So, this all started when my 13 year old got jealous that his best friend was getting an Alienware computer for Christmas. I spoke with the kids father about it, and he ended up spending $2,400 out the door for JUST THE BOX with a 960 gpu. Granted, he got the extended warranty and the white glove service plan but ZOIKS, that seemed like a lot of money for a box. So I decided to do some digging and eventually stumbled upon this wonderful site.
What started as my quest to save a few bucks turned into a personal obsession. Constant price checking, part picking and re-picking, benchmark comparisons, YouTube videos... As far as my wife was concerned, I had pretty much lost my ****. But I was on a mission. Build the best, coolest gaming PC with all the bells and whistles that would smoke my son's friends Alienware, and to do it for at least $1,000 less.
After 4 months of research and, well, insanity, I finally started purchasing parts. Yesterday, the last of the necessary parts arrived and the build began. After a few hours of frustration trying to get my large hands and 52 year old eyes lining up fan header plugs and dealing with a DOA RAM stick, I finally got Windows loaded and everything installed.
I'm still waiting on the PNY GTX 970 before I finalize cable management and post pictures. For the most part, very pleased with all of the components and how they function.
Pretty sure I accomplished my goal. All in including taxes and shipping, this rig came in at a hair over $1285 and I didn't feel like I really skimped anywhere. For what my son plays, anything more powerful than a 970 would have been overkill (believe me, I had to restrain myself - the 980ti in SLI sure do look nice in a rig, don't they?).
Going to get the windowed panel for the case and throw in some magnetic RGB LED strips and take advantage of this ridiculous motherboard. Thoughts, opinion, snarky comments all welcome. Pics to come, but feeling a little shy posting before I put in the gpu and tidy up the cables.
General thoughts: love the M.2 drive, what slick technology (I know, I didn't get the 950 pro, sigh...). Memory - DOA RAM sucks. I'm going to mess around with it a bit more to make sure it's not me, but that definitely added a couple hours to the build. Motherboard - Thick, sturdy, and cool looking. I like. Cooler - way easier to install than I thought it would be. Love that it came with thermal paste already.
Followed a YouTube video to overclock. 4.6ghz - no problem.
Update - gpu installed :-). The boys did a head to head competition on Minecraft bogged down with shaders and Mods and (insert drum roll here)
108fps to his 22fps! Victory is mine (insert maniacal laugh here)!
Now to cable management. Any helpful suggestions regarding the annoying little fan wires and cooler wires? I was thinking of getting a fan controller for one of the bays just to help hide them.
2nd update - So, unbeknownst to me, lots of people have had trouble with 2+ RAM sticks in their Z170 motherboards, in particular Asus motherboards. Unfortunately, I did not avoid this trouble. What was originally thought to be a DOA RAM stick is actually a compatibility issue. Further research into the matter led me down two paths, switch the RAM or try to tweak the RAM settings in BIOS. RMA's are in hand and new RAM is ordered. For anyone that cares, this RAM is supposed to work well with the Maximus VIII Hero motherboard - G.SKILL Ripjaws V Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM DDR4 2400. I'll let you know.
What to say? Not sure a review of this outstanding processor is really necessary.
Easy install. Looks great. Seems to be doing the job.
I don't have any prior experience building computers, but this motherboard sure seems sturdy and well made, and it looks great in the case. Probably overkill for the job, but better safe than sorry, right?
One stick DOA. Lost a couple of hours figuring that one out...
More than enough card for the 1080 gaming my son does (and way faster than his friend's 960 :-) )
Great case! Easy to cable and looks great. Bought the rubber grommets for this, thought it was something that should have come with the case, but certainly not complaining for the price.
Quiet. Looks nice. Fully modular. Got great reviews. Guess we'll see, right?
Screws were a tight fit. Not fun.