Description

The last time I built a PC was in 2011, to play Skyrim and Dues Ex HR. You can check that out here. Despite being 9 years old, it could still handle most games, ran DOOM 2016 without too much trouble, etc. But I now have a better job and it was getting long in the tooth. Plus, I figured I could repurpose it as a work PC (since the laptop I get from my job isn't the best).

I hadn't built a new PC in a long time and in hindsight, I wish I'd done more research and spent less time getting caught up in Black Friday super deals. The deals were real, amounting to two free games (one of which I actually wanted to play), but I'd have to assemble and build the whole thing before New Years to claim them. Since I was going away for the holiday week, this put me under some pressure. Mistakes were made. I'm sure I messed up a few things. But the end result is not bad at all.

Update: Replaced the original case exhaust fan (it was rattling), added an intake fan at the bottom, set the fan speeds so intake fans tend to be faster than exhaust, and now CPU and GPU temperatures are much, much lower. Slightly positive case pressure works, folks.

Benchmarks

TBD

Parts Breakdown

Not going to talk about every single part here, just the most notable ones. My parts list page for this build has notes for them all.

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 2700X 3.7 GHz 8-Core Processor

Originally had intended to get a Ryzen 5 3600 and then this went on sale for less. "More, faster cores for less? Sold!" is what I said at the time. It turns out this generation of processor can't take full advantage of my RAM's XMP, and more cores doesn't really help as much with gaming. If I could do it again, I'd stick with the 3600 or spring for a 3600X. Of course, Zen 3 is coming, so there's room for an upgrade.

Funny thing here, the whole RGB revolution is new to me and I didn't at first understand why the stock cooling fan had data cables. So I put the cooler on one way, then figured that they were important but that I'd have to put the cooler on the other way to manage the cables. So I am pretty sure I messed up the thermal paste and will have to replace it... the CPU runs a little too hot.

Motherboard: MSI MPG X570 GAMINGPLUS ATX AM4 Motherboard

Compatible and well rated. Originally had something pricier but then got some good advice that I could save money by not having integrated Wifi. Of course, I figured I could reuse my existing wireless card, not realizing it went into an outdated expansion slot. Having had to get a new one, I do kinda wish I'd gotten it integrated and saved a bit of hassle, but I am happy with this motherboard so far.

Do I really need wifi for my desktop though? Maybe, maybe not. In the 9 years I had my old PC though, I moved around a lot and couldn't always hook it up to an ethernet cable, so wireless came in handy.

Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws V 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4-3600 Memory

Got some advice that More RAM Is Better even at a speed cost. (And honestly I've heard anything past 3600 is diminishing returns.) So I bulked the heck up with this, it's not even that much slower (CAS of 19 instead of 18) than what was looking at originally. Still not sure it will pay off though, I haven't seen more than 13 GB in use at any time...

SSD Storage: Sabrent Rocket 1 TB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive

Slightly less costly than the Samsung EVO 970 that was looking at originally. I had some slight concerns about TLC vs MLC but I really don't know if it matters so saved $30 bucks.

This part, to be honest, is the best get of the whole build. I say this as someone who creates game mods and therefore needs to load into them repeatedly for testing. This thing cuts loading times by like 90% at least. It's incredible, disgusting even.

Video Card: PowerColor Radeon RX 5700 8 GB RED DRAGON Video Card

A lot of the guides on here suggest Nvidia cards, but what can I say, I'm an AMD/ATI guy. (Yeah I remember ATI, lol.) I didn't want a basic model from AMD with the blower fan, but I didn't quite want to spring for the XT. In hindsight, the XT is actually a solid card and has notably better performance than this. So maybe that would have been $50 well spent, but so far this is fine.

Case: Cooler Master HAF 922 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case

Reused from an older build. Decided to keep it because I'm using the old PC for "serious business" and perhaps something sleek and lowkey is better for that than something with glowing red case fans? This case also has more space than what I was looking at and eventually used in by business PC. It's quite solid, and has served me well for 9 years.

However, while it's a good case, it has some problems in a modern system. For one, it does not have any front USB 3 ports, so that plug on my motherboard is just going unused while USB 2 plugs are at a premium. For another, the fans are used to running at a set speed and are kinda old. The new MB spins them up under load and that occasionally causes a rattling noise because one of the fans just can't handle it. This is partially solved by setting the fan curves so the case fans never max out, but I'm probably going to want to get a new case at some point.

Power Supply: SeaSonic FOCUS Plus Gold 750 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply

Not much to say here but I haven't used a modular PSU before and wow, it makes a huge difference. This is probably way more power than I need, though. It kinda didn't dawn on me how much more power efficient modern parts are.

Monitor: Acer ED7 34.0" 3440x1440 100 Hz Monitor

The world of super wide screens is new and scary to me. I picked this because of its resolution and refresh rate and because I read somewhere that response time only matters for competitive gaming and 4ms isn't bad, but this is already way more specs than I ever worried about for a monitor before.

Honestly I feel, uh, lowkey guilty just using this on a day to day basis? It's gorgeous but this much screen still feels decadent. Would not downgrade for the world, though.

Mouse: Logitech M500 Wired Laser Mouse

So I used to have one of these mice for a while until it developed an apparently common problem for this model: Clicks would register as double clicks randomly, making dragging consistently near impossible. But I ordered it again because I just like the combination of buttons (being able to tilt the wheel side-to-side has some great gaming applications) and it was very cheap when I bought it.

UPS: CyberPower CP1350AVRLCD UPS

Seems like a hard-to-beat standard. My current UPS emits awful shrieks under typical gaming load and is very old, so it's gotta go. Now, is this really that critical? Not where I live now, but again, I moved around a lot with my old PC, and not everywhere had reliable wiring or great weather...

Speakers: Harman/Kar​don Speake​rs and Sub​woofer

I have no idea what these are actually called. They came with my first Dell PC from college and have worked fine ever since (for over 16 years!). So I want to give them a shout out for being such champs and still sounding great.

Part Reviews

CPU

Not too much to complain about except that it runs a little hot and the cooler can be finicky about placement (think it's making a rattling noise at high speeds, though it might also be a case fan...). Also, I went for it because of "more cores!!" but that's actually not that important for gaming.

Want to note a compatibility issue between these three parts that I missed: AMD Ryzen 7 2700X, MSI MPG X570 GAMINGPLUS, G.Skill Ripjaws V.

It might actually just be mostly the CPU architecture, but I can't take full advantage of the RAM's XMP speed with this setup. A 3rd gen Ryzen or newer will probably work though.

Motherboard

It's working out well, but I want to note a compatibility issue between these three parts that I missed: AMD Ryzen 7 2700X, MSI MPG X570 GAMINGPLUS, G.Skill Ripjaws V.

It might actually just be mostly the CPU architecture, but I can't take full advantage of the RAM's XMP speed with this setup. A 3rd gen Ryzen or newer will probably work though.

Memory

I'm not sure I will ever use this much memory, but it works well, no complaints.

Want to note a compatibility issue between these three parts that I missed: AMD Ryzen 7 2700X, MSI MPG X570 GAMINGPLUS, G.Skill Ripjaws V.

It might actually just be mostly the CPU architecture, but I can't take full advantage of the RAM's XMP speed with this setup. A 3rd gen Ryzen or newer will probably work though.

Storage

The best purchase of my new build. I say this as someone who creates game mods and therefore needs to load into them repeatedly for testing. This thing seemingly cuts loading times by like 90% at least over SATA. It's incredible, disgusting even.

Video Card

At the sale price that I got this for, it's doing quite well. The only form of "brand loyalty" I have in consumer electronics is an attachment to Team Red. Maybe it's just because they've seemed like the underdog for so long. That's clearly changed for CPUs, but I was pleased to find reviewers saying that at this price point, the 5700s are competative.

One thing to keep in mind if you're thinking about flashing this card's BIOS to the XT version: I researched it and it seems like the PowerColor models have some issue making it hard to revert the BIOS to the old version. So something to keep in mind before you try.

Case

This is a classic case that has served me well for nine years. Excellent design, roomy. The only negative is that the tool-free storage drive sleds are kind of annoying to work with.

Case Fan

Got a 5-pack of these. Replaced a rattling exhaust fan and added an new intake fan at the bottom. Setting intake RPMs higher than exhaust led to good positive pressure and lowered CPU and GPU temps by 10-15. Good value so far!

Monitor

Honestly I feel just a little guilty just using this on a day to day basis? It's gorgeous but this much screen still feels decadent. Would not downgrade for the world, though. One oddity is that sometimes it doesn't register a signal when the computer comes out of sleep, although unplugging/replugging the power cord usually fixes that.

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Comments

  • 1 month ago
  • 2 points

Hey adjacent build buddy. I think the 5700 has a lot of untapped potential and I think isn't that different from the 5700 xt besides the artificial power limit caps AMD puts on it. See my timespy and firestrike scores without even going past the normal 20% power limit. I haven't done a bios flash yet to give it a higher power limit but if you are wanting closer to 5700 xt performance, it is there for the taking.

https://www.techpowerup.com/review/flashing-amd-radeon-rx-5700-with-xt-bios-performance-guide/

  • 1 month ago
  • 2 points

Hey, thanks for the insight! I actually did consider flashing the XT BIOS but one thing that gives me pause is that the Power Color 5700s apparently make it tricky to revert the BIOS. So it's something I have to think over a bit.