For about 12 years, I had always used a dual core system; like a laptop or entry level pre-build by Dell or HP.
Last year, I decided to give more life into an old PC (LGA775 socket) and modded a 4C/T LGA771 Xeon into it. It ran okay for awhile, but the DDR2 ram was a major bottleneck.
I was desperate for more raw computing power, speed, and aesthetics; which parted away from stock factory branding. Being my first major build, mods had to stay within warranty conditions as a precaution.
- General multi-tasking (Facebook, Youtube, Spotify, Discord, Managing ebay store)
- Light VM’s (Testing, Click Farming, 1 PC 2 Users)
- Adobe Photoshop & Premiere CC 2017
- General gaming at 1080P Max/Ultra
- Website design and development
- SketchUp (3D Modelling)
Ryzen was making the rounds on most Tech blogs and review sites back in March, so I took a keen interest on specs and pricing. I decided on a R5 1600, RX580 and 2x8GB RAM.
M.2’s, AIO’s, RGB, and the ITX form factor were also things I wanted to try out for the first time. The color scheme eventuated to matte black with gold trim to give AMD the premium look it deserves (inspired from golden supercars of arabian princes).
Strictly under $1500 AUD, and this build went under at around $1350. PCPartPicker shows a higher valuation, but parts were bought during a 20% off tech ebay sale which ended just a week before the global GPU price spikes.
Also, PCPartPicker does not have the Thermaltake TR2 S 550W 80 Plus PSU listed ($65 MSRP), so I chose the closest one to it.
Excluded from budget:
- Generic RGB China keyboard/mouse
- 500GB Toshiba 2.5” 5400RPM HDD
- Generic China headphone + mic
- Fenda subwoofer sound system
- Angled HP SATA cable (60cm)
- Windows 10 Pro + Software
- Samsung 1080P 60Hz TV
- Black/gold trims
The black/gold covers were crafted by hand and were made with household tools and scraps. If I had to state a total price, it’d be in the ballpark of $50 (+/- $5).
- Soldering iron
- Crafting knife
- 1 x Chrome gold vinyl wrap roll (600mm x 1200mm)
- 1 x Generic double sided tape (1000mm)
- 1 x Loctite 406 Instant Adhesive (25ml)
- 1 x Generic plastic A4 folder (Black)
- 4 x Nano USB LEDs (Warm White)
- 1 x Electrical tape roll (1000mm)
- 1 x 120mm fan dust filter
- 1 x Bostik Blu-Tack (75g)
- Cardboard pieces (Cut)
- USB cables (Spliced)
- Delivery of parts: 2 month span from May 8th
- Designing, planning and retrofitting: 1 week
- Assembly and software installs: 2 days
- Testing and stability checks: 3 days
Was never a FAN of benchmarks (pun intended), because I don’t think anyone benefits from those pesky numbers apart from more bragging rights. The personal experience you get from a build is, by far, much more insightful than some number someone throws at you.
So here’s some findings you should find useful:
- When styling up any major part with scraps (or even plasti-dip), take into account venting holes, breathable meshes, or active fan coverage, as heat dissipation is a universal issue on ITX. With or without the custom covers on this build, temps are identical and within margin of error.
- AIO pump runs quiet under 600 RPM (and ~1300-1450 RPM) with radiator fans set to ~900 RPM in the Gigabyte BIOS. Idle CPU temps float between 20 and 30C. The stock cooler (with the 1600) performs 5-10C warmer, but cools down the surrounding chips on the board (~7C lower).
- The case is deceptive; it’s fairly heavy out of the box and gets heavier with all parts inside. It is also difficult to grip since it has no handles. Also, I strongly advise against installing any 3.5” drives as they weigh half a kilo each and take up too much space.
- Despite the manufacturer spec, the case can support a lot of 2.5” drives (7-8 vertically on the bracket below the radiator, back-to-back. Just add a washer or two before screwing them on and use the longer washer-head-screws to support the bracket).
- Installing the PSU first and pre-routing all the cables is the most rewarding thing to do in this case. Also, the headers up the top of the board need to be routed backwards at 270 due to the unusual power header positions.
- Dust is not an issue as long it’s sitting on a desk or elevated on a wall. Fans on the GPU, CPU, PSU, or radiator will do the rest.
- VRM on the motherboard is unusually hot (even at idle). A later update is rumored to fix it, however, you could use the two vacant 4-pin fan headers on the graphics card temporarily.
* - Currently, there is an issue with installing the Ubuntu OS on all AM4 Gigabyte boards. The crappy solution for now is to toggle AHCI in the BIOS and the OS will run with only 1 core.
Not planning on upgrading this rig for a while (performance wise) since it performs everything I’d like to do with no lag or hiccups. On-going, I’d most likely add a 2.5” 1TB SSHD when nearing max capacity.
- Didn't opt for the 1600X, since the 1600 has identical performance when manually overclocked. The 1600X is also not that far off from the price of a 1700.
- I am not looking to sell the RX580 as I do not support the severe degradation of gaming cards and tainting the RX500 lineup to miners. I still fail to utilize more than 75% of the GPU at 1080P, so a GTX 1070 or higher will be overkill. Also the 1060 and 480/580 buy/sell for the same price here in AU (new and used) so there is no profit to be made.
The best value currently out there while being reasonably affordable for everyone that has been waiting on a significant upgrade path.
Four threads is what an everyday user would need at most, but the twelve on this beast will most definitely secure a solid amount of future proofing for years to come. You will multi-task, work, browse, and game with absolutely no lag whatsoever, as everything occurs in a snap.
The included cooler does not have RGB, but it isn't too important, as its cooling performance is almost identical aftermarket coolers. It can handle a significant overclock if you ever need that additional raw compute power.
The included sticker looks awesome as well, definitely something to be proud of to stick onto your case. Overall, everything from the visual design of the box, to the packaging is superb, secure and aesthetically pleasing.
I rate full stars. Bravo to the design and engineering team behind this legendary product! The PC atmosphere was certainly shaken for the first time in a decade.
A perfect AIO that supports every major socket out there in the market. It's a must have item for enthusiasts who intend to overclock their system, or for those wanting to drastically cool down a really hot processor running at idle. It's cooling performance is incredible and consistent while operating at little to no noise (when tuned correctly in the bios).
Installation can be a bit tricky, given the provided length of the tubing (and the case you have), but the ingeniously-made bracket allows for almost any orientation, so it shouldn't be a big issue. The pump also has a very soft, but delightful, white LED illumination to show the Cooler Master logo.
The radiator is incredibly lightweight and compact coming in at less than 20mm thickness, meaning it should be compatible with every case that supports 240mm rads and leave a low footprint. The uniquely shaped blades on the fans can also pass through copious amounts of air at low RPM.
All in all, this AIO is simply a fantastic buy for the compatibility list and value for the money, particularly for early adopters of the AM4 Ryzen platform; as this is currently one of few AIO's out there for it.
Installed and booted with no problems on first try. Size is remarkably awe inspiring for the performance it boasts with the Ryzen platform. The 3200MHz X.M.P profile ran smoothly without a hitch on first attempt as well, so the AGESA update is definitely pre-loaded. Word of caution however, there is currently a VRM overheating issue with the board, and Gigabytes entire AM4 board lineup has issues installing the Ubuntu OS. Also, some power headers are in awkward positions, so first make sure it is compatible with your case.
Regardless, this board will get better over time, and has everything an enthusiast will ever need for another decade or so. It features the sweet spot amount of ports, ram slots, audio, WiFi, and M.2. In the box contains a very detailed manual, a black rear panel IO shield, 2 high quality SATA cables, and a very useful magnetic WiFi antenna.
Although 'certified' for the intel platform, this kit runs incredibly well on Ryzen boards. It performs beyond expectations and the pre-installed heat spreaders dissipates heat very well and maintains a very clean and simple aesthetic. Probably the best value for money memory kit out there in the market, given it has no unnecessary LED's or funky features.
At the front line, bleeding edge of technology, delivering unbelievable speeds and smooth performance. The size is also absolutely awe inspiring. Color scheme conveys this message well. Capacity is also of practical size for the everyday person.
The card looks terrifyingly appealing, performs like a king, and is whisper quiet even at full load. Despite the recent GPU price hikes going on at the moment, if you can get this card at normal price (or discounted) just go for it! The RX 580 is quite literally the best card any gamer or mid-tier professional could ever need for the next few years or so (and doesn't break the bank too much!)
It will be best to use the card in a case that supports vertical GPU mounting so your chassis can showcase all that RGB and it's true aesthetic goodness. The card is quite long however, so ensure beforehand that it fits in your case. In regards to GPU sagging, the back-plate and heat-sinks are so well reinforced to ensure it will never happen (as long as it is secured properly in the two PCI slots).
It is powered by one 8-pin PCI rail, and there are more than enough outputs to support most peoples monitor setups (1080P/1440P, Single/Double). Bravo the to Radeon team, the entire RX lineup is insanely competitive when it comes to value for the money!
A much awaited product since the introduction of the larger Core P5/P3 cases. Multiple mountings and arrangements are possible, and it supports custom water-cooling loops and a very comfy slot for a 240mm radiator and a reservoir. The case is easy to build in as long as cables are pre-routed.
Dust does not seem to be an issue after a month of use; the fan seems to blow them out anyway. As long as it is mounted on a elevated position on a wall, or on a desk, you will never have to wipe down the rig for a year. To clean the tempered glass, use a microfiber cloth (like from prescription glasses) and move in a up/down motion.
Being openly DIY, the aesthetics of the build will depend entirely on the amount of thought and effort invested into it. This case is a literally a template to bring your dream build into reality.