UPDATE: 01.2018

Golly - this is so much fun!!

Having originally posted a few months ago, I thought a lot about the feedback I got - which was mainly, "Why are you pairing a CLC with a Ryzen R3 1200?" The answer is simple: this build was a learning curve for me and the CLC was an afterthought. Even so, a seed had been sown for further contemplation...

Eventually, this seed took hold and I talked myself into an upgrade. (OK, it was almost immediately.) So, I ordered a Ryzen 5 1600 - and while I was about it, thought I'd double-up on RAM too (luckily, just before RAM prices became so obscene as to become obnoxious).

So, I'm now rocking a 6 core, 12 thread beasty with 16GB of RAM, all super-cooled with the enormously fabulous DeepCool Captain 240EX RGB CLC. (They're not that different to the originals, but I hope you like the extra pics!)

Couple of things to mention: doubling the RAM instantly downgraded its 'automatic' speed setting to about 1800MHz, if I remember well, but this was easily adjusted back up to 3200MHz through the BIOS. However, I discovered this wasn't stable (AIDA64), so I dialled back to 3000MHz and can now run AIDA64 all day long without any problems. (I'm not sure if I hadn't had this issue with just the two sticks of RAM before the upgrade, but hadn't run this particular stress test, so can't say for sure that it was the upgrade that caused this issue. Regardless - did I notice any system slowdown...? No. Not at all.)

Also, my previous CPU's overclock of 4GHz, while achievable, was only possible if I massively ramped up the voltage. (This was sticking to MSI's BIOS 7A38v16 - I also tried 7A38v17, but it introduced the same problems as before, strongly suggesting, therefore, a BIOS, not CPU issue.) I have the cooling capability for high voltage, so no problem - even so, I'm more interested in my CPU's longevity than squeezing every ounce of maximum speed from it, so again, dialled back the frequency and, at a much more reasonable voltage, I'm getting a very happy 3.9GHz, which has been stable for the last few months.

I'm fairly sure that all this can be explained by 'silicon lottery' and that's fine, because even if I didn't hit the jackpot, I definitely didn't lose either!!

Like I said, this isn't a new upgrade - it happened a few months ago - and already I'm getting itchy fingers again... this time, I'm thinking about upgrading the chassis. I'm not unhappy with the Core V21, although I bought it because I knew it would be easy to build in - an important consideration for a new builder.

All the same, I'd really like tempered glass, because already, there are some tiny marks on the V21's acrylic window just from gentle cleaning.

So, I'm thinking about either the PHANTEKS Evolv mATX TG, though I believe it might have some cooling issues. Or I also quite like the FRACTAL DESIGN Define Mini C TG.

It's a toss up and if anyone has any opinions about either case, I'd be very happy to hear them.

It seems that my first build is growing and evolving and I'm sure I am with it, which is great; just what I'd hoped for! As ever, if any of the experiences I've shared can help anyone, I'm really happy about it. And if anyone cares to share their experiences with me, I'm really happy about that too - the more the merrier.

The PC building community is really great, very supportive and a lot of fun - so thanks to anyone this message reaches.

Peace and happiness to us all in 2018!!

This was my first build.

After almost a year of research - with great thanks to a bunch of YouTube channels (please see the credits below) - Q-BIT was eventually born.

Q-BIT was a slight compromise, because I was unhappy with how AMD Vega turned out when it finally arrived, not to mention that RAM and SSD prices were going in completely the wrong direction. So, I decided to build a Volvo instead of a Maserati.

It's overclocked at a stable 4.0 GHz, with RAM trundling along at 3200 MHz without any issue; the XMP profile loaded without any hassle. I was also able to tweak the GPU settings up a bit from the already impressive factory overclock. So, all in all, I'm very happy with that side of things.

EDIT: I tried updating the BIOS to the new v1.7 and immediately lost system stability. The best OC I could just about manage was 3.9 (CPU); RAM was unaffected. So, I reflashed back to v1.6. Peace, serenity and calmness returned and I am now chugging along at a stable 4.0 GHz once again.

This could easily be my lack of knowledge/experience as much as it could be the 'new and improved' v1.7. Even so, I think it's worth mentioning.

For cooling: to begin with, I stuck with the supplied Wraith cooler. But I really like what Deepcool have done with their CaptainEX AIOs; truly, a celebration of the CPU - and they include a PWM fan hub and 30cm RGB LED strip (with a controller) in the box too...? I know, it's overkill, but who cares? This machine was built as much for aesthetics as it was practicality. For me, it now ticks both these boxes very nicely.

I built this in Poland, which is where I work and live. Parts were generally easy to get, though some were a bit pricey. (For the purpose of this exercise, I've converted the PLN prices I paid to GBP.) The Deepcool cooler was the only exception, which I had to get from the UK (c/o eBay). This is also why there were two stages to the build, while I waited for the Deepcooler to arrive. It meant taking the motherboard out again... but that's half the fun, right?

I had a really great time in the planning and building stages. And now, I'm having a really great time in the tertiary (playing!) stage too. :-)

I'm just a regular guy who decided to have a go. And look what happened?!

If this can inspire anyone who's thinking about their first build to have a go too, I can highly recommend it! Please feel free to ask any questions. If I can, I'll be more than happy to try to help. :-)

YouTube credits: Many, many thanks for all the hard work you put into doing what you do, you crazy, lovely YouTube people!! It really wouldn't have been the same without you.

(In alphabetical, no preference, order): Actually Hardcore Overclocking, Back of beyond Tech, der8auer, Gamers Nexus, HardwareCanucks, JayzTwoCents, JPModified, KitGuruTech (Leo, you rock!!!), OC3D TV, Paul's Hardware, RedGamingTech, Tech YES City

Part Reviews


Yes! Yes!! Yes!!!

It's a bit like 'that' scene out of the film, When Harry Met Sally - but this is genuine; no one's faking anything.

CPU Cooler

The ONLY AIO available (IMHO) that truly celebrates the CPU - without having to incorporate a manufacturer's branding into its main design.

Sure, the Kraken looks great too - if you're willing to put up with the NZXT logo emblazoned across its centre; and the same is generally true for all the other CPU block designs I've seen, AIO or custom.

The Deepcool CaptainEX range, then, is a breath of fresh air.

It works really well, looks fabulous and comes will so much 'stuff' in the box that Deepcool has got you covered, whatever your build demands.

I was also really happy with their personal response when I contacted them - I was trying to find where I could buy this kit in Poland (where I live and work), though in the end, I had to get one shipped from the UK (the cheapest eBay option at the time). But, what this showed me was that this company actually cared - I didn't just get a standard answer; I got an actual reply from one of their people who was obviously trying to help me as best he could. That kind of service is rare and is to be cherished.

Then, when the kit arrived, I realised that this level of care was also apparent in the kit; the way it was packaged, the quality of its manufacturing.

The only slight niggle was that the packaging is slightly misleading - while the CPU block is true RGB, it is only capable of one colour at a time, not the 'rainbow' effect that the packaging suggests. But I already knew this, so it wasn't a let down for me. And the overall design more than makes up for this minor shortcoming (again, IMHO).

To sum up:

Quality + Looks / Nice Price = Happiness

Thermal Compound

Bought this many, many years ago. Still as happy with it as the day I first discovered 'thermal paste' even existed and started to look into it.

Is it any better than the more recent alternatives? No idea.

Does it work really well? Absolutely.

Do I have any regrets? None.


Sometimes, less is more. This could be one of those times.

Even so, this is one of the few motherboards of its size with a heatsink for the VPMs that matter for OCing - and while I probably wouldn't go too mad trying to squeeze a Ryzen 7 on this board, it works just fine with my Ryzen 3 and I'm quietly confident Ryzen 5 owners wouldn't have too many complaints either.

I really want to give this 5 stars!! But, a recent BIOS update (v1.7) which introduced system instability over its previous state, and other supporting software that seems to be quite buggy means that, because it is all offered as part of a complete package, 1 star has to come off.

Don't let this dissuade you though. If you don't need ALL the bells and ALL the whistles, but are looking for a decent budget board that will deliver a lot of the features that seem to be usually reserved for its bigger brothers, you should definitely look at this.

I'm a first time builder and this board has only encouraged me to do more.


I bought this Ripjaws kit.

The XMP profile loaded without any problems into my Ryzen build.

Not only was this a huge relief, but it also had a satisfyingly dramatic effect on system performance.

Thanks G.Skill!


I'm a first-time builder. I come from using RAID 0 HDDs spinning at 7200rpm.


I have no idea whether this particular SSD is better or worse than the others. All I know is that it's amazing.

If you've never used SSD before - START USING IT NOW!

Video Card

You won't be disappointed!

Let's face it - if you want 4K resolution, or Ultrawide refreshing at insane speeds, then you're probably not looking at a GTX 1060.

BUT... if, like me, you want to keep using your perfectly good FHD, 1080p screen that's refreshing at a relaxingly sedate 60Hz and you want to play 'pretty' open world games without worrying about having to dial back the quality settings, then this is a great GPU.

MSI has done a really good job with their factory overclock too, but even so, you can probably tweak out even more performance if you want. It took a little time to iron out all the crinkles, but now I'm rock-solid at over 2.1 GHz on the core and over 10 GHz (wow!!) apparent memory clock too.

This works like a charm with an OCd Ryzen 3 (at 4 GHz), delivering an experience I'm really happy with. No bottle-necking!

Costs aren't so good at the moment (Q4 2017) - but at this level, I think it's more than worth the stretch.


I found this one of the hardest decisions to make when it came to planning the build.

Cases define builds as they're the most obvious part of it - everything else can be hidden away (usually), but the case is on permanent display.

This was my first build and not something I wanted to put on the floor or under a desk. At the same time, I'd decided to build a lesser machine than I'd originally intended (thanks to a less than fruitful wait for Vega and soaring memory/SSD prices); my choice of case had, therefore, to become more realistic for the level of build I was going to attempt.

That's when Leo from KitGuru saved the day! I'd already 'discovered' him a while ago and just adore the way he pours praise (or his version of scorn) into his case (and other) reviews. Frankly, Leo hits the nail on the head every time. And this was no exception.

This case is great at this level. Arguably it tries to do too much (who is really going to stack multiple cases for a custom loop?), but it offers functionality, multiple build options and (possibly one of the most important factors, from my point of view) airflow!!

It's a pity the window isn't tempered glass, but I kept the plastic wrap stuff on it until I was completely finished building, so it's unscuffed and looking good. And it's a pity the 200mm supplied fan is DC not PWM (not sure if you can even get a PWM fan this big), because I had to swap it out with a pair of smaller PWM fans as a result of 'limitations' I'd created for myself with my choice of cooler. It's a pity that, having worked hard to include a comprehensive set of dust filters, the intake on the front floor panel was left open, but I found something (a magnetic DEMCiflex dust filter) to sit on top of it, thus solving this issue.

These are minor gripes considering how much case you get for the money.

It is a budget case and it feels like a budget case when you're working with it, hence it drops 1 star for being a bit flimsy. But, this case still delivers plentiful bang for buck and it looks cool too.

Power Supply

1) It's SeaSonic. 2) JohnnyGURU gave its bigger brother (same M12 II EVO range) a score of 9.4. 'Nuf said.

Operating System

Thanks to Paul's Hardware YouTube channel for this one.

Windows is Windows - that's not really what I'm rating here, although 10 seems slick enough (now that I've disabled as much of the telemetry as I can).

But, thanks to Paul, I found a legitimate way to buy this much cheaper than other, more conventional routes. So, more money for other things!! :-)


Thanks to Paul's Hardware YouTube channel for this one.

Office is Office - that's not really what I'm rating; in fact, I'm still quite disappointed that, even after all these years, 'paid' Outlook is still less capable than 'free' Thunderbird!! But, never mind.

More importantly, thanks to Paul, I found a legitimate way to buy this much cheaper than other, more conventional routes. So, more money for other things!! :-)

Case Fan

It's a case fan. I think it's OK, but as a first-time builder, I can't say too much.

It was the right colour for my build and it seems to blow air at my components, which seem to be quite happy and cool.

Slightly strange that the cost of a 120mm fan was more expensive than a 140mm that I also bought... but that's most likely just the magic of supply and demand doing its thing.

Case Fan

It's a case fan. I think it's OK, but as a first-time builder, I can't say too much.

It was the right colour for my build and it seems to blow air at my components, which seem to be quite happy and cool.

Slightly strange that the cost of a 120mm fan was more expensive than this 140mm... but that's most likely just the magic of supply and demand doing its thing.


Knee-tremblingly expensive, but just like a fabulously decadent holiday or ridiculously over-powered car, you'll soon forget about this minor inconvenience.

I smile every time I have to type anything. In my mind, I'm giggling with anticipation every time I launch a game.

I will never look back.


As far as I'm concerned, Logitech got it soooooo right with this wireless mouse.

A true, gaming mouse.

You talk to your computer through your keyboard and mouse. This is a beautiful conversation.


As effective at cleaning Arctic Silver 5 off components as Arctic Silver 5 is at cooling them.


I'm so close to giving these 5 STARs... and the only reason I don't is that the bass isn't quite as punchy as I'm used to. These are not monitor speakers offering flat response and if sound is that important to you, then look elsewhere.

BUT - as speakers for a gaming computer, these are brilliant. If immersion is important (and of course, it is), you'll soon forget that what you're hearing is being delivered from a pair of desktop speakers.

They'll look great on your desk. They'll sound great when you're gaming. Job done.


It's a dust filter. The mesh is quite fine, so I'm sure it's keeping most of what I don't want out of the case.

It's magnetic, though not massively so - but it's enough to keep it in place, on the floor of my case, which was the single omission to the otherwise flawless dust filtering system the case offered.


Something of a superfluous luxury for a gaming rig perhaps, however, this has saved my bacon more than a couple of times.

I have it running my PC, network and NAS drives, which it does with ease, so I'm still online even when the power goes out.

I now rate having a UPS as importantly as having data redundancy/backups.


If you're going to use a nice and probably expensive keyboard and mouse, be nice to them.

A big mouse-pad (desk-pad, really) is being really nice.

Mine still looks good after several months. It cleans easily with a microfibre cloth and the sewn hem gives it s smart, premium look. Despite it's size, it's not intrusive and it feels good under your wrists.

One of the least costly components of my 'rig', but a bit like salt on garlic bread, this transcends the experience to a higher plane.

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  • 31 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice build but WHY AIO FOR RYZEN 3 it breaks my heart to see that :( also love HardwareCanucks too!

  • 31 months ago
  • 3 points

I don't know if you're going to like this answer any more than my pairing of the Captain with a Ryzen 3, but..., "Why not?"

  • 30 months ago
  • 1 point

Does this cpu works without bios update ? Some people are saying that ryzen 3 won't post without a new bios.

  • 30 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi I don't remember which BIOS version the MOBO was shipped with, but posting was no problem. With the OS installed, I then ran an 'update everything MSI', which included BIOS update to 7A38v16. Since then, 7A38v17 has been released - but I found this very unstable. My previous OC of 4GHz was no longer achievable, so I reverted to v16 - and my previous OC was restored. (I've since upgraded to a R5 1600, and this CPU had exactly the same instability issues with v17 as the R3 1200 had - so this is definitely a BIOS, not CPU, problem). Hope some of that helps!

  • 30 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanx for yr time an help man )))

  • 31 months ago
  • 0 points

Because you could've given that money to me

  • 31 months ago
  • 1 point

I could give you some money - or I could have lots of fun choosing, sourcing and fitting a ridiculously over-the-top AIO to my first, new build, just because I like the look of it. Hmmmm... you're right, it's a tough choice. ;-)

  • 31 months ago
  • 2 points

Couldn't you have spent the money that you spent on the AIO on a Ryzen 5 chip and something like a Cryorig H7? That's definitely what I would have done and it would give more performance.

  • 31 months ago
  • 2 points

Lol I was joking, the other guy's right though. You can afford a 6-core 12-thread Ryzen 5 1600 with stock cooler for the same/similar price. I know you are concerned with aesthetics which I respect, but the stock cooler looks plenty nice as well. I guess it all comes down to preference, and the decision is already made; but whenever you built your next PC, seriously consider the potential of what extra performance you can gain if you shaved off some money on a part or two.

  • 31 months ago
  • 2 points

You're both right. I could have skinned this cat any one of a million different, more sensible, boring ways. Instead, I chose the slower and (for me) more fun route of gradual discovery! This way, I get to play more, experiment and have much more upgrade potential later = more fun! This isn't all about cost or performance; it's about enjoying the journey - and I am, enormously! But thanks for your thoughts. :-)

  • 14 days ago
  • 1 point

How's the 240EX RGB holding up? Some other 240 EX's seem to have an unusually high amount of leakage reports.

Thanks :)

  • 11 days ago
  • 2 points

No complaints so far. I've not seen those leakage reports, but I guess you stop looking once you've done all the research and bought, unless you run into trouble yourself.

In all honesty, I bought the 240 EX because it was colourfully celebrating the CPU without sticking its brand all over it '1st', with (at the time) well reported thermals '2nd' - and it's a big thumbs up for both.

It's also quiet. I'm running SilentWings 3 case fans along with the Gamerstorm supplied fans on the rad and the loudest thing in there is the GPU.

Hope that helps :-)

  • 11 days ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for replying after having this build for nearly three years. I'm still thinking that this cooler, despite the scary looking tube flowing out of the CPU block, are still pretty reliable as it is very popular and the leaking units were owned by a rather.. loud minority.

  • 9 days ago
  • 2 points

You're very welcome.

Yes, it's often true that, "those that know it least, know it loudest," or something like that. ;-)

Like I said, I'm unaware of specific leakage reports, but from what I gather, AIOs are considered much safer than they used to be. From my perspective, I would have avoided them completely if I'd heard any horror stories at the time... but my research dug up nothing but positives: with the 240 EX, Gamerstorm had as safe a unit as any other, good reported thermals from a number of different sources, a competitive price and, in my opinion, aesthetics that celebrated (only) the CPU. (They also chucked in an RGB strip too!)

For what it's worth and were I buying today (now that I've gone as far with RGB as I personally need to), I'd be looking at something like the new Liquid Freezer II range from Arctic Cooler. That said, if scary tubes put you off, which is more than fair enough, air cooling still works well and can also look good.

There's been a few reviews lately about AIOs vs decent air coolers (Noctua, be quiet, Scythe, etc). From what I've seen, AIOs always win on thermals and noise - but not by much. In fact, air coolers seem more than adequate for the majority of use-cases, meaning that AIOs are generally more for aesthetics. This was certainly true for me!

Point is, if you're in any doubt (and as long as your case is big enough), get a good air cooler and spend the ~£50 you'd save somewhere else; better CPU or graphics card, perhaps? Or do as I did: take the nominal risk and enjoy the look of your build!

Whatever your choice, I'm sure it will be worth it - have fun! :-)

  • 31 months ago
  • -2 points

What about Linus Tech Tips?

  • 31 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm afraid LTT wasn't on my watch list

  • 31 months ago
  • 2 points

What about Hardware unboxed best hardware reviews on youtube.

  • 31 months ago
  • 2 points

That almost sounds like a recommendation, so please tell me: what about it? Why is it so good?

  • 31 months ago
  • 4 points

It is haha. Good unbiased review with a ton of becnhmarks like 20-30.

  • 31 months ago
  • 4 points

Thanks - I'll check it out :-)

EDIT: Yeah, looks good - I think I just became subscriber #154,069. Cheers!

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