The is my first attempt at building a low-medium budget workstation for my comp.sci. master thesis, and a bit of gaming/music production on the side. I work on my laptop 90% of the time, but it is nice to have something to train neural networks and do simulations on at home as well.
The budget was about 1000€, but it went a bit over budget with peripherals, and a monitor upgrade.
I had a couple of parts lying around from an old computer I was gifted by a friend.
- Corsair 750W PSU
- Crucial 128GB SSD (SATA)
- SteelSeries Rival 300 Mouse
- Dell UltraSharp 2408 WFP monitor 60Hz
Purchasing parts (Used and New)
I purchased the M.2 SSD, GTX 1070, Acer 144Hz 27" monitor, Corsair Mech keyboard and AudioEngine speakers used for a good price on the Danish 2nd hand market.
I was lucky enough to find an unopened Asus Strix GTX 1070 for cheap, and a dirty Corsair Strafe RGB mech keyboard that I could fix up so it looks new now. The speakers needed some adjusting with the built-in amp, but it could be done with the tools I had available at home. The Acer KG1-series monitor was a steal as well, as it was only 1 month old with a warranty.
The rest was purchased from new by Danish vendors.
Everything works well, and I have OC'd the CPU to 3.85 GHz with the Asus BIOS performance mode. It runs CSGO with max settings @ 1080p with 250-300 fps on most maps. Dota with 180-200 fps etc.
I have installed Ubuntu for bash as a Windows Subsystem, and it makes the transition from Mac so much easier!
Ableton also works well enough, however I need to buy new casefans to have a quiet recording environment. as the stock ones are a bit loud.
The case fans are a bit loud, they will be replaced soon
The huge GPU for such a small case and MoBo, has quite some sagging issues. Maybe I should buy a brace, or nah?
Asus Aura can be buggy sometimes, and then it needs a full system reset.
The reset/power button LED's are so damn bright, and it annoys the **** out of me when I try to sleep, and the computer is in sleep mode. I covered them with tape, but it still shines internally in the case, so the window gets "bright"..
I ran some benchmarks, Cinebench R15 and Passmark's test.
These benchmarks are with my old G.Skill Trident Z RAM, that I could only run at 2666MHz as they were not supported by my MoBo at 3200MHz (Noob mistake).
Therefore the PassMark's PerformanceTest will come when I run it with my new RAM soon.
Cinebench R15: - OpenGL: 121 fps - CPU (Non-OC at 3.4GHz): 1252 cb
Mistakes and lessons learned
I bought RAM without checking my MoBo's QVL-list of supported memory for Ryzen 2nd gen CPU's. This was a mistake. As the first G.Skill Trident Z 3200MHz DDR4 2x8GB RAM couldn't work optimally on my system. As they weren't supported I couldn't run them at O.C. speed, so I had to run them at 2666MHz. I sold them and bought new RGB ones (Such a waste of money in a budget build lul), to get the full potential out of my RAM, and as it helps having faster RAM in a Ryzen system as well.
I used my old, non modular PSU. This was a cable mess, as it has 3 or 4 PCI-E cables, and a bunch of cables I don't use at all. Not easy to hide well in a case meant for a Micro ATX. This wasn't a problem in my former Full Size ATX tower.
I didn't install silent case fans. This was only a bit dumb as I use the computer for music production, and silence is pretty important in a recording environment.
I didn't buy a fan header splitter, so I had to run a cable all the way over the MoBo to enable the second front casefan.
A fan head splitter for the 2 front casefans, to avoid that long case fan cable running across the motherboard.
In the near future I will addressable RGB fans and LED strips, as I have caught the RGB bug...
A good AIO CPU cooler, as I want to OC to about 4-4.1 GHz.
Note: The pictures are before the addition of the G.Skill Trident Z RGB. :) Better pictures will be up soon!
Great processor on a budget. It can easily be OC'd, and the stock cooler is awesome compared to the ones Intel provides. The design is much easier on the eye as well.
Haven't had any stability or thermal issues running the CPU at 3.85GHz (O.C.) with the stock cooler.
Can recommend for low/medium budget workstations. For gaming consider something else.
Good budget motherboard, has the things you expect from a budget Micro ATX, and the addition of Asus Aura Sync makes it a great buy if you have a Strix GPU. This was the main reason I bought this board.
Haven't had any thermal issues with it yet.
Great performance, however I have been experiencing some coil whine in high fps games, which can be really annoying when I don't use headphones.
However, it seems like that is a general problem with the 1070 models.
Amazing value tower, that looks good, and has everything you need for a smaller personal build.
Cable management is easy, and the 2 included case fans are okay if you don't mind a little fan noise.
Good screen for FPS gaming, however very flimsy build quality. The buttons on my 2 months old monitor are already somewhat strange to press.
However the stand is okay, as the monitor doesn't shake when I knock my table, which makes it fine for me. :)
Image quality is okay, but I would not recommend it for graphic work.
Screen brightness is a plus, as the screen can get very bright. Anything above 50% almost hurts my eyes.
Amazing keyboard, I can never go back to a non-mech keyboard.
Only minor complaint is that I wish it had dedicated media keys. Should've gotten the mark 2 version. :)
Decent for the price, however they have some common issues that I have experienced as well.
Such as the amplifier producing unwanted white/static noise sometimes on a cold start.