- Problem: Both of my laptops are busted and get refunded next week. Next gen everything is launching/coming in the next 3 months and I don't want to waste cash.
- Workaround: WFH (thanks corona) and get a high-spec but very quiet ITX base with Ryzen Renoir APU until Boxing Day sales (to retain my OzB membership).
- Solution: After loads of research I found ideal parts (quiet+powerful), with fast delivery (AU stock), at prices cheaper than anything that shows on searches.
- Ask: If these parts/suppliers are of interest to the community, I'll post as deals. What do you think?
Now children, are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin…
Last week I hit a dilemma. Both my laptops have had multiple hardware repairs and after months of escalation are being returned for a full refund (I'll spare you the prequel). I need a decent computer by next week but it feels like this is THE WORST time to be buying a laptop or PC:
- Intel laptops in-stock will be worthless after Intel Tiger Lake launch tomorrow. 11th gen mobile with Willow Cove and Xe iGPU should be great but that's no help right now
- AMD Renoir laptops have all been delayed getting to Australia, and the best are still yet to launch (I need high spec thin and light)
- AMD Zen3 Vermeer is coming in the next 3 months, but prices haven't dropped on 3xxx CPU's. They literally were cheaper last year
- Intel desktop CPU's desperately need a refresh, but their production line is stuffed so nothing new coming till next year, or even 2022 for anything competitive with AMD
- Nvidia GPU's are still overpriced, but they're launching RTX 3000 right now so I'll lose badly on bang for buck now
- AMD GPU's will be redundant with BigNavi launch too whenever that happens. Good for gamers, but I want Nvidia tensor cores for work
- COVID-19 ruined the economy and gamers bought up "work from home" machines so prices have jackity jacked. That said there's a deluge of RAM and SSD deals coming in now.
The workaround plan I came to is to build a 'decent' PC now while WFH. Then come Boxing Day sales I can go nuts on new laptop, CPU and GPU.
I haven't built a PC since 2003 and have always just 'docked' my laptop as a workstation. After waaay too much research I think I've found a solution that meets my goals. I.e. has to be a) small, b) powerful, c) quiet, d) cheap, and e) future proofed. I realise that's totally unreasonable but let me know what you think…
I've found a very quiet and decent airflow ITX case (factory fans but can swap if needed), SFF high power PSU with zero-rpm fan mode, excellent silent cooler overseas (if its late I'll use a cheap gumtree cooler for a week), good overclockable x570 motherboard (future proofed until AM4 dies), high speed RAM for overclocking, silly fast SSD, and next-gen OEM tray APU. Total spend is $1705 excl. cashbacks; probably a third less than RRP. Everything should be here by Friday (except cooler) and has full local warranty. Here's what I found:
- Case: Fractal Design Node 304 White $130.53 + del ($0 if order > $300)- 11 black + 10 white in stock StaticIce AmazonAU Black / White Review
- PSU: Fractal Design Ion SFX-L Gold 650W $156.63 + del ($0 if order > $300) - 11 in stock StaticIce Roundup
- MB: Gigabyte Aorus x570 ITX Pro Wifi $368.88 delivered - 100+ in stock StaticIce AmazonAU Roundup
- SSD: Gigabyte Aorus 1TB NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD $275.71 from Shopping Express via eBay Plus, or $289.00+del. direct from ShopEx - 10+ in stock StaticIce Review
- RAM: G.Skill Trident Neo RGB 32GB (2x8GB) 3600Mhz C16 DDR4 RAM $283.61 via eBay Plus (Shopping Express) StaticIce Amazon Review
- Cooler: Scythe Fuma 2 CPU cooler $94.52+$25.27 air delivery (same day shipped) from Quiet PC UK - 30 in stock. AU stores sold out. AmazonAU Test vs Noctua D15 etc
- APU: OEM AMD Ryzen PRO 4650G (Renoir 65W) APU $360+del. NB: I bought last AU stock unit, but can get at similar price elsewhere. E.g. €223.00+tax+del. Review
I've already pulled the trigger, but I hope this epic saga post might be helpful. If anyone bothered to get to the end, share what you think of the build idea, can I answer any questions on product choice, and can you share any tips on better prices for others?