2013 Desktop Computer

With my 2008 desktop computer exhibiting spontaneous reboots and insufficient video support in my 2011 server computer (not to mention no audio support), I decided it was time to upgrade to the latest and greatest computer technology.

I selected parts for my 2013 desktop computer running Windows 7 Home Premium but paid the computer shop Memory Express for assembly and test. Prices are in CAD. Click the parts image for an enlarged view.

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Note the generous price beat policy offered by Memory Express. They beat the competitor's price by 25% of the difference from their own price. For example, the Cooler Master case is $59.99 at Memory Express. I found a competitor listing $42.20. Therefore, $42.20 - 0.25 x ($59.99 - $42.20) = $37.75. Kiev Lo at Memory Express provided me with excellent customer service in handling my questions and price beat requests, plus order fulfillment.

I went with the alternate computer case design of the Cooler Master N200 with a separate exhaust channel for the power supply which is mounted on the bottom of the case drawing fresh air from the bottom of the case and venting out the back without additionally venting hot air within the case (as is done in the top mounted power supply). So, the power supply fan is strictly for cooling the power supply while the case fan in the back vents hot air within the case. I disabled the front case fan because it adds significant noise and it is not needed for the very cool running system. The i3 CPU runs at low wattage which helps with less heat generation. In typical operation, the CPU temperature is 29C.

Seasonic power supplies are known for their high quality and low noise. Having used Seasonic power supplies in my 2008 and 2011 machines, I sought to continue with Seasonic. Since Memory Express does not carry Seasonic power supplies, I chose the next best option - the Antec HCG-520M power supply which is OEM by Seasonic.

Asus manufactures reliable and high quality motherboards and my prior ownership experience swayed me towards Asus once again. I chose the modestly priced Asus B85M-G motherboard because it has sufficient features for my needs (e.g. enough USB ports, no need for overclocking).

A major consideration was to get the 4th generation Haswell CPU with Intel HD 4600 graphics. For my non-gaming usage, I find the HD 4600 graphics support within the Haswell CPU to be more than sufficient.

After considerable analysis, I decided on the Intel Core i3 CPU because 2 cores (4 threads) are enough for my desktop computer usage. The performance to price ratio of the Intel Core i5 and i7 CPUs is not as good for my usage requirements. For example, see the CPU World performance analysis of the i3-4340 ($157 USD) compared to the i5-4430 ($187 USD).

Western Digital has been my choice for hard drives due to their high reliability and quiet operation. With the ownership experience of Western Digital drives in my 2008 and 2011 computers as well as earlier computers, going with Western Digital was an easy decision. For a few extra dollars, I went with the WD Caviar Black with 64-MB cache and 5-year warranty compared to the WD Caviar Blue with 16-MB cache and 2-year warranty.

Windows 7 Professional includes the Remote Desktop Server while Windows 7 Home Premium does not. Since this machine is used as my desktop computer, I do not need the Remote Desktop Server software component. Windows 7 Home Premium does have the Remote Desktop Client software component which allows me to access the 2011 server computer using Remote Desktop. Saves a few dollars going with Windows 7 Home Premium.

My Windows Experience Index (WEI) shows the hard drive is the lowest performing element in my system. Had I opted for Solid State Drive (SSD) technology, my disk performance WEI would be much higher (probably approaching 7.9, the maximum Windows 7 WEI). As far as SSD technology has progressed, the performance to price ratio is currently not acceptable for me. Furthermore, there are outstanding technological concerns on SSD failures (silent?), misbehavior of SSD firmware and the blunt reality that there is a finite number of writes to the storage technology.

The Samsung monitor purchased in 2008 along with my 2008 desktop computer has performed well and is still in use at the time of writing in December/2013.

A 4K Ultra HD monitor was added to this computer in Feb/2016.

See pictures of the parts in my 2013 desktop computer.

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