I like AMD. Not as much as I like my wife, mind you, but I DO like them. Perhaps it's the underdog dynamic of their company, being the PC world's David against Intel's Goliath. But, for all the past inconsistencies and a product roster that was a thrilling as a wet spaghetti throwing contest in an old folks home, Ryzen promised me something that I didn't see coming. Not only do they match Intel, in some areas they manage to beat them! Now, I know it's not perfect and there are some issues with it as a new architecture, but I have faith that they've learned and are applying that to consumer-friendly product...and let's be real - for budget builds, Ryzen is spot-on...
1) AMD Ryzen 5 1600 - I'm not sure there's a more perfect sweet spot for mid range CPUs, and if there is, I haven't seen or heard of it. THIS thing is PERFECT! I'm running all cores at stock speeds with the stock cooler and not so much as a hiccup. I pondered previously if I should get an 1800X but honestly, I didn't need it. Some triple A games, video editing, and a LOT of CAD and 3D modeling (I am an engineer, after all...) and she fits the bill. I haven't overclocked it beyond this and unless I see a need to, I probably won't.
2) G.Skill Trizend Z RGB - I haven't played with the timings yet, so it's running at 2133 MHz. Funny that I don't seem to mind as of yet. I know Ryzen is finicky so I can be patient. Oh, and for the record...on ASUS motherboards with Aura Sync, load ONLY Aura. If you don't want your lights to crash, do NOT load CPU-Z from their standard website. Go through ASUS to their downloads page and use the ROG enabled CPU-Z or GPU-Z. The regular one crashes Aura Sync, but the ASUS ROG version does not!
3) OCZ RD400 NVME SSD - How does THIS sound - 2143 MB/s read, 619 MB/s write. I think it speaks for itself.
4) ASUS ROG STRIX X370-I Gaming Mini ITX - THIS is the piece' de resistance, ladies and gentlemen! In my opinion, ALL Ryzen ITX motherboards have shortcomings. I don't care if it only has one PCIe port, as I don't plan on SLI'ing the damned thing anyway. But this - this - this board! WHOA!
First the good news: Up to 3600 MHz DDR4 RAM capable, TWO (not one) M.2 NVME slots, Aura Sync ready, addressable RGB header, standard 4 pin RGB header, water cooling pump header on board, illuminated motherboard and audio jacks...I mean, who the hell doesn't need illuminated audio jacks!?! USB 3.0 and 3.1, WiFi, Bluetooth on board - how could anyone NOT like this board?
Now, the bad news: I had to be very careful in my installation as to not RMA the thing because this ASUS board is not sold by ASUS anywhere in North America...this motherboard came from France by way of the United Kingdom, so if I mess something up, I'm RMA'ing this back to Europe. Can you say 17 days? Plus, it's $300...but somehow, that didn't stop me from buying it.
5) ASUS GeForce GTX 1060 6GB Overclocked - I don't need to elaborate on this as there are so many YouTube videos showign benchmarks on this paired with a Ryzen 5 1600 and the frame-rates don't lie. I am in love with this card.
6) Phanteks EVOLV Shift case - I love ITX cases, because I love a challenge to build in. I love this case because it is absolutely gorgeous (see accompanying photos). Yes, I'll admit that I fit and re-fit components inside three times before getting it proper, and if you have even DECENT cable management in THIS case? Well then you've done something. But I am completely satisfied with it and if you like a challenge, buy this case. It's annoying on some levels, but you will be so satisfied when you have a good build with one.
As for the remainder - external Blu-Ray writer with Power DVD 17 full 4K Blu-Ray playback software, (2) AOC 1080p monitors and two Logitech keyboards. The reason for that is because I don't mind gaming on a mechanical gaming keyboard...but typing on one sucks! So I have my other Logitech with chiclet keys for writing, typing and posting. Hopefully, one day, Logitech will invent a chiclet style mechanical short switch keyboard with Aura Sync compatible RGB.
I'll update this post with thermals as time passes, as I only completed this build two nights ago. Hope y'all like it, but I am open to constructive criticism.
(UPDATE - December 24th, 2017)-
I've had a few friends and some people I do not know who were interested in a few more build pics, as they had questions about cable management, thermals, and the addressable RGB strip that I had put in. In the previous photos, I didn't show the addressable RGB strip because (like a dummy) I plugged it in backwards and the motherboard didn't recognize it in AURA SYNC. So, I have taken some more photos at my office in much better lighting than I have in my home office, which adds about 39 photos to show various aspects such as cable management, my voltages and thermals in ASUS AI Suite and ASUS GPU Tweak.
So if anyone wishes to do any builds in this case and have any questions, I will be more than glad to assist. Also, I need to give a shout out to the Mrs. who allowed me the budget (since I don't make grandiose financial decisions without her) and encouraged me to do this build...and yes, that's her on the updated monitor photo...