Planning my next desktop build, here’s an attempt at putting together a modern machine that will last. Only problem is, at more then €2000, it’s a bit too expensive. Maybe the SSD and RAM prices will go back down to reasonable levels towards the end of the day. And maybe some of the wishes will have be be compromised on.


At €1783 in new parts, and about €2085 in total, it’s a bit too expensive for a “normal” desktop machine, and can probably not be justified by what it will be used for. Some thoughts on the parts.

CPU: AMD’s new Ryzen CPU is interesting, however, the top of the line is expensive. Going for a slower clocked Ryzen 7 would save a bit, while going down to Ryzen 5 would be about half the price.

GPU: It would be fun to play with some machine learning and Tensorflow, but at the same time have a quiet passively cooled card. At €160, the Palit GeForce 1050 is already cheap, however, 4 GB RAM is maybe on the low side.

RAM: More is better, and 32 GB seems about right these days for a high-end developer machine. However, with current RAM prices, it’s too much. If they go down to about half within the year, it’s fine.

Motherboard: Asus has always been a personal favorite, and in the AM4 socket and top X370 chipset range there’s only so much to choose from. However, there might be other cheaper options besides the Crosshair VI Hero, which is an arbitrary choice at the moment. Besides the obvious component compatibility, requirements include 8 SATA ports; NVMe M.2; excellent audio I/O.

SSD: At 3500 read and 2100 write MB/s speeds, a NVMe based drive is very tempting. However, this Tom’s Hardware review points out that to get the full benefit, you’ll have to look upwards in size, and price. Again, SSD might come down towards the end of the year, but speed is always going to come at a premium.
Using my existing, but old, 2.5″ SSD is also an option, and would reduce the price further.

HDD: These will be transfered from my existing machine, so do not incur extra cost. When time comes, and the oldest 3 TB version fails, replacing with a 8+ TB drive is probably reasonable.

Case: I’ve done one previous build with the Fractal Define case, and it really gave a taste for more. At about €100, the R5 a fairly standard price for a midi-tower.

PSU: Again going fanless for no-noise, but I hope 520W is enough for the parts listed above.

CPU cooler: Even though the Ryzen packages come with a cooler, I assume it will not be cool / quiet enough. Noctua CPU coolers are the best around, and with two 14 cm fans, they only have to run at around 300 – 400 RPM to keep the CPU cool under normal load. That is almost not audible, and will then be the only fans strictly needed. (The case also comes with two fans, but through bios tuning, they can be set to trigger only when it gets to hot).




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