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Help me build a decent gaming PC (Windows 10) 2019 Edition


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Help me build a decent gaming PC (Windows 10) 2019 Edition
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2019-09-05, 22:27

I am normally one to build hackintosh systems and ensure any PC component I buy will be able to run macOS too. Now it is different. My children require a PC for some school specific things. While their normal computers will be Mac, I want a PC for gaming now too. My son is really enjoying GOG (thanks 709 ), as well as the recent upgrade from Xbox Gold to Ultimate Gamer Pass (or whatever it is called). This means more PC games being available to us for free now.

So I'm looking to build a system that is powerful, but not necessarily bleeding edge. My goal is get most of the components during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales. I can start picking up pieces now, but my focus is in a few months. My system will likely be wifi connected since I am not expecting to get an ethernet drop to where it will be right now. Generally speaking, this shouldn't be a problem for 802.11ac through out my house, I just read that gamers like to wire connect when they can.

If you were going to build a Windows gaming PC today (20190905), what would you use?
Would you go AMD or Intel?
What graphics card is the great for PC gaming while not necessarily being the best?
For SSD would you go PCIe or SATA? (I would assume HDD for mass storage.)
What brand motherboard would you look at and what features are critical?
Is there a specific wireless adapter you would use for 802.11ac?

In the end I'm not loyal to anything with this build. I plan to make it a PC and always a PC. Any input would be appreciated. I know I can do all of this on my own, but I know there are some on these forums who have done some great builds and keep up with these specs more than I do.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2019-09-05, 23:37

I would just buy a Mac.















Oh, man, that's just mean.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2019-09-06, 07:37

You're a funny guy.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2019-09-06, 21:31

So I found a few people who all say they know what they are doing but I don't trust them.

I'm really considering AMD though I've always been loyal to Intel. I guess I want to give the Ryzen a chance though there used to always be issued with AMD compatibility where there never is with Intel. I know at some point I'm likely to put VMWare on it so I guess I'll have to look at Intel.

The one thing that really stands out to me is how much I hate the RGB LEDs on everything now. Like, I just don't like it nor have any desire for my PC to have it. I want plain and quiet. I'm even looking at how I can mount it under my desk it is going on so you won't see it at all.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
  quote
PB PM
Sneaky Punk
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Vancouver, BC
Send a message via Skype™ to PB PM 
2019-09-07, 19:56

Every unit with RGB stuff can have it turned off in the UEFI and software setting, so no reason to worry about that. Most of the better boards have it, like it or not.

CPU: AMD Ryzen is the best bang for your buck for an all around machine. Intel has higher clock speeds, but prices are higher too. If I was building today, Ryzen would be my choice, you get more cores and speed for less money, generally speaking. Cannot tell you what chips to go for, since you haven't given a budget. Best gaming chips are likely the Intel i7 9700k and AMD Ryzen 3700x. If that is too much the i5 9600k and Ryzen 3600x are good alternatives. VMware will work fine on any X86/x64 chip, so not sure why that would matter. If anything the higher core/thread count of Ryzen chips per $ spent gives them a huge advantage for virtual machines. Of course some UNIX based OSs, wont run on a AMD based systems in VMWare (like Mac OS for example), as far as I can tell, so if that matters, Intel it must be.

Motherboard: Depends on what brand of, and in Intel's case what series, of CPU you go for. Intel, K series chips require a Z series board (Z390 for 8/9 gen - 8xxxk 9xxxk chips) for example. For non-k chips, a B365 or H310 series board will work (both 8/9th Gen). AMD, you can go for B450 boards (really good value) or the higher end X470/X570 boards, totally depends on your budget and needs.

For a full ATX based system any of the big brands is okay, but ASUS still has the best UEFI BIOS by far. I'm in a league of pain with my Gigabyte board, that ignores some but not all settings I change, a real pain. No affect on real world use, just rams an auto all CPU overclocking feature on you no matter what you do. Just a buggy BIOS, with seemingly no fix in sight. ASROCK has some great ITX boards (B450 series) for Ryzen with built in AC WIFI and bluetooth 5.0. For features, that really depends on your needs, do you need more PCI-E slots for secondary stuff, or do you want more M.2 (PCI-E) drive slots? Other than the high end boards you usually have to make a choice between those two sadly. If you opt for an all in one water cooler for the CPU (don't bother if you don't overclock, a mid-range third party CPU cooler will do fine if you don't, go with Noctua or Coolermaster for air), then the number of USB2 headers on the motherboard will matter. Most have 1, while better boards have 2. One of the big picking points for me is always how many USB ports are on the rear IO, since I hate the wasted space created by USB hubs with a passion. Wired keyboard and mice are still the way to go for gaming, unless you want to spend well over $100 on each. Most boards have at least 6 now days, two of which will be USB 3.1 gen 2 (1 type A and 1 type C). If you want more type C ports, you'll need an PCI-E add-on card. If you want thunderbolt, you need an add-on card. I use GB Ethernet with my PC, so I cannot recommend WIFI add-ons, sorry cannot help there.

GPU: What is your monitors resolution? 1080p, 1440p, 4k? Refresh rate, 60Hz or faster? For 1080p, Nvidia 2060 or 2060 Super or Radeon 5700. For 1440p the AMD Radeon 5700XT and Nvidia RTX 2070 Super are the way to go. The Radeon is generally less expensive, but wait and see what prices are like in the big sales, since the NVIDIA cards do offer more features. If you have a 4k monitor, 2080 Super or a used GTX 1080Ti.

Storage: For the fastest operations you want NVMe (PCI-E) M.2 drives. For gaming you likely wont notice the difference from a SATA SSD, but it does make things snappier and makes wiring up the machine faster. Go for a 3D TLC drive for a boot drive, QLC is cheaper, but wont hold up to Windows virtual memory page files that will kill the speed advantage over a better TLC SATA drive. While there are SATA M.2 drives as well, but they are no different than the 2.5" models. 500GB drives are the sweat spot price wise and good for a boot drive. Samsung, Intel, and Western Digital all have good options with 5+ year warranties on the better drives. You could opt for 256GB, but they tend to have much lower write cycle endurance. For anything bigger than SATA is still the way to go, with 1TB drives being very reasonable in the US at around $100. Unless you really need an HDD for 2+TB of space I'd avoid them altogether. I have 3 3TB drives, but I'm uploading 50-100GB of photos from my cameras on a regular basis, so no way around it.

Power Supply, a big deal. Don't go cheap, get a EVGA Supernova, Corsair RMx or Seasonic unit (80+ Gold rated). All the good units have 10 year warranties and modular cables. If your budget for this is tight, at the very least 80+ Bronze rated unit. The 80+ Gold units will save you money when gaming, since they are more efficient under higher power loads. A basic system will only need a 550W unit, but if you have a higher end GPU a 650W one might be needed. Depends on how many secondary devices you have (drives and such).

More details or questions? Fire away!

Last edited by PB PM : 2019-09-07 at 20:33.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2019-09-08, 20:02

I'm really glad to hear I can just disable the RGB on these things. I had a system with lights years ago. It was cool, and then it wasn't. I want my computer to be quiet and hidden, not the center piece of the room.

I'm glad you mentioned AMD and compatibility. It has been so long since I looked at them and VMWare that I really didn't realize there was no longer an issue. Now that I know it won't be a problem I'm going to look at them instead of Intel. In fact, I'm thinking I want to go with the 3800X. I was thinking I wanted the i9-9900K, so the 3800X will fit the bill nicely.

The motherboard is where I'm kinda torn. I want ATX features but I want smaller size. I'm wanting to hide this computer literally in the desk so the smaller the better. I can make ATX work for sure, especially since it has all the ports and built-in functionality I'm used to. Like headers and rear IO. Right now I've thrown this ASUS AM4 TUF Gaming X570-Plus (Wi-Fi) board in the cart. The dual M.2 really appeals to me on this. Fact is I could easily go for something with a single M.2 and only two SATA jacks. One storage SSD and one optical drive. For overclocking, I would likely let the BIOS auto adjust and call it a day. The time might come when I'm going to manually tweak things out, but for now I'm just thinking solid and fast.

I still need to trace out the wall where this computer is going. I think my house has the "fire break" cross studs about 4' off the ground. If so then I'm not going to be able to drop an ethernet line to it even though I would REALLY want to. WiFi for now until I can be sure. Any board I get will have ethernet so I'm not worried about moving to it if I can.

Going with the board above would allow me to RAID the two SSDs for boot and primary IO while I can add a large SATA SSD for storage. While my earlier build for the hackintosh I went with the 660p, I'm thinking 970 Pros or similar for the primary volume.

GPU is a hard one. I know it is important, but I don't know how much I'm willing to pay. I threw a 2080 Super in the cart and fell over when I saw it was more than the CPU and Mobo combo I picked so far. The part that makes this really hard is that I'm not sure what monitor I'm going to drive with this setup so I don't know what card I'll need. I want something like a 27"-32" and was thinking 4K. This would be able to play media (from my Plex library) for the room it will be in so I figured I might as well get something large enough to be viewable throughout the room. Seems it would need to be hires if I'm going to be sitting less than 24" away from it too. So at this point anything can happen. If I go with my gut, I'll settle for 1440p and 60Hz but don't know enough yet to really make the call.

I'm glad you mentioned power supplies. I was going to go with a bronze only because it's what I've always used. I'm good with going the extra for Gold though since this system will likely need the efficiency in the PSU.

Up to this point I haven't mentioned a budget because I hadn't set one. I really didn't know what I would need for it so I hadn't put much thought into it. I have at least figured I have a hard limit of $2000 and would really rather be closer to $1000. I don't think I'm going to be able to recycle any parts from other systems on this one either so everything will be new. The computer it is replacing has a GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 750 Ti that I could "borrow" for the time being but everything will have to be bought new at this point and that old Ti replaced in short order.

Another part of my build philosophy is that I build it now and it lasts for 5-10 years. I know that is a long time, but that is why I'd be more willing to put in higher end stuff that is not likely to be obsoleted in 2 years. Kinda like my i7-920 that had a funky LGA 1366 that isn't even Windows 10 compatible but the i7-860 is with it's 1156. Graphics cards can be replaced and upgraded along the way, the CPU and motherboard though...they need to last.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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PB PM
Sneaky Punk
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Vancouver, BC
Send a message via Skype™ to PB PM 
2019-09-08, 23:52

That's a good build philosophy to have, it's way to easy getting caught up in the upgrade cycles. Planning the build is half the fun/torture of doing it, so it's worth taking the time.

A 3800X is a good way to go. The 9900k might be getting a price drop, since apparently Intel is going to launch a 9900Ks this fall, but keep the 9900k around at a lower price point. I am currenty using a 8700k, and find it good for the games I play, but the modern stock is very powerful for a long term system, considering that having more cores and threads will likely be important over the next 5-10 years, since we seem to have hit a limit on meaningful clock speed bumps.

If you want to play modern titles at 4k, you are going to have to suck up and get one of the higher end GPU's (2080 Super), even pushing 60FPS with them at 4k is hit and miss. I'm personally very happy with a GTX 1080, but I like 1440p, since I find 4k on small screens (under 32") hard on my eyes and I tend to go for 27" monitors with high refresh rates, since I'm into racing/driving sims.

As for a compact build, that's though. You could go mATA and not give up too much, but if all you need is a single PCI-E slot, I'd say go for mini-ITX. Of course with the compact systems the motherboards really jump up in price and can have less ports. Do you plan to build it right into a desk, as in sans a case? That would be a cool project, if you are (would love to see it when done if you do!). Motherboards are always a tough choice, I think I spend more time thinking about that per build than any other, because a good, or bad, board can make a huge difference. With a ASUS the TUF and Prime lines are in some cases literally the same board with a different paint job, so go for whatever has the better price when the time comes if you go that direction. I know B550 boards with PCI-E 4.0 are coming, maybe late this year, so for a long term build that might be worth considering, should you ever want to upgrade the GPU down the line.

SSD, I've been really happy with the WD Black NVMe drive in my system, almost as good as Samsung, and a lot less expensive. Just something to consider.
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