I have been using a Macbook Pro for programming, music production, digital painting and gaming for the past 7 years. It ran music software with no problem but it struggled with everything else. I was getting sick of the loading/compiling times in Visual Studio, I was unable to run Unreal Engine properly and was stuck with playing old games on low/medium settings. CS:S ran ok on my 1080 Samsung monitor but I had to play Dota 2 on low settings.
I could only afford a modest build and went a little over budget, my family and I will just have to survive on ramen noodles for the rest of the month. At least now I can play CSGO & Dota 2 on full settings! Joking aside, this machine is a dream to use, even without an SSD it boots into windows really fast.
During the build process I had a small panic when I couldn't get it to POST outisde of the case. It turns out that I needed to connect both the power switch and the power LED jumpers for it to power up. No idea why, maybe it is just me but I didn't think I would need to jump the LED as well.
Also, it was only after I finished all my cable management and fastened all the screws that I realised I hadn't placed the motherboard against the IO shield properly, so one USB connection was blocked by a little piece of metal from the shield. It was a pain to unscrew the motherboard and reposition it again.
The AMD Ryzen 5 1400 processor scored very high on Cinebench tests. I will post the scores later. It has 4 cores and 8 threads and is unlocked for overclocking. It runs at 3.2GHz and sits around 40o C when idle. I've not needed to overclock it yet but read that some people are getting near 4.0GHz when they do. What more can I say, this is an awesome CPU and really great value for money. I also received Quake Champions for free with this CPU when I bought it from Ebuyer.
I picked the MSI B350 PC Mate because of the recommendation of Logical Increments and high ratings on this site. It has plenty of space to work on, 4 x RAM slots, LED strip connection, 4 x SATA connectors and plenty of USB 3.0 connections. It has a few fan control points as well, even though I don't need them for this case, see write up on the case later.
The Patriot Viper 4 was not my first choice of RAM. I wanted something more discrete looking and cheaper for my budget (hence why I went for 8GB kit and not 16GB) but could I find anything cheaper that was also on supported list by MSI? No. RAM is so expensive at the moment. Ideally I need 16GB but settled with 8GB for now and to be honest this kit doesn't look as bad as the stock image looks. The red colour is metalic and not matt finish. Why 3200? I've heard Ryzen CPU's are hungry for fast RAM so I didn't want to disappoint her.
No SSD for now but it's the first thing I will buy as an upgrade. After being restricted to a 360GB HDD, partitioned for Bootcamp and OSX, 1TB is plenty of space for the moment. I'm surprised how quiet the BarraCuda is for a mechanical drive. 10/10.
For a modest build the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 3GB is a fine choice. I've had no problem with frame rates on and game I've tried so far. Dota 2 looks like a different game now I can play it on full settings in 1080. No need for me to stick to CSS either, CSGO looks amazing and runs so smooth. I'm probably cutting myself short with only a 60hz monitor. Quake Champions also runs at 60 fps on ultra settings, although with 3GB of VRAM it can only handle medium sized textures.
I could have saved some money on a cheaper case but come on, look at it! How could I resist buying this beauty. The NZXT S340 has a clean minimalist look on the outside and a very sturdy, steel construction. The inside has plenty of room to work in and great design for cable management. All I need now is an LED strip inside to light it up. It came with 2 x 120mm fans, one for the rear and one for the top. They are powered directly by the PSU so there is no motherboard fan control. There is room for two more fans at the front. The magnetic dust covers for the front and the bottom of the case are a nice touch.
With so much choice of PSU's I went for the Seasonic S12II because it was listed on Logical Increments for my budget. It's a shame it's not modular but I was able to tuck all the extra wires away inside the case. I'm confident with the reputation of Seasonic and it's 80+ Bronze rating.
Benchmark ratings to follow.
Excellent value for money. Great potential for overclocking. Decent stock cooler
Clean looking and has everything you need for a motherboard. No complaints!
Fast RAM! The metalic red looks better IRL than in the stock image.
Super quiet for a HDD. 7200RPM 6Gb/s is ideal for a cheap boot drive or mass storage.
Ideal GPU for a modest build, when you want to save the extra £££ you might need for other parts. Expect high frame rates in 1920 x 1080 but don't expect large texture sizes. I can run Quake Champions with everything set to ultra except textures must be set to medium.
For that minimalist yet stylish look, with strong steel construction. Excellent cable management options, features a steel bar rather than gromits to hid your cables. Looks amazing and a pleasure to work with. Just note that the included fans connect directly to the PSU so you are unable to control them via the motherboard.
Reliable PSU with good power rating. The only downside is that it's not modular.