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Building a PC


Xeon Wraith
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EDIT: I built a thing! Link to final specs and build.

So I'd figured its about time I ditch this dying laptop I've been playing on for the last four years or so. This the first build I'm doing and I'm spending a hefty amount on it, so I'd appreciate any input on the specs or anything I've missed.

Budget: £1500-ish flexible.    Purpose: Primarily gaming.    Time scale: Preferably soon but not high priority. Up to 2 months or so.

PCPartPicker Link

Current Planned Spec: £1450~

CPU: Ryzen 2600x - 33% cheaper than the 2700x with most of the performance when it comes to gaming. Likely to wait for Zen 2 release if CPU power is lacking. The AM4 chipset is supposedly supported till Zen 3 after all.

CPU Cooler: Wraith Spire/Noctua NH-D15 - Stock Wraith Spire of the Ryzen for a little while probably, then the Noctua NH-D15 to push XFR2 OC. Ugly cooler, extremely effective. RAM clearance might be a issue, so might need to raise second fan. Noctua needs its' own mounting kit for AM4, but this can be ordered for free with the cooler.

MB: ASUS ROG Crosshair VII - Appears to be arguably the best-in-slot X470 MB for options, though at a premium. Probably a higher end MB than I require actually, though the additional options available is nice for future. 

RAM: G.Skill Trident Z DDR4-3200MHZ - Ryzen's performance appears to scale significantly with faster RAM speeds and the Trident Z is a higher end RAM stick proven capable of it. Also part of ROG CH7's QVL, so there shouldn't be any compatibility issues.

Storage: 1TB Crucial MX500 SSD & 1TB WB HDD - Exact specs generally unimportant. Picked large and cheap. SSD for main, HDD for speed-unimportant other files. Possibly M.2 form factor for SSD, slightly concerned over heat generation of the M.2 version though.

GPU: Nvinda GTX 1070 Ti - Tiny bit weaker than the 1080, but considerably less expensive. 1070s are a lower cost option for less performance. I figured the GPU would be the #1 place to spend extra in though. Next step up after this would probably be a RTX card a few years down the line.

Case: Fractal Define R5 - A highly rated case with a ton of placement options. Dust filters help for maintenance. Large enough for the MB, GPU, PSU and CPU cooler (w/ raised fan). I'll probably remove much of the HDD & the Optical cage to make room for a front intake fan and have a small portion of the HDD cage hanging from the top.

PSU: EVGA SuperNOVA G2 650 - A highly rated and quiet PSU, 650 is probably enough for any expansion I decide to do in future.

Case Fans: Noctua NF-A15 + 2x Fractal GP14 - Fractal fans stock from case. Expecting to use 2 intake and 1 exhaust for net positive air pressure inside case. In theory this should prevent dust from wandering in through the gaps in the case. I'm thinking of placing the 2 intakes on the front and bottom to make use of the dust filters with the exhaust at the rear. A top mounted exhaust is also a option which carries the benefit of utilising natural convection but I'm a bit worried of dust falling through when the PC is off.

I'll also need to get a new monitor but I'd like to finalise the PC specs first.

If anyone has any idea how the prices of PC components tends to change over the next few months, that'll be greatly appreciated. 

>Also, I'll probably be able to get back on the PUG writeups next week. Been pretty busy.

Edited by Xeon Wraith
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The specs you have there are pretty good, although I would definately wait a couple of months.

Ram prices and storage drives have been on the price drops recently, and are likely to drop further coming into the new year according to a few YouTubers.

But as a starting point I have linked a good build that should work for you.

 

If you were looking to fill up that entire budget to nearly 1500 then you could go for something like this (Which does upgrade a fair few components)

The only thing not included in this price (extra case fans (but they are cheap enough to buy individually without too much issue later)

Link to Parts

It does give the 1080 and changes the Ram to a slightly cheaper (but no less on the performance side) (and is still quite popular).

I would definately recommend getting a slightly bigger secondary drive (since Games can be rather large now, and less removing of games from your system the better :) )

I also dropped off the Wifi MB (but you can always change that to another board or get an external adapter or PCIE card for it)

Also changed the cooler to be an AIO (and I have used similar for previous computers and never had issues with Overclocking even to relatively higher levels) (plus also gets rid of potential clearance issues and the ugly cooler :) )

 

The only thing I would recommend is getting quieter fans overall (especially since these can be upgraded down the line and it makes a huge difference to total sound in the room, thats why I tried to pick out components that don't make much noise overall while still giving you the performance)

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Iirc, you start less much less improvement in RAM performance after certain speeds. I think you can drop down to 3000Ghz without any real noticeable differences. I didn't make the switch in my list, but it is almost £30 cheaper to do so. Plus, you could always attempt to do the typically not recommended thing and OC your RAM.

I basically took fffreak's list and tweaked that:
https://uk.pcpartpicker.com/user/Redarmy1917/saved/tvN4qs

I went middle ground between the MB you chose Xeon and the one fffreak went with.

I split the SSD up, 500GB m.2 and 500GB 2.5"

I guess fffreak chose the Hybrid drive for sound reasons? Hybrid drives are basically obsolete at this point though, and the HDD part only went to 5400RPM which imo is painfully slow, so I switched it out to just a 2TB HDD at 7200RPM.

Switched to white ram to save that £2.

And went with a SeaSonic power supply cause I remember @Cronustelling me that SeaSonic makes extremely reliable PSUs.

Oh, and the last difference is I went with a much cheaper 1080, but it's cooling is a single blower fan it seems soooo... You might not want to go with it, but it is significantly cheaper. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Pretty sure that covers the differences between mine and fffreak's build. On price speculation, from what I heard, if you're going with a 10 series gfx card, buy sooner rather than later, since it's not being manufactured anymore. Also with tax returns coming up soon, at least in the states, that's expected to greatly affect their availability and price.

 

Edit: Also, just as a side note, from what I've read on the topic, you shouldn't have any real issues with an m.2 drive. Like, you talked about wanting to OC in your first post, it sounds like you have airflow figured out for the case. If it still concerns you, you could always add an extra case fan to just point at the drive.

Edited by Redarmy
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Thanks for input.

I probably won't be getting the Corsair H100i water cooling setup. Noctua NH-D15 has comparable performance and is apparently quieter.  I don't really care much about about looks in the face of performance anyway. Plus, I'd probably do something stupid with water cooling and break something. Maybe something to revisit in future.

I didn't mention it in my original post but the choice of thermal paste was entirely due to this chart. Didn't want to go for a liquid metal TP so the Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut was the best one - on paper at least.

The MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC is almost certainly the correct choice for the current build. I do kinda want to leave my MB alone for quite a while though (probably till DDR5 is out and somewhat affordable) and the X470 boards would probably scale better into the future if I ever get a Zen 2 CPU. Undecided on the ROG Strix X470-F. I'll take a more indepth look later.

I'm not too worried about low storage. Getting another SSD or HDD when I'm low and installing it then probably shouldn't be that hard with the Define R5. Is there any benefits to splitting up the SSD? I know the Samsung 970 EVO SSD supports NVMe but that isn't of much practical use considering the sizes of files I'll be accessing anyway. It would seem more practical to just get a slower but cheaper SSD. 

I'll take a more indepth look at RAM with the MB. On the whole I'd like to stick with RAM sticks that are among the MB's QVL. I get that they might work while not being on the list but I'd like to play it safe here. 3 GHz over 3.2 GHz could definitely be a option, especially if there's a 32GB support on the QVL as well.

The Asus GTX 1080 TUBRO seems to have cooling issues under heavy load , which is less than ideal. On the flipside, the Zotac GTX 1080's price tag is really warding me off from upgrading. Alternative GTX 1080s seem to be in the same £500-ish price range. GTX 1080 benchmarks on the whole seem to be around 5-10% higher than the GTX 1070 Ti, but being 30% more expensive (+£120) means I probably won't be upgrading unless there's a additional reason to.

Dunno much about the PSUs. On the whole my understanding is to choose something that is modular, provides enough and is reliable. Been working off this.

Side note on fan noise - not much of a concern for me but one of the prime selling points of the Fractal Define R5 case is being very quiet with it's sound proofing.

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I recently upgraded my computer set up too. Went with the Ryzen 2600x also. Been using the stock fan cooler with it and it seems to be working great. Running at stable speeds of 4.1ghz. The cpu is also great for Ren X since Renx is more intensive on CPU than GPU.

Granted I also have a very effective fan cooling set up on my case. Cut a hole on my glass side, put in a 200mm cooler master intake fan. Then 3 exhaust fans. 2 on top and one on the back. 

 

I also just upgraded my gtx 1080 to a gtx 1080ti. Half reason because the 1080 didn't quite have the power I wanted and two, my 1080 seems to be dying. so I have to send it in for warranty. Then I'm looking to sell it.

If you're interested in it, let me know!

 

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If you spend 170 dollars on a CPU and 600 on a card, theres bound to be a bottleneck, its better to get a strong CPU first, to skip the faff of having to replace half the motherbits after setting up everything, later.

A 2600X might even bottleneck a 1070Ti, just dont pair a 1080Ti with a mid range CPU, at least get a 2700X or preferably am 8700K (9th gen intel looks crap imo).

Ryzen rn has bad IPC and low usage on most games. Youll be missing out on a lot of FPSes with a CPU and Card sitting around alot.

Ryzen 3rd gen is around the corner, maybe wait for that.

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On 12/12/2018 at 10:29 AM, Xeon Wraith said:

I probably won't be getting the Corsair H100i water cooling setup. Noctua NH-D15 has comparable performance and is apparently quieter.  I don't really care much about about looks in the face of performance anyway. Plus, I'd probably do something stupid with water cooling and break something. Maybe something to revisit in future.

It is an AIO (all in one) (meaning there is nothing to set up, its just applied directly to the CPU IHS via a bracket and it radiates the heat off via a radiator)

 

Quote

I'll take a more indepth look at RAM with the MB. On the whole I'd like to stick with RAM sticks that are among the MB's QVL. I get that they might work while not being on the list but I'd like to play it safe here. 3 GHz over 3.2 GHz could definitely be a option, especially if there's a 32GB support on the QVL as well.

You will likely never have any issue with ram compatibility (beyond generations).

 

On 12/12/2018 at 10:29 AM, Xeon Wraith said:

GTX 1080 benchmarks on the whole seem to be around 5-10% higher than the GTX 1070 Ti, but being 30% more expensive (+£120) means I probably won't be upgrading unless there's a additional reason to.

As you mentioned before, graphics cards are the one part of the system where over-spending is worth it (and trust me when i say 10% is worth it).

On games such as RenX, you won't see much difference between 1070 and 1080. But on games such as Battlefield 5 or other fast pased games, it will make the world of difference.

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So I've taken a more detailed look at the Asus ROG Strix X470-F. Seems like a really solid MB with the X470 chipset. The Crosshair VII Hero does have significantly better VRM (probably overkill actually) and some nifty features like BIOS flashback though. I've also learnt both boards have heatsinks for the M.2 slots, so cooling shouldn't be a issue. That said, apparently one the M.2 slots of the C7H eats into the GPU's bandwidth which is a pretty big issue. Can't find anything on the Strix, other than the second M.2 slot being limited to SATA. Not a issue with my build's SSD though. I'll sit on it a little while, but the Strix seems like a better option overall. 

...Fuck, BIOS flashback just seems like such a nice feature to idiot-proof a expensive board though.

 

On 12/12/2018 at 8:39 PM, roweboat said:

I also just upgraded my gtx 1080 to a gtx 1080ti. Half reason because the 1080 didn't quite have the power I wanted and two, my 1080 seems to be dying. so I have to send it in for warranty. Then I'm looking to sell it.

If you're interested in it, let me know!

That's pretty neat, though I fear shipping costs over to the UK might make it not worth our whiles. Nevertheless, what model is the GTX 1080 and when are you expecting to sell it? 

 

4 hours ago, Fffreak9999 said:

It is an AIO (all in one) (meaning there is nothing to set up, its just applied directly to the CPU IHS via a bracket and it radiates the heat off via a radiator)

You will likely never have any issue with ram compatibility (beyond generations).

Ah. I misunderstood about the AIOs. TIL. Still, Noctua seems to outperform it given it's price point.

I'm aware RAM is fairly interchangeable, though I'd rather not risk it when I don't have a backup plan. Definitely something to consider when upgrading from the current selection though.

4 hours ago, Fffreak9999 said:

As you mentioned before, graphics cards are the one part of the system where over-spending is worth it (and trust me when i say 10% is worth it).

On games such as RenX, you won't see much difference between 1070 and 1080. But on games such as Battlefield 5 or other fast pased games, it will make the world of difference.

So I decided to search for some comparisons of the GPUs playing Battlefield V.  I honestly can't say i'm convinced.

 

10 hours ago, Akbaro said:

A 2600X might even bottleneck a 1070Ti, just dont pair a 1080Ti with a mid range CPU, at least get a 2700X or preferably am 8700K (9th gen intel looks crap imo).

No, it wouldn't bottleneck [12, 3].

The 2nd gen Ryzens actually have pretty comparable performance to the 8th gen Intel CPUs. Intel still has the edge with their more powerful single and quad core operation but the ridiculous premium on their CPUs makes it a hard sell. Regardless, as I mentioned in my first post, I'll be sticking with AMD to utilise their AM4 socket for future CPUs. Intel has been silent over their future support of chipsets so they aren't a option for my build.

There's very little meaning in getting a Ryzen 7 2700X for gaming. Both CPUs have very similar performance per core still and very few games make use of additional cores. Decent option for a workstation though.

Yeah, the 9th gen Intel seems pretty meh.

Edited by Xeon Wraith
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8 hours ago, Xeon Wraith said:

No, it wouldn't bottleneck [12, 3].

The 2nd gen Ryzens actually have pretty comparable performance to the 8th gen Intel CPUs. Intel still has the edge with their more powerful single and quad core operation but the ridiculous premium on their CPUs makes it a hard sell. Regardless, as I mentioned in my first post, I'll be sticking with AMD to utilise their AM4 socket for future CPUs. Intel has been silent over their future support of chipsets so they aren't a option for my build.

There's very little meaning in getting a Ryzen 7 2700X for gaming. Both CPUs have very similar performance per core still and very few games make use of additional cores. Decent option for a workstation though.

Yeah, the 9th gen Intel seems pretty meh.

There isnt a premium, the 8600k, which is the most ideal middish range CPU costs like 30 dollars more than the 2600X and provides quite alot more gaming performance.

Edited by Akbaro
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Seems like you got this pretty much figured out then Xeon. One thing though, if you're not going to be immediately OCing, just stick with the wraith cooler that comes with your CPU. AMD's stock cooler is usually considered pretty good as far as stock coolers are concerned. Iirc, one of the tech youtubers actually got a decent OC with a stock cooler on one of the gen 1 Ryzen CPUs.

4 minutes ago, Akbaro said:

There isnt a premium the 8600k, which is the most ideal middish range CPU costs like 30 dollars more than the 2600X and provides quite alot more gaming performance.

It's the intel premium. And you also have to consider for a similar MB, there's going to be a slight increase in price as well.

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Heads up, @roweboat I've done a bit more research on importing goods from the US. It seems like the combination of base cost + shipping costs + customs duty and the import VAT on that total is going to make any deal between us not worthwhile. Looks like you'll have to sell it in the US.

Seriously thanks for the offer though.

 

16 hours ago, Redarmy said:

Seems like you got this pretty much figured out then Xeon. One thing though, if you're not going to be immediately OCing, just stick with the wraith cooler that comes with your CPU. AMD's stock cooler is usually considered pretty good as far as stock coolers are concerned. Iirc, one of the tech youtubers actually got a decent OC with a stock cooler on one of the gen 1 Ryzen CPUs.

Huh. I thought I read somewhere that the stock coolers except the Wraith Prism of the 2700x were pretty bad. On a second look, it appears I was mistaken. Thanks for this.

 

Sidenote: I am currently pretty jelly over the amount of PC component sales you guys have going over in the US. r/BuildaPCSalesUK is annoyingly quiet...

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Updates.

Ended up pulling the trigger on most of the parts. Its mostly the same as the original list though there are a few things I wanted to mention.

MB: Ended up going with the Crosshair VII Hero. The Strix as I mentioned before is still probably a better value for money option for a X470 board, but I found a Crosshair on sale anyway. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. It also turns out both M.2 slots of the Crosshair are PCIe compatible, so its still possible to run a NVMe SSD even with SLI/Crossfire. Option to run two NVMe SSDs with a single GPU is a unique feature to the Crosshair (which I will almost certainly never use). 

Storage: Decided to get the Crucial 1TB MX500 2.5" SSD over the M.2 version. In theme of keeping upgrade options open, it makes a lot more sense to leave the M.2 slot open for a actual SSD that uses NVMe than to fill it up with a generic SATA SSD. Still kinda stand by the idea NVMe is overkill for most applications but the option exists anyway.

RAM: Changed over to the Corsair Vengeance LPX 3466 MHz (8x2 GB). Been doing a bit of reading on this and it appears despite the various RAM brands, there only appears to be three DRAM chip manufacturers creating them (Hynix/Micron/Samsung). Nutshell of it is, the LPX RAM I've now selected is a Samsung B-Die type chip. The previously suggested RAM choices were Samsung E-Die chips. These E-die chips on the whole overclocks considerably worse than B-Die, often requiring extremely high timings to meet their specified OC frequencies (if not completely incapable). Increasing the timings increases memory access time and degrades performance, offsetting gains made from increased frequencies. B-die on the other hand, can OC pretty comfortably with relatively low timings. It is considerably more expensive though. I ended up choosing a 3466 MHz stick as lower frequency B-die RAM is only marginally cheaper.

(The above section on RAM likely has factual inaccuracies and I might be talking total shit.)

Monitor: Now that I've locked in specs, getting a decent monitor is up next on the to do list. Looking at benchmark footage of similar systems, FPS appears to hover anywhere from 70-150 on highest settings depending on the game. In interest of reducing screen tearing and being a primarily FPS guy, a 144 Hz monitor seems like the way to go. Lowering settings to boost FPS should give a fair amount of leeway to hit around 144 Hz. Technically a G-Sync monitor would be the ideal choice, but they carry a massive premium and screen tearing at 144 Hz is going to be significantly harder to notice than at 60 Hz anyway. Current budget choice is the ViewSonic - XG2401. A more expensive (G-Sync) option is the Dell - S2417DG at double the price. The S2417DG is probably a better long-term option for future builds but at double the price? iunno.

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21 hours ago, Xeon Wraith said:

Monitor: Now that I've locked in specs, getting a decent monitor is up next on the to do list. Looking at benchmark footage of similar systems, FPS appears to hover anywhere from 70-150 on highest settings depending on the game. In interest of reducing screen tearing and being a primarily FPS guy, a 144 Hz monitor seems like the way to go. Lowering settings to boost FPS should give a fair amount of leeway to hit around 144 Hz. Technically a G-Sync monitor would be the ideal choice, but they carry a massive premium and screen tearing at 144 Hz is going to be significantly harder to notice than at 60 Hz anyway. Current budget choice is the ViewSonic - XG2401. A more expensive (G-Sync) option is the Dell - S2417DG at double the price. The S2417DG is probably a better long-term option for future builds but at double the price? iunno.

You're not into curved?

Is there anything specific you want from a monitor? min/max size, certain connections, certain color-accuracy?

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2 hours ago, SonnyX said:

You're not into curved?

Is there anything specific you want from a monitor? min/max size, certain connections, certain color-accuracy?

I saw that one but yeah, not into curved screens.

The sort of specs I'm expecting is: 144 Hz refresh rate, 1080p resolution for 24" size. 2K for 27". Colour accuracy/gamut doesn't matter to me too much, though I'm not afraid of spending a little bit extra on it. Input lag data helps a lot. Connections should be HDMI/DisplayPort. Doesn't matter which of the two. Budget is around £200.

I'll probably get a TN panel. There isn't too much that IPS and VA panels have that interest me.

Edit: This guy talks about RAM frequencies and timings, if anyone is interested about what I was referring to in my previous post.

Edited by Xeon Wraith
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Built PC. Pics to follow.

SPECS:

Linky.

Ended up getting the ViewSonic XG2401 I mentioned in a earlier post. I couldn't find anything with the same level of performance at that price. The Dell was out of budget.

A little note on the RAM choice to add onto the previous post: Turns out all chips are "binned" according to the quality of their construction, so not all Samsung B-die are equally capable of OC'ing. It seems the most common way to determine the quality bin between each chip (without actual testing) is the look at the true latency of their default specification. This is determined by their clock frequencies and timings, like I mentioned before.

In a nutshell, this is the rough ranking of true latency performance for Samsung B-die bins: 3600MHz/CL15 > 3200MHz/CL14 > 3600MHz/CL16 > 3466MHz/CL16 - where CL refers to CAS latency. Its not impossible to get a good OC with a worse binning but having better default specs gives some degree of a guarantee to it.

 

THE BUILD:

Decided to just install the Noctua NH-D15 straight away and ditch the Wraith Spire cooler. Nothing too special about the install, other than the Noctua being fucking massive. Corsair RAM is a fair amount shorter than the G.Skill I chose previously and sits comfortably under the second Noctua fan.

Spoiler

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Initial test POST was successful. Kinda. No errors displayed but the Crosshair VII Hero got stuck on Q-Code A9 (some startup code). Fixed it by using Crosshair's BIOS flashback to update to the latest version and replaced the monitor (I was trying to use the ViewSonic). Dunno which of the two was the problem - didn't bother investigating further. I didn't actually bother try going into the UEFI after the successful POST, which was mistake that I learn about later.

Spoiler

DSC_0105.thumb.JPG.50b30184873ecb618883874403e60cc4.JPG

Next up was preparing the case for the MB. Relocated the stock Fractal GP-14 fans and removed the optical drive and lower HDD cage. One Noctua exhaust fan at the rear, one intake Fractal fan at the bottom and another one of each at the front of case for more intake. Installed PSU and routed cables around the case in advance, based on MB header locations.

Spoiler

DSC_01062.thumb.jpg.3496032041ad5584cfa5aa328bf198cb.jpg

The bottom Fractal fan is being blocked somewhat by the PSU cables but I figured partial coverage on the GPU is more useful then total coverage on the HDD cage.

Spoiler

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Removed GPU off the Motherboard before placing it inside the case. Its easier to plug cables in that way. GPU back in after everything else is in. POST works fine and I finally decide to check everything is alright in the UEFI...and it isn't. The MB is only detecting one of the RAM sticks. Had to detach the second Noctua fan and reinsert the RAM which fixed it. Not a major fault but it would have been certainly easier to do outside the case. System now has everything as expected.

Spoiler

DSC_0112.thumb.JPG.df0eea365481f9bd25c5d93251e0c794.JPG

Stay tuned for part 2 Overclocking. (can't actually fit it all in one post lol)

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OVERCLOCKING:

Done some a bit of light reading about this but didn't plan anything. Kinda went semi-randomly, using whatever I know and learn as I go.

Started with a quick stock benchmark (minus setting RAM to advertised values) to check performance is as expected. Didn't really bother to stress test stock.

CPU OC'ing:

Primarily using ASUS's Performance Enhancer to mess with the auto OC. This basically increases clock speed and voltage to suit demand, rather than a fixed amount like manual OCs. The maximum clock speed is typically referred to as boost clock, which has separate all-core and single-core max speeds. The auto OC does automatically get disabled once it detects a manual OC though. Also marginally OC'ed the base clock (BCLK OC). This provides another method of overclocking, which is particularly useful adding some additional speed to auto overclocks without triggering manual OC settings. It also effects the entire chipset such as RAM and SATA speeds however. Potentially risky.

Stress testing of CPU done with Prime95's small FFTs and use of Cinebench for benchmarking.

PE level 2 (AMD's highest advised auto OC).

  • Cinebench: All-core: 1351 @ 3940MHz, single-core: 170 @ 4140MHz.
  • Prime95 forces temperatures of around 62C, no stability issues. 

PE level 3 (Higher OC setting provided by ASUS/The Stilt)

  • CineBench: All-core: 1428 @ 4190MHz, single-core: 175 @ 4240MHz.
  • Prime95 quickly causes temperatures to rise to 75C, slowly climbs to 80C and crashes the PC. Notably applies 1.47V (wtf) on all CPU cores. Not 100% stable.

PE level 3 w/ -0.1V offset

  • Trying to decrease temperatures. This offset value instantly crashes on Prime95. Seems to be due to undervolt.

PE level 3 w/ -0.05V offset

  • Temperatures still jump to low 70s quickly, but climbs much slower than without offset. Prime95 still crashes at around 77C. Dunno if its temperatures or undervolt or both causing it.

PE level 2 w/ BCLK 101

  • Cinebench: All-core: 1368 @ 4040MHz, single-core: 173 @ 4190MHz.
  • Prime95 holds temperatures steady at around 66C. No issues. 
  • Highest BCLK OC I could get without disabling auto OCs. Also tried to provide a negative offset voltage to this as well, which rather bizarrely caused all cores to clock at 4190MHz when idle. I dunno.

Decided to go with the PE2 w/ 101 BCLK. I suspect its possible to hit a some ~4150MHz manual OC with temperatures around 70C, but this would probably have a minimal impact on gaming so I'm not gonna spend more time pushing it. I might decide to roll with the PE3 w/-0.5V offset later though. The instability of Prime95 on PE3 probably isn't a huge deal considering pretty much no application I use will stress the CPU that hard. Perhaps something to revisit when Zen2 CPUs get released.

RAM OC'ing

Mostly a case of trying different frequencies and timings then stress testing for several hours. Stress tests done with Memtest64 primarily with some usage of Aida64, Prime64's Blend tests as well. Later switched to Karhu Software's RAM test for faster and better coverage. Everything here is done with a base clock of 101, so RAM frequencies here are 1% higher than standard frequencies. The frequencies and timings I'm trying is based on their true latency - a decrease in frequency can result in a increase in performance if timings go down. 

  • 3501MHz CL16-16-16-32 stable.
  • 3501MHz CL14-14-14-28 fails to boot.
  • 3636MHz CL16-16-16-32 fails to boot.
  • 3501MHz CL15(16)-15-15-30 stable, but CAS latency doesn't change to 16 for some reason.
  • 3232MHZ CL14-14-14-28 boots, but displays error during stress testing. Also locked in voltages at 1.1375V VDDSOC and 1.41 DRAM. Both seem to be within safe limits from what I've read.
  • 3232MHz CL14-15-15-30 stable.
  • 3299MHz CL14-15-15-30 stable.
  • 3366MHz CL14-15-15-30 stable.
  • 3434MHz CL14-15-15-30 stable. Starting to seem a bit too good to be true, so I switched to RAM test here.
  • 3501MHz CL14-15-15-30 stable.
  • 3568MHz CL14-15-15-30 immediate crash loading Windows.

Pleasantly surprised the RAM was able to hit stock frequencies at CL14. Could try messing with the sub-timings to tighten it a bit further, but I'm pretty sure I'm at the edge of remaining stable. Don't particularly want to spend more time on this (its been like 4 days of constant testing at this point).

GPU OC'ing

A pretty straightforward OC, just increasing core and memory speeds with MSI Afterburner and testing with Unigine Heaven till it crashes. Voltages for Nvindia GPUs are capped, use there's very little to worry about on the voltage and temperature side of things - provided the motherboard has good VRM. Ended up getting a +210 MHz OC on core clock speeds and +675 MHz on memory clock speed which is respectable. Tested stability with 3DMark's Time Spy stress test.

Final OC Benchmarks:

Userbenchmark link (old laptop for comparison)

Cinebench: all-core: 1389, single-core: 174. (Ryzen's scaling with RAM OC kicking in)

3DMark's Timespy: 7585.

 

Overall, pretty happy with the build. Time will tell if the OCs are truly stable in everyday use and if the system is future proof as I expect. Thanks to everyone in this thread for their input. Even if I haven't taken your suggestion, I've certainly spent a few hours researching around it. I probably won't be putting anymore updates on this thread but I'm happy to add on more information on what I've learnt if someone else is looking to build their own PC.

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