I recently decided to build a new primary desktop system for myself, featuring a particular X570 motherboard and CPU. This will be my main non-work system that I will primarily use for content creation. This post will have some of the gory details about my new AMD Ryzen 9 5950X system. I hope you find it interesting!
I’ve been very partial to AMD AM4 systems for the past several years. The AMD AM4 platform is very mature now and is actually nearing the end of its product life. The upcoming new “Vermeer S” Ryzen processors are supposed to be the last hurrah for Socket AM4. These processors will use AMD’s Zen 3 CCDs that feature 3D Vertical Cache (3DV Cache) similar to the Milan-X server processors. Having a lot of extra L3 cache will be very helpful for some workloads.
“Vermeer S” is meant to compete with Intel Alder Lake for the next few months. Rumor has it that AMD is targeting late-Q2/early-Q3 for the next-generation “Raphael” Socket AM5 processors based on the Zen 4 architecture, with DDR5 and PCIe Gen 5.
In the meantime, a 16C/32T Ryzen 9 5950X system in a modern, passive X570 motherboard (with no chipset fan) is going to be the hot ticket for a mainstream desktop system. If “Vermeer S” is significantly better, I can always get one of those when they become available and just swap out the CPU.
Motherboard Wish List
I had a number of specific requirements for my “dream” X570 motherboard. First, I wanted three PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 slots for storage. For networking, I wanted 10GbE and 2.5GbE onboard Ethernet, along with Wi-Fi 6E. Another requirement was dual Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports along with numerous USB Type-A ports. I also wanted a front panel USB-C port on the motherboard. Finally, I wanted good quality VRM heatsinks and a passive X570 chipset.
I had been looking for an X570 motherboard that had all of this for a while, until I stumbled upon the ASUS ProArt X570 Creator WiFi. This was exactly what I was looking for! I was also happily surprised that the Denver Micro Center had them in stock in early December.
Here is what I was thinking about as I picked out my components for the rest of the system. Most of these parts were new, but I already had a few parts on hand.
Once I decided on the CPU and motherboard, it was time to select the other components for this build. I wanted a large, well-ventilated white tower case that could accommodate a 420mm AIO CPU cooler. I tend to favor Lian Li and Corsair airflow type cases, so I selected the very large Corsair 7000D Airflow case. This thing is a beast!
It comes stock with three 140mm PWM black case fans that use an included PWM fan hub. There are four USB 3.0 Type A ports and one USB 3.1 Type-C port at the top of the case. This case has very nice cable management features, and it lets you remove or swap out many of the panels depending on the type of build you are doing.
There is a window in the power supply “basement” so that you can show off your fancy power supply. As it turned out, I already had a pretty nice ASUS ROG Thor 850P power supply that would take advantage of that basement window.
The ASUS ROG Thor 850P is actually built by Seasonic, and it has a ten-year warranty to go with its 80 Plus Platinum efficiency rating. It also has an OLED display that shows the real-time power draw of the system. Finally, it has an addressable LED lighting that you can control from the motherboard.
This is what my case looked like before I started reconfiguring it.
One thing I always do on my personal systems is replacing all of the I/O slot covers with better Silverstone Aero Slots. I think they look much nicer, and they improve the airflow very slightly.
This is what the Silverstone Aero Slots look like. The grey stock covers are where the GPU will go.
Another thing I always do with my cases is to replace all of the stock case fans with better quality and nicer looking case fans. Most new cases still come with three-pin DC fans rather than four-pin PWM fans. The Corsair 7000D Airflow is a rare exception, with three 140mm PWM fans that I could have used with no problems. But I wanted something better.
I like Arctic case fans for several reasons. Arctic case fans perform well and are relatively quiet. They are pretty decent looking, and they are very affordable (especially compared to Noctua case fans). Finally, they tend to do well in case fan comparisons. I ended up getting four white Arctic P14 PWM PST case fans. The PST models allow you to daisy chain the PWM connectors together, which can simplify your cable management. Having four 140mm case fans would let me have three intake fans at the front of the case and one exhaust fan at the back of the case.
Since I purposely picked a large tower case that could hold a 420mm AIO radiator, I needed to pick out a 420mm AIO CPU cooler to go with it. I have been very impressed with Arctic Liquid Freezer II AIO coolers. They perform very well in benchmark tests (especially noise normalized tests) and they are inexpensive compared to many other AIO coolers. I picked the Arctic Liquid Freezer II 420, which was actually about the same price as a big Noctua NH-D15 Chromax.Black air cooler.
One very nice feature of the Liquid Freezer II is that the entire AIO (including pump and three 140mm fans) runs off of one four-pin PWM connector, which makes cable management a breeze. The fan wires are hidden underneath the radiator hose sheathing. Another nice feature is the 40mm VRM fan near the pump that blows air on your VRM heatsinks. Some people think this is just a gimmick, but multiple testers (such as Gamer’s Nexus) have shown that it does reduce VRM temperatures.
The Corsair 7000D Airflow case will let you mount the 420mm radiator at the top of the case. The fans are in the stock push configuration, exhausting hot air out of the top of the case. Many smaller cases won’t let you have a 420mm radiator anywhere, so be sure to check before you buy one! Using an AIO instead of a Noctua NH-D15 will let me get to the CPU and RAM much easier too. A big AIO like this will also take longer to get to its maximum temperature compared to an air cooler.
I have a pretty nice Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3070 Vision OC 8G GPU that is also white (to go with the theme of this build). It is the second-best GPU that I own, with my EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 FTW3 Gaming still reserved for my gaming machine.
I have a little bit of GPU sag, and the stock PCIe power cables are a bit of a mess. The other wiring is pretty clean though. I could remove the big white panel to the right of the GPU and replace it with a panel that could hold three more 140mm fans. What do you think?
This build uses three 2TB Samsung 980 Pro PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 drives. I managed to grab three of them during Black Friday sales, so they were not as expensive as they used to be. I also had a 480GB Intel 900P Optane PCIe 3.0 card that I put in the third PCIe slot. It is possible that the third PCIe slot shares bandwidth with one of the M.2 slots, so that may not be a permanent addition.
BTW, I talk about why I like PCIe NVMe storage in this post.
I think this is pretty decent cable management on the backside, especially since it will be hidden by a removeable interior door and a solid white case side panel. My stock 12V CPU power cable was too short to avoid the diagonal run. I removed the stock drive cage for two 3.5″ drives so I could have better ventilation and cable management.
I was also able to snag an open box kit of four G.Skill Trident Z Neo 32GB DDR4-3600 CL18 DIMMs at Micro Center. I have had great luck with open box components at Micro Center, which have a 20% discounted price. If an open box component doesn’t work, you can just return it. This gives me 128GB of RAM which is the most you can have with an AM4 CPU.
New AMD Ryzen 9 5950X System Component List
These are Amazon Affiliate links for these parts.
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5950X
- GPU: Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3070 Ti Vision OC 8G
- Motherboard: ASUS ProArt X570 Creator WiFi
- RAM: 128GB G.Skill Trident Z Neo DDR4-3600 CL18
- Case: Corsair 7000D Airflow White
- Power Supply: ASUS ROG Thor 850P
- CPU Cooler: Arctic Liquid Freezer II 420
- Storage: 2TB Samsung 980 Pro
- Case Fans: Arctic P14 PWM PST White
- I/O Slot Covers: Silverstone Aero Slot
I could get some custom CableMod cable extensions for the stock power cables. That would definitely look nicer. Swapping out the big white panel for a different one with more case fans is another possibility. Having all three M.2 slots populated reduces the primary PCIe slot down to PCIe 4.0 x8, which is no problem with a PCIe 4.0 GPU.
Currently, the system is about 95% built, with Windows 10 Professional 21H2 installed and patched and all the latest drivers installed. I have not run any serious benchmarks yet, beyond CPU-Z. These scores are pretty decent. The only tweaking I have done is enabling XMP.
The system is whisper quiet, even with the case sides removed. I’ll do more testing and see how the CPU and GPU temps are when running FoldingAtHome.
What do you think of my component choices? I would love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments.
If you have any questions about this post, please ask me here in the comments or on Twitter. I am pretty active on Twitter as GlennAlanBerry. Thanks for reading!