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A new PC build

Thinking about getting a new PC. This would be my first configuration. Currently I have a Windows 10 laptop, an IMac 2013 (to be passed on to the wife) and a Synology NAS.

I have no knowledge about hardware. I have never put a PC build together and will pass that task towards a shop.

Some requirements

  • Longevity - 6 to 8 years?
  • Upgradable - would be nice, don’t know if needed
  • Extensibility, if the need arises, don’t know if needed
    • GPU passthrough?
    • Thunderbolt 3?
    • Additional disks for backup?
  • Silent - I have auditory processing problems.
  • Strong preference to go Linux on this box.
    • I have previous desktop experience with Slackware/Dropline and Ubuntu, but nothing serious. I have some command line and bash experience. I checked out Manjaro and Arch in a VM.

My attempt to put something together on PCPartPicker https://pcpartpicker.com/user/solarflight/saved/yfbjZL

  • Why the Gigabyte Vision D B550? My reasoning is below, feel free to counter.
    • With an X570 there is a fan except for the Xtreme. But that one is very expensive.
    • Intel ethernet
    • Will maybe not need the thunderbolt 3
  • Are additional cooling fans needed?

The extra info

  • Budget.
    • About € 2000, but I prefer to spend based on my needs. Don’t mind paying a bit more for ‘silent’ and/or quality.
  • Country and currency
    • Belgium, €
  • Is there a retailer you prefer?
    • Nope.
  • Do you need or already have peripherals? (this can add to costs)
    • Current Audio Interface: iconnect audio 4+
    • Current monitor: BenQ PD2700U
    • Current mouse: Kensington Orbit Trackball
    • Current keyboard: IBM Sk-8845 ThinkPad Travel USB Keyboard
      • Contemplating on an ergonomic one
  • What will you be using your Glorious computer for? Gaming? Rendering? Mix of both? Or is this a home media PC or Steam Box?
    • Music production at home: composing, arranging, recording, mixing, mastering in moderation. With moderate plugins like EQ, compressor… still learning the basics.
      • DAW: Reaper or Bitwig
      • Notation: MuseScore 3
      • VCV Rack?n
    • Listening music, managing digital music library
    • Gaming
      • RPG - Baldur’s Gate, NWN EE, Pillars of Eternity…
      • Tomb Raider (2013) and the follow-ups
      • Kingdoms and Castles
    • Learning
      • Linux operating system
      • Some coding: Python, maybe Clojure,
      • Docker
      • A few virtual machines
      • Maybe Davinci Resolve, Darktable…
    • Watching a streaming service like Netflix, Amazon Prime
    • If services to be run permanently (Logitech Media Server, Bitwarden…) I suppose this is better done on the NAS or a Raspberry Pi?
  • Do you overclock or want to get into overclocking?
    • No
  • Do you plan on going for custom water-cooling now, or in the future?
    • No
  • Operating System. Do you need a new one?
    • No, I have a Windows 10 (dual boot) on the iMac that could be recovered

Some advice on how to set up the disks is appreciated. This could perhaps be tackled in another post. But as it maybe could influence the number of disks, potentially I would like to have

  • Windows 10. Just in case my Linux adventure for audio doesn’t work out. There is the laptop but if it all works out that one would get Linux too.
  • One ‘stable’ Linux (Manjaro or Arch) for music production. With some backup mechanism if things go awry, maybe Timeshift. If that gives too much trouble probably Ubuntu Studio.
  • One for Linux for daily usage.
  • One for Linux experimenting to wipe and start over if needed - try out desktop approaches, testing applications, PipeWire… Maybe VM’s are sufficient but I’m not sure if all like Sway and such run.

If you came this far, thank you for reading :slight_smile:

You wanna go with the be quiet! - Dark Rock Pro 4 then, that thing will be next to inaudible in the case you’ve picked.
Your biggest source of noise will be the GPU, although the sapphire SKU is probably one of the better.

You might wanna consider Nvidia then, been some hiccups with the latest AMD cards on Linux, though I’m not fully up to date on the situation.

Do you mean having the system work for this long, ie not break? Or do you mean having the system be “future proof” for this long?

Your current PCPP list is fine for this, a standard ATX build is about as upgradeable as you can get currently.

The biggest thing to check is the IOMMU groups of the motherboard model.

If you want to do it seriously, threadripper might be the place to look, because it has more PCIE lanes, so you would definitely then have enough for two NVME drives, and two GPUs.

I don’t remember seeing any AMD boards that have thunderbolt 3 certifications, although there are boards that do support it, although it is not necessarily labeled as thunderbolt. The motherboard you picked does have the unoffical thunderbolt support build right in.

Intel might be a better choice if this is really important. Otherwise, make sure your AMD motherboard has unofficial support.

Easy, just plug drives into the sata ports, and the fractal define has plenty of slots for them.

Fractal is great then.

You also might consider buying some Noctua fans, although I am not sure if they would be that much quieter then the in the box Fractal fans, that is something to research.

An AMD GPU is good then, they have open-source drivers.

Otherwise, the other things to check are network card chipset support, and support for any lighting(may or may not be important). Intel is probably the best for network chipsets on Linux.

The motherboard you picked looks good for this.

Yes, especially since you are planning to have multiple different operating systems on this machine and rebooting between them.

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A few concerns with this:

Ok, stable production system and arch does not mix, you want an LTS flavor like Red hat desktop edition or Ubuntu LTS. No idea if Manjaro rocks LTS or not.

And to all you archers out there, yes I know you can run a production machine on arch, it is just not advisable unless you really know what you are doing. Nuff said about that.

With that budget and your use case, I see two paths right now. Since you use Linux, an ATX motherboard with a Ryzen/Navi xombo, say with a 3950X and a 5700 XT will give you great results - Even if AMD could have some bugs left with latest cards, they will work great in a year or two. Then upgrade to latest GPU in three years and perhaps some storage and you will be set for at least six years. With €2000 a threadripper build is also within reach.

The other option is to buy something adequate now and wait for the Zen 3 Ryzens (4700X, 4900X and so on) and next gen GPUs later. Go with, say, a 3600 and an RX 580 for now, only to upgrade CPU / GPU in a year or so for more long term usage.

Do note AM4 is on the last leg, and AM5 with DDR5 will probably be announced within 2 years - If that happens your upgrade options will be limited to whatever Ryzens 4xxx offers, and perhaps even Ryzen 5xxx.

Ok, so a few tricks here.

#1 Bigger case is not necessarily better, since you will need to push a larger volume of air and thus require more fans. More fans increase sound volume.

#2 Conversely, larger fans will be more silent and can shuffle more air at a lower speed.

#3 Buy a PSU that runs at twice the required capacity, gold rated or above. That way PSU fan won’t spin up like ever.

#4 Aftermarket coolers for CPU are really quiet these days.

With this in mind, find a midi tower chassi that can fit two 140mm in front, one 120mm in the back and full eATX support. Unfortunately I only know the SFF market, the Midi towers are at least 25 litre too big… :wink:

Thanks for the tip on the CPU cooler.

Didn’t take into account the GPU can make a lot of noise. Maybe an additional point to not go for the biggest GPU (5700) if a 5600 is enough for the games I play.

For GPU brand I strongly favor AMD, because of the open source drivers.

To have a sufficient performing system for the main usage. Future proof, as wertigon mentioned AM4 is on the last leg.

If I got it right there is not much info on this for this mobo. And to find out it needs to be enabled in bios and one has to runs some commands?

Maybe GPU passthrough is overkill for me as most games I like to play are available on Linux. Maybe something similar exist for audio scenarios, but it would complicate things.

Thunderbolt is not a strong need. A header on the board would have been enough. As far as I am aware USB is the way to go for audio interfaces on Linux (and firewire).

Thanks for the info on the disks and the Noctua fans. After that I read somewhere a review mentioning the Fractal fans are not that great.

Yes, I’m a bit in dubio. Going for the adequate or full spec… For the adequate scenario, a 550B mobo is okay? I’ll go looking for a threadripper example build.

Thanks for the info on the case and size fan. I think my selected case supports the size fans in the locations. But I will double check :slight_smile:

use Vsync and your GPU will tend to be cooler]
also they generally design gpus heatsinks to handle a high load, so if you aren’t maxing out the GPU then it’ll be cooler, so feel free to splurge if you have the money

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Yes, definitely. These days I only recommend B450 if you cannot justify the $150 price tag for the B550, support for future CPUs and PCIe 4 not to mention better VRM solutions in general makes this a no brainer. B550 vs X570 still has some fight left, especially above the $300 price range.

Sure wish the B550 would climb down in price to meet B450 though, but it is what it is.

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Future proofing is kind of not a thing.

Generally, it is better to buy the best bang for the buck today, and upgrade more frequently.

There are some things that tend to be useful for a longer period because they do not change as fast. Examples are cases and power supplies, so get quality, and they should last through at least one upgrade cycle of your other components.

Yes, ideally with all of the slots filled, or the ones you plan to use, because unfilled slots will not show up in the groups.

Probably then you don’t need passthrough. You can always also dual boot, although most people find they tend to spend time in only one OS.

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B550 Vision D board is basically a pretty good board.
However at that price point there are also good x570 boards to get as well.
And given that most B550 boards right now don´t seem to have the most ideal,
iommu groupings for pci-e passtrough.
I would still say at a price point over €300,- it makes litterly zero sense to consider a B550 board over a x570 one.

So yeah my recommendation, just go with a good x570 board,
at that price point really.

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Looking into it some more, threadripper is way above your budget, unfortunately. Here is a low-spec but still decent threadripper build for $2700:

https://pcpartpicker.com/list/rzHmXv

This sacrifices GPU for CPU but is decent otherwise. A new GPU in a year and another GPU in four years will allow for some great stuff down the road, but budget will take a huge hit.

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Thank you all for the info. Made me reflect more on value orientation. I feel the initial part list is good enough for that. Except the mobo, the B550 vs X570… Reading other forum threads I got it that the Gigabyte Aorus X570 MASTER is the best X570 board which is around € 360-380. Other X570 boards are around € 190-260. For info the Gigabyte B550 VISION D is around €270-290.

My main doubt about the X570: the chipset fan. Available info is confusing me. Will it create noise, fail in a year of two, can build up dust easily be removed? However I think that there is a setting called silent mode and the chipset fan then doesn’t turn on until the temperature hits 60° C.

Apologies for the late response, been away from computers for a few days :slight_smile:

Noise wise, as with all hardware - the more you stress it, the hotter it gets!

If all you will ever run on that thing is current gen video cards and gen3 NVMe, then I doubt you will hardly ever hear it spin up unless really heavy IO is happening - but then, if you’re not using all that power or even likely to do so, a $200 B550 might be the better option.

The bad news is, that fan will be noisy at peak load, and the probability of it surviving 7 years is probably around 60, maybe 70 percent even on a good board.

At the moment AM4 from a long-term reliability viewpoint is quite lackluster to be honest. B450 is too old now, B550 isn’t forward looking enough and X570 has too many moving parts. Reliability wise, I think it even might be worth it to invest in the Threadripper platform, but yeah, that stings, too.

You could of course invest in an X570 and expect to replace the board within five years or so, always an option to go slightly cheaper now and pony up for a really good upgrade later. It all comes down to how much time you want to put into your PC hardware.

That sums it up.

I looked up the mobo Gigabyte TRX40 AORUS PRO WIFI. It has two fans: a PCH Chipset fan and a VRM/MOS fan.

I’ll have a look on other B550s. Saw a few video’s on the L1 youtube channel.

Well the X570 Aorus Master is not ¨the best¨ x570 board.
But it is the board with the best package features + vrm,
for the price that is still reasonable for a main stream platform board imo.
In my honest opinion it does not make much sense to spend more then €400,-
on a main stream platform board really.
Because main stream platforms like Ryzen am4 and Intel Z490 etc are just too limited,
in regards to pci-e lanes and expandability.

Also like i said above, ¨if¨ you want to build a system for virtualization with pci-e pass trough.
Then B550 is not really a great platform to be on,
because of the iommu group situation on most boards.
And at the price of a good B550 board, you can also find a decent x570 board already.
So why even bother with B550?
The chip set fan is not really a valid point of argument in my opinion.
Because it’s not really based on anything.

Don’t get me wrong, there are really cool B550 boards around that i personally like.
However B550 boards are more suited for gamers etc.
And not really that great for things like virtualization, VFio and such,
according to wendell the iommu group situations on the b550 boards he reviewd,
was not really ideal for such kind of workloads.
So keep that in mind. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the clarification on the X570 Aorus Master.

If I can run a VM on Linux like I did on the iMac/VMWare Fusion for testing out a distro/desktop I’m happy.

I can understand. For about the same money you have more hardware features and the risk for having fan noise is (very) low ? :slight_smile:

I suppose I don’t need heavy virtualization, VFio and such. There is already a lot to learn for daily use and audio :slight_smile: