UPDATE: I have recently accumulated some upgrade parts and may end up building another PC here soon (8086k, 1080ti, 280mm aio, 2 8TB Easystores - to be shucked) 9/24/2018 ~maybe I'll do a birthday build~
Holy cow! I didn't have many expectations going into this build other than to somehow find a balance of Form, Function, and Frugality. The absurdity of the notion was realized when I saw the state of the GPU and NAND market. Thankfully, I had a 1070 from Black Friday 2016. It just needed a better rig than the decaying i7 3770 (stock cooler) with 8gb Ram and a 2.5 SSD. I did my best to take an alternative approach, while turning to big retailers when I had to. I also had to go ahead and give RGB a try. Can it be classy with a little matte black and tempered glass? When the dust clears, I think this build will stand the test of time and allow future upgrades when Ryzen architecture upgrade comes out next year. In the meantime, it seems to run the more demanding MMO variants above 60FPS on max settings as well as offering stable gaming at 1440p and 4k definitions. In the future I'd like to push beyond 100FPS, but for now I am stoked with 90-100 FPS in most games on max settings. I also use creation suite software quite often, ranging from FL Studio to Adobe Premiere, Photoshop, and Aftereffects. I am experiencing much faster turnaround for my productivity and have yet to max out this computer's capabilities beyond stress testing. UserBenchmarks: Game 105%, Desk 124%, Work 123% CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 1700 - 94.9% GPU: Nvidia GTX 1070 - 101.8% SSD: Kxg50znv512g NVMe TOSHIBA 512GB - 247.1% SSD: Crucial MX300 525GB - 79.5% SSD: Samsung 950 NVMe PCIe M.2 512GB - 227.7% HDD: Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 3TB - 72.9% USB: WD easystore 25FB 8TB - 76.2% RAM: G.SKILL Trident Z RGB DDR4 3200 C16 2x8GB - 99.2% MBD: Asus CROSSHAIR VI HERO
As I am new to overclocking, I am taking it slow, but I have been impressed with stock OC performance on my AB350 board and want to see how far I can get with an x370 and an AIO - TBD.
November 2016, I was itching for an upgrade from the GTX 660 in my former main PC. I watched the deals roll through r/buildapcsales and weighed my options carefully. I found a GTX 1070 Dual 8GB OC on JET that came to $350 after write-offs. It barely fit in my iTX case, and thankfully the side panel of my BitPhenix Prodigy had holes for it to breathe. Indeed, I kept that snow leopard trapped in a tiny black box with holes poked in it for far too long. In February 2018, I realized my position, with a card now worth roughly $800. Surely, I either had to sell the card or build a PC that honored it.
CASE, Chapter 1:
This build began with an impulse buy while habitually lurking on r/buildapcsales. The NZXT S340 Elite was on sale with added rebate for stupid cheap and I read nothing but praise so I pounced on it. I was trying to decide what to do with some money I had saved up for something new. Looking back, this case had me throwing money at my screen way too fast, but I'm probably lucky I wasn't stuck weighing all of the crazy rgb/tempered glass cases. NZXT hit's the balance between low key and gaudy awful (just depends on my lighting). Buying the case was just the beginning, but I wasn't sure whether to reuse my current set up (3770, 8gb DDR3, GTX1070) or buy a new CPU/Mobo/RAM, as it would have been hard to upgrade just one of them.
PSU, Chapter 2:
Found a screaming deal on a gold plus 750W that came down to $70 after MIR. Thank you Newegg. Fully modular, nothing but positive reviews from what I could find. Jumped on it after reading comments on the reddit post.
CPU, Chapter 3:
It's not everyday that you choose which platform to support, but I really like how AMD is doing things and figured it would be more of an adventure with multiple options down the road. I watched as many comparison videos as I could, discovering in turn the likes of Bitwit, JayzTwocentz, And Linus. I had budgeted $250 max for CPU, but when the R7 1700 dropped to $203 on EBAY, I made my choice. I felt the 8700k would have been wasted headroom on my trusty 1070 with regard to gaming. Also, I felt that the difference between a 1700 and 1800x were minimal because I was considering OCing, and $200 was a steal - although the 1700 is going for ~$160 at Microcenter as I write this. I have been able to overclock to 3.8gHz on the wraith spire cooler.
RAM, Chapter 4:
After watching comparison RGB ram options, the G.SKill TridentZ seemed unmatched in "look at me" factor. It felt like an obligatory purchase when the 2x8 16g kit rated for 3200 and 16cl were marked under $190.Thankfully I've been able to get ram almost up to rated speeds @ 2933mHz. This was thanks to yet another daily EBAY discount code which seem to be the real deal maker for this build. The deals seemed limited in this department so I took the 3200 rating as the deal-sweetener.
Memory, Chapter 5:
At this point in my build I had a case, a CPU, RAM, and a PSU. Given that I had not planned my build out before hand, I realized I needed some deals to materialize quickly. Notably for motherboards, but also memory. I had read about NVME m.2 SSDs, and was turned onto the EBAY market for system pulls from a Reddit post. I kept an eye out for the newest Toshiba drives, the XG5, which at the 1TB level was competing with and sometimes outperforming the 960 EVO Pro. I found my 512GB Toshiba XG5 for $180, which feels like less of a deal now, than it did at the time. This might have only been because of the 950 EVO Pro m.2 that I later found on r/hardwareswap for $160. Don't worry, I bought an adapter to run both drives. The XG5 actually has some faster read times than my 950 pro so I was planning to use it as a primary game drive. My secondary game drive will be on a 525GB MX300 2.5 SSD and will house my low-asset games. The MX 300 will be carried over from my old computer along with a 3tb Toshiba Deskstar which will house my media hoarde. I have since ordered an 8TB Easystore which I plan to shuck as well as a second 3TB Toshiba (P300) to replace the Deskstar as it may not last forever! Think I'm done with my data hoarding addiction for now! In All: - Toshiba XG5 512GB NVME - Load-heavy games - Samsung 950 EVO Pro 512GB NVME - OS - Crucial MX300 525GB SSD 2.5mm - Low-asset games - Toshiba Deskstar 3TB 7200 RPM - Media - Toshiba P300 3TB 7200 RPM - Backup - Western Digital Easystore 8TB 5400RPM - TBD
Motherboard, Chapter 6:
Enter, the game changer in my build's journey - r/hardwareswap! This was also when I realized the hit or miss nature of Ryzen AM4 boards, specifically the x370s. I couldn't find a decent deal through a retailer on a board that I really wanted. Rather than scraping through the recesses of the internet, I turned to fellow PC builders across the country. First, I was able to find a used Gigabyte AB350 Gaming 3 motherboard for $60. I jumped on it fast and the board turned out to serve me well when my next board showed up D.O.A. Just a day after buying the AB350, I found an MSI x370 Pro Carbon motherboard from Amazon for $113. It had 2 NVME ports and was unique in that respect. I jumped on it as well and would only later find it unable to recognize my CPU after full installation. Yes, it may have been a tad over zealous not to test on the box first. Moral of the story was that used boards are more reliable than new ones because they actually have a history of working properly. About a week after completing my build, I would find another motherboard on r/hardwareswap. It was an Asus x370 Crosshair VI Hero, which seemed legendary after watching tens of videos on Ryzen performance from aforementioned YouTubers. The best part was that the seller was only asking for $130 including shipping. I decided to go for it, as I had quickly maxed out the overclocking capabilities of my AB350. This definitely marked my entry into being an enthusiast.
Expansions & Peripherals, Chapter 7:
I had been having connectivity issues with my WiFi and there's little I can do to get as hard line connection. I set my sights on the 4 antennaed behemoth from Asus as it would work well with hopefully any signal, no matter how pathetic. My neighborhood is quite busy with signals as well, so a switch to 5mHz seemed to make a huge difference in download speeds. Thankfully, I scored the AC-88 adapter for only $75 on r/hardwareswap. I was also able to come up on a Deepcool Captain 240ex RGB AIO for $50. I also threw $90 at the 3 pack of LL120 RGB fans from Corsair to match my peripherals, which I have collected over the years. Feels great to have lighting sync across keyboard, mouse, hardmat, and PC fans. If only I could sync them to the board, cpu, and ram.
Loosening the grip of meaninglessness, this rig is designed to counter even the most depressing of existential woes with it's unique combination of colourful distraction and personal empowerment! No longer will I feel hobbled by my wonderful, yet horribly aging i7 3770 rig which I found on craigslist, what feels like a lifetime ago. I never took it apart, mere content consuming. Building a computer set to rest many superstitions about their fragility, while also never without some kind of bug fix.
Entry level for Ryzen 8-core. Totally worth $200 and should hold until AMD's next upgrade. Been able to hit 3.8gHz and 3.7 on stock air cooling. Picture of wraith spire cooler in my last picture (from an earlier version of the build).
Bought used on r/Hardwareswap and seems solid.
Bought used on r/Hardwareswap and it's working perfectly. Love the extra functionality for overclocking, decent RGB - though not great. Love all the I/O ports too.
Runs stable at 3000mHz, crashes if I push to rated speeds. Tried with Gigabyte AB-350 Gaming 3 and Crosshair 6 Hero. Thanks Ryzen (:
Blazing boot speed, although surprisingly equal with my other m.2 NVME. Bought used on r/Hardwareswap too! +1 lifespan
Read: 2200 MB/s Write: 1400 MB/s Mixed: 1500 MB/s
4K Read: 43.1 MB/s 4K Write: 112 MB/s 4K Mixed: 53.5 MB/s
DQ Read: 269 MB/s DQ Write: 204 MB/s DQ Mixed: 127 MB/s
Might have hit the Silicon Lottery here, but this drive benchmarks at +2,600MB/s and also kills it on 4k. Keeps right in line with my 950 pro, but with faster read. Was planning to use as an asset-heavy game drive, but might swap with my 950 pro as boot drive. Purchased from a system pull that was on EBAY.
Read: 2,653 MB/s Write: 1,123 MB/s Mixed: 2,081 MB/s
4K Read: 44.4 MB/s 4K Write: 110 MB/s 4K Mixed: 55.3 MB/s
DQ Read: 268 MB/s DQ Write: 263 MB/s DQ Mixed: 141 MB/s
Not the fastest Sata SSD out there, but I purchased early on. Deal still looks good even a few years later. Using for normal game storage and other programs.
Purchased at end of 2016, works well but needs to be replaced with an SSD, Lol. Not sure I'd want to put anything but media archive on here.
$20/TB and 7200RPM, anymore to ask for?
Bought in November 2016, been keeping it in an mATX case and it did a great job staying cool. Can't wait to try overclocking with my new mid tower set up. CPU Boost takes it 1 clock shy of 2gHz @ 1987mHz. Not bad for stock.
Stunning, simple,. Huge upgrade from original s340. Get those MIR kids!
Killer MIR deal, although I would have gone for 850 if I could do it over.
Wireless Network Adapter
Has no problem getting fast speeds, the antennae add a nice character to my case too. It's also magnetic which is super helpful. Found used on r/Hardwareswap.
Super bright, lots of individual LEDs, and Very Quiet. Hard to beat.
A03 revision. Looks great, but don't use "fast" response mode. Also pretty easy to calibrate, with lots of help available online.