Description

This PC grew out of an idea I had for a RAID server when I got some free 500GB hard drives. It's a great example of how a 300 dollar project can double in cost, as well.

Originally I was going to use a basic, inexpensive AM4 platform with a few 3.5" drives that I got free from my workplace to make a nice RAID server to throw all of my files on. I was planning on using RAID 5 to help protect my data: about 15 years worth of pictures and videos strewn across about 10 different phones and digital cameras.

I purchased a mobo with 6 SATA ports, and planned to use 4 for the drives, and one more for a Blu-Ray drive, completing the living room PC ensemble.

RAM was dirt cheap, and RGB wasn't very costly, so I splurged a little on that to add a little flair - otherwise I don't really get into the rainbow-unicorn-glitter-PC nonsense.

The biggest letdown, by far, was the case. I'll cover that more in the individual review, but wow, what an absolute mess of a case.

Part Reviews

CPU

So much bang for your buck! With the included stock cooler I've got it pumped up to 4.2GHz and the temps are great. With a little tweaking, and plenty of fast RAM, it can pretty much handle any new game at 1080p and medium to high settings, at 45 to 60 fps. I decided to go with this one over the 2200G because this specific computer will wear a lot of hats, where the SMT it has will provide an advantage.

Thermal Compound

The best for your money. Probably enough for 10 normal computers, or 4 Threadrippers. AMD makes great chips, but their stock coolers come with garbage paste on them. Replacing that paste with a quality product alone will lower your temps by double digits.

Motherboard

I want to give this board five stars: the BIOS is incredibly intuitive, it took no time at all to overclock my RAM and APU. It's got heatsinks for the VRMs, 4 RAM slots, 2 PCI-E x16 slots, and 7.1 channel audio. But only one M.2 slot, which when used with a single M.2 SATA stick, disables 3 of the 6 SATA ports? I could deal with just one M.2 slot, but disabling that many ports is a nightmare for anyone looking to have their cake, and eat it too.

Memory

Fast RAM that runs at the full 3000, even on a technically unsupported board. The LED lighting is vibrant and bright. I don't normally buy RAM that isn't a top brand, but this has changed my mind. We'll see how long it lasts.

Storage

I got 4 of these free from work, after we switched to SSD. I wish I could have used all 4 of them, but the case wouldn't allow for it. That being said, they're reliable, but not super speedy. The write speeds with RAID 1 aren't great, but it's reliable storage for all my pictures and videos.

Case

An absolute disaster of a case. I've worked with dozens of cases for my builds in all kinds of different form factors, and this is probably the worst one I've ever built in. I thought about giving it two stars, because from certain angles, it looks good, but I can't justifiably do that with all of the glaring issues.

Let's cover the pros first: -The black version of this case is almost entirely high-quality wire mesh material. This makes it incredibly ventilated, so you won't have overheating problems.

-The case has some aesthetically pleasing loop-style legs that also lift it off of the floor or desk. This also aids in ventilation.

On to the cons:

-The BitFenix symbol on the front of the case was off-center, by almost an inch. I'm not crazy OCD, but it was wildly obvious that absolutely no time was put into making sure it was stuck on in the right place. I had to use a heat gun to get it off and move it to the right spot.

-The whole reason I got this case is because it has a CD/DVD drive bay. Putting a drive in this bay blocks off almost half of all the pins on the bottom of your motherboard. I was unable to connect my front USB ports, and the pins for the power/reset switches and LEDs BARELY fit. They probably bent a little just to fit.

-The motherboard is installed upside down. If it has any writing on it, it's gonna look stupid.

-If you want to install any 3.5" drives, or much less, the FOUR that it advertises, you have to either remove the fans on the bottom of the case, or install the case's removable drive rack RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE WINDOW. It looks so bad. It looks like the windowed side panel was put on the wrong side of the case on accident. However, both sides are almost completely blocked.

-The power supply has been moved to the front of the case, where the supply and all of its wires stick up vertically directly in front of the other half of the window on the side panel.

-The drive rack holds the hard drives with the wiring towards the window and is not reversible. The wires going to my hard drives are right in front of the window.

-There is literally no space for any cable management other than behind the mobo. Because everything is out in the open, it looks like a huge mess right in front of the window. The whole point of having a windowed case is nullified by the deplorable layout. The only way this case would work for someone is if you feel like spending a lot on a case and won't be using any hard drives, just an M.2 drive or something. Because the case advertises 4 3.5" drive bays, but fails to hide them anywhere, and because installing a CD/DVD drive blocks a good portion of the motherboard's pins (and the case's own front USB ports), and all the other cons, I give this case 1 star. What an absolute dumpster fire of a case.

Power Supply

Clean looking PSU, has a nice looking white fan that runs cool and quiet. I've used Rosewill before and have had good luck with them, so I'm going to keep using these in my budget builds.

Optical Drive

Fairly loud when it's reading at high speeds. Other than that, it's a good drive that you can't beat for the price! I've probably used half a dozen of these in builds before and haven't had a bad one yet.

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