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  • Gaming PC with capable Intel Xeon E5-2678v3 - power on budget

    One of the most interesting processors from AliExpress in 2020 - 12 core / 24 thread monster is sold just over $100 mark.

    Huananzhi offers new motherboard for gaming - X99-TF. Improved power lines allow more powerful CPUs and overclocking. Nice white radiators gives it a premium look. By coinsidence I had white Zalman case.

    I also got package-new GTX 980, probably it has spent couple of years on store shelf. And to power all that Watt-hungry electronics, I bought 750W power supply.

    Results

    Epic graphics in Fortnite took 100% of GPU producing 95-100 fps on FullHD. However CPU was only 25% busy. This make me think that replacing GTX 980 even with 1060s or 1070 will not load CPU over the top.

    Pricing

    Hardware was purchased on AliExpress, while China was heavy hit by coronavirus. Because of lockdown it took 5 weeks for motherboard to be shipped, however it usually takes 3 weeks to arrive.

    CPU Intel Xeon E5-2678v3 2.5GHz $112
    CPU Cooler SilentimPC Fera2 $26
    Motherboard Huananzhi X99-TF Gaming LGA 2011-3 $106
    RAM 4x 8GB DDR3 1866MHz ECC REG 4x $16 = $64
    MSI GeForce 980 4GB $162
    SSD KingSpec 240GB m.2 PCIe $42
    SSD KingSpec 480GB 2.5" SATA3 $68
    HDD 1.5TB Samsung (used) $26
    Power Chieftec A-90 750W (used) $60
    Case Zalman Z3Plus (used) $30
    Total: $696

    Comparable system

    Building computer off AliExpress parts is more a sport than necessety. What if not to go for exotic configuration but assemble comparable PC from local store? I came up with this config (East European prices are higher than those in USA):

    AMD Ryzen 5 2600 $158
    CPU Cooler SilentimPC Fera2 $26
    Motherboard Gigabyte B450M DS3H $76
    HyperX 8GB DDR4 2666MHz CL16 Fury Black 2x $46 = $92
    Gigabyte Radeon RX 570 GAMING 4GB GDDR5 $164
    WD Green SSD M.2 240GB $38
    Kingston SSD A400 480GB $58
    HDD 1.5TB Samsung (used) $26
    Power Chieftec A-90 750W (used) $60
    Case Zalman Z3Plus (used) $30
    Total: $728

    Summary

    Xeon CPU is still going strong in 2020, easily running modern games and video editing software. It has a lot to offer with its 12 cores / 24 threads. There's no price gain in building PC with chinese motherboard and used CPU, I bet in terms of calculating power Ryzen 5 with passmark of 13298 is as good as Xeon E5-2678v3 with 14514. But building PC with exotic hardware is definitely brings more fun.