After thinking about it for quite some time, my girlfriend and I finally got a nice desktop PC. This is our first build, and the first time I open up a desktop PC in 10 years or so!
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 7700 (8 cores / 16 threads, 3.8GHz base / 5.3GHz Boost)
- GPU: Asus AMD Radeon RX 6650 XT (8GB dedicated memory)
- RAM: 2x32GB
- SSD: 2TB NVMe
We (especially my girlfriend) play some games, but not the newest AAA titles, and we are definitely willing to sacrifice some graphics quality. So we went for some “best bang for the buck” CPU and GPU, paying attention to the power usage, too.
I also write code for fun, and for one of my hobby projects I would like to experiment with different sizes of RAM, so I wanted at least 32GB. We ended up getting 64 because we had some money left in our budget and we did not need (or want) a better (and more power-hungry) CPU or GPU.
With the case and all the peripherals, including a pretty good 27” screen, we got it for less than 1400€, which I think is a good price.
Building it up
We were a bit scared of putting all the pieces together. My girlfriend has never done it, and the last time I assembled a PC it was back in the days of spinning hard drives with IDE connectors and motherboard beep codes. You know, when the PC kindly told you in pseudo-Morse code exactly what was wrong. Those were the days!
Nostalgia aside, the build process went pretty smoothly - except for a small cut on my middle finger. Here are some of the things I found interesting:
Black is the new green
I remember mother boards and graphics card used to be all green, now not anymore! At least in our case, they are all black. Cool, I guess.
Tiny NVMe drive
Modern NVMe drives are really small! I remember old hard disks being literal bricks - you would not want to drop one of those, lest it breaks your toes or damages the floor. Now you would not want to drop one for fear of loosing it under the sofa.
The case has a fan, the CPU has a fan, the GPU has two. I don’t remember there were this many fans in ~2009, but if it keeps my chips cool, I’ll take it!
We (especially me) do not like at all the modern “gamer aesthetics” that demand RGB lights everywhere. So we carefully chose components that had the no LEDs, or as little as possible. Unfortunately, the stock CPU fan has more lights than a Christmas tree. Our solid black case saves us here.
I mean, WTF is this screen?
It’s like a B-tier early 2000s video game. I think the classic 80s style, curses-like graphics looked much better. But on the other hand, who cares.
We agreed on using Linux, because we are both Linux users, because all the games we would like to play work either natively or via proton, and because fuck you Microsoft and your crappy spyware.
I use Void, but for a shared PC I would like something that “just works” with minimal setup. My girlfriend uses Mint, but she wanted to try out something new. Debian seemed like a solid choice, and it is very similar to Linux (in case you can’t click on the link or don’t understand Italian, it’s a joke).
For the desktop environment we initially went for XFCE, but my
girlfriend immediately disliked it because many administration tasks
were counter-intuitive or just impossible (e.g. adding a new user). So
we switched to KDE, and we are both reasonably satisfied with it. However,
I am a bit disappointed to see that it is (still) a bit buggy - some of the
first disappointments include: Discover
failing to open, KDE “administrator” users not being able to use
the screen failing to turn off
after the set timeout. At least it is not as buggy as the initial KDE4
release in 2008.
So, how long does it take to build Linux on my new Linux build?
$ sudo apt build-dep linux $ wget https://cdn.kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/v6.x/linux-6.5.7.tar.xz $ tar -xvf linux-6.5.7.tar.xz $ cd linux-6.5.7.tar.xz $ make mrproper $ make defconfig $ time make -j16 real 1m27.215 user 17m57.806s sys 1m46.663s