First PC Build

Hello, I’m in the process of building my first PC. The basic use of the computer is for engineering workstation and heavy software use with CAD, CAE, and simulation software like SIMULINK. My budget is $1500 +/- $250. Later on into the rest of the year I would like to build a raspberry pi 5 cluster (for parallel computing) to not only train AI but other applications as well so it doesn’t overload the main computer most of the work I would like to do in the future. There was also the case of future proofing the computer for eventual storage upgrade, GPU upgrade, and RAM upgrade for more complex projects, software. I am also planning on using the CAELinux but first have Windows 11 as a dual OS system. The reason why I am mentioning this is because while you go through the parts list I would like to keep the uses of the computer in mind.

My main problem with building the PC was the PSU unit. I was thinking about upgrading the PC in the future with more memory and storage but I don’t want to buy another unit. I was thinking about a 750 W but I am thinking about getting something higher than that for the future. As well the GPU I chose is supposed to be below the average price since I won’t be playing any games in 4k. However, I would like a second opinion on the choice because I will need it for training in CAD and my most concerning; simulation application.

The computer will be in enclosed space with the idea of it being quiet. I chose the mid tower case to fit in the enclosed space of a cabinet. The reason being is that I don’t live alone and I don’t have access to a personal space for the computer. I wanted an ATX form factor board for potential future upgrades as explored in the earlier statement above. I pick liquid cooling to keep the PC as quiet as possible plus the lack of airflow in the cabinet (The back of the cabinet is removed to help it.) I am paying extra for the heatsink in the SDD card for extra cooling. Everything else is self explanatory.

Finally, before the parts list, I actually started to order the parts to do the final build by the end of June, also for anyone that is interested I will deploy my cluster by the end of the year and I will definitely ask for advice as well on the build of this cluster of this computer. The parts that are already ordered and received are the Windows OS, The Case and the Motherboard. They are kept in boxes not put together and the most recent purchase was the motherboard which is still possible to return if not recommended thoroughly in this forum thread.

Here is the list: The link provided is everything in the place and I will provide links for further investigation if I want to look into the specification more. I have noticed that in order for the motherboard to be compatible with the CPU, I need a BIOS update in order to use the CPU at all. If there is a recommendation or a change to either fix the compatibility issue. I still have a budget left over to use for any other parts or change of parts that would help the goal of the computer.

My main goal aforementioned above is looking for a second or third opinion about the build. Any parts recommendation or any advice in general will help.

Parts list:

AMD Ryzen 5700 G

Fractal Design Focus 2

Cooler Master MasterLiquid 240L


Mushkin Enhanced Redline Stiletto 64GB (2 x 32GB)

Western Digital BLACK SN850X

PowerColor Fighter Radeon RX 6600

CORSAIR RM750e Fully Modular Low-Noise ATX Power Supply

That… Is not a very good pick. You are basically building a computer with parts that are, at this point, three years old. (B450 released Mars 2018, 5700G released April 2021, RX 6600 released August 2021). The 6600 is a good budget card, and the LC is not going to help with noise especially as you plan to put this thing in a closet (just draw ventilation holes).

At the very least, go with a 5700X and a B550 board over the B450. That will give you PCIe 4.0 over PCIe 3.0 and give a good boost in productivity.

My recommendation

I do exceed your budget by $50, my apologies for that, other than that everything in this build has more oomph, often by a factor of 2x. I did upgrade the screen to a 1440p one, simply due to productivity tasks are awesome with bigger screens and resolutions. I have also not included a Windows 11 Pro license since $100 is a downright robbery when you can get it for $30:


On your specific points,

Going AM5 over AM4 at this point is better. AM5 will support newer CPUs and that motherboard will for sure allow you to upgrade your CPU and… Pretty much everything else. It also has PCIe 5.0 support.

Duly noted, an 850W PSU was included here from a trusted brand.

So you plan to put this in a place with restricted airflow? Not the best of ideas, and you need to make sure to go with low-wattage parts then.

You could do that, but if you have the budget for an RX 7800 XT or even a 7600 XT, you will have a much nicer experience. I would like to also recommend to keep in mind a $600 RTX 4070 Super for AI training, Nvidia is hands down the option if you plan to do AI, the ecosystem is completely built around Nvidia right now. It is a shame though, because Radeons provide so much more bang for the buck.

Restricting air flow will make it noisier, and the water cooler will not really help with this. Better to keep it as an airflow computer, $50 for cooling is better than $100. You could try to replace the stock fans with Noctua or beQuiet! fans if you find it still too noisy, but do keep in mind the only way you will get acceptable noise here is if you keep down the wattage in the PC. This is also why I suggest the 7900 over the 7900X - at 65W TDP, it draws about as much power as the 5700G but is 33% faster in single threaded loads and twice as fast in multithreaded loads.

If you can make sure air can flow somewhat freely front to back.

Some motherboards come with heat sinks so really no need to pay extra for that, unless you specifically intend to run the drive in a slot which does not have a heatsink.

Since the Tomahawk is one of these boards I recommended a cheaper, but capable drive.

Cost savings

The build above have three cost saving mitigations, and this is the order you should go about it: switch to a $350 GPU like the 7600 XT, halve the RAM to 32 GB, and downgrade the CPU to a 7700. All three saves you about $350 in total but also provides a decidedly less fun experience.

Hope that helps, as with all my advice you hold the gun and feel free to shoot wherever, but hopefully you now know enough to not shoot yourself in the foot. :slight_smile:

Broadly agree with @wertigon’s feedback. I’m more open to older parts for cost savings but, as they’ve shown, it’s unclear going a generation back is helping much here. I wouldn’t drop under B550 either and +1 for matching design power to the noise target and airflow availability.

Things I’d add,

  • Unless a low idle power is important, I don’t understand the combination of an APU and dGPU. Generally you’d pair a CPU with a dGPU for clocks, cache, and lanes.
  • ASRock and MSI are likely the most effective choices for AM4 or 5 mobos. At least where I am MSI is overpriced compared to ASRock.
  • Up to 145 W PPT, Thermalright dual towers outperform everything else on AM4 and 5. Broadly, dual towers, 240, and 280 AIOs are a noise-normalized tie. What works best depends on available options and part to part variability but the competitive AIOs cost a lot more than a Phantom Spirit. For a 7900X at ~200 W or 7950X at 230 W PPT a quiet(ish) build would look to a 360 or 420 rad. 105 W eco mode’s undervolt’s tough to beat, though.
  • The 7900’s a CPU I’d be cautious of. Haven’t worked with 12 core AM5 yet personally but reviewers have noted 88 W PPT leads to core underutilization. As that’s consistent with my AM4 and 5 dual chiplet experience, I’d look to eco modeing a 7900X.
  • Will cabinet airflow restrictions create a localized hotspot? If so, then probably the cabinet’s not a good idea thermally. May well lead to increased noise, too. The Focus 2’s triangular mesh is probably pretty noisy but, if the fan curves are set reasonably it’s likely loudest thing’ll be the dGPU rather than the exhaust fan. Entry GPU tiers like Fighter and Pulse rarely help with this. So consider quieter picks like the Sapphire RX 7800 XT Nitro+ or 40 series PNY XLR8s. Lovelaces’ greater energy efficiency over RDNA3 will help some but it’s not a substitute for removing airflow limitations.
  • Know your workloads. As a caution, the CPU based machine learning I do, which doesn’t involve particularly large datasets, regularly uses 128 GB of DDR. I’ve also found AM5 throughput’s pretty responsive to DDR5 clocks.
  • If the Raspberry Pis are just a thing you want to do, cool. But consider also workload GB/core requirements for DDR and training on a dGPU. For dGPU training good chance a 40 series makes more sense, as already mentioned.
  • NVMe thermal contact to motherboard armor is sometimes iffy but a non-heatsink SN850X should be fine. Current gen DRAMless drives get excellent HMB performance so cost can be shaved here with little penalty.

An X670E Pro RS instead of the X670E Tomahawk would free up the US$ 50. B650E, B650, or even A620 should all be ok here too—B650M Pro RS would be a budget pick.

Fractal finally updated from their epically bad Silents to Aspect 14 or Aspect 14 RGB in the Focus 2. The Aspects can be clicky but are otherwise not usually terrible. Noctua makes one good fan, the NF-A12x25, but as you’re likely aware it’s steeply priced even in cream in brown. Similarly, Silent Wings 4s are be quiet!'s performance competitive offering. While more reasonably priced they’re most effective at higher speeds not needed here.

I’d probably buy a five pack of Arctic P12 PWMs. That provides an exhaust fan, allows swapping the preinstalled Aspect 14s for three P12s (flipped to the inside of the bracket), and replaces one Thermalright fan on a dual tower.

You don’t need an AIO for am5 CPU’s. A good air cooler will do just fine. Worst case you lose a couple percent for saving 100 € plus convenience

I’m pretty much in agreement with this and Wertigon’s recommendation of Team Group RAM is also worthy of consideration. My own experience with this RAM is beyond satisfactory, especially when it comes to tightening timings but this may be due to B die and I have no idea what the latest gen uses. The other thing RAM wise with respect to workloads that Lemma pointed out makes sense. I have never regretted getting 128 GB of RAM. In the event that you may be using Linux a Nitro+ card is a safe choice. You seem to be someone who likes to keep their options open. I don’t recommend liquid cooling. If thermals are a concern with respect to NVMe use a heat sink that includes a fan. Avoid eye candy cases that only allow for minimal airflow from the front of the case. (A big problem with case design these days.) ASUS is generally more overpriced than MSI and my experience with AsRock has been less than pristine. I’d likely go with MSI but user preference prevails. Despite many advances with APU’s using an APU for serious graphical demanding work is not advisable. For the sort of work loads you appear to be looking at the Sapphire RX 7800XT is already approaching low budget levels IMO. Again. It really depends on your work load and user preference is such a factor here I’ll leave the NITRO+ as a base line as I’ve had good results with these cards.

I’m just a PC builder/enthusiast and I’ve only been at it 20 years or so. There are some here whose experience surpasses my own and they are very good at what they do. For all I know you’ve already made your choice. I’m just tossing in my 2 cents worth. Wishing you the very best.