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So here it is…my friends were practically begging me to build a PC so I could game with them (or maybe so they could start a new build, lol). I’ve had a MacBook Pro for many years and it’s served me well, but the final straw was when I was trying to edit stream footage in After Effects and it was just so slow! And that’s when I decided, “Hey, I should build a computer after all. One that can take video editing and 3D renders like a champ.” Of course this meant some reasonably high specs since I had to make it far outperform the MacBook‑it sounds easy enough but the specs on that laptop are nothing to sneeze at and I keep it around for computing on the go. Well… I was successful! My baby Cute Bruiser eats workloads that the MacBook would choke on for breakfast. Here’s the breakdown:

The Case: Sliger Cerberus
Honestly one of the most difficult parts was deciding on a case. I had committed to mATX even though ITX cases are more my speed. Initially, I was going to go with the NZXT H400, but when I received the case, it was much bigger than I imagined.The next option I looked at was the Inwin 301, but between poor thermals and my apprehension towards any form of water-cooling.

Now, actually talking about the Cerberus. It’s definitely harder to build in at its small size, and is lacking any cable management whatsoever. But with support for mATX, 5 PCI slots, a minimalist look under 20L, a side window, and portability with a handle, it was everything I was looking for. The price tag sure took a chunk out of my wallet though. The build quality is decent, but I’m not sure it’s worth the $300 price tag. Still, I’m happy with the design overall.

The CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
With Ryzen 3rd Gen having just launched, Ryzen 2nd Gen saw major price cuts and some real great sales. Specifically, the 2700X had a 50th Anniversary edition at a really great price. I needed the extra cores for multi-threading tasks, so I picked the older processor with the equivalent price.

The Motherboard: ASRock B450M/ac
This was a weird one in that Newegg had it for sale some time before ASRock even had a webpage for it, with the name “Promontory”. At the time, it was the only mATX motherboard with on-board WiFi, which I needed due to the second slot being occupied by a capture card, and no wall port to connect via Ethernet. Some time later ASRock released it officially and dropped the “Promontory” monicker. It is very similar to their B450M Pro4 in terms of design, components, and layout, with the addition of WiFi really the only difference.

The GPU: MSI GeForce RTX 2060 6 GB VENTUS OC
Great design, quiet and cool. Best performance in my personal price range for sure. Naysayers will say I should have bought a 1660Ti and that the RTX series was a cash grab. Maybe so, but the raytracing has certainly been fun to play with.

The Memory: G.Skill Trident Z Royal 2x16 (32GB) DDR4-3000
Again I snagged a sale and avoided the Royal tax on top of the already pricey RGB tax. It’s stunning to look at and speedy to use, so no complaints here.

Storage: Mushkin Pilot NVME // Crucial MX300 1TB
Moving from an SSD-powered laptop, an SSD boot drive was an absolute must. And boy…is it fast! The Pilot is also TLC so it will last longer than many other M.2’s at this price point which are mostly QLC. For general storage I went with the MX300 because I was to be able to store games and projects and have them run smoothly.

Fans & Extras
Both the fans and CPU cooler are from PCCooler. Not to sound like a shill, but their parts are rad quality for being dirt cheap. That’s not without some problems, like the signal pass-through for the controller box doesn’t seem to work properly for the fans lighting. The cooler was also according to my friend, had the tightest bracket and was the most difficult to install tower cooler he’d ever seen. But it gets the job done and didn’t break the PCB, so all’s well that ends well.

Ultimately it runs nice and quiet, aside from (ironically) the be quiet! exhaust fan in the back is not PWM and therefore is the loudest part of the rig. Capture card is a PCI Elgato Game Capture HD60 Pro, which I’m really enjoying the Instant Gameview feature of especially.

Peripherals
Monitor is a Acer EB243YU 23.8” 1440p monitor. Man, you wouldn’t believe how difficult it is to find a monitor that is ~24”, QHD, IPS, sub-10 refresh rate, 60+ Hz, and supports G-Sync. This is actually the only monitor I could find that checks all those boxes aside from a Europe-only model.

Keyboard is a Cooler Master SK630. I kind of regret not buying the version with the number pad. Still, it looks and feels great. I’m looking forward to Cooler Master releasing the SK851 for an experience closer to my MacBook keyboard.

Mouse is a white Logitech G703 and I can’t explain why it costs so much more than the black edition. Next to the keyboard and PC it tops off the appearance and looks sexy as heck.

Headset is my trusty Steelseries Arctis 3 Bluetooth and probably will be for the foreseeable future.

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