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PC build for someone's son

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Tech Tweaker

Dec 14, 2010
Had someone ask me about building a PC for their son recently. Didn't have a lot to go on, just that the son wanted a white case (purely for aesthetic reasons) and possibly other white components (to match said case) and wanted Intel if possible (because they heard it was better than AMD) and something like a RTX3070 or 3070Ti (AMD GPU's not to be considered at all). And that they wanted some RGB if possible, "because it looks cool." Oh, and that it had to be 1-2 generations/years old at most for greater future compatibility/use life, so anything 3-4+ years old is out. Estimated max budget 2K USD.

They said they don't really have any real preferences brand wise aka no real brand loyalties, as they've never owned a desktop PC before. PC is for gaming, but they'd probably use it for school work as well. Basically they've always been on console, but some of their friends play games on PC that they can't play so they're wanting to make the move to PC. But, since I'm the one spec'ing it out some brands will likely be avoided *looking at you Seagate, and Thermaltake, and a few others*. Since they and their parents said they don't know much about PC's I'm not going to consider an AIO or other liquid cooler, I feel that would be too much to start them off with for maintenance of a first PC build. Being that they're considering using it long-term I figured I would rule out DDR4 in favor of DDR5, as who knows if Intel 14th gen would be supported on Z690 if they wanted to upgrade to a newer/faster CPU at some point in the future.

So, I've spent a couple hours creating and refining parts lists. Discovered a few things:
1. RTX 3070 Ti's seem to be sold out everywhere.
2. RTX 3070's are also sold out nearly everywhere, especially the one's that are white-themed that would match what they were going for.
3. Most Z790 motherboards I looked at seem to be out of stock, and if it looks like a good one by specs or appearance for their preferences it's pretty much guaranteed to be out of stock. This greatly limits my options for a build list.

So, I've got a couple of build lists so far and want to see if any of you think these make sense.

First build with SATA SSD's: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/LW8sC6

Second build with m.2 NVMe SSD's: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/2YzsC6

I had considered the Corsair iCue 4000X RGB case initially due to them wanting RGB, but on my initial build list it pushed the cost beyond their planned budget. I've tweaked and adjusted things from my initial list though, so maybe that would fit in the budget now. I don't know if the front panel on the 4000X RGB is glass or some sort of mesh, I'd prefer mesh personally, so that they don't have to deal with an airflow issue from the case suffocating its hardware.

Alternatively, I'd considered the Asus Strix OC RTX 3070 or Asus ROG Strix White OC V2 RTX 3070. Seems like any 3070 or 3070Ti will likely have to be bought pre-owned on eBay, Amazon, OfferUp or some other site though, as they are few and far between new at retailers.
ye i'll second the m.2, faster, cleaner build, its the future!
NZXT 510's are $70 right now on sale various places. not sure if your going pure white or what but its a nice case i've built in before

also the disappointing 4xxx news (mainly price and release time frame) are driving the prices on mid to upper 3xxx cards. you might be paying over MSRP for one.
evga has b stock 3070ti's at ~$530 and new over $800 right now
I think the build is decent. Maybe some M.2 drive instead of the SSDs, not sure about the old HDD.
Did you see the second build list I posted? That one included m.2 drives. I was trying to save money on the first list by going with SATA drives, but left m.2 drives as an option in the second list. Didn't know if m.2 drives are a need to have or a want to have at this point.

The HDD is for long-term storage in case they have any photos of videos or other files (Word docs, Excel docs, etc) they might want to save and not take up space on their Game drive or OS drive.
i think what @WrkBoot is getting at, and i agree. why bother with a spinning drive at all.
you already have 3 TB of storage in each build list. just go for the faster ones, save the $75 or spend it on something else in it

gathering for who its being built for and what we know of the person. this thing is way more than whats expected, its kinda overkill but it'll also probably last them a while. If they are getting into system building as they get older (because it sounds like this persons pretty young) it's still a decent jumping off point to upgrade down the line.

If i were doing it i'd ditch the spinning drive, ditch the 2TB m.2, swap Win 11 Home for Pro, swap the noctua with a good 240/280mm AIO.

i remember what you said about AIOs but i find them easier to maintain, they are sealed and to dust them you dont really need to take them out of the case. a finned heatsink is kinda a task some times. re applying thermal paste is almost as easy too, less mass over the cpu.

if they need more storage thats a learning opurtunity for them for maintenance. get another drive? or clean the junk i dont use off the one i have?
I play my fair share of games, however my game drive is only about 25% filled right now on my secondary computer

i've run into build requests for kids like these and most of them so far just play minecraft on them but your mileage may vary
Does an m.2 NVMe SSD make a noticeable difference vs a SATA SSD in gaming these days in general? Or does it come down more to your other hardware in the PC whether or not it makes a noticeable difference?
Does an m.2 NVMe SSD make a noticeable difference vs a SATA SSD in gaming these days in general?
Not typically. If you want, and the board you're choosing supports it, you can find SATA-based SSDs in the M.2 form factor as well. ;)

Or does it come down more to your other hardware in the PC whether or not it makes a noticeable difference?
The drives perform the same regardless of hardware (relatively speaking).
Looks like a decent build. For saving money, I would suggest a 1tb NVME for OS and then you could do a spinner or SATA drives for the remainder of required storage. Also do they have a good internet connection? With a gigabit connection deleting and downloading games isn't really an issue, but if you had a lower quality connection then it would make more sense to have a platter to store games you're not actively playing.

I also notice no peripherals listed, a monitor can be a substantial expense, and a bling ~gaming~ RGB KB and Mouse can also cost a couple bills. Honestly I would suggest a 27" g-sync 1440p if budget can support it.

Finally, I must say you're brave to be doing SI for lay friends. You may well be signing up for 5+ years of free tech support work, and if you don't want that, I would suggest setting clear expectations for what kind of support you will provide and for how long. i.e. hardware brakes you'll help diagnose and RMA, but you won't deal with software problems after the initial setup.