu/mobo. Still only hitting 31 degrees C max and no crashes. Might try overclocking a wee bit sometime in the future. Performance in Super Laser Racer Race the Sun, and DosBox is fine. Unity is kinda slow to load but that might be a ram thing since I dropped from 6 to 4. Going to grab an 8gb set soon to bump it back up and see what happens.
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Re: Your PC's Specifications / Hardware

Postby Administrator » Sat Dec 03, 2016 1:22 am

Anachronic wrote:No problems yet with the new cpu/mobo. Still only hitting 31 degrees C max and no crashes.

That is fantastic to hear. Does it seem like this replacement has squared away all your issues from before? If this is the case, I really do bet that it was a motherboard issue. When they fail, the results can be completely wacky, just like what you described.

That's the tough thing about debugging an intermittent problem, though, or any hardware problem, for that matter. Unless you've got a spare motheboard and CPU lying around that happen to be compatible with all your peripherals, there's no sure-fire way to isolate the source of a problem. You did a stellar job of sorting that all out though, man.

Unity is kinda slow to load but that might be a ram thing since I dropped from 6 to 4. Going to grab an 8gb set soon to bump it back up and see what happens.

As far as bang for the buck is concerned, I'd definitely recommend going up to 8GB before investing in SSD. Regular 7,200 RPM hard drives are plenty fast for most applications, and if it weren't for the peculiarities of my development requirements, I'd probably still be using my old hard drive. For most applications, load times are a once and done thing, while the additional RAM will open a whole new world of possibilities for usage. Unity can be a bit of a memory hog if you starting loading oodles of plugins, too, making the RAM even more useful. I think 8GB of RAM should be pretty inexpensive compared to an SSD, too!
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Re: Your PC's Specifications / Hardware

Postby Anachronic » Mon Dec 05, 2016 3:05 am

Administrator wrote:
Anachronic wrote:No problems yet with the new cpu/mobo. Still only hitting 31 degrees C max and no crashes.

That is fantastic to hear. Does it seem like this replacement has squared away all your issues from before? If this is the case, I really do bet that it was a motherboard issue. When they fail, the results can be completely wacky, just like what you described.

That's the tough thing about debugging an intermittent problem, though, or any hardware problem, for that matter. Unless you've got a spare motheboard and CPU lying around that happen to be compatible with all your peripherals, there's no sure-fire way to isolate the source of a problem. You did a stellar job of sorting that all out though, man.

Unity is kinda slow to load but that might be a ram thing since I dropped from 6 to 4. Going to grab an 8gb set soon to bump it back up and see what happens.

As far as bang for the buck is concerned, I'd definitely recommend going up to 8GB before investing in SSD. Regular 7,200 RPM hard drives are plenty fast for most applications, and if it weren't for the peculiarities of my development requirements, I'd probably still be using my old hard drive. For most applications, load times are a once and done thing, while the additional RAM will open a whole new world of possibilities for usage. Unity can be a bit of a memory hog if you starting loading oodles of plugins, too, making the RAM even more useful. I think 8GB of RAM should be pretty inexpensive compared to an SSD, too!


Definitely seems to be working perfectly now, so yeah consensus is it was a mobo issue. Thanks again for your help! It's good to have to deal with hardware problems like this occasionally though, even if it is a huge pain. In the absence of any formal education in computer science, this is the way I've learned everything about my comp and I definitely learned a ton this time...

I'll probably try to grab some minor computer upgrades, especially the RAM, on boxing day if I haven't been bled dry over Christmas.
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Re: Your PC's Specifications / Hardware

Postby Administrator » Mon Dec 05, 2016 11:06 pm

Anachronic wrote:Definitely seems to be working perfectly now, so yeah consensus is it was a mobo issue. Thanks again for your help!

I'm always glad to help, and I'm happy I had the chance to talk some hardware! I agree, it's good to be able to fiddle with this stuff every once in a while, just to keep sharp. It's more fun if you get to do a build that isn't out of necessity, but as a software guy, there's something that's just satisfying about working with these things that you can tough.

And don't feel bad, everything I've learned about hardware has been this way, too! Trial and error, searching the internet, talking on forums - more often than not, this kind of learning is the very best, in my book.

I'll probably try to grab some minor computer upgrades, especially the RAM, on boxing day if I haven't been bled dry over Christmas.

I like the way you think, man! If I can generate some revenue from Outer Colony, a rad PC build is pretty high on my list of fun things to buy!
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Re: Your PC's Specifications / Hardware

Postby Anachronic » Tue Dec 06, 2016 4:40 am

Administrator wrote:
Anachronic wrote:Definitely seems to be working perfectly now, so yeah consensus is it was a mobo issue. Thanks again for your help!

I'm always glad to help, and I'm happy I had the chance to talk some hardware! I agree, it's good to be able to fiddle with this stuff every once in a while, just to keep sharp. It's more fun if you get to do a build that isn't out of necessity, but as a software guy, there's something that's just satisfying about working with these things that you can tough.

And don't feel bad, everything I've learned about hardware has been this way, too! Trial and error, searching the internet, talking on forums - more often than not, this kind of learning is the very best, in my book.

I'll probably try to grab some minor computer upgrades, especially the RAM, on boxing day if I haven't been bled dry over Christmas.

I like the way you think, man! If I can generate some revenue from Outer Colony, a rad PC build is pretty high on my list of fun things to buy!


Good luck cause a new PC build is always killer eh

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