This build is an update/extension of my first Budget Ryzen 3 Cube build. This update includes the addition of an RX 560 that I've purchased and after doing some benchmarks (Gears of War 4 is my reference because I'm broke like that), I'm glad to say that this GPU is here to stay. The original owner only used this card for 2 months and it works just as well as it did on day 1. Check my Gears 4 benchmarks for reference. The Intel/Nvidia benchmarks are from my Dell Inspiron for comparison.
This build right here is pretty good; it pretty much rivals my Dell Inspiron 15 7567 Gaming Laptop with performance that trounces the laptop when unplugged. My laptop does edge out this build when plugged in marginally until it reaches high-ultra settings, in which the difference in performance is easily in the Dell's favor. Setting the frame rate limit to unlimited brings the performance disparity in AMD's favor once more, though. All-in-all, this build performs relative to my laptop ($664.99 open-box purchase on Mar. 6) for roughly $100 less (excluding Windows 10) before taxes. Windows 10 Home brought this build to pretty much the same price all things considered, so I'm pretty psyched about my first gaming build. Adding another 8GB for dual-channel memory is wonderful (I'll post that as a separate build once I finish my upgrades) and brought the price to $647.63 vs $731.24 (Dell + 8GB RAM).
I'm looking into upgrading the storage next; I've got my eye on some M.2 2280 SSDs and 8TB HDDs. On the GPU side I'm looking at an RX 580; 570 prices are near identical so why bother? The Ryzen 3 will likely stay with a possible 2nd Gen Ryzen 5 upgrade, though I'm keener to simply do a separate Ryzen 5 build. Ryzen 7 may be an upgrade or simply a separate build as well.
Definitely open to any suggestions, critiques, and questions. Thanks.
Edit: Don't mind the dual-channel RAM in the RGB pics, they're taken to show RGB effects. I'll make an update build once I place more parts, though performance is noticeably smoother.
I've also added photos of the build all cleaned up. I also swapped the RGB fans for the red LED fans.
This build has been upgraded, check it out!
Intrigued by the first generation of Ryzen processors, I decided to look into the 2nd generation based on performance benchmarks I've seen with integrated graphics. This is the little CPU/APU that could. Whether I'm streaming HD videos, running multiple programs, playing games, or all the above, this little guy definitely performed well. Considering the $70 price difference between this 2200G and the Ryzen 5 2400G, its performance was actually relative to the latter CPU. For that difference in price, I'd recommend this CPU over the 2400G.
Note that the Vega 8 Graphics will take up 0.3GB of RAM. This also means running dual channel will optimize performance, though this ran just fine even on single channel memory.
This also pairs wonderfully with the RX 560. Sure, the card could use a bit more CPU performance, but the bottleneck isn't as severe as with higher-end cards. This pairing is perfect for budget builds.
There's a lottery to be had with this motherboard: its BIOS. Some people have an older BIOS that's incompatible with Ryzen. Fortunately, mine came with the F10 BIOS that introduced Ryzen 3 2200G compatibility.
This tiny terror includes 2 RGBW headers, RGB lighting on the motherboard, dual channel DDR4 memory, 2x Gen 2 USB 3.1 Type-A ports, 4x Gen 1 USB 3.1 Type-A, 2 USB 2.0 ports, a P/S2 port, HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort, ALC1220/RealTek GbE LAN, M.2 Intel Dual Band 802.11ac WiFi+BT Module (3165) with antenna, M.2 NVMe PCIe Gen 3 x4 2280 connector, 4 SATA 3 ports, SATA RAID (0,1,10), 2 hybrid fan headers, 2/4/5.1/7.1 channel HD audio support, front panel headers, USB 2.0 header, USB 3.0/3.1 header, and a single PCIe x16 slot. Talk about packing a lot of features into this tiny board. That alone has raised my expectations on larger motherboards.
You get 2 SATA cables, the WiFi antenna, and 2 installation CDs: a drivers and BIOS CD with the other being the Intel WiFi+BT drivers CD. Installation is fairly straightforward. SmartFan5 helps keep an eye on temps and you can customize your fan settings (CPU and System 1).
The limit of 2 fan headers and the BIOS lottery are two reasons I didn't rate this motherboard 5 stars. However, this baby could handle quite a good deal while gaming, so I highly recommend this for Mini ITX builds that pack a punch on a budget.
Using the Gigabyte Radeon RX 560 4GB OC (rev 2.0) on this motherboard worked with little issues. This card doesn't use any connections to the PSU, so all its power is drawn from the PCIe slot. This motherboard performs admirably with the card; it helps that they're both GIGABYTE products.
This RAM runs beautifully. Vega 8 Graphics take up a dedicated 0.3GB of memory, yet run well. Ryzen runs well on dual channel, but even in single channel it ran well.. It's also a stunner with its red aluminum plating that dissipates heat very well. Aluminum is a great metal for heat dissipation as its thermal retention is poor. Also, 2,400MHz is decent for gaming applications.
I thought I purchased a 7200RPM WD Blue 1TB. Turns out my tired self ordered the 5400RPM. Slower speeds notwithstanding, this HDD holds up fairly well with data transfers and storage. As a boot drive I could've done a lot worse, though I'm planning on using this for raw storage.
Unlike the first revision (rev 1.0), this card does not use any power connectors whatsoever. Its power comes directly from the PCIe slot. That should result in marginally slower clocks (1176MHz), but I'm seeing core clocks at 1224MHz anyway, regardless of what monitoring software I use. Even AMD shows the core clock at 1224MHz, with AORUS showing its Gaming Mode clock at 1224MHz, Silent Mode at 1275MHz, and OC mode at 1300MHz. So far, I've been able to overclock to 1350MHz with -15% power target. Wonderful. It also helps to have 2 fans and a larger heat sink than other RX 560s. This card's temps never rose above 61 degrees Celsius when under load.
Do you like games like Gears of War and Forza Motorsport? Mid-High settings play just fine on this card. Performance is comparable to an Nvidia GTX 1050Ti for roughly 65-80% of the price. It's also pretty good with the Ryzen 3 2200G: a great budget gaming option to have.
Hello, beautiful! This Mini ITX case may not hold the longest graphics card (255mm with the front grill on, 285mm without), but it's probably the most voluminous case of its class. Cable management is easy given its spacious volume and included zip ties with holes to anchor cables down. Included is a 200mm case fan at the front (and a foam filter), 2 USB 3.0 Type-A ports, separate mic and headphone jacks, a power button, reset button, power LED, and HDD LED.
The rear sports two 80mm "slots" for additional case fans, the rear motherboard panel, and the slots for the PCIe expansion (most definitely for my graphics card). Bottom panel comes with a filter for the power supply, with the rear panel including the slot where you'd access the switches and plug. ATX power supplies are compatible with this case; 2 rubber bumpers are included with 3 pairs of slots to fit into for different size PSUs. The bottom is basically a dedicated space for the PSU.
Top panel comes with a glass/plastic window to see the motherboard (which sits horizontally) in all its glory. While the rest of the case is pretty much grill and metal. There are black hand screws holding the panels in place, as well as the 2 HDD caddies included. The front panel is removable only from the inside, with the rest of the panels being interchangeable. The top window is removable for those who want to install a grill/filter for even more airflow.
Small, compact, and stunning in white is what this cube is all about. It's spacious, yet compact and can definitely do what you need it to. Its airy interior also helps with airflow and maintaining lower temps. Its motherboard and PSU orientation definitely contribute to a beautiful interior. A dual-fan RX 560/GTX 1050 Ti looks surprisingly small in this case. I've got an RX 580 8GB on the way that'll fit a bit more cozy in this case.
I've been told this PSU will go nuclear if you reach/exceed its wattage limit. Considering my build is a Mini ITX build, there's little need to worry. If I slapped a Ryzen 7 and RX 580 into this build, I'd still be roughly 140W shy of reaching its limit. Speaking of which, my RX 560 doesn't even bump total wattage beyond 220W. The RX 580 I just bought uses as much as 95W more. The Ryzen 5 2400G I'm waiting on is rated the same as the 2200G. Gotta love technological progress.
Eco Mode is a neat little switch on the back that throttles power to the computer. It's a neat little thing to use if you're conscious about power consumption (i.e, running electronics on a surge protector near its threshold). Keep in mind it will throttle performance as well, so keep off if performance is a must. Otherwise, this unit supplies power without fuss. Its fan definitely keeps the unit cool, too. Eco Mode throttles the fan, too.
Fully Modular with three 6-pin connectors (2 SATA, 1 peripheral), 1 VGA 6+2, 8-pin CPU, and 24-pin ATX MB connector is exactly what's needed for smaller builds. The SATA cables have splitters, there are molex cables and adapters, too. This is excellent for smaller cases that require meticulous cable management.