Description

Back in March 2018, I unleashed HTPC Hub 2.3D, a Ryzen 5 1600X/GTX 1080 driven PC console entertainment hub/light home workstation, upon the world and gave the proverbial finger to the Playstation 4 pRO and XBox One X as I handily outmatched them in 4K gaming. Now, the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Scarlett consoles have been announced leaving me no choice but to fight back in the gaming arms race.

In July 2018, NVIDIA unleashed the RTX 20 GPU series to a decidedly underwhelming response, so I held off and hunted for a 1080 Ti on eBay and Kijiji. I also decided to skip the Zen+ CPU series and waited until July 2019 when AMD released the Zen 2 CPU series. Now I was ready to take the plunge. Just as I was about to strike on a used 1080 Ti, however, NVIDIA released the RTX Super series to compete with AMD's 7 nm based 5700 GPU series. At retail, a brand new RTX 2080 was cheaper than a used 1080 Ti which sealed the deal. Time to upgrade.

This sets a personal record for the shortest time ever between my PC upgrades, a mere 16 months. This upgraded console style PC remains the centerpiece of my living room and functions as a 4K HDR gaming machine, media streamer, internet browsing appliance, and a very light workstation (Word, Excel, photo editing, and posting PCPartPicker builds, natch). Those of you who have read my previous builds know the longest time was between 2006 to 2017 when I was still brainwashed by consoles (shudder).

Everything is housed within my Silverstone FTZ-01S console style PC case. Durable and portable, with a clean all silver look and constructed entirely of solid aluminum. The graphics card chamber houses two intake fans. The CPU chamber houses one intake fan directly above the CPU for either fresh air intake if using a top down heatsink based air cooler or expelling hot air from a liquid AIO cooler which I use. It uses an SFX size PSU and has room for 4 2.5" disk drives.

Main viewscreen is still a Samsung JS 9000 55" 4K HDR 3D Curved Screen UHDTV. This is the only Samsung television to feature active 3D, 4K resolution and HDR color output on a curved screen. Since my last build, I am finding I am using the HDR far more than the 3D as it really makes colors on screen pop. Secondary viewscreen is a Samsung 32" 4K FreeSync Gaming Monitor. I very luckily found this on sale at Canada Computers after my ViewSonic 22" 1050p monitor died due to a bad capacitator and I recycled it.

As promised, the Ryzen 5 3600 is indeed backwards compatible with my existing AsRock Fatal1ty mini-ITX B350 chipset motherboard. Both AMD and AsRock are to be highly commended for this. However, overclocking enthusiasts take note: my experience is that it's taken out of your hands completely and controlled automatically by the Precision Boost Overclock. Any attempt at manual overclocking -- CPU clock increase, voltage increase, memory timing change, etc. -- either via Windows and AMD's own F-Stream Tuning software or the updated 6.00 UEFI/BIOS itself resulted in a non-booting PC. This required a complete reset on my part by pulling out the 3600, putting the 1600X back in, reflashing the UEFI/BIOS back down to 5.70, and putting the 3600 back in again and starting all over again.

I went through this process 4 times before realizing I had to let the system overclock itself. All UEFI/BIOS overclock settings have to be set to Auto and any Windows based overclocking software disabled if not removed entirely. This is likely a make or break deal for overclockers. I would suggest those wanting to manually overclock go for a B450 or X570 chipset motherboard instead or even wait for the upcoming B550s. To be clear, this is just my personal experience with a 3600 and a B350 based AsRock motherboard, but I wouldn't be surprised if others were experiencing the same issue with different brands of motherboards. It was noted to me by my vendor, Canada Computers, that their own technicians have had trouble upgrading Zen 2 CPUs onto B350 based ASUS and Gigabyte motherboards.

The good news is that the PBO auto overclocking easily reaches 4.17 GHz on all cores. Combined with the overclocked RTX 2080 Super, my AAA 4k Ultra settings game framerate is now reaching an average 71 FPS. For comparison, the 1600X/1080 combo was hitting 43 FPS and the 1600X/2080 Super which I tried on a lark during one of my switchback and resets was only reaching 66. So we're looking at a whopping 60.5% FPS increase in total framerate from my initial setup.

The 3600 is 45 degrees C at idle and 64 degrees at full load. The RTX 2080 Super is 45 degrees at idle and 75 at full load. The overclock on the 2080 is a modest 100 MHz more but the GDDR 6 memory hits an additional 1200 MHz. That is not a typo. However, I notice no improvement in FPS at all once I cross the 700 MHz mark so why overtax the memory unnecessarily? I just leave it at a 700 Mhz overclock. The fan can get loud so it is essential that fan curve profiles be used in an app like MSI AfterBurner or Gigabyte AORUS to handle it. Either that or just use a pair of gaming headphones to drown out the sound.

Storage has been doubled using the same brands as before: a 1 TB ADATA 2.5% SATA SSD and 2 TB Seagate BarraCuda 2.5" HDD. SSD holds my Windows 7 and Steam games and applications while the HDD stores my personal files.

Physical install of all upgrade components was a breeze. The overclocking issue was a pain to figure out, but now that I have the PC is running silky smooth. I'm very pleased with how this upgrade turned out. Everything is great now and I'm looking forward to doing 4K HDR 60+ FPS gaming for a nice long while. :)

Part Reviews

CPU

7 nm, 6 cores, 12 threads, 15% IPC increase over the 1600X, very affordable price, and fully backwards compatible make this CPU the crown jewel of the Ryzen 2 release.The IPC increase is especially notable in AAA games.

CPU Cooler

The original minimalist 120 mm liquid AIO. Only RGB is white light up logo on pump. Easy to attach to AM4 motherboard. You can read my last build to see what hoops need to be jumped through to get this into the FTZ-01 but well worth the while.

Motherboard

Well-designed fully featured ITX motherboard. All functionality (USB 3.0, WiFi, LAN, digital sound output, etc.) 100% fully intact after 3600 upgrade. Great user friendly UEFI/BIOS and Windows utilities. These seemingly become useless once Precision Boost Overclock takes over, though.

Memory

Low profile non-RGB dual channel memory sticks. Good speed, solid performers, and very affordable.

Storage

Samsung seems to get all the love here on PCPP, but I have always favored both Crucial and ADATA who don't seem to get any love or credit for their solid and affordable SDDs. Absolutely no issues, fast, and plenty of storage space now. Never a problem with this brand and this is no exception.

Storage

Another favorite of mine, fast and lots of storage space, whisper quiet.

Video Card

An old school 2 slot radial turbine fan style GPU card, perfect for SFF builds. The fan can get quite loud if not controlled properly with an overclocking app, so make sure you have one installed. Easily handles AAA 4K gaming at Ultra/highest graphics settings at 70+ FPS.

Power Supply

A 600 W modular flat cable PSU. Perfect fit for the FTZ-01. Has more than enough power to run both the 3600 and the RTX 2080 despite what internet sites would have you believe. Note that it doesn't have enough connections for more than one GPU so an SLI type setup is out of the question. Solid performance.

Case Fan

Non-RGB case fans encased in rubber and silicon pinholders instead of standard hard plastic and screws. Good performers and housing does a good job of sound dampening. Not sure why more fan makers don't adapt this design.

Keyboard

A basic combo that was a gift from my nephews. I prefer to use a controller now for gaming so this is fine.

Comments

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

Why still stick to Windows 7? Just curious.

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

I got a free OEM copy from work several years ago which is fully updated and runs smoothly. Plus I have some older non-AAA games that seem to work better with it. All of my current Steam AAA games work well in Windows 7.

This said, the plan is to get Windows 10 when an AAA game I want is released with Ray Tracing as only Windows 10 holds the ray tracing API needed. I suspect that won't be for a while as it will have to be a strategy or third person action game. If anything, it will mostly likely be either XCOM 3 or the next Rocksteady Batman/superhero game.