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Build

Amy, the Above Average Gaming PC

by rfinnie

12
11 Comments

Details

Date Published

Sept. 3, 2017

Date Built

Aug. 23, 2017

CPU Clock Rate

3.6GHz

GPU Core Clock Rate

1.59GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

8.01GHz

Description

Amy doesn't like to brag. She'll freely admit she's not a Threadripper with triple 1080 Tis and liquid nitrogen cooling. But she's pretty good. Sufficient. Above average. She once wrote a song which her friends liked, but doesn't plan to go pro or anything. She enjoys dim sum. She has a 780 credit score.

(My home naming scheme is Futurama characters, and Amy has always been the name of my gaming PC.)

Normally I would do incremental upgrades of my gaming PC every other year or so, but my previous PC hadn't really been touched in 4 to 5 years (i5-3570K, Radeon HD 7790s). So this is my first build in a long time, and I decided to go 100% new. It's not a "money is no object" build, but pretty much every decision I made was "comfortably above average".

The Fractal Design C Tempered Glass is beautiful. I had never cared too much about case organization before, but this has plenty of room behind the motherboard and made it easy to produce a clean look on the front. The rear cable routing isn't perfect, but hey, it's hidden.

The only complication is I had originally ordered a Cooler Master Hyper T4, but realized the only native AM4 mounting direction is vertically, which would have blocked 3 of the 4 memory slots. Luckily I had a NIB Arctic Freezer 7 Pro which fit, and goes with the black/white aesthetics of the case. I still don't like how it's mounted vertically, and will probably go with a Hyper 212 EVO and AM4 bracket.

  • Yes, the keyboard stands out like a sore thumb. It's a Unicomp Customizer 104, the direct descendant of the IBM Model M, and is itself about 13 years old. I'm sure I could find a better "gaming" keyboard, but I love it.
  • The logo on the tempered glass is of my consulting company, Velociraptor Aerospace Dynamics.

Update (2017-09-08) - I've replaced the Arctic Freezer 7 92mm upward-facing cooler with a Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO blowing front/rear, with dual fans. The fans are Arctic F12 PWM, which are fine performers, but were chosen because they are PWM and match the black/white theme of the Fractal Design case.

Part Reviews

CPU

IMHO, this is a good alternative to a top-end Intel Core i5. Same price point, more cores, HT, better performance. I have not done any overclocking with it yet, but it's good to know I have options if I want to.

CPU Cooler

Looks good, decent performance, and quiet (the fan has rubber shock mounts to isolate it from the body). Keep in mind AM2/3/4 mounts are the standard tab mount, so you are limited to vertical airflow mounting. (Intel mounts don't have this problem.)

Motherboard

Works well. It's September 2017 as I write this, so the EFI BIOS seems to be in a mature state. Advanced configuration can be a little confusing (for example, virtualization is disabled by default and enabled under "OC") but not bad. There are 4 separate RGB areas which can be individually configured under the MSI Windows app.

Memory

Works. Currently there's price parity between 2x16GB and 4x8GB, so I went with 2x16GB for future expansion.

Storage

EXTREMELY fast. 'Nuff said.

Storage

I'm not sure how much faster this is than its regular HDD variant, but it was only a few $ more.

Video Card

Nice mid-range graphics card. I have not done any overclocking; using default I get good performance out of everything I've thrown at it so far.

Case

This case is amazing. It looks beautiful in an understated way, there are many unobtrusive cutouts for minimal cable presentation to the front, plenty of space behind the motherboard for cable routing, and many tie-down points (though I didn't need them; everything in my build could be routed down the main routing channel and the bottom.

Front cover and grille are easy to remove, and the bottom of the case has a full length dust filter which can be removed from the front. The tempered glass is a bit difficult to get in place, so keep that in mind if you need to remove the main panel often.

Power Supply

You can find 650W PSUs cheaper, but this one is fully modular and the cables are nice and long for good behind-motherboard cable management.

Operating System

Full retail copy, didn't want to go the grey market Kinguin route. I have a beautiful, amazing, spectacular slip of paper with a CD key on it. Also, the world's cheapest all-plastic USB drive. But at least it's 16GB.

Case Fan

Looks nice (if you like the whole Fractal Design white + black design), decent air performance, and pretty quiet.

Comments Sorted by:

caramel_illness 3 points 2 months ago

+1 for the retro keyboard

killerzcud 1 Build 2 points 2 months ago

Nice Build. But aren't you pulling the heat from GPU to CPU with that mount direction ?

rfinnie submitter 1 Build 2 points 2 months ago

Yeah, it's not ideal but it's the only way a clip-mounted AM2/3/4 cooler can be mounted. Once I get a Hyper 212 EVO and the AM4 backplate mount, that'll be mounted horizontally. That being said, I'm not OCing anything and it's been perfectly stable under load, so I haven't been worried.

James7176 2 points 2 months ago

Were can we buy Custom Stickers like that?

rfinnie submitter 1 Build 1 point 2 months ago

http://www.stickeryou.com/products/clear-stickers/491 - When I ordered it was about $32 for 2 sheets of kiss cut clear stickers, and I was able to fit 6 of those stickers on a sheet. Not cheap, but the quality is good. I've got one on the back of my car window, and it hasn't degraded.

ArnoldusTheGreat 1 point 2 months ago

Nice build! But I'm wondering why you chose to go with 32gb of ram?

rfinnie submitter 1 Build 1 point 2 months ago

I like RAM. And I tend to do a lot of virtualization stuff.

Star52 1 point 28 days ago

Looks pretty stellar! How is the airflow with the case? I was looking at it but I don’t know.

Lexkalin 2 Builds 1 point 25 days ago

Nice build. I have a non-TG version of this case and what really bugs me are the gpu temps. The airflow in the gpu area and restrictive front panel with dust filter certainly do no good. It's the only, but quite a major downside for me despite how easy it is to build in it. My Evga 1080FTW2 certainly suffers a bit in Define C.

renan_rlr 0 points 2 months ago
  • +1 for Linux
  • -5 for Ubuntu
GeneticallyEngineeringCatgirls 2 points 2 months ago
  • +1000 for Unicomp
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