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Malaphax

Echo Base - New Build

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I might as well start on this since I'm just waiting on the last few parts to come in before I put it together. 

I haven't done a proper build since 2012 and decided to make some major changes.  I've moved away from the m-atx / m-itx segment because there are multiple limiting constraints that I wasn't particularly interested in dealing with.  I instead opted for a larger tower and full ATX motherboard along with a large air cooler rather than an AIO setup. 

Parts List - https://pcpartpicker.com/list/kNfMJ8

CPU: Ryzen R9 3900X
COOLING: Noctua NH-D15 SE-AM4
GPU: MSI 2080 Gaming X Trio
MOBO: Gigabyte X570 Aorus Master
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws V 32GB(2x16) DDR4-3200
NVME: Sabrent Rocket 2TB (x2)
CASE: Factal Design Define R6 USB-C (Gunmetal)
PSU: Seasonic Prime Ultra Titanium 850W
Display: LG 34GK950F-B
MISC: Noctua NF-A12x25 PWM fans (x3) and NF-A14 PWM (x1)

Breaking down some component purchases and my terrible rationalization for what is clearly some overspending. 
I did actually consider the R7-3800X briefly, but I was already leaning heavily towards purchasing the 3900X.  From a technical standpoint the 3900X uses two chiplets and has some minor advantages in memory bandwidth (see here) but more importantly I wanted the additional cores for more options when streaming and video editing.  I've had to do a few bits of video editing recently and while I'm not picturing myself getting seriously into content creation, having that extra capacity is going to be useful.  As far as why not going full dumbo and getting the 3950X?  The price/performance argument which is already shaky with the 3900X falls off even further when the cost of the additional 4 cores/threads is an additional $250 or more ratio based, paying 50% more for 33% more cores/threads.  Also, a shitty reason is that this part won't ship for another ~2 months and my current PC has been having off and on issues, so I didn't want to wait too long. 

I went fully air cooling for several reasons, but chiefly among them is the noise and performance comparisons to AIOs.  The Noctua D15 is goddamn gigantic but it's also the top tier air cooler and it costs roughly the same as a nice 240/280 AIO.  The advantage is it does provide some minor airflow over VRMs (not really needed in this instance) and the lack of mechanical complexity means it's failure rate is quite a bit lower.  While I haven't been burned by AIO failure, I know it happens with some frequency.  Also since I moved up into a much larger case with the room for a large air cooler there was no real advantage in using water cooling, especially considering the fact that the stock fans on any AIO would need to be replaced since they're almost universally shit.  Speaking of expensive fans, I did decide to go full noctua, with a 3x120 intake in the front and 1x140 exhaust in the rear.  I do technically have a box of scythe gentle typhoons I bought years ago and haven't used but the GT's are renowned for their radiator performance more than their open air performance.

The motherboard is honestly one of the most excessive purchases on that list.  I don't need 14 phase non-doubled VRMs for a CPU that doesn't overclock particularly well, but I did specifically want three nvme slots and some of the lower end X570 boards don't accomidate that. 

RAM was purchase mostly off of the qualified vendor list for the motherboard.  I didn't want to dick around with something that could potentially cause issues.  I went with 2x16gb kit at 3200mhz because that seemed like a decent balance of capacity, and speed.  That particular kit is CAS 14 which puts it at 8.75ns response time which is considered high end.  I briefly considered going for 3600mhz which is the limit for speed before you hit issues with the infinity fabric switching to 2:1 clock rate (see here) but getting good CAS timings at higher clock rates was REALLY expensive, not to mention I didn't see much in the way of 32gb kits aside from 4x8gb which has it's own drawbacks on a daisy chain layout. 

NVME these are phison e12 controllers which are considered very good (and used in plenty of nvme drives) and they came in 2tb capacity.  There are only a few other companies currently offering 2tb and this was one of the least expensive.  I briefly considered going for a "faster" 1tb nvme like the SX 8200 Pro as a main drive and then an intel 660p as a secondary but I have some use cases that might make this less appealing.  I also briefly considered going for a PCI-E 4.0 nvme drive but the prices are astronomical and the reviews are saying they run very hot and provide limited advantages over a PCI-E 3.0 nvme - I suspect once we see proper controllers other than the phison e16 (which is basically a slightly upgraded e12) offered we might see some additional performance and more reasonable prices but I don't expect that to happen until 2H'20. 
While I currently live fairly comfortably in a 1tb SSD I wanted the extra capacity for multiple game installs as well as plenty of overhead, all NVMEs perform worse when filled near capacity, and sitting below ~70% capacity is an easy way to make sure you don't start hitting SLC cache limits.  I was adamant I didn't want any mechanical drives in this case, and considering the insane price drops on nvme's it made it an easy choice to choose these over SSDs, not to mention the performance benefits. 

Case and PSU, I chose the Define R6 mostly because fractal makes really solid stuff, and this case provides tremendous flexibility if I decide to change the cooling setup or buy a stupidly long GPU.  This case also has sound dampening material which should help cut down what little noise the components produce.  I specifically bought the non-tempered glass version, I don't need to see inside my case and all the pretty RGBullshit which I will invariable disable. 
PSU is top of the line seasonic, not much else to say. 

Display, I've been gaming on this already with my current setup and it's fantastic.  It's not without a few minor issues but nothing I haven't been able to resolve.  I've had more issues with content being poorly encoded, like a 21:9 video that decided to encode at 16:9 with baked in black bars (fucking atrocious, especially since youtube supports different aspect ratios) and several games just don't support ultrawide, notably overwatch (I think the devs specifically said they won't support it either).  But when it does work, like in Destiny 2, it works beautifully.  I'm not sure I've ever really tried out the HDR but considering this is HDR400 I'm not expecting any night and day improvements.  I am running the display at 10bit color 144hz without issues and gsync appears to be functioning as well. 

GPU? I'm still up in the air if I'll actually go for a GPU upgrade.  Short story is the current Nvidia 2000 series is very expensive compared to the performance gain, RTX is nearly unusable at anything above 1080p let alone 3440x1440p that I'd need to drive it at.  While the new Super cards provide slightly better performance to value, I'm still not sure it's worth it.  I'll keep my eyes peeled for any crazy sales on the outgoing non-super cards as well as possibly just wait for black friday to see if there are any deals to be had.  Honestly, I might very well just skip this entire generation and go hard on the next one, but considering Nvidia pricing trends, that might not be any better than what's currently on offer. 

Final notes:  I'll take some pretty pictures when I finally get the entire system built, as well as hopefully reorganize the setup on my desk.  I've always thought about doing proper cable management when building my PC's but always ended up being lazy and just jamming shit in the case - this time I'm going to really keep it neat even if it takes some serious time and energy to do so (bigger case will help with this).  Likewise my desk setup isn't particularly clean cabling wise but I will be redoing some of it in an attempt to cut down on the mess as much as possible. 
As far as overclocking, everything I've seen from the Ryzen 3000 series reviews is that the standard Precision Boost does a solid job and what little overclocking headroom is available, is mostly limited to an all core clock, and could negatively impact single core performance.  Right now it doesn't seem worth it, but I'll keep my eyes open to see what other people end up doing.  Even if I run this strictly stock, I'm sure the performance will be plenty. 

EDIT: Added the GPU.  I wasn't sure initially if I was going to stick with my current 1080, or upgrade.  The 2000 series super launch helped bring down some prices.  I elected to go with a standard 2080 that was on sale, partially due to low stock on the 2070S and slightly better performance.  The 2080S does not make sense, many reviewers have said that the negligible performance upgrade over the stock 2080 isn't worth it even with the supposed price cut down to $700.  I also feel that moving up to ultrawide 3440x1440 was starting to strain the limits of my current 1080, and went for it when I saw a decent sale on a standard 2080. 

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looks solid. im about that jamming in cables life. but yeah im prob going to take some time cleaning shit out in my next build. and get a nicer case.

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I was going to do this item-by-item but I think I'm just going to avoid the repetition and summarize that I feel you are spending hundreds of dollars too much to build a PC that does not match your normal usage. Especially the motherboard, ssds and power supply.

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As i'm in the same system upgrade path, couple of thoughts on cost optimizations. I'll be using a lot of old system parts (PSU, AIO, Case, SSDs) so my components opinions are limited to the following:

CPU:

I'm heavily wondering if I want to go with 16 vs 12 cores as well. You bring up an important metric of 50% cost increase for 33% more cores which is a huge negative for the 3950X plus lower base clock despite a higher turbo. TDP is the biggest limiting factor why I think the 3900X does make more sense. If AMD had allotted the 3950X a higher TDP budget, then I think the 3950X might be a much bigger selling point (since they'd optimize the turbos and whatnot to handle the increase heat budget).

 

Mobo:

Why the Master vs Ultra? Is the extra ESS sabre + 14 direct vs 12+2 VRM setup really worth an extra $60 difference? In either case, I'll be picking mine up likely from Microcenter for the $50 bundle savings ($250 vs $300, or $310 vs $360). In my case I have zero use of motherboard audio since I run a sound card still.

RAM:

I'm likely going with a Crucial Ballistix which has a bundle deal at Microcenter as well $125. Same latency, similar performance (e-DIE supposedly for Ryzen compatibiltiy).

 

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Thermal throttling is a huge issue with the ryzen 3000 series, many people are correctly saying that the 3000 series acts like Nvidia GPUs with how aggressively they thermal throttle.  It's even more necessary to spend on some decent cooling to make use of the Precision Boost.  I'm concerned that the 3950x is going to end up throttling itself well below those advertised scores unless you're spending some serious money on a full loop liquid cooling - which if you're buying a $750 CPU you probably should spend up for a full water cooling loop.  Most people are recommending very high end air coolers or 240/280 AIOs to make sure you're not screwing yourself out of better boost clocks.  Again if you're spending $500 on a CPU, you should probably be able to afford a decent air cooler or AIO setup. 

I overspent on the Mobo, the power phases are completely unnecessary, but they are class leading, especially because they aren't using doublers.  I was mildly curious about the ESS sabre DAC but considering I currently use SPDIF out to an external DAC I'm not sure there's much value or if the motherboard DAC is doing any processing before it pushes it through the optical out.  I should have gone with the Aorus Ultra as I had a hard requirement of 3x nvme slots on the board.  I suspect I won't do any overclocking in the near future because there just hasn't been enough testing to make proper recommendations, but on the bright side, my mobo choice is never going to be a bottleneck. 

Sidenote:
The current overclocking strategy is actually to overclock one CCX, and leave the other CCX near stock.  I find this hilarious because that's the same strategy many phone SOCs used with the big/little style of cores.  While there is no current proof of this just yet, some people are suggesting that the 3900x has one "great" CCX and one "decent" CCX which is why all core overclocks aren't great, but single CCX overclocks seem to be promising.  Since AMD themselves mentioned binning the 3950X, there's a possibility that it will have 2 "great" CCXs and might hold up better under an all core overclock - I'll believe it when I see it.  Even then, I'm fairly certain that will only matter to people trying for benchmark records with LNO2. 
Feel free to read more on that here: https://www.reddit.com/r/Amd/comments/cefwjg/ty_der8auer_for_per_ccx_oc_recommend_massive/

I'm happy with the RAM I purchased.  What you linked is a great deal, but with those CAS timing you're looking at 10ns which is just on the border of what would be considered reasonable.  This picture kuhla posted sums up what I'm talking about:

On 3/27/2017 at 11:46 AM, kuhla said:

cmhSKyI.png

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I'm posting this here for archival purposes.  This is a review of the motherboard I purchased and some of his basic tweaks/suggestions. 

https://forum.level1techs.com/t/aorus-master-x570-perfect-uefi-settings/145081

Rough plans are to build the system this week - take some pictures.  Then get it up and running and downloading all the programs/games I need.  As far as tweaking/benchmarking, I'll do some of that to make sure everything is working well and see what basic tweaks I can do to bump up performance.  After that I'll let it settle for a while, AMD is still pushing out new chipset drivers, and Agesa revisions, so I expect I'll need to keep apprised of that. 

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2 hours ago, Malaphax said:

I'm posting this here for archival purposes.  This is a review of the motherboard I purchased and some of his basic tweaks/suggestions. 

https://forum.level1techs.com/t/aorus-master-x570-perfect-uefi-settings/145081

Rough plans are to build the system this week - take some pictures.  Then get it up and running and downloading all the programs/games I need.  As far as tweaking/benchmarking, I'll do some of that to make sure everything is working well and see what basic tweaks I can do to bump up performance.  After that I'll let it settle for a while, AMD is still pushing out new chipset drivers, and Agesa revisions, so I expect I'll need to keep apprised of that. 

Offtopic but that made me go check on my motherboard and sure enough a new BIOS was released today with a new AGESA version:

Quote

1. Update AMD AGESA Combo-AM4 1.0.0.3 ABB
2. Improve Destiny2 gaming experience with Matisse CPU.
 

*ASRock do NOT recommend updating this BIOS if Pinnacle, Raven or Summit Ridge CPU is being used on your system.
*This BIOS does NOT support following Bristol Ridge CPU due to the limited BIOS ROM size: Athlon x4 970/950/940, A12-9800/9800E, A10-9700/9700E, A8-9600, A6-9550/9500/9500E
*Before updating this BIOS, please also read the description in previous BIOS version.
 
* Please install "AMD all in 1 with VGA driver ver:18.50.16.01_WHQL" or a later version before updating to this BIOS.
** If you updated the BIOS before updating the AMD all in one driver, please refer to the Display recovery SOP to recover your system.
*** If the current BIOS version is older than P5.30, please update BIOS to P5.30(PinnaclePI-AM4_1.0.0.6) before updating this version.
**** User will not able to flash previous BIOS once upgrading to this BIOS version.

 

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IMG_20190806_222700_1.jpg

IMG_20190806_222723_1.jpg

IMG_20190806_222813_1.jpg

IMG_20190806_222832_1.jpg

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Some photos of the completed build.

Notes:
This case is built like a tank.  There is no flex in the entire case even with every panel removed, and there's a number of small cutouts and sections allowing for recessed screws and mounts is fantastic.  I'm going to be hard pressed not to suggest Fractal cases to other people in the future.  It's a solid piece of design and construction.  Also, I believe this is only my second ATX build, it feels nice having plenty of room for cable management, I even had to use extensions on the front case fans. 
The Noctua DH-15 is goddamn huge, but even more than that, you can see even in a large case like mine, the second 140mm fan is basically touching the RAM and still protrudes another inch above the CPU cooler.  The case closes without issue but it looks like it's a tight fit.  Also the CPU cooler is very tight next to the GPU in expansion slot 1, probably 5mm or less between the backplate and the fans. 
I converted the case to it's open layout by removing the drive cage that normally goes in the front.  While this certain leaves a large open space, I also think the massive GPU would have ended up conflicting with the drive cage if I hadn't removed it. 
I used silicone screws to mount all the fans, the 120mm fans were easy, the 140mm was not, seems like Noctua changed the silicone screws on their new fans.  There is a minor conflict with the bottom 120mm fan's silicon screws making it difficult to snap on the front dustcover, but simply bending them out of the way seemed to fix the issue. 
I really did my best on cable management, and even though this build has fewer cables because of the lack of sata devices, I think I did a very good job.  Even the back is well managed and clean.  I'm rather proud of my work. 

Next step is to boot it up and start the software side of the process - updating bios, installing windows etc.  I have some minor work to do on my old PC before I complete shift over, but I expect to have this up and running by the weekend (barring any unforeseen circumstances). 

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Booted up and started installing software.  So far so good. 

Some minor things I've noticed.  My previous PC didn't seem to like my ultrawide on startup, in defaulted the monitor to my older 1440p gsync monitor for bios.  The new PC doesn't seem to have that issue, which is convenient. 

I ran into some minor issues with the nvidia drivers not being able to install - I was forced to install geforce experience first. 

From a hardware standpoint, I'll need to play with the fan curves to properly adjust where I'd like it to be.  Right now on boot when everything spins up to 100% it's certainly audible, but after the fan curve kicks in it's nearly silent.  I'll need to see where it stands once I start playing games and seeing how loud the PC is when it's under load.  I'll also need to check temps and make sure everything looks reasonable. 

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I mentioned previously that gigabyte has been one of the first board partners to push out bios updates, and they're continuing that trend with this beta bios release.  I plan on waiting for the full version, but it's good to see them pushing out updates with regularity.  I expect they'll keep this up for another 1-2 months especially with the 3950x launch coming up. 
Their customer rep GBT_Mathew is super active on reddit and several forums and that's always really great to see. 

https://www.overclock.net/forum/11-amd-motherboards/1728360-gigabyte-x570-aorus-owners-thread.html#post28023210

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1 hour ago, Malaphax said:

I mentioned previously that gigabyte has been one of the first board partners to push out bios updates, and they're continuing that trend with this beta bios release.  I plan on waiting for the full version, but it's good to see them pushing out updates with regularity.  I expect they'll keep this up for another 1-2 months especially with the 3950x launch coming up. 
Their customer rep GBT_Mathew is super active on reddit and several forums and that's always really great to see. 

https://www.overclock.net/forum/11-amd-motherboards/1728360-gigabyte-x570-aorus-owners-thread.html#post28023210

Just for the fun of it, whenever you have been mentioning BIOS updates, I have gone and checked on my own motherboard and sure enough ASRock is still pumping out updates with some regularity. There was another one last week: https://www.asrock.com/mb/AMD/Fatal1ty X370 Gaming-ITXac/#BIOS

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In general I've seen most motherboard vendors are all within 1-2 weeks of each other on recent updates.  There used to be a time when vendors weren't very good with keeping older products up to date, but AM4 has seen incredible levels of support across the board.  I still would be a little hesitant to pick up a non-gaming brand motherboard like biostar - but even they have a recent beta bios update for the Agesa 1.0.0.3ABB release. 
I'm curious how AM4 will affect the CPU market long-term.  AMD and the board partners have done an excellent job of 3 generations and 3+ years of support, with most x370 and b350 boards supporting the 3000 series without issue.  I somehow doubt intel is going to start suddenly giving a shit about the desktop/gaming market, but I'd be curious to see if they change their strategy due to AMD's current dominance.  I also wonder if AMD is going to continue this strategy when they design their next socket (AM5?) and continue a longer support cycle - as well as more consumer friendly practice. 

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59 minutes ago, Malaphax said:

.....with most x370 and b350 boards supporting the 3000 series without issue.

Personally I would feel a bit worried about going >95w with a Zen2 cpu on a x370/b350 board even with the official support. Actually I would expand that statement to Zen+ too. Nothing Zen1 was >95w and I have to imagine that the chipsets/motherboards were designed around those numbers.

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I tend to agree.  The x470 boards seem capable of handling that, but the x370 is more of a risk.  I think putting a 3700x on an older x370 board probably the limit, and even then I've heard the AMD chips tend to spike above the rated TDP.  But I doubt the people buying $400+ CPUs are also skimping on upgrading to a new motherboard. 

Honestly the motherboard manufacturers underestimated the first gen ryzen, stepped up on the x470 and zen+ launch, and frankly overbuilt most of the x570 boards.  I have a feeling if AMD releases a new socket in the next few years motherboard manufacturers will probably take it more seriously and build in some additional headroom for higher TDP CPUs. 

 

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Was wondering how your X570 is doing and your nVME SSD in terms of temps:

Here's mine:

image.png

image.png

 

Hitting 80C for the PCH feels a bit hot...seems like it could use a repaste.

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8 hours ago, Jedi2155 said:

Hitting 80C for the PCH feels a bit hot...seems like it could use a repaste.

TIME TO BREAK OUT THE KRYONAUT

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