Part 1: The Introductions
Good afternoon y'all. JCMsergox has returned with what will probably be the last PC he builds for the forseeable future. Thankfully for you, there isn't a novel to go along with this one like there was with Mother War, my last build. See, Mother War was a brilliant and perfectly capable system, but she came at a cost. I could've gotten far more for my dollar if I didn't splurge on Tempered Glass Cases, LED Fans, and RGB puke everywhere. Sidewinder returns with the attempt to be perfect. The way a PC should be, in my eyes anyway. A strong workhorse, not some brilliantly flashy RGB Monster taking up half the space on the desk. So, As Green Ham Gaming (If you haven't heard of him, go look him up. Great channel.) would say, "Grab yourself a cuppa tea or a beer if that's more your thing, and come along for the ride".
Let's begin. Little JCMsergox is almost all grown up. A long journey's worth of experience from the time I innocently joined this brilliant website in mid-2016 to enter the infamous shitshow that was the 2016 MSI Giveaway Contest. This journey saw numerous PCs built, many laughs and memories shared, tears shed, and loved ones lost. But my favorite part of this story is that it's not much of a tearjerker like Mother War was. No Unplanned deaths, no heartbreaks, struggles with depression, or baseless school shooter accusations. Although, my sweet Grandmother passed away this last Thanksgiving after a long battle with Parkinson's and other health issues. Although sad, it was something I had a long time to mentally prepare for.
But the story of Sidewinder Mk. III starts with school of all things. As stated, I'm growing up. I'm now in the second semester of my Senior Year of High School. I'm set to graduate with, what I can see, at least a 3.0 GPA. I've already been pre-accepted by the Idaho Board of Education to any College or University within the state of Idaho, including the reasonably High-Grade Boise State University. I plan on getting a Major in Journalism and Minor in Computer Sciences/Application, and hopefully going on to write for a Technology/Gaming-oriented publication, such as OXM, PCMag, PC Gamer, IGN, Wired, etc. But before I can do that, I have one final obstacle in my path: The Senior Project. Dun-Dun-Dunnn.
The Senior Project is one big summative project that is required in Idaho for Graduation. It involves a research paper, a physical project with a Mentor's Guidance, such as volunteering or in my case building a PC, and finally, an oral/visual presentation. And that's where Sidewinder was rebirthed yet again.
Part 2: The Building Process
The conception and building of the Part List went through only two phases, so it was rather quick. The purpose of this PC was to accomplish the following;
Play modern Video Games at 1080p HD resolution and high graphical settings while retaining high framerates of 120 FPS or above.
Livestream gameplay to Twitch and Mixer at 900p HD resolution at 60 FPS and a 3000 kbps Bitrate.
Edit and render video footage for Youtube at 1080p HD resolution at 60 FPS.
Host a 24/7 Dedicated Minecraft server with as little impact on performance as possible.
Serve as mass storage for digital files over the course of the system’s use in my life.
Drive a Triple-Monitor Display
Maintain a “Function Over Form” build style, prioritizing parts that perform for lesser prices than parts that look pretty.
Maintain cool temperatures and near-silence under load.
Offer upgradeability and room to expand in the future.
My early version of the parts list saw my taking an interest in AMD's new 3900X CPU. 12 Cores and 24 Threads on a Consumer-Grade platform for a mere $500 USD was unbelievable, and there was no catch to it. My plan began to hatch. I was going to carry over some parts from Mother War to complete my project. I had upgraded to a 144Hz display and a Radeon RX 5700 XT in September. The new GPU, upgraded from a 6GB GTX 1060, was a fine fit for the 144Hz display, so I was keeping it. I would reuse the Deepcool TESSERACT chassis, which had been buried in my closet since 2017. My 1TB SSD, Ram, and some spare HDDs I had laying around would follow.
Upon peer approval in the "Parts List Opinions Wanted" thread, I was met with some critiques. Shoutout to Mr. Gilroar for pointing this out. It was noted by him that the 3900X was limited to Dual-Channel memory bandwidth, as it was still on the AM4 platform. He and a few others recommended that the memory bandwidth through Quad-Channel would be best suited for my needs, as running a Minecraft server and streaming/gaming at the same time would be taxing on the RAM. I had already intended on 32GB dimms at this point. However, Gilroar recommended switching to the TR4 Platform with an AMD Threadripper CPU to take advantage of Quad-Channel memory. I discussed this with my mentor for the project, Mr. Tom Decanio, a family friend who has worked for a large Cybersecurity firm and had much experience in running servers. He also endorsed going with Threadripper for this situation, stating it was "better safe than having to return the 3900X and Motherboard if there wasn't enough bandwidth." In the end, I decided on the Threadripper 1920X for $200 USD. These chips are a few generations old, and are commonly critiqued for their subpar gaming performance. But this wasn't specifically a gaming PC. The 1920X was said to have slightly faster single-core and gaming performance than the Ryzen 7 1700 I had been using in Mother War, and that chip worked perfectly well for me. A small improvement is still an improvement. I pulled the trigger on the TR4 Platform, and began the build when all the parts arrived.
The build went about as smooth as it could. No issues with hardware (Yet!) and took a few hours to complete. All the parts fit in the case, wired together, and after a small bit of coaxing (this is important later!) got to the BIOS and eventually to Windows. I had thought that the system was working well, and all issues were behind us. That was short lived before the system began having issues. It started when I noticed that the memory was still running in dual-channel, and only 24GB were recognized. Uh oh.
After a long night of switching memory sticks and trying to get the system to boot with quad-channel, I tore it back down and set up a ghetto test bench and tested each stick individually. The way my RAM config worked at this time was a 2x8 kit (Carried over from Mother War) and a pair of 1x8 kits that I had ordered new for this build. I had made sure all were at 2400Mhz so they should've, in theory, worked with eachother. However, one of the 1x8 sticks didn't want to boot with the system. But what was odd was that it would boot and be recognized when the 2x8 kit was installed. I suspected this stick was either defective, or had a different sublatency (Something of which I didn't account for until now.) so I went ahead and returned the pair of 1x8 kits to Amazon, sold my old 2x8 kit on Craigslist, and ordered a 4x8 Kit of Trident Z RGB. Thankfully, the system booted and reported Quad-Channel without any hiccups with the new Trident Z.
After that debacle, I got the Minecraft Server up and running, and benched some games while streaming on Twitch and Mixer. The system worked flawlessly, and kept stable performance in all my games. All of that while being barely audible. I had the fans running at 70% RPM and the system was whisper-quiet. Temps were very nice as well, with the overclocked CPU and GPU reaching the high-60C to low-70C range.
Overall, I am more than pleased with this build. The performance is spectacular, especially from a slightly-older CPU architecture. I can see the TR4 platform reliably serving my needs for at least the next decade without much upgrading. I'm very pleased with the Tri-Display, and multitasking is not only simple but rather fun with it.
Thank you for checking out my monstrously-overpowered system!
Absolutely monstrous considering it's a generation or 2 behind. Simply unbeatable for the price at $200. Feels like a 3900X with slightly-lower single core performance.
When I had my early draft using a 3900X, I was originally planning to use the Dark Rock Pro 4. When I switched to Threadripper, I was pleased to see they had made a version of the cooler for TR4 sockets. This cooler as absolutely monstrous and somewhat of a 2-person job to mount, but the performance is well worth it. This thing is able to trade blows with some 240MM and 360MM Radiators, while being far quieter than the pumps. Absolutely love it.
It's paste. Cools the CPU well, but I took a star off because it doesn't taste very nice.
Always loved Gigabyte's boards. This one spares no expense. Build quality is brilliant, overclocks are nice, and has 3 M.2 slots. RGB Is a bonus, but isn't very visible in my case.
RAM is RAM. This fixed the issues I was having with Team's kits and booted into quad-channel perfectly. RGB is nice.
Used for holding/hosting the Minecraft Server. Read/Write speeds for saving and loading world chunks are nice and speedy.
Overall a very nice SSD that does it's job of high-capacity storage and fast booting very nicely. However, this is a cacheless SSD so it slows down substantially when under heavy load with read/write. I don't do a lot of large-scale file transfers on it, so it works fine for me, but buyer beware.
Had a pair of these plus a 500GB Seagate laying around that I tossed in because my SSD was filling up. Not as fast as an SSD obviously, but they store things.
This card is absolutely monstrous, both in performance and in size. My gripe with the new 5700 series cards is that they do like to get warm when under load, so I strongly recommend a triple-fan design with one of these. Not recommended for ITX/SFF builds. Make sure this thing gets plenty of air. As long as it stays decently cool, you shouldn't have any issues with performance or acoustics. This card was able to drive at least 120FPS in every game I play at Ultra Settings, and stay near-silent while doing it. Haven't had any driver issues despite what some others say.
This case was a relic from long ago. From an age where Acrylic Side Windows were considered enthusiast, as TG Panels were few in quantity, when RGB was limited to just the highest-end Razer Keyboards and Mice. Back when Water Cooling involved mounting Radiators on the outside of your case and running Tubes from the rear, and when large quantities of 3.5" HDDs were the norm.
I will say, this case has aged, but is still perfectly fit for a modern build. Having 5.25" bays for Fan Controllers and disc drives (Yes, I'm serious. I know it's 2020.) is nice, and this thing can move lots of air with the right fan config. Cable management could be better, but for a case that formerly retailed for $40, you get what you pay for.
It's noisy. But thankfully I only use it maybe once a year.
Keeps the Bugs and Russian Hackers away. Sharing it with Family since it's a 5-Device subscription. Norton has gotten better in recent years with not eating away resources, as it rarely appears in the Top Processes on CAM.
Moves air, stays quiet, and looks cool doing it!
These things are absolutely brilliant. Running them at 70% RPM still moves plenty of air to keep my system nice and cool, and they are absolutely SILENT. I can only hear the HDDs in my machine when these are running.
I ended up picking this up for $15 brand new on Craigslist, and It's honestly my favorite part of the system. It's like having a CAM display in the system, but for more lower-end cases. It is able to keep my fans at silence during idle periods, and quiet enough during gaming that the system is easily cancelled out by my headphones. Includes real-time temperature sensing which is cool. My one gripe is that some of the digital readings are difficult to read at certain angles.
It reads SD cards and doesn't use up a USB3 slot.
These are basic 1080p displays and make great Auxiliary displays, or a good Main display if you're on a budget.
144Hz is absolutely blissful. Once you go from 60 to 144, you will never go back. The difference is that stark.
This is a brilliant keyboard for a budget. RGB is very nice and can be controlled via hotkeys. I recommend O-Rings, as the Blue Switches can be a bit noise.
Recieved for free as a Christmas present. Has a very nice top texture that is a smoothed rubber, and a gritty plastic on the sides that feels nice to hang on to. Has on-the-fly DPI and RGB adjustment, and would be great for the price.
Why the **** is this in the database
My late, sweet Grandmother always referred to this as "Pee in a Can", but that never stopped her from buying it for my visits back to Nebraska. Miss you Gramma. :,)