So, I have decided to do a Build Log for my 3rd PC build, given how this one is exceptionally different from my previous attempts and actually possibly interesting. I will also be sharing a version of this on Facebook, so if I say anything in an overly simplistic manner, that’s my excuse.
Although feel free to correct me if I am wrong.
Second, let’s get some thanks out of the way. I am finally beginning to reach the point where I can say, “I know stuff about building Computers,” And not be entirely a joke. However such claims only come through much research and following those who actually do know stuff. Also they help me understand stuff that I still comfortably conclude I know nothing about. So, to the following people and Websites, and the people behind them, thank you....I would be completely lost without you.
And in particularly, Buildzoid (Whose explanations made picking my Motherboard actually possible, and prevented me from making poor purchases with my Graphics card...oh and informed me about RAM Die which helped decide my RAM) and JayTwoCents (Whose Videos about Water cooling have been essential for my build).
I am sure I could do this without them all....but it would be a much, MUCH worse build.
I would also like to thank the various people who helped me pick my theme before I actually started the Build. I am less experienced in art and when I chose this plan there were moments of doubt and moments where I had no idea where to go. They helped me get through this till I got my final theme.
Third, let’s walk down memory Lane. (I promise it will be brief)
7 Years ago I built my first PC. I did some research, and drove all over Melbourne to get the parts. I was on unemployment and had saved for multiple years for this PC. When I got the parts, I planned to sleep that night and begin building the next day.
Instead I got out of bed, and stayed up all night to build the machine. It successfully completed POST on its second attempt, just as the sun rose. (It failed the first attempt because I didn’t push the Ram in properly, due to fearing damaging the board. I thank god I spent a little more to make sure I had a Motherboard with a Postcode)
I also will confess I went to EXTREME lengths to avoid static. As I did not have access to an anti-static wristband, I made sure at least one part of my body was in contact with my PC case at any time....while building on the Bathroom floor...with a Tiny amount of boiling hot water in the Bath to raise the Humidity of the room, wearing only my underwear
In retrospect, I may have reduced the risk of static to the very minimum, but I increased the risk of so SO many other problems.
The PC was easily the most powerful thing I owned regardless and I fell in love with building. The issue is you need money to build a PC.
Fast Forward 4 years, my Mom is sick of her Laptops and PCs being bad, and gives me $2000(I think, it could have been less) to build her a PC. Mostly for Genealogy, a bit of Facebooking and stuff like that. I go over budget, but until now she never knew that. The end result is a PC that is better than mine in almost every way, due to a decrease in part costs in general over the years, lessons learned from my own build (250gb SSD isn’t enough no matter what ANYONE says) and because my GTX 670 was new at the time, and her GTX 770 was a 3 year old card.
Three Years later, and it’s time to retire the 7 year old machine.. It seriously is showing its age. Europa Universlis 4 has always pushed the CPU to the max, I have needed more RAM forever, and recently, my PC crashed while playing Doom.
Its time for something new
Case: AI CRYSTAL CUBE MAR 3
This was easy. I quickly decided I wanted 4 front fans because I find it aesthetically pleasing. This meant I would have either one of the various Anidees, AI Crystal Cubes, or an Azza Cube 802. The 802 smaller, lacks front USB or Audio ports, while being more expensive, as it’s an art piece first and a practical case second, which isn’t what I want.
The Mar 3 variety was chosen as that’s the case with the mesh front, which is the better choice for cooling in general. However my pet peeves about this case will come later when we actually start to Build and Mod.
The case is still a little small, and in fact that’s my biggest criticism of the case, but we will get to that when we are building.
CPU: Ryzen 3950x or Intel i9 9900KF
So, I started this research around Computex, and as such went from, “Okay this almost certainly must be an i9-9900KF but let’s be safe” to “Okay, AMD, where did that come from.” Currently I am waiting for the Ryzen 9 3950x to come out before deciding whether I want a 9900KF or 3950x. Ideally performance will be the only factor here...but as Australia doesn’t know how much the 3950x will be on here, price maybe a factor.
So let’s come back to that.
Motherboard: MEG-X570-ACE or Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Master
If I go with the I9-9900KF I will get the Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Master. My previous two computers were built with Gigabyte, it meets all my requirements (Good Bluetooth, lots of fan headers and two aRBG headers should I need them, and good VRM) and has the most expansion slots for M.2 SSDs should I desire to expand.
If I go with the 3950X, I will get the MEG-X570-ACE unless prices change. The Crosshair VIII Hero (WI-FI) and Gigabyte X570 Aorus Master would also work just as well (and arguably the X570 Aorus Master would be better for similar reasons to why it was the best z390 board), HOWEVER they suffer the Australia Tax to a far more significant degree.
I would rather the Gigabyte again, but it’s just hard to justify paying $200 dollars more for essentially the same board.
RAM: 4 x 8 GB Ballistix Sport AT (3200 MHz CL16)
So in many ways this is my compromise kit and its justification is somewhat questionable.
A good Ram Kit for an AMD CPU should hit 3800 MHz so you can overclock the Infinity Fabric to 1900 MHz, with as low a CL as possible. (For those unfamiliar with this, a super oversimplification is that AMD CPUs are like multiple CPUs linked together by the Infinity Fabric. The Infinity Fabric speed is linked to the Ram Speed, so the better your ram, the quicker the CPUs can talk to each other) However such kits are really expensive AND high ram speed isn’t all that useful for Intel (As they don’t have an Infinity Fabric linking their CPU Cores), so I would end up paying extra for no reason if in the end I went with Intel
However a kit that Overclocks well means you can (depending on the Silicon Lottery, which is exactly what it sounds like. Two parts that look identical can Overclock very differently) spend less and get the same result. The above kit uses Micron E-die chips, which can overclock really well.
As for why I didn’t search out Samsung B-Die (whose Overclock characteristics are better understood), basically I didn’t want to buy an End of Life Product.
Power Supply: Corsair HX850i
To be honest, I worked out what parts would be in my PC, put them into a Power Supply Calculator and then looked at a few reviews to find the best one with Gold/Plat certification.
I don’t know enough about Power Supplies to do more than that, ALTHOUGH I do know this is likely a little overkill.
Graphics card: EVGA RTX 2080 Ti XC Hybrid
Honestly after days of researching and comparing Motherboards, that the Graphics card was so simple was a relief tbh. It was a simple list of requirements.
Find an A Card (As As opposed to Non-A, which are locked), that uses the standard PCB (As that gives me the most options for Waterblocks) that was by EVGA (As they don’t try to pull that ‘Removing this sticker voids warranty” stuff.)
After that it was mostly a matter of price, as overclockability is purely a matter of Silicon Lottery UNLESS you want to pay an extra $1,000 AUD for the very best cards. And I can’t justify that.
SSD: HP EX950 M.2 1Tb
Almost as fast as the top end, and in certain situations even faster, while being significantly cheaper, this isn’t a hard choice. HP really is pushing into the SSD market.
ADATA SX8200 Pro would have been a SLIGHTLY better choice, but it’s much harder to get in Australia, and the difference is miniscule.
Pump: EK-XTOP Revo Dual D5 PWM Serial
So I wanted a D5 pump as it meant I wouldn’t need to air cool my pump. And I figured that two pumps would mean I had a quieter system, as I could run both at a lower speed. I also liked the look of the round tube design of the Revo Dual.
(Me from the Future: Yeah, I can say already that this decision has come to bite me in the arse already a bit)
Radiators: XSPC 240 Rads (White).
So the thickness of the rads isn’t mentioned here, as its one of the first things I needed to work out...and still do to a degree.
But what I had hoped was 4x EX240s would work, although I really doubted it would. It was more likely 2x EX240s and 2x TX240 would be the final choice
The White was chosen at the suggestion of my theme helpers, as both due to the fact it can be painted better then Black, and the fact that it will change colour more under LED lights.
Everything below I don’t think really needs explanation; however I will answer any questions for the curious.
Fans: NF-P12 Redux 1700RPM
HDD: Seagate BarraCuda 4 GB
Monitor: LG 27GL850
Monitor2: Samsung S23B300B (Reused from current system)
Keyboard: Wooting one
Headset: ARCTIS PRO WIRELESS
Speakers: Altec Lansing VS2621
(Reused from current system)
Mouse: Razer Naga MMO 2011
(Reused from current system)
Fancover: Silverstone SST-FG122
GPU Block: HEATKILLER IV for RTX 2080 Ti - ACRYL Ni RGB
Reservoir: Not yet chosen
CPU Block: Not yet chosen
Fittings: Not yet chosen
Tubing: Hard Line Metal Tubing
No, actually the last one does require some explanation. A lot of people suggest Soft Line Tubing for someone’s first Water Cool Loop, because it’s both cheaper AND easier to work with. If you DO insist on going Hardline first time, PETG is usually recommended. So why am I going Metal?
My Uncle runs a Bending business (Name not specified at his request) and he has a lot of experience bending metal Pipes, both small and large, and quite a bit of fancy equipment for such things. As such, I am in the fairly unique position where Bending Metal Pipes is actually easier for me then PETG AND I can possibly get unique Bends most Loops normally couldn’t do because of this.