Description

This is the most up-to-date information about my current build. It was my first ever PC build, meaning there was a bit more storm and stress than usual, but the experience as a whole was rather smooth. (PCs these days, right?) All of these parts were selected for hackintosh compatibility, meaning no Ryzen or Nvidia was ever going to touch this board. I found tonymacx86.com was a great resource for this purpose.

I started with the great Intel build and made a few changes. I improved on the case, selected an ATX board (it kept selecting an mATX variant) and checked the documentation for compatible RAM. I removed the slower supported RAM speeds while I was at it. Drives might be the touchiest part of the build so I went with the 860 EVO, which is known for being an all-around decent drive. Even so, it wasn't exactly cheap.

The default power supply on the list was the 550 W Corsair, but it turns out the 650 was virtually the same price- a simple upgrade. The Hyper 212 is the site's most beloved CPU cooler. Easy purchase. The wireless network card was a bit of an odd one. I got a recommendation for Edimax because they used USB and Mac drivers- but I'd rather go PCIE and natively supported if possible. The AC56 should have the right chipset (Broadcom something-something) to fit the bill. Failing that, it's always possible to buy an M.2 wireless network card from a gutted MacBook off of eBay.

And that's when I began building. Memory Express has a service where, if you buy a CPU and board, they put it together for you. I was sure I could do it myself, but I wasn't feeling it at the moment. They also seated the RAM, which wasn't really a time saver. Fixing the whole thing to the case was dead easy. The case came with standoffs preinstalled so it was just a matter of screwing things in. The power supply was a bit snug, but when I got it under the shroud, the rest clicked into place. The main motherboard power housing was really tight so I put some rubber under the edge of board while I rocked it into place. I'd repeat this annoyance for the front USB header.

The CPU cooler was worse. The instructions were pictographic which really only added to my confusion when things wouldn't fit. Once they did, it blocked one of my four DIMM slots. After about a week, I noticed the fan was rattling, so I replaced it. And every single time something needed to be installed, or changed, that meant removing all of my RAM. The sink itself does a good job, but I'd spend a bit more and get better next time.

The network adapter was the opposite story. It just clicked into place, and it worked. That's nice. I decided to use the antenna mount instead of putting the antennas directly on the coaxial ports. I saved the SSD for last, and this was probably the dumbest mistake of the build. It took me a second to notice the SSD brackets, but installation was very easy once I figured that out. The SATA power cable situation was a bit less than ideal, but I managed to get one cable to work for both front panel and SSD. This drive was shaping up to be one of the easiest installs on the board. That is, until it came to connecting it. The SSD came in a box by itself. No additional cables. I had to run out to Memory Express and spend six bucks to get a generic StarTech SATA cable.

I haven't said much about the GPU yet, and there's some logic behind that. First, I didn't originally plan on getting an AMD card. I was going to follow the suggested build more closely, until I noticed a pricing irregularity. The Pulse's price had dropped like a rock. That piqued my interest. Also, this card took a much longer time to ship than the rest of the components, leaving me with integrated graphics for the better part of a week. I played a bit of BioShock Remastered this way. I doubt my explanation could do the experience justice.

The Pulse itself is hefty. It's dual slot, fairly long, and has a big metal sink between the fans and PCB. Seating it in the video card slot took a bit of finesse, but it worked on the first try. I fit the wires in underneath the card where the fans are, (not the best route, but things were getting tight) so I fastened them to the PSU shroud lest they creep up towards the GPU fans.

The card runs pretty hot when I play Assassin's Creed Odyssey, which, being a bit new to PC gaming, is just about the only taxing game I actually have. I ordered a couple of extra Phanteks fans off of Amazon and added a second intake as well as replace the CPU cooler fan, as noted above. Threw a second drive into the mix and I'm done with hardware for now.

On the software side, I've only installed Windows so far, and good *******, it's really easy to do now. And it's actually a pleasure to use. It found the drivers for just about everything. I got a couple extra utilities from Gigabyte, Samsung, Intel, and AMD. Windows natively recognized the wireless card, so I avoided installing anything Asus. I really can't complain, it all worked really well. It's only panicked once, when it tripped over a DCP WATCHDOG VIOLATION for some reason. I just ignored it. Next is either MacOS if I can get it to work, or Linux (Solus?) if I can't. I'm just too used to the way those systems do things.

Part Reviews

Motherboard

Good value. With just a little bit of analog sound interference.

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