Another build thread (2021)

I had a bunch of weird stuff happen with my old desktop. It’s basically working in a slightly degraded state, and my wife has suggested that the sensible solution is replace rather than ignore or try to get someone to identify the problem with this one. So I’m putting together a new part list and am realizing I am very, very out of touch with hardware. Normally I’d spend a few months getting myself back up to speed, but I don’t really want to spend the winter reading hardware reviews, so I’m looking for suggestions here.

I play PC games at 1440p, want to make sure I have enough RAM and processor available to run a couple of linux VMs for development projects, and do the normal range of home media and productivity work.

Quiet is important, low power is desired. I am not interested in RGB lighting effects or overclocking. I’ll update video cards between builds or add storage, but I rarely make incremental upgrades.

My personal and work laptops are both fairly new Macs, so having several easily accessible USB-C ports is strongly desired. I don’t think I have any other unusual requirements.

Budget-wise, I tend to look for inflection points on the price/performance charts and don’t like spending outrageous amounts of money. I don’t have a firm number in mind though.

This is what I’m currently thinking - it’s a combination of what’s currently available and what I have on hand. I can certainly wait and change things if it’s worth doing so.

My big questions:

CPU and Motherboard? Assuming I can find one, the 5600X seems like the way to go. What do I do if I can’t find one? Intel’s i5-10600K is in stock at the local Microcenter - is that a good alternative? Should I wait a couple of months for Intel Rocket Lake and better 5600X availability? What are the reliable motherboard brands these days?

Case I’m picky about appearance, noise and size. My current machine is in a Fractal Design Define C with no window, and that’s been good for me. I’d like something the cat can’t turn off by stepping on the horizontal button, and front USB-C ports would be ideal. If I could go smaller than that and still fit a 3080 founder’s edition(285mm long) I’d be happy. I don’t really understand the market for small quiet cases that can fit a full sized card, and I’d love some recommendations. The define 7 compact is actually bigger than what I have now.

I already have the 3080 mentioned, btw.

It’s not 2020, dude.

Ugh. Stupid linear time.

When is this build in jeremy bearimy?

What are you coming from?

A 3080 with the any of the CPUs you’re looking at will be way up there for 1440p gaming :)

The Lian Li TU150 is one cool small case.

I think the Fractal Nano is smaller than the Compact, but it wouldn’t have good enough airflow for a 3080 IMO.

The NR200 is liked by SFF types - maybe more extreme than you’re looking for?

Intel Core i7-8700 Coffee Lake is my current processor. If the system wasn’t actively flaky I probably wouldn’t be looking to upgrade.

I’m not 100% up to speed on this, but is there a reason to get the (older, much more expensive) Samsung 960 EVO rather than the 970 EVO (which is about 1/3 the price listed in the PC PartPicker list)?

Nearly certainly not! But that’s what I have in my current computer and I’m planning on reusing it.

Unless someone tells me “hey, there are substantially better things now for cheap and replacing it would be a good idea”

That makes perfect sense! :-) I somehow missed that.

I wasn’t clear about it. I’m planning on carrying over the drives and the GPU from my current computer.

Personally I’d try to find a 5900X or wait for a 5700X instead of switching to Intel, but obviously that’s going to be budget/patience dependent.

Casewise I don’t really have any recommendations I’m afraid. I love my case (P500A), and you can get smaller versions (including a just announced large ITX) but it has a horizontal power button.

My local Microcenter says they have 5600Xs in stock. Maybe I’ll head over there any pick one up. Any motherboard suggestions?

Did you bite…?

I waited a few days too long to make the drive to the suburbs and ended up missing the local stock. B&H had them in stock Sunday night and I ordered one. So, of course, the local Microcenter has them again today and I’m waiting for a shipment.

I also decided to buy a new SSD, since leaving one in my old machine means I still have a somewhat functional second desktop.

Updated planned part list:

Nice. Probably about what I would buy too. I’d be interested to know how that Fractal case does with the 3080 once you get it all up and running.

It appears to be as big as my Meshify C. It handles my Gigabyte Vision 3080… Not all that well. Had to lower the middle fan downwards.

Whoa. I actually meant re cooling, where I guess the Meshifys would do a better job than the Defines.

I half think your cooler should have the same support you’ve given your GPU :) What’s the CPU in there?

I have a new 240 AIO cooler on the way (no RGB!). It’s a 9700k.

I’m always split between wanting water cooling as something to play with vs not wanting to have to play around with stuff… Just ordered a hopefully better air cooler here. My existing one sounds like… a really loud air cooler. I would like as clean a build as you have there. I’ve never had a shrouded PSU like that.