My Workstation
My Workstation

Building my PC had been on my mind ever since I came to the US in August 2018 for my Masters but there were several reasons why I decided to hold off until February 2020.

  • It was more of a want than a need at that point in time and an expensive investment.
  • There was a high chance that any Job I landed after my Masters would not be in Raleigh, NC. So a PC being a large piece of technology and would incur some additional moving expenses.
  • I would not have been doing anything useful with all that power since I planned to build a gaming PC. I was busy with my education/assignments and whatever free time I had was spent sleeping, eating, or watching movies/TV series online.
  • I rarely used to play games back then. I started playing Dota 2 and CS:GO regularly during my last semester.

So, I decided to hold off on purchasing one, until I landed a job at AMD, Inc in the first half of my last semester. As soon as I graduated from NC State, I decided that I’d build a PC with my sign-on bonus.

What Would I Do With My Machine?

This is the most important question that determines what parts to select for your PC. This question also encompasses the question What features do I need on my PC?

My requirements were:

  • Gaming on a 2K monitor, medium settings with at at least 90Hz refresh rate
  • Running design synthesis, PnR tools, and compilation tools quickly
    • Basically, I required multi-threading - at least 4 cores
  • Quick OS boot with dual boot setup
    • Nowadays I only use Windows 10 for Gaming, Linux for everything else
    • Needed SSDs as Boot Drives
  • A color-accurate display - I like the saturated colors of my phone’s AMOLED display and hated the faded colors of my previous laptop’s TN panel.
  • It should be powerful enough for about 5 years for my tasks

The Parts

With a budget of $2000 I set-off looking for parts in January 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic scare set in.

The CPU and GPU

AMD Ryzen 5 3600 & AMD Radeon RX 5700XT
AMD Ryzen 5 3600 & AMD Radeon RX 5700XT


AMD Ryzen 5 3600 Close-up
AMD Ryzen 5 3600 Close-up

I decided to go for AMD "Matisse" Ryzen 5 3600 for the CPU. During that time it was being touted as the best and most economical CPU for ultra-setting 1080p gaming and general applications. It fit my requirements of medium-setting 2K gaming and multi-threading of at least 4 cores (Ryzen 3600 has 6 cores).

My previous experience with an AMD system was not great. I owned an HP Pavilion g6-1b60us before an HP Pavilion 15 e038tx and the current Lenovo ThinkPad Carbon X1 6th Generation. The g6-1b60us had an AMD "Llano" Dual-Core A4-3300M APU which ran hot and had poor battery life.

Six years later AMD launched processors based on the Zen architecture which had a massive improvement in performance and power efficiency while being economical. When I was an intern at AMD in the summer of 2019, the Ryzen 3000 series of processors were launched. The launch was very successful because of TSMC’s 7nm process node, Zen 2 Microarchitecture, and the huge IPC gains and performance efficiency that came with it. Apart from being a great product, as an employee, I get a discount on AMD’s products. AMD’s commitment to support the AM4 platform for another year was also a huge factor in my decision. Even if I don’t plan to upgrade my CPU for at least 4 years having a motherboard with support for the next generation CPUs is a bonus.


NVIDIA has some really good GPUs but I went for Gigabyte Radeon RX 5700XT Gaming OC 8GB card. I got an employee discount and it’s a good card for 2K gaming and surpasses the NVIDIA RTX 2060 Super for about the same price.

Parts List

PC Parts Ensemble
PC Parts Ensemble
Parts Price  
AMD Ryzen 5 3600 $139.45 CPU
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black 120mm $31.86 CPU Cooler
Noctua NT-H1 Pro-Grade $8.39 Thermal Paste
Gigabyte Radeon RX 5700 XT Gaming OC $370.27 GPU
ASUS TUF Gaming X570-Plus (WiFi) $195.49 Motherboard
G.SKILL Ripjaws V Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4 3200MHz CL16 $78.61 RAM
Silicon Power 256GB SATAIII $42.49 Windows 10 OS - SSD
Intel SSD 760p 256GB NVME $0 (Salvaged from Laptop) Kubuntu 20.04 LTS - SSD
Seagate FireCuda Gaming (Compute) 2TB $79.67 Mass Storage - HDD
Phanteks Eclipse P400A $82.35 Case
Corsair CX Series 650 Watt 80 Plus Bronze $84.99 PSU
Noctua NF-S12B redux $44.31 Case Fans
Pixio PX7 Prime 2K IPS 165Hz $403.74 Great Features, 95% DCI P3 Color Gamut
PC RGB LED Strip $25.49 RGB
Corsair K68 $74.36 Cherry MX Red Mechanical Keyboard
Avantree Aluminum Metal Headphone Stand $21.24  
Victsing Extended Gaming Mouse Pad $14.86  
AmazonBasics 8-Outlet Power Strip Surge Protector $17.61  
Anker SoundCore Life Q20 $42.5 Bluetooth 5.0 Headset
Powered USB 3.0 HUB $20.18  
HDMI Cables $8.46  
Headset Combiner $7  
SteelSeries Rival 300 Fallout 4 $0 (Pre-Owned) Gaming Mouse
Windows 10 Education $0  
Microsoft Office Professional 2019 Plus $24.94  
Total $1818.26  
  • All prices are after any rebates and MA sales tax.

The Assembly

Before putting all the parts in the case I recommend connecting all the parts on a bench and testing it out. This gives easy access to all the parts and if any one fails or is incompatible you can easily get it replaced.

Initial Testing
Initial Testing
Case Assembly - Front
Case Assembly - Front
Case Assembly - Back
Case Assembly - Back