If there’s one trend in PC building over the last few years, RGB is it. Some people love it and some people hate it, but it’s hard to argue that extra customization is anything but a bad thing. We decided to take it to the next level with our latest build, the RGB Overkill Gaming PC. What happens when you take the industry up on RGB everything? Join us as we find out.
Our goal with this system was to not only to build the ultra-RGB system to end all RGB systems, but also to create a gaming PC that would meet all the needs of your average high-end gamer. Want to play your games at high settings, high resolutions, and high frame rates? This build delivers that. Want to stream to Twitch and not take a big hit to your FPS or how smooth your games run? We’ve got that too, and if you’d like record that gameplay and cut it into a YouTube video, it’s ready for video editing too.
Before we get into the parts we used, we’d like to thank the companies who generously donated parts to make this build possible: Gigabyte, for sponsoring the GPU; Cougar Gaming for our Case, AIO cooler, power supply and RGB fan kits; Seagate for providing the mass storage drive; and, though they didn’t sponsor this project with a separate sample, AMD, as we’re using the CPU and motherboard included in the Ryzen 2000-series reviewer’s kit.
I first saw this case when it was displayed at Computex 2018 and reached out right away to see if we could get one in for review. It’s big and beautiful with triple RGB fins on the front and top with stylish orange grills lining each side of the top panel. The real eye-catcher was the glass-wing doors on each side. Rather than require thumb screws, both tempered glass side panels swing on hinges and latch with small magnets. It’s distinctive, functional, and extremely modern. It also supports lots of options for either air or, as in our build today, liquid cooling.
Though Cougar is sponsoring this project, a quick look through our prior reviews shows a long-lasting sentiment that this is a company that delivers solid products at affordable prices. This case is on the more expensive side, coming in at $183 on Amazon as of this writing, but is clearly a showcase chassis.
Motherboard: ASUS ROG Crosshair VII HERO (Wi-Fi)
In my own personal build, I’ve been using an ASUS ROG Maximus HERO and have been consistently impressed. ROG HERO boards are known for their solid overclocking options and advanced features like Hi Fi audio chipsets, dual m.2 support, lots of connectivity options for fans and USB. I’ve also become a big fan of their support tools, like BIOS Flashback, the error code LED, and CMOS reset buttons. Plus, this board has a good amount of RGB itself!
Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 2700X CPU (8-core/16-thread)
Acting as the brain of our system, we have the AMD Ryzen 7 2700X CPU. It’s a premium processor that’s within spitting distance of the much more expensive offerings from Intel at higher resolutions, all while offering more cores and threads for advanced tasks like streaming and video editing.
CPU Cooler: Cougar Gaming Helor 240 AIO CPU Cooler
To keep it chilly, Cougar sent us their new Helor 240 all-in-one liquid cooler. It includes two RGB fans on the radiator (though we’ll be swapping those out), but the most striking feature is the translucent, RGB pump head. It’s also refillable, so as coolant depletes, you’ll be able to re-up it using an extra bottle of juice included in the box.
We were impressed by this kit when we reviewed it last year. Not only is it quite fast, but the RGB effects are synced using infrared emitters to keep them perfectly in line with each other. Note, the box here lists these at 2933 MHz, however the modules are in fact 3200MHz. There’s a first time for everything.
Graphics Card: Gigabyte Aorus GeForce RTX 2080 XTREME WATERFORCE 8G
This card is a first for me and had me genuinely excited when Gigabyte confirmed they’d be sponsoring this build with it. The RTX 2080 XTREME WATERFORCE 8G includes its own all-in-one liquid cooler. While the card will clock down when not under load, liquid cooling is the way to go when you want your system to live at its boost speed. On my RTX 2080 Ti Founders Editions, thermal throttling is a major concern unless you want to turn your room into an aircraft hangar with all of the fan noise. Here, the 2080 should run cool, quiet, and consistently fast.
For solid state storage, we decided to include both an M.2 NVME drive and a cost effective, yet high performance, SATA SSD. For our operating system, we used a WD Blue 3D NAND SATA SSD. This drive offers impressive speeds for speedy boot-ups while not costing an arm and a leg. For our game drive, we opted for a Plextor M9Pe. With read speeds of 3200 MB/s and writes at 2000 MB/s, it’s a substantial upgrade from what’s possible over SATA and should work to cut down our load times (and handle game copies speedy quick).
Mass Storage: Seagate BarraCuda Pro 12TB HDD
Since we also wanted this system to work for video editing, we reached out to Seagate who sponsored us with one of their new BarraCuda Pro drives. Since the drive uses helium, it can not only deliver an amazing amount of storage but also excellent transfer speeds to boot.
Power Supply: Cougar GX1050 1050-Watt Power Supply
To power the system, we’re using the Cougar GX1050 1050-watt semi-modular power supply. It’s overkill for the components in the system currently, but one of our considerations when choosing a PSU is how well it will supply anything we might like to upgrade to in the future. A second GTX 2080? Since the power supply should easily last into the next GPU generation, maybe a pair of GTX 3080 Tis? Wishful thinking maybe, but this PSU should deliver nonetheless.
Cougar are masters of red, green, and blue and we generous enough to supply more RGB than any one person (except us) needs. The bulk of our lighting comes in the form of the excellent dual light ring SPB 120 RGB fans. We went into the build with a total of seven fans, though didn’t quite use them all (we came close!). Each kit also comes with a lighting controller hub to keep your RGB connections concise and can sync with most motherboards, too.
We also used a single RGB LED strip that also connects into the central hub. In a tiny bit of modding, we cut down a longer Lee Valley aluminum LED channel and spray painted it so we could make use of an opal diffuser bar.
Monitor not included, the total cost to purchase these exact items between Amazon and Newegg (where Amazon was not possible) is: $3217.88. Is it practical? Not really, but it should be clear that a good deal in this build could be swapped out to dramatically lower the cost.
Click through to page two to see how the build went!