Enjoying Computers and Blogging

Grant’s Computer

PC components

Here’s a quick rundown of my computer

After using a GTX 970 video card for seven years (with two different builds), I finally got an Asus TUF RTX3080-O10G-V2-GAMING. As an upgrade reference, when diving into an Apex Legends arena, the 3080 puts out 100 FPS more than the 970. The 970 is a respectable card. However, it’s showing its age nowadays by not even making the upcoming Battlefield 2042’s minimum PC requirements.

The rest of this PC build is still OK for my everyday needs, and I don’t bother to overclock at the moment. A Z690 platform with DDR5 memory looks interesting, but right now, this build gets the job done. Be sure to leave a comment and let me know which parts you would replace first and why.

My Computer Hardware

Case: Silverstone Raven RV04
Motherboard: Gigabyte Z390 Auros Master (Bios F11n)
CPU: Intel i9-9900K
GPU: Asus TUF RTX3080-O10G-V2-GAMING
Memory: 32 Gigs (2 x 16) Corsair Vengeance LPX 3200
SSD: Samsung 970 Evo Plus 1TB, ADATA SX900 x2, ..
HDD: Western Digital WD20EZRX
Cooling: Noctua NH-D15
Extra Case Fan: Noctua NF-P12
PSU: Silverstone SST1000-P
Fan control: Thermaltake Commander F6 RGB
Monitor: BenQ Zowie XL2546K, Dell U2410
Audio Interface: Focusrite 2i4
Headphones: Sony MDR-7506
Microphone: Blue Yeti Pro
Keyboards: Logitech Solar Keyboard K750 / Logitech G Pro
Mouse: Logitech G502 Hero / Logitech G903
Webcam: Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920
OS: Windows 11

Computer Case – Silverstone Raven RV04

The Silverstone RV04 is a pretty good computer case. It fits large E-ATX motherboards and has enough room for long GPUs and plenty of hard drives. The removable motherboard tray comes in handy when building your system. The front fans are large, nice and quiet, and are adjustable with two fan speed switches on the front of the case.

Silverstone Raven RV04 case - Side view - open panel

The front door of the case is lighter and more flexible than it looks. If you have thick carpet in your room, the door might brush the carpet when you open or close it. Behind the door and covering the two fans is a large, well-built dust cover section which does a pretty good job. (I’ve yet to own a case that doesn’t let some dust in.)

Silverstone Raven RV04 - Front and Rear views

Airflow through the case is good, and you can remove the internal hard drive bay to create more space. Adding an extra fan on the back of the case should keep the air pumping out the back.

I came from a Silverstone RV02 case before this one (which mounts the motherboard vertically). Both computer cases have been OK. The only thing to consider with these types of cases is that the window is on the right-hand side, so the logo on your GPU will be upside down.

Silverstone Raven RV04 - showing airflow direction in through the front of the case and out the back

Motherboard – Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Master

When it comes to motherboards, I mostly care about performance and reputation. The Gigabyte Master series of motherboards tend to be a little overkill, but they are powerful and have plenty of options, including the opportunity to overclock if you want. The included M.2 slots are appreciated (as with all motherboards), although I’m only using one M.2 drive. The Bios (Bios F11n) is easy to use, and this motherboard supports Windows 11. I’m not into RGB, and you can turn that off by running apps like RGB Fusion (Aorus Master Downloads).

Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Master Motherboard

Processor (CPU) – Intel Core i9-9900K

The 9900K is Intel’s 9th Generation Intel® Core™ i9 Processor (Coffee Lake). I’ve had this CPU for about 3 or 4 years. It has eight cores, and it’s fast enough for most things nowadays, from creativity to gaming. The 9900K is easy to overclock to 5.00 GHz with a decent third-party cooling solution. For a guy of my age, there is little reason to upgrade from this, in my opinion, unless you are competitively seeking better computing or gaming performance.

Intel Core i9-9900K

Video card (GPU) – Asus TUF RTX3080-O10G-V2-GAMING

The video card is often the most exciting part to upgrade for PC builders. This Asus TUF RTX3080 is no exception. It’s an excellent upgrade from my previous GTX 970. As I mentioned above, compared to the GTX 970, it puts out more than an extra 100 FPS in Apex Legends. I haven’t tried other games yet. So far, it performs well, runs quietly, and can be a future-proof option for anyone who gets one.

Asus TUF RTX3080-O10G-V2-GAMING

Power Supply (PSU) – Silverstone ST1000-P

The Silverstone ST1000-P is a 1000 watt power supply that I’ve had for about eight years. As you can see in the picture, it is fully modular (you can remove the cables). By choosing to upgrade to the RTX 3080 version above (which only requires two 8-pin power cables), I continued using this very reliable and quiet power supply. Every six months or so, I’ll thoroughly clean my PC components, including taking off the PSU fan shield, wiping the fan blades, and carefully vacuuming inside.

Silverstone ST1000-P Power supply

Computer Case Exhaust fan – Noctua NF-P12

Noctua fans are efficient and very quiet. When I need a 120 mm case fan, I’ll get something like the Noctua NF-P12 shown here, or whatever the latest Noctua version is nowadays. I’ve been using NF-P12s for a long time.

Noctua NF-P12 Cooling Fan

Webcam – Logitech HD Pro C920

The C920 is one of the old, well-known, good-quality webcams that handle 1080p video. As an English teacher in Japan who, as well as in classrooms, teaches online with Skype, Teams, Zoom, or Line, I need to have a half-decent webcam.

Logitech HD Pro Webcam C910

Computer Mouse – Logitech G502 wired gaming mouse

The Logitech G502 is my current favorite computer mouse, especially for gaming, and I talk about it here.

Logitech G502 Hero gaming mouse

Audio Interface – Focusrite 2i4

I originally got the Focusrite 2i4 to work with a musical keyboard and Digital Audio Workstation on the PC. I plug my microphone into it using XLR cables. When adjusting the microphone for online chatting or sound production, you can use the green or red lights on the 2i4 to let you know if your voice is clipping (or creating distortion).

Focusrite 2i4

Microphone – Blue Yeti Pro

I needed a microphone for teaching and communicating online. The Blue Yeti range is pretty decent, and the audio quality is good. You can connect it to your PC via USB or XLR.

Blue Yeti Pro

CPU Cooler – Noctua NH-D15

When it comes to third-party PC air cooling solutions, it’s hard to beat the performance of Noctua products. The NH-D15 is the natural successor to the original king, the NH-D14. Not everyone likes the color scheme of Noctua products, although I wouldn’t want to change it – so excellent is Noctua’s reputation and respect.

The NH-D15 sticks out slightly higher than the original NH-D14. I had to take my computer case window off from the inside of the case and stick it to the outside, allowing just a couple of extra millimeters to house this majestic yet whisper-quiet CPU cooler.

Noctua NH-D15 CPU Cooler

Fan controller – Thermaltake Commander F6 RGB

I prefer to manually adjust fan speeds for both the CPU and computer case. This Commander F6 RGB by Thermaltake allows you to control up to 6 fans in your system. I’ve had this controller for about eight years, and eventually, one of the knobs stopped working correctly. (The knob turns, but the speed for that channel doesn’t change.) Fortunately, in this current PC build, I only need to control five fans. Two front case fans, the two main fans on the CPU cooler, and one rear (exhaust) case fan. (The three GPU fans automatically adjust via the GPU.)

With the Commander F6 RGB, it’s handy to manually adjust fan speeds for the summer, winter, primarily gaming, or to have as quiet a PC as possible. You can change the color of the front display (which displays fan rpm, temperatures, and voltages) via the hardware to match your system. The knobs act as buttons too for various settings and adjustments.

Thermaltake Commander F6 RGB Fan controller

Monitor – Dell U2410 – 24″

The Dell U2410 is one of my original monitors here in Japan. The quality is pretty good for an old monitor. Over the years, I picked up two more Dell U2410s and gave one away. I don’t use mine as much. However, it’s set up as a dual monitor display if I need an extra monitor, especially for watching video tutorials.

Dell U2410 Monitor

Monitor (Gaming) – BenQ Zowie XL2546K

I got the 240Hz Zowie XL2546K to try to up my game in Apex Legends. Even with a GTX 970 video card at the time, it was a beneficial upgrade from the 60Hz Dell U2410. Now that I’m using an RTX 3080, the only bottleneck to my gaming is my age.

BenQ Zowie XL2546K gaming monitor

Keyboard – Logitech Wireless Solar K750

The Wireless Solar K750 by Logitech deserves an article written all for itself. I was initially looking for a quiet chicklet-style keyboard to type through the night unhindered without annoying anyone. The K750 is solar-powered, and the keys sound nice and soft. It seems rare to be able to find something that genuinely seems to cost nothing to use. You don’t need to buy extra batteries as it produces enough power to communicate to your PC.

I don’t recommend the K750 for long session gaming at night (with the lights off) as the power might eventually run out by morning. For gaming, I use a wired Logitech G Pro keyboard. The Wireless Solar K750 is slim and stylish. If I could change anything about it, I’d give it backlit keys for using at night, and I’d make it a little stronger. (I’ve gone through about three of them in the past ten years or so.)

Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750

USB 3.0 Hub with Individual Power Switch and LED

In a world where privacy and privacy rights are somewhat questionable, having a USB hub with physical switches and lights allows you to be more aware of your online communication status. Webcam and laptop manufacturers see more the need to include a camera flap or cover nowadays. A decision that you might have mocked a decade ago. If you connect your camera or microphone to a hub with physical switches and LEDs, you can see at a glance when your devices are truly disconnected. I don’t use the USB hub pictured here, but it looks like a good one.

USB hub with physical switches and lights

Internet connection – Hikari Fiber

We use Hikari Fiber here at the moment. My budget and needs don’t justify anything faster right now. As a part of your computer build, for me at least, internet speed should not be overlooked. If I ever change apartments, one of the first things I check for is the available internet connection speed.

Internet speed test 165 Mbps

Other thoughts

Now that the video card is new and I’ve switched to Windows 11, this PC build feels fresh again and doesn’t need any upgrades anytime soon. I enjoy playing Apex Legends, and I look forward to playing Battlefield 2042 when it’s released. (I didn’t try the beta, although I’ve enjoyed seeing it on YouTube.)

Here’s a quick visual video montage introduction to Building Computers for anyone curious about building your first computer.

How often do you build computers?

Let me know in the comments which PC component you would change first. You can post an image and info of your PC build if you want. 👍 If we can get some more writers here, we should see their builds too!

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