Here's the finished build!
The perimeter LEDs cycle through white and purple pulses and the RAM does a rainfall pattern. Fans/MOBO/CPU cooler are all set to steady purple glow.
The white cycle really brings out the custom GPU backplate that my wife and I made with our laser cutter. She's so creative!
Close up shot of the custom graphics card backplate. We love our cats!
Custom engraving on the top tempered glass panel (done by the wife and I) that represents most of the major brands associated with the build.
Here's the custom engraved top view panel as it is installed in the case. Had to turn off most the lighting to get a good image!
Here's my setup. Small apartment for now so no desk and no monitor. but the couch is comfy and the projector makes for an immersive view!
The cats love to game too! Here's the PC and home theater set up.
Hi everyone! This is my first build and I'm glad I decided to go ahead and do it. My wife and I bought pre-built systems off Amazon about 2.5 years ago when we first got into PC gaming. We play Skyrim, Civ V, Witcher, Sims, and tons of other games together. I also play CS:GO and PUBG but she's not really into FPS games so that's on my own time :) I got into building by watching Youtube videos by BitWit, JayzTwoCents, and LTT, among many others. After a new job left me lots of extra money to spend, the build process began and I'm glad to say my wife has helped and supported me all along the way.
We even have an industrial-level laser cutter that we bought for our side-gig that we used to customize some of the glass and to create a super-custom backplate for our GPU. Right now, we have a small apartment and I don't have a desk to use my system with, but it's hooked up to our 1080p projector in the living room, and we play all our games together on a comfy IKEA couch. USB extenders and 3.5mm headphone jack extender helps all my peripherals reach their plugs. Some day soon we'll have a proper house, and my rig will get the sweet setup that it deserves. Hope you like the build, and I'm always looking at ways to improve. I kind of have a thing for small form factor designs.
ABOUT THE BUILD:
CPU: I went with Ryzen 7 1700X becuase I wanted to get a multi-core/multi-thread processor that allows me to do all of the stuff my wife and I love to do - gaming, graphic design, AutoCAD work, video editing, streaming, etc. This processor was huge bang-for-the-buck, and so far has served us very well.
GPU: We upgraded from a AMD RX480 (the GPU that came in our pre-built computers) to a GTX 1070 8 Gb from PNY. Got it at a local Best Buy back during the mining price hikes so it was a bit expensive. However, it has been a workhorse for us. We made the custom white backplate to match the theme of our build (the standard card has the PCB exposed) and to express our love of cats and space (my wife worked for SpaceX).
Case: We LOVE small form factor builds in our house. Hence the reason for a m-ATX build. I love the Corsair Crystal 280x because it is compact, has three tempered glass viewpanels, and a separated compartment for PSU, cabling, and hard drives that makes cable management a breeze (always my biggest struggle). The only downside I have is no support for fans on the back of the case for exhaust. Plus if you're mounting a radiator at the front, you can only get one fan on the top side due to clearance issues with the AIO tubing.
MOBO: When we started off, we were looking for a white/silver/purple aesthetic. Frankly, there's just not a lot of white motherboards out there. Especially for <$100, AM4 socket, and m-ATX. It was a pretty easy choice. The board is good overall, plenty of headers for fans and RGB, plus it has M.2 support, built in RGB lighting, and USB type C on the I/O.
RAM: Most people know that Ryzen works better with higher speed RAM. That's why we chose to upgrade from our previous RAM (2133 MHz) to the Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro White at 3200 MHz. Honestly, I can absolutely tell the difference when gaming. The higher speeds add at least a 15-20% boost to FPS and they look awesome with the customizable RGB patterns. Plus they come in white!
Cooling: For the processor, we probably could have used the stock cooler, but I wanted to future-proof the system for a potentially beefed up processor down the line. The ML240L from Cooler Master has native support for AM4 and LGA1151 among others and comes included with 240mm radiator and two RGB fans. I bought another fan at Fry's to add to the top of the case for some extra exhaust.
Storage: We kept one of the old hard drives from our pre-built systems and added a new 240 Gb SSD from SanDisk. We moved the operating system and most apps onto the SSD and are using the old 1 TB HD for mass storage and larger apps (like AutoCAD).
PSU: I found this PSU on sale at MicroCenter when I was there looking for the Corsair RAM. It's an 850W Platinum 80+ rated unit from G.Skill. I was kind of hesistant about a G.Skill power supply since they are pretty new to the game. But, I know they make decent products since their RAM is so highly rated, so I took a leap of faith. The unit has been working great so far. It's fully modular, very quiet, and very efficient. All things you want in a power supply.