AMD is not perfect - a highend PC build in 2020

2020, Jul 05    

Today I finally fnish my build, a highend PC with below specs

  • AMD Ryzen 3700x
  • Corsair H150i RGB PRO XT (360mm AIO Cooler)
  • ASUS Strix-E 570X
  • GSkill Neo 32GB (8x4) DDR4-3600 (CL16)
  • WD SN750 1TB
  • EVGA SuperNOVA G2 1300 W 80+ Gold
  • Lian Li O11D XL

My detailed part list is Pcpartpicker link, the prices in there are the actual price I paid for those components including tax

One of the reasons for this build is my old PC (2700X & MSI Tomahawk B350) kept crashing in Windows 10 and has been behaving weird even after 2-3 attampts of reinstalling OS. I started to doubt it’s caused by some sort of hardware issue. In fact, before the first OS reinstall, that computer has been stable for almost 2 years; one big issue of it which been bothering me is that I can’t install any new Windows updates (it will download and try install, but eventually show installation error(s), I’ve tried so many ways but can’t get it fixed); recently, I thought my bootloader and partitions could have potential issues, since I have Ubuntu set up on one of my partition and can be booted into when starting the computer, and it shares the same hard drive with Windows; so a few days ago, I backed up my data, and just performed a clean install of the latest version of Windows 10. I did a BIOS update for the motherboard, then installed the system; that was when all the later problems began to surface.

The crushing problem

After the OS installation, it was running great for a few days. then it began to crash or freeze the screen occasionally. In BIOS, I left everything as its default, so it shouldn’t have a problem such as the voltage is not enough when the core frequency was set too high (overclocked). One time I thought it was a problem with the RAM, I did run a memory test for 1-2 hours but didn’t detect any issues. Then I thought it could be a problem with one of the hard drives, but later on, I tried swapping everything to a new hard drive (cloned the same partition to it), the crash still happens. As it really bothered me a lot, I started to think about upgrading my CPU and motherboard; I know the B350 Tomahawk (4+2 VRM) could be a potential bottleneck for the power delivery, that’s part of the reasons it didn’t receive the same amount of praises as its successors, the Tomahawk X570 and B550.

Parts picking

As I do need a Ubuntu machine, so I finally decided to just use the current rig to be a pure Linux pc, then make a new build for Windows 10. The Linux PC will be used for programming and running some deep learning tasks; The GTX 1080 Ti (3584 CUDA cores) in that machine makes it a powerful and perfect workstation for that purpose. (I did have a few other upgrades as well, I will write a new post for that later)

Now it’s the fun part, picking parts. Regarding the CPU - Intel vs AMD, I don’t have too much hesitation; I had a 1700X build for a computer mainly used by my wife, and it’s been super fast and stable. My own 2700X + 1080Ti rig has been also very capable of satisfying all my tasks (video editing, programming, and some gaming such as Monster Hunter World) in the last 2 years. I’ve also been hearing lots of good things about the new 7nm Zen 2 architecture (the 3000 series) of Ryzen. I went with a 3700X; with a reasonable price, it gives a decent performance improvement over the 2700x; In fact, the 8 core 16 threads will also be the cpu standard for next-generation gaming consoles (PS5 and Xbox-X); so having the same cores makes it likely to produce a better gaming experience in the next few years.

For the motherboard, X570 is the preferred option; it gives me a better upgrade path if new Ryzen CPU come out later this year (AMD said so); I also scored a RTX 2080 ti B-stock at EVGA at about $1,100 which was considered one of the best models for the RTX 2080 ti; this is by far the most expensive component; I’m sure I will make some good use of it. For pc case, I was debating between the Lian-Li O11D and the Thermaltake View 51 TG, I really like the look of the View 51, but I still don’t have enough trust for the build quality of Thermaltake due to a bad experience with the case (the View 27) I ordered from them years ago. On the other hand, O11D has been receiving lots of compliments. After checking out tons of builds photos and comments from people on the internet (pcpartpicker and reddit) with the two cases, I went with Lian-Li at the end.

The building process

It really takes weeks for me to receive everything as the COVID-19 slowed everything down, especially the shipment of computer parts from China. After a long wait, The day finally came. I gathered all the things I need, and started puting them together from the morning of the day. One thing worth to mention is the Corsair QL fans. Having multiple showcase RGB fans in the O11D case is considered to be a must. I’ve seen the Corsair LL fans on sale for a few times in the past, but even it’s on sale, it’s still expensive. This time, I went with its successor, the QL white fan. The beauty comes at a price. The total cost for the 10 QL fans (3x3 fans packages + 1 single fan) was over $350, this is almost a price of a decent GPU (like 5700XT or RTX 2060 Super), and I actually found them worth the price at the moment I turned them on. One of the best part is that you can adjust the RGB color at a very finer level of the fan sections, such as lower left to be yellow and lower center to be green; this makes a lots of cool effects to be possible. A few interesting effects can be seem at below.