We need a PC in our office to plug external hard disks and copy content in to local hard disk. 5 to 10 people will do it daily basis. This PC will not use for anything else. I am willing to configure PC cheapest as possible. I don't exactly know which is more important for coping files CPU or RAM beside USB 3 Hub + Internal HDD of course. But they are pretty standard.

-Cheapest CPU i can find can do the job?

-4GB memory will be enough?

-To cut on my budget which one i should sacrifice CPU or RAM.

Here a sample configuration i made:

  • Case: Redrock C702BB Peak 300W
  • Mainboard: MSI A68HM-E33 V2 (2133 Mhz)
  • CPU: AMD A6 6400K X2 (3.0 GHz, 1MB)
  • RAM: 4 GB HI-LEVEL 1600 DDR3
  • HDD: 1TB WD Blue 3,5" (64MB, 7200 RPM) (I choose this becouse i thought 64MB would benefit for copy performance)
  • 1
    I'm trying to understand what you are attempting so that I can come up with a recommendation. Are you plugging external USB drives into a machine that you want to automatically copy? Is there a reason these backups can't occur over the network?
    – Andy
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 17:05
  • Yes we will plug external drives to machine so we can copy files directly from external drive in to PC. Yes there is some internal business requirements to do so.
    – Walt S.
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 17:48
  • afaik, memory and cpu shouldn't have much of an impact on file transfers. Once the cpu/ram tells the two discs to get too work... its the HDD speed that is the limiting factor. Honestly, it might be easier to buy a single NAS drive and map it everyones computer... then they can copy files over your local network and you only have one additional piece of hardware to payfor. Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 20:53
  • As i describe data must copy directly. There is no network, that is why we are using a PC to collect data so we can properly backup from there.
    – Walt S.
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 21:12

2 Answers 2


The two bottlenecks of file copying are transfering from the external hard drive, and writing to the internal drive. Everything else in a modern computer is much, much faster than the drives.

My recommendation is that you go to a local store and buy the cheapest computer you can find that has one or more USB 3 ports (USB 2 is roughly the same speed as a hard drive; going with USB 3 will eliminate the connection as a potential bottleneck).

When it comes to cheap computers, pre-built almost invariably costs less than building it yourself, unless you've got parts from another computer that you can re-use.


My solution isn't a computer build. Its a more efficient way to transfer files to a hard drive.

WD 4TB My Cloud Personal Network Attached Storage

Using a drive like this, you simply plug it into the router and then share it with the users who are going to be copying files. Because its all local file copies, you should have a throughput of the gigabit ethernet.


Can give users access to only the folder they need access too.
Can use task scheduler or WD software to automatically backup folders.
Since it's only a HDD/nic card... less likely of a bad psu killing it.
If connected correctly, the drive can be viewed over the internet.
Cheaper, in terms of running cost and initial purchase.
Savings can go towards larger HDD size.

Anyway, I know this isn't the product you were after... but I think its the easiest solution to your problem.

  • Thanks for the solution. But we should copy files directly. There is no network there. I am mostly trying to understand impact of CPU and RAM on the performance of copying files so i can order my configuration accordingly. I don't what to get surprised after setup my environment.
    – Walt S.
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 21:15
  • CPU and RAM, the only thing they are going to do is detect the drive and then initiate the copy/paste command. Any cpu from the last 15 years will handle this without issue. If you want a more in depth explanation of the CPU/RAMs part in this process, I don't think this is necessarily the correct stack. Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 21:20

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