Once again, this is another black/red themed build for another coworker of mine. After seeing the talks between me and my other coworker, he also signaled his interest into having is own gaming build, and so it happened. Him still being a high school student restricted his budget a bit more to about $2100CAD including shipping and taxes. Let's get in the details.
- CPU: In this case due to the more limited budget, and my friend only wanting to use his build for gaming purposes at 1080p, and him wanting to have at least a GTX 1070, I went with another Ryzen unit, the 1500x. At only ~30$ more than the 1400, it felt like a better deal due to better overclocking headroom and increased CPU cache.
- MOBO: For the board, my friend really wanted to have all the parts blend in with the theme and liked the MSI aesthetic, so I went with a B350 Gaming Plus, which has solid build quality and very nice aesthetics.
- COOLER: For the cooler, I chose a Corsair H60 over a higher end air cooler because of aesthetics mostly, even though the temperature difference is hardly noticeable. I also replaced the stock fan with a red Corsair SP120 fan. This takes away PWM power and trades it for nicer looks. I wanted to possibly mount the other fan on the other side to create a push/pull configuration, but I'd have needed a fan splitter that I did not have on hand, plus I'd probably have had a hard time screwing the second fan in without the long fan mounting screws.
- RAM: Memory wise, RAM is RAM, and I picked up one of the cheapest kits I could find, because those are crazy expensive lately. It's only sitting at 2400MHz, but that should be okay for my friend's need and allowed to spend extra money on other parts, and to top it off, it also fits the red/black theme very well, the colour was much more metallic and darker than I expected.
- STORAGE: HDD wise I went with a classic, a 1Tb WD blue, managed to pick it off on clearance for 50$ at a local store. I picked up the SSD at the same place for 110$, which is a pretty good price for this capacity.
- GPU: Keeping with the theme and the MSI parts, the GPU is a GTX 1070 Gaming X card. Wonderful build quality and great aesthetics, fits perfectly in the build.
- PSU: Went for another classic with a semi modular EVGA unit, great price/performance ratio, 500W is more than enough needed, plus semi modular, since I had some doubts about the case's capability for cable management.
- CASE: For the case, I went with a brand I didn't even know because it fit the theme very well, had a lot of venting options, and included two LED fans. I was a bit disappointed in the build quality however. Definitely not a beginner's case though. Only two MOBO standoffs were installed, the front panel cables were all over the place, none of the screws were marked and the manual was of no help either. Overall the case looks great, but this was definitely not as much of a pleasant build experience as your typical NZXT, Phanteks, or Corsair case. The included fans, while very bright and beautiful, however really didn't push air as well as I expected. They peaked at about 600RPM and wouldn't push further. The side panel is tinted acrylic and honestly it looks rather similar to a TG panel, didn't seem too fragile either, but seemed like it might scratch easily. Good point though is that it has a front SSD mount and a PSU basement.
- OTHERS: OS is Windows 10 Home 64bit, the monitor is a 24" 1080p 144Hz Acer unit, and went for a membrane/optical keyboard and mouse combo. My friend doesn't like the feel of mechanical keyboards and preferred staying on the cheap side of things. Still, the keyboard looks fantastic (it's RGB) and the mouse was very responsive. Also included is a b/g/n WiFi card as my friend might move soon and might not be near his router next time around.
So the build itself went rather well. I had to spend a while trying to route the front panel cables through a very small opening on the side of the case to prevent them from just passing in front of everything. I also had to uninstall both front fans to be able to install the HDD properly and to route the SSD cables. I was quite pleased at how much room the basement had however, it really helped down the line. The IO shield was acting very strangely and refused to connect correctly with the board, ended up with my friend holding the board in place as I screwed the corners, and I had to redo it twice because it wouldn't line up properly. Don't know if this is an issue with the case or the MOBO, but that was rather annoying. The rest went on very well. The front IO cables were a bit confusing, but they plugged in just right, although the HDD LED seemed a bit useless as it seems absent from the front panel and I'm positive it's plugged in correctly. The first boot was rather long and anxious, but went through after about 30s. I then proceeded to do some cable management and I was quite glad that I had some tie wraps on hand because the case had none included and no built in velcros. After a bit of forcing my way through I managed to get nearly everything in line. I would've liked to see some tying options on the right side of the case to facilitate some fan cable routing but I managed to do without, although it is pretty tight (it can be seen going sideway int the middle. The back panel was also very tight, and the 24pin cable was pushing against it, me and my friend had to hold it down for it to slide into place. It ended up fitting without too many issues though. The side window was also awfully close to the GPU power connectors, so the window would actually push against those cables as well, although it didn't need force to mount into place.
This was a bit more of a challenging build due to the more budget case, but I did enjoy the result, and my friend is very impressed by it and it's performance, so mission accomplished there!