Hello builders! I have another system for you guys. This time I was tasked with building a general gaming computer themed around the colors of the Pokeball. With about a $1200 (including monitor) budget to work with, this is what came to be.
Goals for this build:
- Have solid all-around gaming performance
- Maintain a red, white, and black color theme
The 8320 is always a solid go-to gaming CPU. With the potential to overclock to 8350 speeds and eight cores, you can’t really go wrong for the price. An i5 could have worked here too, but it would have likely prevented the color theme and/or the R9 290. I was very happy with this chip. I was able to get a stable 4.5 Ghz at 1.43v, but clocked it back to 4.0 Ghz at 1.35v and ran all tests at those settings. Temperatures were very nice too.
It isn’t tough to see why I picked this cooler. It’s definitely a sight for sore eyes! Plus the LED is like the flash from a Pokeball opening. Okay, all of that aside, this thing simply performs. Temps were quite low and the fan wasn’t even trying. I had the fan set to 35% for idle and it never needed to ramp up during Prime 95 tests. Overall it’s very quiet and had a slick mounting system.
I’ve used this board twice before so I felt safe going with it again. The black PCB is very appealing and the board layout is smart on Gigabyte’s part. The 990FX chipset is my usual choice for an 8xxx chip and overclocking was obviously going to happen.
I was a little let down here. The 2133 kit would not run stable at the rated speed. I ended up having to leave the speed at 1600. This isn’t the end of the world as it doesn’t really change a whole lot in terms real-world performance numbers, but I was bummed. I got this kit on sale and it is CAS 9 so I was excited to see if the extra speed would improve numbers, but maybe next time.
I had to go with the 1 TB drive to store all of those games and media. Western Digital has been very reliable for me. A SSD could possibly have been added, but again the 290 wouldn’t have been possible.
One of the highlights of this build is the R9 290. This is a monster GPU! MSI have really outdone themselves with the construction. Since these cards don’t need crossfire bridges, a support bar has been added to help prevent sagging. The back plate is also a nice touch. To anyone losing his/her mind about the AMD card temps, this card ran under perfectly normal temps on the stock auto fan profile (it never went over 40%. I was very happy to squeeze this into the build as it will last the new user a long, long time.
This is the best case I have ever built in. There is nothing that even compares to it for the price. The Fractal R4? Yeah right. This thing is such a good value for $100. PSU shroud, tons of room and support for liquid, more grommets and Velcro tie downs than I knew what to do with, hidden HDD cages, an organized screw holder, pre-routed front panel cables, a PWM fan hub with fans you don’t need to replace, and the sexy side panel of the Enthoo Primo without the price tag. There just aren’t enough good things I can say about this case, so I’ll just stop drooling and move on.
The Rosewill Capstone series is tier 2 and Gold rated. 650 watts is plenty for this rig as long as he doesn’t try to add another 290. I’ve used a Capstone PSU on a previous build and felt good going with it again. Plus it was on sale, so it made sense.
I threw in some Silverstone extensions for fun and to really make the color theme work. The optical drive speaks for itself. It burns and stuff. The pokeball was painted by my girlfriend at the last minute. The shroud seemed a little too plain. I think it really made the build stand out!
Another build down and another customer satisfied. This was a fun one. If there is one thing AMD does well it’s the price to performance. Getting my hands on the Enthoo Pro so far outweighed the slight memory problem and in the end the new user got what he wanted!
Questions, comments, or concerns? Post them below, in a PM, or on my Facebook page. I’m never far away from a computer and always respond!
BENCHMARKS: using 14.4
Tests ran at clocks posted above. Settings were set to the maximum settings (1080P) unless noted differently. I test only tasking segments: firefights, lots of units on screen, explosions etc.
Ultra, AA x8
- 57.5 FPS - 2404
Ultra, AA x8, Tessellation max
- 53.2 FPS - 1341
- 16,836 Score
Couldn’t record benchmarks using Fraps with Mantle
Ultra, 90 DOF, 100% Scale, DX11, Dawnbreaker, 64 Players
- Min: 35 FPS
- Max: 113 FPS
- Ave: 55.65 FPS
Ultra, 90 DOF, 100% Scale, DX11, Operation Locker, 32 Players
- Min: 57 FPS
- Max: 113 FPS
- Ave: 80.8 FPS
Ultra DX11 DOF
- Min: 12 FPS
- Max: 149 FPS
- Ave: 82.54 FPS
Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon
- Min: 60.2
- Max: 94.2
- Ave: 75.6
Metro Last Light
- Ave: 44.5
Hope you enjoy!