Maximum PC - - R&D -

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...

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