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Been gone a while...Need help with a new build...Lots of questions

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Apr 14, 2002
lost in thought
Hey all,

So I've been away from the OC world for 10+ years because....well...life. Work, kids, the whole thing. Recently retired and getting back to some of the things I used to enjoy. Also added photography as a hobby recently. That's where the need for a new build comes in. Been getting along with my laptop fine but it just won't handle photo editing. I'm looking for recommendations on the new rig. Intel/AMD doesn't matter. I've had good results with both in the past and can't say I'm particularly a fanboy of one or the other. I'd like to keep my build at $1500 or below. Still trying to learn some of the new terminology and such. A lot has changed since 2008. So questions as follows:

1 - What would you recommend for a photo editing rig ($1500 and below)? I don not plan on any video editing. Mostly Lr and Ps.

2 - Where is everyone purchasing supplies at nowadays? I looked at newegg the other day and holy cow!! Prices for things are through the roof. It looks like mostly secondary sellers on that site now. I also found it difficult to follow reviews as it appears they're grouped together for different variations of the items.

3 - Cooling requirements. (Old curmudgeon voice) "Back in my day, water cooling was cutting edge". It appears that water cooling has really entered the mainstream. I'm not planning on OC'ing this build. Plan to keep it close to stock for stability purposes so I'm hoping to stick with fans. Having said that, I don't want it to sound like my old OC rig running multiple tornado fans. Suggestions?

4 - Storage NVMe vs SSD vs SATA. So I've been trying to re-educate myself on this whole M.2 slot and NVMe. I think I've got it figured out but was wondering how most folks were running storage. I would assume there is a performance gain running your OS and photo storage from M.2 NVMe based on my understanding so far. Comments, suggestions?

I'm sure I'll have more questions as suggestions come in. Thanks for taking the time to look and/or respond. It feels kind of nostalgic to be back.

AMD Ryzen 7 3800X
ASRock 450M Pro4
32GB Crucial Ballistix DDR4 3200 (2-16's)
MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Super
SAMSUNG 970 EVO PLUS M.2 2280 1TB PCIe Gen 3.0 x4, NVMe SSD
Corsair RM-750 750W Power Supply
Fractal Design Meshify C Black ATX High-Airflow Case

Haven't decided on CPU cooling yet.
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Your case is mid tower form factor, correct? Why are you going with a mATX motherboard? And even at that, the mATX board you chose may not be the best choice from a memory compatibility standpoint. I would suggest looking at this: https://www.amazon.com/MSI-Performa...ild=1&keywords=MSI+b450&qid=1588782456&sr=8-1

My other hesitation is with your choice of RAM. Since you will be installing a large amount of RAM, I would go with a RAM brand and product that is known to have good compatibility with Ryzen. AMD has really improved the issues they were having with RAM incompatibility when Ryzen first came out but there are still some outliers. GSkill Platinum Z and Neo as well as Ripjaws V might be a better choice.

Other than that, I like your choices and think they are quite appropriate for your intended use.

Personally, I prefer water cooling over high end air because it reduces clutter inside the case. But if you go for air, go for the best as in the Noctua NH-D15. If you go with water, keep in mind that a 3 fan radiator in the front of the case will require you to remove the hard drive cage which lies at the front of the PSU shroud. A good 240mm AIO cooler will fit better since you are in fact installing platter hard drives and will give you about the same or a tad better cooling than the best air.

Edit: And yes, prices on things are high right now and availability of components is spotty. Lot of "out of stock" items. COVID-19 fallout I think.
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The main reason I chose the board was because it was one of the few in stock. It also has 2 M.2 ports which I thought was appealing. Never really thought about Amazon with motherboards. Don't really know why; just defaulted to Newegg. Will definitely take a look at your Ram recommendations. I was actually browsing some of those AIO units for cooling. The seem pretty interesting and the prices are very reasonable. As I said, I've been away a long time and technology changes so fast I have a lot to catch up on. Thanks for the insight!
I used to use NewEgg almost exclusively but now I use Amazon the vast majority of the time as the prices are essentially the same and with a Prime membership the shipping is free and two day. No rebates on Amazon, though. Yes, both NewEgg and Amazon mix similar products in their reviews now and that frustrates me to no end. You really have to pick through them to get relevant information about the particular item you are looking at.
#2 I still use Newegg. You can also look at bhphoto. Lots of people like Amazon too but I don't use them too much for tech.

#4 M.2 is a form factor for the slot itself. It can be NVME, SATA or both depending on the motherboard. NVME uses PCIe lanes instead of SATA. NVME can generally be found in x1 - x4 lanes and may pull lanes from PCIe slots depending on your motherboard. NVME can be loads faster than SATA in the same M.2 format.

SSD is any type of storage that uses solid state. Previously, SSDs were in the ole' laptop sized 2.5" format using SATA. Now they use the M.2 format. M.2 comes in different lengths like 2280 which is the most common.
It needs to be said that SSD drives still come in the "ole laptop size 2.5" format" but now they also come in the m.2 physical format. So as don25us already said, the m.2 physical format is now used in both a SATA bus interface and a PCIe bus (NVME) format, the latter offering faster boot and load times.
Oh, and the other thing about price. I noticed that costs have generally gone up since the pandemic. Many people buying new gear to work from home I guess. I'm looking for prices to drop sometime after this first wave is done hopefully before the 2nd wave this winter.
Thanks for the info. As far as the M.2 goes, I'm starting to get my head semi-wrapped around the idea. As I read more about it, I'm trying to figure out if by using 2 M.2 slots (1-NVMe and 1-SATA) conflicts are created. Also, as I understand it, speed of data rates would be M.2 NVMe, M.2 SATA, SATA.

I don't have to build this immediately so I also may wait a bit to see if prices fall. Not only that but it's amazing to me how much is out of stock.
That question comes down to the specific board. Sometimes placing a SATA M.2 will inactivate one of the physical SATA ports, either connected directly to the CPU or in the Chipset. Other times placing an NVMe in a certain slot will rob lanes from a PCIe slot. In this regard x570 does better than b450, but at the end of the day I don't think it's a huge issue. There is no performance benefit to running a M.2 SATA drive, but it is more streamlined to socket it directly into the motherboard. Some M.2 slots are NVMe only, as well, so that is something to watch out for.

Another thing where you my have to re-train your thinking is in therms of IO architecture. Essentially the NB is contained entirely on the CPU die, and the chipset is now the SB. So memory and some of the PCIe is connected directly to the CPU. Other PCIe slots will be routed to the CPU via the 4x PCIe lanes to the chipset.
In short, the conflict results from competition for a limited number of available PCIe lanes as dictated by the CPU and/or motherboard architecture. Just a condensed version of what Zerileous said. And as Z said, functions that were formerly handled by motherboard controllers have now been moved onto the CPU die.
I think I understand it better now. Thanks for all of the explanations. Basically, I will have to prioritize what gets access to PCIe. If I stick with the video card and NVMe and go with standard SATA drive access it may actually perform better than trying to put everything on the PCIe bus.

I also think, after doing a bit more research, I may look into utilizing a x570 chipset as opposed to the B450. It looks like I'll have time to figure it out since boards are in pretty limited supplies. Do you have any thoughts on the ASUS AM4 TUF Gaming X-570 Plus or the MSI MPG X570 Gaming Pro?

Any thoughts on onboard wireless/bluetooth?

As far as motherboards go, it really boils down to what feature sets you think you need, especially with regard to the newer USB technologies, onboard wifi or not, number of pwm fan headers, LED bling connectors; that sort of thing. There is criticism about the Asus tuf board in that the chip set fan is blocked or partially blocked by larger graphics card.

As far as PCIe lanes go, performance penalties are really a minor issue. It's a total non issue with regard to storage performance. The drives will either work or not in certain slots where there is a conflict. If you go with SLI (very rare these days) the second video card PCIe slot may only run on 8x lane widith instead of 16x. But even then, the performance penalty is only about 2% I hear.
Yeah. SLI and CrossFire are pretty much considered a waste of energy. The general consensus is to take the money you might have used on two cards and just buy one, more powerful card. It is also a general rule that you get more PCIe lanes with AMD than with Intel when compared $ to $.

I don't know that we covered cooling very much here. It is true that there is still a robust water cooling market that is much different from when we had to build a loop from scratch. That said, I air cool my 1st gen Threadripper CPU and I have a 1080Ti plus a 1080 all in the same case and all air cooled. I like large fans at slow speeds which keeps the system cool and silent for me.
As for fans, check out the MagLev fans as they are dead silent if a little pricey. I was an early adopter of AIO and have nothing negative to report. They are now pretty much a settled science so far as reliability is concerned and as Trents mentioned, they allow for good air flow in the case.
SLI and Crossfire were in their infancy back when I was slowing down in the hobby. It just seemed like something novel back then and I can't say that it's something I would pursue.

I also like the big fan theory. I was slowly moving to the 120's back in the day for my case cooling. I was doing my own modding back then so it was just as easy to cut holes for a 120 as it was an 80. I have to admit though, I am really intrigued with the AIO units. I honestly have no desire to have my pc sound like a jet engine anymore.

Thanks for the feedback on the ASUS board. Just out of curiosity, what ever happened to Abit? I think I had one of my best OC's back in the day using an Abit board and a 2.4G P4. My second best was probably an MSI/AMD rig.