Hello Again! It's My First 100% New Build in 12 Years (but still as "over-the-top" as ever!)

Markyip2

n00b
Joined
Jun 28, 2020
Messages
2
Hello again! It's been a very long time since I've been active in this hobby, or in this forum for that matter! So long in fact, that I've forgotten both the password and the e-mail address for my old account on [H]ardForum. Alas, I used to be quite active in General Hardware, with over 1,000 posts. My moniker was Markyip1.

Back then, I realized due to a career shift that I wouldn't have the time to partake in this hobby anymore. So I built an ultimate "swan-song" rig, which consisted of:
  • Intel Core i7 990x
  • 24GB RAM
  • 2x nVIDIA GTX-460s in SLI
  • 256 SATA-III SSD
This all sat on an ASUS Rampage III Black, which was (until now) the best motherboard I've ever owned. It was rock solid, feature packed, and was a great platform for overclocking. I even had a top-notch custom built water loop (this was before AIOs existed,) which I ultimately got rid of because it was a pain-in-the-rear to maintain while hopping apartments in NYC and then moving cross country, and I didn't have the time for custom loops.

For general use, software development with lots of VMs, RAW photo image editing, and gaming--my 6-core 990X held up terrifically well. It's the first computer that I replaced not because I wanted more performance (it's still fine today--in all honestly) but because certain parts--like the 12 year old power-supply--were starting to go. The only changes made in nearly 10 years since the ASUS Rampage III Black and the 990X were getting rid of the water-loop not long after building the PC, and then upgrading the 460s to a single GTX-970 some years later. I also got rid of the 256GB SSD and put in a Samsung 850 1TB drive 5 or 6 years ago, and have been running the same install of Windows 10 ever since.

I decided a new PC was on the horizon when my 14 year old monitor, a Dell Ultrasharp 2407, went on the fritz during the holidays last year. Being the holidays, and thanks to a good deal at Microcenter, I was able to snag an ASUS PG27UQ for about $1000 (which is half-off the 4K, HDR10, 144mhz G-Sync behemoth!) Of course, the GTX-970 wasn't going to do well with it, so I took the savings from the monitor deal and picked up an RTX-2080 TI to go with it. Now many would laugh at putting an RTX-2080 TI into an X58-era system, but I have to say, it worked well enough with games like the Witcher 3 cruising at about 60 fps with all settings maxed, and next-gen beauties like Control working great as well with all the eye-candy (with DLSS on--the only caveat.) To be honest, I'd still be using the system (and dealing with failures and replacements one-by-one) if it weren't for COVID... I still don't have the time to re-engage in the hobby like I used to, but with travel on hold, I do have the time to build a second "swan-song" to last me through the 2020s (and beyond.) So, with the story laid out, here is what I've built:

-CPU: AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X (I was debating on the 3970x but didn't want the hassle of having to micro-manage core usage for games.)
-
Mobo: ASUS Zenith II Extreme Alpha (An easy choice, given how well the Rampage III Black served me.)
-
RAM: 128GB (4x32GB) Corsair Vengeance RGB - rated 3600mhz @ CAS 18 (it works well set to DOCP/XMP settings, with F-Clock set to 1800mhz. All voltages auto.)
-GPU: EVGA RTX-2080 TI FTW Ultra 3 (bought this with the monitor in December)
-SSDs: 2x WD Black SN750 NVMe 2 TB (considerably cheaper than the 970 EVOs at MicroCenter for the 2 TB models)
-Cooler: NZXT Kraken Z73 All-In-One (why have one (O)LED screen inside the case when you can have two?)
-Case: Lian Li PC-011 Dynamic XL (I love this... so much nicer than the Corsair 800D it's replacing.)
-PSU: EVGA SuperNOVA 1600 T2 (overkill, yes, but this is the only PSU above 650 watts Microcenter had in stock, and they price matched to $100 cheaper.)
-
Fans: 1x Corsair ML-120 white LED for the rear, 6x Corsair ML-120s RGBs for the side and bottom.

And carried over from my last PC:

-SSD 3: Samsung 850 EVO SATA-III 1TB SSD
-SSD 4: Crucial MX550 SATA-III 2TB SSD
-Optical: An ASUS Blu-Ray (UHD friendly) drive (which I had to put into an external enclosure...)

Plus, my mouse and keyboard, and backup drives, and headset.

And to close, here are my preliminary thoughts:

- It's a beast! I'm very pleased with its performance. In Lightroom classic, I was able to build both smart previews and 1:1 previews for about 1200 photos (taken off an external 7200RPM HHD) in about 2 minutes. Per Windows task manager, Lightroom was using all cores effectively. (Although I don't know if Windows Task Manager reports accurately.)

- It runs hot! I've spent a lot of time researching the Zen 2 Threadripper cooling situation. I certainly don't mind custom loops, but they're not a consideration because I don't have the time. I have a Noctua as a backup, but so far the NZXT is fine. I don't have PBO on, but with the RAM running at rated specs, I have the Infinity-Fabric overclocked and everything is stable and the system is cool enough and much quieter than my old build. (CPU runs at 40s-50s idle, and 70s-80s under load... 85c is the absolute peak.) Too bad about the Enermax coolers being junky... doesn't seem that there is a best-case solution for those who don't want to go custom loop.

- And lastly, UEFI is different! (So this is showing my lack of engagement over the last decade.) This is my first UEFI computer (except for my Macbook Pro.) When I first turned on the computer, it posted into the BIOS and everything looked fine. However, when I booted with the Windows 10 CD, I noticed that the computer would hang on the ROG logo and the Zenith's OLED screen was stuck at detecting HDD. Needless to say, I thought there was a hardware problem. Turns out, the hardware was fine... The copy of Windows on the CD was so old it didn't know what to do with NVME drives! All I needed to do was boot from a newer Windows 10 build. What I didn't realize is that on this board, through some UEFI magic I assume, the ASUS logo takes the place of the Windows logo through the boot process... that's what threw me off!

That's all I have for now... looking forward to a decade or more of service from this great machine! Thanks for reading!
 

sinisterDei

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Dec 1, 2004
Messages
1,221
First off, congrats!

I don't know if Windows Task Manager reports accurately.
It does! It can be quite a light show on many-core machines as well, assuming you set Task Manager to show logical processors instead of a single overall graph.

It runs hot!
Indeed. Part of this is because of the physical size of the TR/Epyc CPUs relative to the size of the generic AIO coldplates. Unless the coldplate is specifically designed with TR4 CPUs in mind, the circular design will not fully cover the entire CPU IHS which certainly doesn't help the cooling situation. If you want cooler temps and don't want to go custom loop, you could seriously consider air cooling. Both Noctua and Be Quiet have specific TR4 socket air coolers with mounting plates that better match the TR4 socket than any AIO currently on the market does (to my knowledge).

the ASUS logo takes the place of the Windows logo through the boot process
Yep! You can even change the logo on some UEFI instances, and if you're willing to 'hack' it (read: use a utility) you can also change it that way. Not that I'm advocating that, just a funny tidbit.

Beast of a machine!
 
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