Backstory: Right now I've got two desktop PCs running in my office. One is my daily use/gaming PC running Windows 10 and has an ECS H61 motherboard and a Pentium G620 CPU, HD7750 GPU, ~240GB SSD, and 8GB DDR3. The second is my media server and is running Windows 7 (for MCE) and has an ECS H67 motherboard, i5-2500K CPU, ~240GB SSD, and 4GB DDR3 along with a couple of 1TB storage drives. Both have 450W Corsair Bronze PSUs.
I've got it in my mind that neither PC is really fully utilized, and I may as well upgrade and combine forces at the same time, but to hopefully do so in stages and in a cost effective manner. I'd like to come in under or around $300 for this stage of the project if possible.
At this point, I'm looking to purchase a motherboard and CPU combination, and (preferably) keep my existing RAM, GPU, SSD, and PSU for the time being, then upgrade those later as time and budget permits.
Also, since the OTA TV tuner I'm using is an HDHomeRun networked tuner and I have found a way to configure it to directly connect to the PC serving the video, ideally I'd like to find a motherboard with 2 NICs in order to take the TV-stream-to-server network traffic load off my router, since my network traffic has been getting pretty cluttered lately.
First, sanity check: am I crazy for trying to combine the media server function into my daily use PC (full disclosure: I pretty much only game on it once a week and the rest of the time it's just doing spreadsheets and web browsing).
Second, if I'm not crazy, what should I be looking for in a motherboard and CPU at this time?
Let's be real. You only browse the web for an hour a week
This would possibly allow you to upgrade RAM at the same time while only going slightly over budget. There is no guarantee that an XMP profile would work with this 8gig stick in addition to yours, but it should work if you just set it to auto or manually configure it.
When you say "upgrade" RAM you mean add 8GB? Since the RAM I have is already DDR3 1600 like the RAM in this kit?
Am I safe (future proof) in going to the LGA1150 platform instead of trying to go all the way to LGA1151?
Or go team red
As much as I have been a fan of AMD's products for many years now, I'm hesitant to go with a CPU that has 50% higher TDP.
Correct. As far as future proofing, I think solid hardware trumps features. If a mobo accepts next gen hardware, and it doesn't last to next gen, what's the point? I think for your purposes and budgets, proven hardware is the way to go.
So, in that case, is the 4690 enough of an upgrade over the 2500k to make the jump worthwhile, or should I wait it out on my current hardware, either trying to merge down the best hardware into the 2500k machine, or some other combo?
Personally, I'd stay put with the i5 2500k. Maybe try and overclock it. I had an i7 2600k that I killed and went with an i5 4690k. I can honestly say there wasn't much of a difference. I even lost some points in synthetic benchmarks.
In that case, how about a double sanity check:
Would it be reasonable to assume I can condense my best components down into one PC to serve up the media and serve as my day to day use machine? I believe the media server functions are really the key, the PC is often transcoding one or two raw MPEG-2 streams off of the HDHomeRun box to serve up to the various Rokus in the house. The reason I separated into two PCs originally is because my gaming had in the past interrupted playback on the media devices, though that's only once a week.
I think the reasoning behind separating the computers should still be considered. Gaming and encoding on something other than an i7 is going to be a PITA. I think it's better to update your gaming rig and leave the other one as is.
Yes. That i5 has more than enough horsepower. I'm using a 2600k for everything - gaming, media server, NAS, VMWare, etc. Doesn't even hiccup.
I'm guessing my issue was caused by something else in my setup, then. You're right that I've never really seen the limit of the 2500k's powers.
So here's my tentative plan:
Motherboard: H67 chipset (the better of the two, other is H61)
PSU: Corsair CX430M
RAM: 8GB DDR3 1600
OS Drive: OCZ ARC 100 SSD
Games Drive: Intel 530 SSD
Media Storage Drive: Ancient Spinny disk from existing Media PC
+Adding a PCI-E 1.0 GBE NIC for communication with the HDHomeRun TV tuner
Since I set the two PCs up initially, the software I use for my media (Emby) has added native support for the HDHomeRun TV tuners, so I can safely use Windows 10 with this setup instead of 7, because I'll no longer need Windows Media Center.
Should this setup realistically handle everything I use both PCs for currently?
I personally would consider a video card upgrade but other than that, I think it'll work just fine.
Video card for better hardware transcoding, gaming framerate, or both? I'm considering a video card upgrade at some point but have yet to be dissatisfied with the output of my current card in gaming at least.
I meant it for gaming.
Does your HDHomeRun use the video card to transcode?
I suspect some of the transcoding is being done by the card; I noticed my CPU utilization drop when I installed a discrete video card in the media PC.
Then I guess upgrade for both. You should check if the transcoding is better on Nvidia or AMD.
Transcoding is best on an Intel CPU with an app that uses QuickSync.
I just did some digging and found that Emby server does use QuickSync, and that the i5-2500K has the capability.
Why are you doing this? The onboard NIC should be sufficient.
If you are going to do a platform upgrade may as well abandon the DDR3 and go LGA1151 or wait for the AM4 and see if AMD can get back into the performance CPU game. Anything else is going to feel like a half measure.
Ah, I missed the important words.
Another aproach might be to add some kind of external networkong capability to your PC and just swap out the LGA 1155 CPU you have for an i5 around $200 or so?
At this point I think I'm sticking with the i5-2500k CPU and, as you suggested, waiting to do a platform upgrade once there is a clear reason to upgrade from this chip.