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Recommended upgrade

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  • Recommended upgrade


    Right now, I have an AMD A8-3850 processor, some cheap random motherboard. System info lists my graphics cards as:
    • Radeon HD 6550D
    • Mobility Radeon HD 5430

    One is part of the motherboard+CPU, while the other is a PCI-X X4 graphics card of some kind (cheap motherboard doesn't have PCI X16). I'm running Ubuntu Linux. The graphics card is fanless, and the power supply is low-noise. The CPU has a rather nice and expensive adjustable noise heatsink+fan (nicest I could find). The box is pretty quiet when idle -- much more so than typical desktops, but I'd prefer quieter if possible. It's noisy when not idle.

    Now, I have a few issues:
    1. The graphics cards run into issues with my monitors (I have a 4 monitor setup, at 3x 1080p and 1x 2560x1440). If I do something graphics-intensive, X sometimes crashes.
    2. The system itself locks up occasionally. I don't know why.
    3. The CPU is a bit slower than I would like for the things that I do. 90% of what I do is compiling programs, so single-threaded integer operations.
    4. The system is a bit noisy when running high-CPU programs.
    5. The system makes a bit more heat than I'd like it to.

    I never to 3d graphics.

    I'm wondering if there's anything better out there to upgrade to. Fanless graphics cards, faster single-threaded integer performance, lower noise, and lower-power would be ideal. I'd obviously prefer cheaper to more expensive, but I'm not overly price-sensitive. Good Linux support is essential (and free/open drivers preferred; I'm running ATI proprietary to do my 4 monitor setup right now).

    Any suggestions?

  • #2
    If price isn't the main factor, then the newer Intel chips have better single threaded performance. About double the performance of your current CPU at about 20% less wattage.

    Note that some compilers are well threaded. So don't assume you only want single threaded for software development.

    I don't do a lot of work in Linux, and not on 4 screens. So I can't give any good advice in this area.

    If you aren't already doing so, get a SSD. It improves development productivity significantly.


    • #3
      I do have an SSD. Sadly, the build process where I work is not threaded. It's web development, so the files are quite independent, and it easily have been made so.

      Do you have specific recommendations for specific processors? A lot of them have rather high TDPs, or rather poor performance, and TDP is not necessarily represenative of idle power (which is at least as important). It's hard to compare TDP/price/performance with so many choices out there, and such poor search tools.


      • #4
        If I was buying a machine for professional software development (as I often am) I would get either the Intel Core i7-4770 or the Intel Core i5-4670 at the moment.

        I pick these because they are easily available from different stores, have good performance, are the latest generation and they potentially support up to 3 displays without a additional video card (depending on the motherboard). Not having an additional video card is a big win in terms of heat and thus fan noise.