Need advice for a case + other crap

Hey all of the Tek Syndicate guys & gals, how is everyone? My first post here on the forums, but I've been a viewer via the Youtube channel for quite some time now. Anyway, to the meat:

Building my first DIY PC since the Pentium 3 days (yea, i'm old-ish). I've got a few parts already ordered and a few parts I already own (all are still new-in-box). Going for a function-over-form, air cooled rig here. Nothing fancy, I'd like to be able to run the newer games but I don't need anything more than 1080p/60. No crazy overclocking, I might bump up the CPU a bit since the ASUS board I ordered supports it native, but only a very slight bump-up. [EDIT: To clarify, I meant that the MB natively supports overclocking/tinkering-with-shit in the BIOS] I'm cool with stock parts, doesn't bother me and stability is more important to me. I'm not going to be doing any rendering or any really intensive applications, it'll be my daily driver and gaming box.

Here's what I have so far:

CPU: AMD FX-8350 -- 8 core, 4.0 jibbahurts, cooks breakfast in the morning.

MOBO: ASUS M5A99X EVO R2.0 -- 3x PCI-e 16x slots, 4x DIMM, seems like a good one. (thanks to user Some Tech Noob for the assistance)

RAM: 8GB Corsair Vengeance Pro DDR3 1600 (2x4GB DIMMs) -- going for 1866 or higher didn't seem worth it in price vs. performance increase

PSU: Corsair CX500 (non-modular, 80 PLUS Bronze) -- maybe I could have gone with a bit more juice, but it was on sale for $49 with a $20 rebate, and I'm a poor bastard.

CPU COOLER: Cooler Master Hyper T4 -- on sale, seemed adequate for my needs

STORAGE: Kingston SSDNow v300 Series 120GB SSD + can cannibalize several mechanical HDDs from my current system

CASE: Fractal Design Define XL R2 -- A Scandinavian behemoth. Plenty of room for my gorilla paws to play around in, and virtually endless future upgrade potential. Was a little more than I wanted to spend, but @ $105 shipped it was a good deal on a big, solid case.


Here's what I need a bit of help with (any suggestions would be appreciated, Yes I know AMD is for poor people, that's why I'm going with it):

VIDEO CARD: I'm really liking what I hear and read about Mantle, so I'm probably going to go AMD here. I'm leaning towards the R9 270X (can't afford 290X), whenever they come back in stock. Maybe an MSI or Gigabyte card, their GPU coolers always seem to get good reviews, unless I'm mistaken?


For Display I'll use what I have now, it's a Zalman 21" 1080p LCD it's fine. Peripherals I'm not concerned with right now, got plenty of mice & KBs laying around I can use for now. Any advice or suggestions from the folks here would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance, and feel free to ask anything you need. Happy new year!


I woud always go with cooler master haf x or cooler master haf stacker but for this build you can really use any case you want like or

Asus M5A97 LE R2.0 does not support the FX-8350.  The power delivery has no cooling and is also weak.

I would recommend you get the Asus M5A99FX Pro R2.0, which has a 6+2 digital power phase design with nice cooling.

If that motherboard brings you over your budget, you can get the FX-8320.  It's pretty much a lower binned FX-8350.

1600mhz RAM is fine for your purposes.

The Define R4 is a great case, but also expensive.  The Source 210, Corsair 200R, and Source 220 are great budget cases.

The R9 270 has very similar performance the the R9 270X.  Most benchmarks show a 3-5fps difference, but the R9 270 is often $30 cheaper.

MSI gaming GPUs are great.  I don't like Gigabyte cards as much due to locked voltages.  Sapphire's Dual-X and Vapor-X cards are great(I have a Dual-X HD 7950[similar to R9 280X]).  Asus' Direct CU2 coolers are also good.

As for the CPU Cooler, look at the Hyper 212 Plus and Hyper 212 Evo.  They should perform better than the T4, but are still $30.

Hoped this helped.

as log as stuff fit in case its good i got my case for $10 and i dont even know the name of it

Pretty much, and at least some airflow going through the case.

I know people who cut cardboard boxes for cases, and slap a fan somewhere as an intake lol.

Hey, thanks for the reply. I do appreciate any help I can get!

Concerning the MB - I tried to do my homework on this and researched fairly heavily, according to ASUS the M5A97 LE R2.0 is compatible with the FX-8350 (link). What do you mean by the "power delivery cooling" ? I'm afraid that's a bit above my realm of knowledge there. Is something that advanced really something I need to take into heavy consideration, being as I'm not going to be doing any heavy overclocking or customs mods? I'm planning on leaving this stuff pretty much stock, with maybe a SLIGHT increase in the CPU clock, but if it's unstable I have no problem leaving it completely stock.

i have tryed that but it rip way easy. I amde a case out of wood once just to see how it woud work

It does list it in the CPU support list, but here's why we don't recommend using a relatively low end board with a high end, power hungry CPU.

Power delivery.  It's what takes the raw power from the PSU and splits it around the board.  If you search "M5A97 le R2.0 Power Phase", you can find sources saying "4+2 power phase".  The "M5A99FX Pro R2.0 power phase" search will bring up "6+2 Digi+ Power Phase".  What do these things mean?

So the basic layout is "#1+#2".  #1 refers to the power phases going to the CPU.  #2 refers to the power phases going to the RAM(usually doesn't matter that much).  In general, the higher the numbers are, the better.  For AMD CPUs, if #1 is 4, I will usually recommend only going up the the AMD FX-6300.  If #1 is 6, you can easily handle 8 core AMD CPUs, and even have some overclocking headroom.  Overclocking will not only heat up your CPU, but it will also stress and heat up the power delivery.  This is why with higher end, power hungry chips, we recommend a motherboard with cooling on the power phases.

Then there's Digi+/digital versus analog/normal VRMs(aka power phases).  Digital VRMs are superior to analog VRMs because they allow for more precise overclocks, and are often of higher quality.

So you may ask, there are so many heatsinks on the motherboard.  How do I know which one has cooling over the VRMs?

Usually the power delivery/VRMs(may also be referred to as capacitors/chokes) is between the CPU socket and the rear Input/output.  e.g.:

The red outline shows the majority of the power delivery system.  The M5A97 LE R2.0 just has them exposed to the air.  This is fine for low power systems.

Oh the other hand, the M5A99FX Pro R2.0 has a nice beefy heatsink on the power delivery system.  This helps prevent your motherboard from frying out on you.

We've had a guy on the forum put an 8350 with an M5A97 LE R2.0 and have his power delivery fail, resulting in a dead motherboard.  He was running his 8350 pretty close to stock speeds, and eventually the motherboard decided to die after a couple months of usage.

Hopefully this helped!


Thanks for taking the time to explain that. It's always good to learn things. I was familiar with the (very) basics of VRMs but wasn't aware that they actually would heat up to the point of needing a heatsink/heat-spreader. Let alone heat up to the point of failing and rendering the entire board e-trash.

Since I'm not going to be doing anything heavy on the overclocking front (I may just leave it stock flat-out) do you think I could mitigate the VRM heat with good, solid air flow? I might have to spring for a higher end case and some after-market fans, but I'd consider it a good investment if the components are going to burn up.

I would feel a safer with at least a motherboard like the Asus M5A97 R2.0(non-LE).  However, I do think the M5A99X Evo R2.0 and M5A99FX Pro R2.0 are worth the extra cost.  I don't think air cooling will be enough to cool bare VRMs.

Thanks for all the help and advice, I appreciate you taking the time to explain it. I'll look into maybe returning that mobo to Newegg (it's still unopened and within the 30-day return window, and as a little plus I get free return shipping with shoprunner if I need it). I might put off my build for a couple weeks to save up a little more cash and buy a main board in the $160 range ( +/- a few $ )

I did some more research and actually tracked down a number of people that had the LE version of the board combined with the 8350 CPU. While none of them reported that they had ever had any problems (with the longest person having been using the combo for ~9 months), I decided to go ahead and take you up on some of your advice anyway. I will be RMA'ing the LE ASUS board, it's well within the 30-day return window from Newegg in addition to being unopened since it hasn't even been delivered yet, and I also get free return shipping with Shoprunner, so nothing lost except a week or so of time, but I've waited years for a capable gaming rig, what's a few more days, ya know?

I picked up 2 things:

NCIX was having a 1-day sale and from there I got a Fractal Design Define XL R2 case, which is a Scandinavian behemoth of a chassis. It should suit my man-hands quite well. It was around $105 from NCIX shipped (no tax outside of CA, free shipping promo). It was more than I wanted to spend on a case, but I look at it as a foundation investment. That case should last me just about forever, and with all the space it should have virtually endless upgrade options for anything I want to do with it in the future.

I also found out that Tiger Direct takes Shoprunner shipping (free 2-day) on some items now, which included a lot of motherboards. They may not be popular around here, but as I said, I'm not on a huge budget here, I have to take what I can get for a good price. For $138 shipped I went with the Asus M5A99X EVO R2.0 mobo. It's got 3 of the PCI-E 16x slots, still 4 DIMM slots, and includes a USB3 header for the front-panel ports on the giant hulking viking chassis that is the Define XL R2. I'm about 3 Linus Sebastian's though, so I think I can move it around OK :)

Thanks for all your help and advice. I just need to get a video card once the refund from the first mobo comes through, then I'm looking forward to putting all this stuff together. It should be a lot of fun! I'll probably go with a R9 270X for Mantle, although I don't know if it'll be a Gigabyte, ASUS, or MSI card yet. It kinda depends on price.

The FD Define XL R2 should last awhile with it's super large full tower space.  Perhaps custom loop water cooling in the future, maybe?

The Asus M5A99X Evo R2.0 is still a decent motherboard.  It has the same 6+2 power phase design as the Pro R2.0, but just has less PCIe/PCI connectivity.  The top two PCIe x16 ports should be able to crossfire just fine, but the bottom port runs at a slower x4 rate.  Two GPUs would be the highest I would go anyway.

Take a look at the R9 270.  It performs very similarly to the 270X, but is cheaper.

Maybe a closed-loop setup in the future. (H100 maybe? Or the NZXT Kraken ones that have the add-on for a GPU water block as well. Something better might come along I suppose). I'm nowhere close to experienced enough to do a custom loop I don't think. I've never dealt with any of it before and quite frankly it may be out of my league for right now. I could always learn, but it's a heavy hit to the wallet if cooling fluid floods the case interior.

Thanks for the heads up on the 270 vs. 270X, I'll definitely look into that because I'm just going for 1080p/60fps here, and money is always a concern.

One more thing I wanted to ask - Which way to mount the PSU? I'm unclear if the fan on the top of the Corsair CX500 is an intake or exhaust fan. Which way should I orient it in the case for optimal cool-air-flow?

The fan on the PSU is usually an intake.

Since the PSU mount is on the bottom, you can mount it facing up or down.

If the computer is sitting on something other than carpet(e.g. wood floor, tile), I'd suggest that the PSU face downward(fan faces down, toward the floor).  If on carpet, make the PSU face upwards.

Also, it'd be a good idea to lift your desktop a couple inches off the floor using a stool or something(esp. if you're putting the computer in a carpeted room).  It'll reduce the amount of dust that comes into the system by a significant amount.

The build from the startpost look good so far. i see you only need a bit of help on the GPU.  its allways a bit of a hard choice, its just what you can afford.. a 270 (X) is a decent midrange card. if you could afford a 280X it would be nice, but since those stupid miners are on this planet, the prices on those AMD cards went sky rocket high.

about a monitor, i would say take a look at an 23 inch 1080p ips monitor, if you want the best colors, and the best viewing angles.  brands like LG Asus Philips Dell, have some decent ips monitors for a good price. or maybe even those korean monitors x-star shimian, in 23 inch.