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AMD or Intel for new PC (Home Studio)

Hello guys, new user here.

I want to build a new PC for a home studio (Audio Production) and have trouble deciding which brand of CPU I would get the most benefit of.

I have two lists one AMD and one Intel, here are the specs:

Intel:

CPU: i9 9900k
MoBo: Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro
RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 3200MHz CL16 (2x16 GBs)
Cooling: Corsair Hydro H100x
Boot drive: NVMe Samsung 970 EVO Plus 500 GBs
Storage drive: 1 TB Crucial SSD
Total price: 1,045.78 €

AMD:
CPU: Ryzen 7 3700x
MoBo: Gigabyte x570 Aorus Elite
RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 3200 MHz CL16 (2x16 GBs)
Cooling: Corsair Hydro H100x (I could also use stock if there’s not much difference in performance).
GPU: Sapphire RX 590 Nitro+ (I don’t plan to use this PC to play games so I don’t really need that much of a high-end GPU)
Boot drive: NVMe Samsung 970 EVO Plus 500 GBs
Storage drive: 1 TB Crucial SSD
Total price: 1,156.68 €

OS for both PCs is Windows. If you need more information regarding the software that I plan to use just let me know.

I know the 3700x is meant to “fight” againts the i7 9700k but here in Spain the R7 3700x is 360 € while the i9 9900k is 490 €. The R9 3900x is 550 €.

My main issue here is that DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) do actually make use of multi-core, but VSTs (Virtual Studio Technology which are essentially plugins that help to make/improve sounds) need higher single-core speeds.

I don’t plan to OC or play games, just some a PC for home studio.

Which one do you guys recommend taking in account what I said before? Should I instead opt for the R9 3900x? Are there any issues with any of the configurations?

Thank you for your help!

Best regards.

Having built a 3900x system I would definitely go Intel if I had to do it again today.

Also I would ditch the Corsair cooler for something either better, or an air cooler. The Corsair aios are kinda junk unless you need them for form factor.

For the Intel build you are not getting a discrete GPU at all, correct?

In that case why don’t you simply get an RX 550 or GeForce 1030 for the AMD system? They still beat the snot out of the 9900k GPU, without any fancy 3D realtime graphics. This would also allow you to stretch that budget to reach the 3900X.

As for which one to get, on paper the 3900X is better, either one just work though.

Oh and cooler-wise, get one of those fancy 200W TDP tower coolers that can fit 120mm fans. It will really help with noise levels.

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In case of a fanless one, it would not even make noise.

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I bought a 3900x on launch and I had issues with the initial bios of my board, but all was worked out within a month. Adubs and I have the same motherboard, I just used a press bios until a fix was out. Unlike Adubs I would say I am not suffering from buyers remorse. I also know I had user error in the first place with my high temps (poor application of thermal compound), but I still am seeing double the performance of my 1800x build in handbrake. As transcoding is my only work flow I can’t say one way or another that the 3900x is good for you or not.

If I had to go again I would still go with the 3900x. For every new architecture there are teething issues, it just happens to be that Gigabyte offers a better bios out the box. ASUS at launch was really not a good (atleast at the high end) launch with a crappy launch day bios…

But apparently the high idle voltages we were seeing is not the actual voltage. Adubs and I both had high voltages, but specific monitoring software polls the voltages reading and says to boost the cores. Which boosting takes more voltage than idle states or highly sustained workloads. When I am maxing out my cores and usage I see 1.2v when at idle I see as low as .6v. With older software and bios idle was saying 1.5v when in reality it was not that.

This is a good summary as to why some motherboards and some monitoring software show high voltages.

I would advise you to go gigabyte or Asrock, but not ASUS as they are slow to getting bios releases out.

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On a side tangent; I’m a bit sad that Linux professional Audio isn’t considered more; if you tweak it just right having signalling sub-µs response times is awesome! But that kind of fidelity really needs you to dig deep in Linux right now, and the lack of hardware support is pretty sparse still. So, not saying Windows is a bad choice as an OS by any means, just different tradeoffs!

Please stick to hardware recommendations, OP clearly stated he intends to roll with Windows.

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Which is exactly why I would not recommend a new arch for a system that you use professionally.

For the record I like my AMD system. If I really had buyers remorse I could have returned the board and cpu and just bought a new waterblock. Its a solid system and it does what I ask of it… but I would not take it to work and try to do CAD on it. I just cannot recommend someone who is using their PC professionally get zen 2 right now.

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I can’t say one way or another at the moment in regard to the CPU, but for cooling if you go with a Ryzen CPU I would recommend against AIO water cooling.

Reason being the chiplet design of Ryzen 2 (3000) spreads the heat out a lot and there is noting directly under the centre of the CPUs heat spreader. AIOs focus the cooling on the centre so tend not to do as good of a job on Ryzen 2. Not terrible by any means and they do work but there is better cooling to be had with other coolers.

And on a personal preference I don’t trust them. A good air cooler costs around the same and cools as good with far less things to go wrong and potentially less disastrous if they do.

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As others have mentioned, get a cheaper discrete GPU. Furthermore, have a look at ADATA and Addlink NVME SSDs. They are cheaper than Samsung but their performance is really good. (I don’t know how they compare against Samsung’s plus versions though).

Hi! I don’t actually need a GPU for this PC, but I could get one in case of needed. I thought about the 580x that it’s around 160€ here in Spain. This PC is only for audio production, that’s why I said that I don’t really need a GPU (If going with the Intel option of course).

I used to have an Ubuntu Studio PC many years ago, it worked fine TBH, had some problem with hardware support but in the end I was able to fix them, right now I want something that just works as soon as I turn the PC on. Also making heavy demanding VSTs work on Linux is (Or at least when I had that Xubuntu PC) was a complicated thing.

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Thanks for the comment! Any recommended air cooler that doesn’t make a lot of sound?

ADATA NVMe’s look promising, have you tried Sabrent NVMe? They are also really cheap and seem to have good transfer speeds.

Yeah not a criticism or anything just a random offtopic comment from an embedded (and realtime) Linux enthusiast. :slight_smile: Back to topic;

Pretty much anything with a large fan (90mm+) should work well from a noise standpoint, I would look at something from Noctua, Be Quiet! or Cooler Master, but I do not have a specific cooler to recommend. Anything 130W+ TDP will get the job done for the 3900X.

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Noctua do very good air coolers, they can be on the large side though so make sure there is room in the case if you get the really big ones like the NH-D15.

I hear there is trouble finding them some times but Cryorig also do very good air coolers.

BeQuiet! Also do very good air coolers.

I know there are more but I can’t think if them right now. Hopefully others will recommend some.

Edit: sorry I don’t have the time right now (on the way to work) but I think this video also mentions some good coolers based on the design and heat distribution, and in general it has good advice. I hope I don’t have the wrong video.

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Thanks @Zibob and @wertigon for the input, now my main question to be answered would be if I should pick the Intel (9900k) or the AMD (3700x) option. The 3900x is not an option due to the high price.

I know Ryzen has newer technology but I’m not sure if I would actually benefit that much for my needs.

I guess that the question in the end is, which one would you choose, R7 3700x or the i9 9900k? If you could elaborate a little on why picking either one would be awesome too =)

Again, thanks to everyone for their input in this topic.

EDIT: Misspell

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AMD. Because money.

You can slap that chip on a B450 board and have a fast machine that works. Don’t bother with X570 at the moment.

Well Intel will do the job for sure right now and has the higher single core clock.

Is there a greater advantage in the extra cores on Ryzen over the single core clock?

That pretty much what it comes down to.

I would say you cannot go wrong with either CPU, they are both good choices. Ryzen does have that sweet, sweet 72 MB cache memory, and gives you a solid upgrade path to a 3900X (24 thread CPU), 3950X (32 thread CPU), or even the 4700X / 4900X coming out late next year. The 36 available PCIe 4.0 lanes on the x570 is also a really sweet deal, and would allow for some serious low-latency inputs and 4.0 capture cards could be amazing.

Given that noise levels is the most important part of the build however (sound studio -> as low noise as possible), the AMD build has a big problem; the x570 motherboard, which will have a loud chipset fan. You might be able to tweak it to barely audible levels for most workflows but when that PC go into overdrive mode, you will hear it work.

This could be remedied by going for the MSI Tomahawk B450 Max board, at the cost of PCIe 4.0. But if you are doing that you are losing a big advantage of going AMD in the first place here.

So in the end, the 9900K is probably the right choice here, seeing as you can get a really quiet build. Three components will do some noise here; the CPU cooler, the PSU and the case fans, all can be carefully selected for a quiet build. AMD will add GPU and X570 chipset noise.