Sunday, 3 January 2016

Bottlenecks, Bottlenecks everywhere.

Recently I decided to get a new PC, not feeling the need to hand over 3000 Euro for the top of the line model I decided to build my own and since its been some 10 years since I built my own some research was needed and along the way there was allot of things that seems to make no sense to me so this is why i am sharing this is because i believe you (the public) are being ripped off when it comes to hardware and here are some of the reasons.

CPU's that you don't need, RAM that you can't use and graphics you can't see.
If you continue to read you'll find out why.

Picking a CPU.
Pick one that matches your need.
example dual core or even quad core is more than enough for 90% of people 8 core might just be a waste of money unless you are a high end video editor or compiling programs or something that can really make use of more than 4 cores.

This is why Apple and others use the lower 4 core CPU's
Personally I have more desktop workload so I went with a higher end 8 core.

Also remember whatever CPU you pick determines your options with the motherboard so if you have need of PCIe 3.0 or M.2 this might limit the choices later.

DDR3 or DDR4 memory ?
Well DDR4 is better but can you really make use of it, here are some things to know.

First if you are rocking a AMD such as the FX 8 series is limited to 1866 mhz DDR3 so anything faster isn't going to change that the CPU won't go any faster same effects the A10 series is limited 2100 mhz DDR3 so you do get some benfit withe the A10.

Now I know all you Intel fan boys are going that's why Intel is better well not really Intel 6th gen i7 i5 and i3 supports DDR3 and DDR4 but DDR3 at 1866 mhz same as the AMD FX 8 and DDR4 at 2133 mhz almost the same speed as the AMD A10 so no big gap here.

Second the benefits of DDR4 haven't been used by home PC's as you need ether larger memory configs like 128GB's or 8 memory sockets on the motherboard to make use of it.

So what did we learn DDR3 is cheaper and no loss here to use it.Also if they have put 2800mhz or 2400mhz RAM in you are frankly wasting money for no benefit because even with overclocking its not worth it.

Much like the CPU, GPU's require a great deal of research to find the perfect one for you.

However if you are not a gamer and just looking for some good video play back well then the on-board card might be enough for you with nice CPU and this is the area where AMD A10 is better for this with its 4 cores and 8 embedded GPU's that simply walks all over Intel with 866mhz compared with Intel's low 350mhz.

If on the other hand you want to go dedicated GPU on a graphics card then Intel is the way to go got gaming however and this is a big however if you are looking at video editing of office applications AMD FX 8 will out perform the Intel on the same tier.

Now the next big myth of gaming two cards is better than one... well yes and equally no.
You see before we get into the specs of cards we need to look at humans.

Human's eye can see up to 1000 FPS and, perhaps, above, however the avg for us non super humans is closer to about 70 FPS and when you keep in mind avg TV and video play back is just 60fps you have to ask do we notice? Well yes however not many of us don't notice above 75 FPS and if you don't believe me well look at all your home games consoles and that only show 60 FPS and the same for all your TV programs.

So a single card that can get 75 FPS is not only going to be cheap on the electric bill but also on your monitor as most of them are still 60-75hz unless you go for a high end model.
If on the other hand you want to go that route here are some things you need to think about you need to use display-port or HDMI 2.0 connectors if you want those higher frame rates on Full HD or 4K as HDMI 1.4 will get you only 60hz at Full HD and 30hz at 4K and even most of the monitors on the market won't show more than 60hz at 4K so basically you are forced to game on Full HD if you want higher than 60hz.

So if you want to double you monitor cost and your graphics card cost sure go ahead and use dual graphics card setup if you will even see the frames you might be one of the few lucky people that can see high FPS and has money to burn.

So hopefully now that you understand why i would go for a AMD R9 NANO over a Nvidia GTX Titan X.
Reason one the AMD R9 NANO is about 10 frames on avg lower than its Nvidia counter part, but remembering that this is 90 FPS instead of 100 FPS on a monitor where you can't see more than 75 FPS on your monitor at 75hz

Second reason AMD R9 NANO pulls 75 watts less power than the Nvidia GTX Titan X and therefor has not only a lighter electric bill but less heat to dissipate so you can have a quieter PC apposed to the near air tunnel I've heard from some gaming rigs.

Now if i just wanted a good gaming an lower power i could of gone for GeForce GTX 750 Ti as this uses even less power and is more than good enough for gaming at 60fps however this didn't fit my two screen setup.

Don't worry i'm not going to compare the two as we all know SSD is faster, however do you need SSD for storage?
Wanting more than 1TB of storage i elected to split the money and go for a fast M.2 SSD for the OS and a normal HDD for longer term storage, allowing me the option to use for RAID on storage for the data i really want to keep.

Now normal SSD is about 550mb/s however I went for a smaller number of Gigabytes and get Samsung 950 Pro giving me a massive 2200mb/s read speed that boots my OS performance.
Intel and Samsung are the leaders in the new faster SSD M.2 or PCIe interface however they are not the only ones.

By this selection i got more speed than almost any high end workstation with SSD as most haven't moved over to this version yet, however there are some down sides as well you might not have M.2 port on most motherboards still and you need to be sure its a x4 PCIe socket and not x2 or you will miss the benefit of these drives.

There is one more thing to check before buying your fast SSD and that is that its bootable as some of the early models where not.

Final Build
Here is the component list I used to do this and have powerful workstation without breaking the 1500 Euro mark making this half the cost of some rigs with the same or better performance in some areas.

ASROCK Fatal1ty 970 Performance
Samsung 950 Pro 256GB
AMD FX-8320E
Kingston DDR3 1866MHz 16 gigabytes KIT CL9 HyperX Savage Series Dual Channel
SilentiumPC Gladius M45W
ARCTIC Fusion 550RF Retail
SilentiumPC Fera 2 HE1224
Seagate Desktop SSHD 2000 GB x3 using RAID 5 total 4TB storage usable.

Final Spec
CPU 3.2Ghz Turbo to 4GHz 8 core 
Memory 16Gb RAM 1866mhz SSD 265Gb at 2200mb/s HDD 4Tb RAID5 190mb/s
Graphics card 4Gb 4092Bit R9 NANO

Now remember I spent this with having a high speed PC however if you use the on board Graphics and don't need some of the storage you can still have the speed at around 600 Euro with ultra fast performance.