The PC Build

Negativecool

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Preface:
My motivation to explore making my own PC was stoked by VR. I have been into racing simulation lately and had the opportunity to try it in VR. I was able to use a friend's Playstation VR for Gran Turismo Sport. I was floored by the potential, but disappointed by the limited implementation in the game with only the ability to race one other car for one lap, or move about the car in a VR showroom. The resolution is poor and the textures and detail are limited as it is a playstation title.
I have since shifted focus to racing sims. During this summer's Steam sale I picked up Assetto Corsa, rFactor2, Raceroom, Project Cars 2 (to name a few) on the cheap. Trouble is, my current PC cannot run any of these games. It runs Assetto Corsa (not a graphical power house of a game) at 20fps at bear minimum settings.

I have been saving for this project for a few years. I have a side hustle of a job during the week that I don't necessarily need. I use the extra funds for odd jobs here and there with no real cost to the checking account. I have by now saved far greater than I need by far; so some of my choices are high end, some are not.

After looking up pre-made gaming PCs such as iBuypower, alienwware, etc, I decided it is just a better idea to build my own, despite never having done it. I'm not an enthusiast, at all, and I've literally spent the past couple of months here and there learning just what the fuck a PC is, what parts do what, and what is compatible with what, etc and so forth.

Keep in mind I don't plan to pull the trigger on any of this until late november-ish when prices go down for black friday/cyber monday.
So here it is: Thus far.

Processor:
AMD 3900x (or 3950x) https://www.amazon.com/AMD-Ryzen-3900X-24-Thread-Processor/dp/B07SXMZLP9
It's not the highest end (like the intel 9900k) but it supports PCI-e 4.0. It's still new and prices are inflated at the moment. It will only be worse with the 3950x when it comes out. I might wait to see if the 3950x is better for gaming, but for now, it'll be an AMD based machine.
Processor cooling:
Noctua NH - D15 SE AM4 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NC06ZYT/ref=emc_b_5_t
Cooling has been a headache. I know nothing the best solutions for airflow. But Noctua fans are the most highly spoken of and reviewed cooling solution I've read. Solid AIO (all in one) coolers are few and often have a wide variety of experiences from impossible to beat to killed an entire system when the radiator pump stopped. So....yea. What thermal paste? I don't know yet.

Motherboard:
MSI MEG X570 ACE. https://www.amazon.com/X570-Motherboard-AMD-DDR4-Wi-Fi/dp/B07T3HYZ3Q
Has some of the best VRM management, is supposedly well supported. There was some concern about BIOs and support, but I think that is cleared up. My thoughts on motherboards change, but so far this is the one I'm going with. I may yet overclock things just a hair. Seem to be a good fit thus far.

Storage:
NVMe 4.0 PCIe 4.0 https://www.amazon.com/Sabrent-Internal-Extreme-Performance-SB-ROCKET-NVMe4-2TB/dp/B07TN1MNJ4
I'm not sold on what PCIe 4.0 storage I'll go with, but so far going with this one. The best SSD's are cheaper - sure, but by and large these perform just a bit better than SSDs. Pricey for sure. I have no argument against that.

RAM:
https://www.newegg.com/g-skill-32gb-288-pin-ddr4-sdram/p/N82E16820232861
Every tech website/youtube channel seems to agree that 3600 is the MHz to go with for 3900x processors. Lower latency (CL 16 or less) also performs generally better. I'm going with 32 because I've seen games with recommended settings of 16GB, so I want to be well above what I need....also my kids might stream their sessions to friends..so. Whatever.

Graphics Card:
EVGA Geforce 2080ti FTW3 Ultra https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KVKRLG2?tag=pcg-roundup-20
Initially I wanted 1080ti's in SLI, but I've been reading support issues in a few of the sim games, and it can take some technical tom-foolery to get it working well if it is supported. Don't need the headache. I thus settled on the 2080ti. The cost of this card is not lost on me; it's pretty fucking high, so I'm not 100% on this one. But it's highly rated, thermals appear to be well managed and thus fan speed is not like a jet is taking off. Alternatively there's the ASUS ROG STRIX 2080ti- also highly rated and a tad cheaper, but I've read funny things about the fans being a bit off, and many have complained about random fan whine. Overall...we'll see about this.

Power Supply:
EVGA 850 Titanium https://www.amazon.com/EVGA-Supernova-Titanium-Warranty-220-T2-0850-X1/dp/B018JYHGOQ
I'm going with more than what I need to keep it quiet, as well as allow room for overclocking the GPU/CPU if I want. It's far more money for the efficiency than most go with. I have no argument against that. Fuck it.

PC Case:
This has been the biggest headache by far. Noise and dB's are very important to me. It seems the prevailing tech opinion is that 40dB is quiet. Fuck that. Gamernexus has been a really good youtube channel for reference for case analysis.
I have not decided yet.
The thermaltake looks pretty cool in an unconventional way. I could mount it to my wall without need for case fans. BUT the noise will be entirely dependent on GPU fans, which aren't that quiet.
https://www.amazon.com/Thermaltake-Tempered-Panoramic-Wall-Mount-CA-1G4-00M1WN-06/dp/B07BFGB8Z6
Otherwise a more traditional case could be the Fractal R6 or Meshify C, the former leaning towards sound dampening and the latter focusing a bit more on thermals.
https://www.amazon.com/Fractal-Design-FD-CA-DEF-R6-BK-Define-Black/dp/B0793BNBY7
https://www.fractal-design.com/products/cases/meshify/meshify-c/black/

Being VR in it's purpose, I need a higher end system to provide butter smooth frame rates at high graphical settings. I have gotten nauseous after extended bouts with the PS4's VR simply because it's not that capable. It's also a gaming PC with an eye to the future so this set-up will last quiet a few years. Hopefully.

Anyway. Feedback from tech nerds?
 
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OverLord

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I don't have much experience with AMD builds. I haven't built an AMD focused box since the mid 90's.

I hear ya on the VR issues, I was VERY excited about Playstation VR but got headaches and dizziness every time I used it for games that required turning left and right a lot. I'm not convinced that having a smoother frame rate will fix this though, seems like that our brains need feedback from our own bodies that we are "off angle" and VR can't do that (yet) hence the headaches and nausea.

I'm running my 8700k and Ram a combined 40% overclocked currently and my Noctua NH-D9L (with 92 mm fan) is keeping it cool. I haven't stress tested the entire system with full GPU loads yet though.


Dunno what OS number you are going with but I started out from a Win7pro disc I had laying around, be aware you will have to emulate USB and that your M2 WILL NOT work until you update to SP1 on win7. I'll update to Win10 sometime soon. Samsung MvMe site has a download for disc clone and that's how I'm gonna move my system to the M2, eventually. Your motherboard site may offer more help on M2 install, as MINE sure as did not.


My Intel build process may offer some help, so I'll keep adding any issues I fond along the way.
 

OverLord

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Yeah, going the Win7 route was too fucking riddled with issues. I zapped it all and booted from a fresh copy of win10 pro on USB to my M2 dive. Win10 Pro supposedly will let me use Win7 in a Virtual box, will try soon. ( I need it for some older programs )

All is well currently, gonna install Metro Exodus ( all ultra settings) and see whats what. I may try out that "game bar" setting and record the game play too to add even more system stress.
 

Negativecool

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I've read I should go with Windows 10 Pro build 1903....or some such...as it seems to be the only one assured to fully take advantage of all the cores associated with multi-core processors like the 3900x/3950x.

I'm not far enough into it to look into installing Windows. I'm not even entirely sure how it works yet. I can get Windows with or without the key, download it or put it on a flash drive....I dunno. I'll look into software tutorials when my hardware is established.
 

Negativecool

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I don't have much experience with AMD builds. I haven't built an AMD focused box since the mid 90's.
The last PC I bought was a Compaq Presario in the summer of 2000 just before college... with a blazin' fast 1GHz AMD processor. The processor alone, at that time, was $1,000.
Things progressed so quickly back then that within 3 years it couldn't run new games. Luckily (unluckily?) ceilings are being reached so I'm hoping my planned rig lasts for the life-cycle of the next console generation.
 

Negativecool

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Bought my first "thing" so far. I periodically (frequently lately) check on prices and availability of all of the parts I've chosen so far, as well as several of the alternatives. Seems waiting for black friday/cyber monday isn't the best strategy for some of the parts.

https://www.newegg.com/g-skill-32gb-288-pin-ddr4-sdram/p/N82E16820232860

I've been eyeing a few different products for RAM along the line of 3600MHz. As I've read more, a CAS latency of 16 (*edit* and timing of 16-16-16-36) became more important. These are apparently really hard to come by as I've seen several go out of stock and others that were on sale suddenly shoot up in price pretty hard. Once I noticed this one in stock and cheaper than usual, I said fuck it.

Side note: Pcpartpicker has been great with tracking price history and helping identify the cheapest source.
 

Negativecool

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Just went ahead and got the noctua CPU cooler. It was 10 dollars cheaper and doesn't really go below that, no need to wait there. They have a new version that is all black to make it look prettier. It apparently works exactly the same in terms of temp/dB, but I went with the one that is well known

Also got the MSI MEG ACE motherboard. Not sure how cheap that things gonna go come late November, but I picked it up for $50 off now. Gives me time to study up on the thing and further think out the build before getting other components.

The wife gave me the go-ahead with triple screen monitor set up. Something else for me to research I suppose.
 

Negativecool

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Embargo lifted on reviews for the AMD 3950x. It works as I expected. Best in the market with multi-threaded tasks, marginally better in gaming (with some games only) verses AMD 3900x. The price will be phenomenally higher than suggested retail ($750) due to initial demand. It would basically cost twice as much as the 3900x.
My PC build plan was originally envisioned as a no-compromise build, but 1,000 dollars for 1-10 extra frames per second gaming is flat out dumb. Besides, both processors are still outclassed by intel's i9- 9900K and KS.

So I pulled the trigger on the 3900x. It remains in high demand; out of stock in a lot of places, cheapest I could find it is $519.
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1485447-REG/amd_100_100000023box_ryzen_9_3900x_3_8.html

However, the no-compromises philosophy still stands. AMD has already stated their Zen 3 architecture will be released early next year. So, if anything, the 3900x is an excellent place holder until that comes out.
 

Negativecool

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Sooooo....much to update. Read what you will, or not, but all the hardware is put together and here it is:

Graphics card:
As previous, this PC was originally envisioned as a no compromises build... which morphed into a no compromises "later" build in terms of processor (Zen 3 releasing earlier next yer), and now also graphics card (Nvidia 3000 series releasing early next year). So I went with a 2080 super for now:
Essentially, it was half the price of the 2080ti I was looking at, at the cost of about -10 to -30 fps. Seemed pretty stupid to spend $1,500 with a supposedly cheaper, more power efficient, better performing 3000 series right around the corner.

Storage:
Initial research led me to believe the Aorus was 'iffy' with certain hardware, so I planned on the Sabrent brand posted above. When it came time to drop real money, I examined that one much closer. A lot of 1 star reviews were from people with....my MSI MEG ACE motherboard - glad I caught that. Happy with the Aurus so far.

Power Supply: Yup, went with the one posted. 80+ titanium when a simple 80+ silver/gold would have sufficed just fine. Again, fuck it.

Case:
This one was difficult to the 11th hour. I finally decided to go with the Coolermaster H500.
The decision came down to either Fractal Define R6 or H500 variant. Ultimately, performance/airflow was a slightly higher priority than dB's so I went with the Coolermster based on analysis from the Gamers nexus youtube channel. (great no bullshit resource). I was originally going for the H500M but, again, when it came time to drop real money, I looked more closely; and I found that the USB-C front I/O cable isn't long enough to reach the motherboard plug in, only on my particular motherboard because of where MSI places it on the board. I could not find any easy (extension cables???) fixes for this online. So...I had to ditch the USB-C (sad face) and go with the H500.
 

Negativecool

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Initial hardware placement in the case. Still doing bios updates and downloads at this point. Loaded Windows at this point. Honestly, I know fuck all about the process of loading windows - this video in particular (among many)
really worked me through it well. Also, got me a legit windows 10 pro key for 12 bucks. Not bad.
 

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Negativecool

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My triple monitors/mostly final hardware set up:

Surprised how many older games easily support triple monitors without game file hackery. Disappointingly, the only game in my entire steam library that doesn't support it, or run at all for that matter, is god damn Crysis - of all games. The one game I really wanted to push to see what I could do with it. Big fucking F.
 

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Negativecool

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So I'm pretty much done at this point. Have to do some minor tweaks such as but not limited to:
- Add a 120mm fan to the noctua as the 140mm was too big for the case and RAM sticks
- Get a mat or something under it as it's on carpet right now.
- Fine tune the triple monitor set up with some Nvidia software.
- Get wireless keyboard/mouse/controller.
- Download MSI software to keep track of temps/FPS real time.

Then the main goal is to set-up and fine tune settings for iRacing, Assetto Corsa, etc.

So far I'm really happy with how it all turned out. Aside from initial issues with the RAM and motherboard, Crysis no longer working, it has been pretty smooth. H500 case isn't loud in the least. That NVME M.2 drive is insane. First night I had it up and running I put just under 200GB on it - would have been more but I was limited by internet speeds, which are actually decent in my area.