It’s that time again! New Computer Build

One of the most cathartic things I ever do is build a new computer. As someone who uses their computer for work and playI try and update it every 3 years or so. My last build was at the start of 2016, but I began nabbing components for the build in 2015. This year I’m focused on cooling and airflow, as after AMD’s CES 2019 keynote I ended up getting the Intel i9-9900k which runs hot, I’m testing out air cooling for the CPU first, but may end up with water cooling down the line.

My design\build considerations this year:

  1. Mid tower case instead of a full height. I rarely\never use the front slots in a full tower case and because of their size, I have to keep them under my desk which captures a lot of hot air during peak loads. I still feel that a full tower gives you the most options for optimally cooling your system but you need to take into consideration the final placement of the case, if it’s trapped under a desk barely bigger then it is your choking your cooling solution.
  2. I’m making the switch from an TN based gaming monitor to an IPS. TN panels are optimal for gaming as their refresh rates and input lag crazy low. But I find that TN panels are washed out overall and don’t give good color reproduction. IPS has scared me for a while with bad input lag, but now they are 4ms Gray to Gray and I find IPS panels much easier on my eyes while programming. If your a developer working long hours at the same screen, it matters, get yourself a good IPS panel. So far in Destiny 2 I don’t know any difference in input lag with the IPS panel.
  3. Air cooling? So this will be my first built without water cooling in probably 10 years, maybe longer. I got one of the silver custom loop water cooling builds when they first came out and sat on top of your PC case. Since then I’ve always had water cooling. But this year I’m giving air cooling a chance and if it doesn’t work I’ll end up buying a Corsair Hydro cooler.
  4. No graphic card this year, cuz Nivida is awful. I mean for a 2080 Ti the cost is around $1,500 bucks, that’s insane. I’m holding out hope that the AMD Radeon 7’s will be solid enough to push the market down a tad and that once they are released there will be some overclocked editions that will push into 2080 Ti territory. I don’t care at all about Ray Tracing and no one I talk do does either, so not having that support is just fine with me.
  5. Asus seems to be cheaping out without lowering the price. I decided against an Asus motherboard this year, first time in a long, long time, due to the cheap VRM’s they are throwing into their motherboards. Gigabyte ran away with motherboard build quality this year so it was a no brainer to make a switch. My thoughts is Asus is such a big brand they can just sell product on their name alone, hopefully, they realize that’s not the case.

Part 2015 Component Cost 2019 Component Cost
Monitor Dell Gaming Monitor S2716DG 1440p 27” $599 Asus ROG PG279Q 1440p IPS 27” $795
Case CM Stryker $179 CM MasterCase H500M $209
Primary HDD Intel 750 SSD 400GB PCIe 3.0 MLC $399 Samsung 970PRO 1TB m.2 NVMe $377
Dev HDD Samsung 850 Evo 500GB m.2 $194 Samsung 970PRO 512GB NVMe $169
Data HDD WD Black 3TB $149 WD Back 6TB $229
Optical LG Super Multi Blue Internal 16x $49 N/A N/A
PSU Seasonic 1050 Platinum $209 Seasonic Price 1000 Titanium $259
CPU Intel Core i7-6700K $399 Intel Core i9-9900K $499
CPU Cooler Corsair Hydro H110i $139 Noctua NH-D15 $89
Motherboard Asus Z170-Deluxe $389 Gigabyte Z390 AORUS Master $349
RAM Patriot Viper 3000Mhz C16 32GB $249 G.Skill TridentZ RGB C14D 32GB $419
Graphics Card Nvidia GeForce 1080 Ti $799 –> –>
Totals $3,753 $4,193

Seeming I didn’t buy a graphics card this year I just carried over the cost. But you can find some good deals on 1080 Ti’s still out there and really good deals on used ones, so you could easily half that price. So some lessons learned here just on the build, generally, the cost of the class of item has gone up. For example, the 3TB to 6TB HDD’s would be around the same class of storage and capacity but the price is $80 higher. My thoughts here are is pricing still hasn’t stabilized after the Crypto ‘gold rush’ and I doubt they will drop much lower, manufacturers are now getting more money as that reset the market so they don’t really need to lower prices. It wasn’t just graphics cards that saw a jump in prices, every part of the computer component industry saw a jump as you needed all the components to run those graphics cards.

Some parts, like the Seasonic PSU are up due to the trade war between the US and China, they adjusted pricing once the tariffs came out. I’ve been buying Seasonic PSU’s for as long as I can remember and they are always gold, never cheap out on your PSU and always buy more wattage then you need.

I’ll be working on putting most of the system together over the weekend, barring any delivery delays and if I find anything unusual I’ll write a blog post about it. Happy System building!

About: Shawn Jackson

I’ve spent the last 18 years in the world of Information Technology on both the IT and Development sides of the aisle. I’m currently a Software Engineer for Paylocity. In addition to working at Paylocity, I’m also the Founder of Resgrid, a cloud services company dedicated to providing logistics and management solutions to first responder organizations, volunteer and career fire departments, EMS, ambulance services, search and rescue, public safety, HAZMAT and others.