The thoughts, opinions, happenings, and just plain ramblings of a seemingly boring person.

Building Tetrarch

I managed to hold off on building a new computer until now. My now-previous computer, Executor, is at the 3.5 year mark, and I've been wanting something even more quieter than it was. I have named this new one Tetrarch, as being my fourth build it is now the fourth ruler of my computing history :). The only reused part from Executor is the recent graphics card which I brought across.

There are three main features of this build: compactness, silence, and RGB LEDs. Compactness comes from this being my first build without an optical disc drive, and I chose a case that eliminated that space; it's the smallest case I've ever built in. I went all-in on silence with this build: the power supply, CPU cooler, and all the case fans are made by be quiet!, renowned for quiet computing.

As is the current trend in PC gaming at the moment, everything has LEDs on it: motherboard, RAM, and also I threw in a motherboard-connected RGB LED strip too. Although I can choose any colour I want, I'll probably still just stick to my usual blue.

The specs of Tetrarch are:

  • Fractal Design Define C case with window
  • Be Quiet! Straight Power 10 600W modular power supply
  • Gigabyte GA-Z270X Gaming K5 motherboard
  • Intel Core i5 7600K CPU
  • Be Quiet! Dark Rock 3 CPU Cooler
  • 16GB (2x8GB) 3000MHz Corsair Vengeance Blue LED DDR4 RAM
  •  XFX AMD Radeon RX480 GTR 8GB graphics card
  • Intel 600P 1TB M.2 PCIe NVME SSD
  • Western Digital Black WD4004FZWX 4TB Seagate 3TB Barracuda HDD
  • 3x Be Quiet! Silent Wings 3 120mm PWM Fans

This computer is probably the most incremental improvement out of any that I've built, which probably says a lot about the relative stagnation of the industry in terms of performance over the past 5 years. Although I've always only bought Intel CPUs, them having no competition is not a good thing. It is good to see AMD coming back to the game with their new Ryzen processors, even if it just wakes Intel up again.

Because of the prices inflated by no Intel competition and a weaker $AUD, I've actually gone down in the number of CPU threads compared to Executor, and this is the first computer in which I haven't seen a need to increase the amount of RAM compared to the last.

This is also the first computer I am intelligently controlling the case fans from the motherboard, based on sensor readings. The Gigabyte software is a bit rough around the edges, but I set up a custom fan curve pretty easily. Unfortunately, I had to buy one extra tiny 80mm fan just for the HDD bay, as it was getting a little toasty inside the shrouded bay with nothing to move the air around.

You may notice that for the first time ever, I bought a Seagate HDD. I had to return the WD Black I originally bought because WD thinks that an unconfigurable head sweep every 5 seconds the drive is idle, ostensibly to prevent wear, is a good thing no matter the noise. I've been a big WD fan over the years, but I'd rather gamble on the reliability of a Seagate drive than get driven mad by a ticking noise every 5 seconds from my near-silent computer.

But, hey, it's got a lot of cool LEDs, right? Photos of the build below, and just by luck I am wearing the same shirt as when I built executor in 2013. I promise I have more than one t-shirt ;).


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