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My PC is turning 80...in computer years!


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I was thinking the same thing on the parachute.  I actually forgot I was getting the Dell Rewards - so I just grabbed a cheap DVD drive from Amazon...but with the rewards, and as you say, Dell on the tech support side, hopefully this one will just plug-and-play, and if not, hopefully they can help get it figured out this time.

 

Other than that, the new machine is a blazing beast.  I really had gotten used to my high-tech-at-the-time 7 year old machine and didn't realize that one could have a desktop that starts up in seconds.  Transferring documents and files onto the machine took 1/3 the time to load it off my old computer...and access to everything is pretty well instant.  In PSP editing, I can open 30 original photos at once, and it doesn't slow down...in my old machine, with 10 originals open, it could get a little laggy.  You really notice in the processing time of those memory-intense Topaz AI programs...what used to take 30-40 seconds to complete now is done within 7-9 seconds.

 

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Update to the update.  All issues solved!  Got the new DVD drive from Dell (LG Brand) today - came with a basic software for DVD viewing and CD Burning.  Plugged in the USB cable, and instant recognition.  Popped in the install disk for the free software, spun right up, Autoplay asked what I wanted to do, and installed the software.

May never know why the other one didn't work in this computer, when it worked on my HP laptop - but either way, no care now - this one works on both computers plug-and-play...and it cost me nothing since it was all Dell Rewards that paid for it.  Extra cherry on top!

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Sounds all good!

 

I upgraded my laptop a few weeks ago to a Dell Vostro i9/ 9th gen, Nvida geforce video card (first video card) with 6gb, 16GB ram, 512g Solidstate drive.

 

What an improvement.  I may even get to like photo editing, well probably not.  Still trying to get Granddaughter interested 🙂

 

Ken

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Back to the original story...

 

 

The Ryzen 3900X is now regularly in stock and the gouging seems to be over since it is listed at the $499 MSRP. PCIE Gen4 drives are pretty common and price competition is starting to appear. 

 

But...

 

While I am still sorely tempted to give the AMD route a try, I have to admit I am apparently an Intel snob and every little negative that pops up about someone's AMD build launches red flares into the sky and sends me running for cover. Some of the snobbery is based on my usage profile. I simply can't come up with a reason for needing 4 more cores. Single threaded processes still run faster on the i7-9700 and i9-9900 CPUs and the difference between benchmarks on multi-thread processes is smaller than one would think. I could always go with a stupid-expensive 32-core Ryzen Threadripper, but that would be an upgrade to my ego, not my PC.

 

It looks like I will be passing on the PCIe Gen4 and going with a i7-9700K or i9-9900K and 32GB of RAM on a TBD (will probably stick with Asus) motherboard with a Z390 chipset. The drive layout will remain the same with a 1TB boot drive, 1TB working drive and the 512GB dedicated TEMP and cache file drive will now be 1TB since there is only about a $50 difference and TBW longevity follows capacity with 1TB rated at 2X a 512GB drive. I don't feel it is a waste of space since it can be used to store downloaded install packages, plugins and other clutter. Long term storage will be a 4GB hard drive or maybe 6-8GB if I can find a sale. 

 

Graphics will be an Nvidia RTX2070 Super 8GB (probably Asus as well). More than enough for my editing needs and I'll save the difference between that and a top-end card for next year's new Xbox.

 

The Thermaltake Floe Triple Riing liquid CPU cooler I bought earlier has adapters for both Intel and AMD, so no issue there. Power requirements are about the same so it won't matter that it's too late to return the Seasonic Focus Plus 750w Platinum PSU.

 

Decisions mostly made!

 

Time to track down good pricing and place orders!

 

 

Dave

 

 

 

 

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I'll be very interested to find out what your final tally will be price-wise with your build, as it seems it will actually have quite a similar stat and features as my store-bought unit.  Not everything of course, but very similar on RAM, drives, cooling, etc - seeing just how much you can save if you're willing (and able) to build it all yourself.

I know I'm not able, nor willing, so I don't mind paying the additional amount - any attempt to build my own system would probably cause a blackout in my city and make my cat glow in the dark and maybe end up inadvertently hacking into the local bank...if it even turned on at all...because I wouldn't have the first clue what I was doing!

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Patience is a virtue and seemingly it is also a good way to save money. Just picked up 32GB of low-latency DDR4-3200 for $149 on what I thought was a lightning deal from Amazon. Turns out it is just the new pricing since the worldwide DRAM shortage has softened up. This was over $300 when I first started pricing parts. Need more memory? Might be a good time.

 

Black Friday usually does well for upgrade stuff like drives. Not so much for core components like motherboards. It look like I have finally settled on the drive layout. I'll use a pair of M.2 NVME drives with a 1TB unit for boot, programs and TEMP. For working files that are in current usage like MS Office stuff for home and of course, imported images in process with their attendant catalogs, I'll use another 1TB drive. Hard drives are dropping in price and I can probably get an 8TB unit to hold the bulk of my processed images and archived documents for around $150 or less. That will leave me a ton of space if I ever decide to shoot video or get an A7rIV 🙂. After the computer is done, I'll start shopping for a home NAS (network attached storage) to replace or maybe augment my plug-in USB drives for more secure backup.

 

Moving along.

 

 

Dave

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Dave, a question... I see you're going to store archives and images on a spinner. Just curious when you think it might be late in the game to use older drives, and I'm sure you have a bucket full, to use as backing up data. I'm currently using 3 older drives for that put into external boxes. One is ~7yo, the others 3. Is the error checking tool in W7 adequate to run a real test with? I suspect the $150 you'll spend on the spinner is a good investment for long term storage. Mind sharing what brand and model?

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I actually retire my drives fairly soon after the typical 5-year life span. The Mean Time Between Failure stats assume the drives are replaced on a regular basis as they exceed the recommended life span which is usually 5 years or so (the warranty span is often a good indication of expected life span plus a couple of years). A typical MTBF of 1M hours if taken literally would assume the drive would last for over 100 years of continuous running.

 

Spinning drives are still the $/GB champs by far and while storing data on SSDs is potentially a good long term solution with few writes after the initial archive, large hard drives are far more economical and for the most part, very reliable.

 

I am looking at the Seagate Barracuda 8TB which is a 5400 RPM desktop oriented drive. Since it will be used for storage, I didn't feel the need to go with a 7200 RPM model. 

 

To check your drives, CrystalDiskMark is very thorough. Their CrystalDiskInfo is much more detailed than the windows utility for Win7 (please update to Win 10 😉). I included a link to CrystalDiskMark's original site because it is listed on a ton of download sites and my trust levels are pretty low these days.

 

Another note: When retiring a drive, don't simply toss it. Make sure it is unreadable for personal security reasons. Your tax docs, contacts and other valuable data can still be recovered from a simple reformat. I thought about investing in a copy of WipeDrive that does a sector by sector blanking of the drive that renders data unrecoverable (much like the now infamous BleachBit), but since I was not going to reuse them or pass along an old drive to feed someone else's problems, I found a couple of good whacks with a 5 lb sledge hammer does a pretty good job of rendering a drive unreadable.

 

Dave

 

Edited by pierces
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Around here we use HDDs and cell phone for target practice. I'll most likely update this now improved desktop to W10 when I can get some replacements for software that does not play with W10. I'm able to run this W7 desktop in XP VM to run those old pesky 8 bit programs that so far, I've not found anything to replace them. But still looking. Thanks for the link.

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1 hour ago, masterdrago said:

Around here we use HDDs and cell phone for target practice. 

 

That will work just fine. I like it. Lends new meaning to "this old drive is shot..."

 

I may have to pack "retirement candidates" next time I visit my son in Houston.

 

 

Dave

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7 hours ago, pierces said:

 

That will work just fine. I like it. Lends new meaning to "this old drive is shot..."

 

I may have to pack "retirement candidates" next time I visit my son in Houston.

 

 

Dave

Next time you're in H-town, give me a heads up. Would love to buy you a cup of Jove. I'm usually reachable on that gee ml thing. masterdrago plus the number fiftytwo. We're up on lake conroe.

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This patience thing is paying off!

 

After checking for the latest pricing on AMD, you know...just in case, I found the 3900x to be either out of stock or $200 over MSRP. As a result, I had a look at the Intel side and found that my good friends (might be able to claim them as dependents) at Amazon have the Asus ROG Strix Z390-E motherboard for $60 off on a Black Friday deal. Awesome motherboard with Bluetooth 5.0,  two channel wi-fi capable of over 1GB/s transfers as well as dedicated intel Gigabit ethernet that requires very little CPU involvement. I'm not an overclocker but it has exceptionally stable power control to support extreme overclocking which translates to exceptionally stable power for conservative types like me. The main PCIe slots are reinforced to support the sort of large, heavy graphics cards you would use with this level of gaming motherboard and the two m.2 SSD mounts have heat-sinks in case your SSD doesn't. Higher-end than I was planning on but ended up costing the same as the compromise board I was looking at.

 

It will be here in a few days, so it looks like I have finally made the decision I have been avoiding for the last three months. I will officially be building an Intel machine to carry me into the 2020s.

 

Graphics card and CPU are the only big items left, along with the storage HD and working SSD.

 

Might be worth another quick scan through the lightning deals....

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

 

Dave

 

 

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On 11/28/2019 at 10:14 AM, pierces said:

This patience thing is paying off!

 

<snip>

 

Graphics card and CPU are the only big items left, along with the storage HD and working SSD.

 

Might be worth another quick scan through the lightning deals....

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

 

Dave

 

 

Only a few things remain??  I've just so much enjoyed learning from your work, experience and dedication to sharing the build. When I read that line, I just chuckled.... So when are we all taking bets on completion date? Took me over two years to put together the things I wanted in our pontoon boat.  🙂

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On 11/29/2019 at 9:20 AM, masterdrago said:

Only a few things remain??  I've just so much enjoyed learning from your work, experience and dedication to sharing the build. When I read that line, I just chuckled.... So when are we all taking bets on completion date? Took me over two years to put together the things I wanted in our pontoon boat.  🙂

 

Probably January.

 

I really never expected this project to last a year. All the rumors of new tech, the wait for reviews and assessments after it all hit the market and the intervening DIY kitchen remodel turned this from the usual walk in the park to a marathon. December will be busy with a cruise and holiday travel, so I'm not going to have time to concentrate on it until after the first of the year.

 

On the bright side, I got another year out of the old machine!

 

Dave

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Early Cyber Monday at Amazon. Found a 6TB, 5400 RPM Barracuda for $109. Spinny storage, check!

 

Was waffling between 4TB and 8TB, both of which had $10 to $20 off on sale. The shopping math worked out to doubling the sum of the savings on the 4TB and 8TB drives and averaging their capacity. $60 off on the 6TB was the answer!

 

Note to self. Build future new computers between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

 

 

Dave

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  • 2 weeks later...

Dave

 

You put the upgrade bug in me and after speeding hours reading reviews and specs I bought an ASUS

AMD AM4 ROG Strix X570-E, w/AMD RYZEN 9 3900X 12-Core , G.SKILL Trident Z Neo (For AMD Ryzen) Series 32GB (4 x 8GB)DDR43200, Patriot Viper Gaming VP4100 M.2 2280 1TB PCIe Gen4 x4, NVMe 1.3

 

Reason 8-SATA plus two M.2 Gen4X4 slots, all fully usable.  Front USB3.2 gen2 + 2-gen1 usb3 ports. 

It will be water cooled using a Corsair Hydro Series H100i PRO 240mm.  I never thought I would get the AMD but it just made sense.  I did get the 3900X for $499.  It was bought 1st when I could snag it.  

 

For now my old case, 750wPS and 1080 Nvidia GTX1080 video card will be used with the new.  I also have several 6GB SATA drives that will be transfered into the new system. 

 

So, thanks Dave for making me spend my hard earn SS check this month.  So much for the wife's xmas gift this year...

 

framer

 

 

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Even worse for some of us.  After buying my new Alienware desktop a month or two before Christmas...I ended up seeing a Black-Friday deal on an HP ultrabook laptop, and though I don't use it heavily, my current laptop convertible is 6 years old and has a 10" screen - it was just time to update it...so that's now on its way to me.  But wait, there's more...last week when the price dropped on the Sony A6600 camera by $200, knowing it was already going to be the replacement for my A6300...I jumped on the offer and bought that too.  Christmas is looking amazing for gifts for me this year - though unfortunately I've paid for them all myself!  And the Sony 200-600mm lens is still calling out to me each night as I try to sleep, so I'm trying to resist the temptation for at least a month longer so I can go buy everyone ELSE Christmas gifts first and not set my credit card on fire from overuse.

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You guys are just killing me. I updated this old W7Pro64 desktop to 16G RAM and replaced the 500G HDD with a 1T SSD a few month back. And at the insistence of some on this group, might consider a W10 upgrade next month. And earlier this year bought a new Dell laptop capable of editing HVEC video (really nice touch screen and screaming performance). So this Christmas, I walked past all the putr deals but could not resist upgrading my 20+yo Sig P229 DA/SA Select Compact to the new P229 Legion Compact SAO. Feels right. Merry Christmas to me.

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I offer only congratulations and no apologies!

 

Except maybe to Justin. He may have actually slipped a cog in the ol' chain drive.

 

And someone had to mention the other hobby. My 20+ year old G22 has been asking me to let its G40 Gen4 MOS cousin move in for a while now and I may have to break down and clear a spot in the safe. I can probably use the place where all the money used to be.

 

Merry Christmas y'all!

 

 

Dave

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Last minute sale on 1 TB SSD. Both M.2 drives and the spinner are checked off now. CPU and GPU are seemingly in short supply, so I'm back to watching and waiting.

 

I really hadn't planned this but when I moved the parts to a different location this morning, I noticed that the heatsinks on the memory and on the SSDs are red and match my case. Too bad it will be hidden from sight!

 

Dave

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Getting to be an expensive week!

 

The memory I ordered a while back came on sale again for $20 less than the great price I found before. As a result of a moment of tech-geek weakness, I guess I'll be posting some data on how Lightroom and Photoshop behave with 64GB of RAM.

 

Still feeling pretty good about building my own machine now that the pricing for the Mac Pro is out. $6K to start and up to $52k for all the bells and whistles. Granted $52k gives you a ridiculous amount of RAM (1.5TB), a 4TB SSD, a 28-core Xeon and two workstation class video cards, but really? I obviously don't do anything with a computer that needs anything close to that kind of hardware and I'm not even sure I can think of who would. Maybe rendering CGI animation graphics or something to do with video processing? If someone needs it and can afford it, good on them! I'm pretty happy down here at the $2K-ish range.

 

I have been doing more reading triggered by the availability of the RTX2070 Super cards and the typical $100 less for a top-end AMD 5700X unit. The last AMD (ATI) card I had was a Diamond Viper back around the turn of the century and it left me with a bad taste when it overheated and died one warm summer day. Research of reviews (both user and "pro") indicate that while the new Radeon cards don't melt solder like the Viper did, thermal throttling is common and almost all the configurations from various manufacturers run hot and loud under a load. Based on this latest exercise, I still plan on going with the ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER when the supply and pricing hopefully stabilizes after the Christmas season.

 

Another track I followed was on the subject of i7-9700 vs. i9-9900 performance in Photoshop and Lightroom. Now that the Gen9 chips have been out there for a while, there are some fairly informative benchmark tests on the subject. Puget Systems had detailed comparisons for both Lightroom and Photoshop and the results are giving me pause on spending the extra $100 or so for the i9. Head-to-head in Photoshop, the i9 was only about 4% faster than the i7 and in Lightroom, the results were even closer. Since both CPUs have 8 cores with the i9 adding 8 virtual cores with hyperthreading, this supports my earlier research indicating that while the Adobe products use multiple cores, they don't make much use of hyperthreading. The difference in performance is very close to the specs for the chips' small variance in maximum operating frequency. I may have saved myself some money since the main use of the computer doesn't include heavy duty gaming where the i9 pulls away from the i7 a bit more. I can put that hunnert in the cookie jar in anticipation of next year's Xbox One Series X! 😉 

 

I may start putting the pieces together this weekend to check things like clearance for the graphics card with the cooler in place. Unless, of course, my true love gives to me a Barbie Dream House to assemble for the granddaughter on the weekend before Christmas.

 

 

Dave

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Been setting up the new x570 build today.  I just loaded XPlane11 in and turned everything to MAX.  My old i7 4thgen would not be usable even with my Nvidia 1080.  Using the same 1080 with the settings maxed out it cruised at 40fps.  Wow, it looked wonderful.  XPlane11 IMHO is a good test because  you need serious computer power plus a great graphic card to run good.

 

I can't wait to try huge pano stiching in photoshop. 

 

I spend around $1200 and reused the rest of my old system.  I had to buy just the CPU, MB, NVME drive, and 32GB memory.

I had a good case, PS, water cooler, a couple of 6TB SATA HD's, 

 

framer

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I love Amazon!

 

But B&H had the unlocked i7-9700K on sale for $359 ($30 off) and that included a copy of the Red Dead Redemption video game. 

 

One.

 

More.

 

Piece.

 

To.

 

Go.

 

I did a little math and with the CPU, I have about $1600 in the build so far. The Graphics card will be a bit less than $600 making the total about $2200 plus various tax. I may not be able to transfer my copy of Win10 Pro to the new machine (OEM version is non-transferrable). I may have to just bite the bullet and spring for a new retail copy which can be transferred. 

 

So. The final list is:

 

Intel i7-9700k CPU

ASUS ROG Strix Z390-E Gaming Motherboard

ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER 8GB graphics card

2 x XPG GAMMIX 1TB S11 Pro NVME M.2 SSD (One for boot and one for working files)

Seagate BarraCuda 6TB Internal Hard Drive - 5400 RPM ( Images after editing, archived documents, downloaded installs, etc.)

64GB Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 3200 MHz DDR4 DRAM (4x16GB)

Thermaltake Floe Triple Riing RGB 360mm Liquid Cooling System for CPU

Seasonic FOCUS Plus 750 Platinum 750W Power Supply

Thermaltake Core P3 ATX Computer Case Chassis, Open Frame

 

Looks like I'll pick up the Graphics card over the holiday break and finish up this unintentionally year-long project. 

 

Dave

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