Thomas (boggyb) wrote,

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More upgrades!

For about a year and a half now I've been planning an upgrade to my desktop, Nyx. It currently runs a Core 2 Quad Q6600 so an upgrade is a little overdue...

I've settled on the high-level design of the upgrade which will be a fairly high-end build, and because this is me will have a few unusual tweaks (though Craig has talked me out of some of the more exotic options). The highlights of it are:

- AMD Ryzen 7 or 9 processor, Zen 2 or Zen 3
- X570-based ATX motherboard
- 32GB RAM
- GeForce GTX 950 (reused from Nyx)
- NVMe boot drive
- 802.11ax wifi
- A couple of SATA SSDs

Most of that is fairly straightforward for a high-end Ryzen build where graphics is not the focus. The two unusual parts are the wifi and the SATA SSDs. The wifi comes from the layout of this flat - the desktop and the access point are in opposite corners and running network cable would just be awkward, so the plan is to connect via wifi (which is how Nyx is currently hooked up - the difference is Nyx only runs 802.11n). Given speed tests I've done with the laptop this probably means the bottleneck to the NAS will be its 1GbE wired connection!

The other tweak is the SATA SSDs. The NAS I bought recently could do with more storage, so either I buy new disks for it or I reuse some hard disks in Nyx. And given that I'll have genuinely fast wifi and that SSDs aren't all that expensive anymore, my cunning plan is to move the 3x3TB drives from Nyx to the NAS (probably buying a fourth to fill out the NAS), and put just SSDs in the desktop. And while I'm at it, I'm going to replace all the case fans with something quieter (probably Noctuas), because once I've removed the hard disks the fan noise will become more noticeable.

I could go for just NVMe drives (the motherboards I'm looking at will take two or three of 'em), but the ones worth getting still cost significantly more than SATA drives. For a similar reason I might hold off on PCIe 4 - again, they're expensive and don't always give a real-world performance boost (especially if you fill the SLC cache).

Anyway, that's the main bits of the build. There is one small sticking point, which is my preferred CPU is the 5900X which is almost impossible to get hold of - preorders took all the UK stock and then some, and while more stock was on its way that appears to have entirely dried up thanks to a combination of Covid and Brexit completely screwing over shipping (Scan still haven't filled their preorders and don't expect to receive any more stock until February!). I have a few options I've been mulling over: drop down to the 5800X, go for Zen 2 instead, or fit a cheap'n'cheerful Athlon and upgrade later.Let's look at some performance numbers...

Core 2 Quad: 1765
Athlon 3000G: 4473
Ryzen 5 3500X: 13439
Ryzen 5 3600: 17866
Ryzen 5 3600X: 18328
Ryzen 9 3900X: 32859
Ryzen 5 5600X: 22200
Ryzen 7 5800X: 28709
Ryzen 9 5900X: 39478

It basically comes down to do I want single-thread or multi-thread performance, will I upgrade later, and what's actually in stock. Looking at the details scores a Zen 2 turns in around 2500-2700 single-thread score (as you go up the CPU grades you get a higher boost clock speed) and a Zen 3 scores 3300-3500. I think the sensible options are a 3500X, 3900X or 5800X. If I intend to upgrade later, then the 3500X costs £160 and is still 7.5x faster overall than the Q6600 (and about 2.6x faster single-threaded!). Otherwise, the 3900X and 5800X are both very close - the 3900X trades off single-thread performance for multi-thread - and are very similar in price.

Hmm. If the 3000G was actually in stock anywhere, then at £50 it'd be the obvious choice. But funnily enough the low-end AMD CPUs are quite popular and it's just as hard to find as the 5900X. So given that... I'm leaning towards the 3500X, or maybe a 3600 (depends on stock and exact pricing). As I still want the 5900X as the end goal (it utterly demolishes the 5800X), whatever I buy will likely be replaced within the year and it doesn't make sense to spend more on the 3900X or 5800X.

Well, that solves one puzzle! Now I just need to spec out the rest of the build...
Tags: computers

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