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The big deal about NVMe is twofold. First, it operates on the PCIe bus, which means it cuts out the SATA controller entirely. That leads to less latency, larger bandwidth and less CPU overhead during some tasks. Important to note that these things may affect your perceived performance, but they very well may not. Don’t assume bigger number == better. If you’re not saturating what you have, more isn’t getting you anything. Again, big numbers don’t always translate into seconds saved, which is really how we perceive performance.

Second is parallelism, simply the ability to do more things at once. SATA has a command queue that lines up processes to happen on the drive, and can hold up to 32 commands. NVMe has a theoretical limit of 65,536 (256^2) queues with 65,536 commands each. Now, before you fawn over that ridiculously large number, consider how quickly these drives are operating (thus how quickly a single command get executed) and how much you’d have to be asking of it to even exhaust that 32 command queue. You’re likely going to run out of cpu or ram before you tax a basic SSD drive in home scenarios.

There’s two legit cases where NVMe excels. Extremely large databases with a metric fuckton of concurrent users/processes (think Amazon, Google, Wall Street, the NSA, etc) and virtualization. For Luddites, that’s when you use a computer to emulate several smaller computers - every time you log onto, say, a bank app on your phone, the computer at the bank creates a little private space with it’s own version of the banking app, lets you do your thing, and then nukes it out of existence. Given how much is constantly happening in user spaces like that across the internet, you can see how a drive that can do a shitload of things at once would be valuable.

Where it’s not valuable is browsing the web, playing games or recording music, because none of those things are terribly demanding on the drive and so neither the software or the OS are set up to utilize that added queue depth. Anyone that sees a large benefit to upgrading to NVMe over SATA is either not taking into account something else that’s changed, has a bizarre edge case that they’re not explaining, or has a bad case of confirmation bias.

In the early days of SSDs, the difference between Pro and normal SSDs tended to be about both speed and longevity. The introduction of 3-D NAND chips and better fabrication has mostly done away with that, and now they just charge you more for more warranty, which is fine if you want to pay it.

So lets break it down:

That’s the pertinent info. NVMe blows the SATA ones out of the water on Sequential Read/Write, which isn’t particularly useful and is a datapoint artifact from the days of spinning drives. All it tells you now is the theoretical max transfer, which you might approach when copying a single huge file.

QD1 vs QD32: that’s Queue Depth, that stack of instructions. They don’t list QD65536 because anyone concerned with that is talking directly to the manufacturer or their storage provider. You don’t care about QD32, you’re concerned with QD1, which is where a drive will be in 99% of home use.

QD1 Random Read/Write: this gives a good indication on how drives stack up in everyday use. You’ll notice they’re pretty damn close. By comparison, a 10k HDD has around 180 IOPS (that’s input/output per second) That ridiculous difference is why you see a massive speed increase moving from HDD to SSD, and why you probably shouldn’t care about a difference of 1000 iops between drives.

MTBF: Mean Time Between Failure, meaning how long you can expect the thing to last on average under standard conditions. You’ll notice that both the Pro and NVMe are no more reliable than the cheap one. For people who make their living on storage, MTBF is both a useful eyeball estimate and a waste of time for a lot of complicated reasons. For people that have single digits of drives in their home, plan on getting 4-5 years, anything longer is borrowed time.



Prior to this post, I was all set on getting a couple of 970 Evo Plus. They are only $40 more than 860s and I figured that’s not such a large premium to pay for something that might provide some benefits. But you are right, there’s no way I would benefit from that with my very modest use cases.

Thank you.


Here’s what I have so far. Still need to dig a bit deeper into video cards (need 2 basic ones to drive 4 monitors; no gaming), case, and power supply. Oh, and more fans, I guess. Suggestions are welcome.

PCPartPicker Part List

Type Item Price
CPU Intel - Core i9-9900K 3.6 GHz 8-Core Processor $489.99 @ B&H
CPU Cooler Noctua - NH-D15 82.5 CFM CPU Cooler $89.95 @ Amazon
Motherboard Gigabyte - Z390 AORUS ULTRA ATX LGA1151 Motherboard $244.98 @ Newegg
Memory Kingston - HyperX Fury 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4-2666 Memory $204.99 @ Amazon
Storage Samsung - 860 Evo 500 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive $77.99 @ Amazon
Storage Samsung - 860 Evo 500 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive $77.99 @ Amazon
Storage Samsung - 860 Evo 1 TB 2.5" Solid State Drive $147.99 @ Amazon
Video Card Gigabyte - Radeon RX 550 - 512 2 GB Video Card (2-Way CrossFire) $89.99 @ Newegg
Video Card Gigabyte - Radeon RX 550 - 512 2 GB Video Card (2-Way CrossFire) $89.99 @ Newegg
Case Fractal Design - Define R6 ATX Mid Tower Case $137.96 @ Amazon
Power Supply Corsair - RMx (2018) 750 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply $109.99 @ Amazon
Optical Drive Asus - DRW-24B3LT DVD/CD Writer -
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total (before mail-in rebates) $1781.81
Mail-in rebates -$20.00
Total $1761.81
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-06-03 23:45 EDT-0400


i’m not knocking your build. only going to add that AMD factor…

Which you probably don’t care but you could save on your build with a R7(similar), Mobo and RAM. I love my system.


I’m surprised you need more than one video card to run 4 displays. AMD was all about eyefinity a few years ago, which was 6 displays off a single GPU. But I did my research and it looks like that is the case (unless there’s adapters that can take one display port and make it two monitor outputs? That just sounds like hell though.)

Unless you’re actually using your dvd drive regularly, I’d just buy an external one to keep around. I have a bunch of old games and movies on dvd that I pull out on occasion and I still have only used my drive once this year. Not having an internal drive is less cabling, and I fit an extra fan where the 5.25 inch drives go in my case.

And there’s nothing wrong with your case by any means (especially if you need that 5.25 inch drive bay) but if you can get by with an external burner, you have some really cool options open up.



Those are two of my favorites that I would look at in your price range. They look good, they cool good, and they should hold everything you’re looking at less that pesky 5.25 inch drive.


Yeah, I’ll suggest the AMD route as well. I’ve been meaning to write an update since I jumped in the Ryzen camp and haven’t gotten around to it, but it’s been solid - very performant and considerably easy on the wallet all things considered. I haven’t found any audio (or other) task that it didn’t handle with glee, and I tend to do weird and stupid things to my computers…

Also, I would never, ever, ever in a million years pay much more than $100 for a motherboard. I’ve been doing this since you could buy computer parts and I’ve never seen a scenario for a standard desktop machine that needed the bells and whistles that comes with the super expensive gaming motherboards. It’s flash and trash.

While I haven’t jumped on the 4k wagon, I did buy a 1440p monitor and it’s the bee’s knees. So much screen real estate without a seriously larger footprint. As someone who’s run 3-4 monitors for ages, the idea of going to 2x higher rez monitors is crazy talk, except I really think it’d be a better use of my desk having seen one in action. Just something to consider.

In other news, plenty of graphics cards will run 4 monitors: this one, for example. Just look for one with 3x DisplayPort, 1x DVI or HDMI, then make sure your cables jive. A single card is likely going to work better than SLI and draw less power while costing the same or less.

If I may be so bold…
PCPartPicker Part List

Type Item Price
CPU AMD - Ryzen 7 2700X 3.7 GHz 8-Core Processor $279.89 @ OutletPC
Motherboard MSI - B450 TOMAHAWK ATX AM4 Motherboard $109.99 @ Amazon
Memory G.Skill - Ripjaws V Series 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4-3200 Memory $158.98 @ Newegg
Storage Samsung - 860 Evo 500 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive $77.99 @ Amazon
Storage Samsung - 860 Evo 500 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive $77.99 @ Amazon
Storage Samsung - 860 Evo 1 TB 2.5" Solid State Drive $147.99 @ Amazon
Video Card PowerColor - Radeon RX 570 4 GB RED DRAGON Video Card $119.99 @ Newegg
Case Fractal Design - Define C ATX Mid Tower Case $79.07 @ Walmart
Power Supply EVGA - SuperNOVA G3 550 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply $79.99 @ Amazon
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total $1131.88
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-06-04 01:54 EDT-0400

That does basically the same thing as yours for $600 cheaper. If you want to go Intel, I totally get that, but this is pound for pound the same thing with a feature-slimmed motherboard (that still has all the slots you need to hook stuff up), faster ram, a single video card, and a slightly smaller case and a smaller but very robust PSU.

Regarding the case, I own a Design R5, a Design R6, a Node 304 and a Define C. The Define C is far and away my favorite - it’s great to build in, has good noise damping and air flow, good cable management and room for everything without wasted space. The R5 and R6 are great, but they’re reaaly big and have all these 3.5" drive slots that most people don’t need. If you want a towering monolith of a case that can hold everything you ever bought for a computer, they’re great, but I think the sweet spot is the Define C. I don’t know about the Mesh thing, seems like a good way for sound to come out.

Unless you have plans for some extreme overclock, the stock fan that comes with the Ryzen 2s are really great and have been 100% sufficient for me. Noctua makes great stuff, but quiet is quiet and free is free.

I figure with an extra $600 you can treat yourself to a new monitor or two or synth or something, I dunno. But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with what you’ve got listed, it’s a solid if pricey build.


The reason I’m looking at Intel over AMD is that I consistently see references to Intel chips being significantly better for small buffer/low latency performance in particular:


I understand such benchmarks are pretty theoretical in nature and there’s just too many variables to figure out how the different CPUs will perform for my actual uses. On the other hand, it’s a pretty important factor for me. I track a lot of guitars and use Amplitube 4, which is kind of CPU heavy. Currently, when the track count starts to rise, I tend to disable plugins for the already recorded tracks as needed. I also split tasks across multiple projects (guitars in one, synths in another, separate one for mixing, etc). It’s all workable, but sort of a pain. I’d love to do everything in one project and not have to deal with disabling plugins, while still maintaining a small buffer for recording. I’d pay $600 more for that, which is not such a large amount over the course of a decade of use that I’m probably going to use this system for (I got longer use out of my current one, so I don’t see why that wouldn’t be the case with this one).

But of course $600 is still a decent chunk of cash and I’d rather not waste it for potentially very marginal benefit. Certainly food for thought.


This is my rig :relieved::relieved::heart: I love it cause it’s so fast, and so sleek, I don’t have to worry with it! even if it’s a little older :heart::sweat_smile:, it’s so reliable ! :100::facepunch:


Eww hot topic everyone knows box lunch has the best shirts.


@White_Noise Yeah but do they have 30 dollars :dollar: Hot Cash™ :moneybag: towards your next 60 dollar purchase??