Description

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?

Future upgrades

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.

Part Reviews

CPU

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.

Motherboard

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.

Memory

It's RAM. It's a lot of RAM. 5/5 would RAM again

Did I mention that this is RAM?

Storage

It has plenty of storage, it's fast, and you don't need any extra cables.

Video Card

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.

Case

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.

Power Supply

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.

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Comments

  • 3 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice job man, seems pretty well thought out. If you don't mind, I was wondering what you do on this fine computer.

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! I do code compilation (typically C++ and C, but Java sometimes as well), video encoding, 3D rendering, running VMs, and a bit of 1080p gaming.

Since this is my current daily driver, I also use it for browsing the Internet, and I tend to have quite a few tabs open.

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice man!

  • 3 months ago
  • 2 points

Good, simple, effective build. Definitely agree that AMD drivers on Linux are better. Since you're on Arch, you should have no trouble with the Navi cards, should you choose to remain with Radeon.

Also:

  • 6-core Ryzen
  • G.Skill RAM
  • All SSD storage
  • Sapphire PULSE Radeon
  • Fractal Design case
  • Arch Linux or a derivative

Sister builds!

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

If I got this PC for just gaming and only that, then sure, I'd probably be using a GeForce graphics card. I have a GTX 1070 that I have in my older Intel Core i7-6700K based PC (it runs Windows 10). However, I use this PC for most of my computing needs. Having tried both GeForce and Radeon cards with Linux, I'd have to say that, thanks to Mesa and AMDGPU, Radeon cards are simply better and more consistent despite not giving the greatest raw gaming FPS. Unless Nouveau starts supporting newer GeForce cards without destroying performance (unlikely any time soon) or Nvidia starts caring about Linux users and open sources their drivers (even more unlikely), I'm probably going to be sticking to just using Radeon cards.

Also I looked at your build and that's pretty cool! I've never tried Manjaro, before, but it uses the same pacman package manager, and that's what I really like most about Arch Linux.

Funny enough, there's another thing our PCs have in common: We tried Ubuntu and switched distros.

I did initially try Ubuntu (Kubuntu) on this PC before for about a month. I found that Ubuntu is great until you need to install either the latest version of something or something that isn't included in the default repositories or app store, which then it becomes hell. Mesa? Nvidia drivers? Compilers? Have fun, because you're going to be getting personally acquainted with PPAs.

Sadly, that is a problem with most distros I've used, and I don't doubt it's a reason why some people try Linux and stick with Windows despite Windows 10 being a god awful pile of garbage to deal with daily. In fact, the whole reason I built a new PC in the first place was to not use a Windows PC as my daily driver (but still have a Windows PC for when I need to run Windows software that won't work well in Wine or in a VM). Someone recommended me to try Arch Linux, so I did and I found it was a much better experience once I got everything set up.

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, that's why I keep leaving Ubuntu every time I decide to give it another fair shake on the desktop. I just can't be wasting my time finding random PPAs and software sources for the latest software, and trying to resolve breakages that happen as a result of them. Imo Ubuntu is solid for servers and a certain subset of desktop use cases, but it is not a good power user or developer distro.

I find that Fedora is a good distro for having up to date stuff, without the rolling aspect of Arch and its derivatives. I used it for a long stint, and still run it on my laptop. It doesn't yet support Navi, though, so there is a caveat to the non-rolling cycle.

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