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[Discussion] My own personal guide to used hardware alternatives.

Hi there. My name is Jeff. I've been building systems for the better part of 15 years and try my best to contribute here actively. After being involved in this little community for a few years now, I'm noticing a serious lack of discussion about buying used components, and I feel like it's time to shed a little light on the subject for those looking to build on a (seriously) tight budget.
As Linus said in his scrapyard wars video, buying new on $300 isn't practical, and if you posed the challenge to him on a random day, buying used is almost certainly the path he'd choose. As someone who's been "scrapyarding" as a hobby for the better part of 10 years, I figured I'd take some time to share some of what I've learned for the modern audience.
Let's begin with a simple rundown of modern "budget" choices, and I'll tell you what I'd do instead.
CPU
The G3258 and Athlon 860k are the sub-$100 CPUs of choice, and both work just fine. I have built with both in the past, and each carries their own set of advantages.
Used Alternatives: You can go in a couple of directions here; if you happen to have an LGA 1366 motherboard lying around, you can get an i7 920 or better for under $50, and they still hold up reasonably well. Being that LGA 1366 boards are not typically cheap when purchased used, my favourite option is the Phenom II x4 Black Edition series, each of which compare favourably to modern budget options, and will even overclock on some incredibly dated, dirt cheap AM2+ boards. In my experience, eBay prices on these get a little too high for my taste, but I've been able to nab several on Kijiji locally in Toronto for under $50 as well.
GPU
The R7 260x and GTX 750 ti are often cited as budget options for most builders, with the latter serving a very specific role in systems where power draw might be a concern. While there exists no option that can complete with the low consumption of the 750 ti (or even the single 6-pin connector goodness of the 260x), its performance can easily be matched (and exceeded) for less money.
Used Alternatives: The bitcoin mining craze from a few years back led to the Radeon 7950 and 7970 being blacklisted on the used market, and I think the fears about burned-out cards are a little overblown. Here in Toronto, you can easily grab a 7950 for the price of a 260x, but I don't pay anywhere near that for my builds. At most, a Windforce will cost me $125, as where I recently picked up some non-boost edition PowerColor versions for a mere $83 each (bought 3 for $250).
EDIT: Forgot to mention something important - avoid the reference 7950 and 7970. They were employed to a far greater degree in mining rigs because of their rear-only exhaust, and if you see a bunch of them from the same seller listed at once, they're likely old mining cards. Only pick them up if they're incredibly cheap.
Want to go even cheaper? The Radeon 6950 (with the shader unlock, preferably) or even the 6970 will rival the performance of the 260x, and shouldn't cost Canadians more than $50-$60. I personally have 2 in my possession right now, and have gone through at least a dozen in the last 6 months.
In general, one should always avoid Nvidia when buying used, because they are far too popular and overvalued for their performance as they age. I still see GTX 660s selling for $150, which is absolutely absurd.
Motherboards
Motherboards on the used market are weird, and this can largely be attributed to the fact that they're hard to transport and don't handle well over time. As such, people don't really sell boards on their own that often, and you'll likely have more luck finding a combo of some kind (or even a ready-to-go tin-can with no graphics card) for less per part than you will finding a given board on its own.
Used Alternatives: The boards I'd recommend depend entirely on the CPU you've chosen. Being that I'm a fan of the Phenom II x4 series, AM2+ boards are going to be dirt cheap, but DDR2 RAM is actually fucking expensive, so you'd likely be better off going with AM3. I've even seen some used AM3+ boards (The 970 ASRock Extreme3, in particular) for as low as $40, so it wouldn't hurt to look.
On the Intel side, you're actually at a significant disadvantage. Much like Nvidia cards, Intel boards (and CPUs) actually retain their value and don't often come cheap. For me, LGA 1156 is the price/performance sweet spot, granted I can find an i7 8XX to go with it. Even still, they're going to run you a fair bit more than an AMD board, and likely aren't worth it by comparison.
RAM
Ram is ram. DDR2 is pricy as fuck due to an obvious market shortage of the stuff, so the AM2+ board option might not be best by comparison. DDR3 ram, however, is ubiquitous, and I always die a little inside when people building on a "budget" choose to buy new at all. If I'm being honest, I can get DDR3 ram from e-waste recycling companies for as low as $10 per 4GB stick, at 1333MHz, and not once have I ever had a bad stick of the stuff. Even for people going the route of the G3258 (which only supports 1333MHz), this is the clear winner.
Is value RAM ugly as sin? Sure it is. It is just as good as that fancy Ripjaws shit you've got in your current build? You betcha.
Storage
Hard Drives are actually a tricky game, as they are the single most volatile component in any budget build, easily succumbing to wear and tear from age and daily use. As such (and some might find this hard to believe) I actively avoid HDDs when building value systems for people and opt for cheap SSDs instead. As always, check the date on a drive if you're really insistent on buying one, and considering how cheap a WD blue is new, don't pull the trigger on one unless it's for less than $30/TB.
SSDs are obviously (akin to RAM) highly resilient and are nearly guaranteed to work when purchased used. The average SSD pulled from an old laptop or an office off-lease desktop, will have no more than 100GB of writes on it, which leaves 99% of its life for you to exploit. While there exists no specific recommendation for which brand to buy, just be sure you're getting a relatively good drive with SATA III capability. 120/128GB variants of these sorts should cost you no more than $50 in my native Canada, and I've even gotten lucky on some larger sizes too. Recently I picked up 4 256GB Samsung 840 Pros for $75 each (I came), just days after I bought a Crucial MX100 of the same size for $85.
Monitors
Monitors are fun to buy, because the recent shifts in display technology have rendered a lot of recent-but-obsolete models nearly valueless. For example, remember when 16:10 was a thing? I actually still like 1680x1050 monitors, but the rest of the world seems to disagree, so I've been able to pick up 23" variants for as little as $40. Being that the slightly lower resolution actually eases the strain on your VRAM a bit, it's a nice fit for a lot of budget cards that might not have a full 2GB available, like some variants of the 6950. 1600x900 monitors are often just as cheap and come with the same inherent benefit of being obsolete despite being almost as good as its bigger 1080p cousin.
Keyboards and Mice
If you're on a budget, we can't even have this discussion. As much as I like mechanical keyboards and high-precision gaming mice, people building used $300 systems aren't going to allot any of their budget buying them. That said, wired USB keyboards and mice are virtually free (search your local goodwill or value village for some), and if you have to pay money, buy a wireless combo for $20 new from some little shit store in a suburb somewhere.
Cases
Cases on their own sell for about half of their original retail price, give or take based on the condition. I normally just get them as a part of a tin-can bundle and make use of them if they aren't too dirty, but when building for someone else, I'd often just prefer to buy a new budget case in the $40 range.
PSUs
I saved this topic for last, because it's by far the most difficult category to master. First off, you really need to do your research and understand how PSUs work before delving into these guys, as the cost associated is almost entirely dependent on how resilient the underlying platform has been proven to be. Generally speaking, reading reviews on JonnyGuru and HardOCP is a great start, but none of them account for units that are several years old.
As a general rule of thumb, I use the EVGA 500W W1 as a reference point, and build my value tree around that. In other words, if a new EVGA 500W (a passable, proven budget unit) is cheaper than a used 500W variant of a better brand, why would I bother buying used? Sure, that 520W Seasonic S12II puts the EVGA to shame in terms of voltage regulation and ripple suppression, but can I really make the same claims of a unit that's 5 years into its life? Wouldn't I just be safer buying new? These are all factors you have to consider.
For me, the threshold lies around 50% in terms of cost savings vs. risk. In other words, if you can find a used quality unit for less than half the price of the cheapest quality unit available at a given time, buy it.
Anyhow I think that covers everything. And as a closing note, remember to be safe. Meet potential sellers (and buyers) in public, well-lit places, and try your best to avoid entering someone's home without some protections in place. Also, the more info you get about the person (address, phone number, etc) the less likely it is that a person will be trying to scam you. People who purposely conceal their identity do so for a reason.
Also, feel free to ask me anything about my own experiences buying and selling used. I've been doing it as a hobby for a long, long time and have sold many value builds to people who can't otherwise afford PCs. I'm happy to impart any wisdom I might've gained over the years.
Edit: CPU Coolers! Forgot those. Air coolers are a safe bet. They're slabs of copper and aluminum with fans strapped to them. Buy with confidence, and seek one out for $10-$15 if you plan to overclock. AIO water cooling is not so safe. Those things are typically only good for 2-3 years, and you have no idea how much longer a pump has before it gives. Budget builders likely aren't water-cooling anyhow, right?
Edit 2: Just to be clear, when I said I'd been doing this for a long time, I should clarify that a) I once owned a game store and sold systems out of there and b) I currently resell systems out of my house to raise money for charity builds. I really don't want people to get the impression I'm trying to sell anything.
submitted by Oafah to buildapc [link] [comments]

[Build Help] Dedicated Rig with 4x 7970 or 4x 7950 for Bitcoin Mining. [x-post from /r/bitcoin]

Hey Guys,
I built my first rig using the advise you guys gave me - a GTX680 gaming rig. It is however extremely inefficient for mining Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies.
I wish to build a great ATI rig and put together two different set ups which essentially come down to a 4x7950 vs 4x7970. (it's almost impossible to get a 6990 let alone 4 of em).
Here are the tentative builds here. (I used pcpartpicker)
4x7970: [2] http://pcpartpicker.com/usedracodraconis/saved/1snT 4x7950: [3] http://pcpartpicker.com/usedracodraconis/saved/1sqM
Note that while the 7950 setup would have a lower hash rate, it also uses about 200W less power overall. I suppose, this may have a net benefit on electricity savings in the long run.
I am willing to spend a good amount of cash in pursuing this but want to be prudent about it as well. Would there be any way to optimize either build even further? I.e. cost savings/performance boost etc?
Also, is there a need for a riser card with my specific mobo? Will there be any notable difference in performance with/without it? If so, is there a particular brand I should get?
For reference values on bitcoin hash rates, see here: [4] https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Mining_hardware_comparison
It might seem like a pity to hook this up to a monitor and game on it, so I might do that at some stage :)
Here is the thread on /Bitcoin
Also, do you guys know of any video tutorials which show how to set up a 4way CrossFireX system? :D
Thanks for this guys, and apologies for the long post! Cheers!
submitted by badboyant to buildapc [link] [comments]

[Build Help] bitcoin miner for $1000

Assuming bitcoin value increases over time, I'm willing to lose money in the short run when it comes to electricity costs vs value of bitcoins mined, but the real constraint is overall system cost. Is it possible to put together a bitcoin miner for under $1000 that can do the job well?
I saw that Tom's had a review of workstation cards showing poor performance by Kepler GPUs:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gtx-660-geforce-gtx-650-benchmark,3297-19.html
so it's clear that a 7950 or 7970 is the way to go. Here's my first shot at a build:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks
Type Item Price
CPU Intel Core i5-3570 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor $208.79 @ Amazon
Motherboard ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard $69.99 @ Amazon
Memory Corsair Vengeance LP 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory $43.99 @ Amazon
Storage Western Digital Caviar Green 1TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive $72.35 @ Amazon
Video Card Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card $399.99 @ Amazon
Case Cooler Master Elite 342 (Black) MicroATX Mini Tower Case w/400W Power Supply $62.93 @ Amazon
Power Supply Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply $44.99 @ Amazon
Total
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available. $903.03
Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-03-19 09:02 EDT-0400
questions -
In my build I assumed the answer to these questions was No, Not very, No, and No, to save cost. But I could be wrong.
your thoughts?
submitted by azizhp to buildapc [link] [comments]

HD7970 vs R9 280X - Which should you Buy? Gaming On The Radeon HD 7970 In 2020 Litecoin mining farm 10+MK/s 7970, 7950, R9 290, 290x, bitcoin rig, ASIC GTX 670 Vs HD 7950.... Who Wins in 2019...!? ASUS HD 7970 Direct CU II Review & Benchmark

thilanliyan, I guess it depends if you still intend to play videogames should Bitcoin mining collapse. If you do, it still makes sense to trade up HD6950s into a 7950/7970. The single GPU delivers more consistent framerates without micro-stutter and SLI/CF profiles that are necessary to extract maximum value from 2+ GPUs. I just don't agree at all that the 7950 or 7970 are better products or offer as much value at their current price points as the 670 or 680. Until a 660 or 650 card is released I think AMD has the best value at the moment with the 7850 at its current price point. The CoinDesk 20 provides real-time prices, news, videos and educational content on the digital assets moving the crypto market, from BTC to TRX. GPU and CPU Benchmarks for Monero Mining. Checkout RandomX Benchmarks for AMD Ryzen, EPYC, Intel, Opteron and Xeon and others. $600-$1200 Hybrid Gaming HTPC and Mini Bitcoin/

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HD7970 vs R9 280X - Which should you Buy?

ASUS Matrix Radeon HD 7970 Platinum Video Card Review NCIX Tech Tips - Duration: 6:29. ... Leaked Documents Show the REAL Price of FREE! Must watch!!! - Duration: 26:24. CareyHolzman 29,528 views. With most selling from anywhere between $100 and $150, is the AMD Radeon HD 7970, once the companies flagship GPU, still worth buying? Just two years after it's initial launch the 7970 was re ... Back in 2012 when both these cards were released, it was Kepler vs GCN and they both performed close to one another. Though fast forward 7 years to 2019, and has the HD 7950 outgrown its old ... AMD's aging budget graphics card - the Radeon HD 7970. It's got some miles on it but with 3 GB of video memory can it hold up to some modern gaming titles here in 2020? If you enjoy today's video ... bitcoin 6 gpu rig bitcoin 7970 bitcoin 7950 bitcoin 7850 bitcoin 7870 bitcoin 7990 bitcoin 7790 ... Bitcoin Value Distribution by Age from January 2009 to May 16, 2014 - Duration: 3:23.

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