Got the itch to put a new PC together, after brother-in-law put one together for himself. I had been running a system that I built in 2010 (AMD Phenom II X6 1090T – 6 core 3.2 Ghz), the last system that I built. I have primarily played the PS4 since its launch, however, I wanted to get back into PC gaming. I have a daughter who will be going to graduate school this summer. She plays WoW. I partially built this machine in order to level a character to spend time with her “virtually” while she is away. I will also be playing other games that will be more “deserving” of the system that I put together.
My goal was to build with parts that would put me at a good point on the price vs performance curve, with an eye for upgradability later. If I start playing games that do not run at levels that I want them to, I can potentially swap out GPU, or chip (to Ryzen 3000 series), and be set again for a number of years. We are all at different points, financially in our lives, where the performance vs value curve is different for everyone.
CPU (Ryzen 2700X) I know that Intel, at this stage of the game, is an overall better gaming chip if one is to run at 1080p. In doing my homework, for doing 2k gaming (which I plan to do), the GPU is typically the bottleneck. The performance of the Intel chips for FPS start to more closely approach the Ryzen 2700X. I am also anticipating the launch of the Ryzen 3000 series chips. When these new chips come out, I will have an upgrade path, because the new chips will me AM4 socket. So far, I am pleased with the 2700X. I have put a light OC on it (4100) and it runs pretty cool with the following cooler...
CPU Cooler (Scythe Mugen 5 Rev B – added a second identical fan for push/pull) I started with the Wraith Prism that came with the chip, however, I wanted something a little more burly. Because of my case choice (missed this point while putting it all together), I was limited to a 155mm cooler. This took me out of the Noctua / Dark Rock / Thermalright beast coolers. I had read nothing but good things about the Scythe Mugen cooler. With max fan speeds, I can barely hear the thing. It keeps my CPU in the ballpark 29-30C at idle. I have a light OC on my chip (4100 Mhz on 8 cores at a voltage of 1.3635V). In running Prime 95 – Blended – it holds the temperature around 73C (Tdie) during the more aggressive tests that drive the CPU temperature up. Using the CPU burner in Kombustor, it is around 59-60C. I am pleased with this cooler’s performance and its looks.
Motherboard (ASRock X470 Taichi) When looking at MOBOs with the best OC capabilities, this was on a high tier. The VRM’s on this thing are reported as being very good. It also came highly recommended from a colleague at work who is a PC enthusiast. From what I am seeing, this is a nice MOBO. It is running things nicely. Having onboard wifi and Bluetooth is nice. I know that gamers believe in wired connections, so I too have an ethernet cable plugged into the board. Even if one does not use the wifi, the Bluetooth capability is a nice plus. If I had to do it over again, I would rebuy this board (or its big bro the Ultimate). The one little complaint I have is the number of fan headers. This is by no means a dealbreaker, as one can buy PWM fan splitters easy enough to overcome this.
DRAM (GSkill Flare X 3200 CL 14 – 16Gb) I read that the Flare X play really nice with the Ryzen 2700X. Because of this, I picked them up. I also heard that Samsung B-Die is the Bee’s Knee’s (just learned the story behind that saying this evening). Easy enough to go into the BIOS in order to set the XMP profile in order to make it run at rated speeds. At some point of time I will look into overclocking these sticks.
GPU (RTX2080 - MSI Ventus 8G OC) I kept going between the RTX2060, RTX2070, and RTX 2080 (2080Ti ridiculously OP in my budgetary opinion). In the end, I opted for the 2080. I feel that I am on the good end of the value curve. With the monitor I purchased (ASUS ROG Swift PG348Q), I wanted to be sure that I had enough power to push the pixels that this 21:9 monitor required and hit its 100Hz limit. I chose the Ventus itself because it was well-rated and well-priced. With the current system, when the 2080 no longer performs to the level that I need it to perform, it can be replaced. Hopefully not for 2-3 years. I have not yet looked into overclocking this yet, but it is on my to-do list.
STORAGE (WD Black NVME 500Gb & Seagate BarraCuda 2Tb HDD) My aforementioned colleague suggested the WD NVME drive. It is working as intended and working fast. This is more or less my boot drive and it has the OS, antivirus, other utilities, and WoW on it. Windows boots really fast. Not 100% sure how it rates vs other top of the line drives, however, for the price I went for this. I am satisfied. The HDD mentioned is for storage of games and whatever else is chosen for saving. It is pretty quiet. Once again - satisfied.
PSU (Seasonic Plus Gold 750W) I have been reading that the PSU is the heart of one’s system. One needs a good power supply. I had also read that Seasonic makes good stuff. I decided that I would go with this and it is working as intended.
CASE (Lian Li PC-011 Air) I really wanted to maximize airflow in my build. I certainly did like the Dynamic (like a lot of others do). I know that this case is not as sexy as the Dynamic, however, I did like the direct airflow from the front-mounted fans (vs the 90 degree turn one would use in the Dynamic). I purchased 8 Corsair ML120’s (to 75CFM I believe) - 3 in the front (intake), 3 in the top (exhause), and 2 in the bottom (intake) - to provide some airflow to the GPU. I am able to run them all at low speeds (quiet). The case was easy to build in, and overall, I am very happy with it. So far things are running quite frosty, with low noise, so my mission is accomplished.
Monitor (Asus - ROG SWIFT PG348Q 34.0" 3440x1440 100 Hz Monitor) I wanted an ultrawide. I wanted IPS. I wanted high (semi) refresh rates. I wanted G-Sync. This monitor delivered. I am glad that SWMBO gave me the thumbs up to go for the monitor that I really wanted and not having to settle for less than what I wanted ;-) Nice wives are nice! Having played WoW and Anthem, so far, I am very glad I went this route. I am thinking that this monitor should last me a good 8-10 years.
In closing, I would like to thank all those who have contributed to the Completed Builds section and participated in the forums. You were all a source of inspiration and knowledge. Because of you I was able to build something that I am proud of and should meet my needs for quite a long while. I chose to write a longer summary in the event that I might be able to shed some light for someone who is also looking to build his/her dream PC.