Critique this PC build

I think my old PC is starting to fail. I am going to build a Raptor Lake (Gen. 13) rig and was hoping to wait 6 more months so I could have more options. I typically build a machine to last for years for $2000 or less. That strategy has served me for decades and IMHO one of the worst things I can see in reviews is that you don’t need that feature now. Like PCIe 5 M.2 slot. Eventually I would like to have the option to put my programs on a gen 5 SSD. I don’t need all of the RGB to make it look like a unicorn dropped acid and barfed all over my machine but good luck getting away from it with fans. So here we go

CPU: i7-13700K. I just don’t need the i9 so why pay the extra cost and deal with the extra heat.
Mobo: ASRock Z790 PG Riptide. I don’t need WiFi and this seems to be the best value at getting that PCIe 5 M.2 slot. I’ve always used ASUS boards but ASRocks are awesome from what I hear.
RAM: 32GB Corsair Vengeance DDR5 4800. Not sure why I need faster RAM but feel free to talk me into it. It’s a 2x16GB configuration so room to add more later on.
GPU: ASRock Challenger D Radeon RX 6650 XT 8GB. I could spend $60 more for a 6700 (non-XT) but it seems to be a downgrade except for 10GB. Doesn’t seem worth it
SSDs: (2) Samsung 980 PROs 500 GB. One for OS and programs. The other for data.

Case: Corsair 5000D Airflow. Seems badass and seems like one of the few cases where a proper fan configuration allows for positive pressure. 6 fans in, 4 fans out and 3 of the fan spots are in the side made for a radiator.
AIO CPU cooling: CoolerMaster MasterLiquid ML360 Illusion. Gen 3 pump
Fans: CoolerMaster MasterFan MF120. Matches the fans on the radiator. For no other reason it keep my build consistent and they are good fans.
PSU: Corsair RM850x. Yes 850 watts is probably overkill but will it be overkill down the road for a few bucks more tday?

Total cost: $1857.87 + tax

I am not convinced of the benefits of water cooling. I have done it and it is the one thing that caused problems later when the pump failed. And the pump WILL fail. Usually in 3-5 years.

A good BeQuiet or Noctua heatsink will do the job perfectly fine unless you are really pushing an overclock. They are silent and mostly bulletproof (the worst that happens is a fan dies which is super easy and cheap to replace…and fans rarely ever die). The case you chose has very good air flow so the heatsinks should work great unless you have a hot room.

It does kinda ruin the aesthetic a little if that matters to you.

Also, an 850w power supply is plenty for this but know that video cards seem to be getting more and more power hungry. If you ever got a 4090 you will probably need a 1000w PSU. Just some future proofing if you care.

What’s the current system?

This is a bad time for feature-based futurerproofing since the DDR5/PCIe 5.0/ATX 3.0 stuff is way more expensive than the older stuff.

Do you really want to upgrade your system M.2 drive? To me that seems like a giant pain in the ass for what will likely amount to no real benefit. I mean, sure, maybe the computer fast boots in 11 seconds instead of 13 or 14, but a good Gen 4 M.2 drive should still be solid 5 years from now.

You could save a few bucks on the motherboard without any noticeable hit to gaming performance.

RAM speed, on the other hand…I’m guessing here but I bet you could get another 4-5 FPS or so with 6000+ RAM. Better than the 0 FPS you would gain down the road upgrading to Gen 5 M.2 drives. (The games might load a little faster, though.)

What’s the system for? I would be tempted to go with a 13th gen i5 (which is the sweet spot for price/performance) with a 12th gen board and DDR4-3600 if you’re asking yourself what you need slightly faster memory for. Either pocket the difference or put it into a better GPU (nothing wrong with your choice, just where the money could be spent). Plus the i5 will handle air cooling better if you went that route. Granted, if one day having Gen 5 PCIe access is important to you, this won’t work.

If you do go with an i7 (or even the i5), I recommend getting an aftermarket frame for it. It’ll potentially help a bit with the cooling (mine was good for maybe 3-5C) and is a less stressful way of installing a CPU versus Intel’s wretched mousetrap contraption that takes two years off my life per open/closing.

In terms of case fans, I can enthusiastically endorse bequiet fans. They didn’t even drive me insane or stop my heart, and I’ve been running them for 2 years now.

They are quiet and an aesthetically pleasing black with no RGB. Downside is they’re a little pricey; same as noctua case fans. And obviously noctua is always worth considering.

For me personally, I’m strongly invested in having the same brand air cooler and case fans, and also would second the recommendation to consider air cooling. Bequiet coolers are a little cheaper than noctua, like $60 vs $90, so that’s why I went bequiet. I think either would be a fine choice.

FWIW, I have an i7-13700k and my 280mm AIO handles it but not as nicely as I’d like in a more perfect world. AIO cooling (with a large radiator) makes more sense for the new i7 and i9 chips than for the i5 chips or, in the earlier gens when they just didn’t run as hot. These new chips cook.

I have looked at air cooling. My question was is it a good idea for a 13th Gen i7. I’ll reconsider it considering how good the airflow is in this case.

3rd Gen i3
The mobo has those options later on. I’m not looking at PCIe5 SSD or GPU right now. The DDR5 RAM prices have plummeted and that is a choice I do have to make right now so I’m going with DDR5.

The new AMD Ryzen 7000 chips run at 95C. AMD says they are meant to run that hot (cooler is fine but the 95C is not a worry they say).

Yeah I don’t think you can aircool that. AIO seems like the smart play here, agreed.

I think you could aircool the 10700 and 11700, but maybe not if you wanted to overclock. 12 and 13 series do sound toasty, so probably AIO then.

Still, I like your thought process on keeping the same fans for the case and the radiator. I don’t particularly care about the aesthetics, though that’s a nice bonus. I worry about sound frequencies being discordant with one another. I feel like it minimizes the chance of that if I use all the same brand fans. (I couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger on a bequiet PSU, though. Stuck with seasonic for that, and whatever fan comes with it.)

Probably right but what about 10 years from now with WIN19? I’m not going to spend $200 extra for the G5 M.2. and this mobo is solid at a good price and also (all else being equal) has the PCIe5 m.2.

Yeah, but when it gets that hot what happens is you start losing performance because of throttling in harder workloads. Like the i7-13700k was running at about 100C out of the box* which is “fine” but it’s fine because the chip throttles and starts running at 3.5GHz instead of 5GHz.

AMD just went through this with their new GPUs and saying the high temps were within parameters and wouldn’t damage the chips but… that’s because the chips stop working as hard in order to stay cooler.

*The 13th gen chips, unless they’ve changed/fixed it, run “unlocked” as a default without putting any cap on the voltage. This is dumb and should be corrected immediately in BIOS upon installing.

I can’t tell you because who knows what I want/need to do 6, 7, 8 years from now. I can tell you that with my build for the long term, I guaranty I’ll have to upgrade the RAM and the GPU; hence the need for DDR5 but no need for a PCIe 5 GPU right now. I disagree with the i5 for my long-term goal and I think for me, the i7 is the sweet spot.

Fair enough. I have the i7 and it’s a nice CPU, it’s just more CPU than most people really need (arguably more than I need) and adds in the extra issues with needing a better motherboard and cooling. But I’m not gonna talk anyone out of spending on tech if they don’t want to be talked out of it :smiley:

Fair enough on the i7. I agree both with Jophiel’s reasoning for recommending an i5 and your reasoning for sticking with the i7.

But I suspect when you do upgrade to Gen 5 M.2 drives, let’s say 6 years from now, you’ll be wanting to upgrade your motherboard anyway for other reasons that may not even exist yet.

I built my system 2 years ago almost exactly, and my shiny new at the time Z490 motherboard only supports Gen 3 M.2 drives. What happens if it’s 5 years from now and you want to upgrade your M.2 drives but the current state of M.2 drives is Gen 6? I feel like that’s a real possibility. They went from Gen 3 to Gen 5 in two years!

A system built ten years ago would be on a 4th gen processor, definitely “end of life” for any intensive tasks but fine for browsing the web and doing your taxes. I don’t think there’s significantly much more you can do with an i7-4770 right now that you can’t do with an i5-4570. Buuutttt… in ten years you also probably won’t still be missing the couple hundred extra you spent but you will be getting that extra 3% performance or whatever.

No real wrong answers.

Honestly, it is a choice I thought I’d have to make but I think with this mobo that I can get my PCIe 5 M.2 without the extra cost and without sacrificing quality.

I build or substantially upgrade every 4 years or so, and I just completed one (minus the GPU upgrade). Here is what I went with, presented here solely to show what one novice did, and reflect on how it turned out:

  • I9 12900K (on sale, likely overkill, part of a bundle with:)
  • ASUS TUF Gaming motherboard
  • Lian Li Lancool 216 case (I’m really happy with this choice)
  • Arctic Liquid Freezer II 280 AIO CPU cooler (I’m pretty happy with this too)
  • ASUS ROG Thor 850w Platinum PSU

More like ports are starting to fail, 5 minutes to boot windows, etc.

I was just talking about the CPU choice probably being six of one, half dozen of the others. Not implying that your current system is fine or that nothing else could go wrong.