Build your own computer guide

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#71
I don't care too much which company is on top, but I just hope that AMD has given Intel a run for its money again. Competition is good. This "2nd string" thing that AMD has been doing for a while now has not helped consumer prices, so let's hope that this will be as good as they hype it to be, just to give the consumer a break for once.

I fully respect Intel, but anybody that is as dominant as them for so long will start behaving badly. The only respite we've gotten is that they've been shitting their pants over their failures in the mobile space. But how long will that last? Whatever you can say about Intel, their engineering department is HUGE. They have the smarts, they just need to leverage it correctly. Which I hope they do, but hopefully now at lower prices!
 
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#72
In my dreams, ARM will pull a viable desktop gaming solution out of a hat, and pure chaos (and price-dropping) will ensue.

Don't judge me.
 
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#73
In my dreams, ARM will pull a viable desktop gaming solution out of a hat, and pure chaos (and price-dropping) will ensue.

Don't judge me.
Because I'm actually a Super Villain, the more likely scenario IMO is that Intel will produce an ARM chip that absolutely destroys everybody else's market share.
 
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#74
Because I'm actually a Super Villain, the more likely scenario IMO is that Intel will produce an ARM chip that absolutely destroys everybody else's market share.
As far as ARM usurping x86 goes, I think what most people are worried about is Apple's A-series SoC's.

--Patrick
 
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#75
Ryzen is officially out. Here's the tl:dr; --

• Intel still has the best single-thread performance, i.e. it's still best for gaming, especially the ones that are quad-core with hyper threading (4C/8T).
• Intel has the most PCIe lanes, which means better support for silly things like triple-/quad-SLI or 4 simultaneous RAID cards.
• Intel is still best for applications that require lots of system memory bandwidth or that rely heavily on AVX instructions.

For pretty much everything else, the 1800X is basically a Core i7-6900k, but at half the price. Workstation users/render farms/transcoders, rejoice!

--Patrick
 
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#76
Because I'm actually a Super Villain, the more likely scenario IMO is that Intel will produce an ARM chip that absolutely destroys everybody else's market share.
Well, they had better hurry.
The writing on the wall is clear to anyone that's not living in a pineapple under the sea: Microsoft's impending adoption of ARM-based chips is likely the first challenge to Intel in the server arena. Intel reportedly holds 99% of the server CPU market, and it won't easily part with market share.
--Patrick
 
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#78
I don't care too much which company is on top, but I just hope that AMD has given Intel a run for its money again. Competition is good.
Yes, and it has finally happened. Intel's new i7-8700k is the best consumer chip Intel has ever made, and (barring any critical chip errata that might be discovered) I can say that they have finally produced a worthy successor to both the 2600k and 4790k. Word is that, clock-for-clock, single-thread performance is about 15% faster than the 4790k and about 40% faster than the 2600k, and you get six of these cores instead of the usual 4, and all of those cores can simultaneously be pushed to 4.8GHz or sometimes 4.9 on nothing but air cooling (normally the chip limits max speed to 4.3GHz), which means you could get an additional 12% performance increase even beyond that, and all of this in a TDP envelope only 4W higher than Kaby Lake.

Unfortunately, much like when the newer Tualatin Pentium-III's replaced the older Coppermine core, even though the socket physically stays the same, you will need to get a new 300-series motherboard. Older LGA 1151 boards will not support the 8xxx series, not even with a BIOS/EFI/Firmware update. The new chips require different power delivery, old boards just won't be wired properly to do so.

...so if you've been putting off upgrading/replacing your gaming rig, we are now at one of those times when the CPU industry turns a corner. If you are looking to get the most cores per dollar, Ryzen is still the undisputed king of work done per dollar spent, but if you are a gamer, then Intel has finally delivered a processor worthy enough to retire any gaming rig that isn't currently running a Core i7-7700k, and even makes a strong case for replacing a 7700k system IF you want to be able to stream on the same box where you play, since the extra 2 cores give it enough oomph to run your streaming engine without having to have a second dedicated computer pick up that slack.

We will see whether Intel can keep them on the shelves. We will also see if there are any glaring flaws in the chip that get discovered in the next 3-6 months. If neither of these turn out to be a problem, then Coffee Lake will be a real winner. Things are getting interesting in the CPU world again.

--Patrick
 
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#79
New System Guide out from The Tech Report, Winter 2017 Edition.

I always find these useful, even if I'm not shopping at the time. It's not bad to have a running "this is the current state of things" reference, and this has been consistently good for that for years now.
 
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#80
Arstechnica has had their guide out for a week or so, too.
They used to segregate by Budget Box / Hot Rod / God Box, but this year, they've broken their tiers into Thriftstation (<$600), Workstation (<$1200), and Battlestation (<$GDP)

--Patrick
 
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#81
Wow, all that discussion about Meltdown and Spectre, and the new Zen architecture flaws, and my big rant about Microsoft - all gone. Anyway, sometimes we have to compromise our righteous cause for the actual reality of things, and sticking with Windows 10 over reverting to Windows 7 is going to be one of those times, for me. So, instead, what I'm in the process of picking up is:

The motherboard even comes with a handy chart to show you how to slot your RAM depending on which version/generation/whatever of chip you have. Right now the rest of the parts are slightly on the back burner until we can figure out what's going on with this stupid insurance thing.
 
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#82
Also if you have the ability, you're going to want to move to the 2xxx-series Ryzen CPUs (such as the equivalent Ryzen 5 2600) UNLESS you are specifically sticking with the 1xxx-series due to their lower cost. But right now the price difference between those two CPUs is only $10, so really you should be going with the 2600 instead of the 1600 unless that extra $10 is going to break your build budget.
You already have your board, and it's based on the X370 chipset, which means you will miss out on the new Precision Boost Overdrive and StoreMI technologies that are only available for X470-based boards, but PBO only applies to the -X CPUs (which you are not using) and StoreMI is for boosting performance of mechanical drives (which you are also not using), so you likely won't be missing much by not going X470.

--Patrick
 
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#83
Also if you have the ability, you're going to want to move to the 2xxx-series Ryzen CPUs (such as the equivalent Ryzen 5 2600) UNLESS you are specifically sticking with the 1xxx-series due to their lower cost. But right now the price difference between those two CPUs is only $10, so really you should be going with the 2600 instead of the 1600 unless that extra $10 is going to break your build budget.
You already have your board, and it's based on the X370 chipset, which means you will miss out on the new Precision Boost Overdrive and StoreMI technologies that are only available for X470-based boards, but PBO only applies to the -X CPUs (which you are not using) and StoreMI is for boosting performance of mechanical drives (which you are also not using), so you likely won't be missing much by not going X470.

--Patrick
Good to know, I'll switch up to the 2600. I primarily went with the X370 so I could eventually run dual video cards, I think that's probably a good enough upgrade in computing power for me.
 
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#84
Good to know, I'll switch up to the 2600. I primarily went with the X370 so I could eventually run dual video cards, I think that's probably a good enough upgrade in computing power for me.
My only real worry is that your board shipped with the P4.50 BIOS instead of the P4.70 required to support the 2xxx-series CPUs. If that's the case, there will be a sticker with "P4.50" written right on it just above the first (short) PCIe slot (which means the board shipped with 4.50, but it may not necessarily still be 4.50 right now). Fortunately, if you do run into this issue, AMD has created an official page with alternatives to get your BIOS updated, with solutions up to and including potentially loaning you an older CPU just long enough to run the update.

--Patrick
 
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#85
My only real worry is that your board shipped with the P4.50 BIOS instead of the P4.70 required to support the 2xxx-series CPUs. If that's the case, there will be a sticker with "P4.50" written right on it just above the first (short) PCIe slot (which means the board shipped with 4.50, but it may not necessarily still be 4.50 right now). Fortunately, if you do run into this issue, AMD has created an official page with alternatives to get your BIOS updated, with solutions up to and including potentially loaning you an older CPU just long enough to run the update.

--Patrick
Hopefully it won't be too much of a hassle. It shipped with P4.50, but it has Ryzen 2000 Desktop Series Ready splashed liberally around the box and reviews from people who purchased their boards at the same time I did report no problems recognizing the 2xxx chips with no BIOS tweaks, so I think I'll go with the 2600 and if it doesn't work I'll have this machine available to download the BIOS update to and I'm sure someone can help me flash the BIOS.
 
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#86
4.70 was released in early March, so if you bought it much past that, they likely already updated it for you. I just don’t know how long ago you started this build and so had the board hanging around in an unopened box.

—Patrick
 
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#87
4.70 was released in early March, so if you bought it much past that, they likely already updated it for you. I just don’t know how long ago you started this build and so had the board hanging around in an unopened box.

—Patrick
Oh, I bought the board last week because it was $10 off.
 
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#88
Ordered all of the parts except Windows 10. Couldn't get all of them rushed so I'm not bothering to rush ship any of it, I should get all the pieces by mid-May, and then I'll buy Windows 10 again, set up the USB drive as a boot device, and get to work.
 
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#90
Alright, everyone wish me luck. The parts are here, the tower is assembled, and I have a 16GB thumb drive with the Windows 10, Steam, Discord, and Chrome installers. I'm going to power down and switch towers. If you don't hear from me for a while, it didn't work.
 
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#91
And we're back. I have to say, honestly, that was the smoothest a computer build and OS install has gone since I installed Windows for Workgroups in fall of '98. Hurrah for proper preparation.
 
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#92
And we're back. I have to say, honestly, that was the smoothest a computer build and OS install has gone since I installed Windows for Workgroups in fall of '98. Hurrah for proper preparation.
Assembling computers is crazy easy these days.
Installation and configuration are the hardest parts now.

--Patrick
 
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#93
Assembling computers is crazy easy these days.
Installation and configuration are the hardest parts now.

--Patrick
I loved how well labeled all of the jumpers were on this board. That used to be the bane of my existence when installing a motherboard. Now I just have to hope that ASRock's quality holds up on this board.
 
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#94
I loved how well labeled all of the jumpers were on this board. That used to be the bane of my existence when installing a motherboard. Now I just have to hope that ASRock's quality holds up on this board.
A lot of motherboard manufacturers include a header block for all those cables that go to the front panel, etc. You just attach all the front panel wiring to the block, then plug the block right onto the motherboard. Soooo much easier.

--Patrick
 
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#95
Are AIO CPU coolers worth the hype at this point? I stayed away from open-loop cooling because it was far more work and maintenance than I wanted to invest in, but as I'm planning to replace my old CPU/mobo/RAM combo, I thought it worth asking about closed loop vs. just getting a nice non-stock air cooler.
 

GasBandit

Staff member
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#96
It's been my experience that, unless you're SERIOUSLY overclocking, and/or the room the computer is in is always 85+ degrees, there's never really been a need for CPU liquid cooling (GPU.. maybe... but not CPU). Regular old fans and heat sinks work just fine, and are quieter than ever.
 
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#97
I agree with Gasbandit, and would further suggest that you never build a system with water cooling initially. Build it stock, then use it and see if you experience any throttling.

The only exceptions for that are 1) you already know you're going to be pushing the components harder than they were designed or 2) you're really, really, really intent on building the quietest system possible, and are going to use oversize radiators and fans. Modern mid to high end CPUs and GPUs can't be made quiet without a lot more radiating area.
 
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#98
Thirding GasBandit.

Unless you are dealing with a hostile environment OR you have some kind of internal space limitation, there is no need for what liquid cooling offers unless you already intend to push your system’s limits, and even then, you’re talking about increasing power and cooling requirements by 20-30% for a 5-10% improvement in performance.

—Patrick
 
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#99
Oh, and here's a couple handy links I posted that got lost in the wipe:

Here is the USA Amazon link to get a SanDisk Cruzer Fit USB 2.0 16GB flash drive, which is an ideal platform for booting/installing OSes (or even for running an embedded install such as an open-source NAS/UTM distro), because it's large enough to hold all the install information and it's USB 2.0 which means it still works with OSes that don't natively understand USB 3.0 (e.g., Windows 7). Also it's only US$8.00 (at the time of this post, up from US$7.00 before the wipe).

...and here is the embed, assuming your ad blocker lets it through:


Also a reminder that Microsoft has downloadable ISO installer images available for Windows 7 (for now), Windows 8.1 (for now), and Windows 10, both 32- and 64-bit versions. Their website will tell you that you will need a product key to download the ISOs, but strangely enough, if you go to download them from a non-Windows OS, the site will just let you download the ISO straightaway without having to go through weird Media Installation Tool installation steps, etc. So if Microsoft tries to put up too many roadblocks, just hit up that friend who runs a macOS/*nix box to download it for you. Oh, and just a bit of advice ... even if you don't need one/all of these right now, you might want to grab them all anyway and keep them handy just in case.

Also here is a link to the excellent Rufus tool that drastically simplifies the process of turning an ISO into a bootable flash drive, or just making flash drives bootable in general.

--Patrick
 
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Hmm, I know I wrote up something here on the forum where I concluded (at the time) that the best AMD chip for gaming (especially for simultaneous gaming AND STREAMING) was the Threadripper 1900X due to having the highest base/turbo clock speeds of all the Ryzen chips with the bonus of having the Threadripper's greater number of PCIe lanes, but now I can't find it anywhere. Must've been lost in the wipe, I guess.

Anyway... now that the review embargo has been lifted on AMD's second-generation Threadripper parts, we're starting to get some data, and for most gaming, the best AMD CPU is turning out to be the Threadripper 2950X, which steps you up to twice as many cores as the 1900X and slightly faster clock speeds, as well as slightly faster memory and other improvements that come with the shrink to 12nm circuitry instead of the 1xxx-series' 14nm circuitry.

All of that said, the fastest mainstream CPU for gaming is still something from Intel's Core i7-8086/Core i7-8700x Coffee Lake 6-core lineup, but if you feel like you need to skip the Intel chip for some reason (cost of upgrade, availability, Meltdown/Spectre concerns, contract/vendor restriction, need more than 6 cores, tired of waiting for 10nm, whatever), and you plan to game with it, then right now the 2950X is probably the best non-Intel choice.

However, IF the folks at AMD finally decide to release an 8-core 2xxx-series Threadripper, this recommendation might change, since having fewer cores usually means more thermal headroom to hit even higher clock speeds. So far AMD has not announced any kind of plan to replace the 1900X with a revised version, but then again they also didn't announce the 1900X until a month or two after the rest of the 1xxx-series, so we'll see.

--Patrick
 
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