Back in March, we built the RGB Overkill PC. We the launch of the Ryzen 9 3900X, we decided to rebuild the system from the ground up to make it better than ever. This is an over-the-top rig that can double as a disco and dominate games/content creation. Read on for a closer look at the second iteration of this glorious RGB beast.
It’s only been eight months since I first assembled the original RGB Overkill PC. The system was barely wet behind the ears, so why update now? The answer is pretty simple: Ryzen 9 happened. Since the system was intended to be used for gaming and video editing/content creation, the R7 2700X I originally used became outdated very quickly. I had also come to find a deep affection for dual-chamber computer cases and the Cougar Gemini T I originally used wound up feeling cramped compared to the Corsair 680X I had my eye on.
Pair that with review samples upon review samples and I found myself with enough spare parts to build 90% of a new system that would take things to the next level. That said, I was strategic in planning out this build several months in advance, so the part choices I made were intentional and just based on opportunity - for the most part (see the storage section down below).
But most importantly, I just like building new systems. I like making my desktop and office look interesting and exciting. For benchmarking purposes, I need something cutting edge, which this new system definitely is. And so RGB Overkill V2 is born.
Build Breakdown - What I Used and Why
As I assembled this system, I used the following parts. A couple of things to bear in mind here. First, cost efficiency wasn’t the goal here. The idea behind this system has always been to be over the top. It is the “RGB Overkill PC,” after all. It uses high-end parts but, realistically, there are some components included here that I had and needed to find a use for. This is especially true with the storage section which is very much a “kitchen sink” approach to SSDs and hard drives.
Second, no, I didn’t pay for all of this myself. Some of it yes, otherwise no. After years of reviewing hardware, you wind up with lots of gear sitting around waiting to be used (I literally have more than 40 mechanical keyboards and half as many gaming headsets on my basement shelves). Most of what you’ll find here are review samples I strategically inquired on for the end goal of revisiting the RGB Overkill PC and this is the end product :-)
What I hope you’ll find here is an entertainingly over the top build that demonstrates some of the thinking into why I assembled it the way I did, some of the roadblocks I encountered and high points I found, and maybe take inspiration for ideas on components or themes that might inform your own next build.
Let’s get into it!
I chose this case for several reasons. First, I love the dual-chamber design. Pushing the power supply and hard drives off to the second chamber makes for an exceptionally clean look. I especially like it because it’s wide enough to make cable management very easy. Plus, three included LL120 fans.
With 12-cores and 24-threads, this processor is a beast. I chose it for two reasons. First, apart from gaming, I often spend time editing 4K video and working elsewhere in the Adobe suite. I needed something that was going to speed up render times - less time waiting means fewer lost hours. I chose the 3900X over the 3950X mainly because I wasn’t able to secure a 3950X at the time of the build. Note - the price is actually $549 at the time of this posting, likely due to supply and demand.
Motherboard: Gigabyte X570 AORUS Master ATX Motherboard ($359)
This motherboard is absolutely killer. It features excellent overclocking potential due to exceptional 14-phase power delivery and actual heatpipe/fin thermal solutions, three PCI-e NVME slots, the ESS Sabre DAC, and dual USB 3.2 Gen2 USB headers. It also supports WiFi, Bluetooth, 2.5GbE LAN, and an integrated I/O shield for easy installation. It also features plentiful RGB.
Memory: G.SKILL Trident Z Neo Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) RGB DDR4-3600 ($214) (Sponsored)
G.SKILL is as the top of their game in gaming memory. When it comes to speed and reliability, they’ve absolutely won me over, even after testing multiple brands. I settled on the Trident Z Neo series because it’s made for Ryzen, so that eliminates most compatibility issues right out of the gate, even running with a 4-DIMM kit. They’re also clocked to 3600 MHz which is about the highest you speed that Zen 2 benefits from.
Also, they’re gorgeous. The RGB lighting is bright, beautiful, and customizable. A big thank you to G.Skill for sponsoring today’s build with this memory kit.
Graphics Card: Gigabyte AORUS GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Xtreme 11G Graphics Card ($1299) (Sponsored)
Since I’ll be gaming on an ultrawide 3840 x 1440 100Hz monitor, I needed something that was going to be able to drive that high of a resolution at 100 FPS. Even the 2080 Ti struggles in some games but by and large, I can run most titles in the triple digits or close to. Having run a 2080 SUPER before this, I knew I needed a step up.
This card, in my opinion, the most beautiful 2080 Ti on the market. It features unique ring lighting along each of the fans and the AORUS logo to create a mesmerizing effect. For an RGB system, it’s an absolute highlight.
A big thank you to Gigabyte for sponsoring this build with such an incredible graphics card. We told them what we wanted to do and they delivered the best RGB card for our RGB system.
This AIO offers excellent performance and stunning lighting. I replaced the ML120 PRO fans with LL120s for improved lighting at the expense of some performance. That said, even with the lower static pressure of the LL120s, it still manages to keep my CPU cool and running optimally, even over long gaming sessions and video renders. I’ve been incredibly impressed.
Storage: Gigabyte AORUS 2TB PCI-e Gen 4 NVME ($409), Plextor 1TB M9Pe PCI-e Gen 3 NVME ($120), Gigabyte AORUS 512GB PCI-e Gen 3 NVME with RGB Heat Spreader ($104), Crucial MX500 1TB SATA SSD ($107), 12TB Seagate BarraCuda Pro HDD ($438).
This is absolutely overkill. No one would actually do this; however, I had all the storage laying around from past builds, so I threw it in here. The AORUS Gen 4 drive runs my operating system and most programs and games that I play regularly. The Plextor is my “main” game drive. The 512GB AORUS is a scratch disk from Adobe Premiere Pro. The MX500 is… FOR SCIENCE! And also because I wanted to actually use it. Finally, the 12TB HDD is for mass storage of video files. All told, we have 16.5TB of storage. MADNESS.
What’s an RGB systems without beautiful RGB fans and LED strips?! After trying each of the major brand’s RGB systems, I keep coming back to Corsair. Not only is it easily the most powerful and customizable, iCUE makes creating advanced lighting setups fairly approachable. These fans and strips don’t come cheap but you can do more with them than anything else out there currently. It was also important for me to keep as much as possible within one company’s ecosystem to keep lighting easily in sync and to run fewer programs on the computer.
I brought this power supply over from the RGB Overkill PC v1. It served me well, even when overclocking and runs quiet. I wish it were fully modular but I like the semi-modular approach (those you can’t remove are non-optional if you want your system to run) and everything else can be plugged in as you need them. Plus, the price is right.
Modular Cables: EZDIY-FAB Sleeved Cable with Combs ($25)
Even now, I can’t stomach spending hundreds of dollars on sleeved cables. These reviewed very nicely on Amazon and were very well priced. Building the system with them, I found them to be stiff enough to hold bends well and were generally very easy to build with and felt high quality.
These are the extras. I needed a riser card to vertically mount my GPU in the Corsair 680X case (how can you not with the AORUS Xtreme?!), a fan hub to easily control all of my fans using the AORUS Master’s PWM control, and a USB hub for the lighting controllers.
Additional pieces of the setup:
All of the following are strictly extra but are included to give you a picture of the full content creation/gaming system I’ve assembled.
Let’s get into the build!