Description

Obligatory acknowledgement that is my first build (you guyss!!). I’m a video shooter/editor and had been chugging along with a mid-2010 iMac that can barely open Firefox, let alone process 4K video in real time. My AME render times were 8-10 hours (!!!) for 5 minutes of 2K content. After years of juicy “will-he-or-won’t-he just do it already” drama, I felt it was a good time to pull the trigger (also my wife said OK)

My goals with this build: -Have a capable and expandable machine for content creation in Adobe CC with little to no dropped frames during playback and fast render times -Have a clean-looking setup minimizing harsh lines and RGB -Spend less than $1500 US (nope)

There were, mercifully, no major issues during assembly. Everything appears stable so far, and I’m really enjoying the increased performance.

A big thanks to the PC Part Picker community - I learned a ton just by lurking here for a couple months. 10/10; would lurk again

Part Reviews

CPU

This was absolutely overkill, but the thinking was to max out the CPU up front and leave room to expand around that as needed. So far, the performance jump from an 8-year old iMac is indescribable. 4k video renders are, in some cases, shorter than runtime of the media being encoded. The thing was blazing at 4.1ghz with the “Ryzen (Balanced)” power setting, but something called EDC in Ryzen Master was consistently at 98-101% which seemed troubling... so after some googling I switched to the standard “Balanced” which is still fast but without the worrisome EDC number.

Motherboard

This board has lots of headers, built-in WiFi, stylized heatsinks & RGB that are nice but not ostentatious, with an agreeable price for all its features. The I/O shield isn’t painted on the outside, and one of the clips in each RAM slot doesn’t unlock though the manual says it does (made me sweat a bit until I realized that they went in fine with just the one open). If i boot into UEFI (F2 or DEL) my keyboard & mouse are unresponsive but if I enter the boot menu (F11) they work and i can click “enter Setup.” The BIOS is less intuitive than others I’ve seen. These are cons that would have been nice to know ahead of time, but hardly dealbreakers

Memory

These happened to be the lowest price on the day I pulled the trigger. They were unstable at 3200 but at 3000 have been fine.

Storage

Small and cheap. Probably not the fastest but has been fine so far. In hindsight I wish I had gone with a larger capacity M.2 instead, as this is almost 2/3 full just with Windows 10 and Adobe CC programs installed

Video Card

As a non-gamer, I chose this card (generously described by Wikipedia as “mid-range”) based almost entirely on its price, and utilization rarely goes above 33% when I'm working. It happens to be small form factor and does not require a power cable, both of which I find nice.

Case

After starting with a Corsair 275R and hating it, I ended up springing for the H500. I love the look and the build quality. Cable routing is great and there is plenty of space to work. There are 2 screws securing the HDD bay from the bottom that just won’t turn (probably because I bought my screwdriver at Rite Aid), but with my small childlike hands I managed to seat the hard drive without needing to take it out.

Power Supply

Thanks, EVGA, for including not one, but two carrying satchels with this PSU. The thinner, lighter satchel will be great for transporting my PSU around the house or on quick errands, while the larger velcro satchel will keep my PSU safe during my commute or on weekend trips. The peace of mind knowing I can move freely with my PSU is liberating.

Monitor

This 23’ IPS LED display with tiny bezels and VESA mount was a great value. Picture quality is good not great, but the price:feature ratio is undeniable and exactly what I was looking for at this price point.

Comments

  • 15 months ago
  • 2 points

I still have an early 2009 iMac! the secret is to ditch the hard drive and install an SSD. With that, it opens Firefox fine, and does email / web / office-type stuff fine; but I'm not about to do a render on a Core 2 Duo Penryn! Having gotten a 2x improvement from a 2009 Mac Pro Westmere (rather better than your 2011 iMac) to a 2700X, I can imagine how much you are liking your build!

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

bingo, that future upgrade is the only reason we're still holding on the the mac...once the bank account recovers from this project lol

as for performance, it's like night and day. between that clunker and various (terrible) work laptops, I had forgotten that computers can actually be fast and good!

  • 12 months ago
  • 2 points

THERE'S AN ETHERNET SOCKET RIGHT THERE!

  • 1 month ago
  • 2 points

maddening right? its a port to nowhere...modem is on the other side of the apt

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Any issues with the vram temps or OC?

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

OC was unstable but i attribute that to operator error (i continue to have no idea what i'm doing) so i'm back to stock out of an abundance of caution