Help me build my PC: 2022 Catch-All

Stele wrote:

And yet I've been building my own computers since 1996, have always used the cooler included with CPU and never had one die. Hm

Your CPU isn't going to die with an OEM cooler, but in the modern era of boost clocks, you're going to leave plenty of performance on the table with a crappy stock cooler. CPU boost behavior is dependent on available thermal headroom. Higher temps means lower burst and sustained clock speeds.

Wait, so modern CPUs overclock themselves when they think they can get away with it? Neat.

Vargen wrote:

Wait, so modern CPUs overclock themselves when they think they can get away with it? Neat.

Yes. It's standard out-of-the-box behavior now.

When you look at specs for CPUs, you'll see the default "base" frequency, as well as maximum "boost" or "turbo" frequencies.

For example, the Ryzen 5900X:

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/nWvLU8U.png)

And it's the same on the Intel side, here's the i9-12900K:

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/0eY8jZV.png)

It has done away with a lot of casual overclocking, as you don't tend to get the CPUs with tons of untapped headroom anymore. Hardcore overclocking of course still exists. But long gone are the days where you would buy a Q6600 and crank it from 2.4 GHz to 3.4 GHz.

I knew about variable clock speeds. I just wasn't aware how close that behavior was to what enthusiasts used to do to measure their e-peens get extra value from their hardware.

It makes sense though. The hobbyists have shown it can be effective, and automating that behavior into the design of the chip means fewer people messing with settings that could cause customer service issues.

After having Dell fix my failing SSD and the resultant follow-on other component failures, they replaced a fan and the BIOS in addition. Now my Passmark no longer falls short on storage. Aurora R12, overall score 8927.4. Feels good.

I know people worry about Aurora motherboards and such, but this is a great system for me. Very happy with the quality and service.

Edit - I should note that the manufacturer of the SSD parts that went into the drive had several instances of contamination that affected their chips adversely. I believe my drive and BIOS chips were affected by this and the failure cascade that happened after replacing the broken drive was due to this, but I don’t know for sure.

Vargen wrote:

I knew about variable clock speeds. I just wasn't aware how close that behavior was to what enthusiasts used to do to measure their e-peens get extra value from their hardware.

Yeah, the chip manufacturers have progressively stacked more OC-like behavior in over time.

AMD, for example, started the Ryzen series with XFR (eXtended Frequency Range), then added in Precision Boost, then Precision Boost Overdrive, plus they added AutoOC to their Ryzen Master software.

Over the years, I've almost always targeted chips for my personal systems that had a bunch of headroom for some easy overclocking gains, all the way back to my first ever build, a Celeron 300A in 1999. But with my latest 3rd-gen Ryzen build, that streak has ended, because there's just no point.

The flip side of that is that you can now chase better CPU clocks simply by improving your system's cooling solution.

It's that time of the year again when you reflect on past decisions and despair, only to remember that hey, sh*t happens and we carry on. So in this spirit, I've been looking to cut looses and actively search to fix my current RAM annoyances and shortcomings.

When I built my rig about a year+ ago I settled for 2 sticks for a total of 16gb RAM, hoping to expand to 32gb later on, which I did late last year but received a faulty pair of sticks that didn't match the performance of the original pair (even thou being the exact model / brand as the original). After licking my wounds I decided to expand anyway even if it means ditching my current ram and go for a new set of sticks. Thing is, I've forgotten what's the consensus here, better to go for 4 sticks or 2? I would guess going with 2 sticks is safer as there's less chance of one or more sticks being faulty, but just want to make sure I get this right this time. I'll probably end up buying this locally for an excessive premium to at least have a way to return / replace if anything turns wrong.

So, I'm aiming for 32 GB but if can find a viable option / pricepoint I could consider 64gb as well.

This is my motherboard in case anyone needs more context in order to make an informed recommendation

Manufacturer
ASRock

Model
B450M Pro4

Part #
B450M PRO4
90-MXB8F0-A0UAYZ
Socket / CPU
AM4

Form Factor
Micro ATX

Chipset
AMD B450

Memory Max
64 GB

Memory Type
DDR4

Memory Slots
4

Memory Speed
DDR4-2133
DDR4-2400
DDR4-2666
DDR4-2933
DDR4-3200

Thanks in advance for any help!

Not sure if more sticks of ram really means greater chance of issue. Maybe slightly more if it is bad solder joints or something, but a stick of ram with twice the storage needs twice the actual storage on the stick, so increase possibility of issue would be fairly similar. The difference is you would be left with more ram if one went faulty and you needed to RMA, but usually they recommend RMAing the whole kit so your new kit has the same timings.

I would do research to see what timings and memory speed pairs best with your CPU and comparing that to what your motherboard can support.

*Legion* wrote:

...all the way back to my first ever build, a Celeron 300A in 1999.

That's what I used for my first build where I OCd. Pretty sure it was OCd to 450.

-BEP

Go with four for more performance (work split across four sticks is faster than work split across 2). Go with the 3200 since that should be literally the market average these days . (As noted above, check the timings just to safe.) DO NOT buy cheap RAM to save $30 or so! Buy the good stuff with heat sinks. And finally, buy from a reputable source, preferably the manufacturer, even though you see someone selling "the exact same thing" for less. So much relabeling of older parts and fakes going around these days.

Get the good RAM from the maker and it'll last the lifetime of the machine and probably longer.

bepnewt wrote:
*Legion* wrote:

...all the way back to my first ever build, a Celeron 300A in 1999.

That's what I used for my first build where I OCd. Pretty sure it was OCd to 450.

-BEP

I was working at my local computer store at the time and people would come in and look at each of the celeron 300s we had in stock just to see if it had the A on it. 450 does sound right.

bepnewt wrote:
*Legion* wrote:

...all the way back to my first ever build, a Celeron 300A in 1999.

That's what I used for my first build where I OCd. Pretty sure it was OCd to 450.

Yep. 300A had 4.5x multiplier and a 66 MHz default front-side bus, which you could crank to 100 MHz to get the chip to 450 MHz without messing up the timing of anything else in the system (as you would change the PCI divider from 1/2 to 1/3, so the PCI bus would still run at 33 MHz).

One of the best overclock chips ever. Matched the clock speed of the very top Pentium II chip, and basically matched its performance in real-world benchmarks even with the smaller L2 cache. And for $200 instead of over $650.

Also, Slot 1 was so much better than socketed CPUs with their array of fragile bendable pins. Bring back slot interfaces for CPUs.

kazar wrote:

I was working at my local computer store at the time and people would come in and look at each of the celeron 300s we had in stock just to see if it had the A on it. 450 does sound right.

Yeah, the 300 non-A chips had no L2 cache at all, which is a pretty significant performance hindrance. The 300A had 128kb of L2 cache, which, while still well below the 512kb of the Pentium II, was plenty in practice.

AnandTech still has their article from back then up, and you can see the overclocked 300A @ 450 matched the P2 450 in their business app tests and in GL Quake 2.

If you already have two perfectly good sticks of RAM in the size you want, just buy another two sticks to match and have fun. Don't overthink it.

LeapingGnome wrote:

If you already have two perfectly good sticks of RAM in the size you want, just buy another two sticks to match and have fun. Don't overthink it.

Sadly, that's literally what I did last year, but it didn't work out as the new sticks didn't get along with the old, I wasn't able to load the XMP profile to max their speed (as I did with the original sticks) and had to settle for the minimum speed they could provide which was 2400 Mhz I think. Thing is, that didn't last long as the rig would crash now and then during the couple months I had the new sticks installed, it also became unresponsive while in sleep mode which turned to be the last straw for me. Unistalled the new sticks and it handles much better now without them. To give them the benefit of the doubt I tried the new sticks in every slot just in case it happened to be an issue with the MB but nope, it's 'em sticks. (before you ask I can't return them as I got them from Amazon and returning them from Venezuela is foley)
(Hand-Eye) *One does not simply RMA from Venezuela*

So lesson to be learned which I'm immediately going to dismiss right now / in the following months is: Buy all the RAM you're gonna need in one go if possible. Having said that, I'll probably get 2x16 as it is really a *lot* more expensive to buy RAM or any kind of technology here, we're talking 2-3 times more expensive than buying it at Amazon, but as I said, if I buy here I'll have the chance to return in case something doesn't work.

Checking on my MB manual it turns out 2933 is the maximum RAM speed allowed for my CPU type (Picasso Ryzen 5 3400G APU) it also has to be non-ECC RAM, so there's that, I knew there was a reason I didn't buy 3200 or 3600mhz RAM back then.

Thanks Gnome, Robear and Kazar!

Sounds like you have it in hand, Feeank! Good luck!

Feeank wrote:

I'll probably get 2x16 as it is really a *lot* more expensive to buy RAM or any kind of technology here, we're talking 2-3 times more expensive than buying it at Amazon, but as I said, if I buy here I'll have the chance to return in case something doesn't work.

What does that cost look like compared to having someone in the US buy and ship to you?

Not sure the cost or risk or shipping to Venezuela, but in general, if someone provided the money for the part and shipping cost, I wouldn't mind occasionally buying a part and boxing it up to ship international. Possibly even testing the part first depending on what it is.

Just gonna +1 Legion's info for the last page.

If you bought a modern even upper-midrange CPU but are running it with a stock in-box cooler, it's neither running the way it's advertised to nor is it running the way it does in benchmarks and reviews you read.

It's spending a good portion of its time thermal throttling and slowing itself down to avoid incinerating itself.

The problem with this is you could just spend less money on the CPU and get the same performance out of one that's supposed to run closer to the lower clock speed to start with.

The one and only possible exception to this is specific Ryzen models that come with the better Wraith coolers. My understanding, though I've never used one, is that they're so much better than the Intel stock coolers that they don't even belong in the conversation.

Thin_J wrote:

The one and only possible exception to this is specific Ryzen models that come with the better Wraith coolers. My understanding, though I've never used one, is that they're so much better than the Intel stock coolers that they don't even belong in the conversation.

This is true. The lower tier Wraiths are in that same hockey-puck-cooler class as the Intel OEM ones (if slightly better than Intel's offerings), but the Wraith Prism is more like a legit low(er)-profile cooler, with 4 copper heatpipes. It's still not going to beat out any good tower coolers, but it's not trash like what Intel ships.

Though I should point out that Intel has updated their coolers with Alder Lake, and I don't have any experience with them. My vague understanding is that they're still e-waste tier, but I have not really looked into it yet.

*Legion* wrote:
Feeank wrote:

... 2-3 times more expensive than buying it at Amazon...

What does that cost look like compared to having someone in the US buy and ship to you?

It wildly differs, before posting this I was perusing MercadoLibre which is a sort of ebay in south america and serves as a gauge for getting an idea of how much this kind of things cost and you get these absurd scenarios.

Here's a really *cheap* 8gb Crucial Ballistix stick for 67 USD (for reference in the US the pair is about 80 USD)

Then there are these , a Corsair 2x16 kit about 300 USD here (half that in amazon)

...but most of the time you find this type of cocky assholes commiting highway robbery (a Vengeance RGB Pro 2x16 kit for 1330 USD, and if you're looking for a GPU you're in luck, they're throwing away a blazing RTX 2060 for 10 grand! )

So yeah...it's basically double the price if you're lucky, but waaay more than that if you're not.
These vendors are mostly regular brick and mortar stores that push their wares online through MercadoLibre as an alternative to put up their own digital store, some are reputable businesses that can offer some degree of guarantee to your purchase, some are not, so researching before pulling the trigger is key here.

*Legion* wrote:

Not sure the cost or risk or shipping to Venezuela, but in general, if someone provided the part and shipping cost, I wouldn't mind occasionally buying a part and boxing it up to ship international. Possibly even test the part depending on what it is.

Thanks for the offer Legion! I've thought about this in the past but I'm not sure if the courier service I've used can handle regular mail / packages (Edit: I mean mail from regular people instead of say, you buying something at amazon or any other online store and using the Courier as your address, which is how this courier operates) I can research about that later on when I get serious about this upgrade. The risk is minimal with that service in terms that you will get your package in a state as good as they receive it, and they're not that expensive really. Thanks again for the offer of assistance!

Edit for not having finished a sentence, gee.

Lots of stories over the past few days about GPU prices finally trending downward. Between some apparent relief in the supply strain as well as the Ethereum proof-of-stake change that I've mentioned before nearing closer to reality, GPUs may once again reach MSRP prices, assuming World War III doesn't get to us first.

Feeank wrote:

Thanks for the offer Legion! (...) I can research about that later on when I get serious about this upgrade.

Sounds good. Hit me up when that time comes.

*Legion* wrote:

Though I should point out that Intel has updated their coolers with Alder Lake, and I don't have any experience with them. My vague understanding is that they're still e-waste tier, but I have not really looked into it yet.

There are videos appearing about them. By all accounts they are still indeed terrible.

They look nicer. Still cheap trash in all the ways that matter.

Why would you not just spend the extra hundred on a sealed water cooling system? Easy, efficient, lasts a looong time...

100 bucks is 100 bucks.

True. I was thinking about that. But my philosophy is to future-proof as much as possible so you don't have to keep pouring money in each 2-3 years. The breakpoint is different for each person, so I thought I'd throw it out there for those who hadn't considered it, maybe.

Robear wrote:

But my philosophy is to future-proof as much as possible so you don't have to keep pouring money in each 2-3 years.

How does an AIO cooler contribute in any way to future-proofing or not paying money every 2-3 years?

I like the AIO I have now and liked the ones I've had before, but also really like the Noctua NH-D15's in the other two systems I run all the time. They each have their use cases.

But I'd put a whole lot of money down that the NH-D15 in my camera server will still be kicking long after my ~3 year old AIO has given up the ghost due to liquid permeation, and that Noctua is already almost 8 years old and has been through three rebuilds of that system.

Also still matches a lot (not all! but a chunk) of AIO's for overall cooling capacity too, for what that's worth.

It's just not as convenient to install or to work around if you have to get into the case for anything.

I'll keep going with AIO's in my gaming rig because its hardware config never stays static long enough to outlast an AIO anyway, but for other systems, and for a lot of people in general, air coolers are generally going to be a more stable long-term solution.

kazar wrote:

I got the top of the queue for an EVGA 3080 ti, so my EVGA 3070 XC3 needs a new home. Figured I would let GWJers get a first shot at it.

Shout out to kazar for letting me finally give my 970 an honorable retirement after 8 years of long service.

Mine lasted for over five years, Thin_J. I'm sure that has influenced my perception. A quick google shows that without leaks or pump failure, people are getting 5-7 years out of them - and that's obviously with 2015-2017 technology...

My reasoning for never switching to liquid cooling has always been that if you have a failure with air cooling, you will probably have thermal throttling, maybe if you are very unlikely your cpu might die. but if things go wrong with liquid cooling it's a lot more likely that you'll end up with several components dying from getting wet.
if you baby your system, yeah it's probably worth it, but i admit that aside from cleaning 3 or 4 times a year i like being able to let my system just kinda be there for me.

That's all I do for mine, Tycho.

For future-proofing, I want at least as many CPU cores as a Xbox Series X or PS5, right?