PC Part Picker Link for my build https://pcpartpicker.com/usemikekm2b/saved/JgZH23
AMD Ryzen 7 3700x (Best Buy: Originally Amazon, sent back due to crushed packaging)
ASUS TUF Gaming X570 Plus (no wifi) (B&H)
Samsung EVO 970 1TB M.2 SSD (Newegg)
GSKILL 2x16 RAM (Newegg)
MSI 2060 Gaming Z GPU (B&H)
Corsair H100i Pro Liquid Cooler (Newegg)
Western Digital Gold Enteriprise 4TB HD (Newegg)
Samsung Optical Drive (Newegg)
Corsair RM650x Power Supply (Newegg)
Fractal Define R5 Silent Case (no glass) Amazon
Total Cost at time of order: $1643 (not including tax or Win 10). I feel this is an optimized sweet spot of cost vs performance (by using components that have been out about a year or so).
Build Pictures, mostly in order of build from virus free google photo album https://photos.app.goo.gl/fWiZfbeEPTotQxAw5
I am 60 years old but have worked in Color Imaging software development for many years where I used computational platforms. For many years I have used Matlab, Python, C, Photoshop (since 1995) and generally been associated with technology as an engineer.
However, I never built my own computer. In the 90's and early 2000's I bought from Dell until a motherboard failed in 2005 after spending $1400 on the computer (after warranty). After that I had a local place build based on an Intel MB and Intel Processors. But, my last computer, which I bought in 2011 cost $1200 and was low spec for that price.
Anyway, my last computer purchase was 2011 with Windows 7. This worked out well until more recently as more and more software becomes incompatible like Turbotax, etc. It is kind of sad how technology makes things obsolete that were perfectly functional.
At any rate, I had an old XP computer that was running software for my Ham Radio Hobby, and, that software stopped supporting XP. Turbotax issued a warning that its 2020 software will no longer run on Windows 7.
So, I started looking around at buying a computer for Windows 10 and moving my computer with Windows 10 to be my interface to my Ham Radio.
I got a quote from a local place for $1730 which included a B460 Motherboard, Intel Core i7-10700k, 32GB of RAM, 250 GB Samsung 860 EVO SSD, WD Gold 4TB Hard drive, Radeon RX 570 Video Card, DVD player, Cooler Master N400 case with Windows 10. PC Part Picker cost is here: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/27QVF8
Total Cost was $1446 which I thought was fair enough. $300 for assembly, now that I have done one on my own, seems fair.
At any rate, my son who is 22 suggested that, since I was outsourced to India, by a well known outsourcing firm in the US, on my 60th Birthday last year, by a well known US corporation, and remain unemployed, that I build the computer on my own.
After a week or so of research, including discovering PC Partpicker, and watching some youtube videos, and, reading about imaging with various platforms (Intel or AMD) I decided to break my long time admiration of Intel and go with the latest X570 motherboard chipset and a cost effective Ryzen 7 3700x. This is a bit cheaper than the Intel i7-10700k but as AMD moves ahead, I can swap when I need to. I find it sad that Intel, because it prioritized its own manufacturing, something I admired my whole career, is now falling behind because of that prioritization.
At any rate, I ordered all the parts from the list from the noted vendors, and, last week spent about 3 days carefully and slowly putting it all together (Tues, Wed and Thurs).
I was lucky to get the MSI 2060 Gaming Z from BH for $354. I was not trying to get the latest and greatest but this one sells out quick.
Some key observations about my building:
- I did the system build on a ping pong table covered in thin, white, flat packaging material so if I dropped something it would not bounce or roll, just stay where I dropped it. Got the roll from Walmart. see pics for details. It really helps with the small screws dropping and not bouncing.
- I used a black (no glass) Fractal Design R5 case (silent) because I work in a quiet environment. I will only ever have 2 hard drives, whereas the Fractal case can have a total of 8 hard drives, BUT, only with an air cooled CPU. I had planned on a liquid cooled solution sincd AMD runs hot. However, to do liquid cooler in the Fractal Define R5 AND get the lower hard drive cage properly moved to its design location is impossible. I removed both of the front hard drive cages to do the liquid cooler install as shown in the pics. I had seen one youtube video where the gent has moved the lower cage over closer to the power supply. However, not shown in his video is how he managed to do that with the cabling coming from the Corsair RM650x power supply. Me? After I installed all cables from the PSU to all points in the case, I found it impossible to move the lower hard drive cage over to the mounting area next to the PSU that was cut out for it. I ended up screwing only two screws up through the air hole cutouts, not the indents, to hold the cage in place, not where it was designed to go. For me, with the Corsair RM650x cabling, the cables were too thick, by far, to cram the relatively large lower hard drive cage over right where the design cutouts are. You can see where I did put it in the pics (and where it was before).
- Installing liquid cooling went smoothly given a couple of great video's on youtube that show that one has to remove the Intel Bracket from the pump housing/coolant surface and add the AMD bracket to the liquid cooler. However, this is hard to do hand holding only and NOT smearing the thermal past. I ended up putting the pump housing carefully into a vice and slightly tightening to remove to stabilize and Intel Bracket. Putting the AMD bracket on was easy.
- The last challenge was associated with proper connection of various cables from the PSU. I initially thought the CPU obtained its power from the MB. So, when I hooked up the 24 Pin MB cable from the PSU, I did not also hook up the CPU cable. Also, when I hooked up all the tiny cables from the Case front panel to the MB connectors, I was confused about the orientation of each cable since they can go in either way to the two pin connectors on the MB. I DID look in the manual but failed to see the orientation of the + and - designation. Not having assembled small electronic components before I did not know black wire is - and white wire is +. Anyway, initially I decided to install them all facing outward so I could read them. Lastly, I hooked up the GPU with the PCle cable, BUT, there were two connectors that would fit. I used the one that came off of the side of the cable thinking that would be OK. Not the terminated end one.
So, when I booted, of course, the system failed to POST. Oddly, the LED that was lit was WHITE light not the red one even though the CPU had no power to it. As part of sorting through the cables I realized I had an unused CPU cable and hooked that up and powered on again. STILL, no post. And, when I pressed on the power button for more than 4 seconds it did not kill the system. Again, POST stopped at the white light. My son asked if the front panel hook up was good, and, I said, not sure. So, we looked in the manual and noticed the + - orientation and, I had it all backward. He plugged all of the little cables in again properly polarized.
We hit the power button and AGAIN POST stopped at the white light on the MB signifying a problem with the GPU. I had no idea what to do, but, my son switched the cable from the offshot one to the terminated one.
We hit the power button and YES we booted to the UEFI. From there its all history. I had previously built a SD card with a bootable version of Windows 10 install using Rufus after downloading a Windows.iso file.
I am writing this now in notepad++ because my old Office 2010 disk will not install on Windows 10 sadly. Trying to decide if I want to, ONCE AGAIN, purchase an updated version of MS office. I have done that too many times in my life now.
The computer runs great. I am impressed with the ASUS TUF Gaming Plus MB. The boot time is 23 seconds to the Samsung 970 EVO compared to my old Windows PC which was about 2 minutes and 40 seconds all told.
I installed the NVidea STUDIO, not GAMING, drivers since I plan to do mostly imaging and some video. I don't plan to game.
All told it took me about 23 hours of build, build debug, head scratching, and, windows install, to get the system all up and running.
I installed my old WACOM tablet and was happy, but, after that install I kept seeing an app that was open when I shut off the PC. I googled and found Robert Heaton's recent post of WACOM software spying. I re-installed Windows from scratch to get rid of it and will leave WACOM out of the picture.
I have read many, many posts here on buildapc and thank everyone for all of their knowledge.
Take care and happy building. That's my story. Ping with your thoughts.