So I decided to up my game when it comes to racing simulators. I already had a Thrustmaster T300RS wheel, TH8A Shifter, and T3PA-PRO pedal set mounted to a Next Level Racing wheelstand hooked to my current system, but I found unfolding it all, setting it up, etc to be a pain, the shifter was in a somewhat awkward spot, and no matter what I did I couldn't get my office chair stable enough. This lead me to losing my concentration often and in the end just not using it because it was more frustrating than fun.
The good part about the Next Level Wheelstand is it is upgradeable to a full cockpit setup, so I purchased the chair add-on (which comes with a better shifter mount) as well as the monitor mount add on (which I am disappointed with and will discuss later) and movable keyboard tray add on. I have it listed in the parts list as the GT Ultimate V2 as that's how they sell the combo of the Wheelstand and Seat, and its cheaper if you buy both at the same time. Due to the size of this setup I'd need to put it in a different location from my main gaming system, also I was itching to do a new build, and again it would be a lot easier to use with its own box attached, plus I can keep the running software lean for performance.
For the system I wanted to do it with some style. I ordered a Phanteks ENTHOO EVOLV SHIFT originally but found there was no way to fit the Sapphire GPU, H80i liquid cooler, etc in there at all. So I returned it and went with the identical but larger ENTHOO EVOLV SHIFT X in black. I preferred gray but this case is limited production I had to special order it direct from Phanteks, black was all they had available. In this I also replaced the H80i with an H100i Pro as the SHIFT X has the ability to fit a full 240mm cooler. The cool part about this case is its ability to show off both the GPU and the rest of the system from both sides. The not cool part is no matter how you set it up the thermals aren't that great. This case is really designed for a custom loop but I just didn't want to go that nuts.
Speaking of thermals, that drove my choice of the Ryzen 7 3700X over the 3800X despite the minimal price difference on sale. The TDP of the 3700X is only 65w vs 105w for the 3800X. The 3800X in tests runs notably hotter while only a small amount faster. Racing games don't need the fastest processor possible so I knew I wasn't slowing anything down with this choice, and considering my choice of GPU, making a choice for lower thermals on the CPU side was a good one.
So for my thermal design I went again with a negative pressure setup. Why am I a fan? It runs cooler than positive every time, and any high end case has enough filters and tight enough tolerances to make dust intake a minimal worry. My basement also has minimal dust. My gaming system has been negative pressure for 3 years now and other than cleaning the filter every 6 months I have 0 dust issues. I kept one of the stock 140mm fans in the base as an intake, and then added 3 Corsair LL120 fans as exhaust. They only look good as exhaust anyway. CPU hits 74c under max load, can't complain about that. GPU however I have lost some thermal capabilities.
The 5700XT works differently than other GPUs. Very basically it now uses an array of thermal sensors and when any of them hits a max of 110C (Hotspot temp) it throttles via clock speed. Its fully normal to see clock speed fluctuate at full load up and down about 300 or so mhz, yet the GPU maintains a smooth frame rate and even frame time. In most cases its performance is still excellent. Note my Timespy and Firestrike Ultra scores below (which match or beat most online review site tests):
And I have run into no issues in games. However running Superposition has shown the issues in this case's thermal capabilities. It drives the GPU and heat so hard that it throttles enough that I'm about 500 points short of most review sites. I ran it with no panels on and gained most of that back. Again I was aware this may be an issue going in, however I am ok with it as its real life performance is not affected, Superposition is an unrealistically heavy load. The GPU itself is the Sapphire Nitro+ Special Edition, which adds the LED fans you can see in the pics and is the highest clocked air cooled 5700XT as of this time. The first one I got had to be returned as it failed after about 3 days of use. It was strange as its scores were a little low compared to reviews but I figured it was thermals. Then one day I turned it on and no output. I installed my test GPU (an old HD 5450) and it worked fine, so I went and swapped it into my Gaming system only to find the same issue, no output. I returned it to Newegg and managed to get a better deal on the same GPU at Microcenter the next day so I swapped that in and its been fine ever since, and scored higher in benches, so the other was likely defective from day 1.
For the PSU I normally go Seasonic only, however they don't offer any SFX PSUs with a rating higher than Gold. I prefer Platinum or Titanium efficiency for my systems for many reasons, and Corsair fits the bill with the SF600. 600w is plenty for this setup as the 5700XT is far more power efficient than its Vega predecessor. In monitoring power usage it averages around 200w under full load. The case includes a shroud for the PSU as well but the cables were just a touch too short for it to work, and I saw no reason to use extensions that I wouldn't be able to hide very well just to use the shroud, it looks fine without it.
Memory wise I went with a G-Skill AMD kit from the QVL, 3600mhz is the sweet spot of price/performance, also it looks cool. And for Storage I stuck with a single 1tb 970 Evo. I don't need a ton of space there is only so many racing games I'll have on there or need at any one time. Besides as you can see the area where I'd put SATA drives, as well as all my SATA power connections are taken up by the needs of the AIO, fan, and LED controllers. I even needed to add a small USB Header splitter to control both the Lighting Node Pro, and the H100i cooler as the Mini ITX board only has 1 USB 2.0 header.
In terms of the race rig, the GT Ultimate V2 includes a mount for the Buttkicker Gamer 2 which I added for some realism. They also offer a full motion platform but that gets to be way more than I wanted to spend. I'm working with Next Level regarding the monitor mounts as I'm disappointed. I can't get the side monitors to line up with the center perfectly, they have a slight downward tilt that no matter how much I fiddle with it I can't get rid of. They also open up a slight gap as the system vibrates a little. When you're intensely playing you don't notice it, but at the desktop its really annoyingly off. For the amount of money I spent on this they should be perfect and they are not. The monitors are 1080p/144hz running at 120hz since the GPU only has 2 144hz DP outputs, but the HDMI outputs only run at 120hz. Total resolution is 5760x1080. Most games other than Assetto Corsa Competizione run at 90-110 fps. ACC is poorly optimized for AMD and as of now only runs at about 55-60fps with some settings turned down.
The accessories are mostly leftover stuff I had laying around, except the Headset which I chose due to its quality and open backed so I can still hear whats going on in the house while playing. Overall highly satisfied with the system and its performance, other than the monitor mount which hopefully will have a fix soon.