Building my gaming PC

19 May, 2020PC, Gaming

TL;DR

Parts list: https://pcpartpicker.com/user/mdluo/saved/NHtqpg

Background

Early and middle 2020 is definitely a hard time for almost everyone in the world, for PC builders especially. Due to the reduction of manufacturing because of the pandemic and increasing demands because more people staying at home looking for entertainment, some PC parts are either out of stock or getting more expensive than usual.

The announcements of the new AMD Zen 3 and Nvidia Ampere also mildly tortures PC builders who just bought the current generation.

Luckily I managed to purchase most of the parts I want at reasonable prices, the only thing difficult for me is the month-long waiting for the last part (which is the RAM btw) to be shipped from the other side the world.

This is technically my first PC build. I'm a programmer and a casual gamer, so I have some bear minimum knowledge about PC hardware. I also watched hundreds of hours of YouTube hardware reviewing videos before I started my build, so in fact I'm not completely a newbie to PC building.

I owned an upgraded MacBook Pro for programming and photo editing, so this build is for gaming only. Last year I tried to setup an eGPU build with my MacBook Pro. So I own the monitor already.

Tips

  1. The first part to choose is not CPU, not GPU, but Monitor. The budget range of the whole system largely depends on the resolution of the monitor(s).
  2. New AAA titles are expensive, are you sure you want to have a fancy set of hardwares but only running old games?
  3. Similar to no. 2, don't spend your budget solely on hardwares, spare some for your games.
  4. Spend your money on parts that can give you more sensible difference rather than the extra 10% benchmark figures.
  5. Get a decent PSU, I mean brand and series (rating), not necessarily wattage. It can give your system more stable power supply, save the electricity, and can be quiter.
  6. For the PSU wattage, don't go too crazy. For most PSUs, the most efficient work load is around 50%, so the PSUs with labelled wattage which is double of 80% of your system's max power consumption should the optimal. E.g. most online calculators give me 400W of max power consumption, so I got a 400 x 80% x 2 = 640, which means 650W PSU (with at 80+ Gold and a decent brand) is the best for my setup.
  7. Consider air cooler first, I know water coolers looks aesthetically better (to some people), but AIO cost you double the price to get the similar cooling results, and the pumps won't last longer than fans. What's more, in case of leakage, AIO may take away your motherboard, CPU and even more.
  8. Get a set of speakers, fatigue is inevitable even with the most comfortable headsets.
  9. Don’t buy a so called "Gaming headset"

My build

  • AMD Ryzen 5 3600

AMD Yes! At least in 2020. Why not 3600X? The price premium is not worth the gaming performance boost, and I'm buying a 3rd party cooler, so less money to throw away (3600X has a better stock cooler).

  • be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4

The black out design looks great. Why not the non-Pro version? The Pro version just go the lowest price when I ordered, better discount than the Dark Rock 4. And the Pro have a slightly better RAM clearance (less case clearance, though).

  • MSI B450 TOMAHAWK MAX

Most people would agree this is the best motherboard to work with 3600. Why not the Mortar version? Mortar has 2 M.2 slots, might be useful for some people, but for me I just prefer the ATX board and Tomahawk might have slightly better performance.

  • Crucial Ballistix 16 GB

Choosing this one just because the CORSAIR Vengeance LPX got more expensive. There's no much difference anyway, same volume and frequency. Why not 32G? This build is purely for gaming and I think 99% of the game I'm going to play would not cost more than 16GB of RAM.

  • Western Digital Blue SN550 1 TB

Price of SSD/NVME has insanely increased in 2020, so downgraded from Samsung 970 EVO to this one. The higher the speed, the higher the temperature, and most of the game data are compressed so the difference of different speed contribute so little to the overall loading time, most of the case you won't notice the difference.

  • Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER 8 GB GAMING OC 3X

Just got a decent price drop on Amazon for this model. Why not AMD 5700XT? I already bought a G-Sync monitor, and I want to try out the "RTX ON" as well.

  • Fractal Design Meshify C

The perfect case for my build, reasons: 1. Large cases are much wider and tend to have extra space between the motherboard and the front panel for water cooling radiators, but my build is air cooling only so the space is wasted and even can hard the airflow due to longer travel distance. 400mm is the perfect width. 2. Mesh front panel of this case maximize the airflow without compromising dust filtration. 3. Both CPU cooler and graph card clearance 4. Overall quality.

  • Corsair RMx 650 W

The full load power consumption of the system is around 400W, so 80% of full load (320W) is almost exactly 50% of 650W, which is the most efficient workload for PSU. The electricity price in SG is considerable expensive so have to choose wisely. Why not RMi series? The build quality of the RMi is almost the same as RMx but 20%-30% more expensive for the useless software control "link".

  • ARCTIC P12 PST 56.3 CFM 120 mm Fans 5-Pack

The Arctic P12 has the top notch performance in terms of cooling and acoustic according to this and this review. A pack of 5 fans only cost USD $30. And supporting PWM make it much easier to connect and configure the curve.

  • Acer XB271HU

This was purchased last year and I chose this based on quit a lot of reviews and one of my friend also bought this and had positive feedback.

  • Logitech G413

A decent gaming keyboard with good switches. Why not Logitech G513? I hate RGB.

  • Philips SHP9500

Initially I was planning to buy a "gaming headset" like Logitech G PRO X, then I saw quite a few reviews criticizing the bad audio quality (and also almost all the other "gaming headsets"). And most of them are recommending this one, which is cheap, comfortable, good audio quality, suitable for both gaming and listening to music.

  • V-MODA Boo​mPro

Another cheap but hight quality item. Works perfectly in combination with the Philips SHP9500.

  • Logitech Z333

Just a cheap speaker, use it when I play casual single player games so I don't need to wear the headset all day long.


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