Been a while...picked up an i7-6850K, what else should I get?

TSx

Gawd
Joined
Jan 11, 2004
Messages
647
It's been about 6 years since my last upgrade, and the only reason I really wanted to upgrade is to have more ram. My old board capped out at 8gb, so I looked to upgrade to something with 16+ and found that I could get a ridiculous deal through work on an i7-6850K. So I got the processor. I also got 16gb of Corsair Vengeance DDR4 3000MHz ram as it was really on sale.

I'm currently running an OCZ 700w psu and have an Nvidia GeForce GTX 470 that I don't really want to replace at the moment.

I used to play a lot of games, and the system I have now was good at the time I built it, but my primary use now is heavy multi-tasking with multiple browsers, word, excel, photoshop, indesign, outlook, and a lot of file transfers and dropbox/icloud drive usage. The only game I play anymore is Hearthstone in windowed mode.

My hard drives are a seagate hybrid drive for the OS and a few WD/Seagate drives for storage, all in an Antec 300 case.

The big thing I'll need is a motherboard, and I didn't see any of the socket 2011 boards getting fantastic reviews. I also need a cooling fan for the processor, as it was processor only that I got. I was considering a Samsung evo 850 solid state drive to run the OS, but I hadn't decided if that was worthwhile yet. I'm also open to a new case if it would be worthwhile/necessary.

Since this wasn't a super planned out upgrade, cost is my biggest factor. I don't need much in terms of performance, as my usage is definitely on the lower side for this type of hardware, but I want to be able to run 20+ windows open at the same time without anything slowing me down.

What board/fan would you recommend? Are any of the other upgrades worthwhile?
 

sinisterDei

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Dec 1, 2004
Messages
1,521
You should be able to keep your power supply. The GPU you can keep as well, though today's $100 GPUs would blow it away and use 1/3 the power doing so.


CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($27.88 @ OutletPC)
This is just a competent, low-cost heatsink and fan. You could go much fancier or get a watercooler if you want to do anything more than mild overclocking.

Motherboard: Asus X99-A/USB 3.1 ATX LGA2011-3 Motherboard ($229.88 @ OutletPC)
X99 motherboards can get stupid expensive stupid fast, and they don't start out cheap to begin with. I chose this one because I like ASUS better than MSI and EVGA for motherboards (theirs were in the price range) and it comes with USB 3.1.

Storage: Samsung 960 Evo 250GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive ($129.99 @ B&H)
You don't currently boot from a SSD. You *DEFINITELY* want a SSD. It's an absolute game changer for perceived system performance. I chose the 960 EVO 250 GB because it's super fast. I don't know how much stuff you have though, if capacity is a worry then you can move up to a 500 GB unit. If cost is a factor, feel free to drop down to the 850 EVO like you were already looking at- since you're coming from a mechanical drive, nearly ANY SSD is going to feel like lightning and the 850 EVOs are pretty spry compared to just about anything out there except the new NVME SSDs like the 950/960 series.

Video Card:
PowerColor Radeon RX 460 2GB Red Dragon Video Card ($104.98 @ Newegg)
I went ahead and put a GPU in the list, if just for the power and noise savings versus your GTX 470. Plus, Photoshop is partly GPU accelerated last I looked, so having something good here might help you out.

Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Home OEM 64-bit ($88.58 @ OutletPC)
You didn't say anything about the OS that I remember, so here one is.

Total: $582

You also said you had an Antec 300; is it a 300 or a 302? The 302 is a much better case when it comes to cable routing and serviceability. It's my go-to $60 case.

The most important thing on the list is the SSD; seriously, *get* a SSD, and put Windows, Photoshop, Office, and all your common apps on it. The hybrid drive is *not* representative of "SSD-like" performance, no matter what their marketing says.

For your intended use, second most important thing will be memory. Thankfully, on X99, you're in luck. The motherboard has 8 memory slots, and supports much more than 16 GB of memory should the need ever arise.
 
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TSx

Gawd
Joined
Jan 11, 2004
Messages
647
Thanks for the detailed response!

The Cooler Master 212 was the cooling fan I had most been looking at, so I'm happy to see I was on the right track there.

Hard drive was something I honestly hadn't put much thought into until this afternoon for some reason. I just figured the hybrid drive would have been fast enough to do what I needed, but I think you're right, it might be a bigger upgrade than I was thinking. I did some brief research on the Samsung 850 to the 960, but I couldn't find any good real world performance differences in these, and I can get the 850 250gb for $90 so I thought that seemed like a good option. My Current main drive only has ~135gb installed on it. I also know virtually nothing about the m.2 format so that's something completely new to a build I haven't done or looked at.

For file transfers of hundreds of small files, or automated tasking in Photoshop or file manipulation/saving/etc. of large Photoshop/InDesign files (1-2gb with 100+ layers), do you think the 960 would be a large increase in performance over the 850? Or would the increase I'll see in the 850 over a hybrid drive be substantial enough?

I forgot to mention OS, but I'm running Windows 10 pro, and will use that on the new build as well.

I spent a few hours today looking at motherboards, and really found very few that had high ratings across the board. I took a liking to an ASRock Taichi model, however it's out of stock everywhere. That Asus board was one I was looking at for a bit, but found it odd that there were just as many (31) 1 star reviews as 5 star reviews on Newegg. It fared better on Amazon reviews, with a lot more in total and fewer 1 star.

I guess the reason I was thinking the GPU was fine is because I'm not doing much that relies on the graphics card anymore. The stuff I'm doing in Photoshop is all layout and just moving various elements around or hiding/showing layers and adding text. I guess it does still use a bit of graphics power, so maybe I'll have to plan for a GPU upgrade to follow.

Thanks again!
 

sinisterDei

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Dec 1, 2004
Messages
1,521
I don't put a lot of stock in the reviews unless they're *all* negative or consistently citing the same issue. I have the personal belief that real live users are much more likely to complain in a review than to post a positive one, meanwhile companies are much more likely to fake the positive reviews.

You don't *have* to get the GPU by any means, but if you don't the GTX 470 will definitely be the weakest part of your system. Though, that likely remains true even if you get a RX460 or GTX 1050, the newer GPUs will just be quieter and more power efficient. The RX460 I linked is silent when not under load (the fan turns completely off) and doesn't require a 6-pin power lead from the PSU. Many GTX 1050 cards are the same way. If I was you, I'd probably skip the GPU upgrade for the moment, but consider it down the line if one of the 460 or 1050 cards go on sale.

I also really like the Taichi, but couldn't find it in stock.

For the storage, a couple things:

1. 960 EVO vs 850 EVO is a battle between the much faster NVME interface and the saturated SATA3 interface. In the real world for a single user on a desktop PC, will you see a difference? Maybe. It'll be small, if you do. The thing is, there are two components that make a storage device fast- access time and transfer speed. The largest increase in performance you actually get going from a mechanical drive to a SSD is actually in the near-complete elimination of access times; *thats* the primary component that makes the system feel snappier. For lots of consumers, you could probably cap their SSD at 200 MB/s and they wouldn't notice a difference, but if you gave them a drive with transfer speeds of 200 MB/s but with the access times of a mechanical drive, they'd be back in the dark ages again. NVME represents a *massive* increase in transfer speeds, but the access times don't move very far; they can't, they're super close to zero already and lower is better. Now, in certain edge cases - hugely transactional databases, very high loads from multiple users, etc - the NVME drives can service requests faster. But for one guy just using photoshop? I'd be surprised if you noticed the difference.

That said, the 850 EVO is also available in M.2 form-factor. It's still SATA3, it just fits into the M.2 slot. On the ASRock Taichi, you can use the M.2 format 850 EVO. On the ASUS board, its specs list the M.2 slot as being exclusive to the PCI-Express (NVME) type drives; I'm not 100% certain I trust that to be true, but it's best not to risk it. Really, it doesn't matter- I have a board with a M.2 slot in it, but I run two SATA type 850 EVO drives and I'm super happy, and I bet you would be too.
 
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