I remember when you changed out your desktop computer every 18 months. Yet, I have been using the same computer now for the last 6 years. The AMD Phenom II 4-core processor has not failed me in those years of work. But now with newer chipsets and faster speeds, I can more than quadruple the power of my desktop. Therefore, I am off to start building a new machine – with one of the top AMD processors out there.
Why a Desktop? Why not a Laptop?
I have laptops that also do the job. While ultimately portable, the desktop has a level of adjustability. If I need to add a drive or card, I can do so rather easily.
I also like the idea of having a workstation. Sometimes that gets lost in a laptop. This corner is where I can focus and work with little distraction. I also like having multiple screens to work from, and this can be the best solution for that.
I also wanted to show you can get a high-end machine for around $500. A laptop of this power would cost $1,000 or more and does not have more than 4-cores to it. It cannot hold up to 32 GB of memory and definitely hold multiple hard drives. Even newer laptops are losing side ports to get smaller. I cannot connect 3 cameras, ethernet, an external monitor, secondary or tertiary audio (for Skype calls with mix-minus) into a laptop with one connector.
Most shocking: This computer will be one-twelfth the price of a Mac Pro with the same specs.
Video Streaming, Video Post-Production Desktop
Since I do a lot of video production, I need a desktop that can keep up bringing in and recording video. Software that can handle this task is great, but can only go so far on older equipment. This upgrade will allow me to do all the tasks on one machine – rather than 2-3 different ones.
As for post-production, I will be able to edit and render video while working on other projects, or just getting the material ready for posting.
Part I: Motherboard and Processor
There are two items for the first part of the build. I unbox and put together the motherboard and processor – heatsink combo.
To save money, I pulled an older computer case from the basement. Cases haven’t needed to change in the last 15 years because of their ability to adapt to most systems. I used to own an old IBM PS/2 tower case which held my older Pentium computers.
I got this motherboard because it still has one IDE port on it. That may sound weird, but there are times where that comes in useful. The backwards compatibility allows me to bring in cards that are a little outdated, yet still functional for my needs.
The 990 FXA-UD3 contains 4 memory slots for up to 32 GB of 1866 memory. 6 SATA connectors that support 6 GB drives by themselves or in a RAID 0, 1,10 configuration. 2 PCI Express x16 slots, 2 PCI Express slots, and 1 PCI slot for legacy hardware that you still need to run.
On-board contains USB 3.0, Firewire 400, and eSATA connections to external drives, mixing boards, and other devices. 1 GB LAN port to connect with the Internet or other IP-based cameras.
The 990FXA-UD3 also protects from humidity, overheating, static electricity and power failure. Using a MOSFET switch, the board can cut off if it starts to overheat.
Of course, the core of this build is about the processor. The AMD FX 8350 is an 8-core processor at 4.0 GHz and 16 MB cache. It can get up to 24% better frame rates in high resolutions, faster audio encoding for music, and can overclock to 5.0 Ghz for optimal performance.
The 8350 comes with a heatsink, which will work for what I am doing. If I choose to overclock the processor, I would want to get a water-cooled heatsink. However, with the proper cooling fan system, most video situations will do just fine with the 8-cores.