EVALUATING UPGRADE OPTIONS IN DECEMBER 2019
I've had this PC for over two years at this point. I've made some generally positive and incremental upgrades that have improved my PC experience tremendously. I think a new build would be largely unnecessary at this point (or at least I'd need a bit more cash to make it worth it). With that said, it's time to assess what components need to be upgraded as a road map into the future.
Ryzen 5 1600 (@3.7 GHz): This processor is still going strong, though I've had to increase the voltage to maintain my (moderate) overclock. Still running it well within spec, though. As I've been editing higher quality and higher resolution footage, this processor has been struggling to keep up to some extent. Playback of 4k video in Premiere can be rough at times. Part of my rationale in choosing AMD was the option to ugrade to Ryzen 3000 or Ryzen 4000 if supported, to a chip with more cores. Given my financial (and mobo) situation, the 3700X would be a worthy upgrade. The 3900X would be interesting to pair with a cheap B350 board, but not feasible for the moment. Upgrade? Yes. To what? 3700X.
Wraith Spire Cooler: This cooler is still adequate, but I keep my PC in my bedroom and it's noticable at night. I seek Noctua and her dulcet tones. Upgrade? Yes. To what? Noctua NH-U9S
MSI B350 Tomahawk: Glad I didn't go A320. B350 is not all that and a bag of potato chips. It still functions well and I don't think it warrants an upgrade at this stage (probably not until PCIe Gen 4 is relatively mainstream). X570 is well out of my price range, but the upgrade to B450 would put my heart at ease. Nonetheless, I can't justify it at present. Upgrade? No.
Corsair Vengeance LPX 2x8 GB: I have never run out of RAM with this configuration. Ugrade? No.
Samsung 960 Evo: The 960 is an overkill boot drive. It's not much more than a boot drive. It's feasible to do some editing with it, but surprise surprise, the leftovers of a 250GB drive aren't sufficient to store large 4K projects. That said, I have external SSDs are are sufficient for such projects, so this doesn't call for an immediate ugrade. Ugrade? No.
Mass Storage: I have exhausted my four SATA ports. I have external drives growing out of my USB ports like weeds. Woe is me. I should consolidate this into a pair of internal 3GB drives and the necessary backups. This will come at a price, but I fear I must do it soon. Fortunately, I haven't seen any drive failures, so that's something. Upgrade? Yes. To what? 2x WD/Seagate 3TB HDDs at 7200RPM
Sapphire Radeon RX 580 Pulse: I love this card. I do not love one of its fans which chirps like a cricket. I will keep the card. I will kill the cricket. Ugrade? Just the defective fan. To what? A new fan.
Corsair Carbide 100R: I would not build in this case again. I will not part with this case for now. It does the trick, and my temps are high, but within spec. And for this I thank it: My PC is not as loud as it could be. It get's dusty though, it could do with some evened air pressure. Upgrade? Slightly. How so? Add a case fan.
Corsair CX 500W: My parts are stronger. My parts need sustenance. My parts want for juice and sometimes, when I'm not looking, my parts throw a temper tantrum when they don't get it. I should buy some juice. Ugrade? Yes. To what? 700W PSU.
TP-Link W-NIC: This card is good. This card is fine. Should I upgrade? No. Not this time. Ugrade? No.
UPGRADES AS OF DECEMBER 2019
1.5 TB WD Green (7200 RPM): It's just another drive with a bit more speed than the ones I had.
GTX 1050 -> RX 580: This is an obvious improvement, made possible with the substantial drop in graphics card prices. Bought this one used. It's pretty nifty. Better than an equivalent GTX 1060 3GB for my use case because of the extra GB of VRAM, which is useful in Davinci Resolve.
Corsair Vengeance LPX 2x4GB -> Corsair Vengeance LPX 2x8GB: This got swapped out when shuffling some parts around. Good upgrade. Swapping out RAM instead of adding gives greater headroom.
This is my first build, with video editing as its primary purpose, and gaming secondary (hence the balance of the CPU and graphics card).
Ryzen 5 1600 (OC'd to 3.7 GHz): Ryzen was the obvious choice when I bought parts given its multicore speeds. I initially planned to buy a Ryzen 7 and repurpose an old GT 220 in the short term, but I decided that a bit of balance would be a good idea. Video editing is very smooth on this, though I occasionally have to turn the preview down to 1/2 or 1/4 quality depending on what effects I have active. It hasn't been a bottleneck for gaming since I tend to play less intensive games.
MSI B350 Tomahawk: I wanted to go with a full ATX board for its PCI-e slots. At first I planned on going with the MSI B350 PC Mate since it's essentially the same as the Tomahawk besides aesthetics (and I didn't want a case with a side panel window), but costs less. It turned out that it's functionally the same price for me because of merchant availability and shipping charges, so I went with the Tomahawk since it was available locally and I prefer to deal with warranty issues in person. I had the usual Ryzen chipset issues at first but after a BIOS flash, it's functioning perfectly.
Corsair Vengeance LPX 2x4GB: I initially intended on installing 16GB, and still plan on doing so, but I've found 8GB to be reasonably sufficient so far. This 3000 MHz kit was cheaper than the equivalent 2400 kit for some reason, and it's overclocked to 2933 MHz without issue.
Samsung 960 EVO 250GB: Boot drive. A bit over the top, but useful in editing large video files. This is the first PC I've had that's actually booted from an SSD, so it's pretty neat.
1TB WD Green drives: I had these lying around.
GTX 1050: Most of the games I play run at ultra settings, at a smooth 60FPS at 1080p with this card. I considered buying a 1050 Ti over this, but this has a very solid build quality and the only Tis at reasonably comparable prices do not. A key consideration for this part was dual monitor support for my editing workspace, and this card's 3 HDMI outs makes it very suitable, another advantage of this card over some of the low-end 1050 Tis. It's also better than than the old GT 220...
Corsair Carbide 100R Silent Edition: I'm very happy with all my decisions to this point, but the 100R Silent edition is an exception. Not that I don't like it - it's pretty sleek and does what it needs to do, but has insufficient cable management space (I have to force the back panel on), and rubber grommets on the cable management holes would be nice. I will definitely look to something a bit roomier in future (though this is the first time I've really done cable management inside a PC, so my inexperience may have made the problem worse).
Corsair CX500 PSU: I do regret this decision, though the PSU performs fine. Had I known how little the cable sleeves do to improve aesthetics, I would have spent more to get something semi-modular with black cables. Not that it matters too much since the case has no window, but it bugs me knowing that the cables look like that inside. That said, it was at a good price and has kept my system running perfectly, so it's not a big deal.
TP-Link 802.11n Wireles NIC: This isn't the best or fastest adapter out there, but the network it's connected to isn't the fastest either. It's functional.
To summarise, I'm pretty happy with the build overall, and it does its job well. My biggest issue is cable management, but I've learned my lesson on that front for future builds.
Great value processor that overclocks nicely on great value boards with the stock cooler. Very solid performance, to boot.
Good board, great value at the right price. M.2 and crossfire support are very nice, but you definitely need a BIOS update to get maximum performance out of your PC. The one thing I'm not a fan of is that it only has 4 SATA ports, which is probably more relevant to my own use case than that of anybody I know.
Fantastic speeds for regular Windows tasks, absolute overkill for games, and very nice for dealing with video files.
It's aesthetically clean, but really requires higher-end PSU cables for smooth cable management than its price would suggest.
Definitely solid, will handle pretty much any moderate, single GPU system with ease. It'll just do it while looking really ugly.