Having lived with PCs with 2-4 CPU cores for years, I decided it was time for a change, so I bought the AMD Ryzen 5 2600. The main thing I use this PC for is programming, thus having additional CPU threads makes things easier. I also encode video, and the extra threads help, too. Lastly, I play video games. My OS of choice is Arch Linux (btw).
What is with the weird prices?
These prices are from over 11 months ago, when I bought the PC. RAM pricing was still insane (but getting better!), and good PSUs were dirt cheap. The Fractal Design Node 804 is from 2016 where I got it on a Newegg Black Friday sale, after which it sat in its box in the middle of a room for two years before I used it for anything.
Now onto the parts!
AMD Ryzen 5 2600
This CPU is quite good, and it has been a significant improvement over my previous CPU, the Intel Core i7-6700K, in terms of raw CPU computational power. Gaming saw a downgrade in FPS, but that was fine, as I don't primarily game on this PC.
MSI B450M MORTAR Micro ATX AM4
This motherboard was a good value, sporting decent VRMs and decent I/O. I don't pretend it's the best motherboard in the world (personally, I'd love to own a Gigabyte X570 AORUS XTREME), but for what you get and what you pay for, I have zero complaints. Sadly, this motherboard isn't sold anymore.
G.Skill Ripjaws V Series 32 GB (2x 16 GB) DDR4-3200
Some buy a car to get from place to place. Others buy a car to drive it. In this case, I'm the former. It's fast enough and has enough capacity for what I need. If I need more, I'll upgrade to 64 GB, but I'll wait on that.
Samsung 970 Evo 500 GB
The speed is quite good. Also, I don't have to worry about extra cables as it's attached directly to the motherboard. Nice!
Sapphire Radeon RX 580 8 GB PULSE
This PC never has had a brand new graphics card in it. Originally, my PC had the GTX 1070 from my previous build, but since the Ryzen 5 2600 did not perform as well in games, I decided to get an RX 580 and move the GPU to my older i7-6700K build. Also, Linux works better with AMD cards than NVIDIA cards, anyway. I did buy a new RX 580, and it was not this exact card, but I traded it for my friend's RX 580 as he wanted a different color graphics card. Anyway, his former GPU is quite good at compute, and it's also pretty good at 1080p gaming.
Fractal Design Node 804
As I said, I got this back in 2016 because I liked the design. The reason I didn't use it until today was because I also accidentally got a full ATX motherboard, so rather than returning it, I got a full ATX case for that PC and stored this case away for a couple years.
EVGA SuperNOVA G3 650 W 80+ Gold
This is a good power supply, and I got it at a really good value. However, I admittedly didn't do enough research, as I would have found that it has issues with overcurrent protection. So, maybe don't buy it?
This PC is a good starting point, but for my use cases, there's plenty more I can do for this.
- Upgrade to a 8 or 12 core Ryzen 3000 CPU - This will give me more CPU performance.
- Get a better CPU cooler - The stock cooler works, but it's not fantastic and is prone to even higher temperatures depending on the load.
- Upgrade the graphics card (preferably AMD) - Polaris is showing its age, and while this card can do 1080p quite well, I primarily use a 1440p monitor for the extra screen real estate. Also, when I say "preferably AMD" I'm not fanboying for AMD, as I recognize NVIDIA is generally better for performance, but AMD has fewer issues on Linux.
- Buy a secondary 1 TB SSD - I could get a 1 TB hard drive for cheap, but hard drives are quite slow.
- Get a new PSU - The PSU I have is fine for the PC as it is right now, but some of the above upgrades might necessitate an upgrade.
It's a good 6 core CPU. It's good at work such as video encoding and programming, and it can hold its own in gaming. The stock cooler works, but I recommend an aftermarket cooler if you can afford one. You can probably get this CPU for pretty cheap now.
The VRMs are pretty decent, and it's got a decent amount of features and I/O. For the price, it's... decent. Good luck finding one, though.
It's RAM. It's a lot of RAM. 5/5 would RAM again
Did I mention that this is RAM?
It has plenty of storage, it's fast, and you don't need any extra cables.
It's not the fastest mid-ranged graphics card, but whether it's gaming or compute you need, it's not half bad at either.
Cube cases are an old meme. Nevertheless, this is pretty good case. Just make sure you have the space for it. Thankfully I have a pretty big oak desk.
It's a good, modular, efficient PSU, but it's not worth the typical asking price of $100+, as while the insufficient over-power protection isn't going to be a problem for most people (especially if you overprovision your power supply), there are similar PSUs with more adequate protections for the same price.