Description

I'm proud to say this is the best PC I've built since I got started in the mid-90s. My goal was a cost-effective but powerful machine based on the Ryzen 5, really good RAM, a blazing-fast NVMe drive, enough storage, the best video card I could find used within my budget and a cooling system that'd sustain a good overclock with minimal noise. I also worked hard to tune every bit of performance out of it I could. I'm still figuring out the exact best combination of RAM sub-timings/turn-around timings. I also spent a ton of time routing all the cables for good airflow and aesthetics.

The RAM's rated for 14-14-14-34 at 3000 MHz. This BIOS doesn't have a setting for that- it's 2800 or 3066. I managed to get 14-14-13-21 at 3200 MHz stable, with some of the sub-timings turned as tight as the setting would go. The CPU manages 3.85 GHz stable with ~1.4375v nominal vCore. SoC and RAM voltages are also cranked up. LLC is on "Mode 5". My measurements of all of this board's LLC settings are on the imgur links.

My CPU isn't at the top of the silicon lottery, but in short testing at higher voltages (vNOM of 1.4675v, actual vCore somewhat lower due to Vdroop) it can run stably at 3.95 GHz if the ratio is set from Windows. My daily setting is 3.825 GHz, which is AIDA64-stable and set from the BIOS.

The SSD, a Samsung 960 Evo 250GB, is fitted with a short aluminum heatsink ('Advancing Gene' on Amazon) using a silicone thermal pad and two tight rubberbands. It (and the heatsink on the WLAN card) get lots of airflow from the big slot-mounted fan. No throttling, temps in the low 30s at load, with the latest firmware.

The B350 chipset heatsink, 1TB HDD and various smaller board components are more than adequately cooled by the intake fan and interior fans.

The backplane exhaust fan is the other Evercool 92mm message fan which adds some nice bling and also a decent breeze across the VRM area. While the performance of MSI's sink is pretty good and I love its visual design, if I can find one with more surface area that's compatible, I might switch it out. The Evercool's exhaust keeps the CPU VRMs at the low 70s during AIDA64 stability test, much lower at all other times. Thinking of getting the 120mm version of that fan.

The CPU cooler is the Deepcool "Captain" 240 RGB- which does come with the AM4 bracket. Beware: a lot of the ones that say "AM4 Compatible" don't actually come with the bracket- you have to buy it separately. Both 120mm fans exhaust through the 'roof' and connect to the mobo's RGB header through a splitter (along with the waterblock light.) I run the pump at full speed (~2200 RPM) and the radiator fans on a custom curve. CPU temps: 33c playing music and otherwise idle, 49c with heavy multithreaded load.

The used R9 380X 4GB (ASUS Strix) needed new fans, so I took off the whole shroud and added a 92mm Everflow programmable message fan that seemed to slot right into the shape of the fins. I further affixed it using zip ties through the fins or around the heatpipes and wrapped around the holes in the fan body. The other half of the radiator is cooled by the other 140mm Aerocool fan, mounted via PCI expansion slot bracket. The GPU stays in the low 60s during intense gaming and the noise level is low, despite a 1025/6500 MHz OC. (Oh, I also replaced the thermal paste with Noctua NT-H1.)

I wanted the Aerocool high-CFM 140mm fan in the front's blue to be visible through the panel, but it's still a bit too dark for that- d'oh! I prefer the blue accents on the black case rather than adding Moar RGB. I do plan to remove the X-shaped part of the front grille to allow even more airflow.

I've only got a couple more finishing touches left to put on this machine (namely: - a caddy-less 3.5" SATA drive bay for the identical 1TB backup disk, which'll remain in an anti-static bag in a box outside of the weekly drive cloning operation. This is in response to a PSU failure I had once which fried my RAID-1 array. Hopefully a meteorite doesn't strike my house. - some nice blue aluminum heatsinks for the SoC VRMs and a couple of other ICs on the mobo.) Also considering a lightweight heatsink and non-conductive thermal adhesive for the back of the GPU. - The drive caddy's blue aluminum handle (see: https://static.bhphoto.com/images/images500x500/1379349593000_1001835.jpg ) should add the blue accent for the faceplate I wanted to get from the intake fan.

I'd love to hear anyone's comments, ideas for names, etc.! Sorry for the wall o' text!

Comments

  • 25 months ago
  • 2 points

I have three Tahiti cards all with similar cooling solutions... but I had to use a high pressure server fan for those dinosaurs, a wimpy fan like that wouldn't do squat at 100% load with how hot the 7950 runs :P

This build looked like fun, I love the Frankenstein builds. +1

  • 25 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you- you're right, I had a great time building it! The two fans working together keep the card cool, but had I designed that part out ahead of time (rather than an on-the-fly solution) I'd have picked fans that can sit right up against the fins and have a high static pressure rating. The only part of the card that gets hot is the heatpipe (which is supposed to be hot, IMHO, since it's full of boiling alcohol.)

I'd love to see your build if you have photos up. Is it one of the ones in your profile?

  • 25 months ago
  • 2 points

Oh sorry, I meant the 7950 version would run too hot for those fans, it's the first iteration of Tahiti. Your 380 is based on Tahiti but it is MUCH more efficient and generates much less heat. My build with the modified 7950s is the milk crate build on my profile. They're in the last pictures, as those were a new addition.

  • 25 months ago
  • 1 point

I don't even wanna know what happened to that poor gpu.

  • 25 months ago
  • 2 points

The card came used and one of its fans was faulty. So, I removed the shroud, replaced the thermal compound with NT-H1 and the radiator fins are now cooled by the 140mm slot fan and the 92mm LED fan. The big fan also serves to cool the WiFi card & SSD heatsinks. As for what that GPU did in a former life... beats me!

  • 25 months ago
  • 1 point

Ah okay

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey um just wondering does the case you used come with standoffs

  • 25 months ago
  • 0 points

It's a bit weird to see some expensive parts alongside that cheap motherboard and that used gpu, but I'm sure it works well.

  • 25 months ago
  • 1 point

You can actually get a good ASrock MicroATX board a little cheaper- I picked the one that had the features I needed and fit into the price bracket. Same for the GPU. Despite some damage that seems to be from the previous owner, it tears modern games apart. :D