Description

This is my third commissioned build for family and friends. The owner of this machine was using an aging MacBook for gaming and the number of cross-platform games a group of us owned were far and few between - Left 4 Dead 2 was the most commonly played one, but when it stopped working on her Mac and Steam didn't help it was time for an upgrade.

This was a mid-level gaming build, with the most demanding game probably being GTA V. I went for a 240GB SSD for boot, GTA, and a few other games, and a large 2TB HDD for the rest of the steam library. An X4 860k was reccomended to me, as was the Seasonic CPU (as I tended to prefer Corsair's CX-series which I have since learned are now classed as a tier 4 PSU). The R9 380X should keep her going for a while (the X was on offer compared to the 380 which is why I went for it, same as the RAM which is why I bought 2133 as it was cheaper than same brand slower RAM). The case is the SPEC-03, this time in Orange (I have used it in Blue and Red as well) which this time came with two coloured fans instead of one as I had previously. Parts were rounded off with a CD/DVD drive I had spare, a TP-LINK PCI wireless card, and, as the motherboard didn't have a USB3 header (something I forgot about until the board arrive) a USB 3>2 header cable.

The CPU is a perfectly good chip - seems to run very well. As this is not going to be overclocked and due to the budget I chose to stick with the stock cooler. In hindsight I would have maybe gone with a quieter cooler.

Motherboard is a bit of a disspointment, if I'm honest. It's in and it works fine, however, there are only two onboard fan headers (one CPU, one Chassis) and the front panel connectors are directly in line and below the dual-slot GPU. This took some effort to get correct and tidy. It's quite a small board and only 2 RAM slots.

The RAM is Corsair Vengeance Pro 8GB - I think 8GB is fine for most desktops now. As mentioned this was on offer and was cheaper than slower RAM so if the machine is upgraded in the future that will be an advantage.

SSD is a Hynix 250GB Drive. I have only used Hynix RAM before, but I am fully impressed with this - a sub £50 250GB SSD.

HDD is a Barracuda 2TB drive - a typical large-storage, reliable workhorse I have a few of.

GPU is a XFX Radeon R9 390X 4GB. This was bought, delivered and installed two days before AMD announced the released of the RX480. It has performed well in Benchmarks, doing surprisingly well in the 3DMark Fire Strike test and should be a solid card for use.

PSU is a fully modular Seasonic power supply. This was my first Seasonic and first fully modular PSU and safe to say I am converted. This is a great PSU for the money and I plan to use these in any future builds.

Case is the Corsair SPEC-03 in Orange (hence the name). This is the third time I have used this case and I am a fan for the excellent cable management it offers. This time I had two fans in the front so I moved one to the rear to provide intake and fresh air to the CPU. The tool-less SSD, HDD, and Optical Drive install are welcome, however getting the front panel off can be a bit tricky. Looks may not be for everybody, but I like it - it's large enough inside for expansion.

Wifi card/CD/DVD Drive - spares already had. They work.

Monitor - actually yet to test as I will unbox this when setting up at the owners the first time.

Overall I'm quite happy with this. If I was going to build this again I'd use a different motherboard, but I'm pretty happy for the money.

Part Reviews

CPU

Good, all-rounder chip. Stock cooler is noisy.

Motherboard

Poor layout means front panel headers stuck under GPU. Only two on board fan headers. Better options for boards this size.

Memory

Good, fast RAM. Does the job nicely and not as large heatsinks as other RAM.

Video Card

An excellent card - too bad I bought this two days before the announcement of the RX480.

Case

I love these cases, nothing more to say. Plenty of space for expansion, bottom mounted PSU, and the colours make it look even better.

Power Supply

Excellent value fully modular PSU.

Comments

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

This is great.

One question though- when you say Mini-ATX would've been better, do you mean ITX? And you do realize that those boards are smaller still?

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Nope, both Mini ATX and Micro ATX are both valid form factors. I've gone back and edited the review though, I just wish I'd gone for a bigger board (the size I should have got was ATX or "Standard ATX")

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

I have a micro-ATX board in a box somewhere, I know that's valid. I've never heard of or seen reference to a mini-ATX board before though, only mini-ITX.

I will agree that full-size boards are much better for multiple cards than micros, at least the lower-end micro boards with worse PCI layouts.

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

How many frames does it put out in GTA V

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

I am yet to test with GTA V, however I am expecting above 30.

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Should be well above 30 fps I was seeing a got 45-50 with one r9 380 maxed out x2 msaa with leaving advanced graphics off at 1080p.

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

I like your parts selection, a lot actually, butttt....

I'm not 100% on board with the mobo choice. It looks a bit too tiny. Also, it may have been worthwhile to get the athlon with the quiet cooler AMD came out with.

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

In hindsight, nor am I. Ah well - noted for next time.

There was a same model with a quiet cooler?

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point
  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Those orange fans make look the PC started burning down o

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

i could look over the wire management but why would you get a mini atx mother board

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

I just made a pc build and I made it up and when I looked at this 43% of it was the same:[ anyway sick build

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

great build,

thinking of buying the same case....I was just wondering what fans came included with it as some sites say 2x orange led + black fan, some just say 1x led + black, thanks

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

I had 2x orange in the front and 1x black in the rear. However the other same model cases I've bought have been one colored only.

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

From where did you purchase the case? I've been trying to find one recently and it seems they've become rather scarce.

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

This one was bought from Scan - it seems that the Orange colour one isn't as popular as the other ones.

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

I love this build. Have nothing bad to say about it.

I was thinking of buying the case and i was wondering how quiet the fans aand how bright the leds are. Thanks

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

The two coloured fans are an acceptable noise level, but you would hear them if nothing else was on on the room. The third non-coloured fan was very noisy and would reccomend putting it on a speed controller.

The lights are dimmed somewhat by the grille at the front - I find the brightest light to be the strip along the top (above the CD/DVD drive)

[comment deleted]
[comment deleted]
  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Noted with the fans, thanks - I might have a look at replacing the CPU fan behind handing the machine over.

[comment deleted]