I decided now was a great time to upgrade my desktop computer. The performance jump from RTX 20 to RTX 30-series and the release of AMD Ryzen 9 coincided beautifully with graduating and starting full-time @ The Org

I managed to get both RTX 3070 and Ryzen 9 5900x close to launch but it ended up taking a while to finish the build ¯\(ツ)

Disclaimer; This is not a build guide! I enjoy watching other peoples different builds and thought I would contribute with mine.

The Idea

The idea was simple; build a computer inside an authentic wooden ammunition box that had served it's days for the Danish Defence. A few holes in the back should suffice for I/O panels, power and hopefully some airflow.

The box measures 23x28.5cm (inside) so it should be able to fit an ITX motherboard and with a little luck (and potentially milling) the MSI Ventus 2X version of RTX 3070. One concern is overheating due to insufficient airflow, but hopefully a 120mm intake and 2x 60mm exhausts will provide enough.

PC Overview

Sadly I overestimated the structural integrity of the wood. So instead the back panel got replaced with a chequered aluminium plate, which adds charm.

Putting it all Together

Once the new and improved backpanel was ready, it was time to put it all together. There is more or less only one valid order to insert the components:
Motherboard (with SSD, memory, CPU, CPU cooler and all cables pre-attached), Graphics Card, Power Supply and last but not least adding the back panel (with pre-attached fans). Once all of this is put together you can hook up the fans and the power cable and press start.

Component list:

  • AMD Ryzen 9 5900X (12 cores @ 3.7 GHz)
  • RTX 3070 (MSI GeForce Ventus 2X OC)
  • DDR4-3200 64GB (Corsair Vengeance LPX)
  • 2x Samsung 970 EVO Plus SSD M.2 2280 - 1TB
  • SF600 Platinum (Corsair Power Supply)
  • ASUS ROG STRIX X570-I GAMING

Cooling:

  • Noctua NH-D15 SE-AM4
  • 2x Noctua NF-A15 PWM, 140mm
  • 2x Noctua NF-A6 FLX, 60mm

The original plan was to glue the backpanel on - but the GPU is held in place by the backpanel, so it would means that all components would be trapped indefinetely. I instead added screw holes to allow the back panel to detach.

Connecting Power...

After the build process and a few learnings it was time to boot the computer up... or so I thought. The motherboard indicated ram failure with the onboard debugging lights and would not boot.

I disassembled the whole thing and tried the classic ram stick dance.
One stick in slot A, the other stick in slot A, the first stick in slot B... but no luck. I assumed this was due to the ram being 3200Mhz, so I got hold of some slower ram but with no luck.

The cause turned out to be that the installed firmware in the motherboard did not support my 5900x CPU, so a firmware update was needed. However, in order to update the firmware you need to boot to bios (on this model) and in order to boot to bios you need - you guessed it - a CPU.

This being my first AMD build meant I spent way too much time figuring this out and also that I did not have any old AMD CPUs laying around to use for the firmware update. Luckily a friend had a Ryzen 7 CPU that I could borrow. After a quick trip to Copenhagen I was ready for the update-firmware dance;

  • detach cooler.
  • clean cooling paste of cooler.
  • detach Ryzen 9 CPU.
  • clean cooling paste of Ryzen 9 CPU.
  • attach and apply paste to Ryzen 7 CPU.
  • attach cooler.
  • boot, install firmware update.
  • detach cooler.
  • clean cooling paste of cooler.
  • detach Ryzen 7 CPU.
  • clean cooling paste of Ryzen 7 CPU.
  • ... but more cooling paste.
  • attach and apply paste to Ryzen 9 CPU.
  • attach cooler
  • Celebrate! 🥳

Benchmarking!

After installing Windows 10 and configuring the fans to be silent it was time for benchmarking! The build managed to get a PassMark Rating of 8532.2 which apparently places it in to 99th percentile - which I am quite pleased with!

PassMark rating for the build.

As for a more practical test;

  • 370+FPS in CS:GO, graphics settings maxed out.
  • consistently 60 FPS (capped) in Witcher III, graphics settings maxed out.

As for heating, it does run a bit hot compared to a normal computer case. All fans are adjusted to be silent and there is only air openings on one side of the box so the airflow is sub-optimal to say the least.

It does however manage to idle around 37-45° and peaks at 77° during intensive game play or benchmaking. I assumed much worse, so I am pretty satisfied with the results. That being said; instead of putting a computer into your old ammunitions boxes, consider simply using them for storage.

Update: Hot air was building up from the CPU fan intake causing these high idle temperatures. I have since flipped the CPU fans so they exhaust instead - removing the hot air pockets forming in the case. This has significantly reduced the temperatures and it now idles around 30° with peaks around 70°.