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DeadPants's Console Killer Learning Experience

by DeadPants182

3
1 Comment

Details

Date Published

July 14, 2016

CPU Clock Rate

3.8 GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

7.01 GHz

Description

I made the first iteration of this build around this time last year to replace my aging Dell prebuilt, and I've made a few changes here and there since then. The current build is shown here. It's my first custom PC and I'm glad I made it, but I know there are a few things I could have done better.

I'm pretty sure I've had instability issues ever since I built this thing. Every once in awhile the system will freeze while I'm playing a game and I'll have to hit the reset button. At first I thought it was because of the super-cheap Lepa PSU I originally had in here, so I swapped it out with one that was 80+ certified. No dice. Then I thought it was a heat issue, so I bought a Hyper 212 Evo. Much to my dismay, my case was just a bit too small for it to fit, so I returned it. Then I tried the GeminII M4, but that blocked one of my RAM slots, and since this motherboard only has two of them, that was a deal-breaker. Now I'm back to stock cooling, even though I know it's terrible. AMD OverDrive shows a voltage of 1.45 volts when running at the full 4 GHz, which I'm pretty sure is way too high. Unfortunately, this motherboard has no option to adjust the CPU voltage in the BIOS, and trying to adjust it in OverDrive inevitably results in a crash. At this point I've accepted that I lost the silicon lottery and now keep the clock speed at 3.8 GHz with no turbo. The jury's still out on whether this stops the crashing.

In hindsight, going with this particular CPU might have been a mistake. I had my heart set on a true quad core processor since I had been stuck with dual core for so long, but the X4 860k is more than likely bottlenecking my GTX 960, and the FM2+ socket doesn't leave much room to upgrade. The best processor I can find that uses this socket is the X4 880k, which is only marginally better than what I already have, at least without overclocking. Lesson learned: think about your upgrade path when choosing a CPU.

On the bright side, newer games like Doom, Overwatch, and Rise of the Tomb Raider run decently enough. Street Fighter V runs at a steady 60 FPS with all graphics settings maxed out, which is pretty cool. I think this PC will at least last me a couple more years, by which point I should have a full-time job and enough disposable income to build something really cool.

Part Reviews

CPU

Great performance for the price, but way too hot on stock cooling. It's technically below the minimum system requirements of some newer games, but I've been able to run them anyway. If you can look past the lack of an upgrade path, the Athlon X4 880k is much better since it runs a lot cooler.

Motherboard

It only has two RAM slots and the BIOS doesn't let you adjust the CPU voltage, but other than that, it's great.

Memory

It's RAM. What more do you want?

Video Card

Fantastic card. The small form factor makes it easy to install, and it doesn't seem to have any trouble with the latest games. It leaves the factory with a slight overclock, but I was able to push it a bit further.

Power Supply

Yes, it's overkill, but at least it let me rule out a lack of power as the reason for the crashing (see the full details above). If it was modular, I would have given it five stars.

Keyboard

This is my first mechanical keyboard and I'm in love. The keys are very responsive and feel great to type on. Mine has Cherry MX Red switches and now I want to try the other kinds. RGB lighting would have been nice, but at this price, I can't complain.

Mouse

This might just be the best mouse I've ever used. Super comfortable, plenty of buttons, and the lighting looks really cool.

Comments Sorted by:

DotNyslexic 1 point 31 months ago

I'm in the same boat as you. I kind of regret not going with an i3 paired with a GTX 750 or something, in retrospect of the upgrades I would like in the future. That probably would have been on par with the 860K and GTX 960 I put together for the same price to be honest, now I'm stuck buying a new mobo + OEM disk/code if I really want a better CPU.