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Some Goon
Jan 6, 2013

A golden helix streaked skyward from the Helvault. A thunderous explosion shattered the silver monolith and Avacyn emerged, free from her prison at last.



B450 will work without updating,* the PCPartPicker warning was for the launch back in summer '19
*excepting possibly ITX boards

Welcome to the PC Building and Parts Picking Megathread! This is where we talk about computers, computer parts, and building parts into computers (FYI). Thanks to Crackbone, ShaneB Factory Factory, and Peak Debt for their stewardship for past years of the thread.

There is are a lot of parts to choose from and even more bad advice out there for people looking to get a new computer or upgrade their existing ones. This thread is a handbook for you, so that you can get a good system and have a good idea of why itís a good system.

The most common reason people come to this thread is to build a new PC for gaming, but you may have also come here for a home desktop, a workstation for professional use, a home theater PC, a storage server, or just some advice on a new computer for your parents.


Read this first!

Read the OPs! They should cover a lot of the questions you may have.
This post: The template.
Next post: FAQs about PC Building. If you have a general question about PC Building its probably answered here. If not, ask it.
The post after that: Useful links for PC building / benchmarks.
MikeC has provided a good baseline build guide to get started with.

IF YOU READ NOTHING ELSE, READ THIS:
When you post, tell us the following:
  • What country are you in?
  • What are you using the system for? Web and Office? Gaming? Video or photo editing? Professional creative or scientific computing?
  • What's your budget? We usually specify for just the computer itself (plus Windows), but if you also need monitor/mouse/whatever, just say so.
  • If youíre doing professional work, what software do you need to use? Whatís your typical project size and complexity? If you use multiple pieces of software, whatís your workflow?
  • If you're gaming, what is your monitor resolution / refresh rate? How fancy do you want your graphics, from ďit runsĒ to ďUltra preset as fast as possibleĒ?

Use PC Part Picker. It lets you piece together a system and copy-and-paste your parts list in BBcode markup. Use it. It will also prevent you from making some (but not all) bonehead moves, like getting a case too small for your motherboard.

Please let us know if you happen to live near a Microcenter as well, they often have the best deals among PC retailers but it's all in-store only.

--

How much you should expect to spend

A basic web and office PC can be had for between $300 and $450, depending on just how basic you need it to be.

A basic gaming system can be had for between $600 and $800.

A high-end gaming system, you can expect to pay between $1000 and $1500 before we start calling your choices a smidge excessive.

On a workstation, if youíre making money with it, weíll recommend whatever it takes to get the job done quickly, up to your budget. Our recommendation may vary greatly depending on your particular use, e.g. a Solidworks workstation will have very different priorities than a virtualization testbed.

If you have never put together a system before, don't worry. Itís easier to put a PC together than the average piece of Ikea furniture. Enough parts come with manuals to tell you what goes where, and you can accomplish everything with very few tools. Usually, you just need a Phillips-head screwdriver and your hands.


Hardware Comparison Tools

Want to compare your new X to your old Y? AnandTech's Bench database will compare CPUs, GPUs, and SSDs head to head on various real-world and synthetic benchmarks. There are also tools for laptops, phone and tablet benchmarks, Macs, cases, and CPU coolers, though these databases are much less complete.

Some Goon fucked around with this message at 23:05 on Apr 22, 2020

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Some Goon
Jan 6, 2013

A golden helix streaked skyward from the Helvault. A thunderous explosion shattered the silver monolith and Avacyn emerged, free from her prison at last.



COMMON QUESTIONS AND GUIDELINES - READ THESE
Updated November 11, 2019

1. Should I upgrade or buy a new system?
2. Are there any good prebuilt systems?
3. How can I future-proof my system?
4. ATX? Micro-TX? Mini-ITX? What are these things?
5. How many cores/threads does my CPU need??
6. Intel or AMD CPU?
7. Does/will my [component] bottleneck my [component]?
8. Help me understand processor names and motherboard chipsets!
9. Should I overclock? Do I need to overclock?
10. AMD or Nvidia graphics card? What brand?
11. What do Ti, Super, XT, DC2, TF, SC+, FTW, and all that poo poo mean?
12. Should I run two graphics cards in Crossfire or SLI?
13. Can I get away with onboard graphics?
14. How much RAM do I need? How fast should it be?
15. What should I look for in a motherboard?
16. Should I buy a bunch of fans? How should I arrange them?
17. How much wattage does my PSU need to have? I found this one for $20!
18. Do I need a sound card?
19. Do I need aftermarket cooling for my CPU?
20. M.2 and NVMe, all about SSDs
21. Do hard disks have any place in a modern computer?
22. Whatís the cheapest way to get Windows, and what version should I get?
24. Should I get an optical drive?
25. Can I re-use my old parts to keep costs down?
26. I am tempted to DIY, but I'm really not sure I can build this system myself. Can I pay someone to do it for me?
27. But Logical Increments/CPU Boss/Passmark/this other building guide says.
28. I need a monitor, speaker, headset, etc.

1. Should I wait, upgrade, or buy a new system?

There are two rules of thumb:
  • Wait until you are unhappy with your current system.
  • Buy it when you need it.
There is always something new coming in the next six months, so youíll never get out ahead of the game waiting for the next release date. But on the other hand, each new release brings new hardware and discounts on older kit. If itís no more than a month or so and your need isnít urgent, wait to see what comes plus a couple weeks after for the market response on older gear.

Upgrading or buying a new system depends on how old your system is. Anything pre Ryzen or Skylake will likely be better off getting replaced entirely. The change to DDR4 RAM means newer components aren't at all compatible, and high end processors for old motherboards cost well in excess of their worth. AMD has committed to the AM4 socket through 2020; you might need to update your bios but newer processors are otherwise drop-in compatible. On Intel's side, if you have a Skylake (6XXX) or Kaby Lake (7XXX) processor, you'll need a new motherboard, 8 and 9 series chips aren't compatible with 1XX and 2XX motherboards. If getting a 9 series chip you really should get a Z390 motherboard for updated io and guaranteed compatibility.

Not sure what you have? Speccy will give you all the fancy part numbers in one place. Copy the info or post a screenshot.

There are also some computer parts with natural lifespans. Hard drives start to fail at increased rates at around five years old, and PSU should be replaced if out of warranty. Inexpensive fans will start wearing out, too, if they havenít already. All told, if all you could carry over is the case and the DVD drive, and the case isnít even that good, it might be better to sell or donate the old system as a complete setup.


2. Are there any good prebuilt systems?

First off: Most people who say they donít have time to build are wrong. It generally only takes an hour or two to get a pile of parts into the same condition as a prebuilt system fresh out of the box.

If you'll only be using office apps and web browsing, you're probably getting a laptop; the laptop thread is the other stickied one. If you really want a desktop your best bet is to find something used, anything Sandy Lake (2XXX) or newer will be fine for home office use, just put an SSD in it. A word of caution, Rzyen processors that don't end in G and Intel processors than end in F don't have integrated graphics, so if you wind up with one of those for home office use you'll still need a GPU for it to be usable at all, though even the cheapest available will suffice.

For gaming PCs, not really. Microcenter's house brand (PowerSpec) offers decent value for money, though you only get a 1 year warranty vs. the often substantially longer ones on individual parts. In almost all other cases you're paying hundreds of dollars to save 1-2 hours of effort.

3. How can I future-proof my system?

You canít, donít try.

Recent shake-ups in the CPU space have tossed out a decades worth of conventional wisdom, and Nvidia has presented the possibility of ray tracing being a major component of GPUs going forward, but it's future is still unknown.

Certain trends regarding things such as VRAM (4gb isn't cutting it, 6gb may be an issue sooner rather than later) and CPU thread counts (some games have performance issues with only 6 threads to work with), but future requirements and hardware capabilities aren't predictable. The thread will help you avoid known pitfalls but no one can guarantee performance levels years from now.


4. ATX? Micro-TX? Mini-ITX? What are these things?

From largest to smallest, ATX, microATX (mATX) and mini-ITX (mITX) are motherboard sizes, which determines both the size of case you can fit them in and the number of things you can attach to them. The mounting holes are in the same places, so you can always use a smaller board in a larger case, but not vis-versa.

Mini-ITX, or ITX is the smallest being a ~7" (17cm) square. They only have 1 PCIe slot and 2 DIMM slots, which is enough for many builds does limit options. Mini ITX cases are hard to build in and often require special small form factor power supplies (SFX PSUs) and low profile CPU coolers. ITX boards and specialized components tend to carry a price premium relative to full size parts but if you want as small as possible a PC with all the horsepower there's no alternative.

microATX is a ~9.6" (244mm) square, permitting up to 4 PCIe slots and 4 DIMM slots (though with all modern consumer chips only having dual channel memory, this only permits more total memory than ITX, not a performance boost). Presently, only entry-level and mid-range boards are being manufactured in the mATX form factor. For most builds this isn't an issue, but if you're looking for a high core count system, or to OC an Intel system as much as possible you'll need to go full ATX.

ATX is the biggest at 12"x9.6" (305x244mm), allowing even more expansion slots than mATX, though most computers only need 1 or 2. Currently all enthusiast class motherboards are ATX, so if you want the highest quality components you're stuck with them. For most systems this won't translate into notably improved performance but may bring piece of mind or offer features not available in other form factors.

5. How many cores/threads does my CPU need?

At this point you should at least be getting a 6 core with hyperthreading / SMT (6C/12T). Intel's 8C/8T CPU, the 9700k doesn't seem to be suffering any issues yet either, but 6C/6T CPUs are causing hitching in some newer games, a trend that's expected to continue (all AMD CPUs have SMT so there's no direct comparison there).

6. Intel or AMD CPU?

For almost all systems an AMD Ryzen 5 3600 is the correct choice currently, offering excellent price/performance and excellent performance overall. For budget or very high end systems there are other choices, but expect to get a 3600 until the 4600 comes out or Intel makes serious changes to their product stack / gets 10nm sorted out.


7. Does/will my [component] bottleneck my [component]?

Bottlenecks are the result of your lowest performing component holding back the others Ė your computer can only put out as many frames as it can process. Generally people refer to bottlenecks as when said component is causing others to be severely underutilized, but you will always be limited by a single component. In many systems, this will be the monitor as a 60hz monitor can only ever display 60fps. If you have a >60hz monitor (achieving a steady 60fps is fairly trivial for a modern system), the next most likely limiting factor is your GPU. This is generally seen as a good thing as it means youíre using it to its fullest capacity. If you want higher performance, GPU load can be lessened by turning down graphics settings or resolution. The least likely limitation is your CPU, as it either means your settings are below your GPUís capabilities, or youíre playing a strategy game. CPU load is game dependent and thereís not a lot you can do about it, fortunately you have to go out of your way to create a CPU bottleneck in most cases.

8. Help me understand processor names and motherboard chipsets!

AMDís processors have a somewhat inelegant naming scheme. There are Zen1 processors, which are numbered 1xxx, Zen+ which are 2xxx, and Zen2 which are 3xxx. Intelís modern systems are Coffee Lake Refresh (9xxx) and Coffee Lake (8xxx), in practice they just get referred to by their part number.

AMDís only consumer chipset currently is AM4, which theyíve promised to support through 2020 and is backwards and forwards compatible with all Ryzen chips so far (barring a few technicalities not pertinent here). So far there have been three sets of AM4 boards, the 3, 4 and 5 series, coming which each Zen generation. The x50 boards offer everything most people could need, with the x70 boards offering a few more features. The x20 boards should be ignored.

Out of the box Zen 2 is only guaranteed to be supported by X570 boards, the yet-to-be-launched B550 boards, MSI MAX B450 boards, and any board with a ďRyzen 3000 readyĒ sticker on its box, if you live near a computer part retailer. Additionally, all the MSI B450 boards offer CPU-less bios flashing, allowing for them to be updated to support Zen2 with only a flash drive. Any B450/X470 boards manufactured after Zen2 launched should support them out of the box, but you canít be sure what youíre getting when you order online. By now I have to imagine most of the old stock has been moved, but I canít promise anything.

If youíre buying Intel you should get a Z390 board.

9. Should I overclock? Do I need to overclock?

Ryzen processors perform near their maximum clocks out of the box, and by enabling Precision Boost Overdrive in the bios will automatically overclock themselves as far as they can go, though this may require an aftermarket cooler. Gains are limited and for most cases can be disregared.

If youíre buying a new Intel system youíre doing it for absolute maximum CPU performance and youíll need to overclock to achieve that. If you have an older Intel system you should absolutely overclock, theyíre still capable CPUís unless you need maximum frames or run into issues from a lack of cores.

If you have an older AMD system you should buy a new computer.


10. AMD or Nvidia graphics card? What brand?

First off, if you arenít gaming and just need one or two monitors, integrated graphics work great with no muss or fuss. A graphics card is not a required piece of equipment, however Ryzen CPUs that donít end in G and Intel CPUs that end in F donít have integrated graphics.

Presently, AMD is uncontested in budget cards (~$100), Nvidia has a stranglehold on the midrange ($200-300), and both are competitive in the enthusiast market ($300-500). If you have $1000 to spare on a GPU, Nvidia is uncontested at the top. New cards are expected from both in the nearish future, so this all may change, but its too early to tell when or how.

We have a GPU megathread for discussion, but remember that buying advice goes here.


11. What do Ti, Super, XT, DC2, TF, SC+, FTW, and all that poo poo mean?

Ti and Super (for Nvidia) and XT (for AMD) designate next level cards, and can be considered to be the next card up in the line-up, though below the card with the actual next higher number. Every other initialism or label on a card besides those and its number are just marketing names applied by the manufactures, indicating the cooler or factory overclock. In general, its always better to buy the next card up than spend money on a factory OCíd card or fancy cooler. The only caveat is the blower style cards (single fan, rear exhaust) arenít up to cooling the current crop of GPUs, and are hot and loud beyond that, and should be avoided in almost all circumstances.


12. Should I run two graphics cards in Crossfire or SLI?

No. Software and hardware support is vanishing. For gaming purposes, its safe to call multi-GPU set ups dead presently.

13. Can I get away with onboard graphics?

Do you want to do some 3D gaming? If youíre ok with low/medium quality graphics or sub 1080p resoultions, the AMD Ryzen APUs (2200G/2400G/3200G/3400G) have decent integrated graphics that will do just fine for your purposes.

You can't do that with an Intel CPU though. The performance of the integrated Intel GPU is simply too weak to deliver anything but very choppy graphics that make for an unenjoyable experience. The next generation of Intel iGPUs is supposed to be a substantial improvement, but its not here yet.

If you don't plan on doing any gaming at all, the onboard graphics of any modern system will be just fine, though again, non-G AMD and -F Intel processors have no onboard graphics and will require a (any) graphics card to function.

14. How much RAM do I need? How fast should it be?

16gb is fine for any gaming system. Professional workloads will often want more, and home office computers can probably get by with 8gb. You should get RAM in the 3000-3600 MT/s range, especially with a Ryzen 2 processor. 3600 RAM offers small but measurable improvements over 3000/3200 RAM. Older Ryzens had issues running high speed RAM and should be fine
with 3000 RAM. Intel systems are less sensitive to RAM speed but still benefit from RAM in the 3000 to 3600 range.

15. What should I look for in a motherboard?

Besides obvious things like having the right socket for your processor, supporting overclocking or not (as well as overbuilding to support higher overclocks), and having a good selection of ports and plugs, there are only a few critical spots of differentiation in motherboards. In general, every motherboard will have a PCI Express expansion slot for a graphics card, bunch of USB ports, a bunch of SATA ports for hard drives and SSDs, an M.2 slot or two, decent-to-pretty-good built-in sound, and wired Ethernet networking.

Beyond that, there are a few common options:
  • Extra expansion slots and whether those slots support SLI and CrossFire or not. Mini-ITX has no extra slots beyond the one. Micro ATX has up to four slots/support for two graphics cards. ATX supports seven slots and three or four graphics cards. There are even larger boards for servers or niche uses.
  • Built-in WiFi, usually only on mini-ITX boards and high-end mATX and ATX boards.
  • RAM slots: ITX boards and cheap mATX boards have two slots for a maximum of 32 GB of RAM. Midrange and higher mATX and ATX boards have four slots for up to 64 GB. If you need more RAM than 64 GB, you will need to look at X99 or workstation boards.
  • Upgrades to the integrated sound. For example, using a Realtek ALC1150 codec instead of ALC892, or including a headphone amplifier output.
  • A top-notch Intel gigabit Ethernet controller rather than another company’s.
  • Additional USB 3.0 and SATA ports.
For most people, these options are ďthatís niceĒ rather than must-haves.

16. Should I buy a bunch of fans? How should I arrange them?

Most cases have a good-enough setup of fans for a non-overclocked build. It may only be one or two, but a few big fans running at low RPM in a well-designed case are far better than jamming a dozen small fans into a mesh box for the sake of ďairflow.Ē Too many fans can be counterproductive.

If you want to mess with your casís fans, I direct you to the second post of the Overclocking thread where Fear Factory already written a ton of words (with pictures!).


17. How much wattage does my PSU need to have? I found this one for $20!

DO NOT BUY CHEAP-rear end POWER SUPPLIES. Not only are you risking every component in the system, but you are risking starting an electrical fire. Power supplies are one of the most critical components, yet the temptation of many builders is to ignore quality and blindly buy whatever gives out a lot of Watts.

Power supplies have roughly doubled in price due to the current trade war. Cheap PSUs are now pricey and good ones are very pricey. Its recommended to get an 80+ Gold (or better) PSU with a 7 to 10 year warranty. While not an absolute sign of quality, long warranties are indicative of the manufacturers confidence in their product. Currently this includes the Seasonic Focus and Focus Plus Gold lines, Corsair TMx, RMx 2018 and RMx 2019 lines, and EVGA Supernova G1/2/3 lines.

For most people a 550w or 650w PSU will be fine. Its best to leave some overhead for transient spikes and to maximize your PSUs efficiency curve, but parts are very efficient compared to what they used to be and only getting moreso. PCPartPicker provides an estimated wattage for your build.

Also:
NEVER RE-USE OLD MODULAR POWER CABLES FROM A DIFFERENT PSU BRAND. They do not have unique keys to prevent using a cable with the wrong wiring. THIS CAN DESTROY YOUR PC.

Klyith has an excellent post on PSU efficiency curves and wattage requirements.

18. Do I need a sound card?

No.

19. Do I need aftermarket cooling for my CPU?

AMD CPUs ship with coolers that are up to the task, though you can get an aftermarket cooler if its too loud for you or you want to try to push a larger overclock.

-K series Intel chips donít ship with a cooler, so youíll need to get one. Large tower coolers offer cooling comparable to AIOs, AIO watercoolers offer good cooling in a smaller / more flexible size, and dedicated watercooling set ups should be taken to the watercooling thread.

20. M.2 and NVMe, all about SSDs

SSDs come in two form factors, 2.5Ē and M.2 and two communications protocols, SATA and NVMe. All 2.5Ē SSDs are SATA, and all NVMe SSDs are M.2, though M.2 can be either NVMe or SATA (in the consumer space, anyways. Enterprise drives can be different but are beyond the scope of this). SATA is the same interface youíve been using for hard disks for years, capable of up to 6Gb/s performance, which SSDs are capable of saturating. NVMe (Non Volatile Memory Express) uses PCIe lanes for communication and is, on paper much faster than SATA. In practice consumer workloads gain almost zero benefit as 6Gb/s is plenty and NVMeís benefits are most realized when dealing with very large files. That said, they are around price parity, so thereís no reason not to get an NVMe drive.

As noted above, M.2 can be NVMe or SATA. Depending on your motherboard, some slots may support only one or the other, and sometimes SATA ports are disable when a SATA drive is attached. The details will be in your motherboardís manual, and PCPartPicker will show a warning.

21. Do hard disks have any place in a modern computer?

If you need an abundance of storage on the cheap, multi-Terabyte HDDs can be had for half the cost of an SSD or less, however the performance gap between them is, without hyperbole, the biggest advance in home computer performance in a decade (or more). If youíre not backing up complete collections of perfectly legitimate Blu-Rays, youíre better served getting as much SSD storage as you can afford and deleting a few games if necessary.

22. Whatís the cheapest way to get Windows?

Windows 10 can be activated with any Windows 7, 8 or 10 key. A helpful goon has been selling Windows 7 pro keys in SA-Mart for years now without any complaints. Windows 10 can also be used unactivated at the cost of being unable to set your desktop.

If this doesnít sound like your cup of tea, an OEM version or an education discount is likely your best bet.


23. Should I get an optical drive?

No. You can install an OS with a USB memory stick and youíre going to download everything else you ever install. If you do believe you need a DVD drive because "why not" you should just get a USB-attached drive. DVDs are slower than USB 2.0 so thereís no performance loss vs. an internal drive.

24. Can I re-use my old parts to keep costs down?

Some parts yes, but usually it works out better to just get new parts and either sell the old ones, recycle them, or donate the old machine as a whole to a kid or to Goodwill. Most sales will be parted out, but if you want to donate the system or re-use it as a server or something, weigh the value of cannibalizing it vs. no longer having a complete system.

Graphics cards are easiest. If your card isnít *that* old and you want to wait for a new launch or a good deal, go ahead and carry it over. PCI Express is totally backwards and forwards compatible, so there wonít be any funny problems trying to slot it in.

Any hard drive still in service is likely pretty old. Back it up ASAP and donít be surprised when it dies. SSDs wear out eventually too, but it takes a good bit of doing. Smaller drives and newer, cheaper drives are more prone to wear. Back them up and keep an eye on the SMART readings. Back up new drives too, redundancy is the only form of data safety.

For power supplies, the rule of thumb for a well-used power supply is to replace it after five years or once its warranty has expired, whichever is longer. Power supply components can degrade with use and can lower the ability of the unit to deliver power, and potentially even endanger your new parts. It would be tragic for your brand new computer to go just because you re-use a previously fine PSU, so if its out of warranty, dump it. One benefit to the high end PSUs recommended here is that their useful like is likely longer than all your other components.

DDR3 from pre-Skylake / Ryzen systems will need replaced as it wonít be compatible. If youíre already on a DDR4 platform go ahead, RAM doesnít really go bad.

Cases (and monitors) can last a long time. If you bought really good ones, sure, keep using them! But with the advances in technology, you might find that todayís decently-priced cases and monitors work like the ultra-high-end stuff from when you last bought. If your stuff was just okay then, you might find that new kit is significantly better and worth an upgrade.

Your DVD drive has probably seen zero wear-and-tear. But let's be honest, it'll likely remain unused in the new system too.

CPU coolers and fans depend; technology has definitely improved for coolers, and fans do wear out. Your existing cooler can likely be reused, though youíll need a mounting kit from the manufacturer for AM4 boards, and new thermal paste. Fans tend to become noisier with age so you might want to replace them if the noise becomes annoying.


25. I am tempted to DIY, but I'm really not sure I can build this system myself. Can I pay someone to do it for me?

PC stores like Micro Center or a local shop will build a PC from your own parts for a modest fee. Go in and ask. You can probably order the parts through them, as well, but beware sales pressure. If you have a geeky friend, they might be willing, too (but remember, you are asking them to do work for you, be respectful about it). Donít ask your company IT guy unless you want to contribute to a drinking problem.

Just do it yourself though, the trickiest part is screwing in the motherboard, everything else is just a matter of putting the thing in the slot.

26. But Logical Increments/CPU Boss/Passmark/this other building guide says

Every piece of computer part advice you see on the internet not from this thread is terrible and should be disregarded.

While its true thereís a new component at every $10 price point there are definitely optimal choices to make. The figures from CPU Boss / Passmark and the like are more-or-less meaningless. We have a host of nerds here who stay up to date on component reviews and are all too happy to help, donít turn to Reddit or worse.

27. I need a monitor, speaker, headset, etc.

We deal more with the computer side of things rather than the peripheral side. Let me link you to a few other threads where you can ask for recommendations:

Peripherals
Monitor/Display Megathread
Should I buy a $100 mouse? (not a megathread, )
Keyboard Megathread
Home Networking Megathread
Hardware Short Questions
Let’s Talk Headphones (IYG)
PC Speakers (IYG)

Common Specialty System Focus Threads
HTPC Thread (IYG)
Overclocking Megathread (sorry I don’t keep the guides more updated, but the first two posts are great)
Consumer NAS/Storage Megathread

Some Goon fucked around with this message at 17:23 on Mar 17, 2020

Some Goon
Jan 6, 2013

A golden helix streaked skyward from the Helvault. A thunderous explosion shattered the silver monolith and Avacyn emerged, free from her prison at last.



Useful links:

r/buildapcsales A terrific subreddit, compiles PC part sales across the internet so you can find the best deal available on any given day. Active moderation keeps out the duds and the comments are very good a letting you know if a deal is good or not. Your first stop when going to buy parts. USA focused, but links to other subreddits for other regions.

GamersNexus puts out the highest quality part reviews around / assorted other hardware miscellany. Your first stop for hardware performance information.

If you're working with the Adobe suite / DaVinci Resolve / other pro graphics/rendering software Puget Systems publishes detailed benchmarks for them specifically. They'll sell you a system too, if you've got the dosh.

You want Linux benchmarks? Phoronix wants to give you Linux benchmarks.

PCPartPicker is linked above, but its useful enough to link again.

You're probably buying a computer to game on, and r/gamedeals is a good way to find cheap games, as is isthereanydeal.

SA-Mart is a good place look for used hardware, especially laptops.

Other review sites (GamersNexus is the best, but its always good to get multiple opinions. This list is by no means exhaustive nor an admonishment of any site not linked):
https://www.anandtech.com/
https://www.guru3d.com
https://www.techpowerup.com/

Some Goon fucked around with this message at 15:50 on Nov 23, 2019

VelociBacon
Dec 8, 2009



I let a mod know about the new thread so the old one should be closed momentarily and forwarded here. Thanks for making this, great OP.

e: Maybe a link to the overclocking thread here would be good under your overclocking heading - and maybe mention that overclocking GPUs, especially nvidia GPUs, is highly recommended, extremely low/no-risk, and very simple.

VelociBacon fucked around with this message at 01:45 on Nov 12, 2019

Scruff McGruff
Feb 13, 2007

Jesus, kid, you're almost a detective. All you need now is a gun, a gut, and three ex-wives.

Might be worth including a list of good YouTube resources? GN, Linus, Buildzoid, etc.

CLAM DOWN
Feb 13, 2007


RICKARUS

It's Moot baby!




ItBreathes posted:

E: Ah gently caress the tag. Mod?

Fixed!

Katreus
May 31, 2011

You and I both know this is silly, but this is the biggest women's sporting event in the world. Let's try to make the most of it, shall we?


It took me 2 days, but I guess I technically built a computer! Well, I disassembled my prebuilt to change to a new case and PSU (and I had previously changed the ram, the fans, the cooler, and added a ssd).

Tbh, aside from being slow, I'd say the most annoying part is accidentally stripping a screw and then having to pry it out. So, uh, don't do that.

Also having the Mobo guide on hand to refer to really helps. Otherwise you need to constantly Google where to input various cables and how tos.

Dr. Fishopolis
Aug 31, 2004

ROBOT



kudos on cleaning up the OP, it's hugely appreciated

BIG HEADLINE
Jun 13, 2006

Make your move...'cause mine's gonna be ugly.

Also, don't forget r/BuildAPCSales: https://www.reddit.com/r/buildapcsales/new/

...one of the only *constructive* things on Reddit. >.>

KingKapalone
Dec 20, 2005
1/16 Native American + 1/2 Hungarian = Totally Badass

I have two pretty old 1TB HDDs I keep random stuff on in my PC and was thinking I could consolidate into a bigger, newer one. Any recommendations to keep an eye out for on Black Friday?

Tatsuta Age
Apr 21, 2005

so good at being in trouble



This is a really good new op, op. Thanks!

I am probably going to build a new system around a 3700x in the next 3 weeks, so following along the old thread has been pretty useful stuff the past month or two.

Stickman
Feb 1, 2004

much, much larger than your hat, but not as large as the moon
-DNA


Thanks for putting in all the work for the new OP, ItBreathes! Consolidating down to general advice should help longevity, too. Looks good!

KingKapalone posted:

I have two pretty old 1TB HDDs I keep random stuff on in my PC and was thinking I could consolidate into a bigger, newer one. Any recommendations to keep an eye out for on Black Friday?

How much are you thinking about spending and how big do you want to get? For TB/$$ you can't beat an 8TB WD Easystore or Elements. The Easystore often goes down to $130-140 so I wouldn't be surprised if it's that low or lower for Black Friday, but it might not beat the Elements' current deal at Amazon $125. The 12TB version of the Easystore will be $180 for BF.

If you're just using them as storage, external is fine. You can also remove (shuck) the drive and use it internally (Easystore, Elements), though you may need to disable a pin before it will spin up in on a standard SATA power connector (I just bent the pin back using an x-acto knife, but tape is less destructive).

Beverly Cleavage
Jun 22, 2004

I am a pretty pretty princess, watch me do my pretty princess dance....

Probably a shoutout to puget systems wouldnít hurt for professional rigs. They vet/test bench builds for specific uses/tasks.

SalTheBard
Jan 26, 2005


I forgot to post my food for USPOL Thanksgiving but that's okay too!




Fallen Rib

New op looks great

Incessant Excess
Aug 15, 2005

Cause of glitch:
Pretentiousness


Scruff McGruff posted:

Might be worth including a list of good YouTube resources? GN, Linus, Buildzoid, etc.

A list of other resources that are thought highly of would be a good idea imo.

Citycop
Apr 11, 2005

Greetings, Rainbow Dash.

I will now sing for you a song that I hope will ease your performance anxiety.

Incessant Excess posted:

A list of other resources that are thought highly of would be a good idea imo.

You don't like PC Jesus? What's wrong with you?

Incessant Excess
Aug 15, 2005

Cause of glitch:
Pretentiousness


I like him just fine. I meant other resources than the OP, like the examples listed.

Incessant Excess fucked around with this message at 09:51 on Nov 12, 2019

eames
May 9, 2009



ItBreathes posted:

Reserved, I guess. I have a few changes to add but just editing that took 2 hours, so I'll do it later. Feedback on the OP greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much for updating the OP.

Maybe you could add a warning not to swap modular PSUs without changing cables.

Doh004
Apr 22, 2007

Mmmmm Donuts...

Posted this in the old thread right before closing, bringing it over here:

Looking to replace my 10 year old i7 920 build that I re purposed two years ago to be a Plex server. I could go the route of being in a NAS, but I like building things. Here's where I'm at:

PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: Intel Core i3-9100F 3.6 GHz Quad-Core Processor ($86.22 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-L9i chromax.black 33.84 CFM CPU Cooler ($49.95 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock Z390M-ITX/ac Mini ITX LGA1151 Motherboard ($134.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3000 Memory ($64.98 @ Amazon)
Storage: Samsung 970 Evo 500 GB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive ($89.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Fractal Design Node 304 Mini ITX Tower Case ($79.98 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: SeaSonic FOCUS SGX 450 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular SFX Power Supply ($76.98 @ Amazon)
External Storage: Western Digital ELEMENTS 8 TB External Hard Drive ($124.99 @ Amazon)
External Storage: Western Digital ELEMENTS 8 TB External Hard Drive ($124.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $833.07

Some notes:
- I'll be shucking the external HDDs to bring them internal - might even get a third to run Raid 5. I will bump them up to 10tb or 12tb but PCPartPicker didn't have the larger sizes. Either way, I don't need a HUGE amount of storage.
- I have a leftover EVGA 1050 TI SSC from my old build that I'll be throwing in this case to do GPU hardware encoding (hence the 9100F - no integrated graphic).
- I could probably go with slower RAM or a CPU but I'm not looking to cut costs extensively.
- This plex streams mostly locally for myself, my wife and then remotely for just my close family. This won't have to handled dozens of concurrent streams or anything.

What do we think?

Some Goon
Jan 6, 2013

A golden helix streaked skyward from the Helvault. A thunderous explosion shattered the silver monolith and Avacyn emerged, free from her prison at last.



Going add a useful links section (GN, Pudget, Anand/Guru3D/etc, BAPCsales, Phoronix, others?), and a bit about antivirus (just use Windows Defender).

If someone wants to write a short bit about the different NAND types and how to tell what you're buying I'd love to add it in. I know the basics but I'm not 100% I'd do it proper justice.

Mustache Ride
Sep 11, 2001






Building on the ITX post from last thread, what does everyone think of this?

PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X 3.8 GHz 6-Core Processor ($234.37 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Asus ROG Strix B450-I Gaming Mini ITX AM4 Motherboard ($134.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws V 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4-3600 Memory ($139.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: HP EX920 1 TB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive ($114.97 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Zotac GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER 8 GB MINI Video Card ($489.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Fractal Design Define Nano S Mini ITX Desktop Case ($92.24 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: SeaSonic FOCUS SGX 650 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular SFX Power Supply ($119.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $1326.54
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-11-12 10:11 EST-0500

Also, huge miss on the thread title to call it "He has Ryzen"

Stickman
Feb 1, 2004

much, much larger than your hat, but not as large as the moon
-DNA


Doh004 posted:

What do we think?

I know you said that you're not interested in cutting costs, but you could save nearly enough for another drive:

CPU Cooler: Stock is fine for your workload. There's also no reason to use an expensive low-profile cooler in a Node 304 since you have clearance for any air cooler. If you want an aftermarket cooler, a Gammaxx400 is much cheaper and would likely perform better.

Memory: 16GB is a massive overkill for NAS/plex (as is 3000MHz). 4GB would be fine, but dropping to 2x4 would save you $33.

SSD: 128/256GB would likely be sufficient for the SSD depending on what you're planning on using it for. The 240GB Corsair MP510 is $44 and the 512GB HP ex920 is $64.

That's up to $130. You could save a bit more switching to a Ryzen 1600 + ASRock B450, though you'll only have four sata ports instead of six. If you have a Microcenter nearby you can save an additional $30 with the motherboard/cpu combo (and maybe more if they agree to price-match the B450's newegg price).

I'm not a NAS/plex expert, but I suspect you could drop down to a cheaper Pentium/Athlon processor if you're using a gpu for transcoding. I've seen Xeon+ECC RAm configurations recommended before, but I'm not familiar enough with the options to make recommendations - hopefully someone can chime in.

Finally, be aware that many of the white-label drives support TLER (time-limited error recovery), but it needs to be re-enabled each boot.

WaveLength
Nov 22, 2006

Feel the beat

Is there a clear go-to motherboard for the ryzen 3600? Assume that I won't be able to flash a B450

Mu Zeta
Oct 17, 2002

Me crush ass to dust


Grimey Drawer

tomahawk max

Some Goon
Jan 6, 2013

A golden helix streaked skyward from the Helvault. A thunderous explosion shattered the silver monolith and Avacyn emerged, free from her prison at last.



WaveLength posted:

Is there a clear go-to motherboard for the ryzen 3600? Assume that I won't be able to flash a B450

Out of the box Zen 2 is only guaranteed to be supported by X570 boards, the yet-to-be-launched B550 boards, MSI MAX B450 boards, and any board with a “Ryzen 3000 ready” sticker on its box, if you live near a computer part retailer. Additionally, all the MSI B450 boards offer CPU-less bios flashing, allowing for them to be updated to support Zen2 with only a flash drive. Any B450/X470 boards manufactured after Zen2 launched should support them out of the box, but you can’t be sure what you’re getting when you order online. By now I have to imagine most of the old stock has been moved, but I can’t promise anything.

KingKapalone
Dec 20, 2005
1/16 Native American + 1/2 Hungarian = Totally Badass

Stickman posted:

Thanks for putting in all the work for the new OP, ItBreathes! Consolidating down to general advice should help longevity, too. Looks good!


How much are you thinking about spending and how big do you want to get? For TB/$$ you can't beat an 8TB WD Easystore or Elements. The Easystore often goes down to $130-140 so I wouldn't be surprised if it's that low or lower for Black Friday, but it might not beat the Elements' current deal at Amazon $125. The 12TB version of the Easystore will be $180 for BF.

If you're just using them as storage, external is fine. You can also remove (shuck) the drive and use it internally (Easystore, Elements), though you may need to disable a pin before it will spin up in on a standard SATA power connector (I just bent the pin back using an x-acto knife, but tape is less destructive).

Hmm I probably only need 2 TB, but I think 4 is a more common size? I have a whole NAS with about 12TB capacity already.

Stickman
Feb 1, 2004

much, much larger than your hat, but not as large as the moon
-DNA


Mustache Ride posted:

Building on the ITX post from last thread, what does everyone think of this?

PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X 3.8 GHz 6-Core Processor ($234.37 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Asus ROG Strix B450-I Gaming Mini ITX AM4 Motherboard ($134.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws V 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4-3600 Memory ($139.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: HP EX920 1 TB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive ($114.97 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Zotac GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER 8 GB MINI Video Card ($489.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Fractal Design Define Nano S Mini ITX Desktop Case ($92.24 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: SeaSonic FOCUS SGX 650 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular SFX Power Supply ($119.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $1326.54
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-11-12 10:11 EST-0500

Also, huge miss on the thread title to call it "He has Ryzen"

It looks good, just a few comments/suggestions:

CPU: The 3600x is tough to recommend for $40 over the 3600. The performance boost is tiny (~3%) and if you're gpu-limited they'll be no difference for gaming. The cooler upgrade is nice, but you could get a much nicer cooler for $40, which would help a 3600 overclock up to 3600x levels (but neither has enough overclocking headroom for it to be worthwhile).

Motherboard: ***No B450 itx motherboards are guaranteed to be compatible with 3rd-gen Ryzen out of the box***. If you're buying from a brick-and-mortar store you can check to see if it has a "Ryzen 3000 compatible" sticker (or see if the store offers free bios upgrades, like Microcenter), but otherwise you'll need a plan to upgrade the bios. That means either finding a loan cpu from a friend, finding a local shop that'll do it cheaply (many charge $40+), or getting a loaner cpu from AMD. If you're playing at 1440p+ or on a 60Hz monitor and not turning down settings to max fps, you're going to mostly be gpu-limited and dropping down to a 2600 would also be a valid option. You won't see much of a difference in performance right now and you can drop in a 3rd or 4th-gen Ryzen upgrade in a few years when it actually starts affecting performance. There's also X570 itx options, but the extra $80+ makes them tough to recommend.

Outside of compatibility issues, you might also want to consider the ASRock B450 itx. After rebate it saves $45 over the ASUS. The Asus has a bit better VRM, though both would be fine for a 3600 or 3600x (and the ASRock would still be fine up to a stock 3900x). It also has 2xM.2 slots vs one on the ASRock, but otherwise they're functionally identical (and the ASRock even has a USB-c port, which the Asus lacks).

Memory: 16GB is fine for gaming now but memory is cheap enough that 32GB could be a worthwhile choice on boards with only 2 ram slots, especially if you multitask a lot. This particular G.Skill kit isn't QVL for B450 motherboards, though, and I we've had some people have issues with faster non-QVL kits in the past, especially 32GB kits. I'd seriously consider getting a QVL kit, at which point you might want to consider dropping down the 3200 version since the real-world performance difference is negligible.

Video Card: Zotac support has a pretty poor reputation and the Nano S will fit bigger cards with better coolers. If you're sticking with a 2070 super, I'd get a Gigabyte windforce or EVGA black instead. You didn't mention your target resolution/refresh rate, but a 2070 Super is overkill for 1080p/60Hz gaming right now. If you're targeting 1440p+ and/or high refresh, you might also want to consider the 5700 XT (the Red Dragon and Pulse are good options). No raytracing, but $100 less for similar performance.

Stickman
Feb 1, 2004

much, much larger than your hat, but not as large as the moon
-DNA


ItBreathes posted:

Out of the box Zen 2 is only guaranteed to be supported by X570 boards, the yet-to-be-launched B550 boards, MSI MAX B450 boards, and any board with a “Ryzen 3000 ready” sticker on its box, if you live near a computer part retailer. Additionally, all the MSI B450 boards offer CPU-less bios flashing, allowing for them to be updated to support Zen2 with only a flash drive. Any B450/X470 boards manufactured after Zen2 launched should support them out of the box, but you can’t be sure what you’re getting when you order online. By now I have to imagine most of the old stock has been moved, but I can’t promise anything.

Unfortunately, not all MSi B450 boards have cpu-less flashing. The bottom-end boards and the itx boards don't have it. In fact, no B450/X470 itx boards have guaranteed 3rd-gen compatibility

Stickman
Feb 1, 2004

much, much larger than your hat, but not as large as the moon
-DNA


KingKapalone posted:

Hmm I probably only need 2 TB, but I think 4 is a more common size? I have a whole NAS with about 12TB capacity already.

The 4TB or 2TB WD Blue are probably your best $$/TB consumer options without dipping into refurbished drives. External drives are similarly priced at those capacities.

If it's for game storage, you might want to consider a 2TB Adata su800 SSD (or Intel 660p if you have a free NVMe M.2 slot). Two 1TB su800s would be slightly cheaper, but more cables!

Wacky Delly
Apr 2, 2008






KingKapalone posted:

Hmm I probably only need 2 TB, but I think 4 is a more common size? I have a whole NAS with about 12TB capacity already.

You can get a 4TB internal drive for like $90. I like the Western Digital Blues, but I don't think there's any real difference between them and the Segates.

Ak Gara
Jul 29, 2005

That's just the way he rolls.

Since I'm thinking of getting an Aquaero 6 I kinda regret buying my D5 Vario's. Sure I could set-and-forget but if I do need to change speed, (such as filling the loop) it'll be a pain, as the bottom of the pump would be quite close to a panel leaving only a small gap to try and turn the dial.

Plus, the EK D5 G2's cables are sleeved.
sleeved



Which is clearly better than hotdog cables. I say the EK D5 because I hear the Aquabus D5's can't be found any more?

Enos Cabell
Nov 3, 2004



So is there no mini ITX board I can buy on Amazon and be assured will boot with a Ryzen 2400G? I don't have an old CPU to flash with, and waiting for them to mail one is not an option.

Mu Zeta
Oct 17, 2002

Me crush ass to dust


Grimey Drawer

The 2400g works on any motherboard made in the last two years.

Stickman
Feb 1, 2004

much, much larger than your hat, but not as large as the moon
-DNA


Any B450/X470/X570 will work with a 2400g or 2200g. A 3400g would need a bios update on B450/X470, but X570 would still work out of the box.

Whitest Russian
Nov 23, 2013


Is this the time to upgrade my 6600k?

orange juche
Mar 14, 2012





Whitest Russian posted:

Is this the time to upgrade my 6600k?

Are you running into issues that affect whatever you want to do with your computer? If the answer is yes, then the answer to "Should I upgrade?" is yes.

If you're still able to do everything you want to do with your PC, then there is no real reason to upgrade, as there will always be newer, better parts on the horizon.

That said, even if you're currently able to do everything you want to do with your PC, it wouldn't hurt to start consistently putting small amounts of money aside for an eventual upgrade.

orange juche fucked around with this message at 22:20 on Nov 12, 2019

Enos Cabell
Nov 3, 2004



Mu Zeta posted:

The 2400g works on any motherboard made in the last two years.


Stickman posted:

Any B450/X470/X570 will work with a 2400g or 2200g. A 3400g would need a bios update on B450/X470, but X570 would still work out of the box.

Thanks, read too many contradictory comments in user reviews and got myself all confused.

Putting together a small PC for my dad, haven't built an AMD machine since my old Opteron 165 / NForce2 PC years ago.

Enos Cabell fucked around with this message at 22:28 on Nov 12, 2019

Mu Zeta
Oct 17, 2002

Me crush ass to dust


Grimey Drawer

Whitest Russian posted:

Is this the time to upgrade my 6600k?

It's a pretty good time to be building a new pc right now in terms of price. RAM and SSD prices are the lowest they've ever been. Just last year 16 gigs of ram was like $180 and now you can do it for $60. The Ryzen 2600 + mobo will be around $200 and will last for years. New video cards are plentiful and in stock everywhere selling at or below msrp since the crypto thing crashed hard.

Indiana_Krom
Jun 18, 2007
Net Slacker

Ak Gara posted:

Since I'm thinking of getting an Aquaero 6 I kinda regret buying my D5 Vario's. Sure I could set-and-forget but if I do need to change speed, (such as filling the loop) it'll be a pain, as the bottom of the pump would be quite close to a panel leaving only a small gap to try and turn the dial.

Plus, the EK D5 G2's cables are sleeved.
sleeved



Which is clearly better than hotdog cables. I say the EK D5 because I hear the Aquabus D5's can't be found any more?

I have the ekwb D5, it isn't the only PWM controlled D5 out there, but it is competent and as reasonably priced as anything ekwb sells. It is silent at 1800 RPM (~35% throttle) and has plenty of flow at that speed for a CPU+GPU+single radiator loop. 100% throttle is about 4500 RPM and is audible but not terrible as long as you don't vary the throttle any (its sound is most noticeable when it is changing speeds). If you are optimizing for noise it is definitely preferable to slow it down to <2000 RPM and just keep it there, also the pump will last longer at those lower throttles anyway. The temperature difference between 100% and 35% is about 1C on the GPU or CPU at power virus load levels, it has no impact on the coolant temp at any loading or the block temps at lower loads.

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Whitest Russian
Nov 23, 2013


orange juche posted:

Are you running into issues that affect whatever you want to do with your computer? If the answer is yes, then the answer to "Should I upgrade?" is yes.

If you're still able to do everything you want to do with your PC, then there is no real reason to upgrade, as there will always be newer, better parts on the horizon.

That said, even if you're currently able to do everything you want to do with your PC, it wouldn't hurt to start consistently putting small amounts of money aside for an eventual upgrade.

Mu Zeta posted:

It's a pretty good time to be building a new pc right now in terms of price. RAM and SSD prices are the lowest they've ever been. Just last year 16 gigs of ram was like $180 and now you can do it for $60. The Ryzen 2600 + mobo will be around $200 and will last for years. New video cards are plentiful and in stock everywhere selling at or below msrp since the crypto thing crashed hard.

I'm mostly trying to decide if I want to get some decent Ryzen sale during Black Friday/Cyber Monday or if I should wait for Zen 3 to be released in early 2020 supposedly.

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