My last PC build was an Intel i7-4770K with Asus Z87-Plus. It serves me well for many years. But has recently been giving me different issues. It’s about time to build another one before it runs out on me.
The AMD 3rd GEN seems very promising so this time I would like to try out AMD chip. This build is for a work machine that’s decent enough to handle development work plus some.
- A build powerful enough that works for me for the next 5 years.
- Don’t need to worry too much about the heat generated by powerful CPU/GPU.
- Decent support on virtualization allowing me to run multiple Linux, Kali and Windows virtual machines.
My Line Up
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
When picking an AMD chip, I narrowed down to 3700X vs 3900X. CPU Benchmarks is my go to website in comparing the performance of different CPUs and components. I really like the power 3900X offers with its 12-Core, 24-Thread. However, it generates quite a bit of heat when working in high load. That means I would need to invest in a good cooling system to keep the heat under control.
I would like to minimize my needs to deal with heating problems. As a result, I picked Ryzen 7 3700X.
- 8-Core, 16 Thread CPU: good enough to support my virtualization needs.
- Wraith Prism LED Cooler: It’s awesome that the AMD Ryzen comes with a stock cooler. I think it’s good enough for Ryzen 7. For Ryzen 8 and up, I recommend a better cooling system.
Motherboard: Asus TUF Gaming X570-Plus (Wi-Fi)
This motherboard is well rounded. Although I don’t build it for gaming, it’s a good value with all the bells and whistles.
I increased my last build RAM from 16GB to 32GB but would still hit the limits when running several VMs. So this time I go with 64GB 2 sticks to allow future upgrade to 128GB, if I ever need that.
I opt for a large 2TB SSD mainly for VMs. My experience in using checkpoints in Hyper-v can quickly eat up your hard drive space.
Samsung’s SSD has been serving me well. I go with Samsung for almost all my SSD needs and it is yet to see a Samsung SSD failed on me.
Graphics Card: MSI GeForce RTX 2060 Super 8GB
I originally opt for a cheaper graphic card just enough for 4K monitor since it’s not used for gaming. But then I decided to get a better one for some GPU processing tasks (e.g. running hashcat for my pentesting needs)
Power Supply: CORSAIR RM850x, 850 Watt, 80+ Gold Certified
Quality built and is fully modular. That means all cables are detachable. You only plug in the cables you need. It’s really handy for cable management.
I wanted to get the 750 Watt version but it was out of stock and ended up with this 850 Watt version.
Case: LIAN LI LANCOOL 2
I specifically looked for a case that offers good airflow. It’s an elegantly built case, looks nice and sturdy, very easy to work with. I really enjoy this case when building the PC.
It comes with 3 120mm case fan. 1 at the back, 1 at the top and 1 in the front. You can add 5 more 120mm fans to the case if you like. I added 2 more, 1 more at the top and 1 more in the front.
There are many options you can choose from. Some are more fancy with RGB. If you like to build a colorful PC, there’re many accessories you can add to make your PC like a disco machine.
Mime is a work machine so I go for a simple functional one.
Let’s start the build
The very first thing to do is to put on the anti-static wrist strap band. Next is to take out the motherboard and place it on top of the motherboard box. This allows you to move around the motherboard easily.
Step 1: Put CPU to motherboard
- release the lever at the motherboard: pull lever lightly to the right and up all the way
- align the arrow (bottom left) at CPU to that of at the motherboard
- move close and drop CPU in place. Don’t use force
- push the lever back in.
Step 2: Put the heat sink on top on CPU
There are clips on the heat sink. And 2 notches on both sides of the CPU socket.
- hook the clip (with lever) of the heat sink on the notch (notch 1) that is closer to the edge of the motherboard
- then move the lever to the left side.
Now the heat sink should sit flat on the CPU.
- on the other side, align the clip and the notch (notch 2)
- push down the clip gently to hook up the clip and the notch
- now back to notch 1 and move the lever to the right to finish the attachment. You need more strength but can still do it gently.
- hook up the heat sink cable to the motherboard (CPU fan header). This supply power to the fan.
Next connect the rgb cable to motherboard. Controls the lighting of the heat sink.
- remove the protective rubber from the heat sink fan
- connect smaller end of the cable to it.
- locate the white connector (RGB header) on the motherboard. align the arrow on the cable to the +12V pin.
All right! The CPU and it’s cooler are installed successfully.
Step 3: Add the memory
- pull back the 2nd & 4th lever
- For the 2nd slot, align the RAM nicely into the slot. Then apply pressure on top of both ends of the RAM until you hear couple clicks.
- Do the same for the 4th slot
Step 4: Add the M2 SSD
- prepare the screw needed (motherboard comes with it)
- insert the M2 SSD to the M2 slot on the motherboard
- screw down the M2 SSD
Step 5: Put motherboard to the case
- screws and small parts are in a white box at the lowest Removable HDD tray. Push the tap and you can slide open the tray.
- Place the panel plate to the space for the input panel at the motherboard
- There are 9 screw spots to secure the motherboard to the case
- carefully place the motherboard in to the case by aligning the input panel and the 9 screw positions
- apply the 9 screws to attach the motherboard to the case
Step 6: Power supply
- Connect the 24 pin cable to the power supply
- then connect 2 cpu cables to the power supply
- connect 1 PCIe cable to the power supply
- The HDD Tray compartment is blocking my power supply. So I unscrew it and move it as far left as you can to give more space.
- place the power supply in. Make sure fan face down and tighten 4 screws.
- connect the other side of 24 pin cable to the motherboard (next to memory slots)
- then hook up 2 cpu cables to the motherboard which is next to the panel. 1 cpu cable only need half of it. split it.
Step 7: Graphic Card
The graphic card uses the PCI express slot and requires 2 slots space wide. That’s pretty standard.
- gently put the graphic card in place
- apply 2 screws to secure the card
- connect PCIe power cable from PSU to the graphic card
Step 8: Case cables
There are some cables to hook up to the motherboard from the case control panel (power button, USB ports & etc.).
- Audio cable: connect to AAFP header
- USB 3 cable: connect to header next to the 24-pin power supply header
- RGB cable: connect to 4-pin white header on the other side of the 24-pin power supply header
- Power LED, Switch, Reset Cables:
- Power LED+ to yellow circle
- Power LED- to orange circle
- Power SW to red rectangle
- Reset SW to green rectangle
- SATA Power cable: finally SATA power cable connects to PSU.
We are almost there! Just the fans left!
Step 9: 3 stock fans cables
There are a total of 6 fan headers for this motherboard. 1 for CPU cooler fan, 5 for case fans (3 comes with case + 2 extra). If you want to install more fans, split cable would be needed.
- Top fan use fan header AIO_PUMP
- Back fan use fan header CHA_FAN1
- Front fan use fan header CHA_FAN3
Step 10: extra fans
I am installing 2 extra fans to the case. To keep the extra fans together (same look and feel), I move the front case fan to the top and then add the 2 extra fans to the front.
- Remove the front stock fan
- replace with 2 Thermaltake 120mm fan. Use CHA_FAN2 & CHA_FAN3
- Front stock fan moves to top. Use CHA_OPT (next to CPU_FAN header)
YES!! We did it! Time to turn this beast on!
Connect the power cable to outlet. Hook up to a monitor with an HDMI cable. Press the button!
Bravo! It’s operational and is ready to rock!
This build is about $2,000. A little more than I expected to spend but they are all great components and I am sure it will serve me well for the coming years.