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I Call It N.A.G.S.

by mike9409



Date Published

Feb. 8, 2017

Date Built

Feb. 8, 2017

CPU Clock Rate

4.4 GHz

CPU Temperature While Idle

28.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

54.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate

1.28 GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

7 GHz

GPU Temperature While Idle

26.0° C

GPU Temperature Under Load

52.0° C


  • N - Cooler Master N200 case
  • A - AMD Athlon X4-860K CPU
  • G - Gigabyte GA-F2A88X-D3HP MoBo
  • S - Sapphire RX460 2GB GPU

That's what the name means... Make of that what you will.

I had some spare parts laying around, along with an old build I disassembled, so I decided to put them together into an entry-level gaming rig. Turned out OK I think!!

CPU: The Athlon 860K is positively ancient, but is still an amazing budget chip. Gave it a nice mild overclock since I was cooling it with a pretty overkill AiO liquid cooler, and it returns more than respectable results. The introduction of KabyLake Pentium processors with hyperthreading has made this budget Athlon a bit obsolete. However, with 4 physical cores, it can still edge the Pentium out in some multi-threaded workloads, even though the Pentium will crush it in anything requiring a higher IPC rate. Nevertheless, it is a great chip which will manage to keep up with the budget GPU... Speaking of which...

GPU: The RX460 is truly a wonderful little card. Cool, quiet, and packs a nice little punch way above its price range. Yes, the 1050 is a little faster in some games, but I plan on running Dolphin on this machine often, and Radeon GPUs truly do shine with their OpenGL performance (which most emulators use to a greater extent over DirectX). Gave it a very mild overclock as well.

RAM: Corsair's Vengeance line comes into another build. What a surprise. This is, however, my last kit of this fine memory. I can't say enough good things about it.

MOTHERBOARD: All our components need a home and, considering I have used this exact model in 3 builds already, I decided to use the Gigabyte GA-F2A88XN-WIFI mITX board. It has WiFi built-in, and is a nice board from a manufacturer I would trust again and again. Not enough fan connectors, but the AiO came with a little hub stick, so that was not a problem.

CPU COOLER: Only a little overkill for the CPU, but this Maelstrom 240 is a monster. I've used quieter AiOs, and definitely ones that have better cooling potential, but there is something about these DeepCool AiOs that I love: this is the third build with a Maelstrom cooler. I'll let the OC temperatures speak for themselves, but at stock speeds, I never broke 45C. Comes with a neat 4x fan splitter, which is a godsend with these smaller motherboards that never have enough fan headers. (Side-note: Could fan makers please start making fans where the actual connector has power prongs sticking up so we can daisy-chain them off a single header?! PLEASE!)

PSU: This Thermaltake unit is actually a rescue from an old build. The office PC this sat in was being upgraded to a proper workstation, so the 430W limit would have been far over-shot. It wound its way into this build simply by being a PSU from a brand I trust and having enough juice to get the job done.

CASE: It's been in my closet for over a week now. I finally built in a Cooler Master N200 for the first time ever. I thought that, by putting a mITX board into a mATX case, the build would be easy. It wasn't... The cooler actually gave me the most problems, as I had to remove ALL of my drive storage (the cage and the 3.5mm bay at the top). This meant I had to get creative with drive placement, forcing me to stick my SSD to the power supply and mounting the HDD on the floor of the case with two screws - using the rubber grommets included with the case as vibration isolators, and spacers to stop the back from resting on the bare metal. Now that the HDD was so close to the ground however, I couldn't fit SATA power into it, since the remaining length of the cable was pressing on the floor. I ended off chopping the rest of the cable off, leaving just one SATA cable on one wire bundle coming out of the PSU, and wrapping the exposed end in a tight layer of electrical tape to prevent it from shorting out on anything... I think it went well and looks pretty good... 10/10 case, just my mistake that I didn't read up on its features and limitations properly.

STORAGE: Typical setup: smaller SSD for quick launch, larger HDD for mass storage. My base configuration is 120GB+1TB but I found another one of these old Intel SSDs so in it went. They're rock solid and, while not the fastest, are pretty snappy and serve their purpose. Will probably replace it with a 240GB SSD later on, if I find a good one on sale.

Comments Sorted by:

LeMMingSlayeR 22 Builds 4 points 21 months ago
 The Athlon 860K is positively ancient

Athlon x4 860k - Introduced in August 2014.

Hmm... My computer features an FX-8350, surely that's newer than an ancient Athlon.

FX-8350 - Introduced in October 2012.


mike9409 submitter 6 Builds 3 points 21 months ago

Haha - yah, the whole CPU lineup AMD has going on is pretty well aged. Hasn't been a major change in about 5 years now, just refreshes.

Joosrar 3 points 21 months ago

I really don't know why people don't like AMD, They say it is hotter. What you have to say about that?

mike9409 submitter 6 Builds 8 points 21 months ago

I love building with AMD because more money stays in the wallet. XD

BradBlex 3 points 21 months ago

i can't tell if its your camera or your system is just dusty

mike9409 submitter 6 Builds 2 points 21 months ago

It's just a dumb filter haha

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potatomanflavor 3 Builds 4 points 21 months ago

plot twist the dust is camera-y

mike9409 submitter 6 Builds 3 points 21 months ago

Camera, the dust is twisty.

fn230 10 Builds 2 points 21 months ago

Spare parts build! I like. Have a +1! :D

EnsisTheSlayer 1 Build 2 points 21 months ago

By far the best budget AMD rig (and emulation centered rig), and it really shows that you've done your research and got the best for the price specifically for the Dolphin emulator. +1 for sure

mike9409 submitter 6 Builds 1 point 21 months ago

I would love for Intel to release a quad-core pentium - something similar to the N3700/N4200 but in an LGA1151 configuration:

  • 2.5GHz base - 3.0GHz turbo
  • 3MB cache
  • 25-35W TDP at most
  • 8+4 PCIe lane setup (4 onboard for internals and 8 for GPU)

Imagine how good that would be - a true budget 4-core from Intel... I guess we'll just have to stick around and wait for low-end RYZEN CPUs :/

squats 1 point 21 months ago

I love the black and blue theme! J/k that blue cable is absolutey horrible! I'll give you a +1 for the blue cable that no one ever uses :D

mike9409 submitter 6 Builds 2 points 21 months ago

+1 for stock Intel cable

ImperiousBattlestar 1 point 21 months ago

Even though Zen is coming out soon, it's nice to see FM2+ builds around here. + 1 :)

mike9409 submitter 6 Builds 1 point 19 months ago

Just completed a RYZEN 5 build ;) And with a similar GPU as well... Time to put them head-to-head

Shadowslayer1924 1 Build 1 point 21 months ago

I think the iso in the first picture messed up other than that, nice build +1 (old AMD > fx series)

mike9409 submitter 6 Builds 1 point 21 months ago

Naww, that was just an Instagram filter and I ended off liking the image

xiiistephan 1 Build 1 point 21 months ago

N200 represent! I also had a Mini-ITX mobo in this case - it only made it harder to build due to awkward cable management (e.g. Mini-ITX boards have power connector on the top, while mATX have them on the right).

Did you try putting HDD in the DVD drive bay? Maybe there are brackets for 5.25 slots for proper mounting?

mike9409 submitter 6 Builds 2 points 21 months ago

I found the solution in the cage holes: works brilliantly!!

xiiistephan 1 Build 1 point 21 months ago

Might be a bit late, but I've bumped into this Cooler Master video and they have fans mounted inside the front panel. This may also help with storage slots.

mike9409 submitter 6 Builds 1 point 21 months ago

Yes and no - Mounting the fans inside the front panel does indeed push the overall footprint of the radiator setup back far enough to keep the drive cage, but I never do push configurations on intake radiators as it introduces dust issues. The N200 isn't very well filtered on the intake, and the dust would have accumulated between the radiator and the fans.

With the fans pulling air in, it's simple enough to take off the front panel and vacuum any dust that accumulates on the face.

Honestly, the way it is now is as clean as you can ever get an N200 looking in terms of cable management.
My next step will be to get a piece of aluminum folded into a nice PSU shroud and then cut the side panel open for a window.

xiiistephan 1 Build 1 point 21 months ago

Yeah, I get your point, N200 has almost no filtering :/

mike9409 submitter 6 Builds 1 point 21 months ago

Quite literally "you get what you pay for" with this case... Thinking of making a filter insert to sit in front of the radiator, but I don't think there is really any point.

ryangthemang 1 point 21 months ago

im sorry if these are common sense questions for the parts you have selected, but i dont know much about pc's .. anyways. would this build run most newer games on high/ultra high at 60fps ? games such as wither 3 and other really demanding games such as that?

mike9409 submitter 6 Builds 1 point 21 months ago

No. The hardware used is pretty old, aside from the graphics card, which is new but not very powerful. While it can play any modern game at OK framerates, it's not a collection that would handle demanding games at highest settings anywhere near 60fps.

A good alternative that would run most games at 1080p ultra would be a Pentium G4560 for the CPU and either an RX480 or a GTX1060 GPU

Stereotypical_Whale 1 Build 1 point 20 months ago

It's a... but there's a cable wrapping... uh what... but why is the ssd there? why what uuuuuh... and why leaves? Why? The f*** just happened?

mike9409 submitter 6 Builds 1 point 20 months ago

Breathe... Wait, what leaves?

Stereotypical_Whale 1 Build 1 point 20 months ago

lol on the curtains.

mike9409 submitter 6 Builds 1 point 20 months ago

XD I replaced those curtains... Now they're gray leaves B-)

NoahK123 1 point 19 months ago

just asking how did you find a motherboard that worked w/ the athlon? I couldn't find any

mike9409 submitter 6 Builds 1 point 19 months ago

My local store stocked it; CanadaComputers still has a few laying around.

Great board, but there is little to no fan control ability in the BIOS so be weary of that:

ASrock MSI and ASUS all have much better fan control. I resorted to running all my fans off 5V supplied by a free USB header and then configuring that USB "port" to only be on when the PC is on. They're super quiet that way, and with a 240mm rad, its not like they have to move a lot of air to cool the processor.

Happyhungarian123 1 point 19 months ago

other than that PSU cable management good job

mike9409 submitter 6 Builds 1 point 19 months ago

Well, that PSU isn't staying so I didn't care TOO much.

Truecookieman35 1 point 14 months ago

Hey did you have to flash the bois to update it so that your non black 860k can boot up? I need an answer fast cause in almost at my due date.

mike9409 submitter 6 Builds 1 point 14 months ago

Depends on the date the motherboard was built. If you buy it new, it'll probably have the latest BIOS onboard. MoBos leave factory with the current stable BIOS. I personally didn't have to flash mine.

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mike9409 submitter 6 Builds 1 point 21 months ago