Quiet workstation build (Core i3 or A10)

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Boomerang Rapido
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Quiet workstation build (Core i3 or A10)

Post by Boomerang Rapido » Sun Aug 18, 2013 10:12 am

Planning on building a new system and can't quite decide om whether to go with Intel or AMD.

It will be used for office work and web browsing. Building with gaming in mind makes no sense seing as the games I bought in the last two years are still collecting dust on the shelf :)

Quite frankly I'm not really in the market for a 250$ CPU so I'm looking into either a Core i3 or an AMD A10.

I plan on the following:
Case: Cooler Master Silencio 352
HDD: 128 gigabyte SSD (Samsung, Plextor, OCZ)
Motherboard: depending on CPU
CPU: Core i3-3240 or AMD A10-5700
Cooling: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo or Noctua NH-L12

Will the Core i3 suffice for day to day work?

Any Motherboard recommendations? For Intel an H77 model will easily do what I need it to.

Edit: In case it makes a difference, I plan on running Ubuntu on this system.

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Re: Quiet workstation build (Core i3 or A10)

Post by Pappnaas » Sun Aug 18, 2013 10:40 am

A10-5XXX is not to recommend, because A10-6XXX models use less power and perform better.

But any A10 will consume about 40-70Watt more@full load than any i3. While performance seems to be roughly on par, power consumption is the big difference.

Personally it's the power consumption which makes me not to want any AMD CPU today. Prices per Kw/h nearly doubled over the last few years in germany, in idle there's no big difference, but when taxed AMD CPUs use punishingly more power to achieve the same performance.

I thought about going AMD with an FX6300 CPU, but i do have a cube case which i definitly want to keep, so i'd need a mATX mobo with USB3 and AM3+. But alas, afaik there is no decent AM3+ mobo with USB3 and SATAIII for a price comparable to H77 or H87 mATX boards.

So AMD fails double, once for their power hungry CPUs and second for not being able to deliver a decent mATX board.

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Re: Quiet workstation build (Core i3 or A10)

Post by CA_Steve » Sun Aug 18, 2013 11:42 am

Honestly, if all you are doing is web browsing and MS-Office-like apps, any CPU from the last 5 years will work well. You don't even need an i3. An Ivy Bridge Pentium or a mid-grade AMD will do. They'll both use similar power at this level of utilization. As for Ubuntu, you might want to wander Phoronix for best compatibility of mobo's.

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Re: Quiet workstation build (Core i3 or A10)

Post by johannes » Sun Aug 18, 2013 9:09 pm

If you go for an AMD APU, there are plenty of good micro ATX boards, the problem Pappnaas mentioned exists only for FX-series processors. And while AMD's 65 and 100W APUs use more power on full load than 55W Pentium processors, the difference for idle and light use (i.e. browsing, office work) should not be big enough to discard AMD for this reason alone.

That being said: I second the recommendation for Intel's Pentium series processors. At a price of ~50€ for a G2020 there is no cost reason for AMD and Intel has official open-source Linux graphics drivers. [1]

[1] AMD supports the development of the open-source driver, but things like graphics power saving will only arrive in the soon to be released Linux 3.11. Intel just works out of the box.

Mr Spocko
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Re: Quiet workstation build (Core i3 or A10)

Post by Mr Spocko » Mon Aug 19, 2013 2:32 am

I don't see the AMD problem really there are a range of micro ATX boards around, I've used a few ASrock ones for budget builds on AM3+, you can pay a little more and get USB 3 if you want, other than that I've pushed out some quite decent budget builds for the FX processors on AM3+.

FX6300 is overkill for any office pc, it's aimed more at bang per buck users who want more threaded performance (such as video and photo work). As for power consumption the one's I've used undervolt very well actually, they're not hard processors to keep cool at all really.

I'd agree something like a Pentium or even an Athlon II x2 (also undervolts like a champ) or maybe one of the cheaper AMD APU's will be just great for office/multimedia work. I don't see the reason to look at a higher end board here, not for this type of build. I usually use Gigabyte of ASrock for budget builds and I've not had any issues to report. Even budget boards have voltage/overclocking options nowadays and the quality had improved with more solid caps and a more refined board layout.

Right now the FX6300 is probably the best price/performance CPU on the market, and with my own experience of using them I can't really suggest the i3 making much sense. The reason for looking at the APU range is if you want the graphics performance built in, it can work well for some users (ie games) but for performance I tend to use the FX ones. Depends on the users needs.

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Re: Quiet workstation build (Core i3 or A10)

Post by kuzzia » Mon Aug 19, 2013 4:14 am

I agree with all of the suggestions made regarding the CPU. An i3 is overkill. I'd consider an AMD A4 or A6 or an Intel Pentium or Celeron. It must at least have two cores, however.

Your usage will not make the CPU dissipate much heat so a cheap & quiet CPU cooler such as the Arctic Cooling Alpine 11 Pro (approx. 15 USD) would satisfy your needs. I can't hear my AC Alpine 11 Pro cooling my triple-core AMD CPU (95 W) and I usually game a lot.

The new Samsung 840 EVO looks very promising and cheap too. I'd definitely consider that one.

Though 4 GB should be enough, I'd choose 8 GB since RAM is quite cheap these days. Samsung has an application that can make the 840 EVO utilize 1 GB of RAM for caching purposes.

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