Helping people find parts and build PCs has always been a hobby of mine so I am generally pretty in-the-know on good deals. I was also in the market for an upgrade for my two-year-old RX 570. I was about to pull the trigger on a GTX 1660 but right now before I did I saw the Vega 56 Air Boost OC on sale for $229 at Newegg, $309.99 - $60 coupon - $20 MIR. That is GTX 1660 Ti performance for GTX 1660 price. I knew the Vega 56 was not exactly known as a cool and quiet GPU but I could live with that at the price. The system was built around the Vega 56.
I went back and forth between the 2600 and the 2600x. I decided to go with the 2600 just to save $20 because I was planning on adding an aftermarket cooler either way. The higher stock clock speeds of the 2600x are great but these chips are pretty easy to overclock and I have always heard the regular 2600 can generally almost match the 2600x.
Very good cooler for the price. Understated design and runs quiet. Keeps temps under 65C with no overclock.
I think this is the go-to motherboard for mATX budget builds. Good VRM, plenty of connections, and well-built. I have built at least a dozen PCs on ASRock boards over the years and never had a problem.
I am not a super high-end PC enthusiast so RAM is not a huge concern for me. I just look for something with a good price from a reputable brand. This kit fit the bill at the time of my build and had the added bonus of an unobtrusive, sleek look with a low-profile heatsink to fit easily in any build. I have also read the EVO Spear line overclocks pretty well.
Much like the RAM, storage is not a biggie for me. NVMe is a must but after that I generally just like for the best price/GB on something from 500-1000GB. This was the best-priced 512GB SSD when I got the parts for this build and I have never used HP storage before but so far everything is great. It has very good speeds and runs cooler than other NVMe drives I have used in the past.
At the price I got it, this is easily a five star GPU. At stock settings I get GTX 1660 Ti performance; albeit with a much high TDP, temperature, and noise level. With very easy to achieve overclocks, this can get very close to the GTX 1080. If the temps and noise do ever bother me, a combination of undervolting and fan tuning can easily lower the temps and noise by a significant amount while not sacrificing much performance at all.
The description says the panel is acrylic but it is definitely tempered glass. Lots of room to build in and seems very high quality. I prefer front panel I/O ports, as opposed to them being on the side, but I do question why the front I/O ports on this are on the right of the case when the tempered glass is on the left. It seems like a weird setup since the ports would be at an awkward position if you have the tower positioned to see the tempered glass side.
650W is pretty much the maximum required power supply for a single-GPU system in 2019, in my opinion. Any GPU made in the last couple of years has a recommendation of 650W tops, other than the ridiculously power-hungry Vega 64 and Radeon VII and even those do not really need more than 650W. I was actually looking for something 550-600W but I saw this on sale for $40. A semi-modular, 650W power supply from a respected brand is an excellent deal. This runs cool and quiet and the cables seem to be high-quality.
Wireless Network Adapter
I put one of those in pretty much every build I do where the user wants wifi. In terms of price to performance, the T4E is great. Good speeds and a consistent, reliable signal for ~$30.
A four-pack of 120mm fans for $15 was perfect for this build because I wanted good cooling in the case, since the Vega 56 is a pretty hot card, and the case had four open fan slots. Quiet fans and they do their job.