Question

Could I have some feedback on my computer upgrade plan?

Hello Everyone,

Wandering if you could critique my upgrade plan? I do no gaming. I use dual monitors but I'm going to a three monitors soon. I do some video editing from time-to-time, lots of excel and spreadsheets, stock charts, & some website building. It's not unusual for me to have 20+ Chrome windows open at the same time. My computer is 7 years old. It is a ZT system I had ordered this desktop through Costco for about $800 in 2012. I'm using the a single hard drive for my Windows 10 OS and my storage files. I recognize my old HDD as my greatest bottle neck and vulnerability. So the main purpose of this upgrade is to get my OS & apps on a SSD drive and add in a separate HDD for my storage files (I will go ahead and retire my current HDD due to it's age). And while I'm at it, I'll upgrade my GPU from the on-board graphics. Here the specks for my current system:

1. Windows 10 64 bit Home edition
2. MOBO: Gigabyte (GA-B75M-D3H)

Open Slots

* 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16 (PCIEX16) (The PCIEX16 slot conforms to PCI Express 3.0 standard.)

* 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x4 (PCIEX4)(The PCIEX4 slot conforms to PCI Express 2.0 standard.)

* 2 x PCI slots

3. PSU: 350 watt
4. Processor: i7-3770 @ 3.4 GHz (with a noisy Intel stock fan).
5. Memory: 16 GB of DDR3 @ 1333 MHz
6. HD: Seagate Barracuda Green 2TB SATA 5400-RPM drives 6Gb/s 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive ST2000DL003 (7 years old!)
7. GPU: I'm still using on-board graphics, running two 24 inch monitors.

I really "wanted" a NVME drive (albeit, I realize I don't necessarily "need" the NVME): for about the same price as the Samsung 860 pro SATA SSD, I had my heart set on the Samsung 970 256 GB NVME SSD drive; but I learned that my MOBO wouldn't support NVME without a PCI adapter (no big deal) + reflashing/modding (big deal for my skill level). Potentially bricking my board didn't sound fun to me, or the learning curve to get the mod done. So I have resigned myself to just getting a good SATA SSD. So here is my revised upgrade plan for what my current MOBO can handle:

1. ($31) The intel fan is a little loud in my current build, so I'm looking for a better & Quieter processor fan/sink: CPU Cooler with PWM Fan, Four Direct Contact Heat Pipes
2. ($80) SATA SSD: Samsung 860 PRO 256GB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-76P256BW)
3. ($85) Storage drive: I wanted an affordable 7200 RPM ~ 4 TB drive for storage but the reviews were pretty bad. So maybe I'll stick with the same line as I had the last 7 years, just bigger: Seagate Barracuda Internal Hard Drive 4TBSATA 5400-RPM drives 6Gb/s 256MB Cache 3.5-Inch (ST4000DM004)
4. (~$70) I'm wanting to switch from dual monitors to triple monitors; but my on-board graphics can't do that. And while I don't game, I would also like a little more robust video capabilities a dedicated card can offer. I do some light video editing and website building. Wanting passive cooling for noise control (hopefully I have room for the larger heat sink). My criteria were less than $90, passive cooling, & be able to run 3 monitors. Here's some I found: EVGA GeForce GT 730 2GB or ZOTAC GeForce GT 730 Zone Edition 2GB DDR3 PCI Express HDMI DVI Graphics Card (ZT-71113-20L)

I would really appreciate any suggestions. I.e., do you think I should just upgrade my MOBO and get the blazing fast NVME SSD? Or does my upgrade plan seem reasonable? Any critique greatly appreciated!

Thank you,

Cristiano

Discussion is locked
Answer
Follow
Reply to: Could I have some feedback on my computer upgrade plan?
PLEASE NOTE: Do not post advertisements, offensive materials, profanity, or personal attacks. Please remember to be considerate of other members. If you are new to the CNET Forums, please read our CNET Forums FAQ. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Reporting: Could I have some feedback on my computer upgrade plan?
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Comments
- Collapse -
Answer
All good except.

I'd steer clear of Seagate for now. Over and over I find them with out of this world smart values in 01 and 07. The user complains of many things like speed issues, random delays and more.

As to the triple display, you need a video card for that.

- Collapse -
Answer
Ram

Why are you using low speed ram?

How much storage space are you using now?

- Collapse -
Good find.
- Collapse -
Disk

Most users know how to add but they don't know how to subtract.

The result is the storage space gets full.

The simple answer.......buy a bigger disk.

- Collapse -
Answer
One spec I would watch ...

... is the power supply. 350W may not be enough once you add a powerful graphics card.

And then, if you should be switching from a 5400 rpm drive to another 5400 rpm drive you may find that your data disk is as much of a bottleneck as it was before. Of course the SSD should help a bit, but people often overestimate the program load times in comparison with the data access times. The heavy lifting, I suspect, will still be happening on your spinning disk.

Unless your spreadsheets are HUGE I should expect your video editing is your most resource intensive application. And the data access of that would be on the spinning disk. So, from that angle the SSD isn't going to be all that important. Ao, don't get too excited about that NVME module.

- Collapse -
Answer
Just echoing...

I'd also suggest giving Seagate a miss, not sure if they've fully resolved the fallout from the 3 TB drives yet. my personal choice for spinning rust if Western Digital Black but they are a tad more expensive.

Also the power supply, with a higher performing HDD and the separate graphics card, you may be pushing 350 watts a bit close to the margin.

Sounds like you are doing something like financial modelling/trading. There is an outfit that specializes in that field and they do sell very high performance multi-monitor desktops (they say trading needs the fastest machine on the block!). You might want to take a look at their configurations. Google EZ Trading Computers. Is that allowed Mods? If not please delete as necessary.

- Collapse -
Answer
One thing at a time ...

First, are you confident your existing motherboard and power supply are good for a few more years? If so, then it's worth upgrading it along the lines you mentioned. Your processor and memory still do a good job. Boost the system performance:
1. CPU cooler: Coolermaster Hyper 212 EVO is one of the top recommendations here.
https://www.newegg.com/cooler-master-hyper-212-evo-rr-212e-20pk-r2/p/N82E16835103099
Other serious contenders:
https://www.newegg.com/cooler-master-hyper-212-black-edition-rr-212s-20pk-r1/p/N82E16835103278

https://www.newegg.com/p/N82E16835186039

2. Add an SSD. If you can be bothered, do a fresh install of Windows 10; otherwise, clone your existing Windows setup onto the new SSD. How much SSD can you afford? Do you need absolute top of the line if others nearly as good are a much better deal? Samsung 860 Pro is excellent, but a few others are very similar in performance, have a long warranty, durability, and a lower price. You can get a 500GB WD Blue 3D or 500GB Crucial MX500 for less than the 256GB Samsung 850 Pro! Go here, scroll down to PCMark 8 Real-World Software Performance charts, scroll sideways to view them all:
https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/samsung-860-pro-ssd-review,5434-2.html

Then have a look at these:

https://www.newegg.com/crucial-mx500-500gb/p/N82E16820156173

https://www.newegg.com/western-digital-blue-500gb/p/N82E16820250087

3. Storage drives: check out WD Blue and WD Red. (We've been running a couple of WD Red 3TB models for recording, then deleting, TV series and sports every day for several years and they've been quiet and reliable):
https://www.newegg.com/p/N82E16822235012?Item=N82E16822235012

https://www.newegg.com/p/N82E16822236343?Item=N82E16822236343

4. Graphics card: The passively cooled EVGA GeForce GT 730 2GB should do nicely. The specs say you should have a 300-watt or greater power supply. Yours is 350-watt so you should be fine.
5. General cooling: Have you blown the dust out of your cpu heatsink and other areas inside the case lately? A can of compressed is around $6 at an office supply or computer store. DON'T shake the can before using it. Does your computer case have both a front (air intake) and rear (heat exhaust) fan? If needed, you might consider adding a quiet 120mm fan at the front of the case to bring in cool air. Running at low speed (500rpm or 750rpm) almost any $10 fan is quiet. For moving more air and remaining quiet get one of these:
https://www.newegg.com/noctua-nf-f12-pwm-case-fan/p/N82E16835608026?Description=120mm%20case%20fan&cm_re=120mm_case_fan-_-35-608-026-_-Product

Good luck, and let us know here how it works out. Cheers!

CNET Forums