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How I’m Spending My COVID-19 Downtime: I Built Myself a New ROCKET AMD Ryzen Computer!

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


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

Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.

11 Comments

  1. Sweet. I would have gone with the 1TB or larger but I’m sure cost is also a factor in this. I’m a little old school in avoiding keeping everything on the cloud.

    • @DaninMCI – Yeah I really looked at that and had both the 500GB and 1TB in my cart but since I had 2TB in extra storage I went with the smaller one. Worst case I have another NVMe M.2 slot on the mainboard where I could simply add another drive.

  2. Brian Fisher Reply

    That is a pretty nice build, and definitely depends on how you use it.

    I had a 6 year old AMD FX-8350 powered machine with 32GB of RAM and a GeForce GTX 670 that simply quit turning on last May. I tried diagnosing it for a couple of weeks, but I really needed to get back to a software development project that I was working on.

    Basically, an i9-9900k with 64GB of RAM, a 2TB NVMe SSD, and an RTX 2070 GPU. I went with a Cooler Master case that I liked better than the one in their specs. Fortunately, I had help building it because I have never successfully built a computer myself.

    It’s probably WAY overbuilt since I am not a gamer at all, but I like to run Windows 10 as my main OS and I prefer to develop in Linux, so I need lots of space and RAM for the VMs that I like to build for development purposes.

    Now I am trying to teach myself to build my own machine, and ordered a new mobo and processor off of Amazon to try and cannibalize the rest of the parts from the machine that died last May. That way, I haven’t invested too much if I fail to get it together, and if I do, I am going to experiment with hackintoshing it, but will also mutiboot with Windows 10 and Linux as well.

    I bought a mobo that supports the 32GB of DDR3 Ram that I have from that previous build, and an i7-4770k chip. I will get a MacOS compatible GPU for that build if I ever decide I need more horsepower for video editing. Otherwise, I am planning to stick 2 or 4 large capacity storage drives in a RAID config and make it a home file server. That is in addition to the same old 1TB SSD that was in it before.

    Thanks for sharing your build! I am pretty excited to try and build one myself that I don’t have to end up taking to someone else to complete for me!

    • Dotti Cahill Reply

      Wow great job !! I have a few old laptop and pc’s sitting around if u have time

    • @Dan – You can add up the parts from the links in the post. I am using my old HP Pavilion 27xw monitors.

  3. I’m itching to build a new box, I swear it’s been 8-10 years since my current htpc was built. It was a great way to cut cords but now it’s time to migrate from WMC to Plex. Not to mention my spinning disks that are somehow still holding on! I should do it while the Win 10 upgrades are still available. Thx for the write-up, you’ve ignited the build flame in me!

  4. I promise I read the whole article . . . and didn’t understand a single thing you said. I have an iPad that is probably 5 years old and a desktop that I managed to upgrade to Windows 10 all by myself. But, then again, I don’t play video games or watch movies on my devices. I have a tv for that. Yes, I am from the days of FORTRAN, etc. and having to stand in line during college to get my punch cards loaded at the computer lab. It never became fun enough for me to want to explore further. Yet, your article did make me sad that I don’t know more about computers. Maybe it’s time to learn since I’m retired. Do you have a computer for dummies-type YouTube you can recommend?

  5. Wow René I am so impressed that your airline geekery extends to computers as well! Great write up.

  6. Adam Sanders Reply

    I also built an AMD system this winter. I went with the 3700x, which was not much more expensive than the 2700 you used (not sure the exact price you paid). I got a 2TB NVME drive for about $200 during Christmas sales, and an RTX 2070 Super (Zotac Mini) for $430. It’s a great system, and drives my games at 3440×1440 like a champ.

  7. Barry Graham Reply

    I am very impressed – and also very guilty. I lost my job in January and I’m “working’ at home looking for a new one, at the same time supervising six children that are suddenly home-schooled. I am not seeing extra time! It’s true I could be responding to twitter less, but not sure that would give me the extra time. Good for you for making that extra time.

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