Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Post
  • Reply
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.



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 it’s 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 you’re doing professional work, what software do you need to use? What’s your typical project size and complexity? If you use multiple pieces of software, what’s your workflow?
  • If you're gaming, what is your monitor resolution / refresh rate? How fancy do you want your graphics, from “it runs” to “Ultra preset as fast as possible”?

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 you’re making money with it, we’ll 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. It’s 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 19:25 on Dec 3, 2020

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

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

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.

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.

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.



Nude Hoxha Cameo posted:

First and foremost, thanks for keeping the thread going - itís an amazingly valuable resource!

But also a question: Are you planning on pulling over the quick picks? Iíve always found that useful as a starting point, and my guess is that itís been helpful over the years to others as well.

Nah, the problem with the old thread was that they were out of date and getting people to start in the wrong place, and no one really wanted to be responsible for keeping them up (I figure, given that no one else wanted to make a new OP). A 3600,16gb of ram, and one of the PSUs mentioned in the OP are going to go in nearly every system, but everything else is build/budget dependent, and the best choice part wise can change daily, depending on prices.

Considering we've been operating for over a year with the recs in the OP being bad, I figured we'd do just as well just going off the template while not having to periodically explain that the OP is out of date.

If anyone cares to make and keep current such a list I'm happy to link in the OP / let them poach the rest of it for a new thread, though I'm going to be making some additions / revisions later this week.

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.



AAAAA! Real Muenster posted:

Hi Thread,

I am in the US building a new gaming PC. Someone helped me get this put together near the end of the last thread:
PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: Intel Core i9-9900K 3.6 GHz 8-Core Processor ($471.99 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($34.89 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock Z390 Pro4 ATX LGA1151 Motherboard ($109.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3600 Memory ($74.98 @ Amazon)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 Super 6 GB SC ULTRA GAMING Video Card ($233.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair RM (2019) 650 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply ($94.98 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Home OEM 64-bit ($99.95 @ Amazon)
Total: $1120.76
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-11-13 13:48 EST-0500

I upgraded the CPU because I have more room in by budget; I already have my Hard Drive situation sorted so it is absent from that list. I have a few follow up questions, though:
1.) I have maybe another $200 in budget, should I upgrade the graphics card?
2.) There are a staggering number of cases to chose from. I would like a medium sized (easy enough to move if I want to go to the rare LAN but not too small, either) with no lighting on the outside. Anyone have any suggestions or know a good brand to look at?
3.) Do I need any more cooling?

You've got the most powerful gaming CPU paired with a decidedly mid-range GPU. Use case is gaming, yes? What resolution/refresh rate is your monitor?

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.



Cool cool. The 9900k is grossly overkill for what you're looking to do, you won't be able to tap a fraction of it's potential. Grab a 3600, use the stock cooler, and pocket the difference; any modern processor will sail past the 60fps limit imposed by your monitors and should have no problem with multitasking like that. Also be sure to grab a Windows key from SA Mart rather than spending full retail.

Do you want to game on both monitors at the same? The 1660 super is a good choice for 1920x1080, but 3840x1080 would want something beefier.

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.



They probably worth more as a collectable. You can get a 970 for $100 or less, or 1070 level performance in a new card for around $200. I'd just flip them.

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.



It was a dumb idea from the start and the irrational exuberance died out.

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.



$100 sounds like a good friend price. I'd caution her on the hard drive though, 7 years is pretty old so I wouldn't save anything important to it / expect to replace it sooner rather than later.

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.



I don't get what you mean by not taking the desktop apart when you're going to have to gut it to put all the new stuff in.

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.



I don't know what your cable routing situation is like, but putting in the motherboard is like 90% of building a PC.

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.



DDR3 can be had pretty cheap now. If you post a buying thread in SA-Mart I'd bet you can get another 8gb for

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.



You ain't gonna kill your motherboard running an in-spec processor. Maybe if you crank the OC but if you're using a stock cooler you're not going to be able to pull that off either.

Also VRM quality and chipset are independent, you can get B450 boards with very robust power delivery.

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.



5 and 7 are just segments like Intel. The 2700X has two more cores, the cores in the 3600 are ~15% stronger. The 3600 performs better today unless you have a use for more cores (i.e. not gaming), but some people are afraid that 6/12 CPUs will go obsolete quickly since the new consoles are 8 core. I can't say I share this fear, but it's there.

Cyrano4747: No one can say how long a processor will last. If the above comes to pass than the 2700X will have a longer life span, if not it'll last roughly as long as the 2600, and how long either of those last depends on what happens in the CPU industry down the line. At a readily available $120 for the 2600 you get a fine 60fps processor at i3 pricing.

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.



Primarily it doesn't use any cables.

They usually fit NVMe drives too, which cost the same as SATA drives, but this is less important than the cables part, unless you're doing video editing or the like.

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.



MikeC posted:

Buildzoid is an overclocker that assumes you be doing something crazy with your gear.

+1 to this. Buildzoid's channel is Actually Hardcore Overclocking and he means it. He's not doing consumer reviews, he's doing super enthusiast analyses. And even then he says basically any motherboard on the market is fine for a 3600 or 3700.

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.



Bank posted:

Trying to figure out what case exactly I should get. I'm thinking about doing Raid 5 with parity (3 x 12TB disks for 24TB). I'm thinking about the NZXT H510i but under 3.5 it says "2+1" does that mean it comes with 2 primary and 1 "flex" space allowing me to use either a 3.5 or a 2.5?

Also, is Raid 5 still a thing or am I better off just backing up what I actually care about in the cloud? (I realize that's probably another thread entirely..)

While utterly ignorant about RAID, rule #1 of (important) data storage is multiple copies in multiple locations. And autosyncing services aren't redundancy as they're happy to sync corrupted version of a file.

So yes, if it matters that much, it 100% should be backed up off-site

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.



BIG HEADLINE posted:

It's not an article, but:

The 2060S and 2070 are essentially the same card. As in, they literally use the same core and have the same amount of buffer. The 2070's faster than the 2060S, but no more than ~5% (or less), which is more or less a 'margin of error' speed increase.

The RX 5700's ~10% slower than both of them (save in a few AMD-friendly games/benchmarks), and uses ~60W more power. Either one will 'do ya for a while' in anything up to/including UW 1440p.

Dunno where you're getting that power figure from, all the benchmarks I can find show it having a similar to slightly lower power consumption. (Also a somewhat smaller performance delta in most games.)

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.



Notably, the 2070 and 2060S have a tdp of 175w (and the 2060S is slightly above the 5700 on the chart on the linked page), so the 60w figure really stood out.

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.



CPU and resolution are independent, it's monitor hz that matters.

But yeah. I'd go with the non-X version but the 3600 is plenty good for most every system.

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.



Jim Silly-Balls posted:

Cross posted from the VR thread:

Make sure the PSU is up to snuff / has the appropriate connectors.

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.



Schadenboner posted:

With the release of Threadripper and the Ryzen 9s (and maybe a new line of space heaters from Intel? ) the price of the 3800X has dropped to around 355 versus the 3700X’s 330.

At what differential would taking the (apparently only fractionally more powerful) 3800X become worthwhile?

Basically never. It offers 1-3% more performance and uses 10+% more power to get it.

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.



Techpoweredup did a piece on them but I can only find an amp link right now. Yes, they are binning them (they're the same chip after all). Per SL a top quintile 3800X gets 150mhz more than a top quintile 3700X, with only a 6% difference between a top 3800X and a bottom 3700X. In their testing they got the 1-3% performance difference I mentioned earlier.

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.



Mayman10 posted:

All the specs I've seen put the 1660s at about the same base clock as the 590 but for like $40-50 more and with 2 gigs less of vram

You can't compare clock to clock on anything but chips on literally the same architecture, and even then there are other factors at play. The 1660S handily outperforms the 590 across the board, and at 2/3rds the power consumption.

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.



Hey MikeC, I've linked your build guide post in the OP. Can you do me a favor and put in the full PCPP BBcode output on the example builds? As someone who primarily posts on mobile its a lot easier when people put the full thing instead of just a link, and I'd rather set the example in the OP.

Thanks for putting this together!

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.



Schadenboner posted:

Welp, I found a new channel to binge...



E: RIP mATX apparently.

He says, here and in other videos, that its really not that important for the 3600 or 3700, they don't have the power draw to need beefy vrms. He recommends the B450 Gaming Plus for mATX if you have a 3600 or 3700. It limits your options to drop in a 3900/3950 down the line, but honestly by the time consumer workloads need those kinds of core counts I doubt any of these processors will be relevant.

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.



Ciprian Maricon posted:

I see a lot of posts with the Ryzen 3 and the Tomahawk but no one talking about having to flash Bios.

I followed the instructions from the manual but it will not begin to update, reading online I saw mention that it needs to be a USB drive no larger than 16GB can anyone confirm that for me, or is there something I could be loving up?

It can be picky. I tried with a 16gb USB 2.0 drive and it didn't work, my friend brought out his ancient 0.5gb drive and it worked fine.

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.



Tarranon posted:

Hello Dear Thread;

Hopefully a quick question. I am a scaredy cat and seeing PC Part Picker say these two components (the Mobo and CPU) are incompatible is terrifying me, even though just going off the specs it seems that shouldn't be the case. Could anyone shed some light on what's going on?

PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 2700X 3.7 GHz 8-Core Processor ($169.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: MSI B450 TOMAHAWK MAX ATX AM4 Motherboard ($114.99 @ B&H)
Total: $309.97
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-11-25 23:40 EST-0500

Thank you

The MAX has an updated BIOS for Zen2, but the MAX part refers to having a big enough BIOS chip to fit all the supported CPUs, so I can't think of why it would have an issue.

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.



taqueso posted:

What's the price/performance sweet spot for a low power tiny pc with integrated graphics only?

Is this buy an OEM all in one territory?

I'm going to make a custom enclosure so I don't care if it comes with one

How low power / what are you doing with the graphics? Like, SBC territory?

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.



Snazzy Frocks posted:

is the ryzen 7 2700x effectively same as the 3700x if you ignore the wattage?

what would be the best video card to pair with either of the above to hit 1440p / 144hz assuming all other components are up to speed? not interested in 4k.

i effectively dont have a budget to adhere to at this time but i dont want overkill either. my eyes are crossing at all the video card options and i dont understand most of the features.

No, a 3700 is inherently ~15% more powerful. If you're aiming at gaming the 3600 is just as good.

The 5700xt or 2070S are the usual recommendations for 1440p144. They won't hit 144 ultra in AAA titles but the next step up is several hundred dollars more for a very non-proportional increase in power. The 2070S is ~10% more powerful than the 5700xt but costs 25% more, it also has raytracing if you're interested / have a compatible game / are willing to take the performance hit.

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.



Vasler posted:

I play a mixture of games ranging from pixel indie games to AAA so the ability to get at least 60 fps would be great.

You're right about the deals - the EVGA 2070S I was looking at was actually a better price last week.

A 3600 is a Ryzen, right? Why are AMD CPUs seemingly the ones to get now? They're that much better than Intel these days? I had terrible experiences with AMD in the past.

It sounds to me like you're recommending I not spend any more money on my current machine and just upgrade. Is that right?

A non-overclockable 4C/4T is going to quickly become the weakest point in your system, and upgrading the processor in place is throwing good money after bad with the prices old top SKU processors carry from people wanting to do exactly that.

And yeah, AMD is clowning on Intel, partly from a processor design standpoint and party from the fact that Intel's been having manufacturing issues for years. Until Intel can get 10nm sorted they're basically going to have to cut pricing in half on the 10XXXX chips, which they've already done on their high end parts.

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.



Check TBW vs whatever it was rated for.

As always, regardless of situation, back up any important data.

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.



a cat posted:

So I built something like this:
https://pcpartpicker.com/user/jjttjj/saved/#view=476k6h
I'm a software developer and was told in the last thread the graphics card doesn't matter since I'm not gaming so I got the lower end one. But after a month I've definitely noticed some lagginess when starting/seeking 4k videos (on a 38 inch monitor) and to a lesser extent other random UI animations. I should note I'm using linux (ubuntu 19.10), is it possible that this is due to software/things being less optimized there? Do I probably have to switch to windows (or another distro?) if I never want to see this lag?

Otherwise, does anyone have a good graphics card recommendation that's just good enough to never have to notice anything like this? I'd rather pay more and have slightly more than I need than slightly less and notice the lag here and there.

Nvidia and Linux don't have the greatest history, what driver are you using?

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.



27" 1080p is fine.

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.



Splicer posted:

Planning a gaming PC, absolute highest priority is reliability. No overclocking etc. It's replacing one from 2013 which is still going strong with nothing but an an ssd and RAM upgrade. Sorry for the lack of a partspicker but that's kind of my issue, I haven't done this in six years so I'm out of the loop.

Purpose: Gaming
Location: Ireland
Budget: 2,000? Basing this more on prices I've seen than an actual fixed budget, it's a 2080 yes, 2080ti no kind of situation and electronics here are stupid expensive

If there's a better thread for this level of ??? please point me at it. If this was 2013 again if know exactly what I was doing

If you're gaming, what is your monitor resolution / refresh rate?

This is really the most important part to part picking.

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.



Tallgeese posted:

If I have a choice between this:

https://www.newegg.com/msi-geforce-...N82E16814137392

or this:

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/evga-s...3495&mpid=79301

...for 1080p at identical price after rebates, how much of an idiot am I for not just taking the TI?

The ti performs notably better in a select few scenarios and otherwise an imperceptible couple of percent better. It's unambiguously a stronger card, but not enough so to be worth a price differential at all.

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.



Zedd posted:

What (Nvidia) Card would best match the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X? I think I figured out all the others parts.

1440p or 1080p?

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

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.



Zedd posted:

1440 for mostly "slower" games. probs putting ingame resolution to 1080p when using my 4K TV as screen.

2070S for 1440p >60fps, 2060S for being the only step down that doesn't cost $500. On the AMD front the 5700 is basically a 2060S but cheaper, and the 5700XT is 7-10% slower than the 2070S but much cheaper. If you're OK with upscaling from 1080p the 1660S is a solid choice, but it'll have trouble doing higher resolutions natively.

Some Goon fucked around with this message at 03:39 on Nov 30, 2019

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply