Description

Put this nice little gaming system together as my Christmas present to myself. I already had the Asus GTX 1070 from a previous system, and that saved me a bunch of money there. Harvested an old hard drive from another system that wasn't worth repairing for expanded storage, and the DVD-RW from the same system. Started out with a single set of the 8 GB Crucial RAM, but added a second set a couple months later as I kept wanting more RAM in there to give my 1070 room to breath. The Core i3 is a decent little processor, nothing too speedy, and I'm itching to upgrade it already as it is clearly bottle-necking my GPU a fair amount, but can't really justify the expense at the moment. Besides, while it is clearly holding me back somewhat, most of the games I play still run at well over 60 fps. Really hoping to wait for another new generation of CPU's before I take the plunge on that one. The 512 GB Intel SSD is kind of small, but more than sufficient for my needs as my system is almost purely oriented for gaming and I rarely keep more than a few games installed at a time. It's been extremely fast and I love having the responsiveness that an M.2 SSD provides. I bought a broken computer for $50 and cannibalized the hard drive, DVD-RW drive, and the keyboard that came with it for my new system. I also transferred the Windows install over to my new computer. Did a full reinstall and then transferred everything to my SSD. Luckily it was a retail version of Windows 10, so there was no problem changing over at all. I originally had this system paired with an AOC IPS monitor that I found second hand for $50, but unfortunately, my temper got the better of me during a bad session of gaming and I bounced my mouse against it and cracked the screen. Obviously not my best choice, but what's done is done. I followed that up by ordering my current monitor, the beautiful Asus PG279Q ROG Swift. It was a huge investment, but the monitor is absolutely gorgeous. I'm extremely happy with it. Most of my games so far are running at 100+ fps even at this resolution, which makes me extremely happy. The only thing that I'm less than thrilled about is the single bright pixel stuck on near the center of the monitor. Given my usage, though, it's rarely noticeable, and not worth the hassle of sending it back and risking the possibility of getting stuck with something even worse. All in all, my system is an odd amalgam of parts that surprisingly work together extremely well. The only weak point at the moment is the under-powered CPU, and that is my next target for an upgrade. It may not be able to handle the latest AAA titles as well, but I've been very happy with my 1070 so far. It has performed far better than I ever could have hoped. It is, besides the monitor it is paired with, the sweetest part of my build.

Edit: Took the plunge and dropped the cash for the i5-9600k. Still benchmarking and tweaking, but so far looks really good. Will update as time allows.

Part Reviews

CPU

Coming from my Core i-3 8100 to this was a pretty good step up in performance. I'd already updated my motherboard's BIOS months ago, so it was an easy drop in and go upgrade. Haven't tried overclocking at all yet as my motherboard is a budget model not designed for such things, but the stock performance has greatly increased my frame rates in many of the games I play. I knew for a while that my GTX 1070 was being hamstrung a bit by my CPU, and this new chip really lets it show what it can do. While I'm not playing anything very recent, I can easily play most any game I own at 1440p and get better than 100 frames per second. All my games seem to run smoother and my whole system feels slightly more responsive. All told, I think this was an excellent upgrade and highly recommend the 9600k for gaming and general productivity use.

CPU Cooler

So far has proven to be an excellent and fairly economical air cooler. Prime95 stress test on my stock i5-9600k maxed out at about 74 C. It could probably handle a moderate overclock without any thermal throttling, but haven't yet tried any overclocking. It was very easy to install this cooler, hooking the fan clips on the heat-sink being the closest thing to any difficulty. It's very large, but doesn't block my RAM slots at all and there is still a bit of clearance between the top and my case window. The fan is about as close to silent as I think a fan can get. I can't hear it at all over the fans on my video card or the ones that came in my case. All in all, an excellent cooler if you're not looking to spend the money for a water cooling set-up.

Motherboard

Can't really say a lot about this board. It works, it had the bare essentials of what I needed when I put my system together, and it was priced right at the time. I did have some issues with the screw on the M.2 socket not coming out when I was building the system, and then it wouldn't go back in right when I installed the drive. Finally managed to get it to stay where the drive won't be moving, but still not as secure as it should be and quite a hassle too. There's also no overclocking support since it's the B360 chipset, but that's something that I understood going in. All in all, a respectable value on a budget board that does just enough to fill my needs.

Memory

What can I say? It's RAM. Wasn't a bad price at the time (though of course prices and taken a nosedive since), and the timings/speed are more than enough for my current system. Not really tall, or flashy, just good solid RAM.

Storage

I really do enjoy having an M.2 SSD. If you haven't yet taken the plunge, I highly recommend it. From a cold boot, my system is sitting at the Windows Desktop within seconds. Games load quickly and everything seems more responsive. Chose the 512 GB because I was on a tight budget and it was plenty to serve my needs. The price was very reasonable, and I can install Windows, a few productivity apps, and a handful of games and still have plenty of breathing room. Would have rather gone with the 1 TB, but this was a good compromise with regards to speed, spaciousness, and price. Don't worry that it's not got the fastest throughput among M.2 SSD's, you'll never notice the difference in real world use.

Video Card

Really can't say enough about this little beauty. Originally bought this for another system to keep it gaming well past it's prime, and since moved it to my new build. Paired with an Intel i3-8100, this thing is still held back by my weak CPU. I've given it a mild overclock, and it's run like a top for a few years now. I don't normally play the newest AAA titles, but this card easily puts out 100+ fps at 2560x1440 on almost every game I play. I intend to skip the current generation of video cards and run this beauty for a while longer. Maybe the next generation will give me a compelling reason to upgrade, but so far, this thing has worked wonders.

Case

This case is very usable, and extremely easy to work in. Only real complaint is that the side window is plastic rather than glass, but at this price point, that's to be expected. All in all, very roomy, very nice looking, and very easy to work in.

Power Supply

Good basic power supply at a reasonable price. Can't say much more than that. It's got more than enough connections for my needs, and plenty of headroom should I look to upgrade down the road. SeaSonic has long been a name that's been associated with quality PSU's, and that really makes me feel safer trusting my system to it.

Monitor

This thing is nothing short of beautiful. Came from a second-hand AOC 1080p IPS monitor, and what a difference. Haven't had any problems with backlight bleed like so many people report. Small amount of IPS glow, but I've been using IPS monitors for years, so nothing I'm not used to. Coming from a 1080p monitor, the amount of real estate you have at 1440p is absolutely amazing. Everything feels so much more open and there's more than enough room for multiple windows. The colors and contrast, to my admittedly untrained eye, look very, very good. I did get one with a single bright pixel near the center of the screen, but as I mostly use my system for gaming, it is not very noticeable, and not worth the hassle of returning it and playing the panel lottery. Love that I can play all my games at 100+ fps with G-Sync. It's extremely refreshing not to have any tearing or stuttering due to bad frame sync. Paired with my trusty GTX 1070, nearly all my games (admittedly all at least a year or two old) run at least 100 fps almost all the time. Overall, very pleased with this monitor. The biggest ding is, of course, price. This thing is expensive. Even as long as it's been out, still $600+. Probably not the wisest investment I've ever made, but I expect this monitor to grace my desk for many years to come.

Comments

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Ngl chances are that thing is going to bottle necked into the next dimension

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

The i3 does hold my 1070 back a fair amount, but with the older games that I tend to play, it's not a huge issue. That is the first part I intend to upgrade when money is available to do so.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, for me I'm not planning on getting an Intel for now but if you do upgrade, if your mobo can support it i'd say a i5-9600k but chances are it can't as they switch the chipset it seems like every new release.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

The i5 9600k is compatible, and one option I'm leaning toward. Also considering just doing a small upgrade to an i5 9400F. That would be enough to relieve the bottleneck and save me about $100. May end up just waiting and trying to go big when the next gen of CPUs hits.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

There's a good chance the next generation won't have the same chipset, I personally would upgrade to the 9600k but it's up to you.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Oh, of course, if I can hold out until the next generation hits, I'm expecting a motherboard and CPU upgrade. The 9600K is preferable, I agree, but money is extremely tight and the 9400F is adequate if not ideal.