$800 Gaming PC Build – The Tank [i5 + RX 480!]
Howdy howdy guys, Ponchato here, and today we’re going to take a look at my $800 i5, RX 480 gaming PC build: The Tank. [intro] This beautiful micro ATX build came about because the Sleeper didn’t have USB 3 ports on the front panel (among a few other problems) and I was tired of the enormous case my old PC had, which took up about a quarter of the space under my desk. I wanted something smaller than that and faster than the Sleeper, so I built this. So why is it called “The Tank”? Once the build was finished I picked it up and moved it into my room and it was surprisingly heavy for its size.
I thought to myself “This thing’s a tank.” And so I named it The Tank. Mystery solved. So this PC is built around an Intel i5-7500, quad core, 3.4GHz Kaby Lake processor. My old desktop has an i5-750, so if my calculations are correct, because 7500 is 10 times more than 750, this computer should be 10 times faster than my old one. That was a joke. The processor will be cooled by a Deepcool Gammaxx 400, my new favorite CPU tower cooler. The graphics will be powered by an MSI RX 480 4GB with the reference blower cooler.
Pro tip: if you’re trying to build a silent computer, don’t get a card with a blower cooler. They are not silent. As in the Sleeper build, memory comes from Team Group. The same Team Elite Plus DDR4 2400, 2x4GB kit. Storage is provided by a Crucial MX300 525GB m.2 SATA III SSD. Something I found interesting: this is my first build with an m.2 SSD and these things are tiny, like less than half the size of a stick of RAM. In my Sleeper build I used an ASRock B150M Pro4V motherboard, and because that didn’t suck I went with ASRock again for the Tank. This one is built on an ASRock B250M Pro4 microATX motherboard. Pretty. All this stuff is powered by a SeaSonic M12II Evo 620W fully modular, 80+ Bronze power supply, and jammed into a Fractal Design Core 1500 microATX case.
In depth reviews of the motherboard and case are coming, because I really like both of them. As usual, the build started outside the case with the assembly of the motherboard. First up was dropping the processor into the LGA 1151 socket and clamping it down. [Terrible cpu retention clip sound] What a beautiful sound. Next, I added a pea sized drop of DeepCool Z5 thermal paste to the center of the processor. To install the Gammaxx 400, I removed the fan, centered the heatsink on the i5, and pressed in the retention clips. But, something went wrong. The last clip gave me a ton of trouble, and even after it snapped into place, it was still loose.
After a few minutes of trying to figure out why it wasn’t working, I flipped over the motherboard and looked at the bottom of the retention clips. Turns out one of the prongs on the loose clip had bent itself on the top of the motherboard instead of going through the hole. Awesome. So, I removed the heatsink, bent the offending prong back into shape, and reinstalled it, making sure that all the clips were seated correctly. Now, some of you are probably saying “foolish boy, you have to clean the old thermal paste off, otherwise you’ll trap air and the cooling effectiveness will be reduced!” Well… Yes and no. If this were a 7700K and I were overclocking, then I would have cleaned the thermal paste off the CPU and the heatsink, to make sure that the new paste was optimally spread out with no air bubbles.
Every degree counts. But, this is only an i5, it’s only running at 3.4GHz, and it can’t be overclocked. Plus, the TDP is only 65 watts, so this isn’t a hot chip to begin with. If you don’t believe me, I’ll cover the CPU temperatures in the benchmark video to put your mind at ease. Next up, I installed the memory. Sticks go in, retention clips set themselves, and all is well. Once the memory was in place, I reattached the Gammaxx 400’s fan to the heatsink and plugged it in to the motherboard’s CPU fan header. Finally, I installed the Crucial MX300 SSD. If you’ve never held an m.2 SSD before, they’re tiny. Only a little bit bigger than a USB thumb drive. The thing I love most about them, though, is the fact that you don’t have any extra cables to deal with; power and data come right through the motherboard slot. I secured it with the tiny m.2 screw, and motherboard assembly was complete. Next up, case assembly. The Fractal Design Core 1500 comes with some great features, but the one that immediately stood out was the adapter for the motherboard standoffs: it lets you use a standard Phillips head screw driver to tighten them down.
That’s a really nice touch. Once the standoffs were in place, I popped the I/O shield into the back of the case and installed the motherboard. With most of the components already installed, it’s just a matter of lining up the mounting holes with the standoffs. While putting in the screws I got interrupted by a knock at the door: my RX 550 had arrived. Benchmark video soon. After that, I finished installing the motherboard screws, then took out the expansion slot covers for the RX 480. I lined it up with the slot, secured the retention clip, and reinstalled the screws. Finally, I installed the SeaSonic M12II 620W power supply in the bottom of the case. I had to turn it upright because there’s a bit of space between the power supply and the motherboard tray – the screws didn’t line up with the case when it was on its side. Because I’m only going to using the motherboard to control the fans, I removed the Core 1500’s fan controller wires.
Fortunately, they just pop right out. Next, the nightmare of cable management. One of the few things I don’t like about the SeaSonic M12II is that the PCIe power cables have a 6 pin and 6+2 pin connector on each cable. So, if you’re only using one power connector, the other one is just going to be dangling off in the middle of your case.
Fortunately I only had 3 cables in total to deal with: the 24 pin ATX, 8 pin EPS, and the PCIe cable. I tied the cables down on the back side of the motherboard , reinstalled the side and front panels, and the build was ready to go. The great thing these days is how fast and easy it is to install Windows. You can download Microsoft’s media creation tool, turn any 4GB or larger USB stick into a Windows installer, and it all takes about 10 minutes from first boot to sitting at the desktop. I’ll be uploading the benchmark video soon, but to put it in a few words: damn, this thing is awesome. I’m finally able to put my 144Hz monitor to good use on high or ultra settings, and stuttering is now a thing of the past.
Stay tuned for the full benchmark video soon. Now, the cost breakdown. The Core i5-7500 was $195, Deepcool Gammax 400 was around $25, the ASRock B250M Pro4 was $75, the Crucial MX300 SSD was $160, Fractal Design Core 1500 was $75, and the SeaSonic M12II 620 was also $75. Team Group doesn’t maintain their inventory on Amazon very well, so I linked instead to a Ballistix Sport 8GB kit for $60, which is a few dollars less than what I paid for the Team memory. The only major change is that instead of an RX 480, I linked to an RX 580 since the 400 series isn’t being produced anymore. The good news (or bad news, depending on how you look at it) is the RX 580s are basically just a rebadge of the 480s and the price stays the same. The Asus RX 580 that I linked will have the same or slightly better performance for $205, which is only $5 more than what I paid for this RX 480. That brings the build total to $871; a bit more than my planned budget, but well worth the small extra cost to not cut performance corners.
All the parts to this build are linked in the description below, and you can expect the benchmark video soon after this gets uploaded. So guys if you liked this video hit the like button, if you want to see more hit subscribe, and if you have any questions on this build or the parts I chose, leave them in the comments below. Thanks for watching, I hope it was interesting, and I’ll see you in the next video..
As found on Youtube