As a father of two small kids I don't get as much time (or money) to spend on gaming as I used to. However, my trusty old intel 2500K and GTX 970 were showing their age. I primarily play Battlefield V and the large 64 player maps were basically unplayable, regardless of quality settings.
My build objectives were to get good bang for buck, create a pleasing aesthetics and achieve decently low acoustic levels.
This was the first time I'd built a PC from scratch so I did get lost in a research rabbit hole for a while, but in the end I feel I achieved my build goals and am very happy with the results!
I am super grateful to the PC Part Picker community for sharing their build experiences. This helped me so much which is what has inspired me to share my experience here!
I was originally considering an i5 9600K but started leaning towards a Ryzen 2600 due to increased thread count (I like to stream gameplay). When Ryzen 3600 was announced I decided to wait for this as it ticked all the boxes (single/multi-core performance and price) as well as being a bit more future proof.
I wanted a cost effective cooling solution that would fit a black/white theme and the H7 fitted this purpose perfectly. In the future I might upgrade to an AIO cooler but as it is I'm very satisfied with the performance as I'm not doing any overclocking.
Gigabyte RTX 2060 Gaming OC PRO
I wanted a GPU that was fast enough to play games at 60+ fps at 1440p. Due to my choice of case I wanted nothing larger than a 2 slot design to leave some space between the card and PSU shroud. A 3 fan design was preferred due to better heat dissipation. The 2060 Gaming Pro OC fit all these requirements quite well. I didn't get the 2060 super as, where I live (Denmark), the 2060 Super version is quite a bit more expensive and I felt the performance gains weren't worth it. I considered holding out for a suitable Radeon 5700 but I was keen to get back on the Battlefield!
The main issue with this card is the fan's RPM in the 0-40% RPM range where it makes a 'revving' sound as it pulses on and off. I got around this by creating a step in the fan curve meaning the fans were either completely off or jumped straight to 40% RPM at 50 degrees (see 'Cooling & Acoustics' below).
Asus ROG Strix B450-I Gaming Mini ITX
I went for a B450 as I didn't see the value in spending nearly twice as much on a X570. The down side was that I had to source an old Ryzen chip to do the BIOS update but this wasn't much of an issue.
This case made me want to build a mini-ITX PC. I nearly went for the H400 but didn't like the black dust filter on the top of the white chassis. Motherboard installation was a bit tricky due to the realtively large air cooler.
Corsair SF 600W 80+ Platinum
I originally budgeted to use my existing 650W Corsair ATX (non modular) PSU but the bottom of the case was absolutely crammed with cables and my 2TB HDD causing the GPU fans to work like a dog. I bit the bullet and ordered this SF PSU. This made a world of difference in terms of case cooling as well as being much much quieter.
Cooling & Acoustics
I decided to prioritize quiet acoustics over component temperature hence the slightly high idle figures quoted. I created custom fan curves in Asus Ai Suite 3 which kept fans at bare minimum until the CPU hit 50 degrees.
I have the 2 Fractal Design fans in the front and the 2 Noctua fans in the rear/top. Strangely, playing around with the case fan speeds doesn't seem to have much effect on CPU/GPU temps... Not sure why, theories welcome!
The noisiest part of the system is the GPU. At idle the fans switch off resulting in slightly raised idle temperatures. In order to keep the sound down under load I created a custom fan curve and undervolted the card. This means at 100% load the fans only need to spin to around 55% rpm to keep it below 75 degrees which is pretty quite to my ears.