One of my May 2020 New Projects is to upgrade my computer that I use for work. I’m calling this Project Major Upgrade. I recently received my stimulus check of $1200 and used the bulk of it to buy the parts I need to upgrade my workstation. I purchased a new CPU, motherboard, RAM, and tower case. I already upgraded my GPU last Xmas and will continue using my current hard drives. I believe my current PSU is powerful enough to handle all of the upgrades (it’s an 800w). I guess I’ll soon find out for certain. I will list my current and future specs below so you can compare.

My Old Specs:

CPU: AMD FX-9590 8-Core/8-Threads 4.7Ghz
RAM: 16GB (2×8) DDR3 1337
MB: ASUS M5A97 LE R2.0 AMD AM3+
HDD: 1.5TB, 2TB, and 3TB (3 HDDs Total)
SDD: 450GB (1 SSD Total)

My New Specs:

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core/16-Threads 3.6Ghz
RAM: 32Gb (2×16) DDR4 3200
MB: ASRock X370 Killer AMD AM4
HDD: 2TB and 3TB (2 HDDs Total)
SDD: 450GB and 256GB (2 SSDs Total)

Before I start actually installing my upgrades, I ran a benchmark on my old build. You can see the benchmark results below. (If you want to run your own benchmark like this, see this site: UserBenchmark.) I plan on running another benchmark using the same software once my upgrades are complete so I can see how it compares.

benchmark-old

I also ran a CPU-Z benchmark on just my CPU and compared it to the CPU that I’m going to install. You can see the results of that to the right. If you want to know more about the freeware that is CPU-Z, click here. By glancing at this, I can tell my new CPU is going to be two to three times faster than my old one. I can now hardly wait to take the new CPU for a spin! First though, I have to install it into the new tower along with everything else.

compare-cpu-bench

I received the bulk of my PC parts on May 06 including the CPU, motherboard, and tower case. Unfortunately, my RAM chips and extra fans were shipped separately so they arrived much later and I wasn’t able to build my new PC on May 06. Instead, I had to wait until May 13 to build my new PC.

The new tower will only hold two HDDs and I had three in my old build. So, to prepare for the new build, I had to consolidate my files onto the two largest drives and then I’ll use the third, smaller drive for something else. On the bright side, the new tower will hold up to three SDDs so I’ll be installing two instead of just the one that my old build had. Also, the DVDRW drive in my old tower is broken (the tray won’t eject anymore) so I had to order a new one. It won’t be here until much later so I’ll go ahead and build my new PC now and install the new DVDRW drive later on when it gets here.

I started by removing my precious GPU so it wouldn’t be damaged by my moving anything else. I then disconnected all the cables to my PSU and carefully removed it from the tower. While said PSU and GPU were out, I blew the dust out of them with an air duster. I next took out the two HDDs and main drive SSD that I plan to install into the new build. 

I will leave the old motherboard, RAM, and CPU in this old tower plus the extra HDD and old DVDRW burner. I plan to later build a backup computer for Dad using all these old parts once I get all of my new build up and running.

After unpacking everything that has finally arrived, I followed the tower’s very simple instructions to set everything up. I started by installing the 250Gb SSD into the mount behind the PSU space. After that, I installed the PSU. Next I screwed in the motherboard mounts to the tower case and then carefully installed the motherboard. With the motherboard installed, I installed the CPU and the included Wraith Cooler. The cooler was a pain in the ass to install. I swear, whoever designed that cooler was someone who never actually tried to install a said cooler! Once all that was in place, I installed the two RAM chips and my precious GPU.

Finally it was time for the hard drive installations. That’s when I realized I only had ONE hard drive mounting bracket! I had to jerry-rig something on the fly to get two hard drives (my 3Tb HDD and my 450Gb SSD) into the hard drive mount. The hard drive mount only has room for TWO hard drives! This was due to a misunderstanding on my part. I thought the ad said space for two HDDs PLUS three SSDs and not either or. Whoops! I had to get creative quick! I managed to find a 5.25″ mounting bracket for a 3.5″ HDD so I was able to install my third HDD into one of the 5.25″ drive spaces. I’ll still have room for my DVDRW drive once it gets here. SUCCESS!

All that was left was to install three of the extra fans I ordered and then hook up the PSU to everything and….

It won’t startup. 

It took a while but we finally figured out that my motherboard is older than my CPU so it wasn’t recognizing my CPU and won’t do so without a BIOS upgrade. Here’s the bigger problem, you can’t update the BIOS without a CPU in the motherboard. That means you have to install an older CPU that the motherboard will recognize and then update the BIOS and then install the new CPU. My old AMD CPU was too old for this along with every other CPU I have access to. I was stuck. I soon found I had two choices; 1) wait two weeks or more for AMD to send me an old CPU as part of their loaner program or 2) take my tower to a computer repair shop and have them fix it the next day for $40. I chose the latter option because I need this computer to work NOW.

I am now home from the repair shop and everything finally works as it should! It started up, I was able to reactivate Windows legally, and… wait, I forgot to attach the SSD behind the PSU to the motherboard. Shit. Okay, now everything is working as it should. It’s currently busy downloading my favorite Steam games onto the second SSD I installed for just that purpose. I did a few test renders and such in Poser and it’s so damn fast!!!

I also ran a new bench test and you can see my new results below (I might run another later just to doublecheck everything). What drew down my score was my cheap SSD so that will be my next upgrade. Now, for the benchmark:

benchmark-new

You can see my new PC tower and all its lights below. My phone’s camera just cannot do this beauty any justice. I’ll try to take a video of it later so you can fully appreciate all the changing RGB lights.

My New PC 1
New PC 2

In addition to my work computer upgrades, I purchased an upgraded work desk as well! You can see a photo of my old desk at right. I actually upgraded my desk first, before I did the computer upgrades. I started, with help from my dad, by taking my old desk apart so I could move it out of the way. Once it was out of the way, I vacuumed the carpet that had been underneath and around the old desk. Next, I took the new desk pieces (they have to be assembled) up all the stairs to my room. (There are a lot of stairs for me to climb and I am exhausted by going up and down them so much lately.) I then went about assembling the new desk in my office.

old-desk
new-desk

You can now see my new, sleek modern desk at left before I put the computer stuff on it. Doesn’t it look so spiffy?? I managed to put it completely together all by myself with only a few minor injuries and without breaking or cracking any of that glass. I’m honestly quite proud of this. 

And finally, here is my new setup all set up: 

I seriously need to learn how to manage my cables better because there are a lot of cables and they are all in a tangled mess. LOL

My New Setup

That’s it for Project Major Upgrade! Yes, I still need to install that new DVDRW drive and I’ll do that as soon as it gets here. For the most part though, the project is complete! Thank you for viewing!