Sabtu, 23 April 2011

Personal Computer Buyer's Guide Q2 2011

This post gives guide to anyone who's about buying or upgrading to new computer systems. The system only (without monitor and other peripheral) which listed below priced around $1000 (approx. Rp. 9 juta). Quite expensive, yet this is a very excellent starter for home PC with great performance, and suitable for gaming, HD multimedia content, and graphic design.

This early 2011, Intel released new chipset Sandy Bridge. P67 chipset gives the best performance, even better than X58 with i7 965 combined with i7 2600K. Even better, the motherboard costs around $200. Today, almost every motherboard priced above $100 gives standard such SATA3, USB3, Gigabit LAN, PCIe 2.0. Even better, P67 gives compatibility for ATI Crossfire and Nvidia SLI.
Recommended product: MSI P67A-GD55 ~ $200; Biostar TP67B+ ~ $120 (Crossfire only, 16x+4x)

By using Intel platform, i can only recommend between i5 and i7 processor, since i3 giving lower price/performance than AMD equals. Even i5 outperform phenom X6 processor. i5 2500K differ in terms of unlocked multiplier than i5 2500. though it costs higher, but it gives better overclocking room.
Recommended product: Intel i5 2500K ~ $220; Intel i7 2600K ~$330

The price of memory has dropped to reasonable price, especially for DDR3. Around $10/GB, i'd recommend to buy at minimum 4GB module.
Recommended product: Patriot 8GB PC10600 Sector5 Dual Channel ~ $90

HDD price has also dropped significantly, around $0.05/GB, i'd recommend to buy 2TB capacity since it has good price/capacity. For performance, my recommendation is to buy two disk drive, one for data storage using standard 7200RPM 3.5" SATA2 HDD, and one drive for OS using 2.5" SATA3 SSD (still unavailable in local market), at minimum 120GB, which costs around $250 ($2/GB, 40 times pricier than 3.5"HDD and 20 times for 2.5" HDD). The fact that 2TB is an enormous size, and even for normal OS with apps and games, 120GB is just enough. Though SSD isn't really worth for price/performance, yet SSD gives better reliability since there are no moving parts. Though it doesn't seems worth to buy in the meantime, yet it is a future of disk drive.
Recommended product: HDD: WD Green 2TB/Hitachi 7200RPM 2TB ~ $100, SSD: Intel SSD 510 128GB/OCZ Vertex 3 128GB ~ $300

For graphic card, i'd recommend for AMD HD6950 1GB. It gives better performance than Geforce GTX 560 Ti. 1GB graphic memory sufficient enough to play even for 1080p, unless you are using multiple display setup.
Recommended product: Sapphire HD6950 1GB DDR5 ~$280

The last yet the most essential is power supply. It's the only component which not easily obsolete with new technology, unlike motherboard and processor. With system above, at least you need 600W of pure power supply. I'd recommend using VenomRX, though it's a local brand, it states it complies with 80+ (though their brand not displayed in 80plus website) certification.
Recommended product: VenomRX Fer-de-lance 80+ 750W Modular ~ $75

The most important computer component is byfar motherboard, since it determine the upgradeability of the overall system. The problem is, both AMD and Intel release new platform approximately every 1.5 years, that is short enough. So it's better to wait for a while, for example AMD Bulldozer platform which is scheduled for Q4 2011 rather than buying the Leo platform, or just pick the Intel Sandy Bridge which is just 4 months old.
There's a simple rule of thumb of balanced performance by price, although i'm not really recommending this method, since there are many others factor to be considered. I'd recommend:
1:1:1 ratio between motherboard:processor:graphic card
1:1 ratio between memory:disk drive

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