I started a new post-draft a few days ago titled, ‘In a Holding Pattern’. It was going to talk to the fact that since making the firm decision to upgrade my PC I was starting to feel that detached drift from any activities on this PC that, for me at least, often accompanies the time immediately prior an upgrade.

I was going to talk to the fact I didn’t see it as a bad thing though, that underlying it all there was quite a sense of anticipation and excitement — perhaps most importantly of all, I even saw potential to break through the mental blocks between how often I’d like to post and how often I actually have been of late.

In any case, I frame all that in the past tense since I started thinking: What would have to be true for me to build an AMD based system? Given my experiences with driver stability for their video cards and memory compatibility issues with their CPUs — how much of a potential gain would there need to be for me to take this path?

And the answer led me to a place where I don’t see it as being very likely to come true this generation. Certainly not on the GPU front, perhaps a bit more possible on the CPU front. But before I go any further — I acknowledge my past experiences will not be the same as everyone else’s. Some have had the opposite wherein their personal experiences with AMD GPU drivers have been just fine and nVidia has been the problem child.

But be that as it may — for me, the choice was pretty clear. And I ended up buying almost exactly the system I outlined in the Upgrade Ahoy post, but I switched out the Gigabyte PCIe 4.0 SSD with a Samsung 970 EVO — only PCIe 3.0 but a bit more of a known quantity.

Cases – Full TowerLian Li PC-O11D XL ROG Dynamic ROG Edition Full Tower Gaming Case RGB, Tempered Glass, Black
Cooling – CPUCorsair iCUE H150i RGB PRO XT Liquid CPU Cooler 360mm Radiator
CPUs – IntelIntel Comet Lake Core i7 10700K 8 Core 3.8Ghz
Hard Drives – Solid StateSamsung 970 EVO Plus 2TB M.2 (2280)
Hard Drives – SATAWD 4TB Black Edition 256MB Performance SATA3 7200RPM Internal HDD
Memory – DesktopG.SKILL Trident Z Neo RGB F4-3600C16D-32GTZNC 32 GB RAM (2X 16GB) DDR4 3600MHz, CL16
Motherboards – Intel 1200ASRock Z490 TAICHI ATX Motherboard
Operating systemsMicrosoft Windows Home 10 32-bit/64-bit English USB
Power suppliesCorsair AX850 V2 Titanium
Video CardGigabyte Geforce RTX 3080 Gaming OC 10GB GDDR6X
Case FansCorsair LL Series LL120 RGB Dual Light Loop PWM Fan (x4 — 1x triple pack/bundle and 1x single)
I was very lucky to have managed to get one of the incredibly stock-limited 3080’s in the first batch. I think not doing so would’ve pushed me back toward more of a ‘wait and see’ approach.

I won’t bore you with a full build-log — I was only very intermittent with actually taking photos anyway — but as a sort of a cliff notes version… :)

It all went incredibly smoothly this time around — other than not being able to position the radiator for the Corsair AIO how I wanted. As noted in the first assembled shot of the AIO itself, I had intended to (as is typically recommended) set it up to pull cool air from outside the case over the radiator.

But the tubing was too short to be either bottom-mounted or front-mounted (well, front-side in this particular case). In the end I had to flip the fans so blow air out of the case, since I wasn’t willing to make a top-mounted intake. The final resting place of my PC is under a desk and the air above is likely to still be warm. Not to mention the air turbulence that would create inside the case.

But that ended being OK, I used the 3-pack of fans to create the front intake and (as always planned) the single fan to provide additional rear exhaust.

I finished the assembly yesterday. (I picked up the parts Saturday late afternoon, and decided to take it a little more casually than I normally would. If I had any DOA parts, I wasn’t going to be able to do anything until the following day anyway. Luckily that wasn’t the case though.)

Since then I’ve been running through Control again — RTX on of course. I’ve played around in Marvel Avengers, glorying in the fact I can now run it fullscreen, full-res (5120×1440) well north of 60fps. I was having to run it at a reduced res window on the 1080ti. I’ve installed Death Stranding and Horizon Zero Dawn again (HZD also runs buttery smooth, so beautiful).

But you know what one of the possibly more surprising things I’m looking forward to is? Doing the next Cities: Skylines installment of Anddul! Don’t get me wrong — I was able to play perfectly well before. It isn’t exactly the sort of game where lightning fast reflexes are required. But it wasn’t exactly smooth either. Watching the likes of Biffa play with his million plus pop cities still running smoothly has me quite looking forward to that, and honestly?

Was probably the biggest driver for me making the jump to 32GB of RAM in this system rather than my more typical 16GB which I do still believe that in most gaming scenarios is perfectly adequate.

In any case, final bonus tip — although I’ll be honest, this is mostly for my own reference because I look it up every time I undertake a PC build:

Which way do case fans blow? Or — How do I know which way around to install a case fan when I want it to be specifically intake or exhaust?

Easy enough — the airflow from a case fan travels in the direction of the side with crossbar and fan mount point. The side of the fan that is completely open will pull air from there and blow it through the other side. So point the open end of the fan where you want to pull air from.

Although hopefully I won’t need to know that again for another 3-4 years. ;)