Building a Desktop in 2020 vs 2010

The transformation of technology over the last decade…

The last time I had built and used a personal desktop computer was at least a decade before (somewhere between 2008–2010). Since then, life has been pacing fast enough, fueled by portable devices like laptops, tablets and smart phones. Few weeks earlier, I decided to setup a flight simulator at my home to aid my ongoing private pilot training. I planned on using the Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 and clearly my personal laptop wasn’t capable to perform as per the recommended configuration specs even per the minimum specs. So, I decided to build a new desktop computer and explore the trending technologies prevailing in the world of desktops.

The Aviator

Undoubtedly, I was captivated by the evolution of technology. Though the components remain the same, the form factor and the performance has improved exponentially over the past decade. Let’s look at the few components of a desktop of 2020 vs the one of 2010 which underwent serious transformations.

Processor:

The processing power of the CPUs have evolved in multiple magnitudes. The earlier CPUs had dual (2) cores whereas the latest processor released (Comet Lake series) have been manufactured with deca (10) cores, eventually multiplying the threads from 4 to 20. Similarly, the processor frequency has risen up from ~2.9GHz to 3.6GHz. Below is a high level comparison of a processor from now and then.

I found the below image through a Google Search that shows the various generations of Intel Processors. The 10th generation processors have been termed as “Comet Lake”.

RAM:

If I remember correctly, the RAM of my 2010 desktop was 4GB. It was a pair of 2GB SDRAMs. The latest ones are the DDR4 SDRAMs. They offer higher data rate, transfer speed as well as working speed. The capacity of each RAM stick now ranges from 8GB — 32GB. In my build, I used 4x 16GB RAM totaling to 64GB,

The RAM sticks available in today’s world are also available with RGB lightings to make the Desktop even more appealing. The RGB lighting on the RAM sticks can be controlled via the Motherboard and can be synced with the other RGB lights on the entire build.

2020- ARGB enabled DDR4 SDRAM
2010 — SDRAM

Storage:

This component completely blew off my mind. The bulky 3.5" HDDs with spinning disks have been replaced with thin wafer chips. HDDs were succeeded with SSDs followed by the latest M2-NVME (Non Volatile Memory Express). The data read/write speed has multiplied with each innovation.

Image Source: Google Search

While traditional HDD’s speed is limited to 160 MB/s, SATA III SSD’s to 600 MB/s, the NVMe M.2 SSD has a speed of about 3500 MB/s. The NVMe is actually seven times faster than the SATA HDDs and four times faster than the SATA SSDs. For my build, I used 2 x 1TB NVMe chips.

And just to give you an idea of the size of the chip, this is how it looks like:

Cooling:

Lastly, I also wanted to talk about the advancements made towards the CPU cooling. Back in 2010, case and processor fans were the only ways to keep the CPU cool. Today, liquid cooling has taken up the heavy lifting task of cooling the hard working CPU. The AIO (All in One) liquid cooling systems are highly efficient in dissipating the generated heat out of the CPU.

And definitely, the aesthetics of a liquid cooling system makes it a better choice. However, liquid cooling comes with a cost.

This article on PCGuide.com is a good read to help you decide between the either systems :

If you want good-to-great cooling performance without spending too much money, then air cooling is your best option. If you want good-to-great cooling performance while keeping noise levels low, then closed-loop liquid cooling is your best option. Arguably the most important of all, if you just think liquid cooling looks cool, especially with RGB, then liquid cooling is your best option.

Similarly there are a lot more advancements, like the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), the Power Supply Unit(PSU), the motherboard itself, etc. However, I wanted to limit this to a short blog and outline the major evolutions that left me with gratified and thrilled.

I am leaving below the specs of the desktop that I built along with all the other details if it helps:

  1. CPU: Intel Core i9-10850K 3.6 GHz 10-Core Processor ($429.99 @ Newegg)
  2. CPU Cooler: Corsair-H100i RGB Platinum Liquid CPU Cooler ($159.99 @ Newegg)
  3. Motherboard: Gigabyte-Z490 AORUS ELITE AC ATX LGA1200 Motherboard ($169.99 @ Newegg)
  4. Memory: OLOy-WarHawk RGB 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4–3200 CL16 Memory — $520 ($129.99 x 4 @ Newegg)
  5. Storage: Intel-660p Series 1.02 TB M.2–2280 NVME Solid State Drive ($109.99 x 2 @ Newegg)
  6. Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 1650 SUPER 4 GB GAMING X Video Card ($230.81 @ Newegg)
  7. Case: MUSETEX 8 PCS RGB Fans ATX Mid-Tower Case ($89.99 @ Amazon)
  8. Power Supply: RAIDMAX Vortex RX-800AE-V 800W Non Modular Power Supply ($79.99 @ Newegg)
  9. Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Home OEM 64-bit ($119.99 @ Amazon)

And here’s a quick visual:

The Aviator!

If you can show people how to build castles, make sure you do not neglect building and nurturing your own — Suzy Kassem

Thanks for stopping by my last blog of 2020. I hope to continue my blogging stride in 2021 and beyond. Let’s build!

Programmer & Architect @ Deloitte in Python, Big Data, Azure/AWS by Profession. Biker, Chef & Philanthrope by Passion. Student Pilot.

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