PC5 – Building the Best Computer Yet

I’m building my fifth computer, although the fourth computer was a desktop to which I made major modifications. As it stands, “PC5” isn’t anything special, with two exceptions. One is there are no magnetic drives. Solid state drives have reached a point where they will last roughly as long as a hard disk drive, and are inexpensive as well. Included in the rig is a super fast 512 GB PCIe 3.0 x 4 SSD, which boots the operating system in record time, and a storage drive which is a 480 GB traditional SSD. The other difference is water cooling – more on that in a bit.

The components received incremental upgrades. The CPU is a Ryzen 3600 with 6 cores and 12 threads. I’ve got fast 3200 MHz RAM, with 16 GB capacity and the ability to upgrade to 32 GB. The graphics card is a rockin’ Radeon 5700 XT, which can occasionally beat an nVidia RTX 2070 Super in performance, a reasonably close competitor. I was getting 190 frames per second in a modern computer game, and my current monitor can display just 60 frames per second. We call this “future proofing”.

In total, I spent about $750 on the machine. Occasionally you get a better deal when you build a computer yourself, however you’re getting a better deal on the high-end. There is such a thing as a $450 desktop, but building your own machine puts you in a higher price bracket. It’s less expensive than purchasing an equivalent Dell or HP desktop, for example.

Water cooling is not new in PC building. Now however, I’ll be creating a custom loop, which cools the CPU and the GPU, the net result being a virtually silent machine. Radiators are simply more efficient than basic fan cooling, and the fans don’t work as hard. The new water cooling effort will be in a future post.

In the meantime, here are the specs of the current machine:

  • AMD Ryzen 5 3600 CPU (6 core, 12 threads)
  • Gigabyte X570 Gaming X motherboard with PCIe 4.0 support
  • Corsair Vengeance DDR4 3200 MHz RAM 16 GB (8 GB x 2) with red green blue lighting
  • AMD Radeon 5700 XT Graphics card
  • 512 GB M.2 SSD / 480 GB SATA SSD
  • Corsair 850 watt modular power supply
  • Corsair Carbide 175R case (subject to change)
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