Description

Let me set the stage for you. In 2002, at the age of 7, I paid towards half the purchase of the Warcraft 3 Battle Chest and began to play it on our old IMac machine circa 1998 or something. I used to stay up as late as possible playing Battleships Crossfire, DotA (yes, the OG), and other custom games on Battlenet. Rarely was I interrupted. In those circumstances, I generally played out of my mind. So, since I was owning peeps by the time the night came around, my dumb brain concluded my gamertag should be ownerbynight.

Over the next few years, the opportunities to stay up late and enter ownerbynight-mode became few and far between. This was due to a strict mother, lots of extracurriculars + actually going to school, and more importantly, no good machine to play on. I had to borrow my Grandma's laptop to play Rome Total War at 10 fps for a year. Otherwise, I mostly had to use my friend's machines to play.

Come June 2015, I am about to enter University. I spend $800 on a nice 2015 HP Envy 15 with an I7-5500U (2/4, but likes to park a core randomly), 12gb ram, 1tb 5400rpm hard drive and an Nvidia 940m. It's a big leap from the, well, next to nothing that I had before, and I was glad. It was a great workhorse that got me through college really well, had an actually insane battery life, I could play some games on it, and I got into video editing on it. See my current YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHin1lLly-QaP8kHtX1L5Ow to see the fruits of my labor. I still have it, as it's what I bought the 1tb SATA ssd for 1.5 years ago, and just bought the 240gb one to swap in for that.

Late August 2019. I had been saving up money, going through some tough emotional times, but researching computer hardware and software pretty heavily to try to distract myself and learn more. Watching channels like Gamers Nexus and Hardware Unboxed gave me some perspective on technology and companies that I hadn't had before, and shortly afterwards, I started to use PCPP to theorize some builds. If only you could see the iterations I've gone through. I spent far too much time trying to find the right build for me.

Finally, here we are, late 2019. I have never been so blown away by a machine in my entire lifetime. I have been in planes that go fast, cars that accelerate fast - I've seen a lot of cool machines in my time. But when you put your heart, time, money, and energy into making a machine of your own, and it turns out to be as powerful as this on, well... you can't help but be incredibly happy. This computer is such a gargantuan improvement over any computer I've ever used in my lifetime. Every day when I use it, I still get noticeable satisfaction when booting it up and entering Windows in around 4 or 5 seconds. I am immensely happy with how things turned out, and it could not have happened at a better time in my life.

I purchased the SL600M case on 10/17/2019 and then cascaded through the rest of the parts. I am still tinkering heavily with this build, but I functionally entered BIOS on 11/9/2019, first try too! If I could go back and start again, I would consider getting 32gb of RAM and Cooler Master 200mm fans, but I can't be mad. Please ask any questions, leave any comments, I'll try to respond if I am able to or want to. I'd love to discuss things you think, with reason, that I could/should have done differently. If you're on the fence about building a PC, do it. The deep satisfaction is great, I would never buy a pre-built after doing this. Thanks for reading this far, and thanks to all those who leave product reviews, I wouldn't do this without y'all.

Part Reviews

CPU

Since I bought this CPU well after its release, I didn't have to deal with all the known and accepted bugs. As of this writing, it performs very well. This chip runs fast in games, production work, and multi-tasking at a price point that hasn't been seen for a while, and it's a blast. If you are mostly trying to game, do not buy this. If you want to do serious work, consider it.

Bought new for $500 at Microcenter

CPU Cooler

FINALLY

FINALLLY

I actually can buy a Noctua product and say its a slapper in terms of looks. See Linus's review on this, but performance-wise, this is still a rock-solid cooler, and I'm only running it with 1 of the 2 fans! I've OC'd my 3900x to 4.3 Ghz all-core in testing and reached nearly 200W, which got me only to 83 degrees, and I am pretty sure I have a bad mount. Can't hear it above my VERY quiet 4 200mm fans running at ~400 rpm, so yeah, this cooler is quiet. A great buy, but expensive to be sure. I have to hand it to Noctua for biting the bullet and going all-black, that was a good call. Also, the packaging is absolutely over-the-top incredible. They could store a nuke in here and it'd get past USPS in one piece. Well, depending on its half-life speed, a few pieces.

Purchased new for $99.95 from Amazon.

Thermal Compound

Bruh, it says -250 degrees approved, you know this is some real paste. It's a good product, and clearly works well, so I can't complain.

Motherboard

Not sure if it's the mobo, Windows software, or the CPU, but there are many settings I try to apply that just are not accepted sometimes. The input lag in BIOS is also quite substantial, you really need to take your time to make selections. It also registers single clicks as super-fast double-clicks sometimes. Unless I'm missing something, which I may well be, the mystic light is not customizable from BIOS or Dragon Center. 4 SATA ports isn't great either, bet your bum MSI could remove some pretty useless or gaudy features that no researched person would use and get more SATA ports. Whatever.

That's the end of my gripes. This mobo is amazing at overclocking RAM, which behooves Ryzen very well. I very much like the layout and usability of the BIOS as well. The VRM is rock solid, and 3 NVME ports is nice too. I frankly think it looks great. Not gold enough in my build to stand out too much, but enough to have great-looking accents if you are looking for those. A nice mobo, to be sure, I'd recommend it if you are doing both RAM and CPU overclocks.

Purchased new for $380 from Microcenter.

Memory

B-die, and I got it cheap. Got it to 3600Mhz Cl16 with tight timings too, and haven't had memory problems yet, so I will try and go farther. Looks slicker than a cold snickers too.

Bought new for $120 from Newegg.

Storage

Definitely not the fastest, but it works well enough.

Purchased new for $28 from Microcenter.

Storage

An incredibly solid SSD. I'm not sure if it's terribly cost-effective, but it did great for my laptop and is doing well for my new PC.

Bought new for $130 from Amazon in Mid-2018.

Storage

This is an INSANE price-to-performance deal. It's blazingly fast, maxing out PCI-E 3.0, looks bold and cool, and has an actually solid, good heatsink. A very great purchase, as of right now at least.

Purchased new for $135 from Newegg.

Storage

Lol why am I reviewing this in 2019. This was my mid-2015 old laptop's hard drive, I'm using it as backup, and since it is relatively quiet and still works well WHILE being a Seagate, I really can't complain. SSD's are definitely better tho.

Video Card

Yeah, some of the things you heard about driver issues are definitely a thing with this one. I can't knock more than one star off this particular cards because of this:
1. Powercolor made a simple design with no RGB that looks clean and pretty slick without being edgy or gamery.
2. The cooling is very, very good. For a dual-slot too! Well done PowerColor, so many AIB 5700 cards have awful cooling.
3. Build quality is good, and metal backplate is functional, which better than around a 3rd of AIB 5700 cards can say.
4. Only $10 over MSRP, and I've seen sales drive it towards $320 in some places. Slammin price to performance.

Purchased new for $360 at Microcenter.

Case

I think this is one of the most crisp and clean-looking cases I've ever seen. The nearly all-metal construction is appreciated, and it doesn't rely on anything over-the-top to look good. It's understated, connected, and fluid.
Pros:
1. Front-panel USB auto-lighting sensor is really nice. I use this comp in a somewhat dark room, so I can't overstate how handy that is. I goes on and off in a gradient, which is luxurious as well.
2. Super solid build quality. Removing stuff is easy, and it actually stays on really well.
3. The dust filter stays in place and is very easy to remove. 4. Cable routing is well-designed, and there is sooo much room for drives.
5. GPU cooling is wildly above average, and vertically mounting it does great for CPU temps, which then become average. But with a thicc Noctua cooler, I'm all good.
6. The use of thumbscrews and easily removed panels is a real pleasure. Cooler master does it very well.
7. There's a great deal of slight customization in terms of SSD, PSU, and fan placement in this case. It's really nice for someone who goes balls-in on minute optimizations.

Cons: 1. The PSU situation is... bad. It would be great to have an on/off switch connection on the exterior of the case instead of taking off the glass panel and switching in on every time. I had to really struggle to get the CPU 8-pin to its spot.
2. Front panel connectors are definitely not long enough to reach the motherboard. I had to do some massively creative things to rout them all there. By succeeding, cable management does not look good, and there is nothing I can do about it.
3. The tab for pulling the glass and steel side panels off should be bigger. I am not fat, and I still have lots of trouble getting my fingers in there to pull them off.

Overall: I really like this case. I do not regret buying it. However, if Cooler Master were to fix the issues I listed, this would be the case I recommend to everyone with a bit of money on-hand who doesn't nut from RGB.

Purchased new for $150 on Newegg. (I missed a $99 sale, definitely buy this if you see that).

Power Supply

It has a good warranty, hasn't fried my parts yet, and seems to have great voltage control. The fan is very quiet as well, though I haven't gotten much over half its Watt capacity yet.

Purchased new for $110 on Amazon.

Case Fan

For a $20 200mm fan, this is actually really good and somewhat luxurious. It comes with anti-vibration pads, the cables are very long and durable AND come with additional connectors, and moves a pretty massive amount of air while being quite quiet. I do wish more manufacturers made 200mm fans without sleeve bearings, but so be it. Noctua, make your 200mm fan black please, I'll replace these if you do, I swear. No offense Phanteks, still a good fan.

Purchased 2 new for $20 on Amazon.

Keyboard

I absolutely love this keyboard. It can barely be considered clicky, has nice illumination (especially when considering Logitech's software options), is durable, has a decent hand rest... it's good. For me, and this is very subjective, the keys are extremely nice to type on. The input feels good, the actuation point makes sense, and my accuracy is insanely good now. I've been a good typer for a while, but going from a pretty good laptop keyboard to this and the improvement is still there. An amazing buy, I'll always recommend this.

Purchased new for $42 on Amazon.

Mouse

This is possibly one of the finest modern mice, even though it's a bit old. The looks are not wildly edgy, the lighting is good, and the functions on it are great. The scroll wheel... best-in-class. It has a nice feeling, can be spun like a wheel with no resistance or like a cog that is very accurate with the clicks. I love it. Braided cable, optional included weights - this is just a great mouse.

If buying new, just get the Hero version of this, as that is better. I just purchased the SE version of that, it looks so great imo, and it's still a zinger of a mouse.

Purchased new for $50 from Amazon in 2017

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Comments

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

quite late, nice build

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

Appreciate that, but out of curiosity, what do you mean by 'quite late'?

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

lololol I totally understand now, thanks b. I definitely would like a better desk and living space to have it in, but so be it.