Description

Workstation for scientific computing (physics, signal detection, simulation coding), tried to get only 5-star reviewed products from reputable brands to minimize DOA/RMA probability while still keeping cost as low as possible given desired specs (3.5GHz+ base CPU, 32 GB RAM & 8 GB GPU, 1TB M.2 NVME SSD), and went conservatively high with PSU (Corsair TXM Gold 750W) just in case. The Cougar MX330 chassis is very low quality and I would definitely not buy it again.

Part Reviews

CPU

Really great value compared to intel (bought at end of October 2019 for $148), and no compatibility issues so far with MSI B450 Tomahawk ATX AM4 MOBO, Corsair Vengeance LPX 2x16 GB DDR4-3200 RAM, Sapphire Radeon RX 580 8 GB Pulse GPU, and HP EX920 1 TB M.2-2280 NVME SSD

Motherboard

Good performance so far with no compatibility issues (see Physics Build), and very user-friendly BIOS (bought at end of October 2019 for $112)

Memory

Overclocking Ryzen 5 2600X (max rated 2933) to 3200 at 1.35V -- all is stable and fast with no memory errors (bought at start of November 2019 for $140)

Storage

Great value compared to Samsung et al. (bought at end of October 2019 for $116) and very quick boot, effortless installation and setup

Storage

Solid value buy, but comes with zero mounting hardware or instructions (bought at start of November 2019 for $50)

Video Card

Crushing it right out of the box - glmark2 score of 11640! (bought at end of October 2019 for $185)

Case

You get what you pay for, and this came cheap. The case does NOT include front fans, the included screw set is junk, the expansion slot covers cannot be replaced once removed, and the worst part, structurally, is the PSU shroud. First of all, the cover for that side does not give any extra room for cables, so there is an inevitable combination of the cables getting squeezed and the cover getting bowed outward. Second of all, the connectivity to the main chamber is seriously limited (CPU power connector cannot fit through top slot once MOBO installed, and putting power cables through the only reasonable slot blocks SATA pins, among other things). Finally, the PSU sits on 4 small metal pieces raised from the bottom of the case for ventilation, but this sloppy manufacturer made the inner 2 pieces slightly shorter than the 2 at the back of the case, causing significant strain on the face of the PSU and the screws connecting it to the back of the case. I would never buy this again, and nobody should make the same mistake that I did of thinking "the cheapest available case should be fine" (bought at end of October 2019 for $46)

Power Supply

Seems alright so far, but why are there no 1x8 PCIe cables included? There are 2 cables that have 2x(1x6+2), but this seems stupid. Maybe have one of those overly versatile cables, and then include a 1x8 so the bulk of users don't have useless extra (unremovable) attachments dangling around (bought at end of October 2019 for $100)

Optical Drive

works but no mounting hardware or instructions included (bought at end of October 2019 for $20)

Wireless Network Adapter

Good value, easy to install, doubles the download speed of my Lenovo ideapad 320 stock wifi card, and bluetooth works (bought at end of October 2019 for $36)

Case Fan

Pretty darn quiet, but not sure why this costs more than $10 (bought 3 at start of November 2019 for $14 each)

Comments

  • 2 months ago
  • 5 points

cable management : am i a joke to you?

  • 2 months ago
  • 2 points

Hi! So as I can see you've managed to run these RAM+mobo with XMP profile well and got STABLE 3200 MHz? What version of the RAM do you have 4.31, 4.32 or 5.xx (it should be printed on sticks)? And what timings do you use? (I'm planning to buy the exact same MB+RAM so any input would be appreciated!)

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Yes it's working really well! The MSI BIOS have 2 default A-XMP profiles - one for 2933 and another for 3200 - and the 3200 setting (Profile 2) has timings 16-18-18-36. I have to set the DRAM voltage manually to 1.35V (there will be no menu, just click where it says "Auto" and type in 1.35 even though there is no indication that you're in a writable field). The RAM version is CMK32GX4M2B3200C16 ver4.31, which I chose using the MOBO's support QVL page: https://www.msi.com/Motherboard/support/B450-TOMAHAWK.html#support-mem-14

HOWEVER, the optimally compatible RAM list changes depending on what CPU you have (mine is Ryzen 5 2600X from Pinnacle Ridge line). The last characters of the URL above (-14) specify this series of CPUs ("RX-2X00"), and similar processors don't share all the same compatible RAM versions (such as the "RX-2X00G/GE" Raven Ridge line, which might not be very similar - I don't know - but it's the option right next to RX-2X00 and is very easy to accidentally click instead of the correct one without realizing). I first did the build with G.Skill Ripjaws V Series RAM (model F4-3200C16D-16GVKB) that was not on the QVL. Very closely related RAM versions were on the list, and it worked fine at 2933, but it was not consistently stable at 3200. So, it's definitely possible for RAM to do its job even when it's not on the list for your MOBO-CPU combo, but if you want to feel confident that you can push it to the limit, I'd recommend being careful about choosing RAM from the precisely correct QVL.

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey dud, I would work on the cable management. It would make the build look way better. Otherwise, it's cool.

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

screams

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

cable management comments were taken into account, bunches were zip tied and shifted for optimal airflow under constraints of chassis and no cable bending angles sharper than 90 degrees for key component connections (aesthetic is not a consideration of any importance to me)