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Build

The $700 Shoebox

by hacam

13
29 Comments

Details

Date Published

Nov. 29, 2016

Date Built

Nov. 29, 2016

CPU Clock Rate

3.2GHz

CPU Temperature While Idle

31.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

61.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate

1.30GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

7.1GHz

GPU Temperature While Idle

55.0° C

GPU Temperature Under Load

71.0° C

Description

I built this over Black Friday 2016 and the month before, watching reddit.com/r/buildapcsales for the parts I wanted. Every part here was bought on a significant sale except for the CPU cooler, case, and case fan.

My original goals were to 1) build a small PC because I like the look and don't need much expansion, 2) be able to play games on max settings for multiple years, and 3) spend around $800-900. Without sales, the parts cost $900 without the monitor, but after saving $200 on sales, I also picked up the 1080p ultrawide.

Note on the GPU: I originally started with a XFX RX 480 8GB with a reference cooler. But the card had a very noisy fan at load, a noisy fan at idle (weird rattling sound), an inability to reach its boost clock during testing, and coil whine. Luckily Newegg phone support was great and agreed to return it for a gift card, which I used to get the MSI card. Huge improvement, despite the double air cooling (at least in winter).

See last pic for final build stress test. I am currently stable with undervolting the RX 480 to 1.070 (stock is 1.125); overclocking GPU to 1350mHz (stock OC is 1305mHz); and overclocking GPU memory to 1800 (stock is 1750). The last picture is the temps during a simultaneous CPU and GPU stress test: 70C GPU at 25% fan speed & 60C CPU. Although the temps at idle aren't the best, I'm very happy with these load temps.

Part Reviews

CPU

The 6600(non-k) was my preferred buy here, but I got the 6500 on too good of a deal to pass up. I had also debated the 6600k OC route, but decided the cost wasn't worth the small performance increase (money much better spent on the monitor).

Air cooling is working great. With the stock cooler, I maintained 69C at load without any throttling. When I added the Cryorig C7, temps at load went down to the mid 50s without GPU load and 61C with a 100% GPU simultaneous load.

CPU Cooler

Really liking this cooler; it made my temps go down despite switching my blower GPU for an open air GPU. I thought about keeping the stock cooler that I was happy with, but I decided to preemptively switch since I was already dissembling the PC to get the oversized MSI card in. If you use a blower GPU, the stock intel cooler is just fine.

Motherboard

Got this on a flash sale on Newegg, and very happy with it. Cheap like a H110 but has the m.2 nvme slot for future upgrades. MSI's UFEI is also very nice to work in.

Memory

It works. This was the cheapest 16GB I could get at the time when I needed 2 day shipping. Too bad it only runs at 2133.

Storage

Grabbed this to save $20 over a Samsumg 850 EVO 500GB black friday deal. Glad I did; the speeds are second best and the price was right. See attached benchmark, getting great speeds after updating the SSD firmware. It has eDrive compatibility, so after installing Win10 I was able to turn on Bitlocker's native hardware encryption for no performance loss encryption.

Video Card

This GPU is great, although I have a few small issues. The fans are off at idle, and when I stress tested the fans only spun at a steady 21% to keep a 75C temperature (with 100% CPU load). Never lost its 1303mhz boost clock factory OC or its 1750mHz factory memory OC. While the load temps are great, the idle temp of 50C is quite high compared to benchmarks online (~38C). But that was to be expected given the small case. The fans never turn on at idle, and if they do, the card cools fast. We'll see if this is the same during the summer.

This DOES fit in the SG13, but won't lie, it isn't easy to fit. You have to take the front off as you assemble, and the biggest problem is that the 8 pin power cable partially goes under the metal frame, making it impossible very hard to install the cable after installing the GPU. So I installed the cable first, threaded it through the front hole, then wobbled the card into position. It got stuck a few times and I almost bashed the PCIE connector once, but once it slid in it fits great!

See this build for another example and advice in the comments: https://pcpartpicker.com/b/PKPscf#cx2058348

I am giving it 4/5 is because I do get some coil whine at full load. This is with the PC unobstructed about two feet from me. I hear it when only the GPU is making noise; if the CPU fan spins up or if I have any audio playing, I can't hear it much. I've read any coil whine is bad, but I'm not sweating it yet, if it doesn't change. Some games seem to cause coil whine while others don't, not sure why.

Case

I really like this case's look. It is "cheaper" in that it only has one front dust filter (monthly cleaning will be mandatory) and the case is a bit wobbly when it is empty and when the HDD bracket is out, but I can't complain. The mesh front looks better in person than in pictures; definitely recommend it over the solid front. I can fit the bracket in with the MSI card, but the cable bulk prevents attaching a HDD below it.

Power Supply

This is my only regret from the build. Temps are working fine with an ATX PSU, and airflow is fine after some cable "management" but I am getting a weird thumping sound from the PSU that is audible at idle. I wish the fan turned off at idle; it is the only thing preventing this from being a silent build.

I would recommend spending the extra $30-50 and getting the Corsair SF450 SFX PSU. The ATX cables are WAY too long. Since I already invested, maybe I'll splurge on custom short cables to eliminate the PCIE/SATA bulk (but I'll forever have a huge motherboard cable bulk). Going only an M.2 drive would help a lot too.

Also this PSU does NOT include a SATA power cable that can easily power an SSD mounted to the bottom spot on the case floor. See the pictures, but none of the power connectors are straight, and the 90 degree bent cable goes the wrong way, bending into the case. I had to only mount two screws in the SSD, and now the power cable is bent in, and the SSD is half hanging in the air. Not ideal and stressful on the cable.

I originally mounted the PSU up, then I switched to down just to try to minimize noise from the bumpy fan.

Operating System

Free from university.

Case Fan

Very quiet fan, RPMs are controlled by the motherboard, and it is supposed to be one of the best! And no, you can't see the color through the mesh.

Monitor

Once I decided to upgrade the monitor too, this was an easy choice because it has integrated speakers, freesync, and IPS panel. I love it. No quality defects at all, and it's a pleasure to work and game on. It's actually 75hz too, with a 30-75fps fresync range. I didn't include the price in the build, but I paid $217.44 on Jet (after random codes and rebates). I will be selling the two monitors I don't use anymore for ~$90, so that makes the upgrade cost ~$130 to me.

Keyboard

I picked this up used on eBay as an entry level mechanical keyboard with blue switches. Really like it.

Comments Sorted by:

DrBiff 1 Build 2 points 1 month ago

Nice build, would you recommend that mouse for shooters?

hacam submitter 1 Build 1 point 1 month ago

Thanks. I don't know much about mice, but I think it is good in wired mode. Bluetooth mode is less accurate. Also this is the v1 of the mouse, I think they're up to v3 by now, so ymmv.

DrBiff 1 Build 1 point 1 month ago

K thanks enjoy your build

skenderleet 2 points 1 month ago

question: what is that wristrest youre using? need one ASAP!

hacam submitter 1 Build 1 point 1 month ago

it's from http://www.pcgamingrace.com. Really like it, makes the keyboard more comfortable when you place your palm on it. Only thing I dislike is their big logo; wish it was blank.

Orrubieso 2 points 1 month ago

Nice build, I personally would've gotten an m.2 ssd.

hacam submitter 1 Build 1 point 1 month ago

I agree, i think the m.2 is a better choice. The reason I didn't is that I didn't have the budget for a 500GB NVMe, and I wanted to leave the upgradability for a NVMe + a sata SSD. Was a choice between 256GB NVMe vs 525GB sata at my budget.

Orrubieso 1 point 1 month ago

Yeah that's smart. If you ever plan on getting an m.2 ssd in the future, make sure it is samsung.

hacam submitter 1 Build 1 point 1 month ago

Hopefully 950 PROs or 960 EVOs will be as cheap as SATA in a few years...

Orrubieso 1 point 1 month ago

Yeah they're pretty expensive lol.

hacam submitter 1 Build 1 point 1 month ago

I don't store media, so I have low storage requirements. Should be totally fine with 525GB for years.

fortking 1 Build 2 points 1 month ago

I have the cx750w, the cx line is known to (coil whine?) when its under load. but overall

+1

Whered u get the ram so cheap? D:

hacam submitter 1 Build 1 point 1 month ago

The RAM was sold by Amazon. Prices seem to fluctuate a lot. I got to the point where RAM was the final piece I needed, so I just bought the cheapest 16GB I could find that day.

ThatOneDude1278 2 points 1 month ago

Hey I was just wondering how well the gpu runs with the 450 watts. I've been looking at a 550 watt psu but I am on a budget. Awesome build you have there though.

hacam submitter 1 Build 1 point 1 month ago

Seems to work great, although I don't have a way to test the actual watts from the wall. This site says my range is 71-281W. I assume that's safe range for a 450W, even though overclocking an RX 480 pulls extra power I've read.

ThatOneDude1278 1 point 1 month ago

Alright thanks man appreciate it.

bdbooker 1 Build 2 points 1 month ago

I feel your pain with that 90 degree SSD power connector. I had the same issue with mine, but it was mounted to the back of the mobo tray.

hacam submitter 1 Build 1 point 1 month ago

Never having built before I assumed this couldn't be a problem lol. I'll probably eventually just buy a custom cable to remove the stress, but honestly it does work fine as is, just unconventional.

exfourtwentyex 2 points 1 month ago

Read the description before looking at pics and WOW you weren't kidding! That card is HUGE in that case lol it looks amazing though!

+1

hacam submitter 1 Build 1 point 1 month ago

Thanks! Hope I don't have to remove it often/ever...

sdmathguy 2 Builds 2 points 1 month ago

Great build! One nitpick: it's not impossible to get the 6pin plugged in after you get the card in the case, just extra difficult and annoying, as I found out :D

hacam submitter 1 Build 1 point 1 month ago

Hello again! Yes good point, thanks. If I have to disassemble it again I may look into whether someone makes a flat 90 degree adapter to ease the tension there.

ogag003 1 Build 1 point 1 month ago

I Have the same case.. Damn that Cryorig C7 is not available in my place.. Really like to have that CPU cooler too. :)

hacam submitter 1 Build 1 point 23 days ago

I think the Silverstone AR06 and the Noctua NH-L9i are similar alternatives.

BlazedGlory32 1 point 20 days ago

Do you have any benchmarks?

hacam submitter 1 Build 1 point 19 days ago

I don't at the moment, away from it, but since nothing throttles you can just google benchmarks for the CPU/GPU. I have temps in the descriptions.

BlazedGlory32 1 point 18 days ago

It's ok I have a 6600k and that gpu and I get about 60-120 reps on gta 5 high and very high settings.

anas99 1 point 13 days ago

What about the CPU temperature?