Description

With AMD surging and the crypto frenzy finally cooled off, I knew it was time to pull the trigger on building a new rig that'll hold me over for a few years. My main focus with this build was to make the case my own through some light modding and painting while my choice of hardware and accessories would mirror that. I initially began with the idea of a rough industrial look and it wasn't long before that plan was inspired by one of my favorite games, RAGE. The only performance goal I had was to make a system that can handle the mix of older and newer titles I occasionally throw at it. High framerates are nice, yes, but I can live with a 75hz panel and a card that pushes those frames with reasonable settings. There are a lot of exciting new architectures coming out in the following years and I did not feel now was the time to go big on a high-end gaming PC. Below I'll cover some of the mods made to this case and a quick overview of each component.

Case, Fractal Design Define Mini C:

I chose this case because I've come to appreciate the Micro and Mini form factors. I've moved so many times and thus the good ol' days of ceiling-high case towers that weigh a ton are no longer an option for me. This Micro offered a perfect balance of flexibility and functionality without compromise; in fact I'd have actually preferred it to be a bit smaller. Case manufacturers have nailed it with these things and Fractal's build quality is beyond impressive for the price. The price, by the way, was only $70 bucks on sale. I grabbed this thing in a hurry when I saw that sale.

Build Thoughts, Paints, & Mods )

As mentioned above, going for a rough look was the primary objective and it ended up being a lot of fun! It's hard to make mistakes when you don't have to worry about somethin' looking clean and pretty, but it's definitely not hard to get carried away. I had to keep myself in check a few times before I started doing some actual damage to it.

The first piece that set the stage for this whole thing to come together was an old Koolance 280mm radiator shroud I've had lying around for years. Mounting it on top of my case allowed my fans to be installed externally and it gave the case a beefy and aggressive appearance. Luckily it was a perfect fit and matched the front and side panels of the case. The next idea was to replace my power button with a momentary key switch - like a motor's ignition switch. I think it suits the theme of the build, especially given all of the vehicular madness in the RAGE wastelands. All of that wasteland inspiration became apparent by the time I had finished painting so I then decided to make a skull which reminds me of the Scorcher Clan. Of course, none of this would be a true nod to the game without adding some iconic wingsticks somewhere so I plan to add them as custom fan stickers. I decided not to be cheap with these like I had on my previous homemade ones so I'm looking to get them professionally cut and printed. I may also add an actual wingstick to the build some day if I'm able to make one or find a reasonably sized one for sale. All of these ideas alone were the driving force behind this computer and, well, the rest is history. Duct tape, Sharpie, fishing line, and a spool of thin gauge copper wire may or may not have been heavily used and abused throughout.

Paints:

After fully disassembling the case, I sanded then primed each panel/piece with some automotive etching primer. I then base coated a chalked gray, wet sanded it smooth, applied a light mix of blaze/rustic orange, wet sanded again, applied another top coat of my chalked gray, and then finally scuffed and scratched various parts to reveal the coats of orange underneath. This gave it the weathered and rusted look I was going for. Lastly, I touched up some areas by hand with stains and light coats of whatever color needed before sealing it all with some matte clear finish. The painting took me over two weeks and while I am happy with the results, I'm not a professional painter and I will admit my patience ran thin towards the end. Hats off to you painters out there; there's a lot of work involved in these projects. This was no doubt the most time consuming process of the build.

Mods:

Nothing too crazy, but quite a bit of subtle changes. I'll burn through the gist of 'em. I cut two slots on the top of the case so I'd be able to route the cables from my fans. I then drilled holes to mount the Koolance shroud covering said fans. A cut was also needed at the bottom of the power supply cover so I'd be able to install my bottom intake fan. I attached a brass carrying handle that I mostly use for routing cables at the rear of the case. I made a hole with a stepped drill bit at the bottom of my case so I'd be able to route my sleeved cable directly down. I then lined that hole with rubber u-channel, as I did with the rest of the cuts. I added an orange led strip that's tucked away at the top of the case and replaced the power led with an orange one as well. Then I tinted my acrylic window so it'd be darker and match the rest of the build. I've also applied some copper heatsinks to my board's bare mosfets. Unnecessary, but looks cool and couldn't hurt to drop a few temps here and there. To finish everything off, I painted the trim of my case fans and removed the blades to roughen up a little - and I plan to add some more stickers to the housing. This is why many of my old stickers have since been removed.

Component Overview )

I'll include the price I got each component for at the time of purchase. (Roughly May 2018 through November.) This system was bought and assembled over the course of those 6 months so there was plenty of time to watch sales.

Ryzen 5 2600 ~ $140

  • I originally planned on buying a 2600X, but after watching the sales for a few months I ended up getting this for a steal at $140 bucks. The lowest the 2600X ever dropped was $180 and regularly went back up to its $200+ tag. If you all-core overclock a base 2600 near 4 or 4.1, the difference between the two chips becomes almost nonexistent. Getting this 2600 for such a cheap price may be the best deal I have ever gotten on any piece of computer hardware. The value for your money is through the roof. As a side note, manual overclocking is hardly even worth it on these beasts because PBO and XFR are excellent features. I played around with it for a while and I can honestly say this CPU may be at its best right out of the box. Both of these chips are outstanding. Check out some overclocking overviews on it if you're interested.

Dark Rock 4 ~ $75

  • More than enough headroom for this chip and likely any other chip I may upgrade to in the future. Looks gorgeous, performs among the best at its price for air coolers, and it's made in Germany. Don't have to tell me more.

RX 570 ~ $130

  • Much like my CPU, I had originally planned on going for the beefier 580 until I saw this 570 on sale for an equally impressive $130 bucks while Gigabyte's 580s never fell below $200. I chose Gigabyte because their Aorus and Gaming edition cards have exposed copper heatsinking with orange accents to match my theme. I will say, however, that I avoided their Aorus lineups due to a consistent stream of complaints about their temperatures and fan failures. Shame, really, because I'd have preferred going with one of those. So far so good with this little workhorse 570, though. I bumped its core clock up by 150 and its mem clock up by 125 without touching any voltage and everything's been stable for months. Fans are set at a steady 55% rpm and it has never gamed or benched above 65-70c. I actually have a hard time believing the frames I've been getting with this thing. Either I got lucky with a gem or this 570 is more impressive than anticipated. I'm able to run just about anything over 60 fps with mostly maxed out settings. An overclocked 570 nips at the heels of a 580 and 1060 so if you're on a tight budget or want the best bang for your buck, look no further.

G.Skill Flare X - $160

  • Got myself this top-shelf kit over some of the other budget options with the money saved on my CPU and GPU. As we all know, Ryzen likes to get a little flirty with its memory. These clocked at 3200mhz out of the box and I've been able to push them beyond 3400, although I opted to stay at 3400 with lower latency and tighter timings as not to reach a point of diminishing returns. G.Skill is a reputable brand and the Flare X heatsinks match my theme - or rather don't do anything to harm it. Unfortunately the prices of memory were badly inflated at my time of purchase and this was the best possible price I could hold out for. I wasn't going to cut corners here.

MSI B450M Mortar ~ $100

  • The only frustration I have with the AM4 platform is the lack of variety in good Micro motherboards. This was the best exception I found. Great heatsink, decent VRMs, 4 DIMM slots instead of 2, DisplayPort which is lacking in almost all Micro AM4 boards for some inexcusable reason, and its BIOS Flashback utility are all reasons why I went with this Mortar. It's essentially a smaller version of the ATX Tomahawk which has already gained a great reputation as well.

EVGA 650 SuperNova ~ $80

  • Great price, used others in the past, and never had one fail. I used to be terrified of EVGA's more budget oriented units, but these lineups and their predecessors have been trusty and efficient. 650 is enough to handle a GPU upgrade in the future.

Crucial MX500 ~ $110

  • Samsung performance without Samsung prices and it comes with a longer warranty than many of its competitors. American company, too. Sold! Easiest purchase I've ever made. That said, in hindsight I should have gone for the M.2 MX500 for ease of use and less cables, but I don't really care. I think the M.2 was 20 bucks more expensive at the time of my purchase, regardless. 7/19 Update: I've since added the Crucial P1 to my build.

Fans ~ $35

  • 4 Corsair Performance Editions and 2 Cougar Vortex Black Editions. I've added the Corsairs to my part list because they are in this rig, but I recycled them from my old builds and only needed to buy the 2 Cougar fans. Both sets of fans are excellent and get the job done. I've used a million Corsair fans over the years and they've never disappointed. The Corsair fans are also great choices for someone looking to quickly make their own color scheme because the rings they come with are removable and can be painted.

Total Cost ~ $1000

That's all there is to it! Thanks for checking it out. Comment if you have any questions.

Comments

  • 7 months ago
  • 4 points

Absolutely phenomenal build. I hope this gets featured. I know you said it was a rage pc build, but i also think of mad max which is one of my favorite series. Sensible build with a sexy look. A+

  • 7 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks, I appreciate that. My brother told me the exact same thing the first time he saw it haha. I suppose Mad Max works just as well! I really oughta get around to trying that game one day. I like Borderlands as well.

  • 7 months ago
  • 3 points

Houston, we have a feature

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  • 7 months ago
  • 2 points

that looks awsome +1

  • 7 months ago
  • 2 points

fantastic build well done!

  • 7 months ago
  • 2 points

Ditto! Feature worthy!

  • 7 months ago
  • 2 points

Beautiful build man +1

  • 7 months ago
  • 2 points

feature?

  • 7 months ago
  • 2 points

Wow! This gotta be featured!

  • 7 months ago
  • 2 points

This looks amazing, I have always loved Rage and it is phenomenal to see this kind of build. +1

  • 7 months ago
  • 3 points

Thank you. And yes, I agree. Very underrated game and I'm excited for the sequel coming out in May. The negative criticisms of the first game were definitely valid, though. It's just always been one of those games that's clicked with me.

  • 7 months ago
  • 2 points

It was always one of those games that you loved despite the issues.

  • 7 months ago
  • 2 points

A really nice build! A lot of creativity and effort went into that.

  • 7 months ago
  • 1 point

Almost too many hours haha, like I said I had to keep myself in check sometimes. But I think I can finally say it's done once I get some fan stickers made and that dang switch soldered. Thanks for the compliment!

  • 7 months ago
  • 2 points

My feature bone is tingling. You know what's gonna happen.

  • 7 months ago
  • 1 point

Sure hope so! That'd be awesome.

  • 7 months ago
  • 2 points

Good build. Looks like it been in the wars lol. Great

  • 7 months ago
  • 2 points

nice work! I agree with you on the processor.. I went with the same with it on sale.. I would like to hear more about your fps/benchmarks as I still haven't pulled the trigger to upgrade from my 7850. This will probably get featured for sure..

  • 7 months ago
  • 2 points

In my opinion, the 570 is currently the performance per dollar king. They're dropping as low as $130 bucks now and they nip at the heels off the 580 and 1060 in most circumstances. I'd definitely recommend you pick one up as a placeholder (if you're looking for a cheap upgrade) until we see what's offered when Navi is released or Nvidia pushes out a 1060 successor that's appropriately priced. I used to be in the same boat as you, rockin' the good ol' HD 7970 for many years.

I'll give you a general idea of temps and frames I'm hitting on some of the titles I play, but feel free to ask if you'd like me to run a specific bench and I may upload it to images if enough people care. I have 3DMark, Heaven, Furmark, Kombuster, and a few game specific benches installed. Anyway, here are some titles I play. I don't have a lot of the latest and greatest, so keep that in mind.

All of these games I run at max or a mix of very high settings @1080p.

Vermintide 2: 70+ fps on max.

Call of the Wild: 60-80 fps, high/max.

DOOM 2016: 110+fps consistently on Ultra, but it's a Vulkan title so runs as expected.

Insurgency Sandstorm: 75+fps, high/max.

Metro Last Light: Well over 100fps, high/max.

Wolfenstein New Order: 90+fps, but I don't recall my settings. Probably high/max as well.

Rise of the Tomb Raider and Shadow of the Tomb Raider trial: 60+fps on high. These are very demanding games.

GPU never games or benches with temps above 65c while my fans are set at a steady 55% rpm - which is barely audible on this thing. Core and mem clocks are boosted as far as I could go without touching voltages., 1335/1875. Hope some of that helps!

  • 6 months ago
  • 2 points

Thank you for these bench numbers. I plan on building the same build (CPU and GPU).

:)

  • 6 months ago
  • 2 points

No problem, I can run a specific one if you'd like. I've never found it practical for people to base the real-world performance they'll be getting from their cards (especially budget ones) on game benchmarks run at their absolute highest settings. While it's good for a baseline, often times you can just turn a few obscure settings off from 'Ultra' down to 'Very High' and see your frames increase by about 10-20. That's what I do at least. Start with the highest preset, then turn a few things like water, tesselation, and fog quality down one notch and see your frames improve dramatically without a significant impact on graphics.

Thanks for checkin' out my build and enjoy yours when it's done! The 570 is an absolute steal for anything less than $150 bucks, but I'd keep your eyes peeled for some 580s and 1060s as well. Those regularly drop below $200 lately.

  • 5 months ago
  • 2 points

Thank you for all these info. I really appreciate that! Edit: and for offering to do extra benchmarks for me :)

Right now the games I would play when I get my build would be older games. Like Bioshock infinite, Deus Ex Human Revolution, Quake 4, Dishonored... And I would play at 1080p / 60 fps. Nothing crazy demanding.

And by the time I move and play more demanding games like Far Cry 4 or Rage 2 and so on, a couple of years will have gone by and Radeon VII will be cheap.

  • 7 months ago
  • 2 points

Sweet build, may it inspire everyone to play/replay Rage. goes off to reinstall the game

  • 7 months ago
  • 2 points

Have a good one! I just recently played through it again to get myself stoked about RAGE 2. Unfortunately not many people play Legends or Road Rage online anymore, though.

  • 7 months ago
  • 2 points

+1 +Feature!!

This just looks "right". The only thing I might suggest is to put some massive, rusty, iron sheets randomly against your walls, install some terrible lighting, and finish it off by spreading sand and dust everywhere. Your computer cries out for this companionship!

Great looking build, plus a strong selection of bang-for-$ components. You nailed it!

  • 7 months ago
  • 2 points

You might be on to something there! Thanks, appreciate it. I oughta put the thing out in the garage or shop and take some new pics. Yeah though, I thought about adding some rusted sheet metal vinyl or copper on top of the power supply, which would show a bit through the perforation cutouts.

  • 7 months ago
  • 2 points

Equal parts functional and a work of art, well done.

  • 7 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks, man!

  • 7 months ago
  • 2 points

What a unique build! Excellent job!

  • 7 months ago
  • 2 points

Amazing build! Love the mods! I may build something very similar to that in Fractal Design Focus G. Thank you for the inspiration!

  • 7 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks! Go for it and feel free to share it. I wouldn't call it an inspiration for my personal rig right here, but this computer has been my favorite for years. Hands down, without a doubt, I think this was the best mod I've ever seen. You'll probably like it too:

https://imgur.com/a/381DreC

Also check out his build log on the Corsair forums: http://forum.corsair.com/forums/showthread.php?t=120607

Flawless work.

  • 7 months ago
  • 2 points

Wow! That is PC mod-ART. I absolutely enjoyed viewing those pics. Awesome build!

  • 3 months ago
  • 2 points

This build is amazing, very well done man, you nailed the look kinda reminds me of Borderlands +1

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! The first Borderlands was one of my favorite games for many years.

  • 1 month ago
  • 2 points

What a unique build you created here! +1

  • 7 months ago
  • 1 point

B450M MSI MORTAR? I thought it went extinct or discontinued or something. Nice build BTW

  • 7 months ago
  • 1 point

Weird, your post made me go look around and I noticed all of these motherboards are out of stock. How long has this been the case? Thankfully I picked mine up a few months ago when they first launched for $100 bucks. Shame if they're discontinued or something, I think a strong case could be made for this being the absolute best Micro AM4 board in terms of its hardware and specs.

  • 7 months ago
  • 1 point

For anyone interested in the radiator shroud I've used, here's a link to a similar example from Koolance:

https://koolance.com/3-x-120mm-fan-radiator-shroud-black

I used their 2x140mm shroud, but looks to be discontinued. This is why I hold on to my components and accessories for years. Ya never know when you'll end up using one!

  • 7 months ago
  • 1 point

I would have gone for a better GPU, doesn't really live up to the rest of the build. In terms of aesthetics it looks great though.

  • 7 months ago
  • 2 points

It exceeded my expectations, I'm very happy with it and I have no problems dropping a few settings if necessary. In most cases, I'm able to start with the highest preset and only turn a few things down like water textures and tesselation. I don't have a 580 on hand to compare it with and online benchmarks can be a bit deceptive, but I'd wager mine just barely lags behind a 580 after I boosted its core and mem clocks a fair bit. Yeah though, it'll definitely be replaced eventually. I'm gonna hold out until Navi is released and reevaluate.

  • 7 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah if you're gaming at 1080p 60hz it's totally fine. High refresh rate is kinda a must for me now though, especially since 144hz monitors are super cheap now.

  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

I've been looking at the Bequiet! cooler for a build. I was wondering if you would still have decent clearance if all 4 ram slots were full.

  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

I can't say with certainty because it'll depend on the kit of memory you're using, but you probably won't run into many problems filling all 4 unless you're using really tall or bulky memory. That said, I wouldn't be able to fill all 4 in my build because I situate the fan slightly below the the cooler's fin stack (closer to my motherboard) so that it blows some air across my motherboard's VRMs as well. If I mounted the fan further away from the 'board I'd be able to fill them. Hope that helps. I definitely recommend this cooler.

  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, it looks like a really nice cooler to me. I'm probably going to use the Corsair RGB Vengeance Pro memory in my build, which is a bit taller than normal memory. If you can just adjust the fan I think it should be fine though.

  • 4 months ago
  • 1 point

sometimes I wish PCs actually rusted

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Amazing look, I wouldn't build it myself because it's expensive for the performance but great to look at!

  • 1 month ago
  • 2 points

Thanks for checking it out!

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