2018 Guide to Building A Computer for Non-gamers (designers and computer engineers)
- Products Review
- 21 Dec, 2017
Current instructions mainly teach customers how to assemble game computer games, giving less consideration to configuration demands for design, programming, film editing, modeling, and other non-gamer uses.
As a gamer over past years, I was careful when providing suggestions for non-gamer computer configurations. On one hand, I seldom use design software. On the other hand, opinions of other computer users on the Internet appear sharply divergent from over several aspects, such as [which CPU designers should select in face of high basic frequency processors and multicore processors], [which is the best choice among core graphics cards, game graphics cards and professional graphics cards], and [what the memory capacity shall be]. I have never seen publicly-recognized instructions on these aspects before.
This article has put an end to the blank in instructions for non-gamer configurations.
The author would teach non-gamers how to improve their working efficiency by setting out appropriate computer configurations.
Computers for the gamer and non-gamer uses mainly vary in CPUs, RAMs, hard disks, motherboards and graphics cards.
- CPU: CPU serves as a core part for non-gamer uses. Various unit process, rendering, and modelings are dependent on CPU operations. Indeed, rendering is processed by CP, not the graphics card.
Should users choose a high basic frequency processor or a multicore processor? This article would suggest users to take account of them at the same time. The answer seems meaningless. In fact, basic frequency determines performance of processors in case they have same number of internal cores. However, functions of processing cores shall not be ignored, because processors with multiple processing cores show better support for software framed on basis of multicore and multithreading technologies. Common operations in design are well supported by multicore processors, such as multicore rendering.
For gamers, basic frequency plays a key role. For non-gamers, basic frequency and multicore shows equal importance in operations. Non-gamers often operate several software at the same time, so this article suggest non-gamers to make a balance between basic frequency and multicore when choosing processors. For example, in comparison with I7 7700K which is known for its high basic frequency, Ryzen 7 1700 would be a better choice.
Ryzen and Intel extreme editions are mainstream choices for multicore and multithreading processors. However, the extreme editions are no longer prime choice for users because of their lagged updates, lower basic frequency and less cores.
If users have no requirements for basic frequency or number of internal cores, they could select appropriate CPUs according to their actual demands.
To be noticed, programming software has no strict requirement for CPU in general conditions. For a programmer who loves playing games, he or she should select a CPU with higher basic frequency to cope with game demand.
- RAM: it is unnecessary to stress on importance of RAMs, because both designers and programmers know well about them.
An 8G RAM would be acceptable for various design software. If planning to improve working efficiency, you would better choose a RAM of above 16G. It is better to choose a RAM as large as possible for various design software. Those who have no financial worries shall choose a 64G RAM.
Users shall know that 100/200 motherboards support a maximum memory capacity of 64G and X99 motherboard support a maximum memory capacity of 128G. Users usually can’t determine whether they would need RAMs of 64G or 128G, so it is suggested to buy single chips of 16G. They are cheaper than those memory sets. In addition, they can be easily upgraded in future (the following part will give detailed introduction to upgrading)
If having no enough budget in face of surging price of RAMs, users shall consider high frequency RAMs to improve overall performance of computers. Although higher frequency RAMs perform poorly than larger RAMs in improvement the overall performance, half a loaf is better than no bread.
- Hard disk: There is no need to say more about importance of SSDs. After buying a laptop equipped with SSD, the author is reluctant to use the one equipped with a mechanical hard disk.
For the discussion over whether to use SSD or SSD+HDD, I would always prefer the first one. Although it is more expensive, its excellent performance deserves its price. In fact, it is hard for SSDs to achieve their designed life span. In contrary, mechanical hard disks which can be erased and written for infinite times often break down in 1 or 2 years due to bad sectors. Their actual life span appears shorter than that of SSDs.
For users who keep computers open for 24*7, it is dangerous to just use SSDs. WD Purple is a better choice for long term standby computers. If planning to store numerous classified files without guarantee of large cloud drive and backup disks, users shall have a mechanical disk to secure their data.
Personally speaking, I expect the arrival of cloud era, because it has outstanding support for work coordination, data security, and storage backup.
- Motherboards: it is strange to talk about motherboards here. No one ever heard about motherboards specially produced for design purposes.
To our surprise, there is such a motherboard. If looking up product catalogues of Asus, Gigabyte and MSI, you will find such products.
(Asus TUF Z270 MARK 1)
（MSI X99A SLI PLUS）
MSI which is a traditional producer of game motherboards even has such a product. It has been beyond my imagination.
Gigabyte named its design motherboards as Designare.
（Gigabyte X99-Designare EX）
Indeed, these motherboards are not designed for gamers. Producers give no detailed descriptions about their game characteristics. Their names show no hints about gaming. Game motherboards often attach importance to attractive appearance, high performance network cards and game boosters. As contrast, the motherboards for design use often focus on durability and stability, so producers improve their quality by optimizing circuits and cooling design.
For designers and programmers, it is unnecessary to buy these excessively expensive design motherboards by adding up their budget. In my opinion, they just need to pay attention to the following three aspects when choosing motherboards.
The first factor to be considered shall be durability. It is not serious concern if uses choose products of Asus, Gigabyte and MSI.
Second, users shall give consideration to number and extensibility of interfaces. If your boss asks you to copy a file and your computer is only equipped with a front USB 2.0 interface and a back USB 3.0 interface, you will finish the work until the next day, which may get u fired. Sometimes, you even need to uplift your ass to find the USB interface. If your boss uses type-c cables, dare you refuse him and ask him to find resources on Baidu Cloud. In case of having enough budget and planning to have a try of the new tech, it will be a better choice to choose a 200 motherboard with USB 3.1 interface.
In addition, storage interfaces shall meet demands of individuals. Enough SATA interfaces enable users to extend their storage capacity. M.2 and PCI E X4 can also meet users’ demands for high-speed storage.
The third factor to be considered shall be audio device. As a music editing amateur, I suggest users to buy metal shield and high-end built-in sound cards. Although a high-end sound card may be less use than outstanding headphones, it could bring users psychological comfort.
- Graphics cards: at finally, this article would talk about the controversial hardware. The author put this part at the end, because selection of graphics cards is the most important park for non-gamers to set out computer configurations.
First, users need to understand what’s the use of graphics cards in design. In fact, the design process seldom involves graphics cards, because graphics cards are mainly used to display graphic interfaces and provide overviews. Therefore, computers for design uses hold no highly requirement for graphics cards. It can be found from graphics cards of MacBook.
There are also exceptions. Software for real-time rendering or dynamic rendering usually hold strict requirements for graphics cards. For example, 3D game design software holds higher requirements for graphics cards. When proving overviews, the software need to a high-performance graphics card just like playing games.
To be noticed, lots of software supports GPU hardware acceleration, which means the computer could improve operation speed by operational performance of GPU. Core graphics cards also support GPU acceleration now.
For users whose work never involves real-time rendering, graphics cards are less important part for a computer.
I didn’t think it necessary to use professional graphics cards. Those graphics cards are just certified products. For example, some functions of Adobe Photoshop need support of GPU, so users must buy graphics cards which have been certified.
(From Adobe website)
It can be found some products of NVIDA GeForce family provide no support for foresaid functions of Adobe Photoshop. For example, graphics cards of the 8 family are not certified officially. Only two mobile version graphics cards of 9 family are certified. However, those of the Quadro family have all passed the certification. It is the same for AMD.
Game graphics cards are provided with updates to fix bugs of games. Sometimes, producers upgrade their algorithm to improve image quality of games and fluency of operation. Similarly, professional graphics cards also try to optimize software to improve fluency and effect. Have you ever heard GTX 1050 turned into GTX 1080 just by updates? The key point for graphics cards is their core performance.
According to insiders, GPUs of professional graphics cards are the same with those of game graphics cards. With the development of computer games, game graphics cars also witnessed growth in their performance. Therefore, game graphics cards are also excellent matches for design work.
On the other hand, most designers declare to buy a computer for work, but it is for sure they will snatch a little leisure from a busy life. It shall be noticed gaming performance of professional graphics cards appear poorer than that of core graphics cards. Are you sure to give up Dravenize? I suggest users choose game graphics cards according to their actual demands. If planning to assemble to the computer just for work without playing any game, you can spar your budget for a professional graphics card after buying CPU, RAM, and hard disk.
For sure, users can buy a Titan X and a K5000 for both work and leisure uses if having enough budget.
These two graphics cards only cost about $3000.
To sum up, for non-gamers, they should make a balance between frequency and multicore of CPU while ensuring large RAM, efficient SSD, and stable motherboard with outstanding durability and extensibility for both work and game uses.