The time had come to upgrade my existing rig, which was really starting to show it’s age, both with general desktop applications & gaming.
By holding off until Ryzen 3 settled down a bit and the 3rd party Navi cards hit the market, I was able to properly research everything to make sure I got the best bang for buck.
I finally pulled the trigger at the end of August 2019, with the new rig intended for use with Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, Premiere & After Effects, Microsoft Office as well as some ‘casual’ gaming, predominantly FPS shooters such as Apex Legends, Titanfall 2 and Rainbow 6 Siege all running at native 3440 x 1440p (75Hz) on an LG 34" Ultrawide IPS monitor.
The PC also connects via HDMI to my 55” LG OLED 4k TV through my Denon AVR-X3500H home cinema receiver to act as a high-end media player/streamer. I have a 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos speaker setup consisting of 5 KEF speakers, a Mission subwoofer and 2 Yamaha Atmos in ceiling speakers, so it needs to handle 4k, HDR & Dolby Atmos to service the home cinema properly.
As it would sit pretty close to the TV, I didn’t want the case to have any RGB or side windows that would distract my viewing. This limited my case choice but going down this route let me choose components based purely on performance rather than looks. I’m not that ‘blingy’ anyway and prefer subtle RGB use, as can be seen with my keyboard, mouse & headset.
This build was an absolute breeze and I never encountered any problems putting it together. I personally like how stealthy it looks and the fact that it usually goes unnoticed sitting on the floor, which was my aim from the outset. A real wolf in sheeps clothing!!!
* UPDATE 27/09/2019 *
After a couple of weeks use I decided to swap out the original MSI X570 A PRO motherboard for a Gigabyte Aorus Master X570.
There wasn't much wrong with the MSI, however in hindsight I probably went a bit cheap with it considering all my other components and didn't really think about future upgrade opportunities should I decide to buy what was my first choice of a 3900X (or even a 3950X) a year or two down the line. So far I'm delighted with the Aorus, which is better built than the MSI and much more feature rich... mind that's what you would expect for the significant increase in price.
I initially intended to get the 3900X, however I couldn’t find it in stock anywhere and in all honesty, it was probably overkill for my needs. The extra 4 cores also came at a hefty price increase over the 3800X which is a good sweet spot for me. It performs as expected and boosts without any problem while keeping below 75 degrees with my Noctua D-15 air cooler.
This cooler is huge… I expected it to be big, but nothing prepared me for the size this thing actually is. I had made sure my case and RAM would all be compatible with it, so I didn’t really worry about its size. It’s not the prettiest but it’s an amazing performer and is hidden inside the Define S case so no-one can see it. Despite its size it was an absolute breeze to install and is genuinely silent in operation… I love it!
I upgraded to this board from my original purchase which was an MSI X570 A PRO. The difference between the two is night and day, however you would expect this when you consider the Aorus was more than twice the price of the MSI. This Aorus board has received rave reviews and I'm certainly not disappointed with it. My overall build is bench marking better than it did with the MSI and VRM temps are better too which is nice.
I'll probably stick a 3900X or 3950X on it in a year or two once they're more readily available and prices settle down a bit and have no doubts the board will handle either chip without any issues.
I have four of these sticks giving me 32GB that all runs at 3600Ghz without any problem, pairing really well with my mobo. There's not really much else to say other than this RAM just works... no RGB either which is nice.
This thing is seriously quick. Installed it onto my PCI 4.0 M.2 slot 1 and everything is just instant with my Adobe suite running so slick it’s an absolute joy to use.
Not as quick as the M.2 but used for my STEAM, Origin, Wargaming and Uplay libraries all my games load really fast. Crystalmark 6 reports a sequential Read speed of 544 MB/s and Write speed of 488 MB/s which is a considerable upgrade over standard SATA.
These store all my media, music and archived photos. They don’t need to be quick, but they do need to be reliable and long lasting, which I’m sure they will be.
I had to wait for stock to become available, but the wait was worth it. Great benchmarks from this card and it’s really well made. I went for this over a 2070 Super as I felt the Nvidia cards were at the end of their life while the Navi cards were just starting out so I’m hoping as drivers develop the performance will increase even more.
This is a great case to build in, very understated with good soundproofing and internal airflow. Lots of cooling options available with easy cable management. Looks premium and isn’t flashy with only a single blue LED letting you know what’s going on inside.
Probably more power than I’ll ever need but at least I’ll not have to think about changing it any time. Very quiet, excellent quality and smaller than I thought considering how much power it delivers.
They're big, grey, work really well and can spin at 400rpm as well as 1500 for silent options. I replaced the 3pin Fractal fans that came with my Define S with these 4pin PWM ones and I'm perfectly happy.
They’re made by Noctua, they’re not brown and they’re very quiet. All the fans have custom profiles configured in the BIOS and I never hear them.
Solid mechanical keyboard with some nice RGB options. This thing feels substantial and is really well made with a removable USB cable at the rear and a USB charging port which is a neat feature.
Very nice optical gaming mouse that goes well with my keyboard. Very smooth in operation and again very well built.
I can wear this headset all day and not suffer from any fatigue as its very comfortable. Sounds great too and I’ve not had any complaints regarding the quality of the built-in microphone, which slides inside the left ear cup when not in use.