Description

I'll start by saying that everything in this build was paid for with Canadian Dollars. (USD cost = minus 22 cents off every dollar) FeelsBadMan.

This is my 4th gaming PC build (last one was 3 years prior). I'm hoping this build will serve me for the next 5 years minimum since my build cycle right now has been every 3 years. This build is by far the funnest build I have ever done, since the experience I've gained from building my last 3 PC's gave me lots of confidence in choosing the parts for this build.

3DMakrk TimeSpy Benchmark

3DMark FireStrike Benchmark

Edit 01/10/2018: @LethalFinch on twitter if you need a quick response to any questions with regards to parts in this build. Other wise, I finally have my email notifications turned on for PcPartPicker so comments left here will most certainly be seen sooner than in the past.

Part Reviews

CPU

Coming from an overclocked AMD FX 8320, the 1600 is a real treat & hands down the best bang for buck I've ever seen in all my years of building PC's. I managed to reach an overclock of 3.9 GHz @ 1.400 V, but I wasn't personally comfortable with running that kind of voltage for every day use. So I dialed it back to a more than reasonable 3.85 GHz @ 1.375 V for everyday use/gaming. With the cooler I'm using (Enermax ETS-T50 AXE), I still have tons of thermal headroom, so I'm sure that 4.0+ GHz is possible with a higher end Mobo using the X370 chipset, however I went with the B350 chipset which trades off some thermal headroom on the VRM for sake of saving money. So for now, I'll stick with an OC of 3.85 GHz.

CPU Cooler

This CPU cooler has impressed the hell out of me, and not because of how good it looks or its RGB lighting. It has a 250+ watt TDP, which is amazing for its size. The heatsink itself is very comparable to the Coolermaster Hyper 212 heatsink in size, yet it cools way more efficiently. While I was stress testing my CPU & trying to find a comfortable overclock, there was one point where I was running my CPU @ 1.425 V and this cooler maintained 54 degrees celcius temps under load. That's absolutely amazing considering the fact that 1.425 V is max recommended voltage by AMD, with max temp of 80 degrees celcius. So yeah, this cooler is amazing with the amount of thermal headroom it provides. It's definitely worth every penny of it's MSRP which is reasonably set in my opinion.

Motherboard

For the $120CAD (~$100CAD during sales), this is a great budget Mobo that still has great features, highly user friendly UEFI (especially for overclocking), and has a slightly above average VRM that allows decent/comfortable overclock speeds. The most important deciding factors for me on choosing this Mobo over any other out there were these: 1) Micro ATX (due to my choice in case) 2) S/PDF Audio output (for my wireless Turtle Beach headphones) 3) UEFI/Bios has a no hassle, direct approach for overclocking RAM & CPU while keeping things simple. (not commonly the case for most B350 chipset Mobo's on the market.) 4) 3 Fan headers for case fans (the most I've seen on a B350 Mobo. Is it crazy that I wish there were more?) 5) VRM has a heatsink. It should also be noted that the very first thing I did after assembly & installation of windows was to update the Bios to the most recent version. I'm confident that doing so made my overclocking experience enjoyable & a breeze.

Memory

Paired with Ryzen 5 1600, the XMP profiles in this ram were easily detected by my MSI B350M Mortar and I was able to load up Profile 2 which gave me 3200 MHz speeds on my first try, with no issues at all. These sticks work like a charm. No mem-dumps, no issues, no problems. Praise be to G.Skill & MSI :)

Storage

I have windows installed on this and workflow software such as GIMP, Unreal Engine. Blender, etc. Once you live off one of these M.2 drives, normal SSD's will seem like a joke to you & you'll never want to switch back. Highly recommend one of these at this price if your Mobo has a slot for it.

Storage

I have this drive specifically for the games that I play more than once per week. All my other games go onto my Seagates that are in the build list.

Case

Full disclosure: I'm an absolute Thermaltake fanboy because I am obsessed with getting the best thermals I can possibly get for my PC's with out having to rely on liquid cooling. And I can honestly say that I have yet to see any other case manufacture come close to Thermaltake's design quality when it comes to not only airflow thermals, but also ease of assembly, premium dust filtration, cable management compartments, as well as eye appeal. I know alot of the tech youtubers are always showing off their Fractal Design cases (which are nice & well made, don't get me wrong), but I bet my life that anyone using airflow for cooling with out a Thermaltake case is 100% doing themselves & their PC a Massive Injustice. Bottom Line: If you're not using a liquid cooler, get a Thermaltake case. It doesn't even have to be the same one I used in this build. Just pick one that aesthetically appeals to you & use it. You won't regret it. That said, I think this cube style case is my favorite so far out of all the cases I've ever used and/or seen. So I'll probably be sticking with the Core V21 for all of my future builds to come (or at least until the newer released parts start to get smaller).

Comments

  • 26 months ago
  • 2 points

Looks awesome man! Yeah, I agree with your love for airflow and thermaltake cases. I had a corsair air 240 for a while and really loved it for that reason, and TONS of fan options. I think I had 7 fans mounted at one point. it was like a portable venturi wind tunnel.

  • 25 months ago
  • 1 point

lol thanks man. I'm probably one of the minority of enthusiasts that would look at a venturi wind tunnel pc with absolute adoration :p

  • 25 months ago
  • 1 point

No you are not

  • 25 months ago
  • 2 points

I plan to buy 1070ti duke.... Is it warm an loud? How it overclocked? Ty

  • 25 months ago
  • 1 point

sorry for the late response. just saw your question now. The 1070ti duke is very quiet & has excellent thermals (~36C idle - ~65-69C full load during stress tests while overclocked) Overclocking is extremely easy. Using MSI Afterburner, set the Core Clock offset to +175 which will give you a 2000MHz OC. (I didn't bother overclocking the memory on the GPU). With the overclock I'm seeing 1080 performance in games on High graphic settings, and within a 3% margin of 1080 performance on Ultra graphic settings. (note: I run all my games @ 2560x1080. If it's an older game that doesn't have that resolution, then I use 1920x1080. 60Hz refresh rate monitor) It really is a great card. In my opinion, if you can find a good 1080 for only $50 more, then it's worth it to go for 1080. But in my case with canadian dollars, the price difference (at the time of purchase) between this card & a good 1080 was $150+ more, so I felt that the 1070ti Duke in my case gave me the best price-to-performance.

  • 25 months ago
  • 2 points

Thank You, great answer. I bought it and i'm more then pleased. Your statements was true and i'm so happy with my purchase. Got it from amazon @ 469$ usd, think it's a fair price. Nice build btw ;)

  • 24 months ago
  • 1 point

that's a great price! well done. Mine was $25 usd more during first week of launch. Glad I could help by answering your questions. Happy gaming mate :)

  • 25 months ago
  • 2 points

Great looking build! Thanks for taking the time to review each part, also. I'm actually starting on my first build in almost 10 years, and I honestly want to make this beautiful thing. Towers have become kind of old for me, so I love the idea of using the V21. Would you mind taking a look at what I'm working on and tell me what you think?

https://pcpartpicker.com/user/alphaazieru/saved/X3km8d

I'm getting everything on Newegg, so I'm working with the product availability of that site. First of all, I'm going with the GTX 1070 Ti Titanium. It looks like it's probably about the same size as the Duke, so I doubt I'll run into issues with fitting it in the V21. I'm also going with the arctic version of the MORTAR because I like the look of it. I've read about issues with upgrading the BIOS where supposedly it ships with an outdated BIOS that won't even run the Ryzen 5 1600. Did you run into any issues like that?

Aside from that, I'm switching the main SSD from a 250 to a 500, and changing to white LED fans. I don't really plan on overclocking anytime soon, and I've read the Ryzen 5 1600 runs cool, so I was planning on just using the stock cooler for now.

I would appreciate any feedback!

  • 24 months ago
  • 1 point

Apologies for late reply as I just noticed your post upon logging in this evening. (I really need to find where to turn on email notifications)

TLDR: Go with a 1080 over a 1070Ti if it's no more than a maximum $50usd extra. Avoid the founders edition/ blower style coolers at all costs. Recommend waiting a few more weeks to see if GPU stock & prices stabilize. anything over $620usd for a 1080 is criminal & absolute highway robbery. (might as well get a 1080Ti with prices like that) The review that claims an MSI board shipped with bios that was incapable of running a 1600 is false. The stock bios runs my 1600 perfectly, and ran even better after updated where ram speeds were concerned.

Thoughts in Full:

Thanks so much for your comments & questions. I would certainly be more than happy to throw in my 2 cents. First off, I'm going to assume that you're in the U.S. buying in USD. (If I'm wrong on that assumption then by all means let me know) If USD is your situation, than I would actually recommend a 1080 over a 1070Ti. Here's why: Generally speaking, (when stock can be found & the prices are in MSRP ranges), in the States you should expect to see no more than a $30 to $50 difference in price between the 1070Ti vs 1080 (regardless of the board partner). And that's a very reasonable difference in price to pay for a 1080. Having said that, you may be wondering why bother with the extra $50 if an OC'd 1070Ti can match even an OC'd 1080? The answer to that question relies solely on what you want your "Ultra" graphics setting experience to be like in the games you like to play. Basically, a 1080 will always have the better fps in the 1% low averages on Ultra graphics settings than a 1070Ti ever will. Up to 20% better. Which basically means a smoother gaming experience in terms of the minimum fps. This is due to the difference in the RAM between both cards. 1080's use GDDR5X RAM, while the 1070Ti's use GDDR5 RAM. The 5X variant is (for lack of better terms) much better getting stuff done in newer titles. Now to be clear, I'm not saying that using a 1070Ti for gaming on Ultra settings is a bad experience, or that it ever falls below 60 fps. Far from it. (In fact, I've yet to play a single title on Ultra settings where my 1070Ti fell below 80fps, let alone falling below 60fps.) What I am saying is that a $30 to $50 extra premium to pay for a 1080 is worth more than the up to 20% gain in performance you'll see on Ultra graphics settings. But, with all that said, the 1070Ti & 1080 are virtually neck & neck with each other on all graphics settings below Ultra (Custom, Very High, High, Medium, etc), weather overclocked or not. And again, we're talking only in terms of newer AAA titles. Say.... 2017 released & beyond.

Now, with all that out of the way, definitely the MSI 1070T1 Titanium is a great card. It's acually using the same heatsink, cooler, & board parts/layout as their "Gaming" card. Both cards are even clocked the same. It's just colored differently. It's actually the card that I wanted but I just couldn't swing the extra money (living in Canada). But definitely the Gaming & Titanium cards are hands down the best made, quietest, & coolest cards MSI has in their 1070Ti line up. With that said, bare in mind that all you're really looking for when choosing a 1070Ti should be the one that has the best & most effective cooling components that you can afford at the time, & of course weather or not you like the look of the card. Aside from those 2 considerations, it really doesn't matter which 1070Ti you chose since the all come out of the box with the same clock speeds etc. because the manufacturer is not allowed to apply overclock to them, but you certainly are! Just do what ever you can to stay away from the blower style coolers (which are similar to the Founder's Edition coolers) They're too loud, and way too hot.

If you decide on a 1080, the same line of considerations apply, but with the addition of choosing the highest Boost Clock you can afford at the time

With regards to the MSI board, I also saw the same comments as well when I was shopping for mine. It is true that any Ryzen board you buy right now, not just MSI's, will most likely need a bios update. Ryzen boards have'nt been on the market long enough for all of the back stock to have been sold off and get replaced by freshly shipped & updated boards. But it is definitely not true that some of them ship with bios's that can't even run a 1600. I had no problems with mine what so ever. I followed ever instruction written by MSI down to the "T" when updating my board, and thank god that in 2018, it is now easier than ever to update the bios of a motherboard. The unfortunate thing is that a lot of "young" shoppers out there aren't really entirely aware or experienced enough to build a gaming PC without something going wrong. Hell, I've been there myself. So when something does go wrong in their build process & they don't have the patience to critically examine what they might've done wrong, they blame the manufacturer; RMA's & bad reviews ensue.

Lastly, with regards to the stock cooler for the 1600: it's freaking absolutely amazing for what it is. I honestly never expected the thermal headroom that I got out of it. OC'd to 3.55GHz easily, & still had thermal head room left to play with. And the noise levels of the stock fan were shockingly unintrusive & respectable. The only reason I went with a third party cooler was because I was wildly determined to OC my 1600 to 4GHz. Highest I could get though was 3.9GHz, so I settled on 3.85GHz just to be "safe". What held me back from reaching 4.0 or more was actually the motherboard. And to be honest I should've expected that to be the case. Most, if not all of the B350 mobo's simply just won't have V-Ram components that have enough thermal headroom to clock that high, where as a good portion of the Z370 boards most certainly will. That said, I'm a cheap bugger & I still absolutely love my choice in board. And actually, this is my first build using a MSI mobo, & now that I have experience with their bios's, I will never use another brand of mobo ever again. they have the best UEFI / Bios settings I've ever seen, and that's just from using one of their budget boards. I bet their premium boards are like gold.

Side Note: I see that at the time of my writing this, 1070Ti's & 1080's are completely out of stock on Newegg, except with their re-sellers whom are criminally price gouging. It's disgusting, and the minors (god bless them) certainly aren't helping prices either. In my opinion, and if you're not in a rush to complete your build, I would wait a few more weeks to see if the GPU market starts to correct itself a little. Maybe last week of Jan / first week of Feb we'll see some better prices & stock. 1070Ti's should realistically start at $450 usd & go no higher than $550 usd depending on the quality of the cooler and thermal components. 1080's should realistically start at $500 usd & go no higher than $620 usd (again, depending on parts) And again, the blower style coolers will always be the lowest priced & are the ones I'd recommend to stay away from. Too loud & too hot.

Hope that helps :) Cheers. @LethalFinch on twitter if you have more questions

  • 24 months ago
  • 1 point

Wow, thank you for the extremely thorough response! And thank you again for posting this build because I absolutely love the finished product!

I was able to purchase everything I listed except for the video card. The 1070 went out of stock before I ordered, so it kind of gave me the excuse I was looking for to go for a 1080. I settled on a Zotac 1080 mini which was $550 at the time of purchase. I was lucky I grabbed it when I did because what's left now is totally unaffordable (or at least unjustifiable for me). You can't find a single 1080 on Newegg for under $800. I was also happy to find a mini because I was concerned about full sized video cards fitting comfortably in the V21. Though I eventually realized that that case could easily fit any card.

The build went really smoothly and I absolutely love the V21. I ended up removing all the drive bays since for the time being I only have the M.2 card. There was plenty of space to tuck away cable slack and so much free space above the motherboard that I’m considering a larger CPU cooler in the future. But I kinda like looking inside and seeing all that nice breathing room. I have the case configured as it came out of box with the motherboard laying flat horizontally. There’s the 200mm fan for intake in the front, and I have a 140mm in the back and two 120mms on the top above the CPU for exhaust. I think I’m getting pretty decent temps. The motherboard tends to stay under 30 and the CPU under 40 at idle. Running games, I haven’t seen any temperatures reach 60. I have two more 120mms that I want to mount on the bottom under the motherboard for intake. I didn’t install them during building because I couldn’t really figure out how to mount them on the bottom of the case. Eventually I decided that I will just use the rubber pegs to mount them to the ventilation holes on the bottom panel. I think they will hold pretty tightly. I probably don’t even need them at this point, But I would feel better about some intake coming from the bottom and I think it would complete the overall flow from bottom-front to top-back.

Aside from the issue with mounting those bottom fans, it was pretty much a headache-free build. Luckily my old Windows 7 license from ages ago was actually a retail version, so I was able to activate Windows 10 a second time on this new machine. I haven’t taken the time yet to really explore the Click BIOS, but I really like the look of it. Also, I’ve been holding off on flashing the BIOS because everything has been working great, but after reading your response I think I should take the time to do it. It makes me nervous because I’m honestly not that knowledgable about computers and technology. I’m a simple-minded artist who just happens to be a PC elitist and a graphics snob. BUT I do know how to follow instructions so I should just do it.

I haven’t really tried pushing this system yet because I’ve just been enjoying gaming for a while. I’m able to run Destiny 2 on ultra at 60fps capped and I’ve never seen it drop below that. Also older games like Skyrim even with a bunch of graphics mods. The Division will generally run at 60fps, but I have noticed dips here and there depending on the environment. It’s a noticeable dip, but nothing to complain about. But of course, it’s starting to create an itch to overclock. Overclocking is largely foreign to me, but my growing desire for optimal performance is pushing me in that direction. So I guess my only remaining questions are what kind of temperatures should I safely be shooting for if I were to overclock to say 3.5-3.6? And would you definitely recommend a better cooler if I wanted to go as far as 3.8? Also, do you have any advice on overclocking the system memory and GPU, and do you use the BIOS for this or a Windows program? I don’t know if this will make a difference in the Division, but I’m curious. You said that you’ve yet to see a game running under 80fps, so I’m wondering if overclocking is the answer to that.

Once again, thank you for the thoughtful response! I may be uploading my build and I’ll be sure to credit you for the original idea.