After a much needed hiatus, I am back to give you guys another build for the month of February! This is the month of love, so I’ll be walking you through my personal build (we all deserve to love on ourselves a little, huh?)
As always, I will not be including my peripherals in the build, but I will include some links to some good stuff that won’t make your wallet cry out for mercy. And, at the bottom of the page, there’ll be a strawpoll for next month’s build. So, if you haven’t already bolted to the bottom, make sure you make it down there and vote.
Alright! On with the build!
CPU: AMD FX-8350
This is definitely not a new processor, but it’s still a great one. Having eight cores and easily overclocking to above 4.5Ghz, this AMD processor easily becomes the workhorse in my system. I know some of you may want to run me out of town for my choice of ‘Team Red’ on the CPU side of things, but for a gaming rig, the 8350 has served me well. There is plenty of processing power under the hood for any possible game you could throw at it, I can play XCOM 2 maxed in 2560×1080 without a though of dipping below 60 frames. Plus, it fares decently well in productivity tasks (if that’s your sort of thing).
With all that being said, you may want to hold off on this component (and the coming motherboard) if you are looking to duplicate this system. The AM3+ socket is on its way out, and with AM4 coming soon, it may be best to see what AMD has to offer with their new line of processors
COOLER: Corsair H-60
A good overclock is nothing without some cooling. For those of you who are unfamiliar with overclocking, it basically means pushing your component’s performance passed what they rated to do. As you may expect, this creates quite a bit of heat and cooling these already hot componants becomes paramount.
The Corsair H-60, a modest $59.99 single fan cooler, suits my modest needs well in this case, providing enough cooling to keep my parts nice and chilly while keeping the volume in my case to a minimum. There are much superior coolers out there, but cutting costs here made sure my bank didn’t sit me down for an intervention. Air may have been a more cost effective option, but the premium I paid to tell all my friends that my machine was ‘water-cooled’ was well worth it.
As with all of Corsair’s all-in-one liquid coolers, the installation was easy enough for even me to figure out and allowed me to focus on more important things like what I was going to eat for lunch. There are some great alternatives to this cooler, but the H-60 has made its way through two systems (and a cat’s worth of dust) and it still holding true.
MOTHERBOARD: MSI 990-FXA GAMING
Motherboards can be a bit tricky to pick out sometimes. While everything on the surface appears the same, there are generally features that set each of the competitor’s apart on any particular chipset. In my most recent build, MSI prevailed and their flagship AMD board made its way into my system.
The board sports plenty of room for my pile of PCI cards and a plethora of USB ports for my insane number of external drives. Lack of support for M.2 support shows this motherboard’s age, but I’m still not willing to shell out the cash for a M.2 drive just yet. Plus it’s red and black and looks sexy, so what’s not to love?
MEMORY: G.Skill Sniper 16GB
Memory rises and falls in price. Sometimes it’s an insanely good deal and you pick it up an extra stick, and other times you end up buying 2GB of DDR2 just to afford it. Thankfully, in my most previous build, it was the latter. Memory prices were low, relatively still are on the current market, and I took advantage of it and treated myself to a dual channel 16GB kit. Eventually, I may even throw another couple of sticks in to double my capacity.
My choice for G.Skill is just trustworthiness. I used their memory in my first build and have used it ever since. There are plenty of good options and most reputable manufacturers are on par in terms of price and performance for memory. Just make sure your memory is compatable with your motherboard and you have enough slots to hit everything. If you’re concerned, check out Crucial’s System Scanner to find out if you can make memory upgrades.
There’s something about an SSD and traditional hard drive combo that is just so satisfying. Even though both drives were filled within the first few days with cat photos, opening the duel set-up made me feel like I could conquer the world with pure storage.
Regardless of the tinglies that Samsung and Western Digital provided me in this build, both drives are fantastic performers. The 850 is an amazing SSD at a reasonable, not necessarily cheap, price. And, as for WD drives, especially the black series, deliver relative quality in terms of performance and longevity. The combo gave me plenty of room for a mass storage drive and a boot drive, with a little room to spare on each. Now I just need to migrate some of the crap from the externals onto these.
GPU: ASUS R9 390 Strix
This card is about as long as my forearm. It was a bit frightening taking it out of the case and seeing just how massive it was. Not only massive, but quite good looking too. The Strix series of cards from ASUS always look slick and polished and their iteration of the R9 390 is no exception to that.
Under the hood though, this card performs insanely well. Boasting 8GB of GDDR5 straight on the card, this behemoth has sent even respectable gaming PCs running back home to their mothers. I’m easily getting 60 FPS on most modern games even at my snobby 21:9 resolution. Not to mention the red and black aesthetic really does look nice.
CASE: Phanteks Enthoo Pro
I love this case. Even after collecting some dust, the Phanteks Enthoo Pro still shines and looks gorgeous while doing it.
The aesthetics of the case are clearly beautiful, but Phanteks has made it’s way into my favorite case manufacturers despite their infancy in this particular field. Attention was paid to all details of the case, and it made the build infinitely easier than other cases. For example, Phanteks includes velcro tie down points preinstalled in the case to cable manage your cable management (I know it’s confusing, but we like pretty things).
Not to mention the massive side offers plenty of room to show off all those sexy parts you have inside. Inside of your computer, that is.
POWER SUPPLY: Rosewill Capstone-G750
There’s something I have to admit. I purchased this power supply on sale, and it was pretty much the reason I gravitated towards it. Of course, there are probably better options, but at the time Rosewill was delivering the power I needed, 750 watts, at a fraction of the cost of power supplies that were only 80 PLUS Bronze Certified.
With all that being said, this power supply has been rock solid. The box alone feels like a tank, and the fully modular design makes building a cable management a total breeze. I thought I would be disappointed. But, with its track record, Rosewill came through once again.
And, that’s my build! I hope you guys think it’s nice, so be sure to let me know below in the comments. As always, there’s links to cheap peripherals and Windows keys below since I didn’t include that in the build. Make sure to also leave a vote on the strawpoll below for next month’s build!
For Windows keys:
Keyboard and mouse combo: