Description

Built this as my first gaming desktop in November 2015, after being a laptop user and doing most of my gaming on PS3.

The aim was to build a PC capable of running racing sims like DiRT Rally, Project Cars and Assetto Corsa at highest setting, while keeping the costs low and trying to get the most value for money. I went for a basic motherboard, a lower range i5 CPU and no more RAM than needed. I instead put the money on a higher end GPU and chose a Sapphire Nitro R9 390 8GB (backplate edition with factory overclock) which seemed to be the best value for money. To ensure reliability, I also spend a little extra on a high quality PSU with good warranties (will probably carry it over to my next build). An SSD was a must and I chose a 250GB one.

I wanted a clean looking stylish case so I chose a Fractal Design Core 1300 since I found a discounted one which had been returned by a customer.

In 2016 I added a 2TB Seagate Barracude HDD to offload my expanding library of games from the SSD. As a bonus it also serves as a GPU support, the outer corner of the GPU rests on it (with dampening pads in between to dampen vibrations) and it prevents the GPU from sagging!

On Black Friday 2016 I also bought an AOC 24" 144Hz monitor with Freesync to replace the standard 24" 1080p 60Hz (overclocked to 75Hz) display I have been using since my laptop days. 144Hz is great, especially in combination with Freesync. It really brings out the full potential of an AMD GPU.

Soon a Kingston HyperX Alloy FPS keyboard with Cherry MX Blue switches was added.

I also picked up a Fiio E10K Olympus 2 headphone amp that I usually keep connected to the desktop PC, attached by velcro to the underside of the desk for quick volume adjustment. I also like to use it with my laptop when travelling.

At some point I also moved the 120mm front fan from the stock upper position to the lower position to promote "bottom-to-top" airflow and to better feed the GPU with cool air. I'm not sure why Fractal Design installed the front fan in the upper position from the factory, perhaps to reduce dust injection through the opening in the underside of the front panel?

In order to give me more headroom for my simracing gear (wheel, shifter, button box, dashboard) I wanted to expand the number of USB ports. I bought a cheap 4 port USB extension panel that plugs into the motherboard USB headers. The downside is that in order to keep the functionality of the single USB 2.0 port on the front of the case, I had to leave one of the ports on the expansion panel unconnected.

In 2019 I got around to replacing the stock exhaust fan (Fractal Design Silent Series LT 120mm) that had been rattling for some time. It was replaced by a Fractal Design Dynamic X2 GP PWM, also in black/white like the stock one. I went for the PWM version since the exhaust fan header of the motherboard has PWM, and I wanted to use it to set the exhaust fan at a slightly lower speed than the intake fan in order to create positive pressure in the case to reduce dust buildup. At the same time I also disassembled the front fan to clean out the dust inside the motor.

Also about this time, my trusty R9 390 sadly gave up on me. I didn't want to overspend on a new GPU, but I also wanted at least a little increase in performance. I picked up a Sapphire Nitro+ RX 590 8GB when I found one discounted (returned by customer). The bad part is that it is the AMD 50th Anniversary Edition with a gold colored shroud. Not exactly pretty but performance/price goes before look. But since the card has white LED fans, it also introduced lighting into the case, and it lit up the ugly beige USB extension cables lying on top of the PSU, visible through the side vent... and I just couldn't stand that look. The solution was to paint the USB extension black with a white back panel (to match the white blank plates in the case) and to wrap the cables with black automotive wiring harness tape, and tuck them away closer to the motherboard.

This got the ball rolling and I realized I wanted to make the current build look nice and respectable, so I disassembled almost the whole build, cleaned it up a bit and rebuilt it with much cleaner cable management, hiding cables as much as I could (also improving airflow), put black shrinkwrap around the colorcoded CPU fan wires, and replaced all my old white zipties for black ones for a more stealthy look. It all turned out pretty nice I think, except the power wire for the storage drives. The cable was a little bit to short to route it the long way around, so I had to route it the short way and roll it up and tie it up behind the HDD.

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Comments

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm interested on the Headphones. Could you tell me its specs?