Description

First desktop build, and the first time I've had a desktop in 8 years. After going through university and IT college on laptops, I figured the knowledge I picked up from the latter would be beneficial in building a desktop. Using this one for various tasks like Handbrake encodes, document editing, and the occasional game. I primarily play titles which are older, niche, Japanese, or all three, so the sysreqs for those are comfortably low enough that this CPU+GPU combo should do well enough for them at 1080p resolution.

Started buying the parts in December 2017, finished in July. I wanted to build something which would roughly match the laptop I got for IT college, an Asus Zenbook UX501, in capability, and also aimed to stay under CAD$1000 total spent on new parts, a bit of a challenge considering GPU prices nowadays. For reference, that Asus laptop had an Intel i7 6700HQ CPU and an Nvidia 960M GPU.

The 512GB M.2 drive was salvaged directly from that Asus laptop, since I currently don't have the money to buy a new M.2 drive, and it works as well as you'd expect from an NVMe boot drive. I wiped the partitions on it with GParted before disassembling the laptop. Since it's an OEM drive, it is noticeably green, but I was definitely emphasizing function over form for this first build, which also explains the current state of cable management. Admittedly, the motherboard layout, combined with me having to use a fan splitter for three case fans, means that this build was never going to be the neatest looking on the inside, but as a starter build, I'm happy with it.

Originally used one 8GB stick of RAM, since my mobo choice has only two RAM slots and I wanted to be able to go to 16GB in future; the 2-in-1 Windows tablet I currently use for mobile computing has 16GB of RAM, and so did my Asus laptop. I've done work with virtual machines, so having that much RAM is beneficial for me in the event I want to run older software in a separate OS environment.

UPDATE 22 MAY 2019: Finally added a second 8GB stick of RAM. The prices of RAM dropped dramatically since I first built this, so the time was ripe. Also ended up moving the white LED fans from the top to the front of the case, which works out much better if I need to get inside it for any further, more drastic upgrades.

I may end up repurposing this as a media server of some sort; hard drive capacity is most likely to be the next important upgrade. Sometime in November I switched to dual-booting this desktop between Ubuntu 18.04 and Windows 10, which has worked pretty well thus far; once I get more accustomed to the Ubuntu environment and using things like Wine and VMware to run Windows software I may just stick with Linux only on this machine. Stay tuned...

Part Reviews

CPU

An excellent budget chip; overclocked mine to 3.5GHz at 1.248 V. Stock cooler does its job well, even if it was a bit of a hassle to properly mount.

Motherboard

A good starter mobo if you're doing Ryzen. Not the most flashy or feature-laden, but it gets things done, and it overclocks modestly well. I flashed the latest BIOS on mine before setting up the OS, in the event I'm able to upgrade to a 2nd-gen chip with a higher core/thread count.

Video Card

An adequate performer for the games I play. The small form factor lends well to potential reuse in a future compact build.

Case

Decent starter case, especially for a budget build like this, but it could do with a bit more space for cable management in the back.

Power Supply

An excellent performer, and superb in terms of wattage-to-price. Plus it gives me ample headroom for when I decide to upgrade the CPU/GPU.

Comments

  • 11 months ago
  • 1 point

Where's your Waifu?

  • 21 days ago
  • 1 point

Niiiiiiiice profile picture! wink

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