Time to upgrade
While I really got the most of my old i5 4690K build where I got lucky on a well binned unit that allow stable overclocks of up to 4.9 GHz (I settled on 4.7 for voltage and temp reasons) it was time for an upgrade. I use this machine for work (coding and some design) as well as gaming. With the Haswell chip I was more and more noticing the lack of multithreaded perfomance and was also bottlenecking my newly purchased RTX 2080, even more so since I have some PCIe peripherals that were limiting it to 8x PCIe 3.0 instead of the full 16 lanes.
I always rooted for AMD but my last computers were all based on Intel, my last AMD system was built on AMD Deneb, some poor Phenom quadcore disappointment. With Ryzen, especially Zen 2 AMD seemed to return to its old glory (remembering the days when I was on an Intel Pentium 2 and a friend made me jealous with his shiny new AMD Athlon) so I could just not resist anymore.
Having read about all the issues on early AGESA/BIOS versions, I was a bit anxious about getting everything working right away. While there was a shortage of 3900X in Germany and I had to wait over a month for it to arrive, in the meantime I sent back the MSI X570 Gaming Plus for the lack of BIOS updates in that period. I settled on a Gigabyte X570 Aorus Elite since they seem to be on track when it comes to timely updates in this generation.
I did some research on RAM as it's not just about getting the highest speed on Zen. I settled on 3200MHz CL14 modules from G-Skill since they use Samsung B-Die chips which are often recommended for Ryzen 3000 builds. They provide a lot of potential for overclocking as well as decent latency on their XMP profile.
I upgraded my Cryorig A80 280mm AIO cooler from 2016 to a Deepcool Castle 360. While 360mm seems overkill, I wanted to make sure I am getting the most headroom when using PBO/AutoOC which is directly tied to thermals. I am usually not a huge fan of flashy RGB builds but it's a nice touch, I just keep it running at a static blue-purplish hue.
Building it was really straightforward. Nothing much to say about the motherboard, CPU and RAM. Installation of the Deepcool AIO was very easy, the only challenge compared to my old cooler was cable management of all the additional cables for controlling RGB. It doesn't come with thermal paste preapplied but there is some Deepcool paste included. I tossed it and went with my usual Noctua NT-H1.
On my old Haswell build I of course did not POST first time (I think it was a wrong use of DIMM slots or a missing PSU connection). I was expecting the same on this build. When anxiously hitting the power button, the GPU fans spun up, then the AIO fans spun up, then silence and just the pump was to be heard. After a couple of seconds, the cycle repeated. I was sure I did something wrong and powered it off. Then I remembered having read about Ryzen 3000 POST times being really long and I decided to give it another try. And that was it, after 3 weird fan spin up cycles the machine did post, it was just my impatience. It also immediately booted into my old Windows installation. This wasn't a first boot kind of thing though, POST times are still very long on every cold boot.
I of course aborted and made a fresh install of Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC. After installing some crucial software and doing a rough stability test I was happy with fairly low idle and load temps, so I decided to update to the latest BIOS available (F4j) since that fixed some issues with XMP and allowed for custom chipset fan curves.
I adjusted my fan curves since the stock ones would unnecessarily ramp up on small temperature changes and chose the silent chipset fan curve. I enabled XMP to get from 2400MHz CL16 to 3200MHz CL14. That was the part I was really nervous about since many people do have issues there. But not here, everything went smooth and after another hour of stability testing with OCCT and Prime95 I enabled PBO and AutoOC.
Ryzen 3900X boost speed
After some thorough testing, i settled on AutoOC with a +200 offset and now I reach 4566MHz single core boost. Well within spec if rounded to one decimal place. I don't know if I should consider myself lucky but that's the setting I am staying at for now. Might look into per CCX/per core overclocking in the future.
Coming from a 4C/4T processor I really couldn't ask for a heftier upgrade and it really shows in real life use. Compiling times have gone down like tenfold and multitasking of course is amazing. Especially when using virtual machines and assigning them to different cores/threads. I'd only have to nitpick about Ryzen Master not working with virtualization enabled but for now, I have everything set up in my BIOS as I like it.
Would I recommend this build?
Thanks for reading!
Powerhouse for productivity, great for gaming as well. Not much else to say about this processor, really. AutoOC/PBO is decent when good cooling is provided. Excellent performance per Watt.
Amazing AIO cooling at a fair price point. Especially the pump is visually very pleasing. No pump noise, fairly loud radiator fans at load though. Very easy installation on AM4, no back plate exchange needed.
Decent board with very good VRMs and specs for its price. Performance and stability are great with my Ryzen 3900X. Chipset fan is not audible over case fans and a fan curve can be set. Fan settings in general are okay, you can use many different temperature sensors as triggers.
BIOS updates come in a very timely manner as of 08/19, AGESA updates come in quickly. The BIOS itself is not very elaborate. Missing some settings I am used to at this price point and the menu layout is kind of weird in some places. RAM compatibility is good, for flawless XMP you will need BIOS ver. F4i and up. There are still some bugs with the BIOS (e.g. disabling CSM makes it laggy). Some WHEA errors need beta BIOS F4j to be fixed. The motherboard software is bad and feels dated.
Samsung B-die chips, runs well and stable on XMP. Quite a bit of headroom for overclocking. Runs cool. Low profile should fit every CPU cooler.
Fairly expensive though.
Although a bit dated, still a great drive. Great sequential and 4K speeds. Fairly bad sustained write speed though, drops to ~500MB/s when cache is depleted. I'd recommend installing a heatsink since thermal throttling can be noticeable, especially when mounted directly over the GPU backplate. Throttling occurs at 70°C, mine runs at <65°C with a heatsink and thermal pads.
Excellent price to perfomance ratio. Beats the 970 Evo at some specs and in price. Highly recommended as an OS drive. Phenomenal sustained write speeds. Included heatsink prevents any form of thermal throttling.
Great performance and even though factory overclocked it still provides some headroom to push it even further (2085/7885MHz in my case) as it is an A-chip (binned). Great thermals. It's huge though, might not fit some cases when used with a front radiator. Fan noise is excellent, it rarely spins up over 40%. Then it is definitely audible though.
Only 4 stars because of the ROG-tax, performance per dollar is really not good.
Looks might not be on par with modern all tempered glass "RGB-style" cases but in terms of functionality it's perfect. Plenty of space, many options for fans and radiators.
Thermals and airflow are great, although superseded by cases like the Fractal Design Meshify.
The window is some kind of acrylic/plastic which gets easily scratched so you might want to be careful when handling it.
Well reviewed series of PSUs. It's silent, efficient and accurate. While the fan is not really audible over my case fans, it has a button to enable "Hybrid Mode" which completely stops the fan at low load/temps. Plenty of accessories for all kinds of connectivity.
Good for its price, although it can suffer from some noise when being used with 3.5mm connection. Works perfectly on optical though. Allows for signal to be mixed down 7.1 to 2 channels with Dolby Headphone via optical, which is not a matter of course. Can't live without that for games so I just use it for that as a DSP.
Installing the UNI Xonar audio driver is recommended since that provides some more options. Beware though, there are some buggy versions out. Make sure to read up on its website.
Fairly silent in regular use. Fairly good static pressure, works well on radiators. Noisy on high RPM. Pretty ugly but that's subjective, some people might love the color scheme :-)
Great IPS screen for the price, comes factory calibrated with a calibration sheet and a custom sRGB profile. 99% sRGB allows for some fairly accurate photo and video editing. Very low power usage, low IPS glow and amazing blacks.
Phenomenal picture quality for a TN panel. 95% sRGB is fairly decent, gamma is on point after some tweaking + ICC profile. I highly recommend reading the tomshardware, PC Monitors and Prad reviews as they offer some tips on tweaking and they all confirm that this is one of the best looking TN panels out there right now, even matching or surpassing IPS on some specs. Factory overclocked on 155Hz. I'd recommend using the "Fast" response preset when gaming, although it causes some light ghosting when browsing text.
FreeSync compatible and thus also working with G-Sync since a recent NVidia driver update. You can not get a better 27 inch WQHD 144Hz TN screen right now especially if you consider Dell's 3 years on-site-exchange service.
For what it's made for, it's great. Typing on Cherry MX red is comfortable and gaming performance is responsive.
4 stars only since some LEDs tend to go bad after a few months. Already went through an RMA because of that (flickering/stuck colors on some keys) and while the RMA process was quick and easy, some diodes are starting to go bad after another year already.
Great sensor, made for a comfortable claw grip. The mouse wheel is not the best though, suffers from double/no click issues after a few years of use.