[SOLVED] Tear Apart My First Build (~$1,500 mid-range gaming / workstation PC)

Feb 21, 2021
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Tl;dr (More in-depth post below dotted line)

What should I change?

CPU
: AMD Ryzen 5 5600X 3.7 GHz 6-Core Processor Price: $279.99
CPU Cooler: Included with CPU? Or should I buy a separate one?
GPU: Asus GeForce RTX 3060 12 GB TUF GAMING OC Video Card (Already owned)
Motherboard: Asus TUF GAMING X570-PLUS (WI-FI) ATX AM4 Motherboard Price: $192.99
Memory: G.Skill Trident Z RGB 32 GB DDR4 - 3600 Price: $204.99
Storage: Intel 1TB SSD 3D3 QLC NAND M.2 2280 PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4 Internal SSD Price: $104.99
- I will probably add an additional storage device / item later on
Power Supply:
EVGA G3 750 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply Price: $109.99
Case Fans: Corsair LL120 43.25 CFM 120 mm Fans 3-Pack Price $92.
Monitors: (already owned)
  • Gaming (center): 24'Pixio PX248 Prime S 24" 165Hz IPS
  • Work (L & R): 2 HP 24mh FHD Monitors - Computer Monitor with 23.8-Inch IPS Display (1080p)
OS: Windows 10

Case: Trying to figure this one out. Probably don't want to spend more than $150 and looking for the following:
ATX Mid-sized case w/ see-through siding, has good airflow, plenty of space for cable management
Want it to complement the desk space coloring as well. Some have recommended trying to weave in silver/metallic cases to match side monitors or perhaps even going full retro (and wrapping a chassis in vinyl). All awesome thoughts - although I'll probably end up moving in the direction that requires less work :D.

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(Long Version with More Context)

Hi All!

I originally posted my first build idea back in Feb. However, due to some original part/requirement changes on my end, I thought it would helpful to revise and repost. Excited to share my first PC build and get your feedback!

Big thanks to @Why_Me for guidance on what I had originally put together from the start and then from @JohnBonhamsGhost and @Eximo for some tips on how to potentially make this thing look sexy.

I’ve always dreamed of building my own PC, but could never seem to justify the time or cost it would take to do so. Well, with how much time many of us have spent at home due to COVID, I’ve finally decided to take the leap.

Even though I have only recently discovered the content and community of Tom’s Hardware, I’m a big fan of what I have seen thus far, so I am really looking forward to the feedback you all provide.

Also, I understand everyone’s time is valuable so I tried to include the primary questions I am looking for guidance on up front. Details on the ‘Why’ and ‘What’ of my build follows that. However, if you have any other feedback outside of the Qs I listed below, please feel free to share - thanks!

Primary Questions I am Looking to Get Answered:
  • Only buying features I need - when you look at my objectives and my build, am I overbuying / underbuying on my parts? Do all parts pair well with each other?
  • Current price of parts - since I am not super familiar with the PC part market, are there part prices that are phenomenal and I should buy right now?
  • Case color scheme/combo feedback - what RGB colors and case color would fit well in the office space I have?
Why I Am Upgrading:

Currently, I have an old (personal) Asus laptop, my work laptop, and a three 24 in monitors.

The following problems with my current set-up are driving my upgrade. I am trying to kill multiple birds (already took care of a couple of them with my monitor set up) with one stone by alleviating all of these problems:
  1. Limited Gaming Abilities: My (personal) Asus laptop is slow and not very reliable. I have trouble playing League of Legends smoothly, and am unable to play COD Warzone at all (does not meet minimum requirements).
  2. Limited Screen Space/Desk space: For personal and work reasons, I would like another monitor and better utilization of my desk space
  3. Neck/Back Pain: Due to positioning/height of current monitor/laptops
  4. Annoying to switch Monitor/Mouse/Keyboard between personal laptop and work laptop
For my desktop build, I want it to serve primarily as a mid-range gaming PC, and then secondarily as a workstation:
  • Gaming
    • League of Legends (current game I play; want to be able to play it at 90 - 144 fps though)
    • COD Warzone (unable to play at all with current laptop, but would like to download so I can at play it anywhere between 100 - 144 FPS)
    • When it comes to gaming, I care much less about the best quality picture (I am fine playing on lowest game settings to get best performance), and much more about performance and reliability.
  • Workstation
    • basic internet browsing / doc usage and storage; basic use of python and SQLServer
I will not be using this PC for:
  • Watching movies / TV
  • Graphic Design or Video Editing
  • LiveStreaming
End Goal: Have a desktop that continues to fulfill the requirements listed above for the next 5 - 8 years with the ability to upgrade if desired in the future.

Build Links:
Budget Range: I would like to keep the cost of the Desktop PC at around $1500 if possible (total cost of system does not include $540 I spent on Monitors/Stands/Mouse)

Overclocking: No
SLI or Crossfire: No

Approximate Purchase Date: I can buy parts as soon as today, but also can be patient (wait to buy a part here or there) over the next few months if it means more $s can be saved.

Are you buying a monitor: No

Do you need to buy OS: Yes

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Whatever website has the best deal(s). Also have a local Micro Center near me that I could go to.

Parts Preferences: Indifferent

Location: Southwest OH





Full Build Part List:

CPU
: AMD Ryzen 5 5600X 3.7 GHz 6-Core Processor Price: $279.99
https://www.microcenter.com/product/630285/Ryzen_5_5600X_Vermeer_37GHz_6-Core_AM4_Boxed_Processor_with_Wraith_Stealth_Cooler
Price: $279.99
Do I stay with the 5600 or upgrade use the 3600?

CPU Cooler
: Included with CPU? Or should I buy a separate one?

GPU: Asus GeForce RTX 3060 12 GB TUF GAMING OC Video Card
https://www.microcenter.com/product/633747/asus-nvidia-geforce-rtx-3060-tuf-gaming-overclocked-triple-fan-12gb-gddr6-pcie-40-graphics-card
Already purchased ($528.00)

Motherboard: Asus TUF GAMING X570-PLUS (WI-FI) ATX AM4 Motherboard
https://pcpartpicker.com/product/dmGnTW/asus-tuf-gaming-x570-plus-wi-fi-atx-am4-motherboard-tuf-gaming-x570-plus-wi-fi
Price: $192.99

Memory: G.Skill Trident Z RGB 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3200 CL16 Memory
https://pcpartpicker.com/product/ybrcCJ/gskill-tridentz-rgb-16gb-2-x-8gb-ddr4-3200-memory-f4-3200c16d-16gtzr
Price: $108.99
Is this the right memory set up for my build?

Storage: Intel 1TB SSD 3D3 QLC NAND M.2 2280 PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4 Internal SSD
https://www.microcenter.com/product/624564/intel-1tb-ssd-3d3-qlc-nand-m2-2280-pcie-nvme-30-x4-internal-solid-state-drive
Price: $104.99
I will probably add an additional storage device / item later on

Power Supply:
EVGA G3 750 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply
https://pcpartpicker.com/product/dMM323/evga-supernova-g3-750w-80-gold-certified-fully-modular-atx-power-supply-220-g3-0750
Price: $109.99

Case: Trying to figure this one out. Probably don't want to spend more than $150 and looking for the following:
ATX Mid-sized case w/ fan controllers, see-through siding, has good airflow, plenty of space for cable management
Want it to complement the desk space coloring as well. Some have recommended trying to weave in silver/metallic cases to match side monitors or perhaps even going full retro (and wrapping a chassis in vinyl). All awesome thoughts - although I'll probably end up moving in the direction that requires less work :D.

Case Fans: Corsair LL120 43.25 CFM 120 mm Fans 3-Pack
https://pcpartpicker.com/product/8KFXsY/corsair-ll120rgb-led-4325-cfm-120-mm-fans-3-pack-co-9050072-ww
Price: $91.99
Have no idea if these cases are any good, just threw them on the list

OS
: Microsoft Windows 10
May try to leverage this advice that was provided previously: https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/get-windows-10-free-or-cheap,5717.html

Monitors:
 
Last edited:
I am not here to tear anything apart.
Only to offer opinions and suggestions.

I like that you included a photo of your desk space; I wish more would.
First of all, I think that any case you buy should probably go under your table, where few will actually see it.
That leaves much more room for workspace.
As a suggestion, buy a XXL sized mouse pad.
I use a glorous one that is 4' wide by 2 ' deep.
Much easier to put your keyboard on top.

Cases are a personal thing; buy the one you love and be willing to bust your budget for one.
It will be with you for a long time.
For a case,I personally am not a fan of rgb "bling"
After a while it gets distracting. Fortunately it is easy to turn off.
You have room for a full sized case under the table.
What is the depth of your table?
If you want to locate a desk on top of the table, on the right, you need to be careful about the depth of the case. Most cases will be some 18" deep, and you must allow for cables, particularly gpu cables and the psu cables to extend another 2" or so to the wall.

For good cooling and quiet, you want a case with good ventilation.
I would look for a case with two front 140mm intakes or 200mm intake.
Larger fans are quieter and move more air at a given rpm.
You probably are thinking about a ATX sized case.
An example might be the Corsair 400D airflow:
https://www.newegg.com/white-corsair-4000d-airflow-atx-mid-tower/p/N82E16811139157
Put a pair of noctua 140mm 1200 rpm drives in front as intakes.
You need no more.
Relocate the supplied 120mm fan to the rear mainly to direct airflow past your motherboard, cooler, and graphics card.

Probably not your style, but I bought a cm HAF XB EVO which has to be the easiest case ever to work with:
https://www.newegg.com/black-cooler-master-haf-series-atx-desktop/p/N82E16811119265?quicklink=true

I would not bother with any fan controllers.
Motherboard fan control can do the job.
Actually, you may find it less distracting to not hear a fan increasing or decreasing speed.

I am very much against AIO coolers when a simple air cooler will do the job.
I would at least try the supplied 5600X cooler first.
If it seems too noisy, there are a number of noctua coolers under $100 that are very efficient and will cool as well as a 280 aio costing twice as much.
And, air will not wear out or ever leak.

Good job on snapping up a 3060.

A ryzen 5600X is an excellent processor with 12 threads that is plenty for any games.
The ryzen 5000 series have improved performance per clock of some 19% vs. previous gen.
Intel 11th gen has similarly improved performance per clock.

The performance of most games will be limited by the graphics card.
If budget is an issue, you might want to look at the I5-11400 which is competitive with the 5600x.
Here is a review:

On storage, Buy a 2tb ssd up front,
Really, any ssd will do but m.2 pcie devices cost no more.
I like the samsung EVO units, but Intel also makes quality ssd's.
Both source their own parts for better quality control.

750w is appropriate, and the EVGA G3 is reasonable.
 
Reactions: legacydesign

popatim

Titan
Moderator
Tl,dr should be short and condensed, not a novel. Something like this:

What should I change?

CPU
: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 3.6 GHz 6-Core Processor Price: $199
CPU Cooler: Included with CPU? Or should I buy a separate one?
GPU: Asus GeForce RTX 3060 12 GB TUF GAMING OC Video Card (Already owned)
Motherboard: Asus TUF GAMING X570-PLUS (WI-FI) ATX AM4 Motherboard Price: $192.99
Memory: G.Skill Trident Z RGB 16 GB f4-3200c16d-16gtzr Price: $108.99
Storage: Intel 1TB SSD 3D3 QLC NAND M.2 2280 PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4 Internal SSD Price: $104.99
- I will probably add an additional storage device / item later on
Power Supply:
EVGA G3 750 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply Price: $109.99
Case Fans: Corsair LL120 43.25 CFM 120 mm Fans 3-Pack Price $92.
Monitors: (already owned)
- Gaming (center): 24'Pixio PX248 Prime S 24" 165Hz IPS
- Work (L & R): 2 HP 24mh FHD Monitors - Computer Monitor with 23.8-Inch IPS Display (1080p)

OS: Windows 10

Case: Trying to figure this one out. Probably don't want to spend more than $150 and looking for the following:
ATX Mid-sized case w/ fan controllers, see-through siding, has good airflow, plenty of space for cable management
Want it to complement the desk space coloring as well. Some have recommended trying to weave in silver/metallic cases to match side monitors or perhaps even going full retro (and wrapping a chassis in vinyl). All awesome thoughts - although I'll probably end up moving in the direction that requires less work :D.

 
Good post with a lot of detail. Kudos!

I really hate the current GPU market. You got one of the best cards for the price with the current market trends but it sucks that you had to spend more than $350. Also note that the 12GBs of memory for this card isn't as much of a plus as you might think. Because of the reduced memory bus width (192-bit instead of 256-bit), NVIDIA had a choice of 6GB or 12GB only. Because of AMDs competition, 12GBs was the only real option. This basically means that the card will get too slow, overall, before you start hitting your max VRAM usage. On the plus side - you've got room for all those texture mods from older games! :D

I would definitely go with the 5600x. There has been a substantial leap in IPC between the 3000 and 5000 series. Since you haven't bought your CPU yet the 5600X is a no-brainer.
2x8GB is good but, for a new PC build, I would go with 2x16GB. You're gonna have 3 monitors and will most likely be doing things on the other monitors while gaming on one. Depending on what you're doing on the other monitors, 16GBs may be a little too tight.

You're build may last 5+ years if you don't mind playing games at lower quality but no one can really predict what AAA titles are going to need a few years from now. If they move in the direction of MSFS well all need an upgrade soon! :LOL:


Edit - Also, get 3600MHz RAM instead of 3200MHz
 
Last edited:
Reactions: legacydesign
Feb 21, 2021
17
2
15
0
I would definitely go with the 5600x. There has been a substantial leap in IPC between the 3000 and 5000 series. Since you haven't bought your CPU yet the 5600X is a no-brainer.
2x8GB is good but, for a new PC build, I would go with 2x16GB. You're gonna have 3 monitors and will most likely be doing things on the other monitors while gaming on one. Depending on what you're doing on the other monitors, 16GBs may be a little too tight.


Edit - Also, get 3600MHz RAM instead of 3200MHz
Thanks for the thoughts - very much appreciated! So the 5600x is a no brainer then? I'll have to add it to the list (will update my build)!

I'm always confused with the 2x8GBs vs. 2x16GBs. I'm still obviously learning, but wouldn't the 2x16GBs only be needed if I was doing more video rendering type stuff? (I know it is never bad to have more RAM).

And for my continued learning, why go 3600MHz RAM instead of 3200MHz? I may have misread it somewhere, but I thought my graphics card couldn't really fully leverage the 3600MHz of RAM.

Again - appreciate your thoughts on this!
 
I am not here to tear anything apart.
Only to offer opinions and suggestions.

I like that you included a photo of your desk space; I wish more would.
First of all, I think that any case you buy should probably go under your table, where few will actually see it.
That leaves much more room for workspace.
As a suggestion, buy a XXL sized mouse pad.
I use a glorous one that is 4' wide by 2 ' deep.
Much easier to put your keyboard on top.

Cases are a personal thing; buy the one you love and be willing to bust your budget for one.
It will be with you for a long time.
For a case,I personally am not a fan of rgb "bling"
After a while it gets distracting. Fortunately it is easy to turn off.
You have room for a full sized case under the table.
What is the depth of your table?
If you want to locate a desk on top of the table, on the right, you need to be careful about the depth of the case. Most cases will be some 18" deep, and you must allow for cables, particularly gpu cables and the psu cables to extend another 2" or so to the wall.

For good cooling and quiet, you want a case with good ventilation.
I would look for a case with two front 140mm intakes or 200mm intake.
Larger fans are quieter and move more air at a given rpm.
You probably are thinking about a ATX sized case.
An example might be the Corsair 400D airflow:
https://www.newegg.com/white-corsair-4000d-airflow-atx-mid-tower/p/N82E16811139157
Put a pair of noctua 140mm 1200 rpm drives in front as intakes.
You need no more.
Relocate the supplied 120mm fan to the rear mainly to direct airflow past your motherboard, cooler, and graphics card.

Probably not your style, but I bought a cm HAF XB EVO which has to be the easiest case ever to work with:
https://www.newegg.com/black-cooler-master-haf-series-atx-desktop/p/N82E16811119265?quicklink=true

I would not bother with any fan controllers.
Motherboard fan control can do the job.
Actually, you may find it less distracting to not hear a fan increasing or decreasing speed.

I am very much against AIO coolers when a simple air cooler will do the job.
I would at least try the supplied 5600X cooler first.
If it seems too noisy, there are a number of noctua coolers under $100 that are very efficient and will cool as well as a 280 aio costing twice as much.
And, air will not wear out or ever leak.

Good job on snapping up a 3060.

A ryzen 5600X is an excellent processor with 12 threads that is plenty for any games.
The ryzen 5000 series have improved performance per clock of some 19% vs. previous gen.
Intel 11th gen has similarly improved performance per clock.

The performance of most games will be limited by the graphics card.
If budget is an issue, you might want to look at the I5-11400 which is competitive with the 5600x.
Here is a review:

On storage, Buy a 2tb ssd up front,
Really, any ssd will do but m.2 pcie devices cost no more.
I like the samsung EVO units, but Intel also makes quality ssd's.
Both source their own parts for better quality control.

750w is appropriate, and the EVGA G3 is reasonable.
 
Reactions: legacydesign
I'm always confused with the 2x8GBs vs. 2x16GBs. I'm still obviously learning, but wouldn't the 2x16GBs only be needed if I was doing more video rendering type stuff? (I know it is never bad to have more RAM).

And for my continued learning, why go 3600MHz RAM instead of 3200MHz? I may have misread it somewhere, but I thought my graphics card couldn't really fully leverage the 3600MHz of RAM.
Depending on what you have on your other screens (Chrome with 10 tabs and videos, for example), you may get close to using all 16GBs. If you won't be doing many other things while gaming then the 2x8GBs should be okay for the next couple/few years.
3600MHz RAM will ensure that you are getting the most out of your CPU. In some games it may give you up to a 2-3% increase in FPS but this is very game and settings specific.

It's difficult to build for 5+ years of gaming. Getting 32GBs of 3600MHz RAM may give you another year beyond what 16GBs of 3200MHz would, but we're really crystal ball gazing at this point. It is more likely that your RTX 3060 will slow down enough for you to want to upgrade it in 2-3 years.
 
Reactions: legacydesign
Feb 21, 2021
17
2
15
0
It's difficult to build for 5+ years of gaming. Getting 32GBs of 3600MHz RAM may give you another year beyond what 16GBs of 3200MHz would, but we're really crystal ball gazing at this point. It is more likely that your RTX 3060 will slow down enough for you to want to upgrade it in 2-3 years.
That all makes sense. So basically what I am hearing, is that while it's hard to say at this point, I may be able to eek out another year or two of use if I go the 32GB/3600MHz route (or at least it will pair decently if I upgrade my GPU again in 2-3 years). Seems like a reasonable enough reason. I'll look to update my build and see the cost difference. Thanks!
 
Feb 21, 2021
17
2
15
0
I am not here to tear anything apart.
Only to offer opinions and suggestions.
However it is delivered, I appreciate it!

And I hear you on the gloriously sized mousepad (I didn't think about that originally with my keyboard) but will definitely consider upgrading it in the future.

With your case comments, I'm a little torn. Honestly, my MO is being about function over design or "bling," but since this was always a dream of mine to build my own PC, I thought it would be nice to have a little fun with it. All that said though, you make some great points about the longevity of a case and how it may be more convenient to just put it under my desk to begin with. Some things to think about 🤔.

If you want to locate a desk on top of the table, on the right, you need to be careful about the depth of the case. Most cases will be some 18" deep, and you must allow for cables, particularly gpu cables and the psu cables to extend another 2" or so to the wall.
Lastly, on the case front, I appreciate the additional thought as it pertains to size considerations. I hadn't considered the 2" or so needed for cables (the right side of my work desk runs about 35" long and 22" long). I'll have to factor that in.

For good cooling and quiet, you want a case with good ventilation.
.....Actually, you may find it less distracting to not hear a fan increasing or decreasing speed.
Another good call out I didn't think about. In the long run, I'd probably rather have something smooth and quite than have to deal with listening to loud fans. Will look over the Corsair and the fan set up you suggested!

Probably not your style, but I bought a cm HAF XB EVO which has to be the easiest case ever to work with
You are the functional king haha!

I am very much against AIO coolers when a simple air cooler will do the job.
From the little I have researched, I feel I am 100% aligned with you here. I'm not overclocking so the out of box cooler or another air cooler would seem to work just fine.

If budget is an issue, you might want to look at the I5-11400 which is competitive with the 5600x.
Appreciate you sharing the review. I actually was looking at a 11400F chip in my original build, but got a little frustrated/overwhelmed with trying to pair it with an affordable motherboard. The article you forwarded to me is exactly the type of info I was looking for!

Duly noted on the storage.

Thanks for all the feedback!
 

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