For this build, I wanted to build something that's an all-rounder. A little bit of gaming and streaming here, some video editing here, and video streaming from YouTube and some homework (using Google Chrome, Docs, Classroom, etc.). This means I couldn't really cheap out on anything, but I also couldn't gorge myself on anything (like the graphics card) either. Also, I'm on that student budget (gotta love it) so I wasted no money on anything that I didn't need (like RGB or an aftermarket cooler, though now that I'm testing the system I wish I would have gotten one; more on that later).
So for the CPU, it was a no-brainer, really. Ryzen 5 3600 all the way! The only other option was the 2600, which was about $120 at the time, but I wanted a little bit more future-proofing for my rig; also, third-gen Ryzen was just so revolutionary with dethroning Intel and all, I just couldn't miss out.
So, there's nothing specifically special about my chosen motherboard. It's just a B450 mobo so I have the option to overclock, and the four DIMM slots and USB 3.1 Gen 2 type C on the rear IO were nice touches.
So, RAM prices were super low, so I decided to go ahead and get 16gb of 3600 speed RAM because Ryzen greatly benefits from fast RAM. Everything's pretty standard here.
Since I won't be playing a ton of games (likely the only mass storage game I'll be playing is GTA V), I don't need a lot of storage. It just needs to be fast, since I'm impatient; hence the NVMe SSD. If I wanted more storage I would just get a 120gb SATA SSD paired with a TB hard drive. But seeing as the NVMe SSD was $50, I don't know if that option would be available at this price.
The GTX 1660 Super is smack in between the vanilla 1660 and the 1660 Ti. Its price is closer to the 1660's and it's like a scaled-up 1660 rather than a cut-down 1660 Ti, but because of the dramatic bandwidth increase (14Gb/s vs the 1660's 8Gb/s and the 1660 Ti's 12Gb/s), it's performance is closer to the 1660 Ti's that the 1660. This is what makes this card such a good option for this price range. It can definitely handle most games at 1080p and can achieve high framerates. Also, it works exceptionally well for editing videos.
All I needed was a case with a side panel that didn't look like garbage. And the DIYPC DIY-F2-W came through. It looks really stylish, has a side panel, is very compact and light, comes with two decent blue LED fans, and I was able to grab it for just $35. An absolute steal.
Extra Case Fan
I got an extra case fan just to add some more airflow to the system. to start, the case had one fan pre-installed at the front and one at the back. I moved the one at the back to the top to pull in some air and pump it right into the CPU fan so as to keep the CPU cool, and put the Noctua fan in its place. This leaves two intake fans and one exhaust fan, but I configured the exhaust fan in the BIOS so that it works hard enough to compensate. It's Noctua, so it's pretty quiet even when it's moving a crap-ton of air.
The power supply is something that you definitely don't wanna skimp on if you don't want your computer to explode. So I took mine from this filter: Manufacturer: Corsair, EVGA, SeaSonic; Efficiency Rating: 80+ Bronze, 80+ Gold; Wattage: >500 W; Modular: Full, Semi.
Wireless Network Adapter
This is mainly for Bluetooth. Initially, I got it for WiFi as well because my WiFi is really crappy and the router was far away from where I put this system, so Ethernet wasn't an option. But then we moved the router and now I'm able to hook up an Ethernet cord, so I just use it for Bluetooth now. $34? It's a steal.
Now, this is where things got kinda dicey. I knew from the start that I wanted this monitor, but the only place to get it from was Amazon, and some days it would just go away and not be for sale. Some days the price would fly way up to more than $300. It's insane. On the day that I was ordering all of my parts, the monitor was priced at $298, twice the price of what I'd seen it at days before. The Chrome extension Honey saved my life. It showed me that the monitor, the same monitor, was available at Shopper's Drug Mart for $139.99, lower than I'd ever seen it on Amazon. Course, the shipping would be the sketchiest part of it, but I took my chances. And lo and behold, it arrived two days later, in good condition.
As for the specs of this monitor, it's a 24" 1080p 144hz curved VA panel. 24" is a good size, since my desk is pretty small. 1080p was a no-brainer since I can't afford 1440p. 144hz was also a must-have since I'd be playing games on the system. Sure, the panel's curved, but looking at it I sometimes forget. It just gives the whole thing a gamery vibe. Then, the VA panel is super important because I'm going to be doing some content creation with this system. Sure it's no IPS panel, but VA has good contrast and isn't as whitewashed as most TN panels are. Of course, you trade off the whitewash and bad colors of TN panels for smearing, but other than that the panel looks really good.
The USBs were just so I could download Windows and for a BIOS update so my motherboard would work with third-gen Ryzen, but to my surprise and gratefulness to ASRock, the motherboard came pre-updated 😊 so i didn't need to take the time to update the BIOS.
That wraps up my build. I'm so so SO happy that I was able to build this computer. I love it so much. It easily hits the 150 frame max that I put (because my monitor can only run 144) in Minecraft, and, after running some benchmarks, my overall average FPS on GTA V was about 145.
Note: the CPU temps get pretty high and it's a little concerning, but I'll be buying some different thermal paste to see if that helps the problem. I am using the stock AMD cooler after all.
I ordered the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo on sale for a little over $20 and the temps and noise levels are much better now. It pushes air to the back of the case, so I had to move the intake fan at the top of the case to the front of the case to keep the air flowing from front to back.
Excellent choice for anyone, really. With all of the high-end CPUs reaching up to hundreds of dollars, I got this one for less than $200 USD. 6 core/12 thread is greatly appreciated. When paired with high-speed ram this thing conquers any task.
It works pretty good. The temps on my Ryzen 5 3600 are from 35-45 at idle, and never go past 70 during games. It DOES come with a mounting bracket for Ryzen (AM4) which was appreciated; it also comes with some thermal paste. The instructions were a little confusing, Though. The overall worst part is the size; this thing is huge.
Absolutely love it. I got it for $70. It has two PCIe Gen 3 16x, four DIMM slots, a generous amount of headers and SATA ports, two M.2 slots (though note that only one is for NVMe, the other is for SATA or PCI or whatever). I greatly appreciated the USB 3.1 gen two and USB 3.1 gen two type C.
It came pre-updated to support 3rd-Gen Ryzen chips, which was great.
Fantastic RAM. I was able to get it for $70, and it ran at 3600MHz cas latency 16 first try. Paired with Ryzen 5 3600 on a B450 board, it works AMAZING.
I was able to pick it up for $55, and man is it a deal. It's wicked fast, and I think that's all I need to say about it.
It's a hard drive and functions like one. Not a lot else to say.
Extremely compact card. It has a really stylish backplate and the shroud looks sick as well (though of course you can't see it). It came factory overclocked, which was appreciated, and manual overclocking went pretty well (though not the best experience).
The fans can be quite loud, but that's only at high speeds. At low temps (35-45), the fans turn off which I love.
THERE IS NO CUTOUT FOR 8-PIN CPU CONNECTOR. That's my only complaint; other than that it's a steal of a case. It comes with two blue LED fans that are a little loud, but they do the job fine. Another thing to note is that the expansion slots for GPU, sound card, etc. are not reusable. Once you remove them, you can't put them back. I'm fine with it, though
Pretty quiet, semi-modular, not too bad-looking, gets the job done. I don't know what else it's supposed to do lol it's a power supply
Wireless Network Adapter
Really nice. It has Bluetooth as well as WiFi. I absolutely love it.
Though it's a bit pricier, it's worth it. It moves air like no one's business and is barely audible while doing it.
Got it (or a variation of it) at Office Depot for $139.00. 144Hz is buttery smooth and the monitor itself is an absolute beauty. Colors are decent, which is why I love VA panels -- not horrible colors, while still being able to achieve those high framerates. There's a lot of smearing, though, but I barely notice it most of the time.