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$450 High-Performance mTurk Desktop

Discussion in 'Help & Guides' started by Totally Not Salem, Oct 24, 2017.

  1. Totally Not Salem

    Totally Not Salem Survey Slinger

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    With Coffee Lake coming out, I figured I'd make a small guide to help people who are building a work computer get the best bang for their buck, as well as lay the foundation for some upgrades.

    This is the list I put together:

    https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/2IUJ5G3PKP0D5

    It's in Amazon Wishlist form because, of course, we all live, eat, and breathe all things Amazon.

    TL;DR, The system is currently:
    - The latest i3.
    - A cheap-but-reputable case/PSU combo.
    - 8GB of RAM, spread across two sticks to take advantage of multi-channel RAM but still leave room for further RAM upgrades.
    - A Z370 motherboard (No particular preference. The included one was included because it's relatively inexpensive).

    For reference, in case anyone is curious, these are the 2 desktop setups I currently use for mTurk:
    Main: https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/134DFOAJZ3ST4
    Secondary: https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/1BISWZN24KGGG
     
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    Last edited: Oct 24, 2017
  2. ChrisTurk

    ChrisTurk Administrator

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    I started putting this together in PCPartPicker, and I don't keep up with stuff much, but this popped up:
    upload_2017-10-24_15-22-52.png

    https://pcpartpicker.com/list/dVpLM8

    :dunno:

    I assume its nothing given the new technology, but throwing it out there for folks looking to build because PCPP has always been good to me.
     
  3. Totally Not Salem

    Totally Not Salem Survey Slinger

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    Had no idea they finally changed pin standards.

    Fixed.

    Bumped up the cost by $50 to compensate for the increase in price caused by using new tech.
     
  4. Totally Not Salem

    Totally Not Salem Survey Slinger

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  5. total

    total Well-Known Turker

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    Don't forget to include the other costs of building a desktop. Some may not want their old hardware, it may not work optimally, or they may not have had a desktop in the first place.

    Consider adding recommendations for:
    • HDD/SSD
    • Mouse
    • Monitor
    Additionally, include the cost for:
    • Keyboard
    • Operating system
    Many of these things vary widely, but I'm sure you can figure out a reasonable average cost.
     
  6. Totally Not Salem

    Totally Not Salem Survey Slinger

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    Drive:

    This is a system upgrade post, so I was torn on this. A lot of people want to keep their drive, and whatever I suggest as an upgrade might not have the right capacity to clone the data.

    You can get an SSD for as little as $30 to boot from, and if you've never used an SSD, I recommend buying one and trying it out. They've become a lot cheaper and rock-solid compared to how they used to be.

    OS:

    Windows 10 works well without a key, with the only real restrictions being a nag message in the corner, and the inability to change your desktop background. If you want to buy a copy, a legit single-system copy is $30 (this is what my secondary desktop is using) from here:

    https://www.kinguin.net/category/19429/windows-10-professional-oem-key/

    Keyboard, mouse, monitor:

    If you're upgrading your computer from another desktop, you probably already have these.

    If you don't have these, and you're not picky about having mechanical keyboards, the latest gaming sensor, a 4K/144Hz screen, etc., Goodwill is full of perfectly good keyboards, mice, and monitors. Where I'm from, at least, you can easily get a perfectly fine 20", 1080p LCD screen for $20 (or less, if it happens to be in a weekly sale category). Mice and keyboards are around $1-$2 each from the same place.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 24, 2017
  7. total

    total Well-Known Turker

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    To build on a few categories here:

    SSD
    Solid-state drives are incredibly quick to boot from and open applications. The speed is completely unmatched by traditional hard disk drives. Their reliability has been great these days. 120 GB fills up pretty quickly, but general users should be fine with that much. I'd say less than that is too little.

    Mouse
    I'd get a decent mouse. Wireless mouses can suffer from latency issues, connection problems, and require charge. Latency issues would be a more common issue for, say, gamers, but the issue can still persist with others by feeling less responsive. Given that we make extensive use of the mouse during turking, you want something that's gonna be comfortable, responsive, and less of a hassle. Most gaming mice offer just this given that gamers go for long periods of time holding a mouse. I wouldn't be able to comment on other types of mouses as I haven't looked into them much myself. Personally, I've been with a Logitech G series, but do your own independent research based on your grip style.

    Keyboard
    You can really go with whatever here. You can go ergonomic, if you want. You can go with the $10 keyboard. It doesn't matter too much. I bought a $10 keyboard off Newegg years ago when I built my gaming PC and it's been rock solid ever since. Some people die for mechanical keyboards but they're extravagant ($100+).

    Monitor
    You can certainly go with whatever monitor you like. I'd say go absolutely no lower than 1080p. 1080p at 23" or 24" is a pretty sweet spot in terms of both viewing comfort and affordability. For the most part, you're not gonna be too concerned about color accuracy, inputs, overclocking, sync technologies, etc. Just get whatever one looks decent to you, have decent reviews, and isn't terribly small. You'll really value that real estate. Also, when the time comes, multiple monitors works great for productivity.

    Operating System
    Along with the mention above, you can also look into Microsoft Imagine if you're a student or still have access to such a portal through your previous institution.
    It's all a fun process. Plus, if you get quality parts from the start -- and quality doesn't have to mean expensive -- you'll enjoy great longevity out of your machine. Feel free to follow up with any additional questions and I'm sure myself or someone else will be happy to help out.
     
  8. Cosmo

    Cosmo Survey Slinger

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    I'm sure it'll get asked down the road, but has anyone tried turking with a $250 Chromebook? I doubt it'll be good for multi-windowed batches, but I would assume that it's decent enough for anyone who just wants to casually Turk, and it would be portable enough that you could turk from the living room. I don't have one anymore but when I did, the battery lasted nearly six hours on that thing!
     
  9. Totally Not Salem

    Totally Not Salem Survey Slinger

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    I logged into mTurk at Walmart on one and did some work once.
    Worked decent for the batch I tried.
     
  10. angel

    angel Survey Slinger

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    I started out on a chromebook and used it for over a year. ultimately I upgraded because I wanted more RAM (only had 4GB and I tab like crazy) and because I wanted a third monitor. I still haven't gotten the 3rd monitor but got a 24 in monitor with my desktop and my vertical monitor (had this with my laptop). I have to say the extra screen space and RAM are great but the chromebook worked well for a long time and I know if there is an issue with my computer or I need to go mobile for some reason that the chromebook will be fine. I also occasionally use it from the kitchen now when I'm cooking but with OW and PC running on the desktop.
     
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  11. ceedj

    ceedj Survey Slinger

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    Just wanted to chime in on the wireless mouse talk; I've had some crap ones (I currently have an iHome mouse/key combo that is reasonably decent, on the big tower which is for A/V work and Retro Games) but the Logitech M310 ($16) I got from Wally-World has been really good. I think I got it two months ago, and have not had any issues with lag or dropouts. It's a little smaller than I'd like - larger than a travel mouse, a bit smaller than a standard wired - but it hasn't been an issue thus far.

    I should also point out that I mostly use it on a mouse pad with wrist rest on the desk, but it tracks fine on most everything else I've tried as well.
     
  12. Mariemark78

    Mariemark78 New Turker

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    You forgot to add the desk in the list.
    I also upgraded my entire setup and also bought a new height adjustable desk from FlexiSpot .
    I think you also include the desk in your list.