Question i9 9900K workstation/gaming build - your thoughts please!

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R_G_S

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Would appreciate some feedback on a new build, details below.

My requirements are 3D modelling work (3ds Max, realtime viewport, not much rendering), 2D (Photoshop), gaming and flight simulation. I will be driving a 4K display. The 64 GB RAM is probably overkill, but I do work with huge PS files and have a lot open at once. I will not be overclocking or using multiple graphics cards. The machine will be seeing heavy usage, hopefully for many years to come.

Here's what I'm looking at:

CORE
CPU:
i9 9900K
Motherboard: Gigabyte Z390 AORUS Master
RAM: 64 GB Corsair Vengeance 2666 MHz (4 x 16 GB)
GPU: RTX 2080Ti (Zotac/Palit)
PSU: Corsair/Seasonic 850-1000 W Gold-Platinum

DRIVES
M.2:
500 GB WD Black SN750 NVMe (OS, Win 10 Pro 64-bit)
M.2: 1 TB WD Black SN750 NVMe (Work, Active)
SSD: 1 TB WB Blue 3D NAND SATA (Flight Simulator)
SSD: 1 TB WB Blue 3D NAND SATA (Games)
HDD: 1 TB WD Black (Storage, Personal)
HDD: 2 TB WD Black (Storage, Work)
DVD: Sony DVD RW

CASE & FANS
OPTION 1
Case: Silverstone TJ07
Fans: 2 x Noctua NF-S12A 120 mm (HDD/SSD cages, base/pedestal); 2 x Noctua NF-S12A 120 mm (top); 2 x Noctua NF-A9 92 mm (rear)
CPU cooler: Thermalright Le Grand Macho RT/Noctua NH-U12A

OPTION 2
Case: Lian Li PC-7NA/Lian Li PC-7HA
Fans: Default (2 front, intake; 1 rear, exhaust)
CPU cooler: Noctua NH-D15/NH-D15S

Of the above, I currently own the TJ07 case, the 2 standard HDDs and the optical drive, the rest will be new, put together by PCSpecialist (https://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/).
Cases mentioned above:
TJ07: https://www.silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=92&area=en
PC-7NA: https://www.overclockers.co.uk/lian-li-pc-7na-midi-tower-case-silver-ca-772-ll.html
PC-7HA: https://www.overclockers.co.uk/lian-li-pc-7ha-midi-tower-case-silver-ca-603-ll.html


Questions:

1. Is this Gigabyte motherboard the best choice? I am not a fan of that way it looks, but it has received good reviews. I will not be overclocking and do not care for RGB, but do value high quality construction/components and require Wi-Fi (could be via a card though). Another option is the ASUS Maximus XI Hero (Wi-Fi).

2. Having checked the Z390 AORUS Master manual, it seems that I should be OK to run 6 SATA ports if I use only two of the M.2 slots, with the only drawback being limiting the bottom PCIe slot to x4 (from x8). Should I use all 3 M.2 slots, I understand that I would sacrifice 2 SATAs (in addition to the reduced speed x4 PCIe) - is that correct?

3. As regards case and cooling options; if I stick with my existing case I'll be replacing all the fans (details above). I would appreciate any thoughts as to the best intake/exhaust configuration + if you feel that the NH-U12A would be sufficient for a stock 9900K or whether I should really go with the LGM (I can't use the NH-D15 due to its 165 mm height requirement as case max is 162 mm). I have read conflicting info in this regard; I would like to use the NH-U12A if possible (for a full Noctua build), but suspect it might not quite cut it, even at stock - then again some reviews only show a few degrees difference between them... If anyone has been able to test this setup personally, or has any definite/strong views on it please let me know.

4. Would appreciate your thoughts regarding case options in general. As you can probably tell, I like simple aluminium designs with good build quality. As such the only cases that fit the bill seem to be a few Lian Li options and my existing TJ07 (or possibly another Silverstone). Ideally I don't want to spend hundreds more, but even if I did there doesn't seem to be a great deal of choice for under £300. Style-wise I like both this: https://www.overclockers.co.uk/lian-li-pc-d600wa-big-tower-silver-ca-665-ll.html and this: https://www.overclockers.co.uk/lian-li-pc-v760a-full-tower-case-silver-ca-77a-ll.html, but given the rig is currently at the £3,000 mark (sans display and peripherals) I don't really have the budget for either. To make matters more frustrating the Lian-Li PC-7NA is pre-order only with no ETA and I can't seem to find it anywhere. It looks like the update to the 7HA model with more modular internals and a larger CPU cutout in the motherboard.

5. The decision to go with 2666 MHz RAM as opposed to higher is due to both stability and cost. Whilst 3000 MHz is only £60 more, the little here and there keeps pushing the price. If someone thinks this is a bad call and that that £60 (or more/faster) is really worth it, please comment.

I intend to wait a little longer before pulling the trigger to see when Intel will bring the 10-core Comet Lake chip to market, hopefully will have news later this month. If the wait isn't long, I'll go with that; if right at the end of this year or early next I'll stick with the 9900K. Either way, I'd like to be able to spec up the rest now so I'm good to go research-wise.


Thanks in advance for any help, sorry there's quite a bit of text...
 
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JJoner

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Are you considering liquid cooling at all? It can deliver performance on par with the dh15 and fit in those cases.

If you want you can also wait for zen 2, which is rumored to have a 16c/32t CPU for the price of the 9900k.

The motherboard I'd suggest is the ASrock Taichi because it still has the important features of the Aorus Master but fits your case a bit better.
 

g-unit1111

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Before I get into your questions, I will say that you should definitely make sure that your motherboard has lots of SATA ports. If you use two M2 NVMe drives, those will take up 4 SATA ports. So if you have four additional drives, you need to make sure that your motherboard has at least 8 SATA ports or more. Not all do, and it's really hard to find ones that can support that many drives. That said, here we go.

Questions:

1. Is this Gigabyte motherboard the best choice? I am not a fan of that way it looks, but it has received good reviews. I will not be overclocking and do not care for RGB, but do value high quality construction/components and require Wi-Fi (could be via a card though). Another option is the ASUS Maximus XI Hero (Wi-Fi).
I'd personally go for the Asus if the budget allows it. Again keep in mind what I said about SATA ports and NVMe drives. The Maximus should meet those requirements if it has the SATA ports that you need to make that configuration work. I'd double check before buying.

2. Having checked the Z390 AORUS Master manual, it seems that I should be OK to run 6 SATA ports if I use only two of the M.2 slots, with the only drawback being limiting the bottom PCIe slot to x4 (from x8). Should I use all 3 M.2 slots, I understand that I would sacrifice 2 SATAs (in addition to the reduced speed x4 PCIe) - is that correct?
Yes, every time you use a M2 drive, you effectively disable 2 SATA ports. Now your drive configuration runs 4 additional drives plus the M2 drive. Using all of the available M2 slots would disable 6 of your SATA ports. If you have just 6 ports on your motherboard, that's it, you are done. But if you need to use all of those drives, you must have a motherboard that has at minimum 10 ports. I don't know of any that have 12 ports built in, but you could always use an add in SATA card to add more ports if need be. Also keep in mind that DVD-RW drives are no longer necessities but if you need one make sure you have enough ports.

3. As regards case and cooling options; if I stick with my existing case I'll be replacing all the fans (details above). I would appreciate any thoughts as to the best intake/exhaust configuration + if you feel that the NH-U12A would be sufficient for a stock 9900K or whether I should really go with the LGM (I can't use the NH-D15 due to its 165 mm height requirement as case max is 162 mm). I have read conflicting info in this regard; I would like to use the NH-U12A if possible (for a full Noctua build), but suspect it might not quite cut it, even at stock - then again some reviews only show a few degrees difference between them... If anyone has been able to test this setup personally, or has any definite/strong views on it please let me know.
If you use a U12A or a D15, there really isn't much to worry about. What you should look at here is the RAM clearance issue, where that is pretty relevant on Noctua coolers. If you're not using RGB RAM then you should get low profile Corsair Vengeance or something similar and you'll be good to go.

4. Would appreciate your thoughts regarding case options in general. As you can probably tell, I like simple aluminium designs with good build quality. As such the only cases that fit the bill seem to be a few Lian Li options and my existing TJ07 (or possibly another Silverstone). Ideally I don't want to spend hundreds more, but even if I did there doesn't seem to be a great deal of choice for under £300. Style-wise I like both this: https://www.overclockers.co.uk/lian-li-pc-d600wa-big-tower-silver-ca-665-ll.html and this: https://www.overclockers.co.uk/lian-li-pc-v760a-full-tower-case-silver-ca-77a-ll.html, but given the rig is currently at the £3,000 mark (sans display and peripherals) I don't really have the budget for either. To make matters more frustrating the Lian-Li PC-7NA is pre-order only with no ETA and I can't seem to find it anywhere. It looks like the update to the 7HA model with more modular internals and a larger CPU cutout in the motherboard.
If reusing the case to cut costs is an issue then by all means reuse your existing case. Buying a new case, unless you really have to, doesn't really have any positive or negative effects on your build's performance other than aesthetics and air flow. Plus it frees up money to be used in other areas. But a TJ07 is big enough that it can accommodate most air and liquid cooling solutions.

5. The decision to go with 2666 MHz RAM as opposed to higher is due to both stability and cost. Whilst 3000 MHz is only £60 more, the little here and there keeps pushing the price. If someone thinks this is a bad call and that that £60 (or more/faster) is really worth it, please comment.
Intel isn't as picky about RAM speeds as AMD is but where the issues lie is when you get into higher overclocking speeds. Rendering and video editing apps benefit greatly from high overclocking speeds and multicore CPUs. So I would get at least 3200 if you don't buy a case and save money there.

I intend to wait a little longer before pulling the trigger to see when Intel will bring the 10-core Comet Lake chip to market, hopefully will have news later this month. If the wait isn't long, I'll go with that; if right at the end of this year or early next I'll stick with the 9900K. Either way, I'd like to be able to spec up the rest now so I'm good to go research-wise.
Probably not for your uses. By that time the third generation TR4 CPUs will be out, and the second generation TR4 CPUs will come down in price to match the 9900K and match or even beat Intel in most tests. I'd look at those before considering a 10 core Intel. Right now, bang for buck, a 16 core 1950X isn't that much more than a 9900K is and may be more beneficial to your uses.,
 
I'm just shocked at how many drives you need.
You could just buy larger drives and format them to suit your needs.
1TB for flight simulators?
As well as mentioned above, lack of drives you would end up having.
You wouldn't notice the difference between M2 and SSD for any games at all.
 

R_G_S

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Thanks for all the replies, much appreciated.

JJoner

Don't want to go with liquid cooled as am not a pro, and air just seems simpler, more reliable and stress free. Also, from what I can tell, the NH-D15 and U12A outperform the smaller AIO systems.

Have had issues in the past with AMD, plus I think Intel is better with my work so will be sticking with the i9 (and nVidia for same reasons).

I will check out the ASrock Taichi, why do you say it fits my case better?


g-unit1111 & ElectrO_90

OK, maybe I misunderstood something (only just started researching M.2 drives and the SATA issue recently, so please forgive my ignorance), but I thought it was only under certain configurations that SATA drives were disabled, not just each one used disables 2 SATAs? There's a table in the Gigabyte AORUS Master manual (here, page 34: http://download.gigabyte.us/FileList/Manual/mb_manual_z390-aorus-master_1001_e.pdf ) which lists the 3 M.2 slots separately as M, A and P. With a PCIe M.2 installed, they act as follows:

M: SATA 4 and 5 disabled
A: Nothing disabled
P: The PCIEX4 slot operates at up to x2 mode

The motherboard has 6 SATA connections (0-5) and 3 M.2 mounts (2 full length and one 80 mm, thus the WD Blacks can be used in any of them). I was intending to leave the M slot empty (for now), with a 512 GB for the OS and a 1 TB for work filling the other two slots. The WD 512 GB is not quite as fast to write as the 1 TB version, but shares the same super high read speeds (https://www.wd.com/products/internal-ssd/wd-black-sn750-nvme-ssd.html ). I work with some very large files so figured the NVMe would be a good option here (as opposed to a standard SSD). I'm not intending to use M.2 drives for games, just standard SSDs for those and flight sims.

I don't need so many other drives, but I prefer multiple smaller drives to fewer large drives. I already have the 1 and 2 TB HDDs and the DVD drive in my current system; was planning on keeping the latter for now as sometimes useful for transferring old stuff, converting audio CDs etc., not 100% essential though. I might drop the flight sim drive to a 512 GB SSD, or go with a single 1 TB drive for both, adding another later. I was considering 512s for both originally as tend not to have a lot of games installed at once, but games are just getting bigger and bigger so... If there is a problem with no of SATAs I can certainly go with fewer higher capacity drives over more lower capacity drives if needs be.

Case-wise, I was planning on keeping the TJ07 as I've been happy with it, and I like the look and build quality. It was only when I discovered that it wouldn't fit (to my shock!) the NH-D15 that I started to look elsewhere, which led me to Lian Li. Even then though, a comparable replacement is in the £350 ballpark and the cheaper mid-tower cases (that are available) have a small cutout on the MB tray (not sure if this is much of an issue or not, current tray has no cutout). As said, I have read mixed reports as to whether the NH-U12A will provide sufficient cooling for a 9900K at stock. I thought originally that it ought to, but uncertain at present (hence this thread). If it is good enough, I believe should be fine for RAM clearance, though will double check.

Assuming the U12A is up to the task, how do you think I should arrange my case fans (rear and top) in terms of intake/extract?

Not a fan of AMD. I know they have some great tech and are often a better bang for the buck than Intel, but have had issues in the past and not keen to go there again. Plus Intel is more industry standard for what I do.

Thanks again for all the help.
 
I would go with the Noctua D15s as a first choice, but I think the Noctua U12a will be fine. Once you choose a MB, you can check at noctua.at for RAM compatibility with that MB. I don't think you will need low profile RAM with the D15s, but check to make sure.

I do recommend that once you choose your MB that you use a RAM configurator to choose RAM that has been tested in that MB. The MB maker will guarantee RAM compatibility in that case. For example, if you prefer Corsair RAM, then check here: https://www.corsair.com/us/en/memoryfinder G. Skill and Crucial are also nice, but Crucial only guarantees compatibility if you buy it directly from their website (I think.)

Here's G. Skill and Crucial:

https://www.gskill.com/en/configurator

https://www.crucial.com/usa/en/advisor
 
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R_G_S

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Thanks, Bearmann.

Replied about the D15S in the other thread, looks good to me. Do you have a suggestion for the best cooling configuration - top two fans as intake, rear two exhaust or vice versa?

Pretty sure I'll be going with the AORUS Master for MB; will check RAM compatibility as advised.

Also, any thoughts on the SATA issue discussed above?
 
OK, maybe I misunderstood something (only just started researching M.2 drives and the SATA issue recently, so please forgive my ignorance), but I thought it was only under certain configurations that SATA drives were disabled, not just each one used disables 2 SATAs? There's a table in the Gigabyte AORUS Master manual (here, page 34: http://download.gigabyte.us/FileList/Manual/mb_manual_z390-aorus-master_1001_e.pdf ) which lists the 3 M.2 slots separately as M, A and P. With a PCIe M.2 installed, they act as follows:

M: SATA 4 and 5 disabled
A: Nothing disabled
P: The PCIEX4 slot operates at up to x2 mode
I reviewed the manual. This is my interpretation too and I am 99% sure that we are correct. Note that only a NVMe drive can occupy the M2P slot and then it runs at X2 speed. You can't stick a SATA SSD in there.

I made a small mistake regarding the RAM. If you use the Corsair configurator, for example, it's Corsair that guarantees compatibility, not the MB manufacturer. The MB maker will also have a QVL list of compatible RAM, and in that case the MB will confer the guarantee (probably the RAM manufacturer too.) The RAM manufacturers will have a much greater selection, though. Check both. Usually G. Skill has the best timings at a given price. Crucial is one of the few that actually makes the chips that go into the RAM, so it's quite reliable.

I'm studying your TJ07 case now for fan flow and CPU heatsink.
 
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R_G_S

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Thanks very much once again, Bearmann.

"Note that only a NVMe drive can occupy the M2P slot and then it runs at X2 speed." - you mean the bottom PCIe slot runs at x2, correct?

Thanks for the clarification on the RAM.

As regards cooler, looks like either the D15S or the U12A. As for fan config, two on the bottom cooling the drives is a given, it's really a case of whether it's best to use the rear or the top for intake/exhaust. Was planning on using all Noctuas, 4 x NF-S12A (120 mm) and 2 x NF-A9 (92 mm). Be good to hear your thoughts.

Really appreciate all the help here; thanks (again!) for your time.
 
The TJ07 was quite confusing at first. This guy puts in a NH-D15 (not D15s) and at 12 minutes I was totally bumfuzzled. It looks like it's laying on its side, but that's impossible.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4UAu4w2Wag


Finally I realized that he has a NH-C12p in there and hasn't put in the D15 yet!

I assume that he got the side panel on, but I would double check your motherboard at noctua.at (see compatiblity) and check your cooler height limits in you case specifications. The D15s is not symmetrical and IIRC it is offset away from the RAM toward the rear of the case. Therefore, you won't be able to rotate it to make it exhaust at the top. I would get the D15 so that you can rotate it to exhaust at the top or at the rear. Again, double check at noctual.at and see what ram heights you are allowed. It seems to me that the original intention was to have a rear intake and top exhaust which may allow that bottom rear fan to blow somewhat directly on to the GPU heatsink. It's hard to know, but they likely tested it and found this configuration to be the best. You could try it both ways and see what cools the GPU the best. I don't think you will see any difference in the CPU cooling.
 
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Thanks very much once again, Bearmann.

"Note that only a NVMe drive can occupy the M2P slot and then it runs at X2 speed." - you mean the bottom PCIe slot runs at x2, correct?

Thanks for the clarification on the RAM.

As regards cooler, looks like either the D15S or the U12A. As for fan config, two on the bottom cooling the drives is a given, it's really a case of whether it's best to use the rear or the top for intake/exhaust. Was planning on using all Noctuas, 4 x NF-S12A (120 mm) and 2 x NF-A9 (92 mm). Be good to hear your thoughts.

Really appreciate all the help here; thanks (again!) for your time.
Yes, I stated it wrong. It's the PCIE slot that runs at X2. I assume the NVMe SSD will still get 4 full lanes.
 
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By the way, you won't need a 850w PSU even with some headroom. 650W will be fine. I you think you might overclock the CPU one day, get 750W. Here's a rough out of your build with a few substitutions for expediency:

https://pcpartpicker.com/list/K3CxpG

Look at the watts in blue in the top right hand corner, only 581 and that's with everything going full bore (which will never happen except perhaps doing benchmarking.)

Here's more proof: https://www.realhardtechx.com/index_archivos/Page362.htm

Here is a good calculator where you can figure it out for yourself (unlike many the the PSU calculators which assume you will get some no name, cr@p PSU that overstates its wattage and compensates for it or want to make more profit by selling you more than you need)

http://outervision.com/power-supply-calculator
 
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If you would like to save some money for a new case, we could work on your storage and you wouldn't know the difference. Study the BAPCo SYSmark 2018 testing here:

https://www.anandtech.com/show/14223/the-western-digital-wd-blue-sn500-ssd-review/2

Click on each tab under the graph.

Watch this:

[URL="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voDksFWJ2H8[/URL]"]www.youtube.com/watch?v=voDksFWJ2H8[/URL]

Remember that once the Solidworks project or game or photo is loaded from storage into the RAM, the storage speed has no effect on the speed of working with that data until it is time to save that project again. Even though you have a fast CPU, it cannot process the data as quickly as the SSD can provide it. That's generally why you don't see 5X the speed when going from SATA SSD to NVMe. After watching the video, you can imagine the differnce in a fast and a mainstream NVMe- imperceptable to the PC user. The NVMe drives do reportedly make a difference in video editing where they are constantly pulling stuff in and out of storage, but not with much else. However, the biggest bottleneck is the human being.

By the way, if you like quiet PC's, a steel case is generally quieter than an aluminum one.
 
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R_G_S

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Thanks for all the replies, Bearmann.

I will check the links this eve.

Probably best to continue this discussion over in the other thread here: https://forums.tomshardware.com/threads/i9-9900k-now-or-wait.3474998/page-4?view=date.

I do like quiet PCs, and am not against steel per se. What I'm not a fan of however is the steel and plastic combo, or rather steel frames with fake aluminium (i.e. plastic) front plates etc., which seem quite common.

Cheers.
 
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