Description

Not exactly a new build, as the last upgrade I made was now nearly two months ago, and it's also really version 4.0 of my Rig of Theseus I've been maintaining since 2012... Lots of history here, with dozens of small parts upgrades and two big overhauls over the years. Without ever restarting from scratch I went from Intel+Nvidia to full AMD, from a big ATX tower to mini-ITX, and from Windows 7 to 10, with 8.1 and experiments with Linux mixed in. Pics in the album in reverse chronological order, apologies for the potato quality and bad lighting in older ones.

The initial build in early 2016 was bought at and assembled by a local shop, and consisted of a i7-2600 and EVGA GTX 570 in an Antec 302. A few months later I made my first upgrade, a 2TB hard drive, and realized how I could have easily built it myself and saved money. Oh well. It took a bit less than a year after that to really start reshaping it, by moving the part in a Corsair 500R and installing a H105 liquid cooler, upgrading the GPU to a GTX 780, the OCZ SSD to a Samsung 840 EVO (the oldest current part in my build!) and the CPU to the overclockable 3770K, as well as making a pathetic attempt at sleeving cables. All spread out over several months as I managed to get money to fund it.

The PC itself as seen in the exterior pics, taken in summer 2015, remained very stable for a while as I mostly upgraded peripherals. Most notably I got an Asus PB278Q 1440p monitor and kept the original 1080p as a vertical secondary. In that period I briefly considered doing a custom liquid cooling loop as my next project, but I was very impressed when I saw the Steam Machine prototype, and the Silverstone RVZ01 inspired from it. A friend then showed me his own premium, aluminum-clad Silverstone case, so when they released the FTZ01B, the perfect mix between the two, I knew what I'd do next.

So in mid-2016 I finally pulled the trigger on the big jump to small form factor. This is the closest it came to being a completely different build, but as it carried over the CPU, GPU and SSD, as well as the Windows 8.1 install I was using, I still consider it to be the same computer. That was an incredibly difficult build, I've built many computers for friends, family and acquaintances, but I never had to work in such a cramped case before. I also made it even harder for myself by choosing a SFX-L PSU, sticking with an AiO and adding an optical drive.

In 2017 my GTX 780 was really starting to show its age and I was considering various options, in particular adaptive sync. When my current monitor, the Nixeus EDG27, went up for preorder on Massdrop, I almost immediately committed. Those specs at that price were an incredible offer, and to go with it I got myself a Sapphire Radeon R9 Fury at a stupidly low price when they were clearing out inventory ahead of the Vega launch. At some points I wondered if it was the right move, but now I regret nothing. Vega was never reasonably priced in Canada and with the crypto craze it went from just bad to completely insane.

My monitor eventually shipped to a good friend of mine in Philadelphia, who sent it to me since the preorder was US only, and I was really impressed with AMD. So much that I started planning a full switch to Team Red, maybe on the second generation Ryzen release... And then we got amazing deals just before Black Friday and I pulled the trigger early. Replacing my 3770K was going to be a tall order since I really had won the silicon lottery with it: even in the miniature case with a single-fan AiO (to be fair I replaced the fan with a Noctua Industrial 2000 RPM) the 4.7 GHz @ 1.3 volts overclock remained stable for 24 hours under stress testing with Prime95. At least by getting the R7 1800X I was stacking the deck in my favor, making sure I could reach 4.0 GHz.

After getting a set of DDR4 memory with Samsung B-die chips (so expensive! But so worth it, 3200 MHz with no effort!) what I had to wait for was the motherboard. It had amazing reviews and I really didn't thrust any other mini-ITX AM4 board to overclock an 8-core CPU, but when it was released it was only quickly available in Australia and Asia, then Europe... It was taking so long I ended up spending way too much to import it from a UK reseller. But hey, I got it a month before anyone else in North America, so I've got that going for me at least. And of course it turned out that the memory heatspreaders were too tall and I couldn't close the case, so I had to replace the fan with a low-profile one. Good thing Ryzen runs so cool. And boy does it run! 4.0 GHz at stock voltage and fast memory makes for pretty much identical single core performance to my old Ivy Bridge i7, and the extra cores allow me to stream to my living room TV without a hiccup among other stuff.

So that 6-years ride takes us to today. Upgrade plans for the foreseeable include upgrading the graphics card if/when prices go back to a reasonable level, then maybe the SSD, keyboard and secondary monitor. For all this time it's truly been a blast to play with both the hardware and he games on it, and to show it off to everyone I can. Nothing converts someone to the Glorious PC Mustard Race faster than seeing a console-sized box running DOOM 2016 or The Witcher 3 at ultra, or Skyrim with so many graphical mods I max out the VRAM. And then those converts pay me to build their PCs, which provides money for future upgrades! MUAHAHAHAHA!

Part Reviews

CPU

Like the 1700X, but higher binned so you can likely overclock higher.

CPU Cooler

Cheap but well built. Low-profile pump assembly, useful if you're trying to jam it in a SFF case.

Motherboard

Expensive, but you really pay top dollar for top quality, not just branding and shiny RGB. Great build and component quality, frequently updated BIOS, very stable. Only downside is the lack of I/O, but for most people its sufficient and the beefy VRM heatsink is what you want if you're looking to overclock an 8-core CPU in a cramped case.

Memory

It's Samsung B-die memory, will run at the advertised speed and timings out of the box on any platform. I"d rather have 16GB of this than 32 GB of cheap DDR4.

Storage

Still very fast for a SATA SSD, good health after several years of use.

Storage

Rather slow, but still way better than a 5400 RPM drive.

Video Card

Close to GTX 1070 performance but only 4GB of VRAM, even better at high resolution and in Vulkan and DX12 games. Worth it if you can somehow fetch one at a reasonable price...

Case

A luxury version of the RVZ01. Its weight almost defeats the purpose of a small case, but it's sturdy and looks amazing. Not for first time builders.

Power Supply

SFX-L is a bit larger than regular SFX, so even though it's modular it can be really hard to fit in small cases. However it's silent, efficient, and can power a dual-GPU card.

Case Fan

Probably the best low-profile fan out there, similar both in noise and performance to a Noctua NF-F12.

Monitor

Was an average monitor in 2012, today I'd consider it only for the tightest budgets.

Monitor

The most impressive monitor I"ve ever laid my eyes on. Freesync makes anything above 40 FPS look pretty good, so even with a less powerful GPU it's a great experience.

Keyboard

All cheap plastic, can<t remove the keys for cleaning. Better feel than most rubber domes but not by much. RGB lighting is controlled in zones. More macro keys than you'll ever use.

Mouse

The best mouse I've ever used, tied with the Mionix Castor. Feels great for palm grip or even claw, just enough extra buttons, and I dig the more understated look.

Headphones

Not the best headphones for gaming, but since they're portable and very durable you can use them outside and attach a modmic for a low-cost, high quality all-in-one solution for all your audio needs.

Speakers

Way too much bass, as expected of Bose, and overpriced. At least the sound through the headphone jack is unaltered.

Comments

  • 19 months ago
  • 2 points

DOPE build man. The Fury is a large card so I commend you on putting it in such a tight case.. I struggled getting it in my Air 240 (due to height). I really dig this!

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

It wasn't easy! The shroud on that thing makes it hard to even fit it on the bracket. Then if you add an optical drive like I did it becomes even more difficult to insert the assembly into the case. But the card is badass, handles 1440p well enough that I'm not considering getting a Vega 64 at current prices lol.

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

Haha well I give you props. Yeah the Fury is definitely still a great card with current games! Vega prices are cray cray.

  • 19 months ago
  • 2 points

Great console build and props to a fellow Canadian. I was really glad to find this build because I literally just bought a Silverstone FTZ case myself with the intention of doing a build very similar to yours. As such, I had a couple of questions on your build experience in the FTZ that may be arising from my minsunderstanding some steps in your pics and writeup:

  1. You said that you made things difficult for yourself by using your SFX-L power supply. I thought the FTZ01 is supposed to use an SFX size power supply. Does the full 120 fan size difference between an SFX and SFX-L really make it that much more difficult? Perhaps I should stick to a standard Corsair SFX 600 PSU for my build?

  2. I know you added your purchased fan to the AIO radiator but the FTZ 01 comes with two slim fans, one for the top case and the other for the bottom case. Assuming you attached the radiator to the top case which is the most logical, did you then attach the second included fan to the empty slot on the bottom case for a double intake? This is what I am planning to do and was wondering if you did or simply removed the fan altogether?

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point
  1. If you opt for an SFX-L PSU you have about an inch of clearance for the cables, it can be really difficult to connect them and there's definitely not enough space to add a 2.5" drive there. The 120mm fan on that power supply is really quiet, but the build overall isn't so if I had to start over I'd get the Corsair SF600.

  2. All your assumptions are correct! More air to the GPU is what works the best, for that reason I also keep the case vertical. Otherwise it gets pretty hot in there.

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

You should include in the description that viewers should view pictures in order from 23 ---> 1 for the full story, I viewed it the other way around and was super confused until I realized what was going on xD. (You might have said it and I missed it but if you didn't I'm just pointing that out).

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