Description

Now that we've retired her old Athlon build (https://pcpartpicker.com/b/sgWD4D), it's time for the new baby to move in and make itself at home. The build plan with this one was very straightforward; buy the best quality components for the best prices we could get with intentions of the system carrying its own weight for 5-7 years. It's unlikely she'll be upgrading anything before then and based on her needs (light photo editing, gaming, website design for her charity, and lots of Elvis music playing) I would wager this thing is overkill. But in my grandma's own words, "now I don't want something just because it's good enough - I want better!" Alright, Grandma, you got it... haha. Of course she insisted this new computer be all red and black just like the old one too.

The Good:

  • We were able to find some great components for low prices. 2600X at $150 is a steal and the B450 Tomahawk for $20 off was a no-brainer. Also had our eyes set on a 580 initially, but the 590 was on a sale too. Good deals.
  • I was able to drop latency and timings on her Vengeance sticks with minimal effort.
  • Found the Phantom edition Hyper 212 and case at the last minute. Was searching for the black edition, but it was a nice surprise to find them available in a red/black theme. Didn't know they were a thing.
  • Bought a UPS battery backup for her computer. The regular power outages no doubt took their toll on the old system and we don't want that to be happening again to the new one.

The Bad:

  • The evil Red Devil 590 was cursed and arrived defective. Crashed regularly, monitor wouldn't detect it after waking up from sleep, and it showed instability and screen artifacts during multiple stress tests with Kombuster, Furmark, and Heaven. I tried new drivers, new cables, a separate monitor, undervolting it, running a single 8-pin connector instead of the 8+6, trying both its OC/Silent BIOS switch, and splashing it with some holy water. Nothing worked. We sent it back to get baptized and a new replacement should be arriving soon. I'm willing to overlook this once, but if it happens again then I won't be touching another Polaris product from PowerColor. Thankfully my brother's 570 Red Dragon is going strong - and hopefully the new 590 replacement will be good to go. Really, though, I'm not one to care but putting a pentagram on your product is an interesting marketing 'strategy'. Gotta figure there's a fair amount of people out there that wouldn't even consider their products for that reason. To each their own, I suppose. I'll update this later if the second Red Devil gives us a headache and we end up switching to another card.

  • The $95 price of the Cooler Master Phantom K500 case. I was happy to find this when I stumbled upon the Phantom edition cooler because my grandma loves the look of it. I like it too and it turned out well, but the reality is this is a $50 case at best with an additional $45 bucks coming from its makeup. The build quality is questionable and it wasn't a very accommodating case to work in. Check out my review of this case below if you're interested. I believe we're the first ones to use this case on this website.

That sums everything up, folks. Thanks for checking out the build. Don't say anything bad about her Dallas Cowboys or she'll come chase you with a flyswatter!

Part Reviews

Case

$40 dollar quality being sold for nearly $100 dollars at my time of purchase.

The side panels are flimsy and cheap with clunky slide mounting rails; this becomes an issue due to the limited amount of space you have behind the motherboard tray to route your cables. The removable front panel is a cheap plastic without a dust filter and it has attached LED wiring that you need to be careful not to rip when you remove it. The bottom PSU intake has a cheap wire filter that is only removed by bending it. The hard drive cage is riveted in and cannot be removed. I nearly went with another EVGA Supernova PSU but I'm thankful I didn't because it would've been a nightmare to work with those cables down there on a larger unit. There is a little bit of wobble in the case feet. There are no rubber grommets or slot cutouts for cable management. None of the panel screws are captive and the protective rubber for the glass panel screws is already coming loose after one removal. The PCI brackets/slots have to be rattled back into place and they don't align cleanly once a GPU occupies them. There are clearance issues at the top of the case if you mount exhaust fans up there. The SoC heatsink on my B450 Tomahawk barely fit under there and it caused me to damage part of the rear I/O cover while trying to slide and scrape the damn thing into place. There was really no other way to go about it. Installing the fans last would've been equally as difficult once the cooler is in place and it'd be impractical to install the cooler once the 'board is already mounted inside. I would've liked to see the case be an inch taller. Clearance issues in an ATX form factor is a first for me. Lastly, the top of the case had some corny gamer style branding about being fast and mysterious and yada-yada. I covered that up.

I like Cooler Master, but they're lucky I like how this case looks because it would've been returned otherwise. It should be $40-$50 bucks at most. Hope anyone who comes across this review finds my blunt opinion helpful.

Comments

  • 1 month ago
  • 2 points

Awesome build for Grandma!

What's the non profit she works for?

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Thanks. She works for Shriners Children's Hospitals.

  • 1 month ago
  • 2 points

You are welcome!

Nice! In the 80's the Shriners paid for my sister's hip surgery when she was about 3 years old.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Good to hear! When she sees this I'm sure that will make her smile.

  • 1 month ago
  • 2 points

She had health issues when she was a few years old and the medical bills piled up even with my dad working 70-80 hours/week. Luckily they stepped in and paid for her surgery and I think they helped pay off other medical bills.

It's a good non profit to be part of. Tell your Grandma thank you for being a part of it.

  • 1 month ago
  • 2 points

Personally I would trash the case and swap in a h500m from cooler master or a fractal design meshify c. NZXT’s h500 comes in a black and red which may look good

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

In hindsight that probably would've been a better choice, but the alternative was sticking with her old Antec GX500 case so I suppose any upgrade is better than none. I think the Antec is about 10 years old now and she loves the look of those designs so this Cooler Master was familiar to her. We do think it looks good, but yeah, bad value for the money. Trust me I tried showing her a lot of the popular modern designs and she wasn't a big fan of any of them. Corsair, Phanteks, NZXT, Fractal, CM, Bitfenix, etc.

  • 14 days ago
  • 2 points

i want to see her destroy a 9 year old and then call her a hacker i will die

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Forgot to mention, if anyone knows of any good mechanical or red/black keyboards in the split ergonomic design, please recommend them! She loves those things and won't use any other type of keyboard but that old Microsoft one she uses has seen better days. I'm not even sure where to begin with those. They drive me up the wall when I try to type on them haha.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

I don’t know about all this split funny business but I do know that Corsair and razer have some affordable membrane, mechanical, and hybrid keyboards that typically have RGB.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

I am pretty sure Corsair has some... Used them in some of my builds... Still don't have a pc but I know a lot about them lol

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Case design looks quite old for 2019, especially for that price. Everything else looks great though.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Agreed. I'm not sure when it was made (I'd guess around 2014 based on the layout) but surprisingly it's damn-near impossible to find any videos or builds with this Phantom edition. Maybe for a good reason. The regular K500 seems to have sold fairly well, though. Thanks for checking out her build!