The 2020 Desktop Upgrade

It’s been a few years since I upgraded my home hardware. Being stuck at home, doing more work here, and trying to help with The #SQLFamily Folding@Home group, I’ve been contemplating some upgrades. I also have a guilty pleasure of playing Doom.

I first ran into the DOS version early in my career and even joined in some lunchtime LAN tournaments at work with Doom and Quake. When my son was about 12, we bought Doom 3 and upgraded my desktop to work through the game together. We had hours of fun and I’ve been tempted to recreate that. I decided not to upgrade my system when Doom 2016 came out,  but I posted a note that I was tempted to get Doom Eternal and escape a it from the sameness of this quarantine time at home. Glenn Berry suggested I upgrade a few things if I was doing to change video cards, and I decided to treat myself a little.

Tl;dr: I spent about $800 to get to a place where I could comfortably play Doom Eternal.

Current Hardware

I built my own machine in 2016, upgrading from the previous generation of hardware. I don’t love building hardware, though it can be fun to get things working. However, I’m more of a “I want it working” person than someone that enjoys building. In any case, I have this:

This has worked well for me, but it’s been a number of years. I have SQL 2014-2019 running, VMWare, and lots of other apps that could use a little more horsepower and cleanup.

The CPU-Z data is here:

The Upgrades

I hadn’t really planned on upgrading everything, but a friend offered a deal on an AMD  Ryzen 7 2700 X system with 32GB of RAM. Since it was already in a system with an SSD, that was attractive. This gives me more cores, a slight CPU boost, and I can move things from system to system without being rushed. I like that.



  • RAM: 32GB for $154 gives me 64GB
  • EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 KO Ultra Gaming, 6GB GDDR6 – $305
  • Mini Displayport to DVI adapter (my monitors are VGA/DisplayPort only – $13
  • Samsung EVO 860 1TB – $160
  • USB Wi-Fi adapter – $12
  • Power Supply Corsair RM 750X (Swap from the old to new machine) – $0

Total cost for a second, upgraded desktop was $994. That’s a pretty good deal for me, slightly more than the $600 I thought I’d spend, but I ended up with more RAM and disk space than I’d planned on initially.

For me, the hardest part was switching out power supplies, which is easy in terms of unplugging things and removing a few screws. It’s a royal pain in terms of trying to disconnect things in a tight space. I don’t have the smallest hands, but I managed to get things set up and the new machine booted the first time. That doesn’t always happen when I remove and reinstall motherboards.

Once the new machine was up, I installed chocolatey first, Dropbox second, and then use choco install to start grabbing other things. I my case, I disconnected one monitor from the old system, added a second keyboard and mouse (temporarily) and started to install things as I was working. I’d glance over at the new machine, so what icons were on the old machine or what I was doing and then install more software.

Across a few days, I managed to get most software installed. During this time a few pieces of hardware arrived, and I installed them piecemeal.


The newer CPU-Z info is here:

New desktop CPUZ

Windows Experience Scores

Area Old Score New Score
CPUScore 8.5 9.2
DiskScore 8 9
GraphicsScore 8.1 8.9
MemoryScore 8.5 9.2
WinSPRLevel 8 8.9

Next Steps

Moving machines is always a bit of a chore, but in this case, I don’t have to be in a hurry by adding a second machine. I have enabled remote access, so that I can move the old machine into a headless configuration and still access things I might need.

This is a big job, as I’m migrating data, apps, VMs, and more, so this will be an interesting process across the next few weeks as I slowly get setup on the new system.

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2 Responses to The 2020 Desktop Upgrade

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