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Question Is This Build My Ultimate Productivity Machine?

Jul 3, 2020
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Hi :)

I'm making my entire salary through my computer. I'm an author and copywriter/advertiser, and as part of my work i have to analyze a gazillion sources simultaneously. Often a large amount of tabs, documents with 350k words, spreadsheets, etc are all open simultaneously.

Currently I feel like my laptop (MacBook 12", with its core m3) is holding me back because 1. the screen real estate is too small, I scroll too much and have to quint my eyes. also I have to slouch forward to see the text. 2. It hangs up and stutters when there are too many things open, especially the massive text documents (I think the live spell checking is causing that), or when I develop websites with lots of tabs open. In short: I could use a new computer.

My goal is to maximize my productivity and output. I figured the machine shouldn't hinder me at all, it should let my work flow, with minimum hang-ups, scrolling, or any other de-motivations from actually getting things done. The MacBook 12" no longer fits the bill. Any little 1% increase in productivity will easily be worth the extra $ when I look at it over the long run.

So the point is to get the build where no extra improvement in dry specs will yield any extra improvement in actual productivity.

Here's what I built, I would much appreciate your thoughts:

CPU: Intel i9-9900 - I can get this one for 50% off through a family member who's an Intel engineer.

Motherboard: Gigabyte B-365M H / ASUS PRIME B365M-A / MSI B365M-PRO-VH / ASRock B365M-HDV. Similar price all of them. not sure which one is best? are they even good for the CPU or do they have inferior voltage circuitry? Edit: will the 365m chipset allow for the i9 to reach 5GHZ turboboost? one of Amazon's reviewers on one of the boards said: "This board uses B365 chipset for 8th and 9th gen I series processors including I5. However, overclocking is not supported so the CPU won't have enough power to run turbo boost and the ram will be capped at 2666mhz." I have a feeling he's wrong?

Memory: DDR 4 8G/2666 Samsung 3rd Party CL19 1.2V. Can change to HP DDR 4 8GB 3200 CL16 V6 if the difference between CL16 to CL19 is worth the $15 price difference. CPU supports 2666 anyway tho (I'm not gonna do any XMP trickery).

SSD: A-DATA SSD 512GB XPG SX8200 Pro M.2 2280 or Addlink S70 512GB or Intel 760P 512gb (I can get it for 50% off, which ends up costing same as the other two)

PSU: I hate cables: ANTEC PSU 550W Neo Eco Modular 80+

Mouse: no idea. need something as ergonomic as possible.

Speakers: Microlab SOLO6C? EDIFIER 2.0 R980T? Just stay with the built-in monitor speakers? It's mostly just for podcasts and YouTube videos (not music-centered).

Monitor: My main conflict. I estimate this is the part that influences my productivity the most. Small resolution slows me down (too much scrolling, re-arrangements, etc). Small screen slows me down, since the combination with a large resolution produces small fonts. There's also the famous screen size: productivity study from Apple. My main contenders so far:

  • AOC / ViewSonic 31.5" 2K (2560x1440) IPS. Benefit: I can run 2K res natively and the fonts will be perfectly big enough for reading without scaling. In my opinion the sweet-spot (At least for my eyes). However at 93PPI I'm suspecting text won't look crispy and sharp enough?
  • Philips 27" 4K IPS. Will have to use 200% scaling to make the text readable. Text will be razor-sharp I suppose, but I will effectively have to work on a 1920x1080 real estate (because of the enlarged UI). Not sure if that res is big enough for all my tasks. 70% extra real estate (on the 2K monitor above) does sound nice, but which is more important for productivity over many hours at a time: the real estate or the text sharpness?
  • 40-43" 4K monitor (or TV?). Unmatched real estate. Perhaps too big? Also can run natively at 4K, no need to scale anything since the text will be large enough at 43". Tho will the neck hurt from moving? will I have to move my head? is it too large? and will the text not look sharp enough because it's 4k spread across 40-43 inches? The massive size does tempt tho.
What do you guys think?
Would love to hear your ideas and thoughts.
Thanks.

edit: forgot to mention - running on Linux, if it changes component selection in any way.
 
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Jul 3, 2020
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Oh, I thought the motherboard could recognize two units of the same type..?

Btw, somebody wrote to me: "This CPU is hot in high watt, its better if you have a motherboard with an adequate voltage supply so you can utilize it best, and its better if you have 3200 CL16 memories, a more modern power supply, and better cooling. Otherwise I don't see a reason to take a CPU that strong"

Is that so? don't the b365m boards have the right circuitry to run the 9th gen i9s ?
And why do I need 3200 memories if the CPU supports just 2666?

Thanks <3
 
The B365 boards a fairly basic but as you are not buying a K cpu so no overclocking should be fine. I would look to the ASUS B365A Prime which will do the job. And yes the 9900 will boost to 5GHz but it would be worth buying a cooler that is a little better than stock so something like the Hyper 212 or similar will allow for better boost behaviour.

On the PSU go with a hybrid modular or modular but 550w at least bronze rated though gold would be better.

You did not mention a GPU, are you using just the in built GPU in the 9900?
 
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Yes I planned to use an integrated graphic card.

Someone told me that I'm not likely to see any difference at all with my uses between the I9 9900 and something simpler, like the $99 Ryzen 3200g. Is that true? if so it would be a waste to get the I9, even if I can get it for 50% off. Will there be no difference whatsoever? does the 3200g reach the cutoff where any further power no longer translates to real-world benefits for my fairly-basic uses? (lots and lots of massive text documents and browser tabs open etc)

If so, I was thinking of this alternate build:

AMD RYZEN 3 3200G
Gigabyte B450M S2H
Addlink SSD 512GB S70 M.2 2280 NVMe
HP DDR 4 8GB 3200 CL16 V6 Bulk (Two of em)
Seasonic PSU 460W 1U (FlexATX and modular!)
Edifier r985t speakers
2x 24" FullHD monitors stacked vertically next to each other - or 1 31.5 2K monitor - or 1 4K 42.5" TV.
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
Yes I planned to use an integrated graphic card.

Someone told me that I'm not likely to see any difference at all with my uses between the I9 9900 and something simpler, like the $99 Ryzen 3200g. Is that true? if so it would be a waste to get the I9, even if I can get it for 50% off. Will there be no difference whatsoever? does the 3200g reach the cutoff where any further power no longer translates to real-world benefits for my fairly-basic uses? (lots and lots of massive text documents and browser tabs open etc)

If so, I was thinking of this alternate build:

AMD RYZEN 3 3200G
Gigabyte B450M S2H
Addlink SSD 512GB S70 M.2 2280 NVMe
HP DDR 4 8GB 3200 CL16 V6 Bulk (Two of em)
Seasonic PSU 460W 1U (FlexATX and modular!)
Edifier r985t speakers
2x 24" FullHD monitors stacked vertically next to each other - or 1 31.5 2K monitor - or 1 4K 42.5" TV.
You continue to ignore the recommendation of buying matched RAM.
 
For what you are doing you absolutely don't need a processor that powerful or as many threads.

50% off that processor is nice...but aside that....six core i5, nice storage drive for OS, like NVME, and a butt ton of RAM should do quite nicely.

Something I would mention about monitor selection/resolution.
There is a chart somewhere that shows ideal resolution and screen size in relation to your distance from the screens. In my own work situation and with my eyesight I have found ~27" multiple screen setups at 1080 to be ideal for READING. When I move up to 4K much of the text becomes too small and I end up scaling back to what I was at before anyway.
I have found 2 monitors to be invaluable and from time to time would love to have three if it weren't for a lack of real estate on my desk with paperwork too....
 
Someone told me that I'm not likely to see any difference at all with my uses between the I9 9900 and something simpler, like the $99 Ryzen 3200g. Is that true? if so it would be a waste to get the I9, even if I can get it for 50% off. Will there be no difference whatsoever? does the 3200g reach the cutoff where any further power no longer translates to real-world benefits for my fairly-basic uses? (lots and lots of massive text documents and browser tabs open etc)
I think something in between the two might be a better balance. You are deciding between a low-end 4-core, 4-thread CPU and a high-end 8-core, 16-thread CPU costing several times as much, but there are lots of options in between. It doesn't sound like you would substantially benefit from having a processor with 16 threads for your workload, but you might want more than just 4 for heavy multitasking. The 9900 also offers close to 30% more performance per core than the 3200G, improving performance even for lightly-threaded applications, though there are processors costing significantly less that come close, like the new 10-series i5s, which offer 6-cores with 12-threads (though they might be in short supply at the moment). AMD has some nice mid-range offerings too, like the Ryzen 3600, though that processor requires a graphics card, as it doesn't include integrated graphics.

As for RAM speed, Intel's mid-range B-series motherboards will limit RAM to running at DDR4-2666 speed. Their higher-end Z-series boards enable RAM to be run at faster speeds (as do AMD's boards), though with either you would need to enable the XMP profile in the motherboard's BIOS settings to get it to run at DDR4-3200 speed, as it's above the "standard" speed for those processors. The Ryzen 3000-series CPUs without integrated graphics (like the 3600) do support DDR4-3200 as their standard speed, though again, you would need a graphics card with one of those. In any case, XMP isn't really "trickery", but just the method of enabling faster RAM than the standard for a given processor.
 
...even if the XMP profile isn't supported, market price will dictate that a higher speed RAM than 24/26xx will actually be cheaper. I don't think in this case that RAM speed is going to make any manner of discernable difference.
Unless the higher-speed RAM reverts to running at 2133 speed or something by default. Anyway, I was just responding to some of their questions and comments about the RAM speed, and they did specify that the particular 3200 RAM they were looking at cost $15 more.
 
Then you are more than fine on the build. The i9-9900 is a very fast 8 core 16 thread CPU that will blaze through all your workloads and even though a bit overkill it will more than see you through many years of use and it will only get better as you throw more workloads at it.

At a 50% discount, you can't go wrong so enjoy the power you will have on tap. Stick to the 2666 RAM, The NVMe SSD is a good one as well...

Yes I planned to use an integrated graphic card.

Someone told me that I'm not likely to see any difference at all with my uses between the I9 9900 and something simpler, like the $99 Ryzen 3200g. Is that true? if so it would be a waste to get the I9, even if I can get it for 50% off. Will there be no difference whatsoever? does the 3200g reach the cutoff where any further power no longer translates to real-world benefits for my fairly-basic uses? (lots and lots of massive text documents and browser tabs open etc)

If so, I was thinking of this alternate build:

AMD RYZEN 3 3200G
Gigabyte B450M S2H
Addlink SSD 512GB S70 M.2 2280 NVMe
HP DDR 4 8GB 3200 CL16 V6 Bulk (Two of em)
Seasonic PSU 460W 1U (FlexATX and modular!)
Edifier r985t speakers
2x 24" FullHD monitors stacked vertically next to each other - or 1 31.5 2K monitor - or 1 4K 42.5" TV.
 
Jul 3, 2020
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You continue to ignore the recommendation of buying matched RAM.
I actually did not ignore this at all. I was waiting for your further explanation :) I then googled and started reading out of curiosity (because I was always buying identical sticks in bulk and never had an issue), and I got the impression that sticks not working together in dual channel is super rare (some even say a myth)?
 
I would like to interject that if this family deal of a 9900 extends to friends, and you are close enough to post one to Atlanta, I would LOVE to get in on that deal. I felt pretty much the same about the other recent post asking about one. Exceptional proc for that kind of money and should serve well FAR into the future for such use, if overkill.
 
Jul 3, 2020
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For what you are doing you absolutely don't need a processor that powerful or as many threads. 50% off that processor is nice...but aside that....six core i5, nice storage drive for OS, like NVME, and a butt ton of RAM should do quite nicely.
An i5-10400 will cost me just $60 less than the i9 9900 :)

Something I would mention about monitor selection/resolution.
There is a chart somewhere that shows ideal resolution and screen size in relation to your distance from the screens. In my own work situation and with my eyesight I have found ~27" multiple screen setups at 1080 to be ideal for READING. When I move up to 4K much of the text becomes too small and I end up scaling back to what I was at before anyway.
I have found 2 monitors to be invaluable and from time to time would love to have three if it weren't for a lack of real estate on my desk with paperwork too....
How do you find 1 large high res monitor compared to multiple monitors? I was considering either one 31.5" 2560x1440 monitor (yielding 3.7M pixels at 93PPI), two 24" 1920x1080 monitors (yielding 4M pixels at 92.5PPI) stacked vertically for ultimate text reading/creation, or even a gigantic 42.5" 4K monitor (yielding 8.3m pixels at 103PPI). Or just stack three vertical 24" 1920x1080 monitors for 6m pixels at 92.5PPI, although that would be about the same physical dimensions of the 42.5" 4K monitors, only with 2.3m less pixels, though with bigger text which might be easier to read. Example:

 
Reactions: punkncat
Jul 3, 2020
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I think something in between the two might be a better balance. You are deciding between a low-end 4-core, 4-thread CPU and a high-end 8-core, 16-thread CPU costing several times as much, but there are lots of options in between. It doesn't sound like you would substantially benefit from having a processor with 16 threads for your workload, but you might want more than just 4 for heavy multitasking. The 9900 also offers close to 30% more performance per core than the 3200G, improving performance even for lightly-threaded applications, though there are processors costing significantly less that come close, like the new 10-series i5s, which offer 6-cores with 12-threads (though they might be in short supply at the moment). AMD has some nice mid-range offerings too, like the Ryzen 3600, though that processor requires a graphics card, as it doesn't include integrated graphics.
So I will feel a difference between the i9 9900 and the 3200g even for basic text and browser based office applications?
As mentioned, the cheapest new i5 (10400) will cost me just $60 less than the i9 considering the intel discount
 
Jul 3, 2020
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At a 50% discount, you can't go wrong so enjoy the power you will have on tap. Stick to the 2666 RAM, The NVMe SSD is a good one as well...
So get the Samsung 2666mhz? will the CL19 not slow stuff down?
And what NVMe, there are 3 (ADATA 8200Pro/ Intel 760p / Addlink S70 - all same price more or less:)
 
Jul 3, 2020
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I would like to interject that if this family deal of a 9900 extends to friends, and you are close enough to post one to Atlanta, I would LOVE to get in on that deal. I felt pretty much the same about the other recent post asking about one. Exceptional proc for that kind of money and should serve well FAR into the future for such use, if overkill.
I'd love to help back if I could :) But we're not from the US. They won't allow to ship the CPUs to any another country other than here so that people won't try to avoid customs and then bring the CPU back here.
 
An i5-10400 will cost me just $60 less than the i9 9900 :)



How do you find 1 large high res monitor compared to multiple monitors? I was considering either one 31.5" 2560x1440 monitor (yielding 3.7M pixels at 93PPI), two 24" 1920x1080 monitors (yielding 4M pixels at 92.5PPI) stacked vertically for ultimate text reading/creation, or even a gigantic 42.5" 4K monitor (yielding 8.3m pixels at 103PPI). Or just stack three vertical 24" 1920x1080 monitors for 6m pixels at 92.5PPI, although that would be about the same physical dimensions of the 42.5" 4K monitors, only with 2.3m less pixels, though with bigger text which might be easier to read. Example:


That pic is an impressive setup.

In my own case and for really large 32+ size monitors I default to TV's. Even gaming some of the new home theater stuff is quite nice for the price to performance. My 4K gaming monitor is a Samsung HDTV.
 
So I will feel a difference between the i9 9900 and the 3200g even for basic text and browser based office applications?
As mentioned, the cheapest new i5 (10400) will cost me just $60 less than the i9 considering the intel discount
If the price difference you would be getting were just around $60 over a 10400, then yeah, the 9900 might be worth the difference. You might not notice a huge performance difference, but it should perform a little snappier. And if you decided to sell the system some years down the line, the i9 would likely improve its resale value.

For basic text applications you might not notice a significant difference in the performance of a 9900 over a 3200G, but multitasking with lots of browser tabs open and other applications running you might notice more of a difference. At this point, I would recommend going with at the very least a 4-core, 8-thread processor, like a Ryzen 3400G or the new i3-10100.
 
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1. Will there be even a 1% difference? Meaning, in every 100 hours of work with the i9 will I be able to shove 101 3200g hours of work? If so, it's well worth the $200 difference to me, especially when compounded over years.

2. Guys how bout the monitor setup? Probably the most important factor on my build. I got curious this morning, so started sketching some possible setups:



#1: 42.5" TV - 3840x2160 (8.3m pixels at 103PPI) - 94x53cm (37x21in)
#2: Dual 24" - 1200x1920 (4.6m pixels at 94.5PPI) - 72x55cm (28x22in)
#3: Triple 21.5" - 1080x1920 (6.2m pixels at 102.5PPI) - 88x49cm (35x19in)
#4: 31.5" - 2560x1440 (3.7m pixels at 93.25PPI) - 70x39cm (28x15in)
#5: Dual 23.5" - 1080x1920 (4.15m pixels at 93.75PPI) - 60x52cm (24x20in)
#6: Dual 21.5" - 1080x1920 (4.15m pixels at 102.5PPI) - 59x49cm (23x19in)

Which do you think will be ideal?

I took into account physical dimensions because moving the head too much from right to left (or top to bottom) is something id rather avoid. all the setups have a PPI of 93-103, which I consider the best in terms of font size for readability (on the native resolution).

The 4K 42.5"(#1) is tempting. Lots of real estate. No bezels (tho that might be a disadvantage, of not having 'mental barriers' between tasks). I also like the dual-21.5-vertical (#6) for task separation. But what if I view a website on any one of them? It's just 1080p wide (when vertical), aren't website these days 1200+ pixels wide? This is why I also included #2 (dual 1920x1200, which are 1200px wide each when vertical).

Any thoughts?
 
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The 2 x 23.5 setup looks good as is cost effective with a lot of real estate...But I am not in your line of work so only you know best....I have a 4K 50' setup but with 4K the distance between you and the screen can be an issue so as this requires multiple tabs, programs etc a smaller 2 screen or 3 screen setup would be the best...Oh an for the final time, the 9900 at a whopping 50% discount is an immense deal for one of if not the fastest CPU's on the mainstream segment. As I said, it will be a great CPU for your workloads handling everything with ease, making everything snappy and will be much, much better now and in the future. If I could pick up one at a 50% discount I would and a lot more bedsides me....

I have the 10700K which is a 9900 in disguise but able to overclock and with the same 8 cores and 16 threads all running at 5.1GHz it is immense. The 9900 will be near on the same on the productivity side. I work for a software company and have many, many programs and tabs open though in general my work is different but the 10700K is just perfect for me and my use case...
 
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I'll get the i9 then, worth it to me even if it'll improve productivity by a mere 0.5%. Thanks! As for the 4K, do notice that I listed a 43". It's got a 103PPI, so the text will be exactly as it would on a 21.5" FHD. Or do you mean that you have to sit farther because there's just so much stuff going on? If so then you'd also have to sit as far back on a triple 21.5"s setup, since they share similar physical dimensions.
 
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Good point on the monitors. You will be the best judge but hopefully others with multi monitor setups can jump in with advice as well..

I'll get the i9 then, worth it to me even if it'll improve productivity by a mere 0.5%. Thanks! As for the 4K, do notice that I listed a 43". It's got a 103PPI, so the text will be exactly as it would on a 21.5" FHD. Or do you mean that you have to sit farther because there's just so much stuff going on? If so then you'd also have to sit as far back on a triple 21.5"s setup, since they share similar physical dimensions.
 

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