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  • Opal: I’m building a new PC

    Home » Forums » AskWoody blog » Opal: I’m building a new PC

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    #2381186

    HARDWARE DIY By Will Fastie Hardware for the future. Windows made me do it. I wasn’t expecting to need a new computer just yet. My current PC is a bit
    [See the full post at: Opal: I’m building a new PC]

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    • #2381236

      Brand new operating system should not have such needy hardware requirements. Its not a operating system, its a environment, that lets you use your PC and at the same time its used for marketing, selling things and stalking its users.
      Windows is lucky, that it has such successfull past. They are lucky, that developpers keep developing in the legacy that is contained inside Windows. Recent Windows feature updates are just cosmetical – Windows 11 is a “skin” for older Windows 10. As a programmer I know, how comlicated is, if you come with stable release and you keep adding functions to that.

      If they require TPM, which I consider as reasonable, they should tell users why they require to have it. Is it really hard to write a paragraph, how TPM really works? And show that paragraph to users, that are told that their PC does not meet the requirement?

      4 GB RAM for alone “OS”? Thats 128 milion integer values. But RAM are cheap, I can live with that.
      22 GB taken after Windows is installed? Clean Ubuntu takes 3.2 GB.
      Internet connection and Microsoft Account needed for running Home version? Thanks, BigBrother.

      https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/windows-11-specifications

      And still the most important part (SSD) is not mentioned.

      Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 20H2 Enterprise

      HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

      PRUSA i3 MK3S+

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2381586

        Hey,

        I have a clone and a sony vaio, both are not meeting the requirements due to the CPU.

        It’s not supoorted, I wonder how many are there which CPU in their machines are not eligable for Windos 911?

        It’s a disaster, if you ask me…

        greetings from flanders

         

    • #2381207

      Will Fastie’s article is rather above me but I have the same problem in having a replacement Desktop computer specified and built for me.  His article doesn’t mention what ports and connections he will be including on the front and back of his box.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2381308

      Will,  I have built one in the past and recently had one built by Digital Storm.  I love it, and yes it has a lightshow.  I use it differently than you do so I will have different components, but I wonder why not get an i7 instead of an i5?  Wouldn’t it would better future proof the rig from the inevitable speed bottlenecks that come from more and more bloated code.

      Good luck.

      • #2381394

        I was the anonymous author.  I am doing this post so that I can see replies.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2381346

      … what ports and connections he will be including on the front and back of his box.

      Ports on the rear are defined by the motherboard. Check the pictures at the ASUS site.

      Ports on the front are usually defined by the case. Check the pictures at the Be Quiet! site. The motherboard often provides more headers for ports than the case accommodates.

       

       

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2381423

        So why the core-i5 instead of the core-i7? Just curious. I see this question is to be answered in a future installment. Thanks in advance.

        -- rc primak

    • #2381343

      Just rebuilt my 4th or 5th PC (including one for my wife) and upgraded from the ASUS Z190-A MB and Intel I-7 older processor to the ASUS Z590-A and an Intel I7-10700 processor using an older computer case that fits in a side area of my work desk. Upgraded both mine and wife’s so we could get the free Win10 upgrade (not possible on either of our former PCs).

      I’m running the I7-10700 processor at 4.2 GHz (just slightly over-clocked from the standard 3.8 GHz) and had a heat issue with the chip set and the M2 drive. Ended up moving a graphics card (runs a 2nd monitor rather than taxing the built-in graphics) and installed a small 60mm PWM fan directly after the lower case intake fan and directed across the chipset and M2 drive – both cooled down nicely. Probably wouldn’t have had the issue if I could use a larger ATX case and add external fans, but the case I’m using allows only a lower-front intake and a top-back exhaust fan.

      Didn’t have a problem on the computer I built for my wife a few months earlier using the A390-A MB with M2 drive and I-7 processor (not sure which one).

    • #2381349

      Will…

      I really enjoyed your article!  It hit home for me as I’m working through a similar dilemma myself, having not built a new computer since the Sandy Bridge / Ivy Bridge generation of processors.

      The largest hurdle is the lack of front facing 5.25 & 3.5 ports. Guess I too missed the design change along the way.  I use multiple SSD’s to boot different OS’s….some for fun like Hackintosh & Linux distributions, and others for work & pleasure….and each has it’s own SSD.

      In your build, you’ve resorted to having external devices for your optical drive, floppy and external media.  For me, I don’t think that is acceptable to have them lying on the desk…although I do agree it is convenient to take them to other systems.

      I’ve resorted to a “sleeper” system….utilizing an older mid-tower design.  You can still find these cases out there, although this might be (arguably) the most difficult item to find.  Additionally, finding one with 120mm fans (in lieu of 90mm) has been tedious….and RGB is a waste of me.  My current option is the SilverStone Fortress FT02, a case I’ve been enamored with since reading a review on AnandTech a decade ago (couldn’t fit into my budget during my Sandy Lake / Ivy Lake build).

      I too was looking at the Z590 chipset motherboards.  However, all of my planning came to a screeching halt when the announcement broke about the Windows 11 system requirements.  As @doriel stated, I too would have preferred Microsoft to explain why TPM 2.0 is necessary.  I had started picking up components during the summer sales, but now I intend to leave the major components (motherboard, CPU, memory) until the final Windows 11 rolls out….just to be sure all is how it is being described during the beta trials.

      Best wishes on your new system.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2381385

      I don’t think that is acceptable to have them lying on the desk…

      If I was using these devices frequently, I’d agree with you. There was a time when I was dealing with optical discs every day. Now I only need to bring these devices out every so often and thus won’t keep them on the desk. There won’t be any clutter.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2381415

      why not AMD ? It always seemed to be a better bang for the bucks. I built my new one 2 years ago and chose AMD Ryzen. Note USB 3 is VERY fast an eSATA port is nice but I do not miss it on the new computer> Front panel USB 3 and 2 ports will be appreciated. I would add an intake filtered fan or 2 to keep the insides of your new machine all rosey and clean..

      🍻

      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2381416

      I am doing this post so that I can see replies.

      I appreciate that. Anonymity is the bane of the Web.

      … why not get an i7 instead of an i5?

      A good question, and one I address in the next installment.

      When I built Onyx in 2015, I dealt with exactly the same question. My choices at the time were fourth- and fifth-generation processors. I chose fourth. And I think I chose well – the performance of Onyx has been excellent for six years. It’s still hauling the freight for me.

      This time, I felt I needed to be slightly more bleeding edge than is my wont, so I ignored gen-10 and went to gen-11. And, again, I found an i5-series processor that I felt best met my needs.

      Check back with me in five years and we’ll see how well Opal did.

      The processor decision would be much easier if we had some assurance that the LGA1200 socket would persevere. Then if, in mid-life, Opal needed a kick, I could just slip in the 15th-gen processor and some faster RAM. VROOM!

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2381417

      Why not AMD?

      Just stubborn, I guess. I know a lot about Intel and next to nothing about AMD. Worse, I don’t know how to compare AMD to Intel in a reliable, quantitative manner. It’s not bigotry — my wife’s Lenovo Yoga is AMD-powered and we’ve owned non-Intel solutions before.

      I would add an intake filtered fan or 2 to keep the insides of your new machine all rosy and clean.

      More on cooling and filtering coming up in future installments.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2381425

      because my wife won’t let me use her Windows 11–ready Lenovo Yoga, I need a new PC.

      Maybe time for a new wife? 😉

      Seriously, I’m in a different situation. I had originally intended to let my five year old Intel NUC (6th-gen Skylake) coast along until 2022, mid-year, and then reassess the Windows 11 hardware landscape.

      But a month ago the power supply got wonky. Shutdowns and startups weren’t working consistently, and Windows and Ubuntu both could not reliably shut down the PC. Now Linux sound is very dicey, sometimes firing up, sometimes requiring a restart — and still not firing up!

      So I’ve had to bite the bullet and order new hardware before we know exactly what the requirements for Windows 11 may be. I decided to go big, with the Phantom Canyone 11th-gen core-i5 NUC-PC. Immediately I ran into a beta hardware roadblock — the new motherboard design no longer has a dual-USB 2.0 header on it. It’s been split into two 4-pin single-USB 2.0 headers, located on opposite sides of the board. The old Go-Rite NUC USB 2.0 lids only work with an 8-pin, dual-port internal USB 2.0 NUc header. And they have the connecting cable soldered into a circuit board on the underside of the lid.

      So I will use two female USB 2.0 Type A to NUC USB 2.0 4-pin header adapter cables instead. Exactly how to get these cables from the underside of the NUC motherboard to the outside, top side of the NUC case will be an engineering problem, but not insurmountable.

      I’m conservative, with an intense interest in longevity, reliability, and total cost of ownership (TCO). I’ll spend money if it helps achieve my goals. But I’m not interested in shiny objects. I don’t need the PC to be a light show. It’s a tool.

      Me too.

      While my choice does not meet all of Will Fastie’s criteria, it should do just fine for my needs and my usual PC activities. I ordered the NUC without Windows because I have a Windows 10 license from my existing Intel NUC-PC. The old machine will be retired due to the failing power supply. Since SimplyNUC, the shop I am getting it from, offers Ubuntu Linux preinstalled, I’m going with that. I do want something I can test for D.O.A. before going through the process of setting up a new SSD with multiple OSes on it.

      My choice for an SSD is the SSD I already have bought — 1TB SSD from Samsung (EVO 860) which is reliable and a good performer for a SATA m.2 SSD. The 128 GB SSD SimplyNUC is shipping me is PCIE 2 NVME, which would be a faster than the SATA drive, but larger pcie SSDs are very expensive. I should get more than adequate performance from my Samsung SATA SSD. (SimplyNUC insists on having some sort of storage installed.)

      Since everything these days is migrating to USB-C and Thunderbolt, I know I’ll need enclosures and hubs. These can come later. And yes, Will, I have heard of Sabrent. I’ve been using their products for a few years. Very reliable.

      I agree generally about the hyperthreads and speed computations into the figures Will got for the 11th-gen core-i5 processor. I’ll probably get a nice boost in performance over my 6th-gen Skylake processor as well.

      I also agree with Will that the first PC build is the most difficult. After that, it gets easier. This is my second NUC-PC purchase, and they both will have needed some internal mods.

      In about five or six more years, we can compare notes and see who how did well with our new PC builds.

      -- rc primak

    • #2381427

      Most case fans provided by the supplier are sub par. Be careful and research your own.

      🍻

      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
    • #2381428

      Thanks – I enjoyed this article.  Arthritic fingers won’t let me build my own (nor probably my patience) but I really enjoy seeing what choices people are making with current parts.  I’m with you for Quiet PC’s.  I know we should be buying or building newer machines but I am chugging along with an 11 yr old system I had built for me at Puget computers.  Top of the line in everything at the time and amazingly mostly still original parts.  Upgraded the SSD recently and Graphics card once and have kept up with all the Windows updates as well as doing several clean installs along the way.    I really got a kick out of the LinusTech link as well – very enjoyable.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2381432

      … Puget …

      Puget Systems has a very fine reputation.

    • #2381434

      Most case fans provided by the supplier are sub par.

      The fans Corsair supplied remain effective and have only lost their silence in the past year. I was prepared to replace them with Noctua in 2015 and never felt the need.

      With a name like Be Quiet!, the company’s fans better be good. But, again, Noctua …

      • #2381554

        My case has two 140mm Aerocool “Dead Silence” fans in front and one in the back, for a positive-pressure setup. I have the fan profiles set in the OS to turn really slowly unless the case temp reads unusually high (which it never has thus far), so they’re quiet indeed. That’s the beauty of larger fans like 140s… they don’t need as much RPM to move a decent amount of air.

        On the CPU cooler is a 120mm Corsair SP120 (non-RGB) fan, optimized for static pressure (pushing air through the cooler). It’s nominally turning at a slow rate also, ramping up as the CPU warms. The cooler is quite large (it’s a rebadged Alpenfoehn Matterhorn), and it doesn’t require crazy airflow to get it cool… but the SP120 can provide just that if necessary.

        On the GPU is an Arctic Accelero Twin Turbo II cooler. It cools far better than the noisy stock blower-style fan, and is quieter at full speed than the stock fan was at half speed.

        The PSU fan (XFX XTR-550, Seasonic OEM) is downward facing, pulling air in through the case bottom vent and directing it out the back. It’s pretty much inaudible, even under high demand. The gold efficiency means it’s not getting super hot, and the fan isn’t particularly tonal or loud even when pushed.

        Both air inlets (front and the bottom one for the PSU) have removable nylon mesh filters (built into the case). They are not able to stop dust, as the particles of dust are so small that a filter able to catch them would be very restrictive, but they keep fibers (pet hair, human hair, clothing or carpet fibers) out of the case, and without those, the dust doesn’t build up and clog the fans. I haven’t had to clean the fans (or more specifically, the area right behind them) for the GPU or CPU coolers in all the time I have been using this case (since just before Windows 10 came out).

        The top vent on the unit is covered with a fitted plastic plate that attaches with magnets. It came with the case, and is the reason I picked this case (Corsair 760T), or one of the reasons anyway. Most high end cases come with top vents these days, but my name for them would be “beverage induction ports.” Never had that actually happen, but it almost certainly would if I had any of those top vents.

        The setup cools exceptionally well under any kind of load (it can pull about 350 watts at the wall fully loaded), but doesn’t get loud. It’s a big ‘un (full tower case), but I chose that so that the card reader and ports would be closer and easier to reach. I didn’t think of how the upward facing power button would invite pressing by kitty paws, though.

        All of the fans on the system are at least as old as the case, and they’re still strong and quiet. The CPU and GPU cooler fans were imported from an older case, and are a few years older than the others.

        Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, KDE Neon
        Dell G3 15/3579, i7-8750H/16GB, KDE Neon
        Asus P8P67 Deluxe, i5-2500k/16GB, KDE Neon

    • #2381439

      Maybe time for a new wife?

      Count yourself lucky that my wife does not read AskWoody.

      While my choice does not meet all of Will Fastie’s criteria, it should do just fine for my needs and my usual PC activities.

      Quite right. That’s why planning is so important, and individual. That’s why my wife has her tiny Yoga 2-in-1 and I have the big honker on the desk.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2381442

      Noctua

      Thats what I got. But if your fans are loud just crank up the music 😉

      🍻

      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
    • #2381478

      Mr. Will,
      Yes, I love Linus Sebastian as well and I have learned lots from him.
      BUT:
      Your article simply is THE BEST about home made computers I have ever read!
      And I am “in computers” only since 1964!
      Thanks a lot for your “voice of reason”.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2381485

      Will,

      I hope you’ll post some Linusish type videos of your build? 😎

      May the Forces of good computing be with you!

      RG

      PowerShell & VBA Rule!
      Computer Specs

    • #2381486

      … Linusish type videos …

      No chance of competing with him.

    • #2381523

      That is probably the most cogent reason I’ve seen to date for needing a PC that can run Windows 11.

      The i5 thing… I don’t know the reason for “Opal,”, but I can say what my reasons are for my i5s.

      My desktop has an i5, a Sandy Bridge (i5-2500k) that I bought just before Haswell came along. I certainly could upgrade to an i7 if I wanted to, as they are still readily available in the secondary (used) market.

      My Dell XPS 13 that’s much newer (~5 months old now) also has an i5, which I had to special order to get with 16GB of RAM.

      Simply put, the i5s were/are all I need as far as performance goes. I bought the Sandy to overclock, so it was going to be quicker than it came out of the box for sure, but the i7s start out higher in max turbo (before overclocking), so they may have clocked higher had I tried it, not to mention that the i7 has hyperthreading.

      It’s the same reason I still use the old Sandy board… it performs adequately. That’s really all there is to it!

      In the case of the XPS, I had an additional reason. I knew that the XPS, with its extreme thinness, would be constrained by thermal demands. The case and cooling system are the same on the i5 and i7 models, and the way I see it, the i7 would just get up to the thermal limit faster, then throttle to the same point as the i5. The larger cache on the i7 would be helpful, but not enough to justify the cost, IMO. Both the i5 and i7 in question are quad cores with hyperthreading, with the i7s having more execution units in the integrated GPU (again, more heat), and other than the aforementioned cache thing, the only other difference is that the i7 models reach higher clock rates.

      I am actually experimenting now with underclocking for heat control. The XPS gets really hot sometimes when in its default configuration, and it’s annoying.

      Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, KDE Neon
      Dell G3 15/3579, i7-8750H/16GB, KDE Neon
      Asus P8P67 Deluxe, i5-2500k/16GB, KDE Neon

      • #2381562

        10-15 years ago I personally learned about the maxim that when buying a new computer to buy the best machine that can be afforded because it will normally meet someone’s needs for additional years into the future.  In other words; try to future-proof the computer.  That has worked for me.

        For me my prior computer was an i7-7 4770K.  I had to upgrade video cards once or twice, but it lasted well.  Last year it started to have issues and I went ahead and bought my i7-9700K with a RTX 2800 Super.  As would be expected, it runs very well.

        My wife has a desktop for fun stuff, so my old computer replaced her i5, which had not provided good, but light, service more than 4 years.  The upgrade from her i5 7th generation to the i7-4770K was huge for her.  The power supply failed a few months later and we had that replaced, so it lives on in its role as a light duty computer.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2381691

          The upgrade from her i5 7th generation to the i7-4770K was huge for her.

          On the other hand, the i5 in my XPS 13 (quad core, HT, 11th gen) outperforms my i7 in my G3 (hexa-core, HT, 8th gen) not only in single thread performance, but overall as well, despite having two fewer cores and a much lower power budget. The i3/i5/i7/i9 names are marketing terms, above all else.

          I suggest to go for the sweet spot in terms of performance per dollar within a given platform, not trying to buy the fastest CPU you can afford. Going beyond the sweet spot (in terms of CPU performance) with the idea that it is going to be viable longer is probably not going to be true. The performance difference between an i5 and i7 within a given product series isn’t likely to be great enough to make the difference between “it’s too slow, time to upgrade” and “it’s good enough for now.”

          It’s just as likely that if a motherboard/CPU become obsolete, it will be the whole platform (essentially, the motherboard + CPU) that is obsolete, not just the choice of CPU within that platform.

          If I were to upgrade my Sandy Bridge, it would be because I want PCIe 3.0 (which was available starting with Ivy Bridge), or some other similar thing, and going for the i7 Sandy CPU would not have helped. The i5 CPU itself is fast enough, but not having PCIe 3.o means that even if I add a M.2 card, I’m not going to see the full speed of a NVMe x4 drive, and the same would be true if I put a high-end GPU in there.

          Other advancements, like Secure Boot and the nearly instant coming out of sleep mode, are also not available in my Sandy setup. It takes the old Sandy a bit to come out of sleep, while the Tiger Lake in the XPS is ready to go in under a second (an Intel requirement to bear the “Evo” label.

          For people that have 7th generation or older setups, picking the i7 would not have helped with getting Windows 11 to work (assuming MS keeps their rules as announced).

           

           

          Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, KDE Neon
          Dell G3 15/3579, i7-8750H/16GB, KDE Neon
          Asus P8P67 Deluxe, i5-2500k/16GB, KDE Neon

    • #2381534

      I don’t know the reason for “Opal,”

      All will be revealed in good time.

    • #2381704

      It has been my experience that cases don’t wear out, they get outgrown.  The two that I am using now for my daily driver and my NAS each have six drive bays and provision for four fans.  With the PSU fan, that’s five.

      The PSU is exhaust, and I have a 120mm fan also for exhaust, and three 120mm fans per case for filtered intake.  The UEFI allows for setting temperature control ranges, and I have both machines set for aggressive control curves, so the fans never turn off.  My daily driver is in a cabinet in my desk, and I don’t hear it at all unless I open the door to insert a USB drive in the front.

      My NAS is on the side of my desk, and I don’t hear it, either.  The volume of air flow is such that the fans run at ~1000 rpm to keep all the innards between 35° C and 45° C under nearly all operating conditions.  Rendering a long video can get the CPU core temps up to ~50° C, and I’m sure the fans speed up a bit, but I still don’t hear them above the ambient noise level in my den.

      If/when I decide to upgrade the innards, I’ll be using the same cases.

      Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
      "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns
      "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2381801

      If/when I decide to upgrade the innards, I’ll be using the same cases.

      Someday I will be able to install a pair of 20TB NMVe SSDs, a 3TB NMVe boot SSD, and performant graphics capability into a case the size of an OptiPlex SFF, with silence. I want small.

      • #2381993

        Someday I will be able to install a pair of 20TB NMVe SSDs, a 3TB NMVe boot SSD, and performant graphics capability into a case the size of an OptiPlex SFF, with silence. I want small.

        We all have our own reasons for doing the things that we do.  I went from mini-tower to midtower because I wanted more room.  I want cable management and air flow.  I want six drives (yes, six points of failure but simpler, quicker recovery from failure) with a plethora of partitions scattered over those drives to suit a storage scheme that has evolved over a couple of decades.

        My “someday” is already here.  With the drive dock on the top of my NAS, I have unlimited data storage that can be stored safely offline.  I have drive images of everything, both as full-drive images, and as individual partition images.  I also use USB thumbdrives frequently, and I prefer to just plug them into the front of the case.

        As I said, we all have our own reasons for doing the things that we do.

        Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
        "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns
        "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware

        2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2381912

      Hey Will,

      I got 2 machines, one based on a sony vaio with a big screen, another aclone in a silent case, both conncted to a NAS.

      Due to the remarks of W911 I have to upgrade the CPU’s.

      I better wait till this disaster W911 is over and they have come to their senses.

      People are not ready for this SCiFI Windows.

      I rest my case

      Acmij from Flanders.

       

    • #2381968

      I better wait till this disaster W911 is over and they have come to their senses.

      Don’t hold your breath. I’m still taking the position that Microsoft will not back down from its stated requirements for Windows 11.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2381983

        Not much but they will let a few sneak through, policing is hard work.

        🍻

        Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2381996

          Not if the policing is done by the software.

          cheers, Paul

    • #2382006

      I certainly won’t build a new PC just for the ability to run Windows 11. As far as I can see, there are NO useful new features over previous versions of Windows (and I mean Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 here, not Windows 10), meaning useless for me. Microsoft won’t back down from 11’s TPM requirement? Great, go ahead.

      My current main PC was built back in 2016, over five years ago, with a X99 motherboard and an i7 6800K, a six core CPU which is better than most consumer CPUs of the time. I have recently found a second hand i7 6900K, an eight core CPU, to replace the 6800K and with a GTX 1070 Ti its performance is still enough for me. Hard disks and SSDs have been incrementally upgraded. Most importantly for me, it supports and runs Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 beautifully.

      I know the system won’t run Windows 11 due to its lack of TPM, but I could care less. I have no intention to replace it unless the hardware fails.

      Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst.

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