Description

It's more computer than I need, but we build the computer that we want, no?

I'm using this for poking around on the internet, watching movies and YouTube and a few management games like Football Manager 2020 and Crusader Kings II. It's certainly overkill for my needs, but I think I might get some music production hardware in a few months so I may be glad of its potential.

I'm a lucky lad. My coworker recently upgraded his gaming rig and gave me his 2-year old graphics card, sound card, NVMe SSD and monitor. I received my power supply and UPS as gifts. So the total cost listed doesn't reflect these parts, which would just about double the price, I think.

I live in Japan. Prices are all over the place here. In case anyone else in Japan is reading, I will include info about where I bought my parts to aid you in comparison shopping.

Some choices were made based on store points. Bic Camera has a good points program and if you pair a Rakuten credit card with their smartphone app, you get nice point multipliers. In most cases I just went with the lowest listed price.

For each purchased part on my list, I used a currency converter on the date of purchase to estimate costs in USD.

Though I did most of my shopping between Black Friday and Christmas, holiday sale prices in Japan are scant. International shipping usually negates any discount gained from ordering on Amazon US, but there was a good enough Black Friday deal on the very lightweight (low shipping cost) NVMe drive to make it worthwhile.

I had originally planned a much more modest computer for my first build, but the generosity of my coworker meant I had to get a processor that could do the GTX 1080 justice. At first I had in mind a Ryzen 5 2600x with an aftermarket cooler, but I discovered that the Ryzen 7 2700x has a very good stock cooler, so I could save money and get a measurable bump in performance this way.

As I mentioned, the games I play are not very graphics intensive, so it isn't really necessary for me to manually overclock everything to chase vanishingly slim margins. What I put together represents the most straightforward path I could find, considering both the boons and limitations I'm working with. This is my first computer build.

The power supply and UPS may raise the highest eyebrows. The household power supply here in Japan is not as consistent as it is where I'm from in the USA. There may be statistically more outages -- I haven't noticed one way or the other -- but the power supply, under normal circumstances, has a lot more ripple. This makes it worth investing in not only a higher-rated power supply unit, but a capable uninterruptible power system as well.

They say for motorcyclists, when you're just starting out, to use your whole motorcycle budget to buy the best helmet you can afford, and then take whatever's left over and buy a cheap used bike. That's how I feel about power supplies.

The CyberPower CPJ1200 UPS sold on the Japanese market comes with a three-prong plug. The box also contains an adapter that will change it to a two-prong plug with a ground lead wire adapter. You don't need to buy a separate adapter.

The computer lives under the desk, left side to the wall, so LED light displays were not a consideration. I chose a case and fans to be as quiet as possible, since I share a desk with my wife.

I'm sure there are elements of this build that I didn't consider or that I got wrong. I would love to hear any feedback from you.

If I were in the States, with holiday discounts, the existence of MSRP and the presence of stores like MicroCenter, I would almost certainly have a newer CPU and motherboard, and better RAM. On the other hand, my coworker would have been able to easily sell his graphics card -- here the used market is weak and the process of selling is a hassle -- so my budget would have been constrained in different ways. It's a delicate balance.

I installed Windows 10 Home. I mention this because my previous computer is an old laptop running Linux and my wife uses a Macbook Air. If you're installing Windows and you don't have a Windows computer handy, don't bother trying to format a USB stick to UEFI on either of those platforms. Save yourself the hassle and go to your office, an internet cafe or a friend's place and make a bootable installer on a Windows computer.

How well does it work? It makes me giggle every time I use it, that's how well. Everything runs so fast, the games look great. I set the CPU to automatically overclock to 4.15 GHz, the memory is running at 3200 MHz, the fans are whispering.

It passes the ultimate test: Football Manager 2020 looks fantastic.


Here's where I thank people. You know who you are.

First of all, my coworker, to whom I owe a debt of gratitude that I may never fully pay. From an idle mention on a business trip to the finished computer I'm typing into right now, thank you for your generosity along the way.

Thanks to my father for the power parts. Thanks to my old friend in the USA whose advice helped clarify my thoughts and saved me time and energy chasing dead ends.

And a big thank you to the creators of the PCPartPicker site and members of its community for using your time and energy to record your experiences and opinions. This is an invaluable resource and a perfect use of the internet as it was meant to be.

I am grateful for your kindness and I appreciate all your help.


These items were all bought between October and December, 2019. Prices include shipping, where applicable (since I have Amazon Prime, all Amazon Japan orders shipped for free).

AMD Ryzen 7 2700X 3.7 GHz 8-Core

Amazon Japan - ¥22,039

MSI B450M MORTAR MAX Micro ATX AM4

Amazon Japan - ¥9,329

Corsair Vengeance LPX 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3200

Rakuten (Kyoshin Web) - ¥9,800

Western Digital Black NVMe 1 TB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive

Amazon USA - ¥16,300

Fractal Design Define Mini C MicroATX Mid Tower

Amazon Japan - ¥8,255

SeaSonic PRIME Ultra Titanium 750 W 80+ Titanium Certified Fully Modular ATX

Bic Camera - ¥33,000

CyberPower CPJ1200 UPS

Amazon Japan - ¥26,040

(4x)Noctua NF-S12A PWM 120 mm & (2x)Noctua NF-A14 PWM 82.5 CFM 140 mm

Amazon Japan - ¥15,352

Noctua NA-FC1 4-pin PWM Fan Controller

Amazon Japan - ¥3,048

Mionix NAOS 7000 Wired Optical Mouse

Bic Camera - ¥6,256

MK Typist (Cherry MX Brown) Keyboard, wrist rest & o-rings

Mechanical Keyboards Inc - ¥20,257

Part Reviews

CPU

I chose this over the Ryzen 5 2600x and I'm glad I did. The stock cooler is worth using, and the difference in price is about what the aftermarket cooler I would have needed for the 2600x would have run. The gain in performance is measurable. Running at 4.15 Ghz, generally under 40°C.

It's my first build and the cooler was scary to install. I felt like I must be doing something wrong, that it required so much pressure to get the thing to hook onto the bracket on the motherboard. It worked in the end, but I thought I was going to end up with a heap of shattered PCB for my troubles.

Thermal Compound

I have no experience with anything else, but this stuff works. I replaced the dried-out paste that came on my new stock CPU cooler before installing for the first time, so I don't have a basis for comparison.

Motherboard

This has a lot of stuff on it for a micro ATX mobo. Four RAM slots, two NVMe slots. The BIOS is easy to work in. The "Max" series has been updated so you can use it with 3000 series CPUs without flashing the BIOS. That didn't matter for me, but it might for you.

Memory

I would have loved to go for Samsung B-die low-latency RAM, but I just couldn't justify the cost. These sticks work fine and I could easily set the XMP profile to 3200MHz.

Storage

I use this as my boot drive and it's slick and fast, like greased lightning. Whoa, whoa, whoa!

I added an aftermarket heat sink. I think it's necessary.

Storage

I use this for storage (games, right now) and it's fast. I have no complaints.

Mine came with a very nice heat sink.

Video Card

This was a gift and I feel blessed. It's a lot more than I need and I have no complaints.

It sags a little. To combat this, I wedged a little plastic in the top of the slot where the I/O bracket hooks into the case, at the back. It's hard to describe but most sag seems to be caused by a loose fit where that bracket encounters the case. Anyway, if you can figure out what I'm on about, it works.

Case

This is a great case to build your first computer in. It's easy to put things in and take them out, and there's a lot of sensible room for cable management. It has a lot of airflow for such a quiet case.

The two 120mm fans that come with it are very well reviewed, but I replaced them with brown Noctuas because I care mostly about silent running. I gave the stock case fans to a friend. If he has any feedback I'll update this review.

Power Supply

This is a luxurious PSU. If you need a titanium-rated power supply (you probably don't, to be honest), this is it. Comes with all the cables you need.

If you get one in Japan, as I did, it may come with a two-prong plug with a wire ground lead, for plugging into. Since I plugged mine into a UPS system with three-prong outlets, it was the wrong plug.

Seasonic customer service promptly and courteously informed me that "a power cord rated 100V/15A minimum with the right plug should do the job. You should be able to find this kind in any computer shop or eventually Amazon." I could, and it did the job.

Sound Card

This was a gift. It sounds absolutely incredible. I'm very happy to have it.

If I had to buy it, I probably would not have. It's a definite improvement over the integrated audio output of my motherboard, but my money would be better spent on other things.

Case Fan

What can I say that hasn't been said before? These are quiet and powerful.

The silicone fasteners are finicky, and the instructions say to put them into your case first. That may be the right procedure if your case has mounting holes for fans.

My case (Fractal Define Mini C) has mounting slots which the fasteners pop right through as you try to pull them into the hole in the fan housing. No problem, just install the silicon fasteners in the fan first. The fastener head on each of the four corners of the fan will slide halfway into the mounting slot with ease. You can get a fingertip under it and work your way around the fastener head until it pops into place.

You will need to rig something to keep the fans from sliding down to the bottom of those slots. I used cable ties. If you encounter this problem, you'll catch my drift. Otherwise, just enjoy the silence.

Case Fan

These are the best. Strong and silent.

I used the supplied low-noise adapter cable to reduce the maximum RPM from 1500 to 1200. This made sense to me because I'm using two of them with a Noctua NA-FC1 fan controller and four NF-S12A's, which have a maximum of 1200 RPM. I figured keeping a level playing field would be best for all involved.

The silicone fasteners work well but were tricky to install, as I mentioned in my review of the Noctua NF-S12A fans.

Monitor

This was a gift. I don't know if you can buy one anymore. I think if you're shopping for a gaming monitor in early 2020 or after, you probably won't choose this one.

But if someone wants to give you one, take it!

Mouse

Mice are very subjective. We all care mostly about how they feel in our hands. I couldn't be happier with this. I have fairly big hands and I lay the palm of my hand over the whole mouse. It's super comfortable. The LEDs are unobtrusive.

I don't play games that require lots of buttons, so this is perfect.

Custom

This is great. Mine is running six Noctua fans with control input from one motherboard fan header and power from the PSU. I don't have to worry about frying a fan header this way. It's small, fits in the back of the case and works like a charm.

The accessories package is plentiful.

Custom

This fit on my Samsung Evo 960 without a problem. It came with one extra screw and a small screwdriver that worked perfectly. It's keeping things cool, as far as I can tell. A good heat sink for a low price.

Custom

I'm glad I bought this! It's exactly what I wanted, a joy to type on. It's solid and well built. PBT key caps. It came with a key cap remover and a clear plastic keyboard cover. I added red cherry o-rings to dampen the sound a bit (our apartment is small and my wife shares the desk with me sometimes).

I chose this after looking at the Das Keyboard 4Q. After some thought I decided the bells and whistles weren't at all necessary for me. The programmable LED is so cool looking, but I never use my computer in the dark.

From what I read, Mechanical Keyboards Inc has these made by Ducky, and it's essentially a Ducky One or One 2 made to MK specs. Whatever the case may be, I appreciate it.

I bought an MK wrist rest to go along with it. It's very comfortable.

Log in to rate comments or to post a comment.

Comments

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

nice build bro, i know that gpu pricing in japan is crazy high so you were lucky to get a 1080 for free.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Thank you! I am super lucky and grateful.

RAM prices are also all over the place here, especially if you're looking for low latency sticks. I think prices for Samsung B-Die RAM are inflated elsewhere too, but the premiums for it in Japan are outrageous.