This is the fruition of my endeavour to build a system without using any RGB components.
RGB stuff tend to be more expensive and they try to capitalise on the OCD of having everything from the same brand. I wanted a simple monster disguised as a work station.
PCIe 4.0 was the determinant factor to opt for an AMD Ryzen Gen3 build.
My first choice was an AMD Ryzen 7 3700x CPU. For a couple of euros it was worth bumping the CPU for a 3800x instead.
The stock CPU cooler with the Ryzen is decent, but not silent (and colourful). I had that replaced with a Corsair H100x all-in-one water cooling system, where I installed two Corsair ML120 Pro fans instead of those shipped in the box. The Corsair ML fan series are both silent and PWM enabled.
The MSI X570-A PRO ATX motherboard has decent chipset cooling and has two CPU voltage inputs. It also has a decent amount of fan and water pump headers, all being 4 pin and therefore PWM enabled.
Although a great motherboard, there are some noteworthy drawbacks which I must mention. This motherboard:
- has no headers for USB 3.1 Type-C, which makes it useless for PC cases that have front USB Type-C connector/s,
- has only one of the two M.2 slots PCIe 4.0 enabled, which did bother me for those reasons explained further below, and
- has no onboard WiFi, which means you must purchase a separate WLAN PCIe card or USB adapter.
Also, some of the PCIe 4.0 lanes are available through the X570 chipset rather than being available through the CPU directly.
Despite these drawbacks, this board suited my build and I went ahead with its purchase. However, I highly suggest that you check the online specifications before making the same.
I decided to install two Corsair Vengeance LPX 16 GB DDR4 3200 MHz RAM (total 32 GB). Their CAS timing were decent given their higher frequency.
MSI recommends that these be installed on the DIMMA2 and DIMMB2 slots of the X570-A PRO ATX motherboard for optimal performance.
UPDATE 22/01/2020: In order to achieve the recommended frequency of 3200 MHz on the MSI motherboard, you need to update the BIOS and enable the A-XMP function from the BIOS screen.
With PCIe 4.0 being a theme of this build, I installed a Corsair MP600 Force Series Gen4 M.2-2280 NVME SSD on the M.2_1 slot of the MSI motherboard.
I was mulling over the possibility to have two of these SSDs installed on both the M.2 slots of the MSI motherboard with a RAID configuration. However, this was not possible since the M.2_2 slot on the MSI motherboard is not PCIe 4.0 enabled, and therefore, is not compatible with this SSD.
I was an avid gamer, but these days I only do 3D stuff with Fusion 360. At first, the MSI Radeon RX 5700 XT 8 GB MECH OC video card seemed overkill, but I didn’t regret this choice and in my opinion is reasonably priced. This card also harnesses the benefits of PCIe 4.0.
I initially purchased a Corsair Carbide Series 275R Tempered Glass ATX Mid Tower PC case. I wasn’t satisfied with this case and I quickly had it replaced with the older Corsair Obsidian Series 750D Air Flow Edition ATX Full Tower PC case. The latter has decent space for the Corsair H100x all-in-one water cooling system and ample room for future additions. This case is shipped with stock RGB lit fans, so I had them swapped with three Corsair ML140 Pro (two front, one rear). These are also more silent and PWM enabled.
The Corsair RMx 850 W 80+ Gold had pretty good reviews, and of course, no RGB lighting. The wattage exceeds the budget for this build, but I wanted a decent PSU which could cater for future additions.
Wireless Network Adapter
As previously stated, the MSI motherboard in this build does not have any WiFi or Bluetooth capabilities. My requirement was for WiFi only, and therefore I purchased a Netgear A6150-100PAS USB 2.0 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi adapter, which does a great job for its size. However, builders must be warned - a fresh installation of Windows 10 will not install the drivers for this device during the setup phase. This can be remedied by including the drivers in your copy of the installation media, which will set you back some 10 to 15 minutes.
I will definitely be looking into replacing the Netgear with an MSI PCIe alternative in the near future.
In this build, I have taken the liberty to list a monitor, mouse and keyboard, all of which are ideal for professionals rather than gamers.
The Samsung LU32J59 UHD monitor offers 4K resolution on a 32 inch flat screen at a very reasonable price. It does not have a built-in USB hub, however this is not a strict requirement for a desktop build since other peripherals can be neatly connected with the tower. It has a refresh rate of 60 Hz and a response time of 4 ms. This panel has an exterior power supply unit, however Samsung has done a great job at incorporating it together with the mains pin adapter. This means that you will not have an ugly power supply unit running loose on the floor.
As far as mouse and keys go, Logitech have now cemented their Master series with the introduction of the MX Keys keyboard. The MX Master 3 mouse is also highly recommended over its younger siblings (MX Master and MX Master 2).
It is safe to say that this build is neither budget-friendly, nor crème de la crème. Your comments are highly welcomed so that this build can be tweaked to provide proper guidance to other fellow stealth builders.