The wait has been brutal, but I finally have everything but a new GPU. I've been waiting to get a new AMD Ryzen 9 CPU and a specific motherboard since the announcement on November 5th, 2020.
I just happened to be talking to a friend today about the 5950x and I looked at a local store and noticed they had 40+ 5950X in stock and one of the Dark Hero motherboard. I got in the car and booked it down there to get it as they are not allowing you to order over the phone or reserve anything with limited stock.
I'm sure I could have picked up a CPU and motherboard long before now if I was willing to put 4 hours a day into waiting in lines and watching inventory but I decided I don't have time for that shit, or more realistically I don't want to. I was pretty thrilled to see these in stock though as it couldn't come at a better time, my computer has been having issues that required a reinstall which I kept putting off until I got a new PC. I ran into a new problem that made doing something more critical.
What did I get?
The main component in my build is the Ryzen 9 5950X, this is currently the top of the line CPU in the industry. AMD really knocked it out of the park this time around and has finally beat Intel in single core performance benchmarks. I have always used Intel CPUs, and this is my first AMD CPU. My main reason for using Intel is single core performance is king.
This is also the first time I decided to get an Extreme CPU. I have always bought the top of the line CPU in the consumer bracket but never have I opted to pay the premium for the extreme tier. Extreme tier CPUs generally have more cores and more level 2 memory.
With the 5950X being such a massive improvement over previous generations and even Intel's best offerings, and being stuck on 4 core CPUs for multiple generations, I decided I would go all out and pick up the best I can get. My computer is my livelihood and I am very demanding on a PC.
The second component that I have been waiting for was the Asus Dark Hero motherboard. There are a lot of motherboards for the 5950X but only the Dark Hero has the ability to maintain a high overclock without reducing single core performance. When you try to maintain a high overclock on a high core count CPU you need to reduce the single core performance to maintain it. The Dark Hero has a feature where it will use two different overclocks prioritizing either single core performance or multiple core and will automatically switch depending on what you are doing. The Dark Hero also uses passive cooling (no fans) on the motherboard which helps further reduce noise. This board has been in extremely high demand and short supply, when I saw it was in stock I dropped what I was doing. If it was just a CPU available, I'd probably wait since I didn't have the motherboard.
For the CPU cooler I really wanted an All-In One (AIO) liquid cooling system, they look really cool but they are noisy and potentially leak. So I went with the top of the line air cooler from Noctua, the NH-D15 Black Edition.
See what I mean about the cool style of an AIO cooler?
The next important component is the case, I thought a lot about this and I wanted RGB but I didn't want to spend $500+ in RGB fans to fully deck out an O11 Dynamic, so I settled for a Phantek p400A. It has excellent air flow, really well designed cable management, and includes a few RGB fans all for under $100.
Ram I typically go with 32GB, and with AMD 32GB is the sweet spot to have dual rank chips (typically 16GB+ sticks). I went with 3600 CL16 RGB G Skillz Trident Neo, at the time they were not really more expensive than non-RGB and didn't know I'd be getting an air cooler that blocks the RGB ram. So I likely want be using the RGB on the ram but might test it out to see if it has a nice under carriage style lighting effect.
You can get a high end CPU and cooling and not get good thermal paste. I picked up Kryonaut Grizzly, which I've been hearing is some fantastic stuff.
For the PSU, I already have some Corsair Platinum RM750X PSUs, these are considered one of the best PSUs every made. I really feel more comfortable with an 850W and will likely swap it out in the future when I get a hold of a RTX 3000 GPU, but for now it will be more than enough to run the system. It is recommended to have 650W for a 5950X / RTX 3080 combo, which the 750W gives little breathing room, it is a platinum PSU though and will likely run far higher than rated if pushed.
For hard drives, I already have a Samsung 980 Pro which I picked up a few months ago and my Samsung 960. Both are NVME drives, meaning they are solid state drives directly attached to the PCI Express bus, and have considerably higher speeds over traditional SSD drives. The 980 Pro is PCI Express Gen 4 which is considerably faster than Gen 3 which is all I could run on my old system. The 980 Pro exceeds 7GB/s read speeds. I still need to get a 2TB-4TB drive to replace the platter data drive I have in my system. I currently run two 1 TB NVME drives, a 1 TB SSD, and a 5 TB platter. I can easily fit everything on a 1TB & 4TB NVME pair and likely what I will end up doing.
I don't mess around with my main workstation, I have no tolerance to wait on a computer and any delays potentially cost me money. I am especially aggressive in upgrading to the latest storage technology as it is typically the slowest component in the system and has the most potential for improvement.
Here's a breakdown to the components
Ryzen 9 5950x - $799
Asus Dark Hero Motherboard - $449
Noctua NH-D15 Cooler Black Edition - $100
G.Skillz Trident Neo Z 32GB 3600 CL16 - $179
Phantek P400a case - $90
Kryonaut Thermal Paste - $10
Corsair RM850X - $150
Samsung 980 Pro 1TB - $200
I already own a 10GB Asus Network card I use to directly connect to my NAS device and will re-use my Nvidia 1070 until I can get an RTX 3000.
I still need to buy a 4TB SSD or NVME drive and GPU which will run me another $1,000 or more. This is the most expensive workstation I have built as I usually can build a top of the line system for under $2,000.
I hope to start building it tonight or tomorrow and will do an update when I finish or potentially a build walkthrough.
All product images are from Amazon