Description

I've been wanting to build a PC for a few years now and finally found myself able to do so earlier this year. I started planning this build in July right after the Zen 2 launch. I was entering this mostly blind, so I'm thankful I had a few friends who could walk me through some of the process. That combined with the incredible community on this site and the extensive YouTube videos explaining every last detail of every part is just superb.

My initial build plan went through several iterations, but I finally settled on the final parts list:

  • Ryzen 5 3600
  • Gigabyte Aorus X570 Elite
  • Gigabyte RX 5700 XT Gaming OC
  • Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro (16 GB)
  • Intel 660p M.2 NVME SSD (1 TB)
  • Seagate Barracuda HD (2 TB @ 7200 RPM)
  • Seasonic FOCUS Plus Gold (550 W)
  • NZXT H510

I started buying things piecemeal as I found the best deal on them. For instance, I got my PSU for $62 because I jumped on a sale in August. It was such a good deal I didn't want to wait. In retrospect, I wouldn't recommend that to anyone who is building their first computer. If anything doesn't work, you're likely out of the return period. I got lucky that the things I bought first were all in good shape.

I say lucky because I also got very unlucky with the very last item I purchased -- my motherboard. I bought the Gigabyte Aorus X570 Elite. I hooked everything up, confirmed it was good, and turned everything on and...no image. I tried everything I could. I asked three or four friends familiar with PC building what to do and we all ran out of ideas (reseat RAM, move to different slots, make sure PSU is connected correctly, try HDMI/DisplayPort from graphics card, try HDMI from motherboard, try HDMI with graphics card removed, etc...). Eventually, I sent the Elite back and requested a replacement. NewEgg's RMA was very easy and they promptly sent me a new Elite.

I hooked it up and...exactly the same issue. RAM lights up, fans go, but no signal. I even bought one of those motherboard speakers to try to diagnose it and, sure enough, the speakers identified the motherboard as the issue. I RMA'd the second Elite and this time NewEgg just refunded my money. I went looking for a new motherboard and found the B450 Tomahawk Max -- exactly like the B450 Tomahawk but upgraded to be compatible with Ryzen 3000 out of the box. I bought it, hooked everything up, and it worked like a dream.

Now, I'm absolutely in love. I am so ecstatic about having an ultrawide. I could see why it's not for everyone, but I love it so much.

Everything runs stellar. I've run three UserBenchmark tests (1st, 2nd, 3rd). It's kicking ***. I scored a 3368 on Cinebench R20. I got something like ~8864 in 3D Mark, but I can't recall and I can't find the score again.

I've had some slight stability issues. I've had Windows crash twice today, but I've also been tinkering with little things that might be messing with that. I've had some issues with Radeon that are getting better each time I start it up.

Ultimately, this thing is lightning fast and kicks like a mule. I love it to death despite the hellishly frustrating journey to get here.

https://i.imgur.com/IGv9ODb.mp4

Part Reviews

CPU

Not much more to be said about this than has already been said. Great CPU for under $200.

Motherboard

Fantastic board for a fraction of the cost that the X570 boards cost, but compatible with Ryzen 3000 out of the box. Plus, after getting two Gigabyte Aorus X570 Elite boards that were dead on arrival, the fact that this worked was basically enough to get it to 5 stars for me.

My only complaint about this board is that the RGB is pretty trash. Thankfully, there is an option to just have the RGB disabled.

Memory

Awesome RAM. Clocked to 3200 in BIOS without issues. RGB is gorgeous but WOW is it bright. I have to keep the brightness at about 25% otherwise it is almost painful to look at.

The iCUE software is -- without question or competition -- the best RGB software out of the three I've used (iCUE, MysticLight, and RGB Fusion). The flawless mix with keyboard, mouse, and even wallpapers make this an easy choice for me over the other main competitor here (G.Skill Trident Z).

Storage

Lightning quick. Benchmarks are rating this SSD at ~260%. It has lightning fast read/write. I couldn't possibly come up with a valid complaint about this. For the price differential between this and the Samsung EVO, I'd pick this in a heartbeat every time. The Intel 660p is QLC, but I can't imagine I'll have so many read/writes onto it that I'll ever approach a failure state. Highly recommended -- especially at $85.

Storage

Works great. My "2" TB came out as 1.81 TB, but that's fine for me. I currently have 77 Steam games installed on it, 16 games from Epic Games, and 15 other games and that totals out to 519 GB and leaves me with 1.31 TB free. It loads extremely fast. No complaints.

Video Card

For the most part, I'm really happy with this card. It's fast and it's killing games, even when I'm running them in ultrawide. My monitor is overclocked to 75 Hz, so that's all I measure to and I haven't had a single game run at sub-75 FPS unless it was artificially locked.

That said, the software isn't great. There's an annoying pop-up every single time you start a game. I was able to get rid of it, but it was not intuitive -- to get rid of it, you had to delete the hotkeys that the pop-ups were referencing. Other than that, I had a visual glitch about 15 minutes ago while typing up this review and not doing anything demanding, but it was the first and only time I've seen that happen in the week that I've had my computer up and running.

Another complaint about the software is that it's bad about crashing when I open it. The driver I installed today seems to have fixed that issue though. Previously, it would open a semi-transparent window and then fail to load in the rest of the software and just sit on the transparent screen permanently unless it was forcibly restarted.

RGB on this is also pretty terrible. I have the logo "GIGABYTE" in white, but even at max brightness it's so dim it's practically grey.

Overall, I recommend this card, but it's not without some small reservations.

Case

I really like this case and think it looks fantastic, but it's certainly not without some drawbacks. This is essentially THE case if you want a white/black build and I love the way it looks. I love the "notch"/arm that allows for a lot of cable management. That said, I was expecting it to be easier given the reviews raving about how easy it was to work in. It wasn't hard and it's very possible that my difficulty stems from the fact that this was my first build and I was going solo, but it wasn't quite as easy as I expected. Overall, great case, though. Definitely loved it and would recommend to anyone.

Monitor

This monitor is stellar. It overclocks to 75 Hz and then starts to have some stability issues at 80+ Hz. But I really wanted to go ultrawide and I'm so happy I did. I love all of the real estate. The colors are gorgeous. It auto-starts when it detects a signal, it has built in speakers (very meh ones, but speakers nonetheless), mounting it was no big deal (although the included mount is also gorgeous and more than meets the task). This monitor is what makes this whole ordeal feel like something special.

Keyboard

Absolutely love this thing. I'm still getting used to typing on red switches because it can be very easy to press something unintentionally and my typing errors are through the roof right now. That said, this keyboard is unbelievable. The rubber wrist rest is super comfortable and just right. The keys feel somehow soft and they're so bouncy. I had initially really wanted brown switch keyboard because I loved the idea of tactile feedback, but after taking the leap to get this, I am really glad I got the red switches. They just feel so nice.

And the volume wheel. It's a luxury I didn't know I needed, but now I can never imagine life without one again.

Mouse

Great mouse. The only thing that annoyed me was that it constantly reset to the lowest DPI setting every time I turned on my computer, but then I realized there was software in iCUE that allows you to customize your default DPI (and light color). Immediately made this mouse perfect. I love it.

Headphones

Great headphones. I used the Razer Krakens years ago and loathed them because my ears got so hot, but these are really, really good. My ears get a little warm, but it's 100% tolerable. Combined with these being wireless is AWESOME. I love being able to just stand up and walk to the kitchen and grab a drink without having to take my headset completely off.

I wish I could detach the mic because it's awkward and the light on the mic is ALWAYS red. The mic brings this down to 4 stars.

Custom

These were awesome. Reviews that they're a little silvery are totally accurate, but it still looks good to me. These cables are REALLY stiff which is good because they hold the flex right where you want them. The cable combs are also awesome (and totally necessary). Highly recommended.

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Comments

  • 5 months ago
  • 2 points

Good lord man thanks for this amazing write up! We had picked the same parts almost all the same. Now I know to stay with the MSI b450, although I’m not to keen on losing the features that the Aorus elite was offering. And now I may just go Red devil 5700 xt. Other than that, our parts lists would’ve been pretty much exactly the same. Anyway, very good post here and hope you have fun on that gorgeous pc God bless!

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you! It's been a lot of fun so far. I really wish the Elite had worked out, but the Tomahawk Max has been awesome and it was essentially $80 cheaper.

  • 5 months ago
  • 2 points

+1 for Riley. Clean build! What software do you use for the rgb on the gpu? Have the same one, nothing I have tried has worked so far.

  • 5 months ago
  • 2 points

Thank you! I'm using the Gigabyte software, RGB Fusion 2.0. It works, but it is clunky and very limited with its options. iCUE won't recognize it at all, so I've just used RGB Fusion to set the logo to white and leave it alone.

  • 5 months ago
  • 2 points

Ah fair enough, I can never get RGB fusion to work for me lol. Congrats on the first build!

  • 5 months ago
  • 2 points

Very nice. Congratulations! I LOVE B&W builds w/ custom cable combs! I'm sure you will get many years of enjoyment out of this. Thumbs up from me. ;>D

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you!

  • 5 months ago
  • 2 points

To be honest. I came for the cat...

No but for real, nice and clean build! I very much approve!

  • 5 months ago
  • 2 points

If I was gonna go big and back to ATX, this is near exactly what I'd do! (Minus all the RMAs, of course.) Love the clean look, it's very classy.

  • 5 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice build! I'm going to be building almost this exact build soon and was wondering if the Tomahawk Max has a USB-C header?

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you! It doesn't have a USB-C header (or at least, I'm fairly certain it doesn't), but it does have one USB-C port on the rear I/O.

  • 5 months ago
  • 2 points

Dang it lol. So the USB C port on the front of the case is just not functional?

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

Unfortunately, yeah.

  • 5 months ago
  • 2 points

That's pretty annoying. You'd think there'd be a header if there's a port but ¯_(ツ)_/¯

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

Well, the case has the connections for it, but the motherboard doesn't. When I was using the Aorus X570 Elite, I had the header connected and would have theoretically had a functional USB-C, but the motherboard was DOA both times. I went with the B450 for reliability and to save money, but you could easily spend the extra money to get a motherboard that does have the headers available.

  • 4 months ago
  • 1 point

Sips Coffee Nice build.

  • 4 months ago
  • 1 point

Great build and excellent photographs!

  • 4 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you!

  • 4 months ago
  • 1 point

nice build. Is r5 3600 and rx 5700 xt a good combo and can this stream?

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

Yup r3600 and 5700xt can stream fine. But if your really set on multitasking and streaming id say pick the 2700x for the same or cheaper. Its only a - 10fps difference and isn't noticeable.

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

Great Build! Very similar to what I'm planning to build. Looks very nice and clean. Good Job!

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

How are your temps within the case on idle and under load?

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

On your 9th image, it looks like you added a wifi card or a capture card. If it is a wifi card, which brand is it?

  • 2 months ago
  • 2 points

Good eye! It's this one: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07XM6XZ1F/

Works very well but it has an orange LED that never turns off and is VERY difficult to cover. If aesthetics are extremely important to you, I'd advise caution. That said, the card itself is clearly high quality.

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

What kind of temperatures are getting with that 5700 XT? Really curious as I'm looking into getting that card.

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

I’d be interested to know too! Also, that cpu fan looks tiny, does it do a good job for the cpu?

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

It's far from the best, but it adequately does everything I need it to do. I'm playing all of my games on ultra without temp issues. My monitor only hits 75 FPS, so I have no need to overclock, but I wouldn't need to even if I had a 144hz monitor -- per my GPU software I'm averaging ~160 on most games (e.g. 182 fps/avg on PUBG). So yeah, the stock cooler certainly does enough with the CPU and since I have absolutely no need to overclock, I don't see any need to get a better cooler. That said, the cooler is definitely the weakest link in this computer and will probably be the first upgrade once I start seeing any issues.

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

I haven't had any issues with temps running every game on Ultra settings. I've been doing basic workstation productivity (email, word processing) for about 6 hours now and my temps are at 46°C. I just fired up Plague Tale: Innocence to test it and it jumped to 64°C pretty quickly, but seems to be hovering right at that. I can play PUBG on ultra settings for hours on end (averaging 180+ FPS) without my system alerting me about any temperature issues.

My biggest problem is stability issues (random crashes), but considering the price to performance ratio, I'm still really dang happy with it.

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

That's great to hear. Do you experience crashes frequently enough to bother you?

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

Yes, but I really don't know what metric that would be. One every few days, but they're getting better. Today's 3/23, but I haven't had one since the 3/19 update, so that's good.

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

That's good to hear. I love that AMD are actively working on the situation with drivers.

  • 2 months ago
  • 2 points

Just for what it's worth, I had my first crash since the update this morning.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

I have the same gpu and it is nowhere near as dim as yours.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

I turned the brightness down about as much as possible.