Last time I've built a PC, AMD was shaking things up with their brand new Athlon 64 processors. Since then, I've used prebuilt PC's and laptops. My laptop's GPU is getting rather old, so ... why not try building a PC again?
The prospect of installing a cooler incorrectly seemed daunting at first, but fortunately all the rest got a lot easier since 2003: no more jumpers for voltages, speed multipliers, neither for master / slave drives! And, more importantly, no more IRQ conflicts!!!
The idea of this build was to make a small form factor living room gaming PC, with modest specs while keeping the possibility of upgrades in the future. I also didn't want to destroy my savings account while doing so, so I bought most of the parts using checkout rebates or deals.
Here's the reasoning behind each component choice. I just finished the build, so I'll not review the parts yet.
CPU: AMD - Ryzen 5 2600 - €159.90
I think that this CPU is overkill for my current usage, but the 2400G is too weak, and I didn't want to wait for the (rumored) Ryzen 5 2500. Well, it'll work as future-proofing. I ended up choosing the Ryzen platform because Intel kind of dropped the ball with their socket changes from gen 7 to gen 8 ... and heck, might as well do an AMD build while they are shaking things up again.
GPU: Sapphire - Radeon RX 580 4GB NITRO+ - €149.00
So, here's the part that determined most of the rest of the build. At first, I wanted to build a mini ITX PC with a compact GeForce GTX 1060 6Gb. They are on par with the RX 580, but consume a lot less electricity - and hence better thermals and form factors for a small build.
Both GPU's are around €300, but I suspect that some shops bought way too many RX 580's during the etherium craze, and wanted to clear the stock. I was lucky enough to find this card for less than half of its current selling price, and this deal was too good to let it pass. Thing is, this card is way too hot for a mini ITX case (and even way too big for some). So, the compact mini ITX build became a slightly less compact micro ATX build ...
Memory: Corsair - Vengeance LPX 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 - €153.00
Not too much to say about it. It's discreet, and the speed seems to be good enough for Ryzen 2x00 CPU's. I was going for 8Gb at first, but the savings from the GPU game me some room in my budget.
Motherboard: MSI - B450M PRO-VDH Micro ATX AM4 Motherboard - €89.00
Not too much to say about this motherboard. I didn't want a motherboard that screams "gaming" with a thousand RGB LED's (nothing against it, just not my taste), and this card seems competent enough. It's also compatible with the Corsair RAM - although it didn't recognize the A-XMP profiles. Still, one of the stock DDR4-3000 configs was good enough.
Storage: Transcend - 240GB 2.5" SSD + Seagate - Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM - €45.00 + €59.99
Again, not a lot to say. I'm still amazed with the SSD speed, when compared to the hybrid HDD in my laptop. No special reason for choosing this brand of SSD, though.
Case: Thermaltake - Core V21 MicroATX Mini Tower Case - €48.90
Since this build is going to stay in my living room, connected to the TV, I wanted a discreet case that didn't look like a PC tower. The Thermaltake Core V1 looked like a good choice for the initial mini ITX build, but I was afraid that it would be too small for the RX 580. I ended up using the slighly larger Core V21. It's a bit cheap-ish inside (plastic trays and thumbscrews for the storage drives, metallic indents instead of risers for the motherboard). But it's extremely modular and easy to work around - I'm glad that I chose it.
PSU: SeaSonic - M12II 520 Bronze - €59.90
Was lucky enough to get it just after the prices dropped on Amazon. Seems to be pretty solid, and the modular cables are great (no such thing in 2003 ...). I'm just worried that it might not give me enough headroom if I start to OC the GPU and or the CPU.
Overall, I'm quite happy with this built, and I've managed to save ~ €200.00 - mainly because of the GPU. It's a bit larger than what I wanted at first, but well, it does the job ...
Working well so far, and very silent and good thermal - even under load. It comes pre-overclocked, though, and it surely chugs a lot of power compared to the GTX 1060.
Good case with lots of room to work around, and several options for fans and radiators. The front foam/mesh doesn't block the included 200mm fan, as it seems to happen with the Level 20. A rear fan is definitely needed, though, or else the hot air will accumulate on the upper part of the case.