First time building a PC
I tried to hold on to my old PS3 for as long as possible but it is finally time to upgrade. I debated for months over XBox One X or PS4 Pro. My friend and I log in and play for a few hours once a week. He suggested we should switch to a PC. I have always had Macs; g3 iMac, g4 iMac, g4 tower, g5 iMac, g5 tower and lastly Mac mini. The last few years I’ve been increasingly more and more disappointed with Apple products. My Mac mini has turned into a sloth. It’s always been a little challenging to upgrade Macs but the mini is impossible. So I decided to build a computer my family can use and is also strong enough for me to play some games.
Like I said, I’ve only had Macs. I have never owned a PC, let alone built one. But after watching countless build guides, I decided to go for it. My friend also decided to build one. We used the same CPU, motherboard and graphics card but other than that, we went in different directions. I got sucked in by brand marketing and now have a Be Quiet ROG themed computer.
With my wife’s support, the journey begins. My goal was a good 1080p, maybe 1440, gaming rig that could also handle the demands of paying bills, managing emails, and our daughters school work. You know, general family stuff. I didn’t want to used my own money and I didn’t want to pay full price for anything. So, I started to clean out boxes in the garage and list stuff on eBay to sell. As stuff sold on eBay I purchased components for my build. I searched eBay, Craigslist, OfferUp, Amazon warehouse and b-stock sites for the best prices.
This is the order that I purchased the main components.
Hard Drive and Windows:
In August I came across a deal on Offer-Up. A 256gb Samsung 961 M.2 drive with Windows 10 Pro removed from a laptop. I didn’t know if it would work but it was super cheap, so it was worth a shot.
Next, I decided to purchase a case because I figured it was going to set up my whole build. I wanted the PC to be as quiet as possible. So, naturally I chose Be Quiet. Overall I like the case, tons of room and lots of Airflow. If I knew what I know now I probably would have picked something more modern.
A few weeks later I found a Seasonic Prime Titanium 600w Fanless PSU on Amazon Warehouse Deals for cheap. No fan in the PSU, perfect for my quiet build.
Searching different forums I discovered AquatuningUSA. Using google translate on the German site I found the prices were cheaper there than on the American site. I scored a b-stock Be Quiet Silent Loop 240 for a ridiculously low price.
For the better part of September I wasn’t selling much. I was looking at my case with the components in it and started to notice it’s old style layout. The lack of a PSU shroud, the hard drive cages, and the 5.25 drive bays were starting to bother me. Watching YouTube DIY case-modding videos, I thought I could do that. I removed the hard drive cages, built a PSU cable shroud and a matching panel that covered the 5.25 bays. During that time, my sales started to pick back up and I was ready for my next purchase.
This was a tough one. Prices were starting to come down but still kind of expensive. I knew I was priced out of 1070s and 1080s. Comparing the 1060s and RX580s I opted fo the 580. I was going to go Ryzen anyway, and Freesync monitors are cheaper than G-sync monitors. I wanted to get the top RX580 card I could find. I stumbled across a Rog Strix T8G RX580 TOP on eBay for a good price and jumped on it.
Keyboard and Mouse:
I didn’t want to use my old acrylic Mac keyboard. While I was casually wondering around eBay I found a Galax HOF Cherry MX keyboard and a refurbished Corsair Scimitar. Again, really good prices and I picked them up.
My selling slowed down again and after receiving my GPU and searching for what to do next, I became infatuated with ROG marketing. I wanted to add some ROG bling to my case. At work I use Alias Autodesk and thought about what I could make and 3d print. Those 5.25 bays were still annoying me and I wasn’t going to use them. I decided to remove the covers and print a 120mm fan adapter with the ROG logo in it. Our 3d printer is really high resolution and prints in RGB. I found a cool image and modeled the adapter around it. I put a Silent Wings 3 fan in and a Noctua fan controller to turn it off completely when the door on the case is closed.
In October Ram prices were still pretty high. I read that Ryzen really loves fast, low latency Ram. I checked the supported list and decided on the Team Dark Pro 3200mhz cl14. RGB wasn’t really doing anything for me, or I probably would have gone Gskill. I had built up some eBay bucks and eBay also had a 20% off sale. I purchased the Ram from the Newegg eBay store for a great price.
CPU and Motherboard:
In the beginning of November, Microcenter was having a sale on the Ryzen 5 2600 and ROG Strix B450 motherboard. Keeping with my AMD and ROG theme I picked them up. I started to watch overclocking videos and read forums about Ryzen temps and voltages.
Time for Leroy Jenkins. My friend and I had paralleled each other with our purchases and decided to build our PCs together. Everything started smoothly. We started to build on the free non-conductive work bench that comes with the motherboard. My friend is getting ready to check to see if his PC posts and sees me mounting everything in my case. As I’m doing cable management he says “Aren’t you going to check and see if it posts?” And I thought, ‘why wouldn’t it post?’ I figured, screw it, it should post? We bought good quality parts what could go wrong?
His posts right away, mine wouldn’t turn on at all. I mean nothing, no fans, no error led, nothing. Just the ROG logo on the motherboard and a white led on the GPU near the 8pin connector lit up. I tore it apart and checked everything. I reseated the ram, tried different slots, and tried just one stick. Nothing. I removed the CPU and put it back in. Nothing. I returned the motherboard to Microcenter and got a new one. Nothing.
I thought no way a flagship power supply would be shipped DOA. I called seasonic and spoke with tech support. He suggested I should get a PSU tester. I didn’t know that little device existed. It’s like 10 bucks and shows the voltage for the 24pin, CPU, PCIe. I plugged it in and nothing. It didn’t even light up. Was this thing DOA too? I checked the PSU tester on my friends PSU and it worked perfectly. So, I started the RMA process with Seasonic. I feel like I shouldn’t have to pay shipping when its their product that doesn’t work. This was a 3 week setback.
Second Time Building:
While I was waiting, I purchased some fan extensions, low noise filters, and an Alphacool M.2 Heatsink. I received the power supply back from Seasonic and tested it right away. All of the lines showed their proper voltages, so I checked to see if it would post outside of the case. Fired it up and when strait to bios. I put everything back in the case and worked on some cable management.
After the PC was all together I booted into the bios and enabled the XMP. The Ram went right to 3200mhz. After some burn in, I used ASUS AIsuite to overclock the CPU. I read a lot of mixed reviews about ASUS AIsuite but I didn’t run into any issues. The CPU clocked to 4.225ghz at 1.318v. At idle my temp hangs around 38c and under prime95 stress test I maxed at 68c. I used GPUtweek II for overclocking the RX580. The base clock is 1411mhz and I was able to get to 1501mhz. I pushed the memory from 8000mhz to 9000mhz. Under load the temps top out at 65c. I did some benchmarks just to see how my PC compared. On Cinebench I got a score of 1388 and Firestrike on 3dmark I got 13007. I think those are some pretty solid numbers.
I still need to get a new monitor. I’m using my old Apple 23” acrylic Cinema Display. I’d like to add another M.2 soon. Possibly add some RGB strips to brighten up the inside. Nothing crazy though, I’d like to keep it subtle.
It’s been over a month now since I finished the build and the PC has been stable with no issues. Everything is cool and quiet. Overall I’m very pleased with this computer. Most importantly my wife and my daughter love it too. I wanted to thank them for being so supportive throughout this 4 month project. I also want to thank my friend Qbert55 for his support and motivating me to take on this project. We have some pretty sweet rigs. Lastly, I wanted to thank the PCPartpicker community. I received a lot of help from their forums and really enjoyed seeing what others have built.
Hope everyone enjoyed my journey. I’ve learned a lot and I hope others can learn from me. Please feel free to comment. I would love some feedback on what everyone thinks of my build.
12/25/18 Christmas Update:
So, I decided to add a little RGB to the build. I didn’t want anything too crazy. I don’t like it when you can see the individual leds on a strip. I found these Cooler Master RGB strips that have diffused leds. They look great and provide smooth even lighting. They are 4pin so there wasn’t a compatibility issue with the Strix B450 motherboard. I also got a RGB XL Mousepad. It’s not an expensive Corsair or Razor one but it works great. It doesn’t sync with Aura or Corsair but you can cycle through colors and effects on the mousepad. I got it to match pretty well with Aura and Corsair rainbow effects.
Fan Tuning and Windows:
I had most of the fans attached to splitters to make my cable management easier. Problem was, I wasn’t getting enough cooling at the bottom of my case for my GPU. Also, my rear case fan was stealing air from the radiator when everything ramped up. After separating the zones for the fans I set each of the profiles base on temps for the areas that need it.
Windows had a lot of HP bloatware that was particularly difficult to get rid of. I was getting HP security and Conexant audio messages constantly. With help from Qbert55, I finally was able to get the last of them removed. I removed the HP logo from the about this computer area and replaced it with an ASUS ROG logo.