LONG overdue build time - advice requested


Posts: 123   +63
Hey community, I'm looking for your advice.

I built my PC at the end of 2009, and it has served me well, but it's too slow to run Windows and all of my software efficiently I don't think I want to switch over to a Linux Distro, although I have run Linux in the past. Basic specs of my current PC:

Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield Quad-Core 2.66 GHz​
Cooler Master Centurion 5 Mid tower​
PC Power & Cooling ModXStream Pro Series 600 Watt Power Supply (OCZ600MXSP)​
12 GB DDR3​
Samsung 1 TB 860 Evo system drive + (2) 2 TB USB drives for storage​
Super cheap dual display GPU ? running dual 24" displays​
PCIe PCI Express PCI-E x1 2.4 / 5 GHz Wireless NIC​
USB Bluetooth dongle​
USB Wireless keyboard / mouse​
(2) 2 TB USB External Hard Drives​

I'm a retired security specialist, and I owned a PC business from about 1993 to 2000. I am, however, completely out of touch with new hardware, thus my request for your advice. I'm not a gamer, but I do mess around a bit with images, audio ,and video files. I run iSpy (video monitoring) in the background at all times & I prefer not to run it on a dedicated system for convenience's sake. Typically, I use my PC to go online, stream, etc. I usually have about 20 tabs open. I prefer Windows 10 Pro.

I don't want or need to stay on the bleeding edge, so I prefer to build something powerful for today, knowing that I'll likely keep it for many years (like my current dinosaur.) I would like to be able to add a lot of RAM in the future so that "Windows 15" (??) will be able to run! With 12 GB Ram, I often find myself utilizing 75 - 80% of the system memory and will exceed that when processing files. 16 GB is the minimum I want now, but I'd like the ability to upgrade to at least 64 GB to help "future proof" the system.

I've been looking at the 12 & 16 core Ryzens. I'm thinking that a 37XX or 39XX is the way I want to go (unless you have a better suggestion). I would like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, but I can use my existing USB Bluetooth adapter and NIC if the mobo does not have them. I have never overclocked my system, but if the capability is there, I might in the future. I don't need a $700 GPU!

SO, I presume I can re-use my case. I understand that the PS might be undersized, depending upon the options I end up with. A new fast system drive would be nice in addition to the Evo 860. Let me know what you recommend, and WHY! I won't say that money is no object, but I am not looking for budget components. As I said, I expect to keep this for a long time, and I don't want to feel like I need to upgrade because it's too slow anytime soon.

Thanks in advance!

Jerry in WA

Posts: 83   +83
For non gaming, there is no doubt. AMD is the way to go right now. (still really good for gaming too, though, I'm building a 3800x gaming rig tonight)

For your scenario, keeping this build for a long time, I would probably go with a 3900X over the 3800x or 3700x, for those 4 extra cores. 3950X may be overkill and the price jump is significant if you don't actually need all that grunt.

16gb of ram would work great but I'd say 32gb of ram (3200-3600mhz) would likely be plenty for now and would leave 2 slots open for future expansion (assuming a 2x16gb kit in a 4 slot board).

Bluetooth and wifi: You may end up getting those on the motherboard and I kind of like having them built in. I too also have bluetooth and wifi adapters, but they would need to be plugged in. That's 2 usb ports used. It's not a huge deal, but something to consider.

Case: You may want to consider a new case for the USB ports alone. Your old case would work fine, but USB 3.2 ports are common on new cases and your current case has USB 2.0 ports (between 10-40x slower than USB 3.0-3.2). You could also add a front panel adapter to accommodate new ports from the motherboard. Decent cases can be bought for $60. Anything less is usually complete garbage made of flimsy tin. (or watch for sales). The case can always be swapped down the road too.

2.5 SSD drives are fantastic and Nvme drives are even faster SSDs. (the drives that look like ram sticks) Even the cheaper ones are quite fast. I would recommend getting whatever is on sale in a size you are comfortable with. At the very least, be sure you set the OS up on an SSD. On my new build, I went ALL nvme drives. Most good boards have 2x "m.2" slots for nvme drives, you can also add pci-e adapters to add even more.

Your power supply should be fine, specs wise, that was a higher tiered unit, as I recall, but it's also getting long in the tooth. 3900x and 3950x are a little power hungry too. I also personally feel that a new build deserves a new PSU. Mostly out of an abundance of caution. They serve me faithfully for years and will continue in backup duty, but I just don't trust them with my new baby. Finding a good power supply right now is not easy. Many are out of stock or marked up.

Fluff to mention that you may not care about: RGB and ARGB lighting has become a thing and all new motherboards have pin-outs to do it. RGB is any color. ARGB means individually addressable lights on each component. You can add many components that are capable. The really nice thing about RGB/ARGB lighting over previous colored fans is you can actually turn them OFF, in addition to changing the color(s). Want the PC in colors for your favorite NFL team? Done. Get sick of the light show in your PC? Turn them off. In the past, if you chose to disco-light the PC, it was a hard-encoded choice, only changed when you swapped out hardware.
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Posts: 123   +63
Thanks, Jerry. All good points. The old case does have (2) USB 3.0 ports, but I agree that a new case is worth it. Same with the PSU. I guess I could just leave iSpy on the old system with no display and RDP into it to manage it, too. The old NIC is PCI-E (internal), btw.

I played with the build "tool" here and it actually recommended a 37xx "threadripper" over the 3900. I found that very interesting. I think their tool needs a bit of tweaking!

I also compared a number of mobos from that tool, and I am hoping that I will get some specific suggestions because, again, the results from the "tool" seem to be "interesting" to me. Soliciting input from the community is also FAR easier that going through dozens of reviews, and then trying to piece it all together for a stable end result.

Regarding PSU availability, I can wait. Unless I am about to miss out on some killer Father's Day deals, I'm not in a huge rush. I can take weeks, or even months to pull everything together. Although it's pretty slow, my current system is still functional, and I even have a couple of old laptops I could fall back to if this died for some reason.