I built my gaming computer in late 2020, but I was able to get all the parts that I wanted in it! I mainly use it for gaming, but occasionally I will stream and edit photos. I have not done any video editing yet, but I may in the near future.
I went with the 5900X because, at the time, it was the perfect mix of gaming performance and core count. As gaming was my main priority, this was a must-have for me. After using this processor for almost three years at time of writing, I can honestly say that I have not regretted my choice even a little bit! AMD has done very well with their Ryzen processors in the gaming, productivity, and creative worlds.
I had a few motherboards I was looking at while I was deciding on parts, but I ultimately decided on the ASRock Taichi. I wanted an X570 motherboard that had front panel USB Type-C support as well as Type-C on the board itself. I had two NVMes that were brought over from my old build, and I planned to get a third, new one to go with this new build, so three NVMe slots was a must. I know how hot NVMes get, so I made sure that my motherboard has heatsinks to cover all available slots to help keep them cool. I definitely wanted to make sure that I had the latest (at the time) AX Wi-Fi, since we didn’t have a way to run cables from my router. The reinforced PCIe slots were a must, with how heavy graphics cards are getting now. The VRM heatsinks not only have heat spreaders, but they also have a tube that helps to vent them even further. I always say that you can tell a motherboard's quality by how heavy it is, as better boards will have more and better capacitors, diodes, and metal parts in general. This is a hefty board and most definitely fits that category! All motherboards I was looking at had all the features I wanted, so I picked this board mainly because I like the way that it looks. This board has served me well and has endured the trials that I have put it through!
G.Skill has been making good RAM for a long time, and the Trident Z Neo is no exception. This particular kit looks very nice, and I love how it matches my motherboard - it fits the theme, which is mostly white and silver with black. Beyond aesthetic, I wanted to make sure that my RAM would work well with my processor and not hold it back. I knew I had to have CL16, 3600Mhz speed and a kit with 2x16GB sticks. This configuration was the best bang for your buck at the time. I wanted 32GB to make sure that I could handle any game that would come out in the near future and also let me edit without running out of RAM. I was also planning on making a computer with enough RGB lights to keep my neighbors up through the night, and the Trident Z Neo fits the bill!
The 980 Pro was the best SSD on the market when I was putting this build together, and I want to have the best in my PC. Samsung makes very good products, and they are extremely reliable. I had considered a 500GB model, but with the speed differences I decided on the 1TB. This is the drive that I use for my operating system, programs and some demanding games when I run out of space on my other drives.
These are a mixture of 3.0 NVME SSDs and 2.5-inch SATA SSDs. They are drives I was using in older builds that I carry over with me from build to build. They are all fast enough to play games on, so I don’t really put anything specific on each one. Since they are all varying ages, if they stop working, I don’t have to worry too much. I only keep video games on them and when they go out, I can just reinstall the games.
The graphics card is the heart of a gaming computer and arguably the most important part for gaming. Of course, the processor, RAM, and GPU are all extremely important and need to work together so they can perform properly. The graphics card does, however, make the most difference in gaming performance for a well-balanced computer build. I went with ASUS TUF RTX 3080 because I was planning on playing in 4K, 120hz on a TV for most game content in the near future. I was already using a 1440p, 144hz monitor and would continue using it for some gaming content, like competitive shooters, but I wanted to make sure that I had a graphics card that could handle it all with the best settings on the newer games! The 3080 was one of the best graphics cards on the market when I got it. NVIDIA was blazing a Ray Traced trail at the time, and I wanted to be a part of it. I was interested in Ray Tracing for not only the gaming aspects but also the video editing aspects.
The power supply is the computer part that is extremely important but easily overlooked. They don’t just give your PC power; they regulate that power to keep your components safe from power fluctuations. One of the most important things that I looked at when choosing my power supply is that it has enough wattage to handle not only the computer's normal use, but also the spikes in power draw when gaming. Additionally, having twice the wattage as the computer’s draw makes it so that the power supply doesn’t get too stressed. That said, it is possible to have too much wattage and end up on the wrong side of the efficiency bell curve. That leads to the next thing that I look for: Efficiency! This power supply is Platinum certified. I always recommend at least a Gold or better for gaming machines (you can see a full breakdown of what that all means over here). Having good efficiency is important to me because I’ll be able to save more money on electricity and have less wasted energy that turns into excess heat. Most of the higher-end power supplies are fully modular, which is a really nice feature that helps keep the case looking cleaner because you only connect the cables that you are actually using to the power supply. Also, it’ll make for better airflow because you won’t have a knot of unused cables clogging up your case. It is also easier to route the cables when they aren’t connected to the power supply already. The EVGA 850W ticks all of those boxes, making it a great addition to any build!
Most cases are mainly a question of aesthetics. This one fit in the white part of my theme. Of course, you want to make sure you get a case that will fit all of your parts and have space for any planned upgrades. You also want to make sure that it can keep your components cool, which has become a large concern lately with all the hotter running components. Outside of those factors, I chose this case specifically because of price, quality and ease of building/upgrading in. I knew that I would be upgrading parts and cleaning my PC build in the future, and the Lancool II made it easy. The case looks amazing with the RGB strips in the front and was a very reasonable price at the time.
The NZXT Kraken X72 is a 360mm radiator, all-in-one water cooler. I chose this because NZXT makes some of the best water coolers on the market. There are lots of good choices, but this is the one that I had with my previous build, so I continued to use it. The braided cables give the whole thing a nice aesthetic and the pump head on the CPU is gorgeous. I wanted a 360mm radiator, as they offer better cooling that some of their smaller counterparts. The 5900X is notorious for getting hot and I wanted to keep it as cool as possible. I did use some Thermal Grizzly Kryonaught for the reapplication, but the NZXT thermal paste is also pretty good out of the box too!
The look isn’t complete without my RGB fans! I could have brought fans over from my previous build, but I wanted a matching look. These fans are functional and stylish! I used the push pull fan layout on my radiator, because I wanted to see the RGB on both sides. It’s not always the best idea to push and pull on a radiator, since differences in fans can cause problems. I didn’t have to worry about that, because I have the exact same type of fans on both sides. As this was completely a cosmetic choice and I just wanted it to look nice, I wasn’t too concerned.
Some people prioritize functionality and some prioritize form. This was the culmination of all my builds up to this point, having started on prebuilt machines and then moving on to upgrading them and using hand-me-down parts! I had prioritized both. At the end of the day, the best part about building custom PCs is the flexibility that you get in making what works best for you!
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