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Request for advice on new build for Elite Dangerous, Minecraft, and general Linux use
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Solar 23 Nov, 2020

Quoting: childermassHmm... I think that would be out of budget for me. The RX 5700 XT is probably at the top end of what I'd like to spend.

In fact, if I'm not going to go for VR immediately, would it make sense to economise with a lower-end GPU for now? Or is it hard to save much compared to the cost of an RX 5700 XT while still having good performance?
Would you consider Nvidia? the RTX3060 is rumoured to be released on Dec 2nd, apparently it beats the 2080 and is going to be less than $400
I would hold off to see how that goes before buying a 5700.

g000h 23 Nov, 2020

I'm assuming you aren't set in stone on those components you listed at the start. Although there might be some availability issues, I'd jump straight to the new Ryzen 5 5600 (or 5600X) processor instead.

Also, even if you go with the 3000 series Ryzen, I'd suggest going for a X570 chipset motherboard which will play nicer with 5000 series Ryzen in the future (and enables you to use the latest NVMe PCIe gen4 solid state drives too).

I recently got myself a 1TB PCIe gen3 SSD which runs at 3500MB/s read and 3000MB/s write speeds, and favour NVMe over slower SATA-based SSDs (There is little price difference nowadays).

If it was me building a new machine for myself, I'd also aim for a new AMD RX 6800 graphics card to compliment the above.

I use Debian 11 Bullseye (Testing) as my operating system of choice, and it is sufficiently up-to-date for me to play games with my AMD Ryzen 5 1600 and NVidia GTX 1080ti graphics without having to mess around with kernels and drivers. The drivers available in Testing (currently Nvidia 450.80.02) are perfectly fine for my gaming needs (I've been playing RAGE 2 in Proton at 2560x1440 and Ultra settings, and I play 7 Days To Die native at 4K Ultra).

Also, recommend getting a case with good air-flow if you are aiming for a high-end gaming system. That's another area where I thought I had made sufficient provision with my main machine, but it could do with slightly better cooling.

Last edited by g000h on 23 November 2020 at 6:52 pm UTC

childermass 23 Nov, 2020

Quoting: CatKillerI'd personally recommend Kubuntu or KDE Neon over straight Ubuntu.
Thanks! I'm definitely not set on Ubuntu, and I'd be quite happy to try another distro.

Quoting: CatKillerAgain, personal preference, and I don't know what you've got by way of space or funds, but I would shunt those into a different machine. Having the drives in your new machine will add noise and heat, and block airflow. You could have a separate appliance, tucked away somewhere, for that storage, and have your new build solely for desktop/gaming use.
Oh, I definitely agree. I should have explained that this would be very much a temporary measure. I imagine some time in 2021 I'd either buy an off-the-shelf NAS, or build a FreeNAS box and put those drives into that.

childermass 23 Nov, 2020

Quoting: mosthe time you've spent composing the OP would've well sufficed to read up on at least the main compo's if you're that out of loop. phoronix.com is your friend here, on GPUs and CPUs especially.
Thanks for the tip! I'd already looked at phoronix but didn't find articles that quite so accurately matched what I'm looking for as the discussions I found here at GOL. I'll certainly continue to check it out, though.

Quoting: mosYou're going for the top ATI GPU (ex-top.. but nevermind), a mid-higher end CPU and topping it off with an old cranky HDD? No reason it won't work, albeit sub-optimally.
Also if noise is a special concern, sticking to the stock cooler is questionable. You're forking out on a 5700 but baulking at spending some dough on a tower cooler...
The HDD decision is definitely temporary, and I'll be getting an SSD before long. I'm only staggering the purchases because I'm so out of the loop in terms of buying new kit (my current Linux box being ancient and me not having used it for anything like gaming) that I don't want to get an SSD now and then discover soon after that I should have got something else (bigger/smaller/cheaper/faster). I'd rather check that everything else works first. Of course, if there's a no-brainer option like "you can't go wrong with this one" then that might change things.

Same goes for the cooler. No objection to replacing the stock cooler in the near future but I wanted to check that everything else works/fits.

childermass 23 Nov, 2020

Quoting: SolarWould you consider Nvidia? the RTX3060 is rumoured to be released on Dec 2nd, apparently it beats the 2080 and is going to be less than $400
I would hold off to see how that goes before buying a 5700.
I'm not opposed to Nvidia, i.e. have no personal preference. I was looking at the RX5700 XT primarily because various people here indicated it worked reasonably well enough, including for Elite: Dangerous in VR, on Linux. I also saw a reference to how it supported async reprojection for VR, whereas the Nvidia cards didn't.

childermass 23 Nov, 2020

Quoting: g000hI'm assuming you aren't set in stone on those components you listed at the start. Although there might be some availability issues, I'd jump straight to the new Ryzen 5 5600 (or 5600X) processor instead.
Thank you! You're right, though, at the moment there seem to be availability issues, and I was hoping to get this all set up before Christmas.

Quoting: g000hAlso, even if you go with the 3000 series Ryzen, I'd suggest going for a X570 chipset motherboard which will play nicer with 5000 series Ryzen in the future (and enables you to use the latest NVMe PCIe gen4 solid state drives too).
I'd settled on B550 in order to avoid having a chipset fan, but will think about that too.

Quoting: g000hI recently got myself a 1TB PCIe gen3 SSD which runs at 3500MB/s read and 3000MB/s write speeds, and favour NVMe over slower SATA-based SSDs (There is little price difference nowadays).
May I ask if that's a particular model that you'd recommend?

Quoting: g000hIf it was me building a new machine for myself, I'd also aim for a new AMD RX 6800 graphics card to compliment the above.
Fair enough. In my case I think it's probably beyond my budget for now, and there are also availability issues.

Quoting: g000hAlso, recommend getting a case with good air-flow if you are aiming for a high-end gaming system. That's another area where I thought I had made sufficient provision with my main machine, but it could do with slightly better cooling.
Good point. Part of the reason for planning to reuse my Define case is to see how I get on, and then have some flexibility to get a new case in the not-too-distant future if airflow, or anything else, proves to be an issue.

g000h 23 Nov, 2020

Quoting: childermassI'd settled on B550 in order to avoid having a chipset fan, but will think about that too.

It's a decent choice, certainly.

Quoting: childermassMay I ask if that's a particular model that you'd recommend?

I've recently got this one - Reviewed here
For me, it was the perfect mix of performance and value.

Quoting: childermass
Quoting: g000hIf it was me building a new machine for myself, I'd also aim for a new AMD RX 6800 graphics card to compliment the above.

Fair enough. In my case I think it's probably beyond my budget for now, and there are also availability issues.

I'm interested in your current specs. Maybe you should seriously consider holding off if your existing machine isn't lagging too far behind.

Quoting: childermass
Quoting: g000hAlso, recommend getting a case with good air-flow if you are aiming for a high-end gaming system. That's another area where I thought I had made sufficient provision with my main machine, but it could do with slightly better cooling.

Good point. Part of the reason for planning to reuse my Define case is to see how I get on, and then have some flexibility to get a new case in the not-too-distant future if airflow, or anything else, proves to be an issue.

If you already have the Define case, then no problem re-using it - It is a sensible way forward (and you can upgrade the case later, although you do have the pain of future PC disassembly to look forward to.)

childermass 23 Nov, 2020

Quoting: g000hI'm interested in your current specs. Maybe you should seriously consider holding off if your existing machine isn't lagging too far behind.
My current specs are really lagging behind... by which I mean it must be at least a decade old, with "Integrated ATI Radeon 2100-based graphics" on the motherboard, and is currently only used as a mostly headless Linux box that I ssh into... :-)

Thanks for the Adata SSD tip; I'll check that out!

childermass 29 Nov, 2020

A quick update in case this is helpful to anyone else. I went for the following in the end:

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 with stock cooler
  • Motherboard: Asus ROG STRIX B550-E GAMING
  • Video Card: Sapphire Pulse RX 5700 XT
  • SSD: Adata XPG SX8200 Pro 1TB

I've started with Ubuntu 20.10, just because that's what I'm most familiar with. As far as I can tell, pretty much everything worked smoothly out of the box. The wired LAN works, but I haven't tested the Wifi yet. Suspend seems to work.

I'm not sure if I'm seeing all the sensors yet, and I am also unsure whether the driver for the GPU that comes with Ubuntu 20.10 is the latest, or whether it's worth me trying to upgrade to something more recent. So far the graphics seem to run smoothly but I don't know if there are gains to be made.

The RX 5700 XT is indeed quiet, with the fans not running and power consumption around 9W when idling in the desktop. The stock cooler for the CPU is a little noisy, so I might upgrade that at some point.

It's early days but I'm happy with it so far. Thank you very much to everyone for your tips!

CatKiller 29 Nov, 2020

Quoting: childermassThe stock cooler for the CPU is a little noisy, so I might upgrade that at some point.

You may be able to adjust the fan curve in your UEFI. My other half's computer uses the stock HSF and it was noticeable at first, but changing the fan curve made it much better.

If you do decide to upgrade it in the future, Noctua and Be Quiet are both good choices. Check the dimensions, though: the largest Noctua heat sink doesn't fit in my case, but the largest Be Quiet one does.

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