Description

Background and Inspiration

After almost 10 years I decided to finally build myself a wholly new gaming rig. My former PC was a Frankenstein's Monster of donation parts, scavenged parts, plus a couple of upgraded parts. I decided after helping my friends and colleagues build new PCs this past decade, it was finally time to build one for myself. I mostly use my PC for Photo & Video editing as well as Gaming so I wanted to make sure I had enough horsepower to get any task done that I needed to. I've always wanted to build a power-house PC for a first time so I figured I would go big this time. This build is inspired by one of my favorite games, Destiny, and was named after Shin Malphur who was a Hunter class that brought down the infamous Dredgen Yor. In the lore Shin Malphur is known as The Lone Gunman among other titles. The Lore behind this fictional character is really neat and he is a historical center piece to my favorite class in Destiny, the Hunter.

Parts Breakdown

CPU and Motherboard

When I decided that I was going to build a new power-house PC, I knew I definitely had to go with Ryzen 3rd gen processors. I didn't want to commit to waiting and building a 3rd gen Threadripper PC, so I settled for the 3900x as the 3950x hadn't released yet at the time of my purchase. I opted for the Asus board because of their wide list of support memory (QVL) for this processor. I've also had great luck with their boards in the other builds I have done so I knew I could count on its performance and features.

Memory and Storage

After scouring Asus's QVL for supported memory, I finally found a diamond in the rough with this supported memory kit. Since it is 3600MHz and had 16-16-16-36 timings, I was pretty certain this memory would lend to some crazy system performance. I hadn't planned on springing for a Gen4 PCIe drive, however I found that they were reasonably priced for the amount of storage and performance it offered. So I ditched the Evo 970 and picked up the AORUS NVMe Gen4 to capitalize on the blistering speeds. The SanDisk and WD-Black were previous drives that I have in my former PC that I'm reusing for cold storage in the new PC.

Everything Else

I've been a big fan of the Fractal Design cases since they first launched the Define series. They offer a solid build quality and clean design at a very good price. I also decided to go for a bit of overkill on the CPU Cooling by getting the NH-D15. I knew when Noctua launched their CHROMAX.BLACK line that I would get one for my next build. I wanted to make sure I always had adequate cooling whether I'm overclocking or not. I also opted from some Kryonaut thermal compound to further ensure superior cooling. As for the 750W PSU, it's more juice than this system needs however I wanted to make sure this new PC was as energy efficient as I could afford. Since the 80+ rating system works best when at roughly 50% capacity, I figured this should suit the bill quite nicely. I also should mention that I am bringing my GTX1080 over from my former PC. It's more than enough power for my gaming needs for now, however I did consider upgrading to the RTX 2080 family at some point in the future.

The Setup

Testing Results

Just for the comparisons below, these are my former PC's specs: I7-4790 @ 3.6Ghz, ASRock Z97 Extreme4, 12GB (4GBx3) of Misc memory sticks @ 1333Mhz, GTX 1080, Samsung EVO 860 SSD.

Scores: Former PC // The Lone Gunman

  • 3D Mark Time Spy v1.0: 6578 cumulative (GFX 7540, GFX#1 48.41fps, GFX#2 43.82fps, CPU 3818, CPU#1 12.83fps) // 8025 cumulative (GFX 7552, GFX#1 48.65fps, GFX#2 43.75fps, CPU 12455, CPU#1 41.85fps)

  • Cinebench R20: 1763 // 7151

  • Passmark: 4452 cumulative (CPU 9687, 2DGFX 717.3, 3DGFX 11051, MEM 2095, DISK 5135) // 7119 cumulative (CPU 33702, 2DGFX 800, 3DGFX 14037, MEM 3330, DISK 27837)

  • UserBenchMark: 66th percentile cumulative (CPU Single 166pts Multi 474pts, GFX 3D DX9 396fps 3D DX10 297 fps, SSD Seq 313MB/s Rand4k 60.8MB/s Deep Queue 4k 240MB/s, MEM Multi 13.1 GB/s Single 13.4 GB/s Latency 63.9 ns) // 78th percentile cumulative (CPU Single 218pts Multi 833pts Extreme 2200pts, GFX 3D DX9 411 fps 3D DX10 297 fps, SSD Seq 3021MB/s Rand4k 121MB/s Deep Queue 4k 1343MB/s, MEM Multi 47.7 GB/s Single 30.5 GB/s Latency 67.1 ns)

  • CPU-Z Single Thread: 403.3 // 557.2

  • CPU-Z Multi Thread: 2073.1 // 8443.3

  • CrystalDiskMark AORUS Gen4 NVMe: Seq Read 5000.92 MB/s, Seq Write 4279.49 MB/s

  • Destiny 2 Public Event on Titan (max settings): 40-65 fps // 90-144 (around 110avg)

  • Destiny 2 Crucible (max settings): 78-100 fps // 90-130

CPU Temps in C: Former PC // The Lone Gunman

  • Idle: 36 // 29

  • 3D Mark: 37min 63max // 28min 69max

  • Cinebench R20: 38min 63max // 29min 64max

  • Passmark: 44min 44max // 29min 71max

  • UserBenchMark: 36min 58max // 29min 72max

  • CPU-Z Single Thread: 35min 44max // 28min 56max

  • CPU-Z Multi Thread: 35min 44max // 28min 56max

GPU Temps in C: Former PC // The Lone Gunman

  • Idle: 47 // 33

  • 3D Mark: 40min 77max // 34min 72max

  • Cinebench R20: 39min 41max // 34min 41max

  • Passmark: 43min 63max // 34min 70max

  • UserBenchMark: 41min 62max // 34min 63max

  • CPU-Z Single Thread: 38min 41max // 33min 35max

  • CPU-Z Multi Thread: 38min 41max // 33min 35max

Summary

After the first day of usage I am loving this build. Everything is extremely snappy and the blistering speeds of the Gen4 NVMe is fantastic! Time will tell how all this equipment ages, but I would definitely recommend this build. There was one gotcha with this build however, and that was the factory chipset active cooling shroud. It would work if you were either not using an M.2 SSD or it did not have it's own heatsink. Since these Gen4's get so hot and can thermal throttle I wanted to use Gigabytes stock copper heatsink; however it was much too large to fit without modifying the factory chipset shroud. Due to it's design I had to cut off a little bit of it so it would not overlap the M.2 drive slot. The #1 M.2 slot, closest to the CPU, does not have any active cooling solution from the chipset like some other motherboards. It is merely a passive cooler from factory. While this would be a great improvement for Gen3 NVMe drives that do not come with a heatsink, it is insufficient for the Gen4 drives. So I left off the stock heatsink, and modified the shroud so it will fit with the AORUS NVMe SSD and it all worked out. Something else of note that was new to me was that XMP is an intel thing so most AMD mobos have something else to avoid paying licensing fees. On ASUS boards it is called "D.O.C.P." and is just their version of XMP profiles. Since I shopped for a memkit that was on ASUS's QVL and tested to be compatible, as soon as I enabled the DOCP feature it automatically selected the 3600 (16-16-16-36) profile for me. This handles all the little tweaks and changes needed to Overclock your memory such as voltages and timings. However I was able to simply set my target MHz for my memory to 3600 without using DOCP and the memory did run at that frequency, but the timings were really bad at something like CAS 26. So I would recommend shopping for supported memory based on your motherboards QVL and utilizing the XMP (DOCP) features of your motherboard.

Part Reviews

CPU

This process is extremely fast, and so far seems to really perform well in all my use cases. I really enjoy the price point for performance that it offers.

CPU Cooler

This is my first Noctua cooler, and all I can say is boy have I been missing out in the past. These coolers are on another level when compared to other air coolers. They arrive in high quality packaging, come with all the tools you need, excellent instructions, and perform superbly. This cooler is probably overkill for most builds, especially any that you aren't overclocking heavily. One thing I would be wary of is this cooler is very heavy so it will not transport well without risk of ripping off of the motherboard. This is an actual disclaimer in the booklet that comes in the box.

Thermal Compound

This paste is new to me, I've never used it in the past. So far I don't know just how much more "performance" I'm getting from this over classic Arctic Silver or if it's just my upgraded NH-D15 cooler. This paste seemed to get tacky pretty quickly, so I would recommend that you act swiftly when applying this thermal paste. It was a little more of a challenge to work with than I expected so I'm dropping a star for that and because I don't really know if there is much "bang for buck" factor with it.

Motherboard

This board has lots of great features, most importantly a really large QVL of supported memory kits! It has a great build quality, and so far seems to work very well. There was one problem I encountered while using a Gigabyte AORUS NVMe Gen4 SSD so I'm dropping a star for that. You have to take off the chipset active cooling shroud to get to the NVMe "bays". This board does have passive cooling heatsinks pre-installed over the M.2 slots, so you once you take them off and go to install a Gen4 NVMe that has it's own passive heatsink, you will not be able to reinstall the cooling shroud because it will hit the NVMe's heatsink. I ended up having to cut off a corner of the cooling shroud so it would not conflict with my NVMe and still provide cooling for the chipset. Unfortunately this board does not have any heat-pipes or active cooling solutions for the M.2 Drive slots.

Warning:

If using a Gen4 NVMe, I wouldn't recommend using the mobo's cooling solution but instead use the NVMe's included heatsink. These drives get really hot easily and will thermal throttle, so you will want to look for an active cooling or a really effective passive cooling solution. You may need to cut the chipset shroud in order to install an NVMe SSD that has it's own heatsink.

Memory

So far this ram seems to be a rare unicorn that is rarely in-stock. This memkit has superb timings of 16-16-16-36, and being rated for 3600MHz (OC) it really hits that high performance sweet spot for Ryzen CPUs. This ram is also RGB which may be a pro or a con depending on who you are, I stuck it in a windowless case never to be seen again so that doesn't matter to me. I would highly recommend this memkit!

Storage

Great price to volume. It has Wester Digitals latest 3D-NAND controller this drive, so does it's WD counter-part, it has very good performance and reliability. Make sure you are ordering this latest gen, and that it's badged with "3D-NAND".

Storage

This drive is crazy fast! I had no idea just how much faster this drive is than my wifes EVO970 or my older EVO960. This is like jumping from SSD to NVMe all over again. This drive is pretty large as well, so you will want to be cautious with your compatibility in smaller spaces. It had a surprising heft to it thanks to the copper heatsink. I would suggest using the included copper heatsink to better ensure your new drive doesn't thermal throttle itself and you lose out on your performance.

Case

This case has a really nice "bang for buck" factor. It is built with high quality materials, it feels very solid, and the machining is very good. I didn't have any issues turning any of the screws from bad machining. This case has a million different possible build options, and is very modular now. This is a huge improvement over the R5 and the R4 cases. I also really like that the side panels are hinged now instead of slotted. The wiring could have been a little longer for some of the things like the front I/O or the fan controller uplink wire.

Power Supply

This power-supply is physically smaller than all the past PSUs that I've built with and I really like that aspect. It came with all the possible cables I could ever need, and it has full support for the X570 boards that need 8+4 CPU power connectors. This model also offers a crazy good price for getting 80+ Platinum rating as well.

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Comments

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

Very nice +1

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

Solid Build +1. I've been trying to find that same ram with no luck. Where'd you find it?

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

I found it on Newegg, it was really hard to find. Make sure to use the in stock alert and be ready to buy right away! It's definitely unicorn ram, because it performs as well as advertised and is a 2x16gb kit. I was having a hard time finding this spec of memory that wasn't a 4 stick kit.

  • 1 month ago
  • 2 points

Thanks bro...with your help I was able to place an order. Cheers!

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Awesome, I'm glad to hear that!

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Awesome build man and very close to what i am planning myself. Based on your pics you were able to fit both cpu cooling fans over the ram? Read they were a bit tall and had clearance issues so many had to go with 1 fan only.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Yeah that Noctua actually has a very surprising amount of RAM clearance. If you are getting the same style of ram that I did, it should work no problem. I did have to mount the fan that is above the RAM slightly higher on the cooler than the fan that is on the other cooling tower. That makes the fan above the RAM not flush with the top of the fins like the other, however it should work in most chassis unless the clearance between the side panel and the Noctua cooler is really small.

  • 4 days ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the reply, much appreciated! Yeah I ended up with the same ram, though it took some running after :D just looking for the cooler now, so this is really helpful! thanks again.