I've been wanting to build a PC since spring this year, I have been using a Lenovo Thinkpad as a workstation PC for home, work, and school. My wife is running a Surface Pro 3 which was way better than my Thinkpad for schoolwork, led me to wanting a more powerful home PC and then keep the surface pro as a portable station. The increased GPU and ram prices unfortunately ate into my budget, meaning that I couldn't opt for a more high end video card, and I ended up with a used care for price-performance. GPU prices for RX580 were around the mark CAD that I would have paid for the RX Vega 56 with discounts last year during Vegas launch.

My total budget was around 1400, black Friday sales meant I was able to spend more on a graphics card. Otherwise I would have ended up with a 1060 3gb, or a RX570 4gb, which would have lowered my systems overall performance.

Part Reviews


I have been looking at the Ryzen launch since early spring last year. I was drawn to the AM4 support until 2020, and the mainstream 6 core 12 thread R5 part. I have debated about going for the R7 1700, but 8 cores and 16 threads is overkill for my purposes: gaming, desktop, and running some Photoshop etc. I settled on the R5 1600, stock cooler has been rated well by other reviewers. I may switch to a liquid cooler down the line.


I was looking for the best priced ATX B350 board, I managed to get the ASUS prime plus for a great price during Black Friday sales. Added a network card to provide Bluetooth and wifi capabilities, but otherwise the motherboard has been solid.


Ryzen CPUs scale well with higher frequency memory. The G skill ram is rated for use with intel, but I had seen a number of other users running this ram on Ryzen machines, and saw that memory support was improving as the platform matured. My motherboard did not list this ram as compatible and I have been able to get the memory to 2933, a lesson learned to check compatibility. Which is more my fault than the manufacturer.


I decided to go for a M.2 ssd, paired with a 2tb HDD for overall volume. SSD prices are going down, but I couldn't justify spending the money on a 1tb-2tb SSD with my current build price/use case. I got the 960 evo for $30 more than the 850 evo I was looking at. I thought the 200% performance for the markup was worth it.


Generic mass storage, very good price and lot's of room for everything.

Video Card

I missed an opportunity on a GTX 980ti for a similar price, but it worked out that this is an all AMD build now which I'm still quite happy with. I wanted to experiment with GPU overclocking and really heard good things about the XFX cards.


I went with the corsair case because I'm wanting the option of putting it in a home office, and the lack of side window was a big selling feature for me for sound proofing. I may regret at some point not buying the side-windowed case, but for now the more "grown-up" look made it an easier sell to my wife. Cable management wasn't its strongest feature, and I had to add a 2nd intake fan due to high temps during gaming workloads.

Power Supply

I wanted a solid 650W semi-modular option, and the price of the semi-modular and increased watts over similarly priced entries made it an easy choice at the time. Once again it was also the same brand as the case which made me giddy.

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