The idea behind this build was to put something together that I wouldn't need to modify for a while. Now with two kids, I barely find the time and energy to be tinkering with my PC, and the little time I do find, I rather game. Many parts were bought either used or refurb, to keep budget as low as possible. Have always had good luck with used and refurb, and when something does go bad, usually have them replaced by any of the buyer protection programs offered on several sites, or manufacturer hasn't been a problem.
I went for a white/black, Corsair/Gigabyte theme, where possible.
The purpose of the rig is primarily studying for Masters and 1440p gaming.
Ryzen 3700X. Bought used, CPU only for a decent discount, as I already had a cooler in mind. With latest UEFI/BIOS, it's boosting at the rated 4.4GHz consistently. No point in overclocking 'X' variants fo Ryzen 3000 IMO. Beast of a CPU.
Was having a very tough time deciding on what cooler to use, I only knew I wanted air cooling. Can no longe stand the complexity and general pump hum from AIOs, although I do like, in general, AIO aesthetic more.... and all of a sudden... Linus video on Noctuas black-out coolers popped in my Youtube feed... Godsend. Ordered a U12S immediately, got a Linus Edition. Keeping the 3700X at ~70C with Prime while dead silent. Can't ask for more. Painted the top fin white to better fit the white/black theme, I think it ended up looking perfect.
Gigabyte X570 Elite WiFi. Due to lack of white-ish ATX motherboards for AM4, went for the most neutral colored one, that was well-rated. Took a risk: I've hated Gigabyte as a brand for a long time, can't even remember why anymore. But there current products where being so well received, that figured I'd give them a second chance. I am not dissapointed. BIOS updates are frequent, fast, and in my case, I don;t have any issues. RAM comptability and OC ended up being excellent. I do believe I should've just gone with a good B450 motherboard though. X570 adds very little for the mainstream/gamer enthusiast. BTW, the chipset fan stays off 99% of the time, chipset in my case very rarely reaches 60C, which is the point where it kicks up. And when it does, it's very quiet.
Minus one star for missing back I/O USB-C port, and "only" 466Mbps WiFi.
Bought used from ebay, as I could validate there that it was a version 4.31 kit with Samsung B-die ICs. Got a great sample. I now have a 2x16GB, dual-ranked kit, running at 3600MHz @ 16-17-17. Never thought that would work, but a full day of RAMtest, prime95 and y-cruncher validated it's rock-solid.
Newegg came out with a promo for the 1TB/960GB version for $149 back in the day. It seems that standard price now. Lightning fast. 3400MB/s read, 3000MB/s write it is, with equally as impressive IOPS ratings. Bought new.
Got a huge dissapointment here. I wanted to go for a Corsair/Gigabyte, all-AMD build, so I got a Gigabyte RX 5700 Gaming OC initially. It was very dissapointing. Although performance was great, almost 4 months after launch it was still plagued with driver issues: fan control was borked, card clocked inconsistently, and it dropped frequencies for no apparent reason causing ridiculous stutter. Seems a lot of people are still having these issues. Went for a RTX 2060 Super. On the upside, it's White, vs the black RX 5700, so it complements the build much better. On the downside, I feel a bit stupid, as for $419, a RX 5700XT is a considerably better card, if it works. HOWEVER, it came with Modern Warfare, $60 value, which is a game I was planning on buying anyway, so technically, I got the card for $360 then.
Just like the motherboard, the Gigabyte-built card really surprised me. It's beautiful in its all-white build, runs cool and quiet with stock fan curve, aprox. 75C with fans barely spinning at about 36%. The fan curve is rather conservative for my taste, so am using a custom curve with the fans running at 70% after hitting 59C. For a triple fan card, 70% fan speed is still impressively quiet, then keeping the card at about 65C. Even running at 100% is not as annoying as one would expect. Thing is, only one 8-pin connector. This means, power limit is fixed at 100%. However, BIOS is set for a 200W TDP, vs 175W of the Founder Edition. Runs at about 1900MHz stock. Mine did manage to overclock +75MHz on the core (more would make no difference, as the power limit would not allow it to go further), and 1000MHz VRAM. Rock-solid.
Copy/paste of my amazon review: Let's get it out of the way: yes, it's very small and cramped. If you want to build in this case, you have to plan your build well.
Max cooler height is 160mm, which restricts several popular heatsinks. Leaves very good options in 120mm towers like the Noctua NH-U12S though.
AIOs are "supported", as long as your RAM is normal profile (Corsair LPX series) for radiator being installed on top, or video card under 300mm if installed in front. Again, very specific RAM and video cards can be chosen if an AIO is to be used.
To keep it small, the work space on the back for cabling is poor. Using PSU extensions kills your free space, so if you want to change your modular cables for something nicer, you'll have to go with replacements, not extensions. Just the three fans that comes with it have six cables (3 3-pin and 3 RGB), and add to that any other cables and HDDs or SDDs you may install... it's horrible. I'd recommend going for a M.2 drive if only to save yourself of needing SATA power cables and SATA data cables.
So yes, restrictive. BUT! If planned and built accordingly, it's difficult to miss the mark of an extremely beautiful build. Looks-wise, the case is beautiful in white, very well built and top notch materials. Air flow is superb, as was expected. The case is MEANT to be small, and comes of course with the compromises of that decission, so can't take a star off because of that.
I'd love to see a version without fans. The SP120 fans that come with it aren't to bad, but are far from the best... and are 3 pin only. I personally swapped them for white LL120s, which seem to work MUCH better in this case. Love it.
The PSU is outstanding, quality-wise. Rails are immovable, fan I believe has never turned on, and has powered everything I throw at it. 10 year warranty... But the White version is extremely over-priced. $30 more for it just being white... and that usually goes under a PSU shroud. I'd say it was more my fault for going with the white version, but get's a 3 star for being a poor value, compared to it's black version, and even more of a bad value against very good Seasonic, eVGA or Antec PSUs.
No matter how good onboard audio has become, it's still light-years away from dedicated sound solutions. Wasn't sure about going with an internal sound card or an external DAC/AMP, but when I saw the AE-5 came with a very cool, matching white/black backplate, went that way. Creative drivers always have their quirks. In this case, you're forced to choose between a more than one-year old driver package (with SoundBlaster Connect) that will allow you to control the card fully, including RGB, or a much more recent, different package (with SoundBlaster Command), which resolves issues, and adds a much better UI, but lacks some controls, like RGB. Stuck with Red LED for the moment. Sound quality is amazing though. Highly recommend.
In the end, got 6 of them for real "cheap". The SP120 Pro that came with the case were good enough, but 3 pin fans, in 2019. Plus, they're rather noisy. These LL120s push a lot of air, are relatively quiet, and has the best RGB implementation to date in my opinion. Snatched them some time ago for like $45 each three pack. Not sure whye they were so cheap that time. Bought new.
This one has been with me for about three years. 1440p, 144MHz, IPS, Freesync at great price. G-Sync works perfectly with it too. Not the prettiest monitor there is (v2 fixes, among other things, the aesthetics). Bought used back then, still going strong.
Got it on sale for the same price than the black one. Not sure why Corsair decided the white version should cost $50 more... Awesome mechanical keyboard, and looks incredible. Corsair also finally dropped insisting on making all peripherals look as gaming-y as possible.
Original build had a Corsair M65 Elite WHite mouse, to keep with the Gigabyte/Corsair theme. The mouse was very good, although the shape was not EXACTLY for my grip. Good enough I guess. But the mouse started failing (middle-click issues), and ended up being RMAed. I had an old white G703 lying around, the older version with the pixart sensor, so pulled it out while I got my replacement. I had forgotten how GOOD these mice are, how well they fit me, and how much more confortable it is to use a wireless mouse. It hit me so hard, that I ordered a new G703 Lightspeed mouse with the new Hero sensor. They only sell them in black, so played the face-off surgeon, and exchanged shells between the two, so I now have a new G703 Hero in white. Sadly for my M65 Elite, even though it was great, it can't hold a candle against this G703. It'll be sold.
Battery life on the new Hero sensor is insane. With the old PWM3366, battery with lights off was about 26 hours... it's over 60 with the new Hero sensor, and tracks just as well, if not better. Surprise benefit is that the Hero version weighs almost 10g less. HIGHLY recommended mouse. Never going wired again, and no, I don't care it disregarded the Gigabyte/Corsair theme I was orignally going for.
My M40x have been with me for many years, and they're not changing. This was the one area were the theme of the build would not be applicable. I'm so not changing them for a Corsair headset. 4 stars, as the pads are bad, and usually need replacing. Replaced them with Brainwavz Angled Ear Pads, and sound incredible... sadly, the ear pads have started to peel after about two years of use.