This is my very first desktop/tower build with a full AMD setup in mind. I'm no fan of Crossfire/SLI, nor do I care for large towers due to lack of space. I've always wanted a budget-friendly ($450-$600) AMD build and the recent release of 2nd Gen Ryzen piqued my interest enough to finally do a custom build. I plan on gaming with this machine, so low-end capability is a given with the Ryzen 3 with the intent on upgrading in the near future. I recently purchased a GIGABYTE RX 560 4GB OC (rev 2.0), so I'll install that and make a separate build regarding that.
Installing the parts was smooth and easy, albeit lengthy due to how finicky I am regarding delicate parts. The case was definitely more spacious than I anticipated, so I definitely had an easy time setting everything up. The only issue is keeping the clutter to a minimum due to the placement of pins on this motherboard. Otherwise, the process was pretty straightforward. The only bump I ran across was the fact that the motherboard only has 2 fan headers (1 CPU, 1 System) and I had 3 case fans. Fortunately, the 80mm case fans also have 4-pin molex connectors (both male and female), so you can connect them directly into the PSU if you're lazy. Otherwise, just get a PWM fan splitter. No need for a 3 way splitter as those two fans can be connected to another via the aforementioned molex connectors. Fan control via Smart Fan Control 5 will be universal (no individual control per fan) through this header, but it definitely works wonderfully across the board with a total of .88A out of the 1A limit.
Installing Windows 10 was easy, but I experienced random crashes thanks to the Intel Wireless drivers sorely needing an update. Once I updated my wireless adapter, everything ran smoothly again. I was actually able to play Forza Motorsport 6: Apex on the lowest settings with few hiccups, so I figure mobile games (if that's your thing) run a lot better and prettier than something like Forza. Streaming HD videos on my 32" Vizio SmartCast 1080p TV/display (you may cringe) were child's play, as was running multiple apps alongside Chrome smoothly as well. I did no overclocking on this CPU yet, so I'll see how that goes. I'm also thinking on changing the Wireless hardware to something more stable, this particular wireless card is pretty unstable.
I'm open to any suggestions, recommendations, and some ideas on adding some aesthetic flair to this build. Any feedback will be appreciated.
Edit: I have the upgraded build posted
Intrigued by the first generation of Ryzen processors, I decided to look into the 2nd generation based on performance benchmarks I've seen with integrated graphics. This is the little CPU/APU that could. Whether I'm streaming HD videos, running multiple programs, playing games, or all the above, this little guy definitely performed well. Considering the $70 price difference between this 2200G and the Ryzen 5 2400G, its performance was actually relative to the latter CPU. For that difference in price, I'd recommend this CPU over the 2400G.
Note that the Vega 8 Graphics will take up 0.3GB of RAM by default. After some driver updates, it uses 1GB by default. Changing the Integrated Graphics setting to "Forces" in the BIOS grants access to UMA settings. From there, you can manually choose how much RAM will be allocated to the iGPU. This also means running dual channel will optimize performance, though this ran just fine even on single channel memory. Games like Gears of War 4 can run on mixed settings (2GB-4GB recommended) at around 30FPS at close to 1600x900 resolution. Less-demanding titles fare a lot better, though Gears 4 will pretty much run close to Xbox One consistency on Vega 8. Talk about punching above its weight.
There's a lottery to be had with this motherboard: its BIOS. Some people have an older BIOS that's incompatible with Ryzen. Fortunately, mine came with the F10 BIOS that introduced Ryzen 3 2200G compatibility.
This tiny terror includes 2 RGBW headers, RGB lighting on the motherboard, dual channel DDR4 memory, 2x Gen 2 USB 3.1 Type-A ports, 4x Gen 1 USB 3.1 Type-A, 2 USB 2.0 ports, a P/S2 port, HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort, ALC1220/RealTek GbE LAN, M.2 Intel Dual Band 802.11ac WiFi+BT Module (3165) with antenna, M.2 NVMe PCIe Gen 3 x4 2280 connector, 4 SATA 3 ports, SATA RAID (0,1,10), 2 hybrid fan headers, 2/4/5.1/7.1 channel HD audio support, front panel headers, USB 2.0 header, USB 3.0/3.1 header, and a single PCIe x16 slot. Talk about packing a lot of features into this tiny board. That alone has raised my expectations on larger motherboards.
You get 2 SATA cables, the WiFi antenna, and 2 installation CDs: a drivers and BIOS CD with the other being the Intel WiFi+BT drivers CD. Installation is fairly straightforward. SmartFan5 helps keep an eye on temps and you can customize your fan settings (CPU and System 1).
The limit of 2 fan headers and the BIOS lottery are two reasons I didn't rate this motherboard 5 stars. However, this baby could handle quite a good deal while gaming, so I highly recommend this for Mini ITX builds that pack a punch on a budget.
This RAM runs beautifully. Vega 8 Graphics take up a dedicated 0.3GB of memory, yet run well. Ryzen runs well on dual channel, but even in single channel it ran well.. It's also a stunner with its red aluminum plating that dissipates heat very well. Aluminum is a great metal for heat dissipation as its thermal retention is poor. Also, 2,400MHz is decent for gaming applications.
I thought I purchased a 7200RPM WD Blue 1TB. Turns out my tired self ordered the 5400RPM. Slower speeds notwithstanding, this HDD holds up fairly well with data transfers and storage. As a boot drive I could've done a lot worse, though I'm planning on using this for raw storage.
Hello, beautiful! This Mini ITX case may not hold the longest graphics card (255mm with the front grill on, 285mm without), but it's probably the most voluminous case of its class. Cable management is easy given its spacious volume and included zip ties with holes to anchor cables down. Included is a 200mm case fan at the front (and a foam filter), 2 USB 3.0 Type-A ports, separate mic and headphone jacks, a power button, reset button, power LED, and HDD LED.
The rear sports two 80mm "slots" for additional case fans, the rear motherboard panel, and the slots for the PCIe expansion (most definitely for my graphics card). Bottom panel comes with a filter for the power supply, with the rear panel including the slot where you'd access the switches and plug. ATX power supplies are compatible with this case; 2 rubber bumpers are included with 3 pairs of slots to fit into for different size PSUs. The bottom is basically a dedicated space for the PSU.
Top panel comes with a glass/plastic window to see the motherboard (which sits horizontally) in all its glory. While the rest of the case is pretty much grill and metal. There are black hand screws holding the panels in place, as well as the 2 HDD caddies included. The front panel is removable only from the inside, with the rest of the panels being interchangeable. The top window is removable for those who want to install a grill/filter for even more airflow.
Small, compact, and stunning in white is what this cube is all about. It's spacious, yet compact and can definitely do what you need it to. Its airy interior also helps with airflow and maintaining lower temps. Its motherboard and PSU orientation definitely contribute to a beautiful interior.
I've been told this PSU will go nuclear if you reach/exceed its wattage limit. Considering my build is a Mini ITX build, there's little need to worry. If I slapped a Ryzen 7 and RX 580 into this build, I'd still be roughly 140W shy of reaching its limit.
Eco Mode is a neat little switch on the back that throttles power to the computer. It's a neat little thing to use if you're conscious about power consumption (i.e, running electronics on a surge protector near its threshold). Keep in mind it will throttle performance as well, so keep off if performance is a must. Otherwise, this unit supplies power without fuss. Its fan definitely keeps the unit cool, too. Eco Mode throttles the fan, too.
Fully Modular with three 6-pin connectors (2 SATA, 1 peripheral), 1 VGA 6+2, 8-pin CPU, and 24-pin ATX MB connector is exactly what's needed for smaller builds. The SATA cables have splitters, there are molex cables and adapters, too. This is excellent for smaller cases that require meticulous cable management.