AFTER OUR liquid-cooling colossus last month, this was a walk in the park. Built in an afternoon, the most difficult part of its construction was figuring out how to install the CPU heatsink (hint: outside the case), and dealing with the fact that it’s ever so slightly bigger than what the case can support (it’s touching the glass, but everything can be secured down just fine). Aside from that, it was plain sailing. It gave us the chance to put into practice some of the skills we’d learned from our modding friend regarding cable management. A dream build. Two hours, at the end of a fairly friendly working day—what more could we ask for?
With all that spare time, we got to grips with tweaking and tinkering with the system; in particular, overclocking the Core i3. From the get-go, we decided we’d use Intel’s XTU desktop software to do some basic overclocking, but after some less than stellar results, ended up diving into the BIOS anyway. With a small bump up in the voltage to 1.4V, we managed a nice 4.6GHz. Not massive, but it did net us scores of 751 in Cinebench R15’s multicore, and an incredible 198 in single-core. We did get it running at 4.7GHz on 1.42V, but couldn’t achieve any higher than that; 4.8GHz would’ve been nice, but it just wasn’t meant to be. 4.6GHz gave us some solid performance, and “acceptable” temperatures. It’s worth noting that our office is at a constant 21 C ambient temp, so it is a little easier for us to achieve a steady overclock, even in summer. That said, at 4.6GHz, our MasterAir was hitting around 72 C under load with 1.4V, so your mileage may vary. If you do plan on clocking a Core i3-8350K higher, you may very well need a more substantial cooling solution, as Coffee Lake is an exceedingly hot part.
When it comes to graphics, it was quite refreshing to go back to AMD, even temporarily, with the RX 580 8GB. It performed well in our tests—not quite up to scratch compared to our GTX 1060 zero-point, but it did well nonetheless. If you have a FreeSync 1080p monitor setup, having a GPU that’s capable of driving those kind of numbers at ultra is a fairly sound deal. Again, though, we advise trying to find a cheaper RX 580 than ours.
All in all, it went well. There were no major issues, no first-time boot conundrums, and no stress. Combine that with the sleek aesthetic, stunning case, and fine lighting provided by the combination of Gigabyte’s Fusion software and Sapphire’s TRIXX RGB software, and it’s a build that we’re damn proud of.
If only we sleeved our 1 own cables—expect a tutorial covering that exact topic soon! Sapphire’s Radeon RX 2 580 graphics card has almost returned to a reasonable price. The Phanteks P350X 3 chassis has a multitude of RGB modes for the LED...