Hmmm… New PC

That’s a vague enough topic. Now let’s fill in the gaps. My previous desktop I built around 2009 or so, so logically it has components from that era:

  • Processor: AMD Phenom II X6 1090T (okay, I admit I upgraded this recently, but I still made a noticeable performance boost)
  • Video card: Sapphire Radeon 5770HD
  • Boot drive: 1GB SSD
  • Secondary drives: Too many to list
  • Sound: I switched to the default onboard sound after I upgraded to Win10. I have an E-MU 0404 lying around that’s better off in the circular file at this point. Not sure why, but E-MU just couldn’t be arsed to make new drivers past Win XP (Like, on what planet are you from?)
  • I had a FireWire A and B card in there.
  • Rosewill Extreme 850watt power supply
  • Standard DVD burner
  • Asus M4A79XTD-EVO
  • RAM: 12GB DDR3 at a particular clock speed which I don’t know anymore.

Here’s the new PC:

  • AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
  • Video card: 2 x Sapphire RX Vega 64 in Crossfire (or whatever AMD calls it now)
  • Boot drive: 1GB WD Black NVMe SSD
  • Secondary drives: Currently have implemented a parity of 3 x 8TB Seagate hard drives with 2 x 240GB SSD cache drives, total usable disk space is about 14.5TB.
  • Sound: Sound is good, but I’m using the optical out to a Schiit Modi 3, so duh, it sounds like it’s coming from a $100 DAC. Yes, it really does make a difference. It’s amped with an old “ZMOY Pimeta” for headphones, which I have to admit, has caused many headphones to go into nuclear meltdown mode. I finally found “THE ONE”.
  • Headphones: Acoustic Research AR-H1. No dynamic driver here, these are planar magnetic headphones. If you look at the frequency response you’d think they sound awful. As a Senior Test Engineer, I claim flawed measurement techniques were used here and those frequency response graphs mean diddly. The headphones sound great. They are not used, and I did not pay $700 for them.
  • PSU: I chose to do it and just buy a PSU. It’s shipping all the way from China… I hope it doesn’t come with COVID19. It is a Corsair HX1200i, fully modular. That’s 350 extra watts for this rig, so it better stop whining, and the circuit breaker better not join the party either.
  • I went with a BluRay burner drive, but I don’t really burn anything or have a need to burn BluRays. My thoughts are, it would be good as a secondary protection mechanism to protect the inordinate amount of code I have. Especially with M.Disc. If it’s not too expensive, I’ll get a safety deposit box at the bank.
  • Motherboard: Uhm, it’s an Asus.
  • RAM: 128GB DDR4-3200

What I don’t understand, in regards to the last point there, is why all this power is targeted now towards “gaming”. Gaming this, gaming that. I play Portals, and sometimes Diablo on the X-Box. Don’t ask me why I bought the Vegas, but they were all used and cost the same (read: $300). As for price, that’s the exact price these cards command on the used market. Buy one new and you’re looking at maybe $600-$800 depending on model. When buying used Vega’s the biggest thing you have to realize is that most people simple do not have a power supply that is rated to power these cards. These cards can pull 240watts from JUST the PCIe ports (which there are 2 of for reasons which might be apparent). So what happens is, someone goes out, buys one of these, can’t play their games, and sells it, rather than just upgrading their power supply, maybe? So, the Vega’s are plentiful on the used market. One thing I noticed was that with just the one Vega installed that I had constant screen flickering issues, so I knew it wasn’t just my card that was defective. However the workaround was simple: Get another card and SLI them. Boom, problem gone. Seriously.

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