Description

This is a partial rebuild of an earlier system (Armor), which was built using a Thermaltake Armor case with dual FX-51s running on a Socket 940 motherboard (which was really 2 ASUS commercial motherboards soldered into 1 oversized server/workstation board). Fond memories - was the first setup I had that required the use of a 1 kw PSU and could double as a space heater for the winter (Anyone remember AGP slots?). At the time it gleefully ripped Intel rigs apart and singlehandedly doubled my power bill. Rebuilt that in 2010 (Armor II) after a PCI slot failed and upgraded to an AM2+ running a Phenom II X4. That setup kept up for the most part with GPU upgrades until this year, when I was forced to consider retirement. The debate was settled by my cat, who summarily dumped a glass of water through the top vent of the case, shorting virtually all components, save the PSU and a small USB 3.0 card I managed to salvage. After rearranging my room architecture, and summarily exiling the cat to Abu Daubi, I pulled out an old laptop and started poking my head back up into the world of PC building for the first time in years.

Built this new system as an homage to the workhorse that just kept going. Kept the name even though I switched brands this time to a Coolermaster MasterCase Pro 5, which I picked due to its compatibility with a variety of closed-loop liquid CPU coolers (went with the Corsair H80i), which surprised me considerably when I was researching - the last time I was building, liquid cooling was firmly on the extreme end of home-brewed extravagance and engineering, and needed considerable maintenance. System as a whole is AMD-based, which isn't the top-end at the moment, but I guess I have a weakness for nostalgia. Used the AMD 990FX Asus Crosshair V paired with a FX-8370. Stable overclock achieved at 4.8 Ghz with 1.464 volts. Also did a moderate overclock of the GPU (Radeon R9 390X) @ 1225 Mhz Core / 1600 Mhz Memory without manipulating voltage. End result is a very capable system that is benchmarking competitively with some of the i7 chips and averages around 70 FPS in most games I've tried at max details. Comments welcome, feel free to lambast my AMD build in the current Intel age, cable management, ect.

Part Reviews

CPU

In my particular build, was able to overclock to 4.8 Ghz at 1.464 volts and thermal is holding at 34 C idle and 52 C load. I would argue it's a better deal then going with the FX-9590.

CPU Cooler

Cooling performance is very good, I think it mostly matches the bigger 240mm closed-loop coolers for a smaller footprint. One of the fans was DOA, but Corsair kept up their end and shipped a replacement quickly.

Motherboard

Excellent motherboard for the AM3+ design, which probably isn't long for this world with the Zen architecture on the horizon. Personally, I think it's the best for overclocking available, wonderful BIOS.

Memory

Very good value for the money. My particular batch of 4 sticks purchased as 2 combo kits is perfectly stable at DDR3-2133 with 11-13-13-35 timings. No voltage manipulation needed, on stock 1.5 volts.

Storage

One of the fastest SSDs available outside of the M.2 form factor, it's a pretty good deal if you keep the capacity reasonable. For my purposes, I just keep the boot partition on there, so 256 GB is more then enough.

Storage

Reasonably fast large storage for a reasonable cost, what more can you want?

Video Card

Very fast card, though the price seems a bit high given that it's essentially the same architecture as the R9 290X. That said, they improved the silicon and it overclocks much more readily. Was able to push mine to 1150 Mhz core clock / 1600 memory without needing to adjust voltage. With the OC, my benchmarking is essentially matching the stock Geforce GTX 980 for about half the cost.

Case

I'm a particularly big fan of this case. Structurally it's very well built, all parts interior and exterior have a matte black finish, everything fits together as it should. I picked this model particularly for the flexibility in mounting AIO coolers and a modern placement of the PSU in the bottom of the tower. Planning to have it around for many years to come with more then one build and it seems solid enough to go the distance.

Power Supply

Very reliable power supply - most reviews I've read make it the equal (or better) of its more expensive brother the AX series, which is roughly twice as expensive.

Headphones

Probably the best set of headphones I've ever owned, but then again, I'm no audiophile and have gotten by with pretty run-of-the-mill Sony designs before. Most expensive (I got as a gift) was a $200 Bose set, but it was fragile and one of the speaker cup mounts broke inside of a year with just normal wear-and-tear. The VOID looks and feels like it can survive the apocalypse and honestly exceeds the Bose I had by a good margin in sound quality.

Comments

  • 37 months ago
  • 3 points

Great build man - I do have one question though, sorry if I missed it in the description.

Are my eyes playing tricks on me, or is the Corsair's waterblock mounted at a 45 degree angle on the cpu?

  • 37 months ago
  • 2 points

It is, R.I.P.

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

The logo on the waterblock is indeed at about a 45 degree angle. It is attached properly with the mounting screws and is tight against the CPU, averaging about 37 C idle and 50 C load. I can only assume that the odd orientation is due to the AMD-specific bracket that was included with the kit, (it comes preinstalled with the Intel bracket). I imagine the orientation is more centered when installed on an Intel build, but maybe someone on here can weigh in on it if they have more experience. Originally I inadvertently flipped the logo upside down during the initial build (I was paying more attention to the water tube orientation then the logo...), but I decided buy a tube of Arctic Silver 5, reapply new thermal paste, and reorient it.

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

are you sure? in other builds using the same socket, it's orientated differently.

http://pcpartpicker.com/b/ZcWXsY

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

Well, that certainly makes me wonder if I got the bracket installed off. I'm pretty sure it's not affecting the function, but it would be good to get the logo right and the cabling aligned better. Thanks for showing me the image there, I'll have to pull off that bracket this weekend and see if it attaches in a bit of a different orientation.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Well, pulled the waterblock off, removed and realigned the bracket. Cleaned the CPU and waterblock and reapplied new thermal paste. I'm certainly getting some real practice in with thermal paste technique. I'm glad the cleaner formula I'm using smells like oranges, it makes it a bit more pleasant. After that was done I decided to push the limits of the memory. Managed to overclock to 2400 and boot successfully to the OS, which is the limit the ASUS board supports, but the results were only semi-stable under hard load with only minor improvements in benchmarks. Tried a small voltage bump to 1.55, but no dice and I don't want to fry the CPU memory controller so back to stock settings it is. I think I gained and lost a whole 1 FPS for all the fiddling I did...

Original plan before the cat got involved was to wait for October and build something out of the Zen architecture, which is supposed to be more competitive with the current Intel builds for single core performance. I'll get there eventually, at least I have a new case and PSU to support things since I'm right on the limit of AM3+'s capabilities as it is.

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

Wasted your money going with an AMD CPU when you can buy a 2700k for 110 bucks and destroy any AMD CPU in it's path.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Why didn’t you build this when Ryzen came out? You would be getting much higher performance for a bit less $$$

  • 37 months ago
  • 0 points

RIP cat

  • 37 months ago
  • -3 points

Very nice gaming build, Overclocking the 8370 probably makes it better than the i5-6600.