New PC-me-do

From: Kenny J (WINGNUTKJ)16 Jan 2020 13:17
To: ALL1 of 89
Been a long time since anyone's done the "me-do" thing, eh?

It's been a long time since I renewed anything on my PC. The last couple of games I've installed have sort of looked at the hardware, harrumphed a bit, and insisted on lower settings. So! It's time for me to build a new PC. But it's been a long time, so I don't know stuff any more.

What's good these days?

It looks like for gaming and general faffing, I'm seeing AMD processors being recommended over Intel, with Radeon for graphics over NVidia. Was there some point at which AMD processors stopped being shit?

How much memory? 16GbTBH? 32?

What kind of connector-y things are hard drives and whatever else using?

Do people still bother with optical drives? I want one, mainly for ripping CDs, which I still buy a surprising amount of.

And where to buy from? Are Ebuyer still any good?

Anyway, I thought I'd ask here, because that always used to work.
From: Peter (BOUGHTONP)16 Jan 2020 13:53
To: Kenny J (WINGNUTKJ) 2 of 89
> And where to buy from? Are Ebuyer still any good?

I bought a mouse from Ebuyer in 2017 and don't remember having problems.

I'll happily re-use Kustom PCs and Quiet PC when they stock what I want.

Otherwise, I made several orders to Scan without problems.

From: CHYRON (DSMITHHFX)16 Jan 2020 15:19
To: Kenny J (WINGNUTKJ) 3 of 89
Was there some point at which AMD processors stopped being shit?

Never bought anything else, got nothing to compare it to, except Intel's are generally more expensive (also compatible motherboards), and budget's always been my go to factor

How much memory? 16GbTBH? 32?

Supposedly 32 is the new 4. I'm still on one 16, got an open slot for another, waiting for ddr4 prices to implode.

What kind of connector-y things are hard drives and whatever else using?

SATA and a couple of others which I haven't tried, USB3 is the new USB2 (and so on)

Do people still bother with optical drives? I want one, mainly for ripping CDs, which I still buy a surprising amount of

I do for the same reason except for the buy part

From: milko16 Jan 2020 15:28
To: Kenny J (WINGNUTKJ) 4 of 89
AMD have suddenly managed to produce some really good CPUs at a good price, yes. Rockpapershotgun has some pretty good (I think, not really an expert) guides to choosing according to different budgets, same on graphics cards.

32GB ram yeah, you might as well.

Drives, you should have at least one SSD for the OS.

My case didn't have an optical drive hole in it, so I bought a USB one which does the job for CD rips.

I quite like and Scan. I heard some vague grumbling about ebuyer but I don't recall any detail and they never did wrong by me at least. I'd search through those and CCL to see if anyone's got anything cheaper than the rivals.

You gonna build this yourself? is a great way to get your system set up listed out, making sure everything's compatible and nothing missing etc. 

I just bought an upgrade for mine, by getting a new motherboard/CPU/RAM thing second hand. I think it's what the guy I bought the last lot off upgraded to then, but he's very 'bleeding edge' so it's still good.
EDITED: 16 Jan 2020 15:29 by MILKO
From: CHYRON (DSMITHHFX)16 Jan 2020 15:44
To: milko 5 of 89
The pc I built two years ago (admittedly lo-spec) can't run latest games (e.g. red dead redemption 2) at all even on lowest settings, it struggles a bit on Far Cry 4 & 5 with settings dialed well down, notably display resolution.  :-S
From: Chris (CHRISSS)16 Jan 2020 20:03
To: Kenny J (WINGNUTKJ) 6 of 89
AMD's recent CPUs are amazing, and so much better value than Intel. I recently got a Ryzen 5 3600 with a motherboard for £263 from ADW-IT (never heard of them before but PC Part Picker said they were the cheapest) and picked up 16GB of 3600Mhz RAM from Amazon. It's amazing. 6 cores, so handles running a VM, Photoshop, IntelliJ and other stuff at the same time easily, and for games it's only slightly slower than much more expensive Intel systems.

Nvidia are still great for their GPUs, especially the top end, but probably more expensive than AMD. Although, something like a GTX 1660 is great for the price, but no ray tracing, if you're into that sort of thing. I got a 2070 Super because my VR headset requires lots of pixel pushing.

The only thing that isn't as good as my old 2500K is the stock AMD Wraith Stealth cooler. It's definitely on the loud side, so I decided to swap it for something better.
From: CHYRON (DSMITHHFX)16 Jan 2020 20:07
To: Chris (CHRISSS) 7 of 89
What motherboard?
From: Chris (CHRISSS)16 Jan 2020 20:12
MSI B450 Tomahawk MAX. I did order the non-MAX which was £5 less, but they sent me a MAX, which was nice. The MAX has Zen 2 compatibility out of the box, whereas the other one requires a BIOS update to support it, which you can do from a flash drive without needing a CPU in the board.
From: CHYRON (DSMITHHFX)16 Jan 2020 20:20
To: Chris (CHRISSS) 9 of 89
I've had a couple of MSI boards, they're pretty solid & well-supported.

Oh wow, that's a full atx board, haven't had one of those since I was running NT4 on an original Athlon in a humongous tower case with 7 drive bays.
EDITED: 16 Jan 2020 20:24 by DSMITHHFX
From: Chris (CHRISSS)16 Jan 2020 20:29
It's a decent board. Not the brand spanking new chipset but it handles the new CPUs just fine. The only issue I have with it is the graphical BIOS goes weird if I select UEFI mode, so I have to leave it in compatibility mode.

I'm still using a full tower case from 12 years ago. Do you have a mini one? Lots of nice mini ITX systems out there now.
From: CHYRON (DSMITHHFX)16 Jan 2020 20:32
To: Chris (CHRISSS) 11 of 89
Nah I stuck an mATX budget board into an old mid-tower. It's bigger than my previous build case, which is good because it's much less prone to overheating. Also the build was way easier with lots of room.
EDITED: 16 Jan 2020 20:33 by DSMITHHFX
From: william (WILLIAMA)17 Jan 2020 00:15
To: Kenny J (WINGNUTKJ) 12 of 89
Yeah, it's funny the way that Intel was great and a few companies like Cyrix and AMD produced budget copies then AMD was the best for ages then Intel for even longer and now AMD seem to have taken the lead with their Ryzens and Threadrippers and 7 nano-metre  technology and 64 core CPUs.

I think if I was building a new computer now, I'd follow Chris and go down the AMD path.

For drives, certainly the system drive, you definitely want an M.2 NVME drive rather than SATA SSD. They're up to 7 times faster and getting faster and cheaper all the time. Most modern boards support this anyway. 

Personally, I would include an optical drive but that's mainly because I do a lot of ripping for my Plex and music libraries. 

Also, what Peter said about Ebuyer and Scan and Quiet PC. I've also bought stuff from them without a problem. 
From: Kenny J (WINGNUTKJ)17 Jan 2020 11:10
To: ALL13 of 89
Thanks all, lots to start looking at now. I'll definitely take a look at the NVME SSD drives - putting a SATA SSD in my current system was one of the best things I ever did. I'll be taking the approach of having a moderately sizeable SSD for the OS and whatever games I'm currently playing, and a traditional drive for media storage - possibly my existing one (think it's 2Tb and where near full) for starters, using the money I save for MOAR MEMORY.

Sounds like it's easier to get a case without an optical drive slot and go USB there.

Cooling and stuff - is that still a big deal? Fans still, yeah? Water cooling never quite managed to hit the mainstream, right?
From: william (WILLIAMA)17 Jan 2020 12:19
To: Kenny J (WINGNUTKJ) 14 of 89
I recently put a 512GB NVME drive in my laptop (ADATA SX8200PNP) which was under £60. It wasn't the big change that swapping a SATA HDD for an SSD was a while back, but it is generally snappier and seeing as that price is comparable to a 512GB SATA SSD of similar quality...

As for water cooling: I have this in two separate PCs. Easy to fit and very effective. I put one in my main Plex and backup PC which runs 24x7. It uses an elderly i7 860 in a relatively small case along with 6 drives. There isn't room for a big air cooler and it was idling around 50C and regularly getting up to 80C. That's within spec but I wasn't comfortable having that in an unattended PC. With the water cooling, it idles around 28C and seldom goes above 40C. 

My main desktop was worse. I put a great big Gelid heatsink/fan thing onto its i5 4690K and didn't really think about temperatures which was scary, because I just happened to check when I was doing some video transcoding and found that all the cores were getting within a couple of degrees of 100C. With the Corsair thingy, temperatures now get to about 55C maximum.

The pump and case fan aren't silent, but they're pretty good.
From: milko17 Jan 2020 17:48
To: Kenny J (WINGNUTKJ) 15 of 89
All In One (AIO) water coolers are pretty good. I've got the Corsair H80 I think, which is like WilliamA's except a little bit more, I guess. Very straightforward to fit (well, about the same as normal ones) and not as gigantic and heavy as the air cooling ones, which I feel is good for these tower cases even if I intellectually know they must be fine.
From: william (WILLIAMA)17 Jan 2020 22:31
To: Kenny J (WINGNUTKJ) 16 of 89
If you're interested in water cooling I'd recommend spending a little more than I did on the Corsair H55. The cooling performance is excellent, it's well made and easy to fit, but it has a couple of issues. It was designed to be small and quiet, but to a price. This means, for instance, that the supplied fan is not PWM controlled out of the box and runs at one speed. On my Backup PC this is fine and the whole thing runs very quiet indeed. On the other PC, the fan could only be fitted at one point which seemed to be the sweet spot for case resonance and noise. After about 3 months of irritation I fixed it by replacing the fan with a better one from Corsair

One thing that did interest me. I saw that Chris built his PC on a full ATX board. Did you have any thoughts about this? Having just built a full-fat Windows PC on a tiny mini-stx board and leaving aside all the obvious jokes about size mattering, are you going for anything in particular?
From: Dave!!18 Jan 2020 12:35
To: milko 17 of 89
Agreed, I went with a Corsair AIO water cooler when I built my Ryzen rig a couple of years back, it's been solid ever since and is nice and quiet. Mine is the H110i, it is PWM and can be controlled very easily from an app within Windows.

Personally, I'd also go the Ryzen route. AMD's current CPUs are very competitive in terms of performance, and usually much cheaper than Intel's chips as well. I have the Ryzen 7 1700X (8 core, 16 thread) and it's been great so far. Reliable and handles everything I throw at it with ease.

Another thing to consider is - decent site and plenty of bits that are designed/chosen to be nice and quiet. I bought my case, fans and CPU cooler from them, then eBuyered the other bits.

Only part I had a problem with was my original motherboard - I went for an MSI one and it had an intermittent fault with the SATA controller that caused some of my mechanical data drives to randomly disappear and re-appear. In the end I managed to RMA it and replaced it with a Gigabyte Gaming 5 motherboard which has been rock solid - I do also like that it has an LED character display on the board, so if it fails to boot at all, it is easy to look up the code in the manual and see where the issue is.
EDITED: 18 Jan 2020 12:37 by DAVE!!
From: Chris (CHRISSS)18 Jan 2020 14:51
To: Dave!! 18 of 89
A lot of coolers now are huge. I was looking at Be Quiet and Noctua coolers and most are so tall they wouldn't fit in my tower case.

I did end up buying a smaller Noctua that's much quieter than the stock AMD but the bigger ones would have kept it a bit cooler.
From: CHYRON (DSMITHHFX)18 Jan 2020 20:41
To: ALL19 of 89
On a account of Win 7 going unsupported last week & MrsD. needing online banking, we decided to do her a Win 10 + 'new' [refurb] pc twofer:

(& I get a server upgrade out of it)
EDITED: 18 Jan 2020 20:43 by DSMITHHFX
From: william (WILLIAMA)18 Jan 2020 23:36
Looks pretty decent and very good value at that price.