Introduction: Prior to this build, I had never really owned much more than a decent laptop for gaming and a budget Athlon build from years back. This is my first proper PC, for both productivity and gaming. I really made no compromises on this build, or at least tried my best not to.
This build will primarily be used for CAD, 3D, GPU rendering, and gaming on the side.
AMD Ryzen 7 1700: Having loved my old 860K to pieces I felt almost an obligation to stay with AMD, and Ryzen couldn't have come at a more perfect time for that. I went with the 1700 knowing that they were just lower binned 18/700Xs, and the inclusion of a stock CPU cooler. The stock CPU cooler is actually pleasantly surprising, being able to hold mild overclocks easily. My current daily is 3.85Ghz @ 1.25v, and temps seldom pass 80C. This benchmarks higher than a stock 1800X, and on a stock cooler! Really cant go wrong with the 1700. Having never had more than 4 cores in any system I have used, doubling that amount has been more than I could have asked for. I do all of my rendering on GPU when available, but for the few programs that don't support it, the 1700 holds its own miles ahead of anything else I have used. I honestly have no complaints about this , and it went way beyond my expectations.
ASRock X370 Taichi: The Taichi was a no-brainier as far as AM4 motherboards go, with the absolute best power delivery system, plethora of features, and a spot on price, I was very lucky to nab it during the times when it kept selling out on Newegg. The BIOS has its quirks, but is well built for the most part. It has a plethora of very very useful functions you wouldn't find on other boards. Almost every aspect of the system is tune-able. My one complaint about this board isn't anything with the hardware, its the BIOS. Whenever you change BCLK , CPU, or memory frequency, everything as far as timings, voltages, and multipliers reset. Every time I want to make an adjustment I have to input everything by hand all over again. ASRock has been good though about frequent bios updates, and it seems they are steadily improving every time, having added overclocking profiles in one of their latest BIOSes.
G.Skill Trident Z 16GB 3600: As everyone has been saying, Samsung B-Die DIMMS are the way to go with Ryzen (for now). I'm able to get 3200mhz easily, and with pretty tight timings (14-14-14-32 @ 1.375v). I may upgrade the RAM once memory issues are sorted out on this new platform, but for now the Trident sticks have served me very well, easily hitting 3200mhz. No complaints on these either.
Plextor M8Pe 512GB NVME I was originally going to purchase a 960 EVO, but the Plextor had a far better warranty and higher rated cycles than the Samsung drive (I have personally had bad experiences with Samsung and their warranty service). This drive is obviously my boot drive, and will be the home for my main programs as well. Once you pass a certain R/W speed, the differences become almost unnoticeable. The MP8e has a read of 2100Mb/s, and write of 1300Mb/s. Not quite as fast as some of its competitors, but for the price and warranty, its a justifiable trade-off. One thing, and it may be an issue with the motherboard, is that 4K speeds are much slower than they should be. I have seen similar complaints across the board with NVMe on the Taichi, so that may be the cause.
Seagate BarraCuda Compute 4TB I found the Seagate drive on eBay brand new for a truly unbeatable price, and having herd some good things about their new line of Barracuda drives I will be giving it a go (This will be used as my mass storage drive). No complaints yet, but I also have yet to get a lot of use on it.
MSI Geforce GTX 1080 TI Founders Edition: The reason I went with the 1080 Ti over the 1080 was for the unlocked FP16, something that's already been very useful in compsci, as well as the much greater performance with Octane over the 1080. I would have waited for the aftermarket coolers, but my plan all along was to go with a custom loop at some point, but since I do have the Founders Edition cooler, I can tell you that it is NOT ADEQUATE for this GPU at ALL. This thing throttles so easily, and is constantly hitting the thermal target, and gets there quicker than I would like. Another issue that I believe is universal with the 1080ti is that there is a noticeable amount of coil whine. Despite these, I still am very satisfied with it. It's handled everything I have thrown at it, and does it well despite throttling very easily. There are very few games I can't max out at 4K and get a solid (or close to it) 60 frames.
Phanteks Eclipse P400S TGE: For the case, I was looking for something silent, but that could still showcase the build and offer adequate water cooling compatibility (something I will be doing once I can afford it). The case is truly amazing, cable management is decent, its damn quiet, and the inclusion of lighting is very welcome, especially at the price point. My only complaint is that if you want a 360 rad, you have to get rid of the drive cage. I've seen other cases fix this issue by making the drive cage movable, but this case lacks that. But for the price, you really cant go wrong with the P400S.
EVGA SuperNOVA G2 850W 80+ Gold: Yes, I am well aware the PSU is overkill. When I bought the 1080Ti, the only way to get it through B&H was in a bundle with this PSU. That said, I honestly don't regret it at all, it provides plenty of power and is totally silent on Eco mode. The modularity is a HUGE plus, everything looks super clean inside my case. It's really nice not having to worry about wattage with the excessive amount I have on tap, and even better knowing I can totally expand upon this build in the future with another graphics card. Absolutely nothing bad to say about this PSU.
LG 27UD68-W 4K Freesync Monitor: My first worry about this monitor was it's size, the largest panel I owned before this was a mere 19 inches. After mounting it up and getting used to it, I wish I had gone with something EVEN BIGGER. the amount of screen real estate has changed my workflow completely, and the inclusion of PIP software from LG has helped even more so. My second worry was about 4k; I had never owned anything higher than 1080p in my life, so I was somewhat skeptical going up to four times that. I was quickly proven that my skepticism was for absolutely nothing; 4k is actually life changing. The size of the screen combined with the absurd resolution has made for the most visually immersing setups I could have ever imagined. I am very happy with the color accuracy (it comes factory tuned), and the lack of any light bleed whatsoever. I may invest in a color tuner in the future just to see how far i can push this panel, but for now the 99.9% Adobe RGB is perfectly fine for me!
EKWB-KIT L360: I will review this as soon as I have it. My only complaints about it without owning it is the lack of a drain valve and the absence of drainage fittings, and the ugly black tubing that's included. While I know that this tubing is far better than any clear offering as far as maintenance goes, I am fine with draining every now and then if it means a better looking build.
Conclusion: Because I am so used to using sub-par parts and compromising on almost everything in the past, my reviews may seem a bit too positive. I don't have much prior experience with anything else, so going from low-tier to top of the pack has been a very drastic change. With that in mind, I cant see how I could have made this build better. This PC exceeded every expectation I had for 'top f the line' and then some. I will update this with benchmarks, both for productivity and gaming, as well as some much better photos in the future. CPU-Z Validation + Bench