My new PC build (for creative work)

I’m putting together a list of parts that I want to upgrade on my current PC setup. The reason for the upgrade is that creating creative works (Blender or Unreal Engine) kind of requires a good PC. The more powerful your hardware the easier it’ll be to iterate on different lighting setups, asset positions, etc.

I’ve got a day job and a family to take care of, so my time that I can devote to creating creative stuff is very limited. A more performant setup would enable me to spend more time creating and less time waiting for e.g. lighting to build (can take upwards 10 minutes on my current PC).

Current system

  • Intel Core i7 7700 Kaby Lake (3.6GHz, 4 cores)
  • Originally 16GB Ram, upgraded with a mixed bag of rams to 32GB
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
  • 128GB SSD Hitachi HFS128G32TND-N210A
  • 1TB HDD Seagate ST1000DM010-2EP102
  • Motherboard ASUSTeK Computer INC. GD30CI (U3E1)
  • Case GD30CI-CH102T
  • DVD Drive

Problems with the current system

There are a number of problems with the current system.

  1. Not enough SSD storage. 128GB is barely enough for Windows 10 and a couple programs installed. It’s also by far not enough to work with Unreal Engine projects. Therefore, I need to put UE projects on my HDD, which is very very slow.
  2. Only 16GB Ram is not enough to open some Unreal Engine projects → crash. Having a mixed bag of RAM to get up to 32GB is not ideal and slows down performance
  3. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 is getting old. New cards support raytracing (RTX) and are much more powerful. This will be very noticeable when working with Blender but probably also once I try to use Unreal Engine Lumen.
  4. Intel Core i7 7700 processor is slow and doesn’t have enough cores. It takes a very long time to build lighting in Unreal Engine or compile shaders. I often end up trying something new out and then have to wait 5 minute to actually see the change applied. This really interrupts my flow and is not productive.

New system

In order to alleviate all pain points in the old system, I need to replace almost every part of my current system. The only things I can keep are:

  • HDD: Useful for as a storage dump
  • Case: It’s an ATX case that provides plenty of space for beefier components
  • DVD Drive

New components

Here are the new components that I’d like to buy:

  • AMD Ryzen 9 5950X 3.4 GHz 16-Core Processor
  • Noctua NH-U12S SE-AM4 CPU Cooler
  • Asus ROG Strix X570-E Gaming ATX AM4 Motherboard
  • Western Digital Black SN850 (w/Heatsink) 1 TB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive
  • HyperX DDR4-RAM FURY 3600 MHz 2x 16 GB
  • NVIDIA RTX 3060 TI OC V2 8 GB


This is my first PC build, so I used the website PC Part Picker, so I can be assured that the individual components are compatible.

Initially I wanted to go for a very CPU focused build and salvage the GTX 1060 graphics card from the old setup. However, upon checking a couple resources especially RTX3060 Review by Linus Tech Tips, I decided that the performance boost would outweigh the cost for me. In the end my local store didn’t have any 3060 anymore so I went with a 3060Ti, which also has a little higher specs (RTX3060Ti Review - by Linux Tech Tips). Here are also two great links from NVIDIA to compare their graphics cards:

I was also not sure what cooler to pick. I wanted something that ensures adequate cooling of the AMD Ryzen 5950X even under long and high loads. To be on the save side I went with a Noctua cooler because it has a great reputation and seems to be perfect for this CPU. The only issue is that my RAM might be too high, so I might have to either mount the cooler in a different orientation or remove one of the fans (allowed by manufacturer). Refer to this link for a more indepth comparison: Best CPU Coolers for Ryzen 9 5950X.

Finally, I ordered all parts tonight, so it should arrive by the end of the week. Let’s see if everything goes as planned and I get a new high performance workstation for many future projects to come.

I got all components the next day I ordered them. It’s been three days now and I finally finished putting all components together and booting up my new computer for the first time.

Initially I was a bit scared that I might mess something up, but after I had read all instructions that came with each component carefully, I felt more comfortable. The part that took the most time was reading the mainboard’s manual and figuring out how to connect miscellaneous parts (e.g. power button, audio, USB, etc.).

To start I made sure that I had an appropriate desk and working environment to build a PC. I made sure that:

  • There was enough space so I could lay the whole case down or keep it upright
  • I had adequate light
  • ESD protection: I still had an ESD mat laying around, I also connected the PC case to earth potential and last but not least I also used an ESD strap to ground myself.
  • Prepared screwdrivers and little boxes for screws.

I then took a couple pictures from my current PC, so I would be able to put everything together as it was before, if I mess something up big time.

I then started with disconnecting all cables (power, SATA, misc). Then I removed all components I won’t need anymore (power supply, graphcis card, mainboard.

Next, it was time to unbox all new components. I started with the mainboard and assembled as much as possible while it was still outside of the PC case (got that tip from another website).

The box of the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X was pretty ridiculous because the processor was located all the way to the left. That mean that if somebody dropped it, the chip could hit the floor with almost no dampening.

In the end everything fit together rather well. I ended up swapping the power supply about 4 times because I couldn’t decide if the fan should face upwards or downwards - I went with downwards in the end. The cpu’s heatsink and cooler was a lot bigger than I expected. It takes up an enormous space and I had trouble fitting the second fan due to my RAM’s height. Also, the graphics card was huge and together with the big CPU cooler didn’t fit into PCIe slot 1 anymore. So I had to opt for slot 2.
I actually mounted the second CPU fan afterwards, so the picture below only shows one of the fans mounted.


So this is it, all new components are assembled and the PC started up well and I was able to install Windows.

I just wanted to share some very rough performance data on my new build. I’ve ran some tests with Blender and Unreal Engine. In both cases the system seems to perform very well.

Here’s a picture of where I build lighting in Unreal Engine, it shows that Unreal Engine is able to make full use of all 16 cores.

I copied some data from the hard disk which I salvaged from my old build. The screenshot below really shows how slow my old HDD was. The HDD is operating at 100% but the SSD is only using about 3-4% of it’s processing power.

My new SSD is way faster than the HDD

However, when I opened one of my bigger Unreal Engine projects it also became very apparent that I might have to buy more RAM rather sooner than later. RAM quickly spicked to 32GB (100%).

During all my tests the CPU temperature usually stayed around 65-74°C under full load (all 16 cores at 100%).