- Name is derived from an old Armored Core title. It represents continuous improvement even when things are at peace. In this context, stay updated on technology and keeping an eye out on prospective upgrades even if I'm satisfied with my current set-up.
- This desktop is my first build. This whole experience has been very educational, from researching each component and their purpose to having to troubleshoot. There were some difficulties involved (cable management has been an experience unto itself), but this has been a satisfying and rewarding experience. That having been said, I'm still configuring and optimizing my overclocks which is a whole different beast in its entirety. An amusing if not fickle experience.
- Build timeline and thought process. I began planning this build from Sep. 19, 2017. Primary portion of the build was completed Oct. 28, 2017.
- Current upgrades I'm considering are a NVME SSD (if BF/CM come through), upgrading case/radiator fans, and a Wifi adapter (for when I bring my case to my partner's place). If I can work out a better overclock on my CPU, I might get a better cooler.
- 1. Gigabyte Aorus AX370 - Gaming K7 Mobo Oct. 7, 2017
- I originally wanted a B350 Mobo (Asus Strix B350-F), however, I grew an interest in the more premium X370 Mobo's. Originally, I was going to shoot for the ASRock X370 Taichi (the best X370 from what I've seen, not including Asus's premium offering), but I saw the K7 for a heavy discount. The K7 had all the features I wanted and then some (every time I considered a new addition, my Mobo just happened to have the necessary functionality).
- A little concerned with the M.2 slot placement (under the GPU), but we'll see how it works in practice.
- 2. EVGA - SuperNOVA G3 850W 80+ Gold Fully-Modular PSU Oct. 7, 2017
- First, I wanted my PSU to be at least 80+ Gold Certified and fully-modular (I'm so thankful I made this choice).
- Second, I wanted it to have high wattage for potential future upgrades without having to worry about the ability to match up and to optimize the PSU's efficiency.
- After looking around, I saw a lot of praise for EVGA's SuperNOVA PSU's and the 850W had a good deal on it.
- 3. Noctua - NT-H1 3.5g Thermal Paste Oct. 7, 2017
- This is perhaps a bit innocuous, but I wanted a good thermal paste for when I obtained my other parts and considering the low price/significant amount/great reviews on this thermal paste, I didn't bother with waiting for this to go on sale.
- 4. G.Skill - Trident Z 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3200 CL14 Memory Oct. 13, 2017
- This particular RAM set had guaranteed performance (on my Ryzen), stellar speed and latency, and nice aesthetics. I wanted to get the RGB variant, but the price turned me off. I debated between cheaper options, but picked this up when it got a good discount.
- I managed to procure the G.Skill - Trident Z RGB 16GB (2x8GB) DDR-3200 CL16 for an amazing discount, but ultimately went with the non-RGB CL14 variant for a couple of reasons. The CL14 vs CL16 nagged at me, concerns about Hynix's compatibility, and the need to test my Mobo before the return window closed caused me to forgo this option. I might try and sell my RGB CL16 variant to help make up for the difference in price.
- 5. AMD - Ryzen 5 1600 Processor Oct. 17, 2017
- I began building this desktop with an Ryzen CPU in mind- I found the longevity of AM4 platform to be appealing and I liked the value of better multi-tasking vs. sheer gaming performance. I was interested in the Ryzen 7 1700, but the R5 1600 won out due to affordability and it better matching my current needs. By the time my needs expand beyond the R5 1600, the next iteration of Ryzen CPU's will have released and I could either spring for that. I chose the 1600 over the 1600x due to similar performance after OC and the included cooler.
- I didn't intend to stay with the stock cooler, however, my intermediate tests are showing that I lose stability after 3.8 ghz. At 3.8 ghz, the stock cooler keeps my CPU below 68 degrees under burn-in tests which is acceptable to me. If I manage to get a better overclock, I might reconsider upgrading my CPU cooler. I originally had ordered an EVGA CLC 280 cooler, but returned it due to other complications. I think it's for the best that I returned it. I would have gotten better temps and aesthetic, sure, but the stock cooler is performing just fine (and saved me a cool $110).
- 6. Fractal Design - Define C TG ATX Mid Tower Case Oct. 17, 2017
- I had been debating between the Define C, the Define R5, and the In Win 305, but ultimately I decided on the Define C.
- The Define R5's sheer size, increase in price, and window panel turned me off.
- The In Win 305 looked amazing, but it's price and concerns over air flow turned me off.
- The case fans included work fairly well and my temps are solid across the board. I am considering replacing them, but it isn't urgent.
- Cable management with this case was pretty easy. All of the difficulties I faced were the result of me trying to make things look perfect without fully understanding how certain decisions might affect things later on. *That said, unfortunately, the case was a touch too small to house both my CPU cooler (EVGA CLC 280mm AIO) and my GPU (EVGA FTW3 1080 TI Hybrid). After working with the case, I enjoyed building in it and I liked the aesthetic and I didn't want to hold off on my GPU any longer (Destiny 2 had just come out and I was already a bit late). So this prompted me to return my AIO cooler to which I'm glad I did.
7. EVGA CLC 280 AIO CPU Cooler Oct. 19, 2017 I decided to get the EVGA CLC 280 cooler because of drastically improved cooling, aesthetic, less stress on my Mobo (compared to a high end air cooler), and it having a good discount at the time. I opted for the 280mm radiator version for its improved cooling and sound over the 240mm radiator version.
- 7. Toshiba P300 3TB HDD 7200 RPM Oct. 22, 2017
- I had been debating how I wanted to proceed with storage. Initially, I wanted just one large SSD, but I decided to opt for an 2TB+ HDD and a 500GB SSD similar to my friends. I had been eyeing the Western Digital Black and Western Digital Gold lines (I was a bit paranoid with the cheaper Seagate Barracuda 2TB HDD and the Western Digital Blue 2TB was too slow), but I ultimately purchased this drive due to great price (cheaper than the 2TB WD Black/Gold), great storage size, good speed, sound profile (was seeing concerning comments regarding WD Black's sound since my PC will be close by me) and good claims of reliability.
- 8. EVGA Geforce GTX 1080 Ti FTW3 Hybrid Oct. 22, 2017
- The most expensive (it doesn't help that I missed a chance to get 5% off) and the most problematic portion of my build. I was debating between the GTX 1080/1080 Ti, but after seeing my friend's 1080 Ti in action on his 1440p/144hz monitor, I felt it worthwhile to get the 1080 Ti (especially since I plan to use this graphics card for 3 years+ so the price difference wasn't that substantial). I wanted to get a hybrid GPU as the idea was very appealing to me. Of the hybrid GPU's, EVGA's was the most appealing as I didn't like the cooling design of the MSI Seahawk and I didn't want to do a custom liquid cooling set up. I was going to opt for the EVGA GTX 1080 Ti SC2 Hybrid due to performance, great build, and cheaper price than the FTW3 Hybrid, but after a lot of deliberation, I instead went for the FTW3 Hybrid since the 6% increase in cost would be absorbed over time and I preferred its cooling solution. That said, I forgot to take into account that the FTW3 is also longer until a few hours after I purchased it. Which was too late to cancel the order. This conflicted with my AIO since my AIO had to be front mounted. Later, I saw that someone did manage to fit both of them into their Fractal Design Meshify case (same proportions regarding GPU clearance), but it literally was just scraping by which I wouldn't have been comfortable with. All things considered, I'm glad I got the FTW3. It caused me to return my AIO which ultimately saved me more money.
- Currently, I have the radiator fan connected to the GPU (and so it runs at 100% all the time). I might try connecting it to the mobo instead so I can set a fan curve (or even trying a different fan for the radiator), however, my current temps are great and the noise isn't an issue for me (I hear a gentle thrum and my air conditioning is incredibly loud). I would like to get a better radiator fan though just further improve on temps/sound profile (I'm looking out for the Corsair ML120).
- I may also get a sleeved power cable as the current dual 6+2 cable is a touch unsightly. I might mess around some more in hopes of a cleaner aesthetic without having to make another purchase.
- 9. Atlas Graphics Card Brace Oct. 23, 2017
- Considering the girth of my GPU, I wanted to get a brace to help support it. This particular brace was inexpensive, subdued in aesthetic, and looked to be solid in build quality. My graphics card was more massive than I had originally expected so I'm glad I picked this up.
- 10. Windows 10 Oct. 26, 2017
- The most regretful part of this build. As I was in a rush to have my build set up so I could play Destiny 2 with my partner (which due to the delay in receiving my GPU didn't happen until a few days after launch anyways), I needed to get the OS. I had seen it on sale before, but figured I could find it cheaper eventually. I ended up driving out to Best Buy to get the OS last minute. Bought this at MSRP + tax. The Best Buy people were helpful though, especially as they were out of stock and got a pick-up scheduled quickly at a nearby Best Buy. Only positive out of that.
- The flash drive installation was a breeze. I'm glad I didn't bother with a optical disc drive.
- 11. SAMSUNG 850 EVO 2.5" 1TB SSD Oct. 28, 2017
- I was going to wait for Black Friday before picking up a 500GB SSD, but I found a good deal on r/buildapcsales and it was 1TB and this is what happened. It is the same capacity as my gaming laptop which housed virtually all of my steam games. Jumping from 1TB to 4TB storage is both superfluous and amazing, I must say.
- I'll stay on the lookout for a heavily discounted 960 EVO, but all things considered, this SSD would work just as well for my personal needs.
My rating is a bit skewed as I don't have a point of comparison, but I found this thermal paste to work well. My temps are better than I expected and there is a lot of thermal paste left to use for future endeavors.
I am growing to like this board more and more. It has a plethora of features and slots. The BIOS is pretty easy to understand , dual bios is nice (as I crashed my main BIOS by accidentally messing up my overclock), and the LED's are much nicer than I had originally anticipated. The error code at the bottom is quite helpful though some codes aren't particularly helpful in pinpointing issues. The included audio is pretty great. There is no on-board Wifi, but it's alright considering everything else the board does have. The fan headers are all hybrid which is also a plus for PWM fan set-ups. I would appreciate it if the RGB Fusion program did a better job of controlling the LEDs however. I thought I would be able to control specific LEDs via the program, but everything changes at once regardless of what I select.
Every bit as snazzy as it was hyped up to be. Great speed, amazing boot times (better than the SSD on my work netbook), and easy to get started.
It had a limited run as the main boot drive, but while it was it performed pretty well. I didn't have any issues with sound levels and the performance was quite good.
Windows 10 was an utter breeze to install thanks to the USB flash drive. The actual program itself looks nice, the combination start button (a mix between Windows 7 and 8) is pretty great, and the numerous compatibility issues that pop up irritate me enough to damage every other positive I just mentioned. It seems to be getting better though.