Description

Black/red builds are pretty common and often overused, but when done correctly, they can be very visually impressive, and I think that in this case we've done a good job.

So I'll start by mentioning that this build is not mine. This is for a friend of mine that I work with. When I transferred in and after seeing my ROG laptop that I use for Uni work (need constant on the go power), he asked me which gaming laptop I'd recommend. After a lengthy conversation during that shift, I convinced him that he definitely did not need a laptop, but definitely needed a computer, both for gaming and school work. Fast forwards two weeks later, and this build came to life. He really liked the black/red aesthetic, so I obliged and created a build that would suit his needs.

First let's do a parts overview:

  • CPU: I went with a Ryzen 5 1600. He wanted to keep his budget with taxes and shipping under $2500CAD, so the 1600x was an unnecessary luxury. I also did not go with an i5 because the price tag was slightly higher, and that he might soon need to be doing CAD design and more multithreaded work, and the 1600 is a really sweet spot for this.
  • MOBO: Chose an Asus Strix B350-F. There was no need here to go for an X370 board here, and Asus really has the highest quality and most visually pleasing boards out there IMO. Not only that, but this allows us to tie in the whole build with Aura.
  • COOLER: To keep with the black/red theme, I picked out the Deepcool Captain EX 240 with red highlights. The CPU block is very visually pleasing with the red glass tube coming around and pulsating LED lighting. An AM4 bracket was already included with it and I returned the bracket I bought at a local store in case it didn't. Props to Deepcool for standardizing all new units with it! Great cooler all around.
  • RAM: Chose 2x8Gb of Corsair Vengeance LED red at 2666MHz. Again keeping with the theme while providing great performance and leaving potential room for expansion.
  • STORAGE: Picked out some Western Digital Blue units, both for the SSD and HDD, 250Gb and 1Tb respectively. WD has some of the best price points in this department and great quality, not disappointed in this regard.
  • GPU: Went for an Asus Strix GTX 1080 at 11GHz memory clock. Once again, ties into Aura and great looks and performance from Asus. The boosted memory clock should provide some nice performance boon in high texture resolution games. It was also cheaper when bought to the regular Strix 1080, so there's that.
  • PSU: EVGA makes great PSUs all around and this one is no exception. This one is only semi modular and 80+ Bronze, but it fits greatly in this built, and 500W is plenty of headroom to overclock.
  • CASE: Every time I've built in a Phanteks case I've been pleasantly surprised by the build quality and options that were available in them. That's why I picked out this case for this build, especially since it matched the colour theme, came with integrated Aura compliant RGB lighting, and included an LED strip. The side panel is tempered glass and gives a very sleek look to the build.
  • OTHERS: This build includes Windows 10 Pro because I actually had a free copy of it lying around that I could give my friend. I'm not building my system until next year and I have a free copy of Windows 10 Pro with my university program so I saw no reason not to gift it to him. Other than that three Corsair AF120 Red are serving as back and top exhausts, a 1080p 24" 144Hz monitor will serve as a temporary fill in until my friend can afford a 1440p high quality monitor, an Redragon provide nice looking and high quality peripherals still while having an acceptable price tag for a mechanical keyboard and laser mouse.

Now onto the build itself. Everything went very smoothly as far as I could tell. The case was rather tight being a Mid Tower, but the cable routing options were wonderful, no doubt about it. I mounted the radiator up front with fans in a push configuration, hiding them from sight, and that was probably the hardest part of the build as I had to screw the fan into the radiator while passing through the case front panel. Ended up working and looks pretty good in this configuration. The whole process took about two hours and a half, and everything booted on the first try. I then went for some cable management and boy was that easy. The included velcro strips in the case just made everything fall in line so easily and so cleanly. Barely anything is shoved in the case basement.

Installing Windows went through, and overclocking went by as a breeze too. A bit disappointed that Asus only allows manual OC on it's X370 boards, but using an offset isn't that hard. I tried to reach 3.9GHz but even at 1.4V it just wasn't stable enough to endure a >15min Prime95 stress test. Ended up dialing into a very stable 3.85GHz @1.3875V overclock, and called it a day. The RAM OCed immediately without any problem to its box advertised speed using Asus' DOCP profile and leaving it at 1.2V. Gaming benchmarks lent out very good scores overall, and my friend is extremely satisfied with his build. The temperatures under high stress are also very good, with low to mid 70's on both the CPU and GPU while under high stress. I think the highest I've seen was about 74C.

The only problem we encountered was with the included LED strip. I think it's probably DOA and I'm in the process of talking to Phanteks to see what can be done. Basically the red and green LEDs simply refuse to shut down, leaving two possible colours: yellow and white. We've set it to white for now but eventually when it gets to work properly it'll be set to red to compliment the rest of the case.

I think so far out of the three builds I've made this is my favourite, most likely because of how well the whole colour scheme blends in and how fun it was to build in this case.

Part Reviews

CPU

Highly impressed with AMD on the new Ryzen chips. Even at lower clock speeds, the higher core counts fill in a very nice niche right now and still provide great gaming performance. Would definitely recommend those chips for mid range gaming builds from 1500-2500CAD$

CPU Cooler

Very visually impressive and remarkable cooling capacity, absolutely nothing to say here, Deepcool provided a solid product at a very affordable price for an AIO cooler. Props for also including AM4 brackets in all new shipped boxes!

Motherboard

This board is gorgeous. Nothing really to say here, very comprehensive manual, lots of IO ports, solid build quality. Asus has outdone themselves again for such a high quality board at this price point. My only complaint is a lack of manual editing for overclock and restriction to offsets, but honestly it's not worth removing a star.

Memory

Very visually pleasing and ran out of the box to it's advertised speed even on a Ryzen build. Was just plug and play after enabling the OC profile in the BIOS. Great integration into Corsair Link too, although the synchronization of both DIMM slots isn't perfect.

Storage

Great quality, great speeds, great price. Nothing else to say here, it does the job very well.

Storage

I don't think I need to go in depth here, just look at the overwhelming reviews. This is a great drive for a good price, no hesitation here when getting a 1Tb HDD.

Video Card

This card is stunning. Very visually impressive, great performance, and the memory clock is boosted out of the box to 1080Ti speeds. This is a beast and well worth it's price tag.

Case

This case is absolutely wonderful. Tempered glass, and LED strip, and such a high quality of build for this price point is amazing. Building in there was an absolute breeze, and cable management options were amazing. Can't recommend Phanteks cases enough. The only two things I would've liked to see in this case is an included full manual, not just a quick installation guide, and marked bags for the screws.

It pains me to do so but I removed a star because the said included LED strip is faulty. If I can get Phanteks to replace it for me though this is instantly going to be back to 5 stars.

Power Supply

You can't go wrong with EVGA PSUs. Great price for a semi modular unit. The only thing I would've changed is the SATA cable, the distance between the triple plugs is very short and stiff, limiting plugging options, I had to use two separate cables just to plug two different drives :/

Operating System

No issues here, although the general user should really get the Home version, I happened to have a free Pro copy under hand.

Case Fan

Great fans, very good looking, and at a very acceptable price, no complaining here, Corsair has great quality in this department.

Case Fan

Great fans, very good looking, and at a very acceptable price, no complaining here, Corsair has great quality in this department.

Monitor

Very cheap for such a high refresh rate 1080p monitor, yet the image itself doesn't feel cheap. It's a TN panel and doesn't have built in speakers, but that's what you should explain at this price. A very good option if you want to invest more in your build and replace the monitor at a later point. Would've liked to see an included HDMI cable though, not just a DVI/VGA

Keyboard

At this price point, this keyboard is absolutely amazing. Mechanical for under 50$? I'm in. The typing absolutely doesn't feel cheap or out of place, it has a very good feel and solid quality.

Mouse

Great mouse here. The braided cable looks very good and the lighting isn't too annoying. It has a very good feel to it and a high quality, very satisfied with this mouse.

Comments

  • 21 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice build

  • 21 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

  • 21 months ago
  • 2 points

Me Likey :)

  • 21 months ago
  • 1 point

Glad you do :)

  • 21 months ago
  • 2 points

I am doing a strix 1080 and ryzen 1600 build soon in the same case!

  • 21 months ago
  • 1 point

Awesome! Good luck!

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

Great build! I have a question do you think the Asus Strix B350-F is sturdy enough for a heavy Noctua NH D-15 tower cooler?

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

It was heavier than I thought, felt very sturdy and solid. I'm pretty sure it'll be able to handle it.

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

Thx alot I am upgrading from a fx 8350 to a ryzen and will use my Noctua NH D-15 on it. The current Asus Sabertooth 990FX R2.0 I am using is very thick and well made so it is good to hear Asus made the Strix B350-F just as well.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Great build. Just had one question though.. It looks you like you have more front IO connections on the bottom right of your motherboard.

I only have the power switch, reset switch, and the HD led-+.

Where they tucked away someplace or something?

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