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New build questions - CPU, Memory, Video Card, Power Supply.

Budget (including currency): $3.500+

Country: US

Games, programs or workloads that it will be used for:  Work with music (VST) mostly - but would also be used for some video editing/rendering and game play (not first person shooter)

Other details: NA

 

A few odds and ends questions regarding a preliminary new build...

 

Intel CPU:

 

If you don't ever plan on overclocking your Intel CPU - is it still "better" to get the K version...?  Is there any benefit to getting the K version if you never overclock it...?

 

DDR5 memory:

 

I guess the problem with more then 2 sticks of DDR5 memory is being blamed on the Intel 12th gen CPU...?

 

Will it ever be :fixed"...?

 

My understanding is that you can use 4 sticks of 4800 DDR5 - but can only use 2 if it is higher than 4800...?

 

Also, my understanding is that 2 sticks of, say, 32 GB RAM (64 GB total) is "better" than 4 sticks of 16 GB RAM (64 GB total) - no matter what the speed - is this true...?

 

Video Card:

 

Is there any real difference/benefit between the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060/3070/3080 directly from NVIDIA - and the versions from ASUS, MSI, etc...?

 

Power Supply:

 

850W vs. 1200W - assuming more watts is always better - any disadvantage in going with a 1200W over a 850W - if your spec'd build states a wattage of say... 700W...?

 

Thanks!

 

 

  

 

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36 minutes ago, NGamer said:

If you don't ever plan on overclocking your Intel CPU - is it still "better" to get the K version...?  Is there any benefit to getting the K version if you never overclock it...?

It's an extra 100-200MHz faster and since they don't have locked internal voltages like VCCSA they can overclock memory better. The extra 100-200MHz isn't gonna be noticeable for anything outside of benchmarks, and if this is a workstation memory overclocking isn't exactly a good idea, so it's not likely a better option. 

 

39 minutes ago, NGamer said:

I guess the problem with more then 2 sticks of DDR5 memory is being blamed on the Intel 12th gen CPU...?

 

Will it ever be :fixed"...?

 

My understanding is that you can use 4 sticks of 4800 DDR5 - but can only use 2 if it is higher than 4800...?

 

Also, my understanding is that 2 sticks of, say, 32 GB RAM (64 GB total) is "better" than 4 sticks of 16 GB RAM (64 GB total) - no matter what the speed - is this true...?

So this is complicated. 

 

There are three major reasons that 4 sticks of DDR5 suck. 

  1. The Alder Lake memory controller sucks
  2. The memory topology sucks
  3. The memory training algorithms suck. 

The memory controller might be somewhat fixed with Raptor Lake, though I wouldn't expect it to be too much better than the terrible one found on Alder Lake. The memory topology is just an issue with motherboards, some will work better than others, but since it's first gen DDR5 memory topologies manufacturers are still figuring out what they're doing. The memory training algorithms have actually been shown that they actually can work with 4 DIMMs since ASUS has apparently gotten that to work with 4 DIMMs at actually respectable speeds (6000MHz+) reliably. Other motherboard manufacturers and/or Intel might eventually release a training algorithm that actually works at higher memory speeds, but I wouldn't hold my breath. Plus, 4x32GB configs still suck on ASUS boards just because the Alder Lake memory controller is a dumpster fire when running quad rank. 

 

Still, all DDR5 boards are daisy chain memory topologies, and a daisy chain favors 2 DIMM configs over 4 DIMM configs. Unless you need to run 4 DIMMs (say you need 128GB of RAM), it's better to focus on a 2 DIMM config instead. There are some good daisy chains where you'll hit the limits of the memory controller before you hit the limits of the memory topology (the Gigabyte B550 topology, for instance, is basically as good in 4x8GB configs as it is in dual rank 2x16GB configs because you hit the limits of the Ryzen 5000 memory controller before 2x16GB can come out ahead), but since manufacturers are still figuring out what they're doing on DDR5, that is not the case. 

 

Tl;Dr: Get 2 sticks over 4 if you can. If you need 4 sticks (128GB of RAM) you're likely better off just going DDR4 instead. 

 

56 minutes ago, NGamer said:

Is there any real difference/benefit between the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060/3070/3080 directly from NVIDIA - and the versions from ASUS, MSI, etc...?

You mean the Founders cards and the AIB cards? They're all running the same silicon, the main difference is just the power delivery, the cooler, and the warranty backing it. On the lower power cards like the 3070 and lower (yes I know saying a 220w part is "low power" is kinda crazy, but compared to a 3080 it's not) the power delivery and cooler don't matter all that much since basically every card is good. For 3080s and 3090s that are actually really challenging to power and cool, then it starts to matter a bit more (see New World and 3090s), but for the most part you just want to look for a particular piece of silicon (3080 10G for example), look for the cheapest version, then make sure there's no issues with it. If it has issues, check the next cheapest version, so on and so on until you find a good unit, also making sure that it's not more than the cost of a higher end card (I.E. the 3080 12G is currently cheaper than the 3080 10G in the US)

 

1 hour ago, NGamer said:

850W vs. 1200W - assuming more watts is always better - any disadvantage in going with a 1200W over a 850W - if your spec'd build states a wattage of say... 700W...?

Outside of pure cost, more watts isn't always better, there is the efficiency curve of the PSU. If you've got a system that only consumes 100W under full load, slapping a 1600W PSU in it will be hilariously inefficient since the PSU doesn't get anywhere close to peak efficiency until roughly 50% capacity, so going for a good 400-500W unit will actually be better for a system like that. 

 

Still though, for the budget you're looking at, yes, more is better when you're looking at well rated PSUs. You want to prioritize good ratings (not just 80+ ratings, reviews) over wattage, there are some terrible 1000W+ units out there, and there are some phenomenal 500W units out there as well. Consult the PSU Tier List to quick and dirty make sure you're getting a good unit, try to stick to A tier units in the price category you're looking at. 

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Thanks!

 

So it looks like the non-K version, 2 sticks of RAM, and the 1200W PSU.

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