Last week I built myself a new PC and I put a lot of thought into it. I wanted to make it easily upgradeable with the main bulk of the system lasting me a good 4-5 years. In this blog post, I will show what I chose and then explain my reasoning.
First of all, before upgrading their computer, everyone should ask themselves the main question: does my current PC do what I want it to do? Is it holding back my ability to work, game, stream, or do anything that I’m doing? If the answer is “yes” or “maybe”, then you most likely need an upgrade. In case the answer is no, however, then you should re-evaluate your need for new components – is it just a craving for new and shiny stuff or maybe you’re just a tech-junkie, like most of us? Either way, we’d recommend looking at your desire to build a PC from a different angle.
Now let’s look at what components I chose and why:
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 2600X
- Motherboard: Aorus Gaming 5 Wifi
- Main Storage: Kingston A1000 256 GB NVMe SSD
- CPU Cooler: NZXT Kraken X52
- PSU: SeaSonic M12II 620W
- Case: Fractal Design Meshify C
Concerning my platform of choice—I chose Ryzen mostly for its upgradeability. With Ryzen 3000 coming out this year, a proper motherboard with fast high-quality RAM will be able to serve me at least another upgrade, and since I am not planning on getting the rumored 12-core 24-thread Ryzen 9, a simple well-overclocked Ryzen 5 with higher IPC than Ryzen 2000 will be just fine.
The Ryzen 5 2600X was my CPU of choice due to its price/performance ratio. I love watching YouTube videos while playing games, and the i5-4590 couldn’t handle that, for whatever reason. The 2600X also has a 4.25 GHz boost clock out of the box and the 6 cores/12 threads are really useful for my video rendering needs. In the perfect world, this new PC will help me get back on track and start making videos again too.
The Aorus Gaming 5 Wifi has good VRM cooling, a LOT of fan headers, and (one of the most important things for me) integrated Bluetooth. In my previous builds I was using the Gigabyte GC-WB867D-I, a PCIe Wifi and Bluetooth card, to connect my controllers and be able to play with friends on the TV. This card is not available in my region anymore, and another proper PCIe Wifi+Bluetooth card can not be found in any online store within thousands of kilometers. So if it someday dies, then I would not have been able to play with my friends anymore, which is the main reason why I needed a motherboard with integrated Wifi and Bluetooth.
The memory is where I had multiple choices—at first I wanted the G.Skill TridentZ 2 x 8 GB 3000 MHz CL16 kit, but then I found out about the slightly faster Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro kit for the same money. In the long run, the G.Skill looks better in my opinion, but not better enough to choose it over the faster and newer Corsair kit. The memory is currently running at its designated speeds, but I am planning to tighten the timings and maybe try training the memory.
Concerning my choice of case and CPU cooler—I’ve been dreaming of both ever since they came out. The Meshify C looks great and really fits into my working setup. The NZXT Kraken X52 is, in my opinion, the best looking AIO on the market; and I thought that if there’s ever a time to treat myself, it is now. Since the PC is standing in the living room and all guests will see it when they come in, I decided to spend a little more on the looks of the machine for my partner to like it too. So far the only comments we’ve received were positive.
Regarding the power supply of choice—SeaSonic was in my previous build, the S12II 620W. This is the same model, only fully modular, which allows me to avoid useless cable clutter. I trust SeaSonic the most and do not hesitate to recommend them to anyone who asks me for build advice. It can also handle any single-GPU system you throw at it, as I ran a heavily overclocked R9 290X on the S12II 620W.
I was able to scavenge my previous PC for a 1 TB WD Black and a 500 GB Integral SSD for file and game storage. As for the GPU, I will continue using the RX 580 8 GB as it is more than enough for the 1080p games I play (and I heavily prefer the AMD Radeon Settings app for my tinkering). Due to graphics cards and monitors being as expensive as they are, I will probably be able to upgrade my GPU and monitor by late 2019—we will see if Navi performs well enough to push 1440p 144fps; and if not, then the RTX prices will hopefully be down by then. With Nvidia supporting may more adaptive sync monitors now, choosing a monitor won’t be as big of an issue.
Total Upgrade Cost: ~880€
The base of my PC for the next 4-5 years came out to be around 880€. Due to multiple factors I had to pay only 479€ out of my own pocket, and if I manage to sell my old PC some more will be covered. This machine will allow me to do all the things I’ve been wanting to do for years now, what my previous i5-4590 never allowed me to. I have the ability to tinker with the RAM and CPU clocks, I can play games, make videos, stream, record gameplay, and have the PC looking great while doing so.
The graphics card is my biggest concern here as it has a very poor cooler, gets extremely loud, and can’t be cooled with my Accelero Xtreme IV aftermarket solution due to the slightly offset chip positioning. Hopefully, by the end of the year I will be able to upgrade to something more powerful and power-efficient. But in the meantime, I am going to play some more of those video games.
Thank you for reading!