Question Buy Advice - Older Games $500?

Muckster

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Hi, I'm looking to build a PC for two things...

#1. Absolutely smooth streaming of online videos (mostly Netflix/Amazon)

#2. Smooth playing of the Sims 3 with several expansion packs. (Sims 3 was released in 2009, but expansion packs tend to bog it down).

Other requirements:
• Windows 10 OS
• Small case, horizontal at rest. ITX or mini-ITX might be ideal. <----- SWMBO REQUIRED
• Would be nice to have more than two USB ports on front of case
• ZERO need to leave room for upgrading
• NO overclocking now or in the future. Just want something stable with quality components
• Quiet enough not to be noticeable when watching TV at normal conversation level volume.

Other info:
Display is a 49" Samsung HDTV, but Sims 3 won't be played at highest resolution
I live in USA and will order online USA.

Cost isn't the most important factor. I'd rather spend a little too much and overbuild than cheap out and have things not run smoothly. In fact, I was mislead into buying a NUC NUC6CAYS (with upgraded the memory) for this purpose and it fell short even for smooth online streaming.

I'm excited to get some good case recommendations but I'm hoping for a little spoon feeding for the CPU/GPU/Mobo/Memory. Admittedly, I did post about this recently, but my wife added a few things and I'm trying again. Richiestang suggested I might wait until the end of the month for the next line of Ryzens, but I'd rather get the build together now then buy in a couple weeks. Someone else suggested I upgrade my NUC with a Celeron and new form factor for SSD, but I couldn't find any online guides for this at it seems more of a hack than simply swapping components.

Although I don't keep up with recent tech, I usually build a new PC every 5 years or so. I'm not opposed to a "NUC" type solution, but ONLY if we can be certain it meets the criteria. Please error on the side of overbuilding than underbuilding.

Thanks!
 

Eximo

Titan
Herald
That particular NUC you have is a soldered CPU, it can't be upgraded, whichever model it is. I guess I would have to ask what processor your NUC ended up with to have a starting point on something better. (Celeron would be on the low end, so not sure where that recommendation comes from)

Presumably you want a discrete GPU then. Intel does have some powerful NUCs..., but they are over priced.

There are plenty of small form factor gaming towers these days. Though they might stretch your budget a little.

And building a decent system in a small volume case is often quite expensive compared to a full size desktop. The cases, motherboards, etc, are all at a premium.

I'll shop around a bit and see what comes up.
 
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Barty1884

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Moderator
Smooth streaming of Netflix/Amazon doesn't take much and, realistically, the NUC6CAYS with a Celeron J should've been decent enough for it.

SIMs is more CPU intensive than anything else, especially with expansion packs - however the minimum specs remain a P4 @ 2.4GHz and 1.5GB or RAM.

I would be inclined to look to a Ryzen5 2400G and 8GB, maybe 16GB of 3000-3200MHz DDR4

2 USB ports on the front panel isn't too common in the form factor, so probably not happening without spending a ridiculous amount on a case.

I'd look to something along these lines:

PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: AMD - Ryzen 5 2400G 3.6 GHz Quad-Core Processor ($119.99 @ Walmart)
Motherboard: Gigabyte - B450 I AORUS PRO WIFI Mini ITX AM4 Motherboard ($119.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Team - Vulcan 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3000 Memory ($72.89 @ OutletPC)
Storage: Intel - 660p Series 512 GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive ($62.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Fractal Design - Node 202 HTPC Case ($69.96 @ Amazon)
Total: $445.82
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-05-14 17:35 EDT-0400


Although, 8GB is probably fine.
 
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Eximo

Titan
Herald
Intel alternative, I also went a littler higher end, should be pretty darn quiet with the CPU fan and a passive GPU. Above is missing a power supply?

PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: Intel - Core i3-8100 3.6 GHz Quad-Core Processor ($129.00 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Noctua - NH-L9i 33.84 CFM CPU Cooler ($39.95 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock - H370M-ITX/ac Mini ITX LGA1151 Motherboard ($99.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Patriot - Signature Line 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR4-2666 Memory ($39.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Crucial - MX500 500 GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive ($66.89 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: Gigabyte - GeForce GT 1030 2 GB Silent Low Profile Video Card ($87.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Fractal Design - Node 202 HTPC Case ($69.96 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: EVGA - SuperNOVA GM 450 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular SFX Power Supply ($77.06 @ B&H)
Operating System: Microsoft - Windows 10 Home OEM 64-bit ($99.39 @ OutletPC)
Total: $710.22
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-05-14 17:50 EDT-0400


Found this bulky thing, a full 6 core desktop CPU, still integrated graphics, but it is still decent for integrated.

https://www.amazon.com/ASUS-VC66-CB5018ZN-VivoMini-Intel-i5-8400/dp/B07FKDLX7J/ref=asc_df_B07FKDLX7J/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=309773039951&hvpos=1o3&hvnetw=g&hvrand=13415122241905551636&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9016480&hvtargid=pla-523760128243&psc=1


Intel's overpriced, but very decent NUCs, basically a step up from that Ryzen APU and with a full blown i7 and Vega graphics, this is not a complete build, missing drives, memory, OS...

https://www.amazon.com/Intel-Machine-NUC8i7HVK-Radeon-Graphics/dp/B07BR5GK1V?ref_=fsclp_pl_dp_3&th=1


Zotac has some very interesting offers, but not sure where you can safely buy them. Look up Zbox. They have some crazy ones though with Nvidia quadros and things, but also more reasonable ones with low power desktop CPUs.

Asrock is still pushing their new Mini-STX form factor, there are a few products out, but they are pretty hard to work on. Not much in the way of parts. ASRock DeskMini 110 if you are interested. https://www.asrock.com/microsite/DeskMini/index.asp#About

Again difficult to buy.

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIAD6H73W7395&Description=zotac zbox&cm_re=zotac_zbox-_-1B4-0142-00029-_-Product

I poked around at Dell, Lenovo, etc, seems like they are all closing the door on true small form factor.

You can also look at some of the boutique builders for low volume computers. Those will start over $1000 though. Basically full blown gaming PCs.
 
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Eximo

Titan
Herald
2 USB ports on the front panel isn't too common in the form factor, so probably not happening without spending a ridiculous amount on a case.
I found 2 ports to be the standard. The occasional three, and somewhat common 4. But yes, very expensive cases, typically over $200, or full on 'custom' low volume stuff. It is an expensive hobby. I just use Silverstone Sugo derivatives. (I have an i3-4130T + GT1030 passive as my main HTPC)

A very popular chassis choice, but it is bigger than it seems:

https://pcpartpicker.com/product/GCfp99/silverstone-case-rvz01b

More up to date version: https://pcpartpicker.com/product/P9Wrxr/silverstone-case-ftz01b

And there are many others that are pretty neat, but I can't imagine anyone still has them in stock. Some cool Antec and old Lian-Li out there.
 
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Smooth streaming of Netflix/Amazon doesn't take much and, realistically, the NUC6CAYS with a Celeron J should've been decent enough for it.

SIMs is more CPU intensive than anything else, especially with expansion packs - however the minimum specs remain a P4 @ 2.4GHz and 1.5GB or RAM.

I would be inclined to look to a Ryzen5 2400G and 8GB, maybe 16GB of 3000-3200MHz DDR4

2 USB ports on the front panel isn't too common in the form factor, so probably not happening without spending a ridiculous amount on a case.

I'd look to something along these lines:

PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: AMD - Ryzen 5 2400G 3.6 GHz Quad-Core Processor ($119.99 @ Walmart)
Motherboard: Gigabyte - B450 I AORUS PRO WIFI Mini ITX AM4 Motherboard ($119.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Team - Vulcan 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3000 Memory ($72.89 @ OutletPC)
Storage: Intel - 660p Series 512 GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive ($62.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Fractal Design - Node 202 HTPC Case ($69.96 @ Amazon)
Total: $445.82
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-05-14 17:35 EDT-0400


Although, 8GB is probably fine.
This would be pretty much my suggestion too, you might however want to link a version of the case that has the PSU included...
https://pcpartpicker.com/product/XbKhP6/fractal-design-case-fdmcanode202aaus
 
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Barty1884

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Moderator
I found 2 ports to be the standard. The occasional three, and somewhat common 4. But yes, very expensive cases, typically over $200, or full on 'custom' low volume stuff. It is an expensive hobby. I just use Silverstone Sugo derivatives. (I have an i3-4130T + GT1030 passive as my main HTPC)
Sorry, that was supposed to be >2 USB ports.

This would be pretty much my suggestion too, you might however want to link a version of the case that has the PSU included...
https://pcpartpicker.com/product/XbKhP6/fractal-design-case-fdmcanode202aaus
:ROFLMAO: Yeah, a PSU would probably help.
That's the variant I meant to select.

You could opt for a separate PSU, like this:
PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: AMD - Ryzen 5 2400G 3.6 GHz Quad-Core Processor ($119.99 @ Walmart)
Motherboard: Gigabyte - B450 I AORUS PRO WIFI Mini ITX AM4 Motherboard ($119.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Team - Vulcan 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3000 Memory ($72.89 @ OutletPC)
Storage: Intel - 660p Series 512 GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive ($62.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Fractal Design - Node 202 HTPC Case ($69.96 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: EVGA - SuperNOVA GM 550 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular SFX Power Supply ($76.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $522.80
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-05-14 18:47 EDT-0400


Typically 'included' PSUs are not great - but the included Fractal unit is not bad at all, especially for the components proposed here.
 
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Muckster

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Thanks, you guys are a great resource! I'm still reading things over and will respond later today or tomorrow after a little research, but I just wanted to mention a couple things.

I can live with only 2 USB ports if I must, but then I'll get some kind of hub. I'm certain to have 1 or 2 dongles for wireless peripherals . (Mouse, Keyboard, Bluetooth adapter for wireless speakers, & occasionally an external DVD player). I know they can be combined into one for same brand devices like logitech.

The Intel NUC I have is NUC6CAYH (Intel Celeron J3455 / Intel HD Graphics 500) which I upgraded with two sticks of 4GB PC3-12800 Crucial. To be clear (and fair) it streams just fine. However, I often having trouble waiting for the Netflix page to load before I can smoothly scroll down and select a title. Mouse arrow is choppy or momentarily frozen. I know there are (or were) some issues with the NUC usb ports for some people, or rather the front one so I'm not sure if that was part of the issue.

Barty mentioned The Sims 3 relies a lot on CPU... I'm really not sure what this game uses, but it's critical to the build be built around this one game because this really is the only game this PC will run. (I have another build for proper gaming). Conventionally thinking says beef up the GPU and be less concerned with CPU, but maybe that's not the case this time? How would I go about knowing what kind of hardware THIS game needs, or does Barty or someone here already have a good idea? Loading the game is a little slow. Bringing up the character creation screen is also a little slow because of the custom items. Is this a product of CPU or system Mem? The one issue working in my favor is that I'm over 50 and wife isn't far behind. This means she plays the game on a low enough resolution to be able to read the fonts which can be hard to do even on a 49" HDTV, sitting 10 feet away. Also, being established and over 50, I'm less concerned about budget.

Anyway, I'm eager to look over those builds and cases and will get back to you soon. Thanks!
 

Muckster

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Muckster

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As for cases, I'm happy with the Fractal Node 202 so long as it all fits and isn't too noisy. (Eximo, I checked out all the lines, but the Node 202 was smaller than most and a little more mainstream)

Eximo's build comes in at $710. Barty's build, if I add Win 10, comes in at $622, but might be a little cheaper if I get the Node 202 WITH PSU. Also, Barty, can I use the stock fan for the CPU or do I need a 3rd party cooler?

Barty's build comes in $88 cheaper with double the system mem, but with NO graphics card.

Eximo. That intel CPU with cooler is $170. How does that compare to the Ryzen 5 2400G for $119? I'm ignorant on modern CPUs, but I know I probably won't need extra cores to run The Sims 3. Barty suggested The Sims 3 might rely on the CPU at times more than the GPU. Also he's putting me at 16 GB memory. Eximo, if you did an AMD build, would it look like Barty's or something different?

I'm confused. Barty has me with no GPU and 16GB memory, while Eximo has me at only 8GB mem, but with a discrete GPU. These builds are significantly different. I don't mind the cost of either build, but how do I know which will be better at running the Sims 3?

The last consideration is noise. In Barty's build, would I be quieter with the PSU included with the Node 202, or would I be better off for noise buying the PSU separately?

Thanks for all your help!
 

Eximo

Titan
Herald
These are all trade offs to be considered, there is no right answer.

So the i3-8100 is a quad core CPU with the following: 3.6Ghz, 6MB cache, Intel HD630 graphics, and a 65W power draw.
The Ryzen 3 2200G is a quad core CPU with the following: 3.7Ghz 6MB cache (total), Onboard Vega 8 CU graphics and a 65W power draw.

Now while the numbers look very similar, the architectures are quite different. Clock for clock Intel CPUs are still faster (Instructions Per Cycle). So for a given task it should use less power to achieve it, or do it faster and save power/time.

AMD is cheaper, the boards are cheaper (though not so much in the Mini-ITX size). Essentially it has more powerful onboard graphics than Intel. A nice package for light gaming. There is also the Ryzen 5 2400G to consider, basically gain SMT, 4 cores 8 threads instead of a pure quad core and the graphics goes up about 30%. That is quite competitive with the combo I proposed.

All these CPUs come with stock coolers that CAN be used. They are adequate, but if silence is the goal, aftermarket coolers are the way to go. Or you pay more for a lower power CPU (i3-8100T is a little slower, but uses about half the power, and comes with a smaller cooler, so still an annoying trade off) Having the graphics onboard the CPU in use means that more heat will be generated there, so more fan RPM. Having a discrete GPU spreads out the load and should result in a quieter system.

The chosen GPU has no moving parts. They are expensive, but you can also get passive power supplies as well. CPU pretty much always needs active cooling unless you get a truly massive CPU cooler, kind of defeats the point. Noctua is known for making quiet but powerful fans and their heatsinks are top rated, thus the choice. There are aftermarket options for AMD as well.

As for 16GB vs 8GB. It doesn't sound like you need 16GB, but it is the common recommendation for gaming today and isn't prohibitively expensive. I run my HTPC (which is also my typical classic gaming machine) with only 8GB and most older games can't exceed 2-3GB of memory usage due to their architectures.

The integrated GPUs on both Intel and AMD will consume system memory, so you will have a little less overall, but not a significant amount for the use case.

I don't think you will be disappointed either way. Celeron NUCs are pretty weak when it comes to cache and clock speed and the limitations will get more pronounced over time. Also can't be upgraded.

Both of these platforms have expansion options. You can always add a discrete GPU to the AMD systems, replace the CPU with up to 8 cores (or more, Ryzen 3000 is coming soon). Intel is similar you can drop in 8 core CPUs later if needed, but probably not beyond that. And even if you end up with a GT1030 now, if for any reason in the future you need more, you can always swap it out.

All those other less mainstream options are more for their form factor. There is more stuff out there, but much less market penetration. I've wanted to replace my HTPC with something like them for a while, but the cost/benefit just isn't there yet. I had high hopes for Intel/Vega NUCs, but the price is just huge. Can get a whole gaming laptop for that.

ASRocks Mini-STX form factor is the most promising, but it may not make it. There is talk of getting rid of MXM form factor GPUs.
 
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Muckster

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These are all trade offs to be considered, there is no right answer.

So the i3-8100 is a quad core CPU with the following: 3.6Ghz, 6MB cache, Intel HD630 graphics, and a 65W power draw.
The Ryzen 3 2200G is a quad core CPU with the following: 3.7Ghz 6MB cache (total), Onboard Vega 8 CU graphics and a 65W power draw.

Now while the numbers look very similar, the architectures are quite different. Clock for clock Intel CPUs are still faster (Instructions Per Cycle). So for a given task it should use less power to achieve it, or do it faster and save power/time.

AMD is cheaper, the boards are cheaper (though not so much in the Mini-ITX size). Essentially it has more powerful onboard graphics than Intel. A nice package for light gaming. There is also the Ryzen 5 2400G to consider, basically gain SMT, 4 cores 8 threads instead of a pure quad core and the graphics goes up about 30%. That is quite competitive with the combo I proposed.

All these CPUs come with stock coolers that CAN be used. They are adequate, but if silence is the goal, aftermarket coolers are the way to go. Or you pay more for a lower power CPU (i3-8100T is a little slower, but uses about half the power, and comes with a smaller cooler, so still an annoying trade off) Having the graphics onboard the CPU in use means that more heat will be generated there, so more fan RPM. Having a discrete GPU spreads out the load and should result in a quieter system.

The chosen GPU has no moving parts. They are expensive, but you can also get passive power supplies as well. CPU pretty much always needs active cooling unless you get a truly massive CPU cooler, kind of defeats the point. Noctua is known for making quiet but powerful fans and their heatsinks are top rated, thus the choice. There are aftermarket options for AMD as well.

As for 16GB vs 8GB. It doesn't sound like you need 16GB, but it is the common recommendation for gaming today and isn't prohibitively expensive. I run my HTPC (which is also my typical classic gaming machine) with only 8GB and most older games can't exceed 2-3GB of memory usage due to their architectures.

The integrated GPUs on both Intel and AMD will consume system memory, so you will have a little less overall, but not a significant amount for the use case.

I don't think you will be disappointed either way. Celeron NUCs are pretty weak when it comes to cache and clock speed and the limitations will get more pronounced over time. Also can't be upgraded.

Both of these platforms have expansion options. You can always add a discrete GPU to the AMD systems, replace the CPU with up to 8 cores (or more, Ryzen 3000 is coming soon). Intel is similar you can drop in 8 core CPUs later if needed, but probably not beyond that. And even if you end up with a GT1030 now, if for any reason in the future you need more, you can always swap it out.

All those other less mainstream options are more for their form factor. There is more stuff out there, but much less market penetration. I've wanted to replace my HTPC with something like them for a while, but the cost/benefit just isn't there yet. I had high hopes for Intel/Vega NUCs, but the price is just huge. Can get a whole gaming laptop for that.

ASRocks Mini-STX form factor is the most promising, but it may not make it. There is talk of getting rid of MXM form factor GPUs.
Thanks for hanging with me. I'll try to wrap this thread up.

Everything you say makes sense and I appreciate you taking the time. I've built several PCs over the decades so I'm no stranger to the process, just to the latest tech. (I'm actually in the process of building another PC for gaming with a bigger budget.) I have no interest in THIS build being overclocked, upgradable or future proofed in anyway. As I've said over and over, it's just for the Sims 3. I have tried getting more information about this game and which component resources it relies on the most, but it's pretty old now and it's hard to find information because it's so popular and hard to sort out among all the posts about The Sims 4.

I hadn't thought about the 3rd party CPU cooler being quieter. That's a good point.

I think I'll go with your build, Eximo. It seems a better deal considering that it actually has a discrete GPU and I like what you said about it potentially being quieter. Would you mind recommending a 8GB set of memory that would run well with it instead of the 16GB? I'd like to compare the price difference. Also, is there anything you can suggest to make it even quieter? Could you maybe recommend specific case fans known for being quiet and good quality? Noctua? Quieter PSU?

Finally, I haven't bought from OuletPC or B&H. Do they have as good a reputation as Amazon or NewEgg?

Oh, and I heard AMD is coming out with a new line of CPUs at the end of the month. Is there any reason I should wait a couple weeks and see if the prices fall a bit? I know the build I'm looking at is Intel, but a drop in the competition might well effect Intel prices too.

Alright, enough with the pesky questions! Thanks again.
 

Barty1884

Titan
Moderator
So the i3-8100 is a quad core CPU with the following: 3.6Ghz, 6MB cache, Intel HD630 graphics, and a 65W power draw.
The Ryzen 3 2200G is a quad core CPU with the following: 3.7Ghz 6MB cache (total), Onboard Vega 8 CU graphics and a 65W power draw.
Just to be clear, I had included a 2400G - 4c/8t. With that, GPU performance will match (at worst) or slightly better a discreet 1030.

If (hypothetically) you wanted or needed to go the discreet GPU route, an i3 + 1030 is a pretty underwhelming option for ~$700.

Everything you say makes sense and I appreciate you taking the time. I've built several PCs over the decades so I'm no stranger to the process, just to the latest tech. (I'm actually in the process of building another PC for gaming with a bigger budget.) I have no interest in THIS build being overclocked, upgradable or future proofed in anyway. As I've said over and over, it's just for the Sims 3. I have tried getting more information about this game and which component resources it relies on the most, but it's pretty old now and it's hard to find information because it's so popular and hard to sort out among all the posts about The Sims 4.
Given the era the Sims3 is front, it's not going to leverage too many cores/threads. It'll benefit much more from stronger single core performance (IPC) where Intel does have the lead (although by how much will vary game to game). The biggest driving factor in my build opting for Ryzen, is the substantially stronger iGP - on par, or better than a GT1030, in a single package.


I hadn't thought about the 3rd party CPU cooler being quieter. That's a good point.

I think I'll go with your build, Eximo. It seems a better deal considering that it actually has a discrete GPU and I like what you said about it potentially being quieter. Would you mind recommending a 8GB set of memory that would run well with it instead of the 16GB? I'd like to compare the price difference. Also, is there anything you can suggest to make it even quieter? Could you maybe recommend specific case fans known for being quiet and good quality? Noctua? Quieter PSU?
The discrete GPU is nice, but consider what that GPU is. A GT1030 is an underwhelming card, especially for ~$90 - even moreso when you consider the iGP on the 2400G rivals it.
For memory, I included 16GB because it fit the budget. If this is a one & done system, only for the Sims3, 2x4GB @ 3000-3200MHz would be more than sufficient paired with the 2400G.

A 3rd parts cooler would almost be a necessity in the node 202. I believe the Ryzen cooler will fit, but it's extremely tight.
Aftermarket offerings, or even routing a 120mm AIO liquid cooler in there would be good routes to consider.

As for fans, generally it'll depend on which fan models you're considering. Noctua, be Quiet! etc have very, very solid & quiet offerings, but the exact dba will vary depending.
PSU should be fairly negligible. Not inaudible, but it's unlikely to be heard over a CPU/Case fan anyway.

Finally, I haven't bought from OuletPC or B&H. Do they have as good a reputation as Amazon or NewEgg?
Yes, they're both reliable, and nothing to worry about there.

Oh, and I heard AMD is coming out with a new line of CPUs at the end of the month. Is there any reason I should wait a couple weeks and see if the prices fall a bit? I know the build I'm looking at is Intel, but a drop in the competition might well effect Intel prices too.
If you're in no rush, then there's certainly no harm in waiting a little while. However, a couple of weeks might not be entirely accurate.
Still shooting for Q3 and, assuming right at the beginning of Q3, that's still ~6 weeks, minimum.
 
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Eximo

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Whoops, I mis-remembered that first build, thought it was a 2200G. Didn't actually go back and read it again. For the money it is the superior option for sure.

I use my GT1030 since it is the lowest power card available that will run my 4K TV properly. Prior to that it as a GTX950, and before that a GTX750Ti. HDMI 2.0 was the critical factor. Radeon 6670 I had when I bought the TV wouldn't do the aspect ratio properly even after a firmware/driver update. That said I do have a much older processor without good 4K (30hz only via HDMI ) support so it makes more sense for me to mess with a discrete GPU.

That might actually make an interesting topic/article if having a discrete GPU takes enough load off a CPU for a noticeable noise difference.
 

Muckster

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Just to be clear, I had included a 2400G - 4c/8t. With that, GPU performance will match (at worst) or slightly better a discreet 1030.
Ah, I see. In my ignorance, I didn't realize.

If (hypothetically) you wanted or needed to go the discreet GPU route, an i3 + 1030 is a pretty underwhelming option for ~$700.
Yes, I hadn't expected to spend that much but I'd rather spend too much than too little and anyway... what's the alternative? Your AMD build came in at 522 and Eximo's at 710. But, if I add the cost of a 3rd party cooler (40), the cost of Win 10 (100), then subtract the savings going from 16GB to 8GB of memory (-32?), then the final cost of your build, compared to Eximo's is 630. Your AMD is cheaper but not dramatically.

Given the era the Sims3 is front, it's not going to leverage too many cores/threads. It'll benefit much more from stronger single core performance (IPC) where Intel does have the lead (although by how much will vary game to game). The biggest driving factor in my build opting for Ryzen, is the substantially stronger iGP - on par, or better than a GT1030, in a single package.

The discrete GPU is nice, but consider what that GPU is. A GT1030 is an underwhelming card, especially for ~$90 - even moreso when you consider the iGP on the 2400G rivals it.
For memory, I included 16GB because it fit the budget. If this is a one & done system, only for the Sims3, 2x4GB @ 3000-3200MHz would be more than sufficient paired with the 2400G.
Good point about Sims 3. I'm not sure if, in 2009, Sims 3 was even coded to use multiple cores at all. To repeat, this build is really just for the Sims 3 and online streaming. No desire to upgrade, overclock, or play other games, as I'm currently working on a more powerful gaming build for myself, and this one's mostly just for the wifey. I want it simple and stable. If there's any reason to think we are way OVER building for this game, speak now! (but overbuilding is still better than underbuilding)

Basically it comes down to to noise, performance, and money IN THAT ORDER. If I'm streaming a show online and I can't hear normal TV conversation over the fans, this entire build is useless to me. If wifey can't play her game smoothly... well, unhappy wife.. unhappy life.

When it's said and done, are you saying your build will offer superior performance with regard to The Sims 3 or are you saying it's about the same so why not save the $75 bucks? Are you saying going AMD will make it easier to cool, and so quieter?

Clearly, my reasoning is failing because I lack the knowledge you and Eximo have. I appreciate both you and Eximo's help, but if you're saying your build is superior please make it clear now.

A 3rd parts cooler would almost be a necessity in the node 202. I believe the Ryzen cooler will fit, but it's extremely tight.
Aftermarket offerings, or even routing a 120mm AIO liquid cooler in there would be good routes to consider.
I've never used a liquid cooler before. Sounds like something that might break down horribly at some point, but again, I'm coming from a place of ignorance. Being this is mostly the wife's PC and she's not technical minded, it's very much in my interest that I keep it simple and stable. I'd prefer a simple fan/heatsink for the CPU, if I can find one that fits....

If the Ryzen stock CPU cooler DOES fit, then will it suffice in terms of cooling? What about Eximo's suggestion that the stock fan will likely be louder than a 3rd party fan? Also, in my experience, 3rd party CPU fans tend to be larger than stock so I guess I'd be looking for some kind of less-noisy low-profile 3rd party CPU cooler. You've done so much for me already, but could I bother you for a recommendation? And, while I'm imposing, perhaps a specific 8GB memory alternative?

Also, what about Eximo's argument that a CPU + GPU is more likely to run cooler because the heat from the processing is spatially better distributed?

Also, it's my feeling I might be better off for quietness if I went with a 3rd party PSU instead of the one included with the Node 202, but I'd appreciate your opinion.

Again, while Sims 3 will be the most taxing use of this build, its primary function is for online streaming. Is there any reason why 16GB of system memory would be more beneficial for streaming purposes compared to 8BG?

As for fans, generally it'll depend on which fan models you're considering. Noctua, be Quiet! etc have very, very solid & quiet offerings, but the exact dba will vary depending.
PSU should be fairly negligible. Not inaudible, but it's unlikely to be heard over a CPU/Case fan anyway.
I understand about the PSU fan (which probably doesn't even turn on until temp is high enough). Again, to keep it simple, I'd want a passive fan, not something I'd have to monitor with the mobo. Okay.. as for fan brands, check out Noctua and be Quiet!, then look for the lowest dba sound ratings... that makes sense. Do you think a single inlet and a single outlet case fan will be enough? It will do me no good if the PC is louder than a TV Drama Show conversation. Is there anything else you can suggest to keep the noise down?

Again, thanks for all your time. I've come to trust Toms Hardware forums over the years and I see you're a moderator, but I have no idea if your opinion is better informed than Eximo's. Keeping in mind my narrow criteria for this build, could you make a final case for or against the AMD build over the Intel build?

Thank you!
 
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Barty1884

Titan
Moderator
The Windows 10 argument is definitely worth considering. However, for the use case described, you can run Windows 10 unactivated with no real downside.

As for multiple cores..... Probably, but to a point - likely only 2 Cores, but that's just guesswork on my point given the era. The problem is, anything modern, where you could really crank single/dual core performance up, is not viable in the ~$500 range.

Liquid coolers add another point of failure, absolutely. But when you're noise focussed, and don't really want to hear fans at all, it's a little tough in such a small form factor.
Standard air coolers exist, of course - but very, very few that'll fit (and adequately cool) in a Node202.

Yes, the stock cooler would suffice (if it fits... I believe it does), but Eximo is correct. An aftermarket Noctua etc should be quieter. In a small form factor, it might not be 'perfect;, but certainly more quiet than the stock offering.

I'm not 100% sure whether a discrete GPU would take enough strain off the CPU temp-wise to lower noise.
The iGP certainly impacts the CPU temps, but I'm not convinced the temp/noise reduction would justify the cost of a discrete GPU. I haven't seen too much testing on that, unfortunately.

For streaming & the Sims, 8GB should be more than sufficient.
 
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QwerkyPengwen

Dignified
Herald
Gonna throw my hat into the rink here as well.

I put this build together to try and give the OP what they were asking for and for the $500 price point.

I made it an HTPC case so that it would lay down flat like traditional desktops.
It has enough graphic horsepower along with RAM for HD media consumption and for playing a game like Sims.
It won't get very loud when being used for media consumption, but the CPU fan could ramp up a bit when putting the AGPU under load for gaming.

The power supply has a mail in rebate of $20 so the OP can get that back after a little bit of waiting.

After taxes on this build it should come out to being just shy of the $500 mark.

It may not be the prettiest, or the most high class, but it won't burst into flames, and it won't underperform and it'll do it for cheap.
SSD is not necessary for a build like this people so stop trying to throw expensive SSD's into everything.

The PSU isn't the most high quality I will admit, but it's not trash either, and since the OP isn't powering a GPU and isn't overclocking the CPU, this PSU will do them just fine.

Also, the motherboard is probably one of the most basic boards you can get, but then again, the OP doesn't need extra connectivity options and blah blah blah. Just the ability to run the CPU and has at least one SATA port for the HDD, and USB header for the case, and this board has all that.

But of course, there will be those who will say otherwise and for their own reasons and that is totally fine to do so.
Bring on the comment wars telling me how my choices for components were absolutely wrong, I gladly welcome them.

(P.S. - I am aware that the OP said that more than 2 ports on the front would be "nice" but isn't clearly a necessity. And can easily be remedied with a hub. Also, don't know where the OP plans to stash this thing that would keep them from being able to plug into the back I/O but in the off chance that this is the case, still, a HUB would work better and just plugging the HUB into a rear USB port and mounting it to the front panel of the case with some 3M tape would suffice and cost less than trying to buy a case with more than 2 ports on the front)
PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: AMD - Ryzen 5 2400G 3.6 GHz Quad-Core Processor ($119.99 @ Walmart)
Motherboard: ASRock - B450M-HDV R4.0 Micro ATX AM4 Motherboard ($64.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Team - Vulcan 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3000 Memory ($72.89 @ OutletPC)
Storage: Seagate - Barracuda 2 TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.89 @ OutletPC)
Case: Silverstone - GD09B HTPC Case ($82.99 @ B&H)
Power Supply: SeaSonic - 520 W 80+ Bronze Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply ($56.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $457.73
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-05-16 23:24 EDT-0400
 
Last edited:

Eximo

Titan
Herald
Passive SFX PSU, $189

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07F6JZ9NQ/?tag=pcpapi-20

Not much else will easily fit in the case for CPU cooling. If you sacrifice a little on form factor there are certainly larger solutions. And cheaper passively cooled power supplies.

Small water coolers can be quieter with custom fans, but as mentioned, another point of failure. Nothing really better than the Noctua at the moment. Cryorig C7 seem to be unavailable again. I've been tempted to buy the copper version myself. I run the stock cooler from an i7-4770k on my little i3. That actually works fairly well for silence, but it is a 35W CPU. I think the larger Intel 'stock' performance cooler is too tall for the node 202.

If you really want to explore options there are other chassis, but they require a lot of research to do builds in. Also not cheap.




You can easily spend $1000 on a slient build with the performance of a micro-ATX tower at $500.

That is when that Intel Vega NUC (Hades Canyon) starts to look viable. Though that might be noisier then you would like.
 
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Muckster

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Dec 13, 2013
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Gonna throw my hat into the rink here as well.
Very nice of you to throw together that build QwerkyPengwen. It's nice to have something to compare to for the cost and the sub $500 price is tempting. However, I really do want a smaller case and I would miss the SSD, although you're right it's not really necessary.
 

Muckster

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Passive SFX PSU, $189
Thanks for the idea... It's just so hard to know the sound until you get it set up in the environment where it will live. I appreciate you coming up with so many good alternative, but as you say it gets more expensive and needs more research

You can easily spend $1000 on a slient build with the performance of a micro-ATX tower at $500.

That is when that Intel Vega NUC (Hades Canyon) starts to look viable. Though that might be noisier then you would like.
Hmmm... Well, I'm getting a few different hits searching for the Vegas... We're at just over $700 now. What would be the cheapest version of a NUC that would be comparable to the AMD or Intel builds you and Barty have proposed, or what would be the cheapest NUC that would run Sims 3 smoothly?
 

Muckster

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Dec 13, 2013
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Barty/Eximo,

You guys have given me a lot to consider. I'm not sure there's much more you can do for me! I'll keep checking this thread, but I'm going to need to think things over. At $700 are we near considering any other NUC style PCs for about the same money that would run Sims 3 well?
 

QwerkyPengwen

Dignified
Herald
ok, since you want something even smaller, you're going to pay more of a premium per component.
here's another build for you.


PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: AMD - Ryzen 5 2400G 3.6 GHz Quad-Core Processor ($134.12 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Noctua - NH-L9a-AM4 33.84 CFM CPU Cooler ($39.90 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock - B450 GAMING-ITX/AC Mini ITX AM4 Motherboard ($109.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Team - Vulcan 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3000 Memory ($72.89 @ OutletPC)
Storage: Crucial - BX500 120 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($19.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital - Caviar Blue 1 TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($45.40 @ OutletPC)
Case: Silverstone - ML05B HTPC Case ($53.22 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Silverstone - SFX 450 W 80+ Bronze Certified SFX Power Supply ($65.07 @ Amazon)
Total: $540.58
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-05-19 14:04 EDT-0400
 
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Eximo

Titan
Herald
Here is a fascinating one, looks like a chassis, motherboard, and PSU only. But takes desktop parts and SO-DIMM memory. Would still be integrated graphics, but you can get the best available coffeelake chips which should handle the Sims. Probably go with an i5-8400T if it were me building it.

https://www.newegg.com/shuttle-xpc-slim-dh370/p/N82E16856101250?Item=N82E16856101250


Late model Intel NUCs with Iris Plus graphics, a step up from Intel HD:

https://www.newegg.com/intel-boxnuc8i7beh1/p/N82E16856102209

https://www.newegg.com/intel-boxnuc7i5bnh/p/N82E16856102179?Description=nuc&cm_re=nuc-_-56-102-179-_-Product


Full blown laptops in a box or desktop in a small box:

https://www.amazon.com/ZOTAC-MAGNUS-EN51050-GeForce-ZBOX-EN51050-U-W2B/dp/B076HCPD1W


As for Hades Canyon, they represent the fastest true NUCs available. Represent technology more akin to a gaming console than normal system. I think they are neat, but overpriced. You can configure and buy one here:


Or buy from Amazon or Newegg, but then you will have to track down components and install everything.


I've exhausted every option I have ever looked at. Mini-STX appears to have died, though there is rumor of an AMD board coming soon. But that wouldn't be more impressive than the r5-2400g or r3-2200g, likely shrinks of AMDs olders style APUs they put in cheap laptops.
 
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logainofhades

Titan
Moderator
Barty/Eximo,

You guys have given me a lot to consider. I'm not sure there's much more you can do for me! I'll keep checking this thread, but I'm going to need to think things over. At $700 are we near considering any other NUC style PCs for about the same money that would run Sims 3 well?

If you are thinking closer to the $700 mark, something like this would work. The case is roughly the size of a console.

PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: AMD - Ryzen 5 1600 3.2 GHz 6-Core Processor ($119.50 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock - B450 GAMING-ITX/AC Mini ITX AM4 Motherboard ($109.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Team - T-Force Vulcan 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3200 Memory ($74.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Crucial - P1 500 GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive ($59.99 @ Amazon)
Video Card: PowerColor - Radeon RX 570 4 GB RED DRAGON Video Card ($129.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Silverstone - RVZ03 Mini ITX Desktop Case ($116.95 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair - CXM 550 W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-modular ATX Power Supply ($59.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $671.40
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-05-20 11:02 EDT-0400
 

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