Description

Achieving Zen

For years I have planned on building my own computer and now finally I have done it. It feels great, after researching on dozens of forums and websites, I decided to go with MSI and AMD hardware. This has been a huge leap over my Dell Latitude e6410 and raspberry pi 3. I am upgrading from an i7 620m (2c/4t) with integrated graphics and a maxed out RAM of 8GBs to a r5 1600 (6c/12t) with an RX 480 4GB and the ability to expand to 64GB of RAM. It is night and day.

I went with the AMD Ryzen CPU because of the amazing reviews. I, however had some difficulty getting this computer up and running. The issue with deciding to run brand new technology is that things do not always work out as planned. After sending the motherboard to MSI to get the BIOS updated and the Processor RMA'd to Newegg I received a new Processor and was able to complete the build. The process was smooth however stressful as I had just spent $300 dollars on parts that did not work. Two weeks later I was able to get everything up and running.

This computer is going to be running Windows 10 EDU for the time being because I got a copy for free from my school and it is compatible with the games I want to run. I run Manjaro Linux on my laptop, and plan on using Manjaro on an m.2 I'll purchase on sale.

The most graphically intense and modern games I'll be playing is DOOM (2016) and Skyrim. For the most part, I am interested in older games such as Morrowind/Oblivion, Ultimate Doom and Doom II, and Nintendo games on emulators. I plan on doing some work with virtualization, programming, and content creation in Linux once I can get another drive and more RAM.

Part Reviews

CPU

Ryzen is great! AMD has a winner here. This is the best processor you can get around $200. This is the most powerful processor I have ever owned. Runs decently cool with the stock cooler. May need to reapply thermal paste and adjust the fan curve but for now it runs smoothly.

Only complaints is the fact that I got a dead one from Newegg and the motherboard did not play nice with the original BIOS. However, the RMA process was painless and I was able to get working parts back in a reasonable time period.

Motherboard

This is a great budget B350 AM4 Motherboard from MSI. It has all the features I want with none of the fluff. The difference between this and the Gaming B350's MSI offers is that the capacitors may be of slightly lower quality. From what I have read this means the motherboard will burn out in 10 years instead of 15+ or so. Not a big issue for me as I plan to upgrade the computer piece by piece over the years.

I did have to send this into MSI to get the BIOS updated but Newegg determined that the CPU was dead on arrival and defective so that may have been the issue instead of the board. The BIOS is easy to use and with the fully updated firmware I can now support higher speed RAM's.

Memory

Well built heat spreaders and it adds a really solid feel to the RAM. I can run this at the rated speed after enabling it in my BIOS. A few memory errors in Windows 10 as the kinks of the AM4 platform are being smoothed out but nothing serious.

The price is a little high, and if I knew I was going to buy ddr4 and that higher clocked RAM matters much more with Ryzen I would have purchased a year ago when prices were lower.

Storage

Fantastic solid state. From cold boot or restart to Windows desktop in 30 seconds or less Is fantastic. Everything is snappy and this is a perfect size for a boot drive.

Highly recommend solid state drives and I was able to pick this up at Best Buy fairly cheap.

Storage

This drive is for my games and other media. As a Bulk storage drive it runs great. Not as fast as solid states but certainly faster then those 5400 laptop hard drives I have dealt with in the past.

Cannot hear it in my case so no issues their.

Video Card

This is overkill for what I want to do. However I picked this up a few months ago and so seeing the current prices and availability of these cards makes me glad I got it. This is my first dedicated graphics card and it runs well.

Runs DOOM (2016) on Ultra with Vulkan settings. Best looking game I have ever played. Smooth, and runs relatively cool. Technically this one of the weak links in my build but it is going to do everything I need it to do for years to come.

Case

Awesome case. Hands down one of my favorite parts of my build after the processor and monitor. Easy to work with, everything is silent and the air flow is solid. I highly recommend any Fractal Design Case.

One complaint is that the smaller size made plugging in everything a little tricky but the build quality of the case is fantastic and the size and look is perfect for my needs.

Power Supply

This is overkill for the current power needs of my build. I got this as I have been recommended that you want to keep your power supply at around 40 to 60 percent load to achieve maximum power efficiency. Accounting for planned upgrades for additional storage, water cooling, more RAM, and a newer graphics card over the years this power supply should meet those goals no sweat.

Very high quality build, one of the fancier components I purchased. Do not skimp on a power supply. I like that it is fully modular and that the cables are shielded. One compliant is that the cables are stiff and hard to work with.

This review sold me on this PSU, I recommend you check out this site if you are researching power supplies: http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=Story&reid=500

Monitor

Fantastic IPS monitor. An excellent display for a cheap price. This is one of the nicest parts of my computer. I am a big fan of ASUS monitors now because of this one.

Great price, excellent color and quality of the picture. No complaints with this at all. The VGA picture quality from my laptop is great, the hdmi picture quality from a rasberry pi 3 is solid, and the dvi to my desktop is the best picture quality I have ever owned. This one monitor meets and exceeds my needs.

Keyboard

Cheap standard wireless keyboard. I like Logitech mice, and this is advertised to run for months on the same battery. The Logitech mouse I use with my Laptop has only needed the battery replaced 3 times or so in the past 5 years so hopefully I get the same luck with this keyboard.

Comments

  • 30 months ago
  • 3 points

Clean, simple, and gets the job done. I like it!

  • 30 months ago
  • 2 points

I have the same card. It was on sale and came with a copy of Doom 2016, and runs it maxed at 1080p at very high FPS flawlessly. It also runs Skyrim SE, Fallout 4, and GTA V perfectly as well. So basically it does everything I need it to do.

  • 30 months ago
  • 2 points

Doom runs buttery smooth, everything quiet and fairly cool. I will say with the latest amd driver I am having issues with Skyrim SE. However I plan on going back to the older edition to run some mods that aren't compatible with the new version. It's a great card though.

  • 30 months ago
  • 2 points

Slick build!

  • 30 months ago
  • 2 points

Can you manage to overclock your ram upto 3200mhz?.. nc build tho. Im asking because we almost have the same components.. just curious because mine is comming this week :)

  • 30 months ago
  • 1 point

I have not tried to get my RAM to run faster than 2400 Mhz. I know that you want to figure out if your RAM is Samsung B die to get higher than 2666 successfully and that it is better to buy higher rated RAM to achieve the higher speeds. The current RAM I run is really a placeholder as I was on a budget, I would like to get a 16 Gb stick here when the prices go down. My BIOS is updated to the latest verision (not the recently released beta version but like the May version) and it says it can run RAMs at speeds up to 3200 so I imagine I can support that with my BIOS version.

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  • 30 months ago
  • 1 point

You should see under the psu shroud and the backside haha. Thanks though, I really enjoyed it and am proud that I figured it all out on my own, I'm about to graduate and start a career working worth computers so other than being broke nothing was going to get in the way of building this sucker.

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