Build your own computer guide

GasBandit

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Building a new system? Make sure you go at least hexacore.
Not building a new system? Consider whether upgrading to a minimum of 16-32GB RAM, switching to an NVMe-based SSD, or upgrading the GPU to a GTX1660 Ti or better will make enough of a difference, and if the answer is that none of them will, then it's time to put all upgrades on hold until you can build a new system with at least 6 cores.

--Patrick
Eh, looking at their graphs, I'm not sure I agree with that conclusion. I have to chuckle when they call 30fps "unplayable." I remember when 12fps was acceptable in a First Person Shooter.

But I will say, if you plan to do anything VR, you DO need a beefy-ass processor. My recent upgrade from an i5-4670 (quad core) to an i7-4770 (4 core 8 thread) has really made the oculus behave much nicer - and that was just a tiny step up.
 
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upgrade from an i5-4670 (quad core) to an i7-4770 (4 core 8 thread) [...] was just a tiny step up.
The difference in clock speeds is very minimal (max 100MHz difference, or about 2.5%, and only when at max turbo boost), but the fact that the 4770 supports twice the number of threads (due to SMT or "Hyperthreading" as Intel calls it) should bring a performance increase of about 30% in multithreaded workloads (those that can take advantage of 5 or more threads). And yeah, that ain't chump change.

--Patrick
 
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That's a smexy beast.
That's the hope. I'm having an internal struggle regarding whether to pick up white modular ps cabling as well.


Not really, its gonna happen. I'm just trying to pretend I'm having a quandary about ordering $60 cables...
 
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Just two bits of advice:

- The 660p is a QLC drive, meaning it has lower endurance and speed (1700MB/s) than, say, a TLC Samsung 970 Pro (3200MB/s) However, the 660p does have the advantage of being a LOT cheaper.

- ALL of the LGA1151-based processors are limited (by Intel) to 16 “direct” PCIe v3.0 lanes (ones which attach directly to the CPU), which they usually expect will go to one x16 slot for a GPU, or perhaps split x8/x8 between two slots to allow XFire/SLI with two GPUs. This means that EVERYTHING ELSE that is not connected to one of these two blessed slots has to share the slower DMI 3.0 link between the CPU and the rest of the motherboard. All the USB ports, the LAN port, the sound, the M.2 slot, any other PCIe slots, and all the SATA ports have to share that one ~4GB/s link. Probably not an issue with the 660p (because it’s too slow...yay?), but installing any faster M.2 drive might be enough to make your LAN/SATA/sound/etc hiccup due to bottlenecking that bus.

For this reason, consider mounting your M.2 drive on a PCIe x4 carrier board and installing it into that second “blessed” slot. Experimentation by people with more time and connections than myself has shown that the performance difference between running a GPU at x8 or x16 is at its absolute worst a paltry 1%, so if you’re willing to sacrifice maybe 1-2 FPS off your graphics, you could noticeably increase the speed/responsiveness of your SSD. This means the board has to be ok with putting something other than a GPU in that second slot, though. Most are, but not all.

—Patrick
 
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stuff like this always eludes me.
Don't feel bad, it eludes most people, because most people don't realize that it would even matter. Heck, back before SSDs, it usually didn't matter, because it would take 8-10 HDDs ganged together before you would hit the kind of bandwidth demands you can get today from even one "average" NVMe SSD. It means having to find a board's "block diagram," which will look something like this:

Intel-Xeon-E-2100-Platform-Cover-696x431.jpg

(This one is generic -- no slot assignments, etc. Incidentally, I know it says "Xeon" on it, but this is essentially the exact same layout as the Z390 that's on the board you chose)

Once you've found it, you can see the paths data will have to take moving from place to place, and trace which slots are hooked up to what chip, and then make some decisions about where your components should be installed in order to cut down on traffic bottlenecks. The motherboard makers don't always make this easy. The manual for that Gigabyte board, for instance, does NOT include a block diagram, so you just have to figure out which slots go to what based on the part that explains "This is shared with this, plugging in an M.2 card will disable SATA ports 0 and 1 and slot 4" kinda stuff.
the carrier board you're referring to is one of these guys right?
https://m.newegg.ca/products/N82E16815256024
That's the simplest kind, yes. Just make sure it's x4. There are also ones that come with heatsinks and/or fans (M.2 cards can get very hot), ones that come with onboard splitters/switches to let you load two cards at once, and even utterly ridiculous ones that let you load four simultaneous cards. Trouble is, once you start getting into the multiple ones (or even fast enough single ones), that's when you could potentially start hitting those bottlenecking limitations I was talking about IF you don't plan ahead of time which slot(s) you'll be using.

--Patrick
 

GasBandit

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The GTX 1650s are out, and they seem to perform slightly better than 1060s, and only cost around $150.

So if you are looking to build or upgrade a budget gaming rig on the super cheap, this is it. This is your moment.

 
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And I still hold to my opinion that the only real reason to get a 1650 is because you don't have the budget (either power OR cash) for a 1660Ti.

--Patrick
 
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The GTX 1650s are out, and they seem to perform slightly better than 1060s, and only cost around $150.

So if you are looking to build or upgrade a budget gaming rig on the super cheap, this is it. This is your moment.

No, it's not. "Dead on arrival" -- Hardware Unboxed.

"Is Nvidia even trying?" -- JayzTwoCents

Also "Dead On Arrival" -- Gamers Nexus

Smart money buys an RX 570.
 
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No, it's not. "Dead on arrival" -- Hardware Unboxed.
"Is Nvidia even trying?" -- JayzTwoCents
Also "Dead On Arrival" -- Gamers Nexus

Smart money buys an RX 570.
570? Heck, you can get full RX 580’s for ~$160 now. Spend the extra $10 and treat yo'self.

EDIT: Here's another relevant nugget about the 1650 launch (for those who didn't watch any of the above videos):

No Press drivers? No way to test it ahead of time? Then how can we possibly get an idea of its performance?
...though I suppose that does give us some indication of its performance, since they clearly don't want anyone to know how good the card is(n't) prior to launch.

—Patrick
 
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Incidentally the goto "solid performers" right now are the 1TB WD Blue and the SanDisk Ultra 3D, which are pretty much the exact same drive wearing different clothing (WD and SanDisk are the same company now). Both can be had for < $300 and come with a three-year warranty.
They might have been $300 a year and a half ago, but the 1TB Blue SSDs can now be had for $125-$150 (depending on revision WDS100T1B0A v. WDS100T2B0A with the 2B0A being less expensive), you can now buy the 2TB model of the 2B0A for ~$225 (the 1B0A version only goes up to 1TB), and reports are that a 4TB version is imminent (though it is being listed for ~$625).

So yeah, if you are still using SATA for your daily driver, it's DEFINITELY time to consider stepping up.

--Patrick
 
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If the latest sidechain vulnerability news has you worried about going with Intel for your next build (which is understandable), you may be interested to know that the fastest AMD CPU for gaming right now* is the Threadripper 2920X, with benchmarks showing it roughly equivalent to that of the (six year old) Intel i7-4770. On the plus side, the 2920X is a newer architecture and has 3 times as many cores as the 4770, but it also requires just over twice the power and costs a little over twice as much. The current darling of non-exotic gaming CPUs is the Intel i7-9700k, which will give you 8 cores that perform ~25% faster than the 4770/2920X for a price that is almost smack in the middle between the two and a power budget only a smidge over that of the 4770, though the 9700k is, of course, a chip that's on Intel's vulnerability list.

EDIT: If you're looking for something less exotic than a Threadripper CPU, the Ryzen 2700X is the best-performing of the "Consumer" lineup and isn't that far behind at about 98% as fast as the 2920X.

--Patrick
*Under the assumption that gaming benefits most from single-thread performance, that is.
 
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Not a builder or hardware guy by ANY means, so I need some advice. My rig is dying and my wife said 'just order a new one'. I did a few searches and came across this. Any thoughts? I've seen similar rigs on newegg.ca as well or I could just go back to dell/alienware but I feel like i'm paying for the name there.

Feedback appreciated!
 
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Well, for starters, at this point in history, I wouldn't buy any new AMD-based rig built around any of the pre-Zen CPUs.
If it says it is using an AMD CPU but doesn't say it's using a "Ryzen," "Epyc," or "Threadripper" CPU, you can immediately remove it from consideration.

--Patrick
 
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If it says it is using an AMD CPU but doesn't say it's using a "Ryzen," "Epyc," or "Threadripper" CPU, you can immediately remove it from consideration.
Let me add that on the Intel side of the fence, I would only be considering systems powered by 6xxx-series (Skylake) CPUs or newer.
But no matter which camp you pick, I would also skip anything that is not at least 4 full cores, 6 if you can get it.

--Patrick
 
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