Death to the Pre-Built PC!
Around last year, I bought an ASUS ROG G20 because I barely knew about computers. The little PC had a GTX 970 and an i7 6700. Not bad. However, after overclocking the 970 to around 1,600 MHz (which was stable for months, by the way), the power brick that powered the little PC just couldn't handle it after awhile and went on a suicide-homicide mission and took the motherboard's life away. Since this February, I haven't had a gaming computer. To solve that, I saved up about $1,000 to rebuild the computer, making it even better.
I bought the Ryzen 7 1700 because I'm a content creator. I make little YouTube videos and I needed something powerful enough to render stuff pretty swiftly. This processor makes a great job of that. For the RAM I'm using a 2x8 GB kit of G.Skill Ripjaws V DDR4-2800 silver RAM. Looks neat in here. For the storage, I pulled the 2 TB hard drive out of my old PC that died and bought a 240 GB SSD from Best Buy for $45 on clearance. I got lucky. For the graphics card, I wanted to go all-AMD, so I got a Sapphire NITRO RX 480 with 4 GB of GDDR5 memory. And before you ask: yes, 4 GB is enough for me. For the motherboard, I picked MSI'S Pro Gaming Carbon because it was a nicely priced X370 board with a clean appearance and for no other reason. For the power supply, I got the Rosewill PHOTON-750. 750 watts of modular goodness for $75. I love it. And to keep all the stuff together and looking nice, I used DIYPC's IllusionII-BR case. I really feel like I robbed those guys; this is such a beautiful case. Cable management was so easy that I didn't even need cable ties using the stock cables from Rosewill (which are honestly horrible).
Me being the Razer fanboy that I am, I got all-Razer. Naga Epic Chroma, BlackWidow X TE Chroma, Firefly, and Man O' War. I would've switched things up if it wouldn't have destroyed the whole chroma ecosystem thing that Razer has going.
If you need headphones that sound amazing for cheap, get the Status CB-1s. These things sound better than Beats Studio 2s and they're like half the price (unless you like bass; these things are studio monitors so their response line is pretty flat).
I also have the BlackWeb Gunner PC speaker system because these speakers sound pretty good for the price. But, I'm almost positive that this product was discontinued. After looking for so long, I just can't find it anywhere besides eBay.
I also have 3TB of external storage from Toshiba. I don't like the product itself, but it's honestly good enough. I only use it for backups & such. I don't really need it for anything else.
And finally, for audio recording, I have the Blue Yeti microphone. I love this thing. It sounds so nice. :)
Monitors & Setup
I'm not some super hardcore eSports gamer, so I just stick with the basic 1080p display with the 60 Hz refresh rate. I like the idea of getting a decent 1440p monitor at around 100Hz, but I just really don't want to switch to it, because I probably won't want to switch back. I like to think of it like smoking cigarettes. You're fine without them for so long, but once you use them once, you just can't go back.
Anyways, with decent viewing angles and absolutely NO backlight bleed, I love these AOC monitors. The color gamut isn't the best, but I'm not an artist, so I could care less. I haven't even messed with color settings because I personally think the monitors are fine. I'm really not picky.
For my desk, I'm using some $80 desk I picked up from my local Walmart. It's actually pretty nice and I've had it for over a year now. It gets the job done and holds my stuff just fine. It really does look good too.
Surprisingly enough, I had barely any issues with installing anything for the first time. I knew that cable management was a must, so I did my best. The cables are tucked (not-so) neatly in the back, and I made sure that cables in the front were exposed as least as possible. I finally installed my CPU & GPU and got to work. The BIOS was pretty straight forward, but it didn't seem to like my RAM very much; it's clocked at 1,067 MHz. I might need to get a new kit that's confirmed to be compatible with this motherboard. I'll probably swallow my pride and buy a 3,200 MHz kit. The only issues I ever ran into were when the operating system was first installed. The disk I was given had Windows 10 on it, but it was a version of Windows from mid-2016, so Ryzen couldn't communicate with its' cores properly, so the OS would crash due to a "CLOCK_WATCHDOG_TIMEOUT" error. After disabling 6 cores and 12 threads, operating the equivalent of an i3, I was finally able to install Windows updates. I was very happy when I was able to enable all 8 cores & 16 threads and not have the system crash every 5 minutes. Now it doesn't crash at all.
I got the exact look I was looking for. This red-themed build looks amazing in my room. I get around 120-200 FPS in Overwatch, and nearly 1,000 in Minecraft. Since my phone's broken, I can't log into Steam until I get my phone fixed, so I can't test CS:GO or GTA V, but I'll do that soon. To my surprise, I was able to successfully overclock this processor to
4 GHz 3.9 GHz and it was actually stable! However, the temperatures were stupid high. I'm so uncomfortable having my processor run close to 90 °C, so I just clocked it to a more reasonable speed (3.7 GHz) which brought the temperature down to around 77 °C at load, which was good enough for me. It's very capable at running at 4 GHz (if I upped the voltage to around 1.48-1.5v), but I currently don't have the adequate cooling. There's definitely some things to improve on.
As a person who plays games and does video rendering quite often for parties, social events, and YouTube videos, I am absolutely astounded with AMD's Ryzen 7 1700.
After overclocking this chip on the stock Wraith Spire cooler to 3.9 GHz at just 1.3875 volts, it's performance is ridiculously good. A Cinebench score of 1638 and amazing real-world performance in games really does show how good this chip runs. It was a huge jump compared to my i7 6700 (non-K).
Reiterating the overclocking ability of this chip, I personally would not recommend buying the 1700X unless you're an avid overclocker, and I'd avoid the 1800X altogether, as the 1700X & 1800X are practically the exact same chips.
However, as much as I'd love to give this chip 5 stars, the optimization in most programs is just unacceptable. If I could, I'd actually give it more like a 19/20 because I really just couldn't give this chip a perfect score, but I don't want to give it below an 80% either. Anyhow, I digress; while I render videos in programs like Camtasia Studio, the CPU is only utilized about 25-60% at any given time. The render times, although better than my previous i7 processor, are still pretty underwhelming to me. Since I have paired this processor with 2933 MHz DDR4 RAM and an RX 480, I haven't noticed underwhelming gaming performance,
This is an amazing chip for the price if you know your stuff when it comes to overclocking. Performance is overall fantastic, with a few optimization problems in a few applications that will most likely be fixed over time. I highly recommend this chip for enthusiasts and creative professionals alike.
As this was my first motherboard I ever used in a build, I was impressed by this one. The LED effects are fantastic, the build quality is nice, and the armor + matte black finish really gives this motherboard a nice appearance.
For a beginner, I was glad to see an EZ Debug LED system implemented in this board. Sometimes a continuous beep happened when the computer didn't POST among the debug LEDS, and sometimes only the debug LEDs lit up. Odd. The software is pretty good and does what it's supposed to do, and I love the LED effects it has. Overclocking is great with this motherboard as well; I was able to overclock my RAM (rated at 2800 MHz) to 2933 MHz at 1.32 volts (still tweaking with it though) and my Ryzen 7 1700 to 3.9 GHz @ 1.3875 volts with no issues.
However, when turning the system on, I notice that the debug LEDs will light up in the processor & RAM area before finally booting up the system and passing the POST. On top of that, POST times are honestly horrible; it takes a good 15-20 seconds before the PC passes the POST. With all of that being said, I had to take off a star.
If you want fast boot times, this is not the motherboard for you. If you want a decently priced X370 motherboard with a great overclocking support, user friendly POST debug & UEFI/BIOS, then this is the motherboard for you.
Next time I build a PC, I think I'm going to stay away from DDR4-2800 for simplicity's sake.
Most motherboards don't exactly have a 2800 MHz option for RAM, so you either have to underclock or overclock the RAM slightly, which could be an issue for some that just want their RAM to work. However, I was able to clock my kit to 2,933 MHz at 1.32 volts with no problems. I love the appearance of these heat spreaders and the RAM has fantastic performance. Will buy another kit soon & still recommend this kit anyhow.
The speeds are alright; I use this drive for loading games & programs quicker and only that since it's too small and my computer won't boot fast regardless thanks to my motherboard. The speeds could certainly be faster, and the pricing could certainly be better (I bought mine under $50), but this is still a good drive. However, you could pick up something much better for the price.
Although I got this drive for free (which I actually use as my boot drive), this drive is still amazingly priced for it's performance. It has sequential read/write speeds that are quite impressive for such a cheap drive. Keeping this thing optimized and defragmented could prove to make a decent boot drive performance on a budget.
For the price, this power supply is probably one of the best. 750 watts of 80+ gold certified power delivery with a price of under $80? I'm sold. Although the stock cables are admittedly terrible, who actually uses stock cables when buying modular power supplies? Usually the point of modular power supplies are to get your own custom cables. No star reduction. 5/5 recommend this to any builders out there that need this much power.
Wireless Network Adapter
It's a cheap wireless adapter. Don't use it if your internet has speeds higher than 150 Mbps. Anything less, and this should suffice just fine. 5/5 recommend.
If you're an artist or a super competitive gamer that needs excellent color gamut coverage or high refresh rates, this monitor will disappoint you. However, if you need a nice 1080p monitor with decent color, decent refresh rate, no backlight bleed, and in a decent size, I recommend it.
As a happy gamer that doesn't want to get submerged into 1440p/4k monitors at high refresh rates (because I know I won't want to come back to 60 Hz/1080p if I try it), I'm more than happy with this monitor.
With my desk having little keyboard space, this keyboard is awesome. It has an aluminum body, amazing RGBs, can be easily cleaned, and it's relatively cheap for a name-brand keyboard. Razer is practically the king of RGB effects and this keyboard definitely shows it with how smooth the RGB effects appear. The key switches are nice & clicky and remind me of a hybrid between Cherry MX Red & Blue switches. Overall great keyboard for the price. 5/5 recommend.