• Welcome to TechPowerUp Forums, Guest! Please check out our forum guidelines for info related to our community.

Fast, Cheap, and mATX. Possible?

Joined
Nov 10, 2006
Messages
4,657 (0.88/day)
Location
Washington, US
System Name Rainbow
Processor Intel Core i7 8700k
Motherboard MSI MPG Z390M GAMING EDGE AC
Cooling Corsair H115i, 2x Noctua NF-A14 industrialPPC-3000 PWM
Memory G. Skill TridentZ RGB 4x8GB (F4-3600C16Q-32GTZR)
Video Card(s) MSI Radeon RX 5700 XT MECH OC
Storage 2x Samsung 950 Pro 256GB | 2xHGST Deskstar 4TB 7.2K
Display(s) Samsung C27HG70
Case Xigmatek Aquila
Power Supply Seasonic 760W SS-760XP
Mouse Razer Deathadder 2013
Keyboard Corsair Vengeance K95
Software Windows 10 Pro
Benchmark Scores 4 trillion points in GmailMark, over 144 FPS 2K Facebook Scrolling (Extreme Quality preset)
So, the boss wants me to salvage a PC that died. The only thing that survived is the case (duh), and possibly the memory and hard drive. Old CPU is embedded (AMD A6). I said get a new PC, but he wants to salvage the case and put something "fast and cheap" in it. He told me "It shot sparks out of the power supply [when it fried], and now I want it to shoot flames [so blistering fast, it'll set the curtains on fire]."
He's mentioned a budget of $325 and that he wants an i7, but also said that's more of a suggestion as he was showing me $400-500 CPU/mobo combos (with older i7-920 processors and whatnot).

As far as I'm aware, usage will be mostly web browsing and some account management/trouble ticket software (doesn't use much of any CPU or RAM, basically just a fancy SQL client, mostly network dependant). The main requirements here is that it feels really fast (aka: anything as long as it has a SSD and a bit of RAM). Bonus points for "shock and awe" specs like high core/thread counts or really high benchmark scores.

Parts I have just laying around:
Gateway branded mATX case.
A random PSU that's at least 300-400 watts, 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS.
A couple sticks of DDR3, could probably scrounge up 2x4GB at least, possibly one or two 8GB sticks as well. If the old memory survived, 1x4GB and 1x8GB.
If the old hard drive survived, one 500GB hard drive.

The Old-And-Forgotten Route
Good specs on the cheap make me think older Xeon, but it looks like mATX motherboards that will accept a Xeon are far and few between. DDR3 ECC shouldn't be fairly inexpensive though.
I've found an Xeon E5-2640 (6-core) for $65, but the only mATX board that sounds like it'll take it is an ASRock X79 Extreme4-M, which I'm having trouble finding (especially for any reasonable price).
I think the mATX requirement might kill this option.

The Oh-Look-Another-Desktop Rotue
Option two I've thought of is something like a Core i5 2500k or 3570k and something with a Z77 chipset, but I'm not seeing much of any Z68 or Z77 chipset boards that are mATX on the used market. I'm using PC Part Picker to find a list of possible motherboards, but almost nothing showed up on eBay at all, let alone for reasonable prices.

I could also go for a multi-locked CPU and a non Z-series motherboard too if the price is right. Currently looking at a Gigabyte GA-H81M-H on Amazon for $52 and pairing it with an i7-2600 (non-K) or something (about $80). Leaves $193 for a nice SSD and maybe something else nice.

The Hope-He-Doesn't-Notice-It's-A-Pentium Route
Last option I can think of is buy new-ish parts, something like a G3258, and overclock it as hard as I can. Benefit here would be good selection of parts, going for the previous-generation parts should keep costs down, and really high single-threaded performance on the cheap. Lots of budget left over for a nice SSD too.
Downside is lack of "shock and awe" things like high thread counts. I'll probably just find a benchmark that's single-threaded so I can say "Look! It's better than my 4770!"

The I-can't-believe-you-didn't-think-of-this Route
No, seriously. If you have any suggestions, I'm all ears.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jun 24, 2015
Messages
2,675 (1.26/day)
Location
Western Canada
System Name Austere Box R1.4
Processor 5900X
Motherboard B550M TUF Wifi (2006)
Cooling NH-C14S iPPC
Memory 32GB 3600 16-19-19
Video Card(s) RTX 2060 Super FE (0.981V)
Storage 3TB SX8200/SN750/Blue3D
Display(s) S2721DGF/GW2765HT
Case Sliger Cerberus
Audio Device(s) Scarlett Solo Gen3
Power Supply Seasonic SGX-650
"and now I want it to shoot flames"
Made my day.

Back on topic: what about this
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/CDZfK8


This is more in line with Oh-Look-Another-Desktop, and I think he's going to have to accept the fact that it's $16 over budget.

This is all with components that I currently have myself (with exception of the PSU, which is trustworthy enough for me, and trust me, I'm very picky with my PSUs).

4460 is the minimum for something like what he needs; he might not "need" four physical Haswell cores but you want a PC that you can put away and use for years at a time without worry about it getting not "slow" for your needs.

People don't like Gigabyte for its shitty fan curves but GB consistently uses good components and it has a BIOS that'll do the job. H81M-P33 or E33 is also a candidate; I've had good experiences with that one and it'll keep trucking.

I hope that HDD can handle a few more years of storing non-mission-critical info. SSD will make sure that DDR3 isn't causing a slowdown in the years to come.



Here's what I have to say about the "budget" requirement. Even on a budget, this is for a work environment; I trust that an i7-920 won't bugger out anytime soon, but I don't have faith in the motherboards that the 920 comes in. As high-end as they may have been, as solid as the individual components may be, I've seen a lot of what a demanding office environment and lack of attention can do to a well-built PC after a few years in there. Thus I recommended new components; from my experience, telling the boss that he'll have to put up with $16 more cost is MUCH better than explaining why you used a used motherboard that happened to break down on him in a year or two. Believe me, I think that a lot of old equipment is still up to the task, but in an office environment there's no "I'll scrape by on older equipment" when there is room in the budget to go with new equipment.


The great thing about a platform like this is that the i5-4460 doesn't generate a LOT of heat (contrary to what many might think) and as such will fit in any shitty generic case just fine.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: xvi

Toothless

Tech, Games, and TPU!
Supporter
Joined
Mar 26, 2014
Messages
7,327 (2.84/day)
Location
Washington, USA
System Name Veraltet
Processor 3700x
Motherboard AsRock Taichi Ultimate x470
Cooling NH-D15 Chromax
Memory G.Skill 2x16GB 3200mhz
Video Card(s) MSI GTX1080 Ti Gaming X
Storage 2 NVME + 4 HDD
Display(s) LG 34UB88-P + 2x AOC 2425W
Case CoolerMaster NR600
Audio Device(s) SteelSeries Arctis 5
Power Supply Rosewill Fortress 750w
Mouse Corsair Scimitar Pro
Keyboard Corsair K55
Software Windows 10 Professional
Benchmark Scores Brrrrrrr
I'd say the "The Old-And-Forgotten Route"

Them old i7's won't die.

EDIT: Why not a AM1 rig with 8GB mem and a SSD? Sure it's no i7 but it sure does shoot fire.
 
  • Like
Reactions: xvi
Joined
Oct 22, 2014
Messages
11,682 (4.93/day)
Location
Sunshine Coast
System Name Black Box
Processor Intel i5-9600KF
Motherboard NZXT N7 Z370 Black
Cooling Cooler Master 240 RGB AIO / Stock
Memory Thermaltake Toughram 16GB 4400MHz DDR4 or Gigabyte 16GB 3600MHz DDR4 or Adata 8GB 2133Mhz DDR4
Video Card(s) Asus Dual 1060 6GB
Storage Kingston A2000 512Gb NVME
Display(s) AOC 24" Freesync 1m.s. 75Hz
Case Corsair 450D High Air Flow.
Audio Device(s) No need.
Power Supply FSP Aurum 650W
Mouse Yes
Keyboard Of course
Software W10 Pro 64 bit
AMD 8350 plus m-ATX motherboard?
 
  • Like
Reactions: xvi
Joined
Mar 2, 2011
Messages
1,044 (0.28/day)
Location
Omaha, NE
System Name Graphics Card Free....
Processor Ryzen 3 3200G
Motherboard MSI B450 Gaming Plus MAX Wifi
Cooling Cryorig M9a w/ BeQuiet! PureWings 2 ~ 92mm
Memory Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR4 3200 ~ 16GB(2x8GB) Cas 14-14-34-76 1T
Storage Samsung EVO 870 500GB
Display(s) AOC 24G2
Case Cardboard...
Power Supply eVGA SuperNova 550w G3
Mouse Logitech T400 Zone Touch Mouse
Keyboard iKBC CD87 ~ (Silent)Red Cherry MX Switches
Software Windows 10/Ubuntu 20.04 LTS
Benchmark Scores It's fast enough for me.
The Oh-Look-Another-Desktop Route....

I've gone down this path before....and it had quite a snappy feel to it.

If I run across anything else in my travels...I'll be sure to mention it.

Best Regards,

Liquid Cool
 
  • Like
Reactions: xvi

newtekie1

Semi-Retired Folder
Joined
Nov 22, 2005
Messages
27,780 (4.94/day)
Location
Indiana, USA
Processor Intel Core i7 10850K@5.2GHz
Motherboard AsRock Z470 Taichi
Cooling Corsair H115i Pro w/ Noctua NF-A14 Fans
Memory 32GB DDR4-3600
Video Card(s) ASUS Strix GTX 1080Ti
Storage 500GB SX8200 Pro + 8TB with 1TB SSD Cache
Display(s) QNIX QX2710 1440p@120Hz
Case Fractal Design Define S
Audio Device(s) Onboard is good enough for me
Power Supply eVGA SuperNOVA 1000w G3
Software Windows 10 Pro x64
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Intel-Core-...941014?hash=item2eec89abd6:g:lTUAAOSwvgdW3cs1

http://www.ebay.com/itm/eVGA-121-LF...170117?hash=item4afabb7905:g:lLkAAOSwPc9WuQFY

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820228142

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA9PV3Y62123

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817438070

I think that's like $340. But you get an i7, that you can overclock(remember, BCLK overclock was still a thing on P55/1156, so you don't need an unlocked multiplier), and the SSD will make it feel super snappy. Use the RAM you already have.
 
  • Like
Reactions: xvi
Joined
Feb 19, 2016
Messages
776 (0.41/day)
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel Core i5-6600 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor ($215.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: ASRock Z170 Pro4S ATX LGA1151 Motherboard ($82.98 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws V Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4-3200 Memory ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: EVGA 500W 80+ Certified ATX Power Supply ($34.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $383.95
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2016-04-02 04:02 EDT-0400

mATX mobo
http://pcpartpicker.com/part/asrock-motherboard-z170mextreme4
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: xvi
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
Messages
4,657 (0.88/day)
Location
Washington, US
System Name Rainbow
Processor Intel Core i7 8700k
Motherboard MSI MPG Z390M GAMING EDGE AC
Cooling Corsair H115i, 2x Noctua NF-A14 industrialPPC-3000 PWM
Memory G. Skill TridentZ RGB 4x8GB (F4-3600C16Q-32GTZR)
Video Card(s) MSI Radeon RX 5700 XT MECH OC
Storage 2x Samsung 950 Pro 256GB | 2xHGST Deskstar 4TB 7.2K
Display(s) Samsung C27HG70
Case Xigmatek Aquila
Power Supply Seasonic 760W SS-760XP
Mouse Razer Deathadder 2013
Keyboard Corsair Vengeance K95
Software Windows 10 Pro
Benchmark Scores 4 trillion points in GmailMark, over 144 FPS 2K Facebook Scrolling (Extreme Quality preset)
Woah. Got more attention than I thought it would. I'll have to send something off tonight, so for the sake of getting it done quickly, I'm leaning towards something Not-Another-Desktop-ish which seems to be the most popular option.
Back on topic: what about this
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/CDZfK8


This is more in line with Oh-Look-Another-Desktop, and I think he's going to have to accept the fact that it's $16 over budget.
This is almost exactly my fallback plan if I couldn't get a Xeon to work. Going a little over budget isn't a big deal (I also need to fit a new copy of Windows in to it too, so it's definitely going over in the end, it's just a question of how much.)
4460 is the minimum for something like what he needs; he might not "need" four physical Haswell cores but you want a PC that you can put away and use for years at a time without worry about it getting not "slow" for your needs.
Honestly, I'm sure he could get by with a Pentium. I have a G3258 and it overclocks effortlessly. Anything CPU intensive he might do is unlikely to be multi-threaded, so strong single-threaded performance might be nice. On top of that, it's low power too.
Here's what I have to say about the "budget" requirement. Even on a budget, this is for a work environment;
Well, it used to be a secondary PC that's sole purpose in life is device monitoring via web interface and trouble tickets. I'm pretty sure it's going to remain a secondary PC. His main computer is, I think, a rather decent HP Envy. Whatever it is, I know it doesn't have a SSD, so I'm hoping that's what will make this thing feel faster than even his nice expensive main PC.
I'd say the "The Old-And-Forgotten Route"
Them old i7's won't die.
I'd love to, but I can't find anything that would fit in a mATX. :(
EDIT: Why not a AM1 rig with 8GB mem and a SSD? Sure it's no i7 but it sure does shoot fire.
He's pretty set on Intel. As much as I like AMD, would an AM1 rig really stack up to a modern Intel?
AMD 8350 plus m-ATX motherboard?
Huh. Those procs got cheap recently. I thought I heard those cook VRMs on smaller boards. Guess it depends on quality.
I've gone down this path before....and it had quite a snappy feel to it.
That is actually a really decent system for the price! Boss is completely adverse to getting anything with a new case. I really don't know why. :mad:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Intel-Core-...941014?hash=item2eec89abd6:g:lTUAAOSwvgdW3cs1

http://www.ebay.com/itm/eVGA-121-LF...170117?hash=item4afabb7905:g:lLkAAOSwPc9WuQFY

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820228142

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA9PV3Y62123

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817438070

I think that's like $340. But you get an i7, that you can overclock(remember, BCLK overclock was still a thing on P55/1156, so you don't need an unlocked multiplier), and the SSD will make it feel super snappy. Use the RAM you already have.
I worry about having to spend too much time overclocking it, but that's a pretty strong contender. The i5 4460 mentioned earlier beats it in performance at stock speeds (with considerably less wattage), but overclocked, it should pull ahead. That Noctula cooler seems pretty excessive. Worth it over a 212 Evo?
Integrated GPU in something newer would be better too.
CPU: Intel Core i5-6600 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor ($215.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: ASRock Z170 Pro4S ATX LGA1151 Motherboard ($82.98 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws V Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4-3200 Memory ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: EVGA 500W 80+ Certified ATX Power Supply ($34.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $383.95
Unfortunately, that board wouldn't fit in the mATX case. I've considered trying to squeeze a i5-6600 in the budget though. I'd really like to, but it seems like I'd have to go pretty far over the budget to get the SSD in too.

Me back in OP said:
"..and now I want it to shoot fire out the back"
I think I'm going to see if I can get some red streamers and tie them to the rear PSU fan. :p
 

CAPSLOCKSTUCK

Spaced Out Lunar Tick
Joined
Feb 26, 2013
Messages
8,579 (2.89/day)
Location
llaregguB...WALES
System Name Party On
Processor Xeon w 3520
Motherboard DFI Lanparty
Cooling Big tower thing
Memory 6 gb Ballistix Tracer
Video Card(s) HD 7970
Case a plank of wood
Audio Device(s) seperate amp and 6 big speakers
Power Supply Corsair
Mouse cheap
Keyboard under going restoration
Joined
Feb 19, 2016
Messages
776 (0.41/day)
That Xeon is not very fast compared to i7
http://cpubenchmark.net/cpu_list.php

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel Core i5-4590 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: ASRock H97M PRO4 Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($72.98 @ Newegg)
Storage: OCZ TRION 150 240GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($61.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $324.96
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2016-04-02 05:57 EDT-0400

cheap

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: AMD A8-7600 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($72.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: ASRock FM2A88M PRO3+ Micro ATX FM2+ Motherboard ($56.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($37.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: OCZ TRION 150 240GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($61.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: EVGA 500W 80+ Certified ATX Power Supply ($34.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $264.95
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2016-04-02 08:40 EDT-0400
 
Last edited:

newtekie1

Semi-Retired Folder
Joined
Nov 22, 2005
Messages
27,780 (4.94/day)
Location
Indiana, USA
Processor Intel Core i7 10850K@5.2GHz
Motherboard AsRock Z470 Taichi
Cooling Corsair H115i Pro w/ Noctua NF-A14 Fans
Memory 32GB DDR4-3600
Video Card(s) ASUS Strix GTX 1080Ti
Storage 500GB SX8200 Pro + 8TB with 1TB SSD Cache
Display(s) QNIX QX2710 1440p@120Hz
Case Fractal Design Define S
Audio Device(s) Onboard is good enough for me
Power Supply eVGA SuperNOVA 1000w G3
Software Windows 10 Pro x64
I worry about having to spend too much time overclocking it, but that's a pretty strong contender. The i5 4460 mentioned earlier beats it in performance at stock speeds (with considerably less wattage), but overclocked, it should pull ahead. That Noctula cooler seems pretty excessive. Worth it over a 212 Evo?
Integrated GPU in something newer would be better too.

Overclocking shouldn't take too long. You can follow this guide, and basically drop in the settings listed and get 4.2GHz very easily. Though I'd bump the voltage up a couple notches to start just to ensure stability. Then run OCCT overnight to make sure it is all stable, and you're good to go.

The Noctua isn't necessary, I only picked it because it is a really good cooler but isn't too tall. I didn't know how much clearance you had in the mATX case, so I wanted to make sure to pick something that would fit. If the 212 Evo will fit, definitely save some and go with that.

Yeah, the i7-870 and motherboard doesn't even have integrated graphics. I forgot about that. Throw this in there: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814131338 It should handle everything you are doing with the machine, and may even be a little faster than the integrated graphics from Intel from something like the 2600-3770.
 

cdawall

where the hell are my stars
Joined
Jul 23, 2006
Messages
27,670 (5.14/day)
Location
Houston
System Name All the cores || Into the Blue
Processor 2990WX || 5960X
Motherboard Asrock X399M || Asus X99M WS
Cooling CPU-XSPC RayStorm Neo, 2x240mm+360mm, D5PWM+140mL, GPU-2x360mm, 2xbyski, D4+D5+100mL || TBD
Memory 4x8GB G.Skill Trident Z 3200 CL16 || EVGA 3200 2x8GB
Video Card(s) (2) EVGA SC BLACK 1080Ti's || EVGA 1080Ti FE
Storage 2x Samsung SM951 512GB, Samsung PM961 512GB || OCZ Vector 180 480GB
Display(s) Dell UP2414Q 3840X2160@60hz || TBD
Case Caselabs Mercury S5+pedestal || Supermicro S5 (GS5A-753K)
Audio Device(s) Fischer HA-02->Fischer FA-002W High edition/FA-003/Jubilate/FA-011 depending on my mood
Power Supply Seasonic Prime 1200w || Seasonic Snow Silent 750w
Mouse Thermaltake Theron, Steam controller || TBD
Keyboard Thermaltake Poseidon ZX, Steam controller || Corsair K70
Software W10P || W10P
It's a Web browser... Put an a8 in it with 16gb of fast ram and a ssd
 
Top