Specs for a tentative 2021 Gaming PC Build

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FlyingPenguin
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Specs for a tentative 2021 Gaming PC Build

Postby FlyingPenguin » Sun Nov 29, 2020 4:05 pm

Thought I'd share my thoughts about what parts I'd use to build a new gaming PC, if I was actually going to.

My current gaming rig is running a Core a i7 7700k, which is 7th gen and nearly 4 years old. It's still plenty of horsepower for gaming. I'm feeling the itch to build something new - although I suspect that itch would be satisfied if the damn RTX 3080s ever started becoming available to normal people.

So at this point, this is a mental exercise, but I may go ahead and build this sometime next year if I get enough of an itch.

I always like to do a LOT of research before parting out a system, so I've spent a while thinking about this, which is a fun exercise on it's own.

It may surprise you that I'm leaning towards Intel, but that's because:

a) I'm comfortable and familiar with mounting Intel CPUs - no pins to bend like AMD.
b) Games are generally optimized for Intel. Sorry, it's true.
c) Ryzen 5000 CPUs are pretty much made of the same Unobtainuium as RTX 3080s, right now. The only people claiming to have them in stock are sketchy 3rd party sellers on Amazon. If Newegg doesn't have them, I don't believe these clowns actually have them either.
d) And yeah, while I think Ryzen 5000 kicks Intel's ass, that's mainly for CPU intensive work like video transcoding. If I was going to build a new workstation, I would definitely go Ryzen 5000.

ANYWAY, here's the list so far, less video card, since if I built this tomorrow I'd put my GTX 1080 in there, and if I somehow could find an RTX 3080 in the next few months, I probably wouldn't bother with this build anyway, as that would probably satisfy the itch for a while :P

CPU:
Intel Core i7 10700F 2.90GHz (4.80GHz Turbo), 8-Core 16-Thread $330
https://www.amazon.com/Intel-i7-10700F- ... B086MN2XYL


CPU Cooler:
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo CPU Tower Cooler $25 (Note, replace fan with Noctua 120mm PWM). I installed this monster on my workstation last year, and I think it's one of the best tower coolers for the money.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005O65JXI


MOBO:
ASUS ROG STRIX Z490-E Gaming ATX Motherboard, WiFI 6 $275 (Yeah, high end. I don't like skimping on the mobo. You get what you pay for).
https://www.amazon.com/ASUS-ROG-Strix-G ... B086QSH67R


RAM:
G.Skill TridentZ RGB 16 DDR4 3200MHz $84 (Yes, I know, I usually don't recommend "performance" RAM, and I usually recommend stock Crucial RAM instead, just for compatibility and stability because I've had a lot of issues with performance RAM in the past. But mobos are improving, and the bottom line is that is this RAM is not overpriced, has aggressive timing, and it is fully compatible with this mobo (and most modern ones), as long as you update the BIOS, and then enable XMP in BIOS (which automatically optimizes the RAM timing). There's several documented builds online recommending this RAM and mobo combo.
https://www.amazon.com/G-SKILL-TridentZ ... B06WP4L3D7


BOOT SSD:
1TB Intel 665P M.2 NVMe SSD $139. (I usually go with 256GB or 500GB for the boot drive since all I put on it is Windows, and use separate SATA SSDs for my games, which I will be migrating from the old PC, but the price is not bad, and performance is better on larger SSDs vs smaller ones of the same make, and this leaves room for a few games that might especially benefit from the extremely fast load times on this drive).
https://www.amazon.com/Intel-Internal-S ... B07HH5G7HB

or

1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2 NVMe $150
https://www.amazon.com/Samsung-970-EVO- ... B07MFZY2F2 (ever so slightly outperforms the Intel SSD, for an extra $11)


PSU:
EVGA 220-G5-0850-X1 Super Nova 850 G5, 80 Plus Gold 850W, Fully Modular $169 (I already have one of these, as I bought it to upgrade my gaming PC when I manage to find an RTX 3080)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07WD ... UTF8&psc=1


CASE:
Corsair Carbide 200R ATX Case - Black $60. (Simple, functional, roomy, no windows or RGB lights - just the way I like it. I used this on my previous gaming PC. I do replace the stock case fans with the ultra-quiet Noctua NF-F12 fans listed below)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009GXZ8MM


FANS:
Noctua NF-F12 PWM Cooling Fan $20 each, Qty 3 (2 for case, 1 for CPU cooler)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00650P2ZC


TOTAL HARDWARE COST: $ 1,142 ($973 for me, since I already have the PSU).

This does not include the cost of Windows 10, of course.

I already own a spare retail license for Win10 Pro, and a spare retail license for Win7 Pro that I should still be able to upgrade to Win10 for free, so that's not an issue for me.
"It would disturb me if there was a wedding between the religious fundamentalists and the political right. The hard right has no interest in religion except to manipulate it.” - Billy Graham (1981 interview)
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Re: Specs for a tentative 2021 Gaming PC Build

Postby Losbot » Tue Dec 01, 2020 2:06 am

Looks pretty solid.

Default timings on RAM or any particular tweaks?
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Re: Specs for a tentative 2021 Gaming PC Build

Postby FlyingPenguin » Tue Dec 01, 2020 11:11 am

I don't overclock or Normally do experimental RAM timing. I usually use stock Crucial RAM, which generally has conservative timing. People who benchmark these things say RAM performance on modern systems doesn't equate to much anyway in real world performance. The real bottleneck is in the CPU.

That said, I picked performance RAM for this rig, and everyone seems to be using the GSkill Trident Z RAM for benchmarking both Intel and AMD on new systems. It's become the defacto performance RAM.

HOWEVER, keep in mind the first time you fire up a new mobo, even with performance RAM, it will default to 'safe' (slower) RAM timing default. This is fine, and what you definitely would use for stock Crucial RAM.

If you buy performance RAM nowadays, you can then enable XMP in BIOS. XMP will auto configure the timing for best stable performance. SHOULD be stable since modern performance RAM will be rated for it. It's not like the old days where you had to experiment and tweak your timing, or call the RAM manufacturer and ask for suggested timing for your mobo. Then burn incense and pray to the hardware Gods.

The RAM module itself has two recommended timing profiles embedded in it. Using XMP, the mobo querries the RAM for those timings, and you can pick one of them. The first is 'enthusiast' timing which is a mild overclock but runs at the RAM's performance advertised speed. The second is 'extreme' for bleeding edge overclocking. The enthusiast setting should be stable, if you're not overclocking the CPU.

And since you're not paying a crazy premium for Performance RAM now, I think it's worth it. Couldn't care less about the RGB lighting on the RAM, though.

Explanation of XMP here:
https://www.pcgamer.com/what-are-xmp-pr ... y%20speeds.
"It would disturb me if there was a wedding between the religious fundamentalists and the political right. The hard right has no interest in religion except to manipulate it.” - Billy Graham (1981 interview)
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Re: Specs for a tentative 2021 Gaming PC Build

Postby Executioner » Tue Dec 01, 2020 11:13 am

No water cooling?

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Re: Specs for a tentative 2021 Gaming PC Build

Postby FlyingPenguin » Tue Dec 01, 2020 11:17 am

No point IMO. I'm not overclocking, and modern tower CPU coolers are as efficient and can be as quiet as water cooling.
"It would disturb me if there was a wedding between the religious fundamentalists and the political right. The hard right has no interest in religion except to manipulate it.” - Billy Graham (1981 interview)
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Re: Specs for a tentative 2021 Gaming PC Build

Postby Losbot » Tue Dec 01, 2020 12:30 pm

I don't care for the overabundance of RGB parts these days. I just want stability and performance in my gaming rig.
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Re: Specs for a tentative 2021 Gaming PC Build

Postby normalicy » Wed Dec 02, 2020 1:30 am

That's the case my 3900x is in. Cheap and easy to route the wiring.

I tend to get performance RAM in general and then go conservative on the timings. I am picky about the voltage that they state those timings are though. Nothing worse than having RAM that is unstable until you up the voltage, but you can't stay in the BIOS long enough to do so.

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Re: Specs for a tentative 2021 Gaming PC Build

Postby Err » Wed Dec 02, 2020 4:58 pm

Looks good. You may want to look at the I9 9900K even though it uses the previous chipset Z390. Newegg and Microcenter have these for ~$350.

I'm assuming you're holding out to get a new video card until they're available.

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Re: Specs for a tentative 2021 Gaming PC Build

Postby FlyingPenguin » Wed Dec 02, 2020 5:09 pm

I actually considered the I9 10850K which is only $100 more, but The 9 cores seemed like overkill for a gaming system. If it was for my workstation, then yeah, for sure.

Ya, the only reason I'm even thinking about this build is because there are no video cards available. A new video card would probably satisfy the itch, if I could find one, and then maybe defer the mobo upgrade until late next year. Or maybe around the time I find a card, I'll decide to get both.
"It would disturb me if there was a wedding between the religious fundamentalists and the political right. The hard right has no interest in religion except to manipulate it.” - Billy Graham (1981 interview)
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Re: Specs for a tentative 2021 Gaming PC Build

Postby Losbot » Sat Dec 05, 2020 1:58 pm

I have an I9 9900K paired with 64GB of RAM running my VMWare host. Runs 5 VMs, one being my Plex server, just fine. Solid CPU. Still have room for more VMs.
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Re: Specs for a tentative 2021 Gaming PC Build

Postby psypher » Sat Dec 05, 2020 6:29 pm

If you've never looked at Fractal Design cases, take a look at their Define cases. Been my favorite fro the last 4-5 years.

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Re: Specs for a tentative 2021 Gaming PC Build

Postby Err » Mon Dec 07, 2020 12:51 pm

psypher wrote:If you've never looked at Fractal Design cases, take a look at their Define cases. Been my favorite fro the last 4-5 years.


I went with a Define R6 USB-C Tempered Glass on my current build. It's the best and quietest case I've ever used.

https://www.fractal-design.com/products/cases/define/define-r6-usb-c-tempered-glass/blackout/


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