Overclocking the CPU:
My last build was back in 2014. I actually still have the parts list saved with how much I spent on each part with the following link: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/TYzkJ8
I bought the 2016 Macbook Pro 15" with touchbar when it was first announced. I tried using an eGPU GTX 1080 with it. The performance wasn't great and setup was a terrible experience. And to boot, it costed half of what I paid for this machine.
So I decided to return the unit and build a new PC. A lot has changed in the past 4-5 years and I see that RGB is the hip thing. So I made it my goal to build a nice looking, small PC.
Originally I planned for an Intel CPU as I felt that they are just better overall than what AMD had to offer in both the gaming and non-gaming categories. I actually bought an i7-8700k along with the Asus Strix z370-i motherboard.
Then eBay had a 20% off one-day sale. At the time it seems that AMD recently released their "Zen+" processors. After reading up on it, and doing quick calculations, I was able to purchase the AMD Ryzen 5 2600 and the ASRock AB350 itx board for less than what I paid for the i7-8700k alone! I figured this has to be the best value-per-performance. And so that's why I choose AMD for this build.
I'm giving this processor 4 out of 5 stars mainly due to the 2600x being the better value here.
I choose this cooler for the combination of aesthetics, cooling performance and noise levels. This cooler has it all. The cost is very high however and with that said the performance-to-value ratio of this cooler is not good compared to competitors.
Mounting the actual heatsink onto the motherboard wasn't an issue at all. It was installing the fan clips that were the biggest pain of the installation. If you're not careful, its very easy to chip off the powder coated fins. Also easy to bend the fins as well. Overall one probably won't be able to see the bent / chipped fins but it's worth noting this.
Comments: - Installation wasn't very difficult but it definitely isn't very easy either
I choose this board for it's value mainly. Compare to competitors, it offered everything I needed minus the RGB strip. It's worth noting that for Pinnacle Ridge CPUs, you need updated BIOS in order for the motherboard to detect the Ryzen 5 2600(x). Luckily for me the board had updated BIOS and it was able to detect my 2600 just fine.
I gave this 3 out of 5 stars mainly due to the cost. Unfortunately I decided to build a new PC during the GPU and Memory cost crisis.
If I could I would return this for non-RGB sticks to save a little bit of cash since the Dark Rock Pro 4 covers it. Unfortunately I bought the memory initially planning to use an AIO cooler and I felt returning it to Newegg would have been a hassle and I'd lose money doing so.
Originally I was planning on picking up the 970 EVO but I had already purchased the 860 EVO 500GB a few months ago for the PS4 Pro. I don't use my PS4 Pro much now a days and I had the stock 1TB HDD that came with it collecting dust so I decided to use the EVO for my build to save money.
Another big reason why I decided on not purchasing the 970 EVO is the performace in games. For games, you won't notice the difference from this vs. the new m.2 970 EVO NVMe hard drives. You can read reviews and search for youtube videos comparing the two and, at best, you may load a second or so faster with the 970 EVO.
For a while I've been debating on which GPU to pickup for this build. Considering the prices for GPUs are insane due to all the crypto mining craze AND expectations for the "1100 series" GTX to be released soon, it makes it hard for me to decide on what GPU to choose NOW.
In the end I decided to go with this particular model for a few reasons:
1) it may be much longer than everyone thinks before the GTX 1100 series are available for purchase. 2) AMD RX and Vega cards cost much more than they are worth IMO. 3) I'll sale this card after picking up the new GTX 1100 card if its worth the trouble of upgrading.
My must-haves when looking for a case for my build was to be as small as possible while aesthetically pleasing. After looking at completed builds here, I noticed the H200i series and fell in love. I knew I had to have it, disregarding the cost of it.
I have to say building a PC with an ITX case can be difficult. As you can see from the pictures, space is very limited which makes causes some frustration. But in the end it was all so worth it.
The CAM software isn't so terrible but I REALLY dislike that they recommend you register with them. There is a guest mode which is what I used but it still sends data over to them. I wouldn't mind if they have it as an option to disable this but there isn't any option to do so. So I decided to run my case fans off the motherboard. Luckily once you configure your RGB LED strip you no longer need to have the software running again unless you decide to change the RGB LED configurations. However if you choose to use the smart device to control your system fans, you will need to have the software running at all times.
The only windows versions I've truly liked was XP and 7. IMO you must have windows as the primary OS, especially for games. So I figured I'd get the latest windows which happens to be 10.
Luckily for me I have family who works for Microsoft so they were able to get me a copy at employee rates. I'm not in love with windows 10 but it's definitely better than 8.1 IMO.
I bought this mainly for it's noise-to-performance ratio. Also it some-what looks aesthetically pleasing. These replaced the NZXT AER-F fans that came with the case. Main reason is the noise of the stock fans are just too loud at full load.
Similar to the 120mm fans. These didn't replace any fans as the H200i doesn't come with fans in the front.
My must haves for a gaming monitor is that it must be 27" and have G-Sync since I decided on going down the Nvidia GPU path.
Unfortunately, this path doesn't offer many good options. What I mean is that G-Sync monitors are pretty expensive. Also, there doesn't seem to be many options when it comes to 27" G-Sync monitors.
Originally I saw a killer deal on /r/buildapcsales for an open-boxed S2716DGR for around $265... I was a bit late to the party and it sold out pretty quick. So I got the next best listing at the time and I bought this monitor as an open-box... So I know I took a chance but in the end I got lucky. It felt brand new and even had the plastic wrappings around the monitor. Warranty is still active for almost 3 years (activated Feb. 2018) and no dead pixels! I pretty much lucked out on this monitor.
Reviews on this monitor is so-so. But for me, it was a HUGE upgrade from my previous non-gaming monitor. After calibration, I'm very happy with the colors this monitor provides. For the cost, I feel it can't be beat.