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Sweet Gaming Subwoofer

by Capsulejay



Date Published

Nov. 8, 2015

CPU Clock Rate

3.3 GHz

GPU Core Clock Rate

1.02 GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

5.6 GHz


Well, after working some overtime and taking advantage of a few deals, I was able to throw together my first fully DIY gaming machine. As a couch gamer, I was happy to be able to come up with something that fit nicely in my TV stand. The cube shape and the square grill on the front are why I refer to this machine as a "Gaming Subwoofer".

Background info:
After a long hiatus, I decided to get back into PC gaming. I've spent the past few months gathering parts whenever I saw them go on sale and happened to have some extra cash. Some of the first few parts I acquired got to go on an experimental test drive in my transitional FrankenPC (see Revived from the PC Graveyard!). The SSD, GPU, and PSU were all transferred from that machine.

Here are the specs of this new machine:

*Case: Thermaltake Core v21
Browsing in Microcenter one day a few months back, I saw their selection of a cube cases and pretty much immediately fell in love with the whole concept. So I may have been putting the cart before the horse, but I decided on this case first, and then started figuring out what I could fit in it. Turns out this thing has incredible amount of space inside and can accommodate pretty much any parts I could think of. I love the customizable configuration and the amazingly low price. Rather than having true cable management, it has what I like to call a "cable dungeon", a compartment under the motherboard tray where cables can be wadded up and crammed mostly out of sight, but not really organized.

*CPU: Intel Core i5-4590
I was originally considering an AMD FX-8350, but the motherboard options in mATX for AMD were not really doing it for me. I was pleasantly surprised when I found this i5 for about the same price! It's been preforming solidly and keeping comfortable temps with the stock cooler and the airflow of the case. It's a locked CPU, so overclocking isn't an option, but on the plus side I won't have to upgrade the cooling down the road.

*Mobo: ASRock H97M Pro4 mATX
A good match for the i5-4590, and has more features, slots, and headers than I'll probably ever use. I don't really feel like to I had to make any sacrifices by going mATX rather than ATX.

*RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws, 2x4GB
I've never had RAM that came with metallic heatsink fins like this. It looks pretty cool (something I never thought I'd say about RAM) and the extra rigidity afforded my the metal makes it much easier to push the RAM down into the slots.

*GPU, PSU, and Storage:
These were all transferred from the FrankenPC, so see my write-up on it for details . I should mention that now that I have a CPU that doesn't bottleneck the GPU, I can really enjoy the performance of it. As a comparison, the FrankenPC got 24-30 FPS in Guild Wars 2 on low-medium 1280x720. The Subwoofer, however, gets 70-74 FPS on High 1920x1080.

So far I'm pretty happy with how this build is working out. I think the end result surpasses any Steam Machine or other pre-assembled couch gaming PC I could've gotten at this price point. I also have some room for upgrades down the road, but it'll probably be a while before that's necessary since I'm planning on mostly playing games that are a few years old to take advantage of sales and keep hardware costs low. Overall, it's been a long ride, but a pretty rewarding experience.

Comments Sorted by:

confuzledandlost 40 Builds 3 points 41 months ago

I really dig it brother! Nice part selection and price/performance. If you ever decide to upgrade, I'd say start with the GPU; that 4590 would pair nicely with an R9 290 or GTX 970. +1 from me!

Capsulejay submitter 2 Builds 3 points 41 months ago

Thanks for the recommendations! It might be a while before I get caught up enough in PC gaming to warrant an upgrade, but I'll keep those in mind. Also, I gotta give you credit for being one of the few gamers I know who seems to stay brand agnostic!

Karl0508 1 Build 2 points 41 months ago

Like it!

Wanted this case but wasn't sure :S

Looks great but what's it like? Is there a lot of noise?

Capsulejay submitter 2 Builds 2 points 41 months ago


I've been very pleased with the case. Since most of its surfaces are grills, it does little to muffle the sound of your components. That being said, my configuration isn't silent but still runs reasonably quietly. I bet if I really pushed it, the stock CPU cooler would start to get pretty noisy though. So I'd say choose an aftermarket CPU cooler with this in mind if you end up going with this case.

Karl0508 1 Build 1 point 41 months ago


Heard a few people say the case is rattly but will probably get one

I always suggest after marker cooling :)

raven70 1 Build 1 point 41 months ago

Love your setup. I am building almost identical. Same MB, but i3 and an R9 380 card, and a Be Quiet! Pure Rock cooler. Can you describe how your fans are configured? Are you feeling air come out the bottom? that is my last items to purchase, and have considered putting a filter on the bottom, 2 on the sides like you have pushing in, with an exhaust out the back, but really wasted given the side mesh. I have mine lit Blue LEDs to match the MB. Love your setup though and would very much like info on your fan config. Looks great!

Capsulejay submitter 2 Builds 2 points 41 months ago

Thanks for the feedback!

I just added a diagram to the build photos to show the fan configuration. Note that the CPU cooler is a downward blowing design, but that might not be clear in the drawing. The versatility of this case is both a blessing and a curse; since the builder has so many different configuration options, it can be hard to make a decision.

As for the bottom of the case, it probably wouldn't hurt to add a filter, but my guess is that air is going to be flowing outward from the bottom grill due to positive pressure and the proximity to the front intake fan. I'll double check next time I run the machine though.

raven70 1 Build 1 point 41 months ago

So, what I ended up going with was 2 x 44.73 CFM bottom 120mm fans (with added filters) pushing up into case. A 20.42~50.68 variable CFM pushing from the side at the GPU (120mm Blue LED Single T.B.Vegas). The stock 130 CFM 200MM in the front pushing in. The CPU has a BeQuiet! Pure Rock oriented pushing to the rear. I have then a 60.55 CFM Pulling out the back (140mm Thermaltake Blue LED Luna). I like the look of both our cases (I should get done in next week) ,but I don't think either one of us are producing any true pressure because the sides are mesh. Our exhaust fans aren't pulling anything through the system. They may be assisting with airflow though of course.

Capsulejay submitter 2 Builds 1 point 41 months ago

I think you're right regarding the pressure, any positive pressure there may be would be localized and very minimal at best. For the most part, I'd say that our exhaust fans aren't so much pulling air as just "guiding" it.

As for your build, I took a look at photos and preliminary info you posted. It looks nice! I'm curious to hear how it turned out and I'll be sure to post a comment on it when you finish your write-up.