Desktop PC Rebuild 2022

20 Aug, 2022 | Tech

I wasn't really struggling with my desktop computer, but looking through the archives I noticed the last one I built was seven years ago. Let that sink in for a second -- I built a pretty budget PC and it's done the job for seven years. That's a lifetime in computing.

So I opted for a similar approach this time around.


Looking back at the previous build, I could largely copy and paste:

As previously mentioned, silent meant fanless ideally. My previous machine has been running that way, with the only noise coming from a laptop HDD I used for additional storage.

I decided to opt for a bigger SSD this time and drop the HDD.

Hardware specs

After some hunting around, I settled on:

Total: £298 (£390 with additional RAM and SSD)

The initial build costs were actually lower than my previous one. Or about the same when you consider I bought a case last time as well.

The extra RAM was added as WSL2 was eating so much of it (more on that in a later post) and the extra SSD so I could try Linux as a daily driver (more on that later too). Whether I actually needed the extra RAM...

The G7400 is another low-tier processor, but added 500Mhz to the clockspeed of my previous G3258, plus two additional threads, and offers a passmark score nearly 70% higher. All with a lower TDP (46W to 53W).

Alder Lake was new enough that budget motherboards were hard to find. The one I chose did have the benefit of NVMe slots (two) so I could use that rather than fit an exra 2.5" drive in the case.

I opted for the the Samsung in mainly because my previous SSD has been solid and their SSDs come well regarded. The 2.5" form factor was markedly cheaper than the NVMe version (well, only the 970 was available, at around £80). In hindsight, I should have just opted for another Kioxia (made by Toshiba).

As the CPU is so low power, the fanless coolers that are super expensive aren't really needed. Even my previous Zalman FX70 was overkill (with fan removed). The i35 is a smaller, but still sizeable, lump of aluminium and does the job fine, plus it's cheap. My CPU sits around 50° most of the time (measured using the sensors command in the Linux terminal).


I hadn't run into any issues with the previous machine for my day-to-day use cases to be honest, so no problems with the new one so far. It feels quick enough and would only struggle if I elected to game or do other CPU intensive tasks.

Power consumption

Measured before the additional RAM and SSD were added, it was idling in the 20-25W range under Windows. Though it fluctuated from mid-teens to 40W though. So roughly 33% lower than the previous machine (measured unscientifically).

Sleeping, it draws 2W, which is about the same as it draws when off.

All measured from the wall socket.


No moving parts, so absolutely silent. The power LED is the only way to tell it's on.

That said, my speakers had a ground loop issue initially (moving the USB port that powers them sometimes solves it).


Regular computer uses, even developers are covered by even budget hardware these days, and have been for some time. Apple has shown that ARM processors aren't just capable enough, they're able to take on the x86 chips, so I'm hoping my next PC might be ARM-powered and offer even better power savings. I'm not holding my breath on that though.

SSDs make everything feel snappier. Although you probably don't need the speed of an NVMe unless you're shifting a lot of data around. They do make for neat machines though (saves a power and data cable).

I also advocate for plenty of RAM. You can get away with a lot less than I have, but 16GB is rapidly becoming the minimum, and RAM is always faster than disk, even if it is an SSD. So save money on your processor, spend it on RAM, an SSD and, if you're a gamer, your GPU.

See you in another seven years...