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Red Dragon: Athlon X4 860K / MSI GTX 960 Twin Frozr 4GB (First self build)

by convertedconsolegamer_92

52
70 Comments

Details

Date Published

June 3, 2015

Date Built

May 29, 2015

CPU Clock Rate

3.7GHz

CPU Temperature While Idle

32.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

60.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate

1.24GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

7.01GHz

GPU Temperature While Idle

30.0° C

GPU Temperature Under Load

55.0° C

Description

After playing consoles for over 35 yrs. I decided it was time for a change after watching a friend play Rome II on a 1080p monitor. I researched for a solid 6-7 months and learned a lot about PC hardware and trust me I needed every bit of that knowledge. I was set on a quad core cpu, but I did not want to pay Intel money. I "settled" on the 860K by AMD and I am so happy I did. The CPU gives great performance to price ratio and I could not be happier. The only issue is I did not win the silicone lottery. My chip only gets to 4.4 Ghz and not to mention I need about 1.50v to keep it stable. I decided to use two BIOS profiles of 4.2 and 4.1 and just to keep my voltage down. My temps were always good during stress tests and I never came within 20 degrees of the CPU thermal margin in AMD Overdrive. Anyway on to my build and more pics to come.

Part Reviews

CPU

Best price to performance CPU on the market. I didn't win the silicone lottery which is a bit disappointing, but I was able to get it up to 4.4 on high voltage (1.5). These chips can take 1.55v, but it is not recommended for everyday use. I settled on 4.2 at 1.45v. No L3 cache is a bummer as well, but for the money I am beyond happy, although I have to leave a star off due to my bad luck with the silicone.

CPU Cooler

Decent for the price, but to be honest I think a Hyper 212 Evo will perform just as well or better. The stock fan is loud as you know what! I'm upgrading my cooler soon trust that.

Thermal Compound

Bought this after seeing it listed in the number 3 slot of a "Top 5 thermal compound" list. My cooler is not the best, but my CPU has never gone above 63 degrees during a stress test. That is about 18-19 degrees within the thermal margin of my CPU. No doubt this compound is playing a significant role in that. If you plan on overclocking a CPU ditch any compound packaged with your cooler/CPU and purchase something like this.

Motherboard

This is the pride and joy of my build. I can't tell you how much I love this board. It is super sturdy and well made. The PCB is jet black and the red accents are really nice. Photos do this board no justice. It has great heatsinks and CPU phase power for overclocking and plenty of USB and sata ports. Another plus was that it shipped with a compatible BIOS for my CPU.

Memory

Great RAM. By default the BIOS has it running at 1600MHz, but a simple click in the XMP profile will have it running at 2400Mhz with no issues. I've been experimenting with 2133 and 2400 speeds. My motherboard claims to not support 2400MHz clocked RAM although the RAM runs just fine at that speed. At 2133 (fastest speed supported according to Gigabyte) my system seems a bit more stable when stress testing overclocks.

Storage

Cheap and fast! 8-10 seconds from shut down to password login in Windows. If you build a PC you MUST buy an SSD.

Storage

Cheapest, most reliable HDD on the market. The reviews don't lie. Stay away from Seagate and buy WD.

Video Card

I bought the 4B model because the free Witcher 3 product key justified the extra cost. Very happy with my choice. The card looks great and comes with a nice back plate. Temps never got above 60 degrees under heavy load. I've only benchmarked one game so far. I avg high 80s in Bioshock Infinite with everything set to Ultra, but that game is not very demanding. Will come back and edit after I get Witcher 3 benchmarks. The promotion is now over for the free game, so if you find a cheap R9 280X it is a better performer, but this card is great also.

Case

Best budget case bar none. There is no debate on this. I am a first time builder and my PC looks like a professional did the job. The majority of the case is steel and at this price point you just won't find another like it. There is a metal bracket inside the PC that hides all of the cables. The PSU cover inside makes your build look even cleaner. A joy to work in with maximum airflow due to drive cages being situated on the back side of the case. Your SSD mounts sit on top of the PSU cover and can be displayed in the window for a nice touch.

Power Supply

Nice, powerful, quiet and semi modular from a top manufacturer. Can't ask for anything more at this price point

Operating System

meh....

Case Fan

Quiet and pretty and man do they push a lot of air.

Case Fan

I used this fan to replace the stock fan of the Cooler Master Seidon 120v. Quiet and good enough airflow to push air out of the radiator as an exhaust.

Monitor

Good monitor. I was disappointed that I bought the one without the HDMI port, but it was only 119 bucks.

Keyboard

Good product for the price. The mouse is light and flimsy, but it works. I'm upgrading my mouse very soon.

Mouse

Perfect 8 button layout for my FPS games. I had to ditch the mouse that came with my keyboard combo. This one has DPI settings up to 4000 and a sniper button. High build quality and very responsive. MicroCenter had it on sale for 39.99. 20 bucks off retail.

Comments Sorted by:

Growliff1234 5 points 26 months ago

Congrats on getting featured build !

convertedconsolegamer_92 submitter 2 Builds 2 points 26 months ago

Really? When I read your comment I checked but there is another rig up now. Thanks I appreciate it!

Growliff1234 2 points 26 months ago

It was up for an hour or two then it got taken down by that amazing watercooled Modded beast

convertedconsolegamer_92 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 26 months ago

Lol I have to respect that! Not hating at all.

SecondServing 4 points 26 months ago

Looks really great! Ironically, I was planning on building something very similar to this. You should post some Witcher 3 benchmarks when you get the chance.

Raintrollstar 6 points 24 months ago

Sorry for being a grammer nazi but its coincidentally not ironically.

convertedconsolegamer_92 submitter 2 Builds 2 points 26 months ago

Thank you and I am downloading the Witcher 3 from GOG as I type this.

dsargent7 1 Build 3 points 26 months ago

Very cool to see some less traditional parts in this build. Is this just for gaming or do you do any kind of editing work on this rig? I was thinking about going with an athlon until I got the killer deal on my 8350.

Nice build overall. That 960 should definitely crush 1080 games for you.

convertedconsolegamer_92 submitter 2 Builds 2 points 26 months ago

Thanks so much! Yeah I use this for gaming and basic word processing and internet browsing. I also agree that the 8350 is a great CPU, even the 8320 especially if you have a good motherboard and cooler for overclocking. This 960 is doing everything I need it to. I overclocked the core clock by 160 and the memory clock by 22. That gives me 3-6 fps boost. Not much but I'll take it considering the voltage is still at stock and the GPU never gets hot.

goodra 1 Build 3 points 26 months ago

Seeing your build reminded me to update mine lol. Our builds look so similiar! I've always wanted to try out the 860k, it looks like the best cpu for the dollar. Great work on the cable management

stormage 4 points 26 months ago

It's really an amazing CPU. It is capable of running all the CPU side of almost any game out today. And as long as you put in a GPU that can handle today's games, IE r9 280+, or nvidia GTX 960 (4gb)+ it's a perfectly capable CPU. And for 75 bucks!

convertedconsolegamer_92 submitter 2 Builds 2 points 26 months ago

+1

convertedconsolegamer_92 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 26 months ago

The 860k is great at what it was designed to do. I always tell ppl to keep that in mind when they buy it. I'm happy with it no doubt.

aeden25 1 point 14 months ago

At this point in time the Skylake Pentium G4400 is neck n' neck with the 860K. So it depends if you like AMD or Intel better

el20 1 Build 2 points 26 months ago
  • desktop background :), nice clean build too!
convertedconsolegamer_92 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 26 months ago

Thank you

ScottyB239 2 points 26 months ago

I'm on my third WD hard drive... the last 2 failed within a year. Maybe it's bad luck maybe it's the hardware itself. Hopefully 3rd times the charm.

convertedconsolegamer_92 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 26 months ago

Man that's bad luck. Did you buy the Blue or the Black?

Mr.pcman 2 points 24 months ago

An amazing build for the price. I had thought about something like this once, but i decided to save my money up a bit longer. Anyways, looks awesome!

convertedconsolegamer_92 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 24 months ago

Thanks!

deeznuts2015whatarethose 1 Build 2 points 21 months ago

for your first self build, it looks ultimately professional. I'm getting ready to buy parts for a 500-600 dollar build. You have quenched my OCD for today.

convertedconsolegamer_92 submitter 2 Builds 2 points 21 months ago

Thanks for the love man! I'm already planning a Skylake build for the end of January. 500-600 dollars is a great starting point you will be very satisfied.

itsallwood 2 points 19 months ago

Very nice build man. I love it!

convertedconsolegamer_92 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 19 months ago

Thank You. I need to add pics of my new things. I have a dual monitor set up now and a new keyboard and mouse.

partpicker3484 1 Build 2 points 17 months ago

Nice red/black build...reminds me of my last build. Love that case.

convertedconsolegamer_92 submitter 2 Builds 2 points 17 months ago

Thanks and congrats on being featured the other day. I really love your build.

Fez___ 2 points 17 months ago

+1 For Gaming Chair, nice build bro.

convertedconsolegamer_92 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 17 months ago

lol. Yeah man it's been updated since then. New chair. Posting a Skylake build very soon.

Luigiox 3 Builds 1 point 25 months ago

Nice build, to top it my favorite color combination! +1

convertedconsolegamer_92 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 25 months ago

Thanks man!

MightyMango 1 point 25 months ago

Hey. How's your PC been holding up thus far? Are you still enjoying the experiences since day 1? Any recent upgrades?

convertedconsolegamer_92 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 25 months ago

Everything is working fine thanks for asking. Recent upgrades were the red 24 pin and 8 pin cable extensions and a second monitor which I will post pics soon of the monitor. I have a stable overclock on my CPU and GPU and my gaming experience has been top notch. Next upgrades with be in a year or two after AMD releases their new Zen architecture CPUs. If they are good I'll replace my 860K with one, if not, I will switch to Intel.

MightyMango 1 point 25 months ago

Thanks for the response. Great to know your PC is still tanking. Have fun!

andro234 1 point 23 months ago

that gaming chair tho!

convertedconsolegamer_92 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 23 months ago

LMAO! That has been upgrading. As well as Corsair SP Performance fans in push/pull on my rad. I also have a second monitor. Will update with pics soon.

coolsdays54 3 Builds 1 point 20 months ago

no offense, but i truthfully created the big brother to your pc.

convertedconsolegamer_92 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 20 months ago

No offense taken. I'm done with AMD. Check back in January for the Skylake/ 980 ti. Then big brother that.

coolsdays54 3 Builds 1 point 20 months ago

Im trying to make mine evolve. two 970 trade blows with a 980ti, so we'll have to see once the final evolution comes around. but in the meantime i dont have any money left and i need to work. but, another issue is that its winter and im too young to get a real job.

coolsdays54 3 Builds 1 point 20 months ago

to be honest

coolsdays54 3 Builds 1 point 20 months ago

and to finish with a punch, have fun with skylake. it has issues. ill be waiting until intel gets what they have together and come out with products which do what they are advertised to do. the 980ti is nothing without an equally great CPU.

coolsdays54 3 Builds 1 point 18 months ago

check out the first part of my intel and nvidia system, just upgraded it, waiting to see what i can do with all of it.

Fez___ 1 point 15 months ago

+1 for Gaming Chair. Nice build though.

convertedconsolegamer_92 submitter 2 Builds 2 points 15 months ago

Lol thanks. I have a Skylake build now and a new chair

aeden25 1 point 14 months ago

I have a very similar build, its just for some reason my FROZR was an Radeon R9.

murphylogan6 1 point 13 months ago

Does the cpu bottle neck the gpu? Just wondering becaus e I have a 960 too.

convertedconsolegamer_92 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 13 months ago

In CPU intensive games yes. Total War games, Borderlands 2, Arma 3 is really bad, modded Skyrim just a few examples. That's why I upgraded. Check it out I have it posted.

LightningGamer 1 point 13 months ago

where did you get those nice sleeved red cables? Also great build!!!

convertedconsolegamer_92 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 13 months ago

Thanks. I've already updated this build you can check it out. The sleeves come from Ensourced.net

LightningGamer 1 point 13 months ago

Thx!

mat_hos 1 point 11 months ago

I know I'm late but how are the case fans

convertedconsolegamer_92 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 11 months ago

Hey. I've upgraded this build since. I have Corsair SP 120s on the radiator. The Enermax fan that was on the rad is now on the top. All the fans are great.

ddehorta 1 point 10 months ago

Amazing for a first time. That cable management is just beautiful.

InfinityBuilderIV 1 point 9 months ago

I'm thinking of using this case for my first build, however when I try to choose an optical drive it claims that none of them are compatible with the case. It probably just because I'm new to pc building, but how would I install the OS?

convertedconsolegamer_92 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 8 months ago

Hey sorry about the delay. This case does not have an option to add a CD/DVD drive. You can install the OS using an external drive or by USB flash drive

InfinityBuilderIV 1 point 7 months ago

Thank, M8. I ended up buying the case and my PC's running beautifully.

Jkershaw2000 0 points 26 months ago

Won't the Athlon bottleneck that gpu?

Growliff1234 5 points 26 months ago

No way

nugget9711 3 points 26 months ago

no especially with a nice overclock

SecondServing 2 points 26 months ago

Nope.

convertedconsolegamer_92 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 26 months ago

not at all.

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convertedconsolegamer_92 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 26 months ago

Thank you

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ziggurat666 5 Builds 7 points 26 months ago

3 rebuttals to your claim...

1) No water cooling/Aftermarket cooler=inferior overclocking potential. He may have lost the silicon lottery but would never have been able to overclock on the stock cooler (or most cheaper mobo's for that matter)

2) Motherboard was purchased for feature richness AND aesthetics. Cheaper Mobo's on the FM2+ chipset lack 3 essential things for true gaming rigs. High capacity VRM's, Fan plugins, and good quality onboard audio.

3) the R9 290 may benchmark high, but it's chipset actually is never truly utilized and is far too spread out to be considered more effective than the 9X0 series Nvidia cards. On top of that, the OP even stated he bought the GPU due primarily to Witcher 3 promotion. The R9 290 is aged in both structure and features.

OK... 4 things

4) i5-4690k is a fantastic processor... don't get me wrong. But the 860K is only a 17% drop in total core performance stock and 25% single threaded... for over 300% less ($80~ compared to $260~)... kinda no brainer

convertedconsolegamer_92 submitter 2 Builds 2 points 26 months ago

Exactly this. Thanks for saving me some time.

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ziggurat666 5 Builds 3 points 26 months ago

Wow... I need an education? Here's yours

First, this is a USD ($) PC... That mobo (in Pounds) is only about 70, or $110 USD... do your research. The reason it is high priced in the UK/Non North America's is shipping that you don't see and export cost's.

Secondly, By your advice i should put a $260 CPU in a $60-$70 motherboard. Problems that occur there... You are not looking at the Z97/Z87 series with any respectable capabilities (If at all unless a heck of a deal). And even then, Mobo will have minimal additions. If you want to consider nearly no fan headers, locked chipsets, poor VRM's (since you can't overclock anyway, well guess it doesn't matter), and poor audio as a "decent" motherboard, be my guest. And sorry, I am not buying an unlocked processor to put it on a locked Motherboard chipset.

R9 290, better yes... crazy better? http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/compare.php?cmp[]=3114&cmp[]=2719 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrSkRC7QvIM

Not so much... for 125W on average less draw... I would go to the 960. And run the 960 vs the 290 on 3DMark 11... you will be very surprised.

the r9 290 may benchmark high okay, cool. oh and by the way:

the R9 290 does benchmark high FTFY

No... you actually pulled it out of context, as I was referring that it Benchmarks high, just in English not used by 3rd graders. It was used in referral, not in comparison.

Enjoy. And if you are always going to get this skirt-lifted by someone else's opinion then research a little please before going on a tangent with blindfolds on. Thank you

kylclrk 1 point 22 months ago

I know this is super late, but I was looking at Athlon X4 860k / GTX 960 builds because I'm thinking about making a few upgrades (and for what it's worth, I'm probably going this route since I don't want to change motherboard & PSU).

Anyway, I'm sad that I didn't get to see the other guys' posts, but I love how well you told him off; easy to understand, short and to the point - just the way I like it! =) ...Definitely the post I needed to read! I needed confirmation that the Athlon and 960 could hold its own, and reading your post definitely confirmed it for me. =)

convertedconsolegamer_92 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 26 months ago

Thanks for the feedback.

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raysfan98 1 Build 2 points 26 months ago

No way a 650 ti would outdo this build! This man has built a fabulous PC for 1080p gaming!

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raysfan98 1 Build 1 point 26 months ago

What?

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raysfan98 1 Build 1 point 26 months ago

That literally makes no sense! Plus, you... Never mind. No need to sink down to your level! -_-

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convertedconsolegamer_92 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 25 months ago

Thanks man. By the time AMD releases their Zen architecture you should be ready to upgrade. I'm hoping Zen is gonna be something special, but if it's not I'm going Intel in 2 years.

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