The pictures get better near the end, I promise.
First build I've done, though I spent a good deal of time doing all the research for it. I aimed for the best all-around gaming performance, I play newer AAA titles as well as competitive FPS games, so I need speed and quality where they count. The R5 1600X doesn't significantly bottleneck the 1080 Ti as far as I can tell, and the added multitasking was worthwhile for me to invest in. The only part that gave me trouble was the motherboard, AURA SYNC software would not and still does not launch on my system. Seeing as nothing in my rig is SYNC compatible anyway, I didn't attempt to fix it.
Ryzen was still a new platform when I built this, and the hardest part was waiting for the bracket to use the CRYORIG cooler with the AM4 socket. Since it took a solid month for that piece to come in, I found a be quiet! Pure Rock cooler locally, and it served fairly well. The CRYORIG H5 was definitely worth purchasing though, and temps are never an issue.
Assembly was quick and easy, nothing was broken or dead-on-arrival and all the pieces clicked together smoothly. I do think the Phanteks Eclipse has less than optimal air flow, though it does keep the system noticeably quieter than open air. I did get fairly poor thermals with all the dust filters in place, so I took those two small ones on the front panel out, and used the two larger ones meant for the top exhaust on the front intakes (check pictures).
I did one thing to solve the GPU sag that, in my opinion, was very clever. I took one of the PCIe slot covers that I removed and bent it into a support pillar, then used one of the thumb screws to hold it in place in the grill on the PSU shroud. It solves the problem of GPU sag perfectly, and it matches the case aesthetic by default.
Even though the 1600X is supposed to be a binned chip, I find that anything over 3.8GHz adds instability for me and causes system crashes. It could be a lack of prowess with overclocking, or it could be bad voltage settings. I may have been better off with an R7 1700, and I may plan an upgrade someday.
Instability also appears when I clock the RAM past 2933MHz, so that's where that sits as well. I think I got poor luck when it comes to that hardware, but I have no issues with gaming or anything else I do, so I'm still happy as can be with my build.
-Last Updated November 2018
Chose this over a comparable Intel i5 because I had hopes of streaming someday, I like multitasking, and as an engineering student, the multi threaded performance can come in handy for simulations.
I haven't been able to push my chip past 3.8GHz without getting random crashes here and there while gaming. I suppose I just lost the lottery? At 3.8GHz, though, the chip is stable, runs fairly cool as far as I know, and does everything I need it to flawlessly.
Looks great, performs great. It took a solid 30 days to get my AM4 bracket for the cooler, but now that I've installed it everything's perfect for me.
The AM4 bracket did NOT slot onto the standoffs smoothly, either a result of burrs on the drilled holes or just weird threads, but once it was on, it was snug and didn't shift around. CRYORIG uses two screws to tighten down the heatsink, and rather than reach around the fins, you use a really long screwdriver and go right through the middle. They provide that screwdriver, at least, and they also designed it to be very hard to overtighten the screws, since you have no way to see what you're doing.
For the most part though, if you follow the instructions, it should be impossible to mess up the installation. CRYORIG's included thermal paste also performs admirably.
No issues as far as putting the build together goes. Plenty of IO for my needs, plenty of ports on the mobo, padded IO shield, good color scheme on the board itself, and a neat little RGB stripe running along the audio components on the left. UEFI is straightforward, pretty, and fairly easy to navigate after a few minutes. ASUS makes updating the UEFI fairly easy, I had no issues getting up to date there.
I tried installing the AURA SYNC software, and it crashed on launch every time. No clue what happened there, but seeing as nothing is SYNC compatible in my build anyway, why bother.
I do wish the IO shield had some more style to it, the outside is simply plain silver. Nothing really wrong with that though.
I originally planned on the plain black Vengeance memory that Corsair sells at the same speeds to save a few dollars, but the temptation was too great and it was on sale at the time. Overclocked it to 2933MHz at 1.375V like everyone else with a Ryzen chip seems able to achieve. Anything beyond that, and I seem to get random crashes while playing games.
Amazing improvement over my old laptop's single platter drive. I boot in less than 10 seconds. HwiNFO64 reports temps of 36-37C at pretty much all times, and being located above the GPU on the motherboard, I will be keeping a close eye on these temps for issues under loads. Otherwise, well worth the purchase.
I know, I should've gone at least 2TB. I have another drive bay, I may choose to add one in the future. For now, it performs perfectly for storing games and recorded footage from said games. And I'm not worried about running out of space anytime soon.
Using it to drive a 1440p 144Hz monitor, for FPS games and for AAA titles. Eats up anything I throw at it. PUBG can run 60FPS at max settings, though I play lower settings to reach past ~110FPS for smoother play. Killing Floor 2 runs at 150 FPS at near max settings, with Flex physics (guts and gore) turned off.
Doesn't get absurdly hot either, though I have an aggressive fan curve to keep it as cool as possible. I've peaked around 70C in my setup, where the fans start running 100 percent. The noise is noticable, but I have good headphones and a thick case, so I put up with it for the performance.
I've tinkered with GIGABYTE's AORUS software, mostly to control the RGB logo. I use Afterburner for everything else. AORUS is a little buggy and hard to use, but otherwise acceptable if you're not too picky.
I love the aesthetics, the tempered glass, and the RGB lighting, but the case definitely trades function for form. The thermals are less than ideal, mostly because the front intakes are rather small. I make regular use of the built in fan controller to turn the fans up in order to keep my 1080 Ti cool during heavy gaming sessions, it is incredibly convenient having my three chassis fans tied into it, although it is worth noting that the fan controller only has three speeds which cannot be modified. Given how convenient the fan controller is for me, I suppose the worse thermal performance wasn't a total oversight, although I may be simply doing away with the front panel someday in favor of a large magnetic dust filter.
Great power supply from a great company. This power supply came with all black, sleeved cables that look beautiful and don't detract from the build at all. Be warned, the sleeves and cables themselves are fairly stiff, I felt like I should have taken more time to soften them a bit before plugging them in, but that may just be my inexperience talking. As expected of EVGA, the unboxing experience was amusingly pleasant. There's even a Velcro bag for unused cables.
Windows is Windows. If you're gaming, you get Windows. This is the newest version of Windows right now. What else do you want to know?
Wireless Network Adapter
Due to the lack of ethernet in my living situation, this was a necessary purchase. I think I got it on sale for 45 USD, but it performs well enough and looks nice enough that I wouldn't mind paying retail now that I know it works. I installed the Win10 driver with zero issues and it works without a hitch.
I did purchase an extra large antenna from TP-Link in order to avoid the issue of having wireless antennas trying to reach the router from behind an all metal case, and that performs beautifully as well.
Ideal fans. Never an issue with temps or noise at any speed.
Upgraded from Phanteks PH-F140SP_BK_WLED fans, since the noise was a little high for me. I think I lost a little bit of cooling performance, but it still isn't an issue.
Ideal fan. Never an issue with temps or noise at any speed.
Upgraded from Phanteks PH-F120SP_BK_WLED fan, since the noise was a little high for me. I think I lost a little bit of cooling performance, but it still isn't an issue.
The price seems to be dropping regularly for this monitor, which is very nice considering it's already a good deal. The build quality is perfect for me, the stand is rock solid, the mount has zero wobble, the bezel is super thin, the matte finish is lovely, and Dell doesn't believe in the flashy, RoG gamer aesthetic.
1440p at 24 inches provides good pixel density, and is perfect for gaming on. There is a 27 inch version for those closer on the spectrum to content creation, but this one perfectly fit my price range. Though, the TN panel likely means you'll look elsewhere. 1ms response time is a nice feature as well. 144Hz is, as everyone says, night and day compared to 60Hz gaming, and you should look for high refresh rates no matter what your price point is for a gaming PC. The advertised 165Hz overclock goes unused, as I don't notice the difference and would rather extend the life of the product, if only a little. Oh, and it has G-SYNC for buttery smooth everything.
I do notice that the monitor tends to flicker when my PC cold boots, which I think adds a good 5-10 seconds onto my boot times. Could be my configuration, could be something else.
Display inputs are sturdy and don't feel like they'll snap if I pull a cord, and the USB hub is a creature comfort for me.
Better colors than my TN panel, brighter, and I can leave it in vertical orientation. Perfect side monitor to pair with my gaming monitor. Great for programming, reading and writing documents, browsing, and having Discord open while gaming.
Speakers can be decently loud from a few feet away, but quality is moderate at best. Consider something else for primary audio device.
Functional and comfortable. I have my version with MX Browns since I do almost equal parts typing and gaming. I haven't noticed and wearing out of the lettering on the keys since I bought, which was becoming an issue on my old off-brand gaming keyboard. The brand was AJAZZ or something. I do appreciate the reinforced keys for the gaming clusters, they are easy to find without looking and non-intrusive when typing normally.
The software experience is fully customizable, if a little complex at first. I actually was able to reconfigure the function for the brightness button, which now cycles through my lighting profiles.
I have noticed some glitches in the colors, though, with certain keys occasionally failing to match up with the rest. This seems to be a random and inconsistent occurrence, although only certain keys seem to have the issue, notably Left-ALT.
Great mouse. High performance, good weight, great durability, and I'm glad they switched to a silicone grip for the sides over rubber, since my thumb eventually rubbed and sweat through my old Rival 300 side grip.
I had to RMA my first Rival 310, the sensor started registering double clicks on single clicks which was getting unusable. Steelseries support is great and I didn't have to wait long to get a replacement. If the conditions are right you can "destroy" your old mouse and send them proof to get a replacement, didn't even have to worry about shipping in the old mouse. 10/10 customer friendly process.
No complaints. I have no issues with the sound, and the software is lightweight and simple to use. I'm no audiophile, so I can't distinguish how 'great' the sound is, but I'm sure its a great quality for the price.
The ear cup material is only somewhat sweat proof, and (if you're like me and have very oily skin) you will eventually notice it degrading. Stays comfortable though, no issues there.