I talked about component choices for my new Ryzen 7 1800X system recently. Now it’s time to go into some detail about the process of building the system. This is not a step-by-step guide; it’s more a discussion of the overall flow of system building as it pertains to this particular PC. So let’s begin at the beginning, shall we?
Stripping the Glass, Adding Storage
I stripped all the tempered glass panels off the Corsair Crystal 570X case, leaving the protective film on the glass. I carefully set aside the panels and took a look at the interior. The power supply mounts readily inside its little compartment. An LED-lit shroud covers the PSU on the opposite side of the case. The case includes a pair of 5.25-inch brackets for hard drives and another pair of 3.5-inch for SSDs. The case has no provision for internal optical drives, but I rarely need one these days and have a good external Blu-ray drive if the need arises.
I installed the 6TB Western Digital Black secondary drive and the 2TB Samsung 960 EVO into their respective slots.
In Goes the Motherboard and Ryzen 7 1800X
I’d installed the Ryzen 7 1800X processor prior to installing the motherboard. Given that AMD CPUs have pins on the CPU, installing it with the motherboard outside the case makes it just a little less likely I’ll bend a pin, which is much better for my blood pressure.
I remembered to install the rear I/O panel; I’ve forgotten it in past builds, only to have to remove the motherboard to install it. The Gigabyte GA-AX370 Gaming 5 motherboard slid into place pretty easily. Corsair cases now have the center motherboard standoff set as a pin rather than hex nut, which provides a nice guide for the board. You can now see the PSU shroud on the right of the photo, below.
The standoff screws go in pretty easily and everything lines up just fine. I connect up all the small interior wires: power button, power LED, main PSU connector, ATX12V connector, and interior USB 3.0 cable. So far, so good.
Cooler, DDR4, and Cabling
Before diving into the CPU cooler installation, I pop in the twin 16GB DDR4 memory sticks. As I usually do, use the second and fourth DRAM socket. This is probably superstition on my part, from an earlier era where installing the memory in some boards in slot one generated stability problems.
I mounted the Corsair H100i v2 radiator onto what would become the top of the case, followed by the cooling fan.
After making sure the radiator lines up like I want, I attach the radiator fans. The 100i v2 uses 120mm fans; I’d tried to install an H110i earlier, but a heatsink on the motherboard prevented using the larger 140mm fans. C’est la vie.
The bracket requires removing the standard AM4 plastic bracket and installing four standoff screws for attaching the pump assembly. I hand-tighten the screws when attaching the heat sink to the standoffs.
As usual, I need to play around with the orientation of the heatsink to minimize curves in the coolant hose. After several different tries, I finally find an orientation I prefer.
Everything Else: Graphics, Audio, Routing, and Windows 10
The rest of the installation goes pretty smoothly. The GTX 1080 Ti slides into the primary PCIe x16 slot while the Sound Blaster ZX card goes into the outermost PCIe x1 slot. I carefully (well, carefully for me, anyway) route the cables, including PCIe power for the GPU plus SATA and power for storage. The Corsair case includes a removable cover which screws down over the main cable route which makes everything look neater than using tiedowns.
As always, I feel a little trepidation when hitting the power button for the first time. Everything lights up and the BIOS screen appears. CPU temps seem unusually high at 58 degrees C, but then I remember that AMD built in a CPU temperature offset. Interestingly, the latest BIOS update from Gigabyte seems to correct for the offset automatically; it now reports CPU temps hovering around 34 degrees C.
I do encounter one glitch when installing Windows.
Setup has always been sensitive to memory speeds. I ensure the memory is indeed running at the default PC2133 speed and restart setup. Windows installs flawlessly. Since that install, I’ve updated to Windows 10 Creators Edition, which went smoothly. Overall, the system seems to be running fine. I’ve installed most of the software I used. Microsoft Office and Photoshop seem to run without a hitch. I’ve also run several games including Prey, Ghost Recon Wildlands, Mass Effect Andromeda, XCOM2, and Endless Space 2. I did encounter one crash, which I can attribute to a failed attempt to push memory up to DDR4 3000 speed. Other than that, everything’s been smooth sailing so far.
Oh, yeah, and it’s sure nice having eight cores and sixteen threads.