Twin eagles: building matching Ryzen systems for teens

A wise man once said, "Fish, you idiot, Ryzen is almost here! You should have waited." It took a while, but all the way back in mid-June I finally got my hands on a Ryzen system—two of them, in fact. With the school year wrapped up, and an entire summer looming with kids in need of entertainment, two of my coworkers asked for my help replacing their sons' PCs.

Last time I built computers for these guys, it was four years ago, and the budget was much smaller. Back then, all those kids were doing on their PCs was playing Minecraft and Team Fortress 2, and two-core, two-thread Haswell Pentium G3220s and GeForce GTX 750 Tis were plenty good enough for their needs. Times have changed, though, and these now-teenagers use their PCs for a wide variety of tasks, including video editing, music creation, 3D modeling, live streaming, and much more demanding gaming. "What's a computer?" indeed

Anyway, back to building these kids' new PCs. I said yeah, I'll build them, but on two conditions: one, that everyone participates in the process and two, that the kids document everything on their phones to produce a video I can share on TR after it's done. It took two and a half months, but they eventually got around to it. Amusingly, and in a fashion befitting teenagers since time immemorial, the video was haphazardly slapped together, rendered out on one of the new systems, and delivered  long after it was originally expected. Before we share that treat with you, though, let's take a look at the TR-staff-approved specs.

Given the current market, June is still looking like it was a good time to build.

Originally, the identical PCs were going to be Intel Core i5-8400 and GeForce GTX 1060-based builds. However, the first decent video card deal of the summer got the entire budget bumped up to a level that seemed like a better fit for a CPU with a bit more oomph (especially since the boys aren't strictly gaming on them). The builds went smoothly enough, and I had no major complaints about any of the components. It was odd to have to install motherboard standoffs, though. I haven't done that for a while. Oh, and if you ever build in a Focus G, hook up the front-panel audio connector before you install the PSU, because it can't fit through the gap otherwise.

Once the PCs got to their new home, our intrepid builders found that their chunky HDMI cables collided with the slots on the back of the case, preventing them from plugging in all the way. Many of you have probably seen that before. I suggested a DisplayPort adapter they could pick up locally, and that saved their first weekend of playing with the new systems. It was pretty much radio silence from them after that.

Now, brace yourselves for the video that was decidedly not crafted carefully during all that summer free-time (and got rejected by TR staff three times before they let me embed it).

I know it's not The Verge-level content, but if you can't stomach the whole thing, at least skip to here.

That, my friends, is an entire afternoon of education and explanation as seen by the mind of a 14-year old. You can almost hear the Charlie Brown adult-voice over the bass line. I'd like to think that some of the finer points of PC building sunk in, but I'm happy just having the kids participate in building their own rigs and getting introduced to the basics.

Fast forward to today. Since we now have the perspective afforded by an entire summer of use, I'm happy to report that there have been no problems with either system. I was a bit nervous given the stock cooling and purported high temperatures of the attic-adjacent gaming room the PCs and their Xbox One cousins reside in. It shouldn't come as a surprise, though, because the boys asked for help installing Gigabytes's RGB Fusion software pretty early on and it wasn't much longer after that before they wanted to tweak other things, including fan-speed profiles. I guess that makes RGB LEDs the gateway component. Doesn't that just warm the heart?

drfish

I post Shortbread, I host BBQs, I tell stories, and I strive to keep folks happy.

Comments closed
    • sconesy
    • 10 months ago

    Hey, I have that case!

    • Ummagumma
    • 10 months ago

    I thought the video was good for “home video”. Nothing to apologize for.

    I would have liked a warning at the start of the video about the eardrum-piercing intro sounds. I actually had to turn down the sound level on my monitor to almost nothing to enjoy the video.

    I think it’s a great idea to get kids involved in learning about the insides of computers as soon as they have the “desire”, patience, and manual dexterity to handle the assembly tasks.

    Do I see Chuckla curled up in the corner sobbing away because you did not use INTEL?? 😉

    • ronch
    • 10 months ago

    Smart Choice, those Ryzens.

    • HTarlek
    • 10 months ago

    Hey, this story popped up as a link on my Google News Feed – yay, TR!

    • gerryg
    • 10 months ago

    Funny, all my 13-year old plays is Team Fortress 2 and occasionally Minecraft. He’s using an older HP business laptop. He tried Fortnite but didn’t like it. I’ll probably make him build a PC when he’s ready to upgrade in a couple years, thanks for the template and warnings for said activity!

    • thedosbox
    • 10 months ago

    Cool to see kids building computers, but we should NEVER FORGET this classic:

    [url<]https://techreport.com/r.x/2009_11_6_Remembering_the_Gotbyte_incident/p4-in-socket.jpg[/url<]

      • Gyromancer
      • 10 months ago

      I’m happy to say I’m still building computers.

    • anotherengineer
    • 10 months ago

    Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1070 Ti video card

    with all the games that can play, I think you set your co-workers kids up for failure

    games >> homework

    lol

    • Redocbew
    • 10 months ago

    [quote<]A wise man once said, "Fish, you idiot[/quote<] Fish, you idiot... Oh, wait, that wasn't me who said that.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 10 months ago

    [quote<]I know it's not The Verge-level content[/quote<] No, it's not nearly as pretentious and self-important. Thanks for that. 😆

    • Chrispy_
    • 10 months ago

    [quote=”Fish, you idiot”<]these now-teenagers use their PCs for a wide variety of tasks, including video editing, music creation, 3D modeling, live streaming, and much more demanding gaming. "What's a computer?" indeed...[/quote<] I approve of this justifiable and righteous Apple-bashing.

    • Yan
    • 10 months ago

    Isn’t a $ 450 graphics card and 16 GB of RAM a little excessive for a 14-year-old? Or for almost anyone, actually.

      • Srsly_Bro
      • 10 months ago

      Hello? This is 2018? Are you ok?

      • DPete27
      • 10 months ago

      Not if your daddy is rich!!!

        • Shobai
        • 10 months ago

        And your mama’s good looking.

          • DPete27
          • 10 months ago

          True, that was sexist. I only used daddy because the father was the one in the pictures/video.

            • Srsly_Bro
            • 10 months ago

            If the knights who previously said ni were sjw warriors, they would say you said it again. You saw a male and assumed father.

            #paternaloppresion

            I’m really joking, but I found the humor of a compromised person in the response.

            • Anonymous Coward
            • 10 months ago

            Oh, the bottomless potential to find things to take offense at. Well done.

            • Srsly_Bro
            • 10 months ago

            I didn’t take offense to anything. I was being facetious. If be offended if anyone was actually offended.

            • Shobai
            • 10 months ago

            Sorry, I thought you were doing [url=https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=u2bigf337aU#<]jazz standards[/url<].

      • elites2012
      • 10 months ago

      how is it excessive?

      • Eversor
      • 10 months ago

      I would’ve upgraded to an Haswell i5 that you can find for sub $100 on eBay and an extra 8GB of DDR3.

      As long as the previous motherboard is decent and allows you to have DDR3-2133, the lower CAS helps a lot in gaming and is comparable to DDR4-2666. Hold off more CPU until games are actually well threaded. Though the DDR4-3200 will sure have an impact in gaming, I’m not sure it’s worth the premium right now.

      BTW, some benchmarks I saw a while back showed that if you had 8GB+ GPUs, you had little to no benefit of over 8GB of RAM while gaming – everything that takes up space is going to the GPU and you aren’t swapping it to RAM unless its 4GB or less of VRAM.

        • Srsly_Bro
        • 10 months ago

        Really? My 1080Ti has 11GB and I use up to 5 GB of RAM in some games. You are back in 2008 with Yan. Can you provide a source?

          • RainMotorsports
          • 10 months ago

          You are talking about two different things. Your 1080Ti has 11 GB of vram. Your game uses both system ram and vram. If it’s using 5GB of system ram then you probably have never checked how much ram the game is using from the video card.

          As far as the original argument. For gaming 16 GB of ram is baseline in 2018. I had 8GB of ram in an i7-6700K with a GTX 770 and Fallout 4 would actually fail to start due to ram usage. 8GB of ram is acceptable in an office computer that is only going to have a few browser tabs and another application open. But not in gaming.

            • Srsly_Bro
            • 10 months ago

            Your problem was the trash 2 gb Gtx 770. My $130 1050 Ti would out perform it.

            • Froz
            • 10 months ago

            [quote<]8GB of ram is acceptable in an office computer that is only going to have a few browser tabs and another application open. But not in gaming.[/quote<] That's not really true. I have GTX 1070 and only recently doubled my RAM from 8 GB. It's hard or almost impossible to see any difference in performance except some very specific usage that requires such amount of RAM. Certainly there is no noticeable difference in gaming. Of course I wouldn't say getting 16 GB is stupid or excessive, but if you want to save some money and don't have some specific needs for more RAM, getting 8 GB is really ok too (and that is not something you have to "future-proof", upgrading RAM size is an easy upgrade if needed). In the case in the article they are doing video editing, I'm guessing that can use the RAM.

      • RainMotorsports
      • 10 months ago

      16GB was excessive in maybe 2011. I can’t start some games on 8GB of ram if I have literally anything else open. I gave my wife my 7 year old gaming rig that had 16GB of ram and dropped down to 8GB on a free i7-6700k system I got. It was a horrible experience. I just stopped gaming until I bought more ram. DDR3 in non performance spec is so common it can be had for free. I am about to build a damn ram sword soon. But the new system being DDR4 I had to spend decent money to get some.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 10 months ago

      You’re excessive.

      • jihadjoe
      • 10 months ago

      Teenagers have better reflexes and sharper eyes than old fuddy duddies.

    • NTMBK
    • 10 months ago

    Fish, you idiot, Ryzen 2 is almost here! You should have waited.

      • drfish
      • 10 months ago

      I felt pretty cocky after Ryzen 1, but a 2700X or maybe 2950X upgrade is darn tempting…

      Gotta replace my 980 Ti first though, now where are those $999 2080 Tis I’ve heard so much about?

        • JustAnEngineer
        • 10 months ago

        They’re at Newegg with higher price tags on them.
        [url<]https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814133754[/url<]

          • gecko575
          • 10 months ago

          Link goes to a Gigabyte 1080 Ti tho..

            • JustAnEngineer
            • 10 months ago

            Doh!

    • DPete27
    • 10 months ago

    Why X470 for a single GPU?

      • drfish
      • 10 months ago

      Mostly because I wanted guaranteed compatibility with the 2600X out of the box. Also, this stuff was bought before B450 boards were out.

        • DPete27
        • 10 months ago

        Gotcha.

      • crystall
      • 10 months ago

      Yeah, sounds like overkill.

    • RickyTick
    • 10 months ago

    Awesome!! Enjoyed it on multiple levels.

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