This PC is designed for creative professionals, particularly those running multiple Adobe Creative Cloud applications, such as Photoshop and Premiere Pro. The build offers high performance and speed for design workflows. It's also more than capable for some light gaming after hours.
The build quality of all components made this a pleasure to put together and it's now running reliably, with low temperatures and essentially silent operation. Under normal conditions the CPU stays at 30°, and under full stress I never saw it go above 70°.
The world's best air cooler, it's incredibly well-made, effective and basically silent. More effective than water-cooling, too. You just have to note, of course, that this cooler is enormous and quite heavy.
A fantastic Z390 motherboard to pair with Intel 9th Generation CPUs, such as the i9 9900K I used in my build. The build quality is palpable.
Straight out of the box, this overclocked the CPU from its base of 3.6GHz to a stable 4.7GHz, without my lifting a finger. I was really happy with this so just left the settings right there. It pushes itself to 4.9GHz under load, and drops down to 800MHz when absolutely nothing is happening.
The UEFI interface isn't going to win awards, but I found it functional and offering an incredible array of settings.
The board also comes with a ton of software from Gigabyte, all of it optional, some of it useful. System Fan 5 lets you finely control when fans kick in and how they ramp up, and SIV lets you monitor basic system state and temperatures. Other software is dodgier and could potentially run you into problems, such as Fast Boot and USB Disabler.
The manual was just about workable, but has a lot of room for improvement. I found several parts to be painfully lacking in helpful detail. I worked it out in the end, but would have appreciated more guidance.
I chose to run everything off a single M.2 NVMe 2TB drive for maximum performance and no fiddly partitioning or considerations about where to store what kinds of files. Everything is on one blazing fast drive – OS, programs and working files. The system boots to Windows just a few seconds, and programs open very quickly. This internal drive is supplemented by a separate 8TB NAS for cold storage.
This easily aces Unigine benchmarks on Ultra settings at 4K resolution. Wolfenstein: Youngblood (bundled with Super cards) also ran great at 4K, with amazing ray-traced visual effects.
In both cases this was at 60fps – my monitor can't display more than that. I don't think it would push out 4K at higher FPS on max settings, but could easily do this on lower resolutions/settings.
I also tested a multi-monitor setup effectively outputting 8K from the card (with regular applications, not games), which raised no issues.
At time of writing, Adobe hasn't yet taken advantage of the features of RTX cards to speed up its CC applications, but we can hopefully look forward to this soon.
The card includes 2 fans that won't kick in until the card has heated up way past 50°. That's probably OK, but I wanted to be safe so have overriden this with additional software. The fans are effective and quiet.
A small amount of RGB is included, which in my book is preferable. This is in the form of a small, tasteful, blue/magenta strip on the front.
This is a fantastic case with a minimalist style, great build quality, outstanding airflow, and good I/O. Paired with Noctua fans, I have no trouble keeping an overclocked i9 9900K cool.
I opted for the version with tempered glass that's more transparent (the standard version uses darkly tinted glass) so the interior was more visible. The overall effect is fantastically understated and clean.
All air intakes have filters which can be easily removed for cleaning, including the front panel (don't believe reviews that say this is hard to remove, they just didn't work out the way to do it). Thumb-screws make things easily to assemble/disassemble. There's tons of support for cable routing and management.
My only gripe about this case is that the USB ports on the front panel are, for some reason, slightly tight. I really have to force USB cables into these front ports, which go easily into other USB ports.
I grudgingly forked out the cash for a fresh, genuine, retail version of Windows 10. This guarantees I will be able to keep using it in future PCs, or if I change the motherboard (which isn't the case with cheaper OEM copies).
The picture quality of this 4K monitor is mindblowingly good. I compared it side-by-side with similar alternative products, and you can really tell the difference.
Because the monitor is so large, your viewing angle into the centre of the screen is quite different from your viewing angle to the edge of the screen. This means that it's important the colours/brightness don't differ that much with viewing angle. The IPS screen delivers this. Sitting directly in front of the screen, slightly above or below it, or to the left or the right, the whole screen looks uniform across its whole area.
The PD3200U is ideal for design work as it covers 100% of the sRGB gamut and is colour accurate with top-notch factory calibration. This makes a noticable difference. Not a single colour is over- or undersaturated, too bright or too dark. Your design work appears to you exactly as it should.
For entertainment, the monitor is also pretty fantastic. Other monitors that don't care so much about colour accuracy may shunt around the gamut so that games and films seem to pop even more. But frankly I don't need them to pop any more than they were meant to pop. They already look brilliant on this monitor.
The PD3200U also comes with a media card reader (useful) and USB 3.0 hub (useful) which can be switched between two computers (maybe useful?). One thing I will note: the Hotkey Puck is useless. Either you store it on the stand, placing it further away than the front-panel buttons (so why would you reach further for it?); or you keep it closer, cluttering your desk with a windy mess of cable. If they had been smart enough to make it wireless, it might have had a use potentially.
The stand is extremely sturdy and well made, and allows for a lot of flexibility in positioning. However, I am 6ft2in and found it couldn't rise high enough for me, so I mounted it on a separate VESA mount. I will note here that the provided bolts are already screwed in place (confused me for a moment) and actually aren't long enough to go through a VESA mount and form a solid connection, due to a slightly poor countersunk design. I found it necessary to swap in my own M4 15mm bolts. It now hangs well from an Ergotron LX arm – but note, this monitor is heavy, so you will need to adjust the tension (and don't go for any flimsy arm).