This week, we launched the hardware coverage on our YouTube channel with a killer Ryzen gaming build. With Destiny 2 just around the corner, we worked with all of our hardware partners to put together a build that will not only produce a rock your FPS but also set you up to do all of the streaming and game capture you could want.
Let’s start by looking at the parts:
Motherboard: MSI Gaming Pro Carbon X370 - $169.99: See it on Amazon
The MSI X370 motherboard is a great choice for gamers building a Ryzen system that may add a second video card. In this build we only used one, but opted for the X370 over the single-GPU (and cheaper) B350 because we like the freedom of being able to add one in the future. It also offers additional SATA and USB ports, on top of two M.2 slots, VR and Audio Boost, two-zone RGB illumination, as well as some excellent overclocking software that can be adjusted inside of Windows. Plus, lots of fan headers. We love those.
Budget alternative: MSI Gaming Pro Carbon B350 - $129.99: See it on Amazon
If you don’t need the extra connections or multi-GPU support, the B350 version provides an excellent alternative that performs almost identically. Note that the B350 features one M.2 slot.
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 1700x - $299.99: See it on Amazon
The Ryzen 7 1700X is the middle child between the Ryzen 7 1700 and 1800X. It’s an 8-core, 16-thread CPU that comes with factory clock speeds of 3.4GHz stock, 3.8GHz boost - even jumping to 3.9GHz with XFR if temperatures allow. In games, it simply kills, successfully avoiding bottlenecking the GPU at 1080 and 1440p. Yes, you could get the 1700 and overclock it yourself, but there’s no guarantee when it comes to Ryzen overclocking and for five extra dollars, why not?
Budget alternative: Ryzen 5 1500X - $179.99: See it on Amazon
If you’re not doing CPU intensive work like video editing, or are gaming at 1440p or above, you can save a pretty penny and go for the 1500X with very little performance difference.
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Masterliquid 240 - $89.99: See it on Amazon
Since we’re interested in overclocking, we went with a 240mm dual fan Cooler Master Masterliquid 240. It runs virtually silently and keeps our CPU chilly, even under pressure. It also features holes to attach fans on both sides for push-pull configurations, but note that the kit only comes with enough mounting screws for the included two fans.
Budget alternative: Cooler Master MasterAir Pro 4 - $46.10: See it on Amazon
If you’re uncomfortable with liquid cooling, or simply want to save a few dollars, the MasterAir Pro 4 is a highly reviewed alternative that’s even competitive with some smaller liquid coolers. You will need to request a free AM4 kit from Cooler Master to work on either motherboard featured here.
Memory: Patriot Viper DDR4-3200 2X8GB - $154.99: See it on Amazon
Patriot is well known for producing high quality modules. They were also one of the very first to release a compatibility list demonstrating which were compatible with Ryzen, which earned major points at the time we went looking. Their Viper 4’s look great, and the 3200MHz speed goes a long way toward pushing Ryzen to its potential.
Budget alternative: Patriot Viper Elite DDR4-2133 2X8GB - $134.99: See it on Amazon
If you’re cash strapped, dropping the speed also drops the price. This also allows you to step up to Patriot’s Elite line.
GPU: Gigabyte Gaming G1 GTX 1080 - $549.99: See it on Amazon
The rig we’re building today won’t be pushing beyond 1440p, so Gigabyte’s Gaming G1 GTX 1080 is just what the doctor ordered. It’s overclocked straight from the factory with speeds of 1721/1860MHz in OC mode. It runs quiet and cool, features customizable RGB lighting, and is priced right at $549.
Budget alternative: Gigabyte Gaming G1 GTX 1070 - $379.99 - See it on Amazon
Shake your first at cryptominers for this one, because the price hasn’t dropped back to normal yet. Things should be levelling out soon, and when they do, this card will make a great option that should still perform respectably at 1440p.
Gaming SSD: WD Black PCIe 512GB - $199.99: See it on Amazon
The WD Black PCIe M.2 drive represents an excellent value. It pulls off great read speeds, allowing for fast load times, which makes this a perfect game drive.
Budget alternative: WD Black PCIe 256GB - $120.00 - See it on Amazon
With game sizes increasing every year, this drive will limit you to three games or so at a time. If you’re comfortable moving games around, the 256GB version will save a good $80 on your build cost.
OS SSD: WD Blue 3D NAND 1TB - $279.99: See it on Amazon
For an OS drive, Western Digital’s new 3D NAND Blue fits the bill to a tee. It provides for speedy start-ups and some of the most consistent transfer speeds we’ve seen on a new SATA SSD this year. The size also means you can drop a game or two on it and have space to spare!
Budget alternative: WD Blue 500GB - $164.99 - See it on Amazon
The reasoning is the same as the Black. You can afford to halve the size if you’re comfortable with less overall storage. 500GB still represents a healthy SSD, especially for an OS drive.
Mass Storage 1: WD Black 1TB - $66.99: See it on Amazon
When it comes to hard drives, we prefer to have a small, easy to back-up secondary drive. It takes up some space in the case, but is nice for organizing files. The WD Black is Western Digital’s high end consumer drive, so it’s performance is respectable in all regards.
Budget alternative: No secondary drive
Mass Storage 2: WD Gold 10TB - $417.27: See it on Amazon
Since we’re doing video work on this PC, we wanted a monster hard drive to save deleting our ever growing collection of video files. When you’re doing good work, you don’t want to delete it or be forced to pay for a cloud service unless you have to. This drive will last ages at this size, has a huge amount of cache, high RPMs, and an excellent dollar to gigabyte ratio.
Budget alternative: WD Black 2TB - $119.99 - See it on Amazon
With two other hard drives already in the system, a solid 2TB will give you a healthy amount of space for your Steam library.
Okay, we’re cheating a little bit on this shot. After production, several of our pictures of the case became inexplicably inaccessible. It’s a beaut, so be sure to check it out in the video.
Case: Cougar Panzer S - $99.99: See it on Amazon
We’ll have a full review of this case coming soon, but suffice it to say, it rocks. It’s paneled with tempered glass on both sides, features four front-panel USB ports, a groovy angular, militaristic design, and features breatheable front, rear, and top panels to promote excellent airflow. It also supports 240 and 360mm radiators and has enough space for push-pull configurations.
PSU: Cougar GX-S 750 Watt - $74.99: See it on Amazon
This PSU looks great (yes, I know, it’s hidden in a shroud, but it does!) and supports SLI with some nice headroom at the 750 watt point for future system expansions. It’s not modular, but features some nice sheathing on the cabling and has plenty of connections for virtually any rig.
We themed our build after Destiny 2, which makes heavy use of orange and blue. We mounted two orange fans on the top radiator, blue fans on the bottom and rear, and accented our build with the blue LED strips along either side.
Display 1: Viotek GN32Q - $599.99: See it on Amazon
This monitor has become my new best friend. I originally discovered it as a Massdrop featured drop and they were kind enough to send it over for us to feature. If this monitor isn’t to your taste, they routinely features others at discounted affordable prices.
The GN32Q is a massive 32 inches wide, runs at 2560x1440 (1440p) resolution at a rapid 144Hz. It features a unique rose golden color with a gorgeous curved VA panel with virtually no bezel to speak of. Since it’s VA, you can count on better color reproduction and viewing angles. The blacks on this display are just fantastic. It also features Freesync for AMD users, an sRGB mode for content creators, multiple color and responsiveness modes, and an optional reticle for FPS games.
Budget alternative: Either Display 1 or Display 2
Display 2: Acer Predator XB252Q 240Hz - $529.99: See it on Amazon
The Acer Predator XB2 is a superb monitor. Sure, it runs at 1080p, but it does so at an incredibly fast and responsive 240Hz. This monitor also features G-Sync which results in a buttery smoothness it’s hard to fully understand until you’ve tried it yourself. The bezel is even smaller than on the This is an e-Sports monitor and a perfect fit for CS:GO fans.
Budget alternative: Either Display 1 or Display 2
One note, for those looking for more GPU power:
We opted for the large hard drive here, but if you don’t need that and would rather push some extra frames, you can put those extra funds toward a Gigabyte AORUS GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and really rock that frame rate. Since we wanted this to be a multi-purpose build, we opted for the former.
With that out of the way, let’s get to the build guide!