It was time. Honestly, it was beyond time, but I had been so busy with travel (I miss that). Yes, my beloved home quad-core AMD based computer was no longer up to my current needs.
Many longtime readers know that in my previous life I spent decades running a computer shop and have built literally thousands of computers over the years. I still love “box building” and with the current choices, it is more fun than ever (think LED bling bits).
Anyway, I had a number of choices to consider. Like:
- 12 core AMD CPU or 8 core (up from my 4 core)?
- What AMD based motherboard with max flexibility?
- 64 GB Ram or a bit less like 32 or even 16 (up from my current 4 GB)?
- How big and what type of SSD hard drive to use?
- What rock’in Nvidia video card to use?
That shortlist would become the shortlist of the bones of what would become my new rig. Now on to my thinking and final choices.
I am an AMD guy. Always have been. I have avoided INTEL forever in much the same way I avoid anything from APPLE i.e. iOS (I am an Android guy). The AMD Ryzen 9 16-core is clearly drool-worthy but for THAT price I could build my entire rig so that was off the table (but, boy, I wanted it!). The next consideration was the AMD Ryzen 9 12-core but once again for that steep of a price I could not make the jump (but it was a close call). I settled on a good balance of cores and speed (and cost) with the AMD Ryzen 7 -8 core with 3.2Ghz speed. On to the mainboard choice.
This was, and always is, a really hard choice. A mainboard fail is one of the worst things that can happen over the years. Not just that, but flexibility and performance of the mainboard really matter. My old board was a Gigabyte solid state board but for my new one I wanted to go with ASUS. I also wanted a number of high end features like at least one NVMe M.2 SSD drive slot, a number of USB 3 ports as well as standard SATA ports. I went with the ASUS ROG Strix B450-F, not because I am a gamer, but I loved all the options.
Next up RAM. Anyone who knows anything about computers knows that how much and what type (and speed) your ram is really, really matters. Here is one place I splurged big time. While I would have loved to have gone with the max amount my ASUS board would hold I held back a little and went with 32 GB (dual 16GB) of CORSAIR Vengeance RGB Pro chips. The funky cycling LED lights on them are a minor (but cool) side point of these performance chips!
Hard drive technology advancements over the years has simply been nothing short of stunning. One thing I still “preach” to folks is the value of taking an old computer (laptop or desktop) and doing nothing more than ripping out the old mechanical hard drive and slapping in a new ultra-fast SSD hard drive (i.e. an all memory chip-based drive vs. spinning platters). With a clean windows 10 reload (and correct BIOS tweaks) an old computer can give you YEARS more of stellar performance for very little cost.
But on to my choice for my new rig. While the above text is 100% true, an SATA SSD hard drive is like comparing a muscle car to a super car – yep that massive. The speed and performance of NVMe PCIe M.2 is beyond words (but let me try to find some). How fast? My boot time with Windows 10 64 bit is now 4 seconds from a cold start. Let that sink in – 4 seconds! 🙂 Just what drive did I go with? I have had great success with ADATA chips over the years so the choice was the XPG SX8200 Pro 512GB 3D NAND NVMe Gen3x4 PCIe M.2 2280 in the 512 GB size. I considered the larger 1 TB but already had a 512 GB Samsung SATA SSD as an extra storage drive plus an old school Western Digital 1.5 TB for even more backup storage.
Last up was my video card choice. As much of an AMD fan that I am, when it comes to graphics chips I like NVIDIA. Always have. I wanted a decent balance of performance, ram as well as the flexibility of different types of video out ports as I currently have a dual monitor setup and may go to 3 one day (once you have two – you will never go back to one – EVEN)! I struggled a lot with this choice but the numbers for the rig were adding up and I did have a budget in mind I was trying to stick with. So I went with the ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 OC 4GB GDDR5 128-Bit. So far it is working just as I want and am very impressed with the performance.
The above is the core of my new rig and I have to tell you I love it. Windows 10 64 bit installed in about 3 or 4 minutes (that is impressive). As already talked about the hard drive performance is nothing but mind-blowing. As to editing videos for my YouTube page during rendering I am hitting all 8 cores about 60% and have seen a huge improvement in performance. As to everyday things, it is just about as fast as I can click – anything!
My case choice was an old “new stock” Coolermaster I had left over (kinda like this one) that did have a few bits I was looking for that is a clear side panel to show off all the “bling” inside the case as well as a bottom positioned power supply with lots of room for large quiet 120 mm case fans (I had some in stock like these) at the top of the box. As to the power supply I went with a beefy one even though my video card was bus powered.
Final bits, I picked up a new Amazon basics USB keyboard and added two in-case storage drawers as I have found that having a spot close at hand for “bits” is just nice and handy. I kept my old cordless mouse and old speakers as well as a few other tiny bits that moved over from my old computer like my SATA DVD burner drive.
Overall I am simply thrilled with my new rig and it should be with me for many, many years to come with delightful speed and performance. Heck, as I blogged about earlier in the year, I even used my old WIN7 Pro registration number to load Windows 10 64 bit (yes it still works fyi).
What do you think of my use of my COVID shutdown time to uber-geek out and what do you think of my technology choices? – René
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