This write-up describes my recently completed project of building a new PC to replace my more than six year old desktop. It includes my rationale for the chosen configuration.
1. The core configuration of my old desktop PC was
Intel Core2 Duo CPU E7400 2.8 GHz, 4 GB Memory, Mother Board DG41RQ
180 GB Intel SSD for Windows 8.1 Pro
The main System Performance Values were
System Score – 4.1, Memory Score – 6.4, CPU Score – 6.4
Graphics Score – 4.1, Disk Score – 7.1
2. Microsoft Flight Simulator was installed on my desktop and performed satisfactorily.
3. The main points why upgrade was required since my old system had no support for Hyper-V and USB 3.0, the case had become old and some of the USB ports were no working properly. Also I could not install Windows 10 on this since future hardware upgrades would have invalidated my Windows 10 license. So I decided to bite the bullet and upgrade my desktop PC before installing Windows 10.
4. I had some very encouraging experience of Core i3 CPU. I had acquired an old Sony Vaio laptop model SVE14123CN with Core i3-3110M CPU @ 2.40GHz. I had replaced the 500 GB HDD with 180GB SSD and got these performance figures.
System Score – 4.9, Memory Score – 5.9, CPU Score – 6.9
Graphics Score – 5.5
Disk Score 8.1 with Windows 8.1 Pro
5. I compared these scores with the scores of HP Spectre x 360 with Core i7-5500U CPU @ 2.40GHz
System Score – 6.1, Memory Score – 7.5, CPU Score – 7.4
Graphics Score – 6.1, Disk Score – 8.1 with Windows 8.1 Home
6. The difference between Core i3 and Core i7 performance did not seem to justify the extra cost and heat generation. The HP x360 becomes uncomfortable to use for extended periods because it gets very hot.
7. So I decided to go for Core i3 CPU.
The items purchased for the upgrade from a local store were
Core i3-4150 3.5 GHz – USD 125
Gigabyte Mother Board – GA-H97M-D3H, Socket 1150, Micro ATX, 4 DDR3 RAM Sockets, 7.1 HD Audio, Six 6GB SATA Sockets, Six USB 3.0 Sockets – USD 112.5
Two modules of Corsair CMZ4GX3M1A1600C9 Vengeance 4GB RAM – USD 60
Computer Case without Power supply – USD 18
All other items SSD, HDDs, DVD drive came from the old desktop.
The total Cost was USD 315
8. The instructions for installing the components were clear and cables etc. were clearly marked.
The CPU comes with the thermal paste so mounting the cooling fan is very easy. No need for a tube of silicon thermal paste.
9. On booting the old Windows 8.1 Pro install, it adjusted to the new hardware after automatically loading updates from Windows update. Since this was a motherboard update Windows 8.1 had to be reactivated by calling Microsoft on phone and going through the process with a MS Rep. I also had to reactivate Office 2010 with Phone activation.
10. I installed Windows 10m by upgrading the finished system using a Windows ISO
11. The final performance scores are
System Score – 5.3, Memory Score – 7.5, CPU Score – 7.5
Graphics Score – 5.3, Disk Score – 8.05
Windows 10 Pro Build 10240, Core i3-4150 CPU @ 3.50GHz, INTEL SSD 180 GB
Mother Board – Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd. H97M-D3H, BIOS American Megatrends Inc.
12. The i3 CPU is of new generation and adjusts its running frequency and idles at .77 GHz reducing power consumption and heat generation. The frequency goes up automatically on demad. The on board HD graphics are very adequate for running the MS Flight simulator at the highest graphics setting. I regularly do video conversion of downloaded YouTube video clips. The performance is more than satisfactory for iSkySoft video converter. Sound quality of the built in HD audio is excellent using the Creative 5.1 speaker system. There is no distortion at high volume levels. I can see 1080p movies on the attached Sony Bravia TV without the slightest jitter or lag. Colour reproduction is also very good.
13. Final verdict: i3 CPU is a cost effective solution for both desktop and laptop. You don’t require an i5 or i7 unless you have a special need like continuous professional usage of Photoshop and Video encoding and editing. What is most important is to replace your System Drive with an SSD. The first thing you should do after you buy a new laptop is to buy a SSD and a USB 3.0 enclosure to put the removed HDD for external use. (Inateck 2.5 Inch USB 3.0 HDD External Hard Drive Disk Enclosure is an excellent choice)