Great example of determination to improve a prebuilt system. With these constraints I think a lot of people wouldn't even try, but you found some clever solutions. I hope you get a lot more use out of this now!
What's the 5.25" front panel with the 3 meters? Is it only for fan control?
Bravo! This briefcase computer speaks to me man, it's a really great project. The family historical significance, the creative wiring & incorporation of unlikely parts. It would not be any better to me if you maxed out the specs. Also your logo is cool. I have to find out where I can get some time on a laser cutter!
Yeah the hertz is how they denote refresh rates of monitors, whereas the computer is rendering frames per second. I don't know if 120Hz+ is standard yet but it should be any time now. Most of the monitors I have are either 60 or 75Hz. In my book 1080p60 is not bad at all, especially if your details are turned up & your responsiveness is good. There's a barrier right around that performance level where you start paying premiums just for gaming, from GPU to monitor. 1080p60 is a good target for budget builds. I think with your 1660 SUPER you're already beyond that — but if you have a 240Hz monitor or TV, why wouldn't you want to see its potential?
That's right, it's apparently a data cable, but I'm wondering about the card & what it's connecting to the 5.25" front bay. Just looks unfamiliar.
To really define the benefits of the NVMe RAID-0s I've done, I'd have to run comparisons on each system, with & without. Now that we're talking about it, I think it'll be a worthwhile test next time I'm starting an appropriate build. Because yeah, you do reformat the drive to join a RAID array. If you have your larger storage ready with your restore point, then it shouldn't be a big hassle. For me, the motivations to do this are pretty subjective — I was just curious to try & the results seemed very peppy to me. My first time was with a Z390 Taichi motherboard offering 3 slots. It was pretty fun, whether I broke any records or not, it felt like I had done something new. Perhaps I would be no less impressed by the performance of a single SSD, but I still have to investigate the difference for myself.
For an emphasis on gaming, my first priority is to break the 60Hz barrier & hopefully double it on 1080p. Smooth animation feels more alive to me than extra fine detail. I expect the 1660S can do this on many games, but you would already be able to feel your boundaries & anticipate sacrifices in future games. I'll have a better sense of this when I try out the 1660 Ti that should be arriving soon. Could be I'm underestimating the GTX 1600s. Anyway, PC gaming has the edge when it comes to refresh rates & resolutions. That's where you can leave those consoles in the dust, plus a generally improved configurability. WASD+mouse will demolish equally talented thumbsticks in any shooter. Then there's always the vanity premium RTX stuff that was cool in some demos, but doesn't make or break any game or 3D experience. There's a reason PC gamers are smug & resentful of consoles having any exclusivity. No games were created on a console. Your home is ripe for conversion! I'm sending a van full of representatives!
I don't really have any criticism about your choices, other than the usual "you could have saved some money" or maybe something related to gaming, if you were a gamer. But honestly what I've learned most from PC part picking is flexibility. I know how convenience leads to compromise & that's really nothing to apologize for. Your system looks strong to me not only for what it can do now, but for the options you left open. One thing I can recommend is combining the bandwidth of your M.2 slots for a very agile RAID-0 C: drive. It takes a bit of fiddling in the BIOS but nothing extremely technical. If you're worried about losing data, a bigger backup SSD can be your safety net. I have yet to experience a RAID-0 failure though.
A thorough post, I appreciate your reasoning & admitting how much you don't know yet. I fully understand the impatience or boredom that can change your decisions along the way. The computer came out pretty nice though, with good prospects for upgrading in the future. Knowing what you know now, what you would do differently if you could start all over?
Hey, looks like you're on a building streak too. This is the kind of project I would do a lot more if the parts were circulating locally. Most of the time I resort to eBay, a great way to kill profitability. So far I have just been trying to recover most of my costs so it's not such an expensive hobby. What I'm learning now might be profitable someday!
Thanks, yeah it's pretty interesting to work with used parts. I'm not as timid about experimentation, and I'm learning the usefulness of parts that many would just ignore. Everyone chases "future proof" when "past proof" is the known value! I'll have to take a look at your builds for some ideas.
Thanks for checking it out!
Airflow is something you can really get into. There are videos of people sending vapor through their cases like wind tunnels to observe aerodynamics! I haven't gone that far but I imagine these little 40s prevent any loitering among the PCIe cards.
That's Discord on the bottom left, Steam on the bottom right . . . then some browser windows, ManyCam, even Solitaire just to prove the monitors work. I don't think I've seen Discord use multiple windows, is that a thing?
Just keep expanding & adapting your PC over several years, keep it going even when newer tech is coming out, and you too can achieve a bizarre basement HTPC chimera like this, or beyond!
It's fine again, right now it's streaming some music in the living room while I do most of my work in the "office" (also with more monitors than necessary).
Sometimes I'm compelled to excess, whether it's adding monitors or fans or gaming hardware I'll never use to its full potential. I assure you there are no doomsday purposes behind any of it.
Yeah this is the basement living room, the furnishings for the computer corner are improvised from storage. If I'm using the "home theater" experience I'll be on the couch across the room. Thanks for checking it out
Might do that if I get more LGA1150 parts to work with. This setup has been changing constantly to fit different scenarios. Right now I'm waiting on a smaller case to arrive so I can repurpose this big old R5.
Thanks, I will keep an eye out for good deals & maybe end up accelerating this Ryzen to another level.
Who's going to know? I was just happy to have a PSU with matching plugs for this simple setup. Maybe next time I work on it, I'll put some kind of sleeve or wrap around the cables to encourage better airflow.
That's the patience I'm talking about, to meticulously cross-reference things & join discussions until you're sure there's no way to improve your plan, & then to hunt the most impressive bargains & tune the performance of everything. I read here about people doing that while I'm ordering Valve Index controllers in the first minute of availablity, then I feel small & envious. Not even kidding. A PC part picking zen master spends more time, not more money.
I've found more pleasant surprises in budget building than I ever did buying from the top shelf. Someday I'd like to achieve a system tailored perfectly for a unique set of tasks, no dollar wasted & no room for disappointment. I'm still an impatient shopper & only know generalities of common parts, so I have a long way to go. You show more expertise in your comments & builds, so I appreciate this encouragement! As for the PSU, I took a chance because it was described as "never used" . . . I have some recent personal experience with duds though, so I'm not going to relax my standards any more than they already are.
Found this case used on eBay, in what I'd call "fair" condition after handling it in person. I've never been much of an overclocker, but it looks like a liquid radiator could be mounted at the front intake here. For the near future I don't expect to play any games on this system, keeping it in the kitchen, but I wanted it to be ready for a little bit of everything because I'm always shuffling computers around. I expect it will be good-great for any game up to 1080p. Thanks for checking it out!
I don't know how I missed this, but the contact surface of the Hyper T2 cooler was badly uneven & the thermal paste had not spread properly. I flattened the cooler on a sharpening stone & sandwiched a graphite pad between layers of paste, hoping to close any gaps that hindered CPU heat passing to the radiator fins.
I was able to connect those rings to this "RGB convertor" so they share the same instructions as the other RGB components.
Follow-up: There's a definite heat issue on the CPU, making me wonder if I forgot the thermal paste. Will post back after I tear it down to investigate.
Having revisited the interior again, I'm pretty sure I was addressing the airflow challenges of the tight space as well as the choice between 2 PCIe slots with ×16 bandwidth for the RTX. Due to its thickness, it actually has more bottom clearance for air intake when mounted below the other cards. In the top slot its fans are half covered by the next card down. There it would also effectively cut the interior in half, concentrating more heat in the top half with the CPU. That might be less of an issue now with the addition of the top exhaust fans. So far I haven't felt the same startling exhaust as I did from last year's configuration.
Thanks, I think overall it's one of my better budget builds. I have found it necessary to replace a couple of power supplies lately, one that failed on the buyer of a PC after 2 days of use & another that never powered on for me, which I had purchased used from overseas (no more of that). I realize there are more expensive conscientious ways to build for a discerning user, but a lot of what I've done lately are budget starter PCs just to get people thinking outside their consoles, cutting costs where opportunities are most obvious.
I will try that first GPU again in another build, because I don't have any conclusive point-of-failure evidence on it. Just a variable I changed that ended a problem at hand.
Indeed it's a used PSU of unknown mileage, so always apply some reasonable doubt. One red flag during the initial testing, I got a few black screen crashes near the end of PassMark's graphics segments. I reproduced that a couple of times & then eliminated the problem by switching to this current video card.
Glad you like it, thanks for stopping by!
It actually needs all the air it can get because the GPU heat can be alarming. I think removing that piece of the shroud will do a lot of good. Thanks for stopping by!
Thanks, that's one of the bigger Chromax fans on top of the cooler — Noctua shipped out the special clips for it.
It was the best option I found for maximizing PCIe bandwidth on this particular motherboard & set of devices. The crucial factor escapes me now a few months later, but I remember this was the conclusion I reached after trying a different board first (ASRock's Z390 Taichi). It may have been the requirements or recommendations for the sound card that forced me into this bottom-heavy arrangement. In any event, the top PCIe slot is most commonly preferable & so anyone would ask this. Mine happens to be a "workstation" motherboard I picked mainly for its PLX chip to give this lower slot the same resources a GPU would demand from the top position.
The idea was to run a few non-gaming screens without dividing the attention of the main GPU. Currently have 2 monitors on integrated graphics and another pair on the GT 710, trying to dedicate most of my rendering resources to the center screen. This is another thing that will take some comparison over time to confirm or deny, but I thought it was worth trying.
Yeah, I'm not sure how much they will work against each other, but I knew the GPU had a lot of heat to exhaust from the side while the CPU needed to draw as much fresh air as possible. At some point I may do some comparisons with those fans flipped different ways.
Thanks, glad you like it. They keep ramping up the frequencies of memory — this motherboard claims to support up to 4400 MHz. I still need to give manual overclocking a try. My first lesson could be with this memory I'm using here, trying to get at least the 4133 on its label.
Did you also have an optical drive in there? I don't have this build anymore, or I'd take another look, but I'm 99% sure there was no solution for screwing both of these fans to the front panel. Since I found it so baffling, it's plausible that I picked up some kind of mis-drilled unit sold at a discount.
Anybody know what causes that dismal 2D Mark score? Could it be connected to the crashing of Unigine Heaven? I've considered trying some different memory. . . .
Funny you should say that, I did replace the front fan with a non-LED Thermaltake from a Core G3 case. Really trying to get rid of as much frivolity as possible.
Same as the exhaust. Originally it was pushing air through the heatsink from the front, but that interfered with the drive mounting plate.
Thanks, I had a similar thought while I was putting it together. It sure doesn't look like an entertainment machine, but that's really what it does best.
Yeah there's a different kind of satisfaction that comes with a plain Jane exterior, no visual boasts. I'm more happy with it than I would have expected. Thanks for checking it out
I think the camera exposure & the lighting are exaggerating that tone, because it looks much more regular black to the naked eye.
Thanks, yes I found the double radiators kind of mesmerizing. I have a different copper Zalman cooler ready & waiting for an upcoming Intel system, looking forward to using it.
Thanks! It was about equal parts fun & rage. If you don't get all name brand LEGO® stuff, there can be some unwelcome tension or looseness in just the wrong spots. But it's pretty great how they can hold the power switch & the I/O shield just right.
I've looked at those riveter tools hanging in the hardware aisle & wondered if they could replicate the rivets in PC cases. You must really be comfortable with the NZXT to do all that. The window tint is kind of a strong green but it's definitely reminding me of a Game Boy LCD overall. Nice work!
What a great heatpipe on the motherboard. I would have liked to use that for my copper theme build. Lots of character, almost a shame to enclose it behind a solid panel!
Just a proof of concept, mediocre PC parts held together with toys. I learned a few things that will help in another project I'd like to try later.
I like this 2-tone interior with the white quadrant surrounding the CPU. It could be carried over to the GPU backplate somehow, a white section of that surface to reinforce the rest. In any case your refinements here are obvious. I will think more about this "color zone" idea & maybe try something like it.