Request for Help on PC Build - Budget $3200

Hello!

It's been many years since I last built a PC and a lot has changed since then. I was wondering if I could get an opinion on my build since it's more than likely that I have overlooked something.

It looks like a pretty bad time to do this now because of the pandemic and the imminent announcements of the next generation/refresh of Ryzen CUPs and Nvidia GPUs. But I'm not really doing this by choice and I will it no later than mid-July; suffice to say, I no longer have access to machines to get things done partly due to the mess that was the last few months. Any help and comments will be very much appreciated!

Intended Usage
  • Machine learning
  • Simulations
  • 3D Modelling
  • Web development
  • Occasional gaming
Requirements
  • Budget: $3200
  • As quiet as my budget allows
Components
Component Brand/Model Rough Prices
CPU AMD Ryzen 9 3900X, 12 cores, 16 threads $666.00
CPU Cooler be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 $139.00*
Thermal Compound Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut $12.00*
Motherboard ASUS TUF Gaming X570-Plus (Wi-Fi) $355.00*
GPU MSI GeForce RTX 2070 Super 8 GB Gaming X Trio $1000.00
RAM Corsair Vengeance LPX 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4-3200 CL16 $212.00*
Storage Western Digital Black SN750 NVMe 500 GB M.2-2280 $112.00*
PSU be quiet! Straight Power 11 750 W $279.00*
Case be quiet! Pure Base 500DX $169.00*
Total $2944.00

* Already purchased

Note: The total was originally over my budget of $3200; however, due to gradually falling prices and the decision to go with a different set of RAMs and PSU, the total is now well under $3200.

Comments

I think I'm probably budgeting a few hundreds more than a PC of similar specs for components that are "supposedly" quieter, and it is something that I don't want to sacrifice because I suffer from some hearing/psychological conditions. My hope is that the PC will at least be practically inaudible for regular tasks and light gaming, where I need to be right to the PC. Realistically, I expect the PC to be somewhat noisy when I'm training machine learning models (GPU intensive) and running simulations (GPU/CPU intensive); but I at least there is usually no need for me to be right next to the PC for those tasks.

For a part-by-part explanation of my choice:

  • CPU I think this is the most cores I can get with my budget. I do need as many cores as I can afford because I will be running multi-process/threaded simulations. I think it's unlikely that I will ever upgrade the CPU for this build (unless money rains from the sky).
  • CPU Cooler It appears to be the quietest air cooler I can possibly get. It doesn't seem to be available locally at the moment; I'm planning to use the stock cooler until I can get my hands on one. I have considered Noctua coolers, particularly the Noctua NH-U14S (the prices is very tempting on Amazon at the time of posting), but it will probably stand out a bit too much for my linking. I haven't really considered liquid coolers because it doesn't appear that they will be any quieter for my use case and may not be compatible with the case I want to use (happy to be corrected!).
  • Thermal Compound Absolutely no idea what works best but this one seems to keep coming up when I looked into thermal compound that have no electrical conductivity.
  • Motherboard This one I struggle with the most, but after some research this appears to be a good board at this price point. Other than that, the only thing that I think would affect my choices here are: 1. I need two M.2 slots; 2. I need Wi-Fi because I can't drill holes through the wall for Ethernet cables, and I have an unreasonable aversion towards getting Wi-Fi card/USB adapter; 3. I think I will only ever upgrade the GPU for this build.
  • GPU Apparently it's the quietest 2070 Super, and the price hurts a lot. I did consider 5700 XT, but there is no telling when they will roll out support for ROCm, which is required for some of the things I do.
  • RAM I don't care much for RGB, the RAM listed is currently on of the cheaper 32GB DDR4-3600 CL16 RAM I can get from a reputable manufacturer.
  • Storage I impulse-bought the Western Digital Black from one of the recent deal before I had things planned out… It now seems to be what I need at a reasonable price, so hopefully I haven't done something stupid there. I do plan on adding second SSD with a larger capacity at a later time.
  • PSU This is another one I'm not too sure about. I originally looked into the Corsair HX-750 because it has a zero-fan mode, but decided later that I want a PSU that keeps its fan on for better thermals (and apparently people have had difficulties in getting custom fan curve to stick). I first looked at the Dark Power Pro 11, but it doesn't appear to be available anywhere at around $300. Eventually I came across the SeaSonic PRIME Ultra by accident, which has a physical switch for toggling passive cooling at low load and has the added advantage of being rated at 80+ Titanium. On pcpartpicker the estimated wattage for these components is currently 439 W. The choice of a 750 W PSU is because I remember reading somewhere that recommends getting a PSU that about double the wattage of what I need for higher efficiency and stability, and to allow for the possibility of upgrades in the future; but this is all quite new to me and I'm not sure if that advice is solid (the 650 W version is cheaper!).
  • Case I have been looking at be quiet! and Factal Design cases for a while. I don't care much for tampered glass window and RGB lighting, but the 500DX seems to a good case that balances quietness and thermals.
Questions
  • I'm planning to buy the components over the period of a month, partly in the hope that prices will drop and partly because it looks like I'll have to wait for a couple of things. Should I be concerned about DoA items, which I won't be able to test since I don't have a PC at all?
  • Is it going to be a lot of trouble if I have to deal with warranty claims for things that are shipped from the US by Newegg or Amazon Australia?
  • Is the 3900X likely to drop further in price given the imminent refresh?

Once again, thank you very much in advance for any help and comments!

Edit: updated list to indicate items that are already purchased.

Comments

  • The sound quietness comes from the case and fans mostly, however then hoping the power supply and video card does not have coil whine.

    Before making a final decision, it is probably best to research the coil whine factor of the parts you intend to get.

    That being said, i have owned 4 seasonics in the last 15 years, the 1st a 850 watt gold+ lasted 7 years, 2 years past its warranty- had very bad coil whine.
    the 2nd was a 660 watt platinium+ which was bought 2nd hand, lasted just shy of 7 years, luckily inside warranty still so getting it replaced, had a little coil whine.
    I got a brand new Prime ultra 1000 watt platinum in 2018, and a Prime ultra 650 watt platinum a few months ago, and both have 0 coil whine.

    You probably do not need titanium, you can save yourself $100 and get platinum instead.

    • +1 vote

      Thank you very much for the comments! I'm sure the noise from coil whine will annoy me more than a fan spinning at high RPM; I was so focused on fan noise and ended up completely forgetting about coil whine. I will research into coil whine and associated warranties! Thank you!

      • Keep the seasonic packaging, with my efforts to get warranty currently its very difficult without the original packaging.
        12 years is a long time.

  • I am only going to talk about the stuff I have personal experience with…

    I love Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut, it gets my top choice and A+ / Otherwise those exotic liquid metals seem dangerous and difficult to apply.

    I have a Be Quiet! Dark Base 900 case and the 6TB WD blacks by far make the most noise. It's a type of low rumble that you can hear all the time, and such low frequency can only be removed by THICK insulation, just won't happen with any case.

    I figure because I use these WD blacks generally for large-file storage, I can have them off most of the time, so purchased these Orico Drive caddies, turned on hot-swapping in BIOS and simply use the power button on the front of each caddy to turn them on/off as I need.

    I don't think your PSU fan will ever add noticeable noise. The fan cooling of your CPU/GPU will always far win the noise competition when your system is pushed hard.

    Warranty for overseas items will be hell… I purchased a few WD drives from B&H, but when one came DoA, I had already thrown out the cheap cardboard packaging and B&H wouldn't return because of this very reason. They directed me to WD Head Office in Vietnam, and I sent the parcel once, it came back, sent it again, and it was returned again as wrong address… The postage to send this small drive was $65. In the end it caused much frustration. I had also signed up previously to the PayPal offer where they pay the first $45 of postage price for 4 returns a year… Each retailer is different and Amazon AU/US/UK have been much better for returns, but some others like B&H are horrible.

    DoA for components is always tricky, but unlikely. Just don't unpack and discard packaging to make life easier if you are unlucky.

    • +2 votes

      Ah! I'm one of those people who have never had to claim warranty or sold anything I have, so keeping packaging is certainly not a habit! I'll make space for storing packaging now!

      I have never had to apply thermal compound and, honestly, that's the bit that worries me the most because—it's the beginner's (probably unwarranted) feeling of how I might end up frying the CPU. I originally had the Arctic Silver 5 when I first started looking into thermal compounds, but only found out later that it's more risk than I'd like because it's electrically conductive. It's good to hear that the Kryonaut is a sensible choice!

      And thank you very much for sharing your experience regarding the HDD! I'm planning to add a hard disk for backups eventually and I was concerned about noise. The drive caddies solution sounds absolutely perfect. I also just realised that I never looked into how hard disks are mounted on the Pure Base 500DX—thank you for the reminder, too!

  • If you are planning on deep learning then Nvidia cards are probably still preferable because of CUDA linking in with popular deep learning packages.

    Just curious about the what kind of simulations you are running that will be CPU intensive? (Will you need more than 32gb ram for these?)

    • I think you are absolutely right. I have always worked with Nvidia GPUs, but I do want to support AMD because of the naive reason that competition = win for everyone (and price-wise they are really attractive). Unfortunately, I'm going to avoid AMD GPUs this time around because the last thing I want is to spend time on troubleshooting compatibility issues now, or come up with hacky solutions. :(

      In the short term I'll be running mostly Monte Carlo simulations of various physical systems on the machine. Usually most quantities of interest don't require snapshots/configurations to be kept in memory, in those cases memory use is really minimal. Sometimes I need those configurations for machine learning, which requires a lot more RAM. It's interesting that you asked about RAM, because I have been thinking about going for 64 GB of RAM and questioning whether I'm hurting myself for keep things within budget. D: I think this is a good reminder (thank you!) that I should think about this a bit more carefully—because I can't immediately say that I won't need more RAM.

      On related question, would you happen to know if RAM timings have a large impact on this type of tasks? I haven't been able to find any hard data on the effect of RAM timings, and I don't think FPS benchmarks are relevant to my use case.

      Edit: removed random hyphen.

      • I think with current gen ryzen's ram timings and speed are not an issue unless you are planning to overclock.

        I really doubt you will notice a huge difference with faster ram timings. (Most of the benchmarks take into account ability to overclock with a given ram). If you are not overclocking i think you don't need to worry.

        I run some analysis (basically simulations with permutations of 10+gb data sets) and so even with ryzen 3900x i get limited by ram very quickly. (each core requires ~15gb RAM for my analysis so I can only use 6 or so cores even with 128gb mem.

        Unless you have big data sets I don't think you will be limited by ram so 32gb might be plenty.

        • It's interesting the point you made about larger datasets—I've had to limit CPU core usage in the past for similar reasons. You've given me something to consider, too—I usually alternative been running simulations and machine learning algorithms, but from now on I'll likely want to use the idle CPU cores as well, and that will require additional memory.

          Thank you very much for your help again!

  • IF your okay with waiting, I'd wait and see how the Ampere based GPU's effect the market.

  • Not sure if that CPU will fall in price again soon, though the all go down eventually of course.

    High end Ryzens have fallen a bit - I've seen a couple of deals here in the last few weeks. I suspect it's maybe the release of the flagships of intel series 10 with a decent number of cores? Not sure. The low and mid end ones are not out yet, but I think the ones competing with yours have been available for a couple of weeks now. So maybe no more intel-competition related moves for now?

    • +1 vote

      I realise that I probably asked a silly question with no real answer to it, I think the amount of time I spent on looking at prices is probably quite unhealthy and causing me to ask those questions partly out of desperation…

      Thank you very much for commenting! "Not sure" is arguably the best answer one can possibly give! Also, thank you for sharing your build last week, too!

  • Top