The ZEN PC build:
Once upon a time I needed to upgrade a 10-year-old system. I had lost my passion for computer systems too soon after I began. There were extenuating circumstances such as being on a fixed budget, getting married and having two kids. I let so many distractions get in the way.
So, I set out to build a new PC to replace my Athlon x2 PC running at 3.2GHz with 8GB of memory. I had dual GeForce 8600 GT cards running in SLI. These were upgrading an ATI all-In-Wonder cards that I was running in an older 2.2GHz Athlon x2 chip.
Though I was building my own systems, I really did not know much about what I was doing. I did not over-clock so everything was just stock-out of the box performance. I was very pleased with my build. I did not play any games and I had a young Non-Commissioned Officer I supervised who loved to game and he wanted to a new computer. We got to talking and he wanted to see how his game would run on my system.
The game he wanted to test out was a game we had to download off the web after he logged into his account. To download the game and all the updates and upgrades he purchased took about a day to download and install (I don’t miss those slow internet speeds). When he got on the game he was amazed at the performance of the 8600 GT’s in SLI with, at the time, the Athlon x2 2.2GHz chip. I upgraded a few months later.
So, last year I woke up out of my slumber of not building or playing with tech to build my own PC. I was not without computers, but bought two Apple MacBook Pro’s which I still have and love (a 15” and a 17”). I needed to replace the desktop. The AMD processor is still running strong and for anything I throw at it for general office productivity it can still more than handle at stock speeds. I will build another system for my wife’s family members back in the Philippines so they can have a good computer.
I started to piece together a budget build to replace my desktop. The graphics cards were showing the wear and tear of their use because the system started crashing and the logs stated the issue was the video cards failing randomly.
So, I picked up a case, AMD FX 8370 CPU, 16GB kit of memory, and an RX 470 graphics card. The system was much faster than my old system and I was happy with it. Then, enter my father. He had an older system, Intel based, and some ancient low end video card. He loves overclocking and has been doing it for several decades. He is quite good at overclocking with just air cooling.
The competition began. He had a 990X Intel Extreme edition chip and was bragging how much faster his system was to mine. It was. He burnt out his old chip with a bit to much juice and wanted a new one. He bought one on eBay for $600 (a great price at the time for that chip). That system did beat my “Beast Built in the East,” but he hated it that he was only about 10 to 15% faster when I pointed out that I bought the case, CPU, motherboard and memory for less than just his CPU.
He also started out with a 1060 graphics card and, again, was not overly dominant over the MSI Gaming X RX470 with 8GB of DRAM. So, he upgraded to the 1070. I then upgraded (as was my original plan) to a second RX 470 and was crushing his graphics score. I am not sure I will catch him now because he bought two 1080’s and an Intel 6950X chip that is being water cooled by a monster custom loop. His radiator is 85mm thick!
Now, it is my turn to at least catch up to his performance a little bit, but not at the exorbitant price he paid. My system’s initial order is in! I am getting the Ryzen 7 1800X. I will post about that build in the appropriate place. I cannot wait to build that one and I cannot wait for the new Radeon graphics card lineup to choose from.
Mike (Lord Bandeye)