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My no limts Ryzen build and strategy
Tori commented on 11 August 2019 at 6:17 pm UTC

The time has come for my current setup to be replaced with something new.

I have spent a few days analyzing what's available, discussing with friends, and reading reviews to come up with the new build. I wanted to share with you what I'm planning to buy, perhaps some of the info will be useful to you or an inspiration for something better.

Note that I have the following constraints:

  • while my budget has basically no limit, I don't want to waste money on things I will not use

  • I'm only changing the PC, so the monitor and peripherals stay

  • I currently own a RTX 2060 which I got as a gift. Also, I have a G-Sync (but not freesync) capable display. If I would be building from scratch I would probably go AMD all the way, but I don't think changing mu current GPU would be wise. Besides who knows, maybe nVidia will truly reform by the time a GPU upgrade will be necessary?

Also worth noting is my use cases - I like to game on my PC, but also do some programming. I'm planning to look into VR whenever that will mature a bit (especially on Linux). I don't have nor plan to have a Windows install, but I'm open to using Proton.

I also want to future proof a bit. My current PC has served my well for about 7 years. I did double the RAM from 4 to 8 and replaced my HDD with a SSD, but all the other core components managed to stay comfortably usable. I want this next build to be like that as well.

With all that out of the way, lets start with the new build.

CPU
Considering I already have the GPU as mentioned above, figuring out which CPU to go with is the first step, as that will also impact what motherboard will be selected and that impacts further things.
Until very recently I would probably go with Intel for the CPU, but (as you might have guessed from the title) the new Ryzen series is incredible, both from a performance perspective and a cost-effectiveness one.

I have selected Ryzen 9 3900X which is a 12 core (24 thread) unit, with the clock set at 3.8 - 4.6 . If I was not interested in developing software on this PC and gaming would by my only goal, or my budget was limited I would probably go with the Ryzen 7 instead. But I like to have more cores available; the bigger L3 cache is also a nice bonus.
For some one in need of even more multi-threaded performance there is the Ryzen 9 3950X which has 16 cores, but the base clock drops to 3.5. But who knows, since Linus is planning to buy that one, perhaps the better option is to have the same CPU as the man himself. I'm sure the Kernel will always work flawlessly on it ;)

Motherboard
With the CPU selected, the next question to ask yourself is - which chipset you want. For the Zen 2 architecture (our CPU) I was considering x470 and the new x570. Main difference between them is that x570 can support PCIe 4.0 for peripherals, for example a MVNe SSD. Additionally, more USB 3.1 Gen2 ports are available and we can put faster RAM. If none of those seem important to you I would suggest to stick with x470 - especially if power consumption is something you care about. The x470 has a significantly lower TDP and doesn't require active cooling like the x570.

For my build I went with the x570 chipset. Next, there is a whole list of thing you should decide on, and will help with narrowing down which model to choose from. For me, I came up with the following:

  • I DON'T need more the 1 GPU slot - I don't plan to use SLI/Crossfire. This alone remove a lot of potential boards.

  • I DO need Bluetooth integrated - this will be used for wireless headphones and other stuff. For what I understand the BT connectivity is provided thanks to a Intel chip that also gives you WiFi. While I don't need the latter, it seems there's no board that can give you just Bluetooth.

  • I DON'T need more than 1 Ethernet port or 2.5/5/10 Gigabit Ethernet. I simply would not use those for their full potential.

  • I DO care about the number/type of USB ports - I think that's obvious. To little would be frustrating, too much will be wasteful. But I would prefer to have the latter problem ;) Of course you want more of the high speed USB 3.1 gen2 ports to be a little more future proof. I also want at least one USB-C type connection available.

  • I DON'T care about RGB LEDs and the visual aspect of the motherboard.

  • I DON'T care about bundled software that works only with Windows.

  • I'M OK with only 2 slots for RAM.

  • I'M OK with only 2 slots for NVMe disks.


After taking all of that into consideration and consulting this helpful and massive google doc, I selected Gigabyte X570 I AORUS PRO WIFI. It seems to fit all of my criteria and doesn't include too much of stuff I don't need. The reviews I saw were also positive. When selecting your motherboard, I suggest consulting some reviews first, since the design decisions made by the manufacturers are very nuanced and might be not obvious just from reading the spec sheet.

RAM
First, consider how much RAM do you need. I think 16GB is the minimum to be somewhat future proof. In my case I want with 32GB. Since my selected motherboard has 2 slots available I want 2 x 16GB sticks. Even if the board had 4 slots, I would still go with 2x16 instead of 4x8. This way it's actually cheaper, you have room for expansion, and I found that the quality of offered sticks is better in this configuration.
Next, go to your preferred PC parts store, select DDR4 (the type supported by our configuration), filter out all items with lower clock speed then the max supported by your motherboard (3200 MHz) and then select the one that has the lowest CL. If it doesn't have LEDs installed, then even better. In my case it happened to be G.SKILL Trident Z DDR4 2x16GB 3200MHz CL14-14-14 XMP2 Black.

SSD
Storage requirements vary greatly from person to person, so lets focus on speed instead. Since both our CPU and motherboard chipset support PCIe 4.0 for SSDs it would be a shame not buy one. This is probably the most overkill part of the build, and the biggest cost savings opportunity. I could probably re-use my current 500GB SSD that uses SATA3. But let's treat ourselves - I want the highest speed. That means a NVMe SSD using our M2 motherboard slot which will use the PCI 4.0 interface. My pick was the Gigabyte AORUS M.2 Gen4 PCIe X4 NVMe 1TB. If you want less storage space, be mindful that some disks offer slower speeds for lower capacity models.

PSU
Honestly, didn't care too much. As long as it has enough power, and good ratings it's fine. I'm open to suggestions on this one, currently looking at be quiet! Pure Power 11 600W CM.

Case
Same as with the power supply, don't care too much. I don't want edgy gamer aesthetics, nor light my room with colors of the rainbow. It should have the ports I want easily available. It should let the air flow correctly. If it has neat tricks that help with the final assembly of the build - sure, why not. Open to suggestions on this one as well, currently considering Corsair Obsidian 500D CC-9011116-WW.
EDIT: It seems I completely missed the fact, that my selected motherboard is mITX, so smaller than the usual ATX. So I could very well go for a smaller case, unless I find a reason why this size is not a good fit for me. mITX case suggestions welcome!

That's it! Like I mentioned earlier, I have all other necessary parts. I will probably not purchase a separate cooler for the CPU - I would probably do that straight away for an Intel CPU or an older AMD, but I hear good things about the bundled ones in this generation. If I will find this to be not true once I play with this new PC for a while, it's relatively easy to order one and install later.

So this turned out to be a wall of text - I hope someone will find this useful. I will be ordering my stuff this month, so I can still change something; I would love to hear your input. Especially if something I want to buy is know to have issues with Linux - that would be a dealbraker.

g000h commented on 11 August 2019 at 9:52 pm UTC

I understand why you're happy with a 2 RAM slot motherboard "now", but in the future you could upgrade it by populating empty slots with additional RAM modules. That way, you don't need to discard RAM you already own during an upgrade.

Dragunov commented on 12 August 2019 at 3:01 am UTC

Sounds like a plan! I am using a Corsair CX650M modular PSU and I am extremely happy with it. It seems to be very well made and very Quiet. I'm sure the Be Quiet! PSU will be just as good though, if not better.

As far as Bluetooth goes, they have cheap Bluetooth Nano USB adapters that you can just leave plugged into a usb port.
They work very well and it's so small you won't even notice it's there.

Such as the TP-Link UB400 Bluetooth 4.0 Nano USB Adapter

entropie commented on 12 August 2019 at 12:24 pm UTC

If you want to do wine gaming on Vulkan the 3900X is always the better choice over the 3700X, cause you have wine and dxvk running the background. I am gaming headlessly and the cpu has to do h.264.encoding as well, while gaming and I felt the impact. Coming from a 2700X to a 3900X the games perform like I was directly plugged in on a monitor. The 3900X does dxvk, wine and h.264 like it was nothing in the background, doesnt even get hot doing it.

32 GB is not needed for gaming yet. The most RAM intensive game I know is Star Citizen, which uses 10 GB of RAM and 6 GB of VRAM, while running Ubuntu. That leaves you with another headroom of 6 GB of system RAM. Computer magazines benchmarking games on the amount of RAM did confirm this, there may be a 1-3% performance increase if you have 32 GB of RAM, compared to 16 GB. But that is basically it.

Regarding NVME you may consider the Crucial M500, it is the most often recommended and bought one recently. I went for a Samsung 970 Pro NVME with 250 GB and added a Samsung 860 Evo as SSD with 1 TB.

The PSU is the most important thing in your system. If that doesnt work well, you will virtually have a ghost in your machine, having all sorts of strange misbehavings or sudden memory access errors. I'ld recommend Corsair with a modular cable tree. That way you only have to connect the cables you need. 600 Watt is ok, but to be on the safe side I'ld go for 750 Watt. I have 850 Watt vor a R9 and a Vega 64 that is the totally safe side.

iwantlinuxgames commented on 12 August 2019 at 2:43 pm UTC

this is my current build(please note i am in the process of still building out):

CPU: Ryzen Threadripper 1950X(looking at a 2990WX next year)
GPU:Nvidia RTX 2060 (looking to replace it with a 2080ti next year)
PSU: G.Skill ripsaw 1250W modular
MOBO: Asrock Phantom Gaming 6 X399(linux driver support for the onboard RAID chipset sucks )
RAM: 64GB Crucial Sport Ballistix 3200MHz DDR4(bumping to 128GB next month)

1x Intel 660p 2280 m.2 nvme 1TB ssd for boot mounted in an Asrock Quad Ultra M.2 pcie expansion card

2x Samsung 970 Pro 2280 m.2 1TB ssd mounted in the onboard m.2 slots, 6x intel 512GB 2.5in ssd mounted in a 6 tray hotswap bay(5.25in). all of these are combined in a RAID 0 array via mdraid and mounted on /home

1x Kingwin 7 port USB 3.0 hub 5.25 in front panel

2x 40in 60Hz LED 1080p HDTVs

over the next few months i am phasing out the Asrock Quad Ultra card with a Highpointe SSD7103 "FakeRAID" host bus adapter housing 4x Corsair Force Series 2TB MP600 m.2 ssd(4.9GB/s read, 3.4GB/s write...sick!) in a bootable raid0 array for /. This will also allow me to remove the last 6 intel SSDs and the hotswap bay and replace it with the second Kingwin 7port USB hub for a total of 14 front usb ports(why do they always stick so mamy USB ports in the back of the PC?)

i chose the Asrock Phantom Gaming 6 mobo because it was the only one i could find that does triple x16 pcie mode. I'm eventually adding a second SSD7103 HBA and i don't want the performance gimped by an x8 or x4 pcie bus.

is it overkill for what i do(some gaming, movie streaming, web surfing)? probably...maybe....okay, sure...it is...but I'm good for the next several years or so....at least until they release 64 core desktop CPUs...

i figure in the meantime though, i could rent some compute time to the NSA with all the extra oomph it has.....

edit: right now, the current offerings for nvme raid host bus adapters kinda sucks. I've yet to find one that has it's own IO processor and RAM slot...the Areca 1231 12 port sata ii HBA ijust decomissioned from my rig had an intel 800MHz IO processor and 2GB of DDR memory and a 10mbps ethernet port to allow for "remote administration". it supported raid 0,1,5,6,10,50, and jbod as well as single device passthrough. it also had online expansion and migration. That card really spoiled me when it comes to RAID. Would love to find an nvme card with the same features.

entropie commented on 12 August 2019 at 4:46 pm UTC

Haha nice rig man that is definitely overkill xD

iwantlinuxgames commented on 12 August 2019 at 5:09 pm UTC

entropieHaha nice rig man that is definitely overkill xD

well, for the first time in my life I'm at a point where i have the disposable income that i can build such a machine

Plus, I've always been a firm believer in the Myth Busters motto,: "If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing"

iwantlinuxgames commented on 14 August 2019 at 5:46 pm UTC

if you think my rig is overkill, take a peep at my phone charger:

image

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