Description

The first "Blackbox" was originally build in 2011, based on a Silverstone FT03 with an semi-passive-cooled AMD Phenom II X6 and a semi-passive-cooled Radeon HD7850. Clear and brief: It still works fine, but needs a little performance-upgrade ;)

The system is used for casual gaming (incl. VR), all kinds of tinkering, programming and telecommuting via Citrix.

I tried to find a good compromize between price, performance and noisiness. I also hoped to reuse my beloved slightly-modded FT03-Case (with non-stock 120mm-Fans), Storage-HDD, PSU and my favorite CPU-Cooler (Prolimatech Megahalem).

Sadly there was no AM4-retention-module for the Megahalem, so I had to try the Stock-AMD-Boxed-Cooler ... which performed sub-par and was therefore replaced by a Thermalright Macho Rev.B. (I knew the Stock-Boxed-Ryzen would be "hot", but during prime95-stresstesting the temperature rose to 85°C and that is not acceptable to me. The Macho performs at around 68°C while stresstesting - thats OK!)

I really love the look and chimney-concept of the Silverstone Fortress FT03B. It sucks air from underneath and uses 3 slow/silent 120mm-Fans to funnel the air through the CPU-Cooler and out through the ceiling (...and as hot air normally goes up by itself, this is nothing less than perfect for the airflow ;) ). Done right, this makes a very, very silent system. (While idling there is no chance to tell if it is running or not - gladly there is an LED ;) )

The internal cable-management is really well-thought-out and three of the four side-panels are only "clicked" to the chassis, so that you can access the hardware without tools in the blink of an eye.

What I also like is, that the mainboard-ports are on the upper side of the case and my cable-management is installed underneath the tabletop of my desk. I modded the case, so that the power cable can also be plugged into the upper side of the FT03 (next to the GPU), so I`ve got no cables lying on the floor. Nothing is in the way of the vacuum-robot or my two cats while running crazy ;)

The GPU does use a custom-cooling-system by Sapphire which is a also quite silent and nothing like the really noisy reference-design. Under full-throttle (furmark-stresstesting) there is a little whistle - but thats it! I am happy with it - and I am a stickler for silence.

I tinkered around with replacing the angular 120mm bottom-fan with two 80mm fans (as seen on some of the screenshots), but that affected airflow and noise in a really bad way, so I went back to one angular 120mm fan.

Performance is what I hoped for, so I've got no need for overclocking (but it is nice to have the option)

Since english is not my native tongue, I hope that everything I wrote is at least a little comprehensible - if not: Use the comments ;)

I would like to hear your ideas and thoughts!

with kind regards Nyndroth

Part Reviews

CPU

Really nice CPU ... a little hot with the stock boxed cooler. I think its the perfect combination of price and performance right now.

CPU Cooler

Another massive block of aluminium with six heatpipes ;) Does not reach the build-quality of the Megahalem but can produce nearly the same cooling-power and works very silent. I am pleased with it. Good accessory (included screwdriver) and AM4-Compability with separate backplate out of the box.

Motherboard

I really like this board ... I've got nothing to nag. Two m.2-Ports, Bios-Flash-button and VR-ready-USB3-ports are a nice bonus.

Memory

I am using only Corsair Vengeance Memory since 2006/2007(!?) and never had a reason to change. Good performance, good durability, good price and I never had a non-functioning one or compability issues.

Storage

I love m.2-Storage ... its incredibly fast (PCIe), not that expensive and you've got no cables to zip-tie and hide ;)

Video Card

Good custom cooling-solution. Much better than the reference-design. Right now it is the perfect combination of price and performance and also a good pick if you want to start VR-Gaming.

Case

I would give 10 stars if I could ;)

The visual appearance, the chimney-concept, the cable-management, the ability to fit even large CPU-coolers, the hot-swap-HDD-slot, the top-facing connection-ports --- I LOVE THIS CASE!

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Comments

  • 3 months ago
  • 2 points

did the mobo support the cpu out of the box??

  • 3 months ago
  • 2 points

Yes, all MSI-MAX-Boards support the Ryzen 5 without Bios-Update

  • 4 months ago
  • 1 point

That's a great build. Looks neatly done and well thought-out. Nice work! +1

I have couple questions:

Are you satisfied with the noise levels? You seem to be the parson that gives much attention to that aspect. Your CPU cooler is a banger and I know it's probably almost completely silent. How about the case and GPU?

Also, how's your GPU doing stability-wise? There is a lot of talk on PCPP about ****** Radeon drivers that give people a lot of problems. What's your experience with that?

And the PSU. You are probably fine with the one you have for the time being but aren't you worried? It would be a lot safer to have some more Wattage headroom, don't you think?

  • 4 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks! The system is located under the desk in my living-room, so I want it as quiet as possible. I hate computers that sound like living next to an international airport ;)

The overall noise levels are really good. The case uses the thermodynamic stack effect (like a chimney), so I can use very slow, silent 120mm fans. There is no thermal bottleneck - the airflow is excellent. And since it funnels most of the air through the heatsinks of the "macho" the CPU benefits of this greatly.

The GPU is by far the loudest part of the system ... but since the sapphire-custom design is working a lot better/quieter that the reference-model this is a sacrifice i am willing to make. It is a lot quieter than most GPUs in this range of performance. I tried 5 different models (amd & nvidia) before and wasn't happy. Since its fans are not (or only slowly) running in idle you only hear it when you really use the power ... and even then its ok - there is only a little humming. I can tolerate that. When I am playing there is normally sound or music involved, so the humming isn't a big issue. I used a semi-passive GPU before (cooled only by the 120mm case-fans) and I knew that the new configuration would be louder.

Until now the radeon-drivers and the RX5700 work perfectly (even for VR, where the RX-VEGA-predecessors had their fair share of issues) I only tried a few games right now (DiRT-Rallye 2, Fallout76, hardly modded Fallout4, half a dozen VR-games) and I've got nothing to complain. Everything runs really smooth (even the extremely bugged F76) - but I am no hardcore-poweruser and only use one screen with 1920x1200 and an Oculus Rift S. The experience of an poweruser with a more ambitious setup may differ.

The PSU wasn't really my first choice, but it was a freebie ;) A coworker won it at a games convention (gamescom) in cologne and donated it to me ;) I calculated that the system should use around 370w at it's peak. But I think that you are right and the PSU is a little weak. I've got another system (media-center) that is heavily overequipped (650W) and will change the PSUs. Thank you for your hint! Better safe than sorry ;)

  • 4 months ago
  • 1 point

It's great to hear that everything works as you intended. Thanks for answering my questions. Cheers!

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Looks friggin sexy. Where did you get your mobo? Both the mortar and it's max version haven't been in stock for me for months now no matter where I look.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

I'm from germany and bought mine online from mindfactory.de. I got another one for my wifes system a few weeks ago.

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