A platform on which to grow. Designed for upgradability, with "extra" features skimped on knowing many parts will be replaced in the future. Aiming to stay under $1K. Intended use is gaming and heavy workstation (CAD, video).
At long last, the updates have begun to roll around. This round included a new CPU, cooler, expanded storage, and a faster game library drive.
The new CPU is a Ryzen 7 3800XT, chosen for its high core count and boost clocks that I put to use in my video editing, plus some CPU hungry games such as DCS. While on paper this doesn't look like a huge upgrade, I'm getting roughly double the frames my 2600 was able to push. Matching the new CPU is my first aftermarket cooler, the Noctua NH-U12S, for its capable performance and high reliability. There may have been a more efficient part here but I'm happy with the peace of mind this offers. This was also my first aftermarket cooler installation, so here's hoping I didn't screw the included thermal paste application up too badly (it was a bit fat for a grain of rice).
A Seagate Barracuda 4 TB HDD brought a huge addition to my existing 2 TB of long term archival storage mostly for video projects and old work files. As I was nearing 75% utilization on my old drive, this should keep me satisfied for the next long while.
Lastly, I snagged a Crucial P5 1 TB NVMe M.2 SSD to get more space on both my game library (previously 500 GB) and my boot drive (previously 250 GB) by cloning to the bigger drives. This went off almost without a hitch, until I tried to boot from my newly cloned boot drive and only received "insert bootable media" messages regardless of BIOS drive order or installed drives. Ultimately, using recently created Windows installation media, I was able to access the recovery command prompt and create new boot images on the drives in order to boot from them; it only took basically an entire 10 hour nightlong stress slam. At the end of the process, the OS was on the 500 GB drive, the game library was on the 1 TB drive, and the 250 drive was a new cache drive for creative apps.
Thanks to Prime Day and recent discounts, nearly every part was on sale to some degree, so this felt overall like a good upgrade. Despite the upcoming launch of Zen 3, I don't think I would've gone for it due to price and I'm therefore happy with my Zen 2 for a long while. A new GPU is next in line and it's looking like a 3070 as of now (was previously targeting 2070 Super territory), but we'll see what RDNA2 brings to the table. See you then. ✌️