Built this as a budget mITX gaming PC / Steambox. Then decided to upgrade with a dedicated GPU. Cable management isn't the neatest, but all the cables were just long enough and not too long. All the extra cables got tucked away quite neatly. There are some thought out little spots that you can manage cables through so they're not all over the place or blocking the front intake fan. I'm not sure if it was the mobo or PSU 20+4 PIN connector, but it was a pain in the rear to get it to fit in the socket. Also the disk drive activity light never blinks. Hmm... The two items in my list with $0 values were bought over time in the past and I don't remember the exact prices.
I was getting a console quality experience in games such as Skyrim, GTA5, Saints Row IV, FarCry 3, Borderlands 2 at 1080p with the APU alone. Now with the addition of a GPU, I am playing those games on highest settings at around 60fps (sometimes) , except for GTA5, that game is broke. GTA5 gets 20-60 fps and I've messed with all different settings.
With the addition of the GPU the stock fan on the CPU is as loud as a jet engine. The backplate on the GPU gets very hot and it's way too close to the CPU socket. I bought an aftermarket CPU cooler ( Zalman CNPS5X Performa ) which was suggested by pcpartpicker as the most popular and compatible, and it will not fit because of how close the CPU socket is to the PCI-E slot. It would fit otherwise. Maybe if I shave off a 1/4 inch off the mounting brackets it will fit. Also bought two 80mm fans to pull more air out. They do a great job, but it's not enough. They're also very loud.
Edit: Removed the two 80mm fans from rear and added a liquid cooler for the 7850K. My system is finally quiet even under load. Just a soft hum.
Thanks for reading and I will reply to any questions anyone has about this build.
This APU is a beast! Stays quiet even under load (until you add a dedicated GPU, MSI R9 380 4GB in my case, which runs quiet but really heats up the APU because it sits so close to it. You can add a liquid cooler to get rid of that problem). It can handle many games at 1080p. Games such as GTA5, FarCry 3, Saints Row IV and the like run in console quality and sometimes better.
Great little cooler. Installed in Thermaltake Core V1 without a problem. Keeps my 7850K super cool. I wish I recorded temps before installing, but my thermal margin is 70C at idle and 52C under load. BIOS reports temp at 26C (not thermal margin, but actual temp). These temps are at 20C ambient room temperature. The LNC this cooler comes with makes a huge difference in noise reduction. Don't forget to use it. UPDATE: After five months with this cooler my temps are constantly jumping up and down by 10C. Coil whine from pump. Random knocking sounds, air bubble noise. BIOS reports actual temp at 40C. Thermal margin reported by AMD Overdrive jumping every second from 60C to 70C. I did a clean OS install thinking it was a software issue. Still the same results.
Very nice looking board. Doesn't look or feel cheap. BIOS is weak because there is no way to dedicate more memory to the APU. Default is 1GB. I have it updated to the latest version and have searched the internets above and beyond to no avail. Grammar in the BIOS and MSI apps is terrible as it was translated from another language without effort. Front panel connectors had to be connected individually in a very cramped area of the board. Board could have come with an additional PWM header. Also, if possible, they should have placed the CPU socket further away from the PCI-E slot. My GPU card gets hot and this ramps up the cooler on my CPU. Solved this issue by installing a liquid cooler.
Look and feel like top quality pieces of hardware. Work as advertised.
Very good quality product. Works as advertised.
Hot! Hot! Hot! The fans on this card do a great job at dissipating heat from the front of the card. The backplate on the other hand is HOT! If you have a mITX board and want to install this card, DON'T do it! (Unless you liquid cool the CPU/APU.) It sits way too close to the CPU socket and gets my fan roaring like crazy! I'm sure if I added an aftermarket fan it would do the same. Liquid cooling might be the only way to go.
The layout in this box is very nice. Looks very nice. HDD/SSD mounts are a pain to get in and out. One of the side panels rattles when poked. No big deal, but really? Big problem with this case is that when dust settles on the front intake mesh it leaves a huge visible gray circle of dust on the outside of the case and just looks ugly. Have to clean it weekly. The front intake fan is slow at ~850 max RPM and feels like it barley moves any air. A 120mm radiator fits nicely and was easy to install in front of the case for a push pull config.
Knocking off a star because the 20+4 PIN connector was a pain to connect to my motherboard. The 4 PIN kept slipping out of the socket as it's not a clip on. Otherwise, the PSU works as advertised.
Because Windows 8 and 10 are ****.
Looks great with the thin bezels. Major light bleed all around when viewing blacks or playing a game when night comes.
Seriously don't notice any difference between optical and laser. My old mouse was a MX518.
Great headset. Mic sounds great. Wish these were not open ear. Get a lot more bass if they were closed. I bought them for the way they look.
Can't beat the look and sound for the price.