Friday, August 7, 2015

Superuser, Moderation, and Should I Bother

I just noticed tonight that an answer I did on has been moderated into oblivion. It had 17 up votes, earning a "Nice Answer" badge, so some people at least felt it was useful.

While I can understand the intention behind the aggressive pruning that occurs, it's just...really disheartening having put some effort into answering as best I could in a precise, useful way, only to have it shitcanned. Especially when to my way of thinking there were a number of things in the answer that would have more longevity than other questions that survive just fine on SU.

So, for posterity, here's my answer. The question was regarding any potential issues with the asker's new PC build, which included common parts like an i5-4570, Gigabyte B85M-D3H, Kingston RAM, GT610, WD Green, and a fairly crappy looking case/PSU combo.

There are a couple of general rules of thumb you should follow when speccing your machine:

  • Don't cheap out on the power supply. I have no idea what is included in that case (specs are not forthcoming), but the price is so much cheaper than many budget cases that come with no power supply, I'm inclined to think that it is very low quality. Unless you are in dire need to save money, look for a separate PSU like a Seasonic. Many Antec or Corsair PSUs are good, as are some Coolermaster or Thermaltake. If you need to get a case/PSU combo due to budget, look for something like the Thermaltake Versa series.

  • Current onboard graphics (which is built into the CPU and accessed via the ports on the motherboard) is better than a low-end GPU like the GT610. Age of Empires doesn't need much graphics power, so I think you'll be fine with onboard graphics. The disclaimer is perhaps you want a cheap GPU for experimentation purposes, targeting your software to particular graphics card or something.

  • The CPU and the GPU are the two biggest parts that determine what kind of power supply you need. The system as specced above will use <150W even at maximum load. A good quality 350-450W PSU is where you should be looking, unless you want to support upgrade to a high-end gaming graphics card in the future — if so, look for 500-600W.

  • The motherboard you have chosen can only run RAM at 1600MHz, so the 1866MHz will clock back to that anyway. You could get a 1600MHz with CL9 timings (lower the better for timings), only a very minor difference in performance though.

  • Most modern consumer CPU/motherboard use dual channel RAM, you will get a mild performance boost by getting 2x4GB of RAM.

  • Get an SSD if you can and install the OS/applications on it. Use the HDD for storage. SSDs are awesome, particularly if you do dual-boot, as they reduce boot times and application load times significantly.

  • If you can't get an SSD due to budget, don't use a 5400RPM hard drive like the Caviar Green as your boot drive, they are very slow. A WD Caviar Blue (for example) is a better option.

  • Consider a Virtual Machine for doing the Linux development if dual-booting gets annoying. Unfortunately VMs are bad for games, so you can't really do it the other way around. Alternatively, you could consider running the games under wine in Linux. AoE III for example appears to have pretty reasonable support. Dual-booting is pretty annoying in my experience if other options are available.


  • Since it's your first time putting one together too, I'd suggest watching a few videos on how to do it (search youtube for "how to build a computer" or similar). Will give you a feel for how everything fits together.

The whole thing is still available in the google cache in case anyone is particularly interested.

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