Description

What will this computer be used for?

A single use for this computer is kind of hard to pinpoint. I really just wanted it all for as little amount of money as I could get. I will use this as a family PC, a gaming PC, a workstation, a Plex server, and an audio recording PC. I need it to do everything pretty well. And I know that having a non-specialized machine means you do a lot of things, but nothing great. I'm willing to settle for 1080p gaming if it means saving money and having everything else that I want. In the future I plan to have a specialized HTPC / Gaming PC that will connect to this computer, but for now here it is.

Requirements

  • Crush 1080p gaming
  • Be able to develop code and edit photos for my job as a web developer
  • Lots of storage for games, photos, videos
  • Ability to record and edit audio recordings in the future.

What was my budget?

My budget was supposed to stay reasonable. My Macbook Pro was losing it's appeal and I proposed building an upgrade that would DESTROY any Macbook Pros on the market while staying close to a 13 inch Macbook Pro price. So I tried to be VERY savvy about my price purchases just to make that performance difference as obvious as possible to my wife who doesn't care about GHz as much as caring about how easy it is to use. (fast boot times, put web browsers on SSD because I know that's mostly what the family will use).

Overall budget should sit between $1,200 - $1,800

Conclusion

I love this computer. Building it with my son was incredibly fun. It helped give a 3 year old a passion as well as a confidence that he can do anything he sets his mind to. It's everything I wanted it to be.

Part Reviews

CPU

Found this CPU for a great price at Micro-Center. This was less money than the non-overclocked version. I really wanted a reliable CPU since audio editing and development was going to be a part of this machine. I think this CPU has been incredible. I still have to play around with overclocking, since my overclock profiles aren't exceeding the normal boost on this CPU. That's more of an issue with me than the CPU itself.

CPU Cooler

So this part was a pivot point. I originionally had the idea to have a wind-cooled system; and most of my parts reflect that. But one of my friends, user Brethren2k here, convinced me that a liquid cooler would give me a better performance than a mid-level air cooler. I chose teh H75 on sale because it seemed like a good mid-level liquid cooler. The push pull configuration is really when I start to take cooling seriously. That's why this part was chosen.

Motherboard

After hearing about, and experiencing, some quality issues with ASRocks motherboards I looked into an alternative motherboard provider. I got a VERY good performing motherboard from MSI on a server build so I decided to see what they had. This Krait motherboard looked incredible. With all the features I wanted in a really nice black and white color scheme that fits perfectly to the asthetic I wanted to achieve. It performs well, was easy to set up, and just looks amazing. I've seen a lot of people posted builds with it since I bought mine in february. That just goes to show that great minds think alike?

Memory

I wanted 16GB for my multi-tasking and audio recording needs. I wanted fast but easy to use ram. I wanted it to look nice in my board. Kingstons Fury White 1866 DDR3 ram was perfect. It is smart enough to run at the max frequency the CPU allows, and since my CPU allows 1866 Ghz ram, it was the perfect choice. It felt good to hold, seems sturdy... I just love it.

Storage

So for the SSD I really wanted something nice, like a Samsung EVO. But when I saw this SSD on sale at Amazon for $80, I decided to jump on that. It performed well. Only one thing I didn't like and that was that the person who shipped it sent the wrong mounting hardware. But that has nothing to do with the SSD itself.

Storage

I was going to get a 2TB WD Black. But for the same price I saw a 4TB Toshiba. I understand the quality is a bit different, but twice the hard drive space on a drive that's whole purpose is to have a lot of space seems like a no-brainer kind of deal. Picked this guy up at Micro-Center.

Video Card

So originally I wanted an airflow build, so the Windforce 970 G1 from Gigabyte seemed like an obvious choice. Since I plan to also use Adobe products NVIDIA was a must. And the 970 seemed like more than enough to crush 1080p gaming. The blue lights help accent the black and white case. Painting it white REALLY made it feel like home. And I got it on sale for $287.

Case

Ok so this was hardly a savvy buy. I wanted good airflow, and easy cable management. I wanted a window and compartmentalization. Then I saw the lights outside and the LED strip you could get and well... common sense went out the door. But this case really gave more than it took and I wouldn't change my decision here. It came with a great little hardware box and so much extra hardware that I was able to use some of that to mount that SSD that came with incorrect mounting screws.

Also it's modularity allowed me to open airflow to my graphics card from the front, as well as clear some space for my cable extensions that I measured incorrectly when ordering. Apparently banana for scale was a joke? There's a photo of what I'm talking about.

Power Supply

I really wanted modular because cable management. At the time that I was buying these parts I never did a build before. Since then I did some for my work but this is the first photo build nice enough to share. This power supply was on sale at Newegg with a MIR and seemed great. Power efficiency does matter to me and it gives plenty of head room for my rig which was calculated to need about 361W.

That headroom means my PSU lasts longer and can reduce any PSU related issues.

Wireless Network Adapter

By the time I chose the Wifi adapter I made the decision to use Ubuntu as my operating system (I was gonna get windows but I decided a free and more flexible OS was better for me. I also do Linux all day at work and like it more). This was a $20 wifi card that fits the specs on my router. And the ubuntu bit is important cause Ubuntu's ISO already comes with drivers for it.

But eventually i went back to Windows. It still works decently.

Monitor

So 1080p gaming, 1ms response time, 24 inches, 80,000,000/1 contrast ratio... for $160 after MIR. I mean... yeah!

Note: Newegg says this doesn't come with speakers.... it does.... just want to let you know.

Keyboard

I wanted a mechanical keyboard. I wanted a quiet keyboard with RGB profiles and programmable keys. Quiet and mechanical are an oxymoron. I went with a mechanical feeling keyboard and got the raptor k40 and saved some money. Great keyboard!

Mouse

After my Dynex cheapo mouse died I wanted a very clean and simple mouse. The Logitech G100s is awesome! This is my first real gaming mouse and I absolutely love it.

Headphones

Wanted a headset to talk to people while i pretend to listen to them. A white $60 gaming headset was really nice. But the sound is... meh. I have in ear studio quality earbuds that really bring out the awesomeness in games and the mic on my webcam is better.

Speakers

Again Newegg said my monitor didn't have speakers. So i bought some cheap ones used on Amazon. They ended up being pretty nice. Really good buy for the money.

Comments

  • 44 months ago
  • 3 points

Fantastic build! +1

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

  • 44 months ago
  • 3 points

Aside from the PSU not being very good, this looks awesome!

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah the PSU was really one of those "This will do" buys. It hit all the ticks on my checklist:

Gold Certified for low power draw. Fully Modular because I was afraid of cable management my first build. And head room to not stress it too much.

And I really haven't had loud fans or any of the other cons expressed on Newegg with this fan. It's just been quietly doing it's job.

  • 44 months ago
  • 3 points

It actually fails GOLD cert, but gets very close. It is a re-labeled FSP Aurum.

I would not say you need to replace it, but know that it is a tier3/4 unit and if you ever upgrade GPUs I would consider replacing it.

"This will do" Is NEVER a way to buy a PSU. It is the SINGLE most important part of a PC. Those types of buys are for cases, RAM (as most RAM quality is all the same), and mouse/keyboard. NOT PSUs.

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

Well yeah. Everything in the build is fit FOR the build. So with a 1080p monitor I don't plan on upgrading a GPU anytime soon. To fit with a tighter budget the part selection was really tailored for everything to work well with eachother as it is now.

If i upgraded I'd build a new PC in Skylake.

Plus the "This will do" concept was actually taken from HardOCP reviews of this Power Supply. It gave me all the features I wanted to (I didn't know it failed Gold Cert I missed that.) while being cheaper than it's competitors.

And with a 425W max pull on the machine it wouldn't be stressed too hard. That's what makes me say "this will do". Because it's precisely where it needs to be for the machine. Not really more, not really less.

http://www.hardocp.com/article/2014/05/16/evga_supernova_nex650g_650w_power_supply_review/9#.ViefcvmrSUk

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

Read that review. They clearly state that it is not great, but good enough and they only recommend it because it passed their tests, but there are better units available for the money. Like I said, it isn't terrible, but it certainly isn't great. It does not need to be swapped out, but do not expect it to actually perform at gold efficiency, but very close.

http://www.overclock.net/t/1476935/why-you-should-not-buy-an-evga-supernova-nex650g-750g-aka-g1

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

Well yeah. I don't plan on upgrading anything on the PC at all. And yeah it was exactly "good enough".

I did look into your build and the Antec PSU was actually pretty interesting. You seem to be pretty into PSU quality?

[comment deleted]
  • 44 months ago
  • 2 points

Love the 970 mod. +1

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

nice cables, where did u get them?

  • 44 months ago
  • 2 points

I got Cable Mod cables from PerformancePCs. They are super nice cause they give you threaded cables individually and you set them up yourself.

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

I also had a photo of sort of the assembly that I just uploaded for ya too.

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

thanks :DD where is performance pcs? north america or somewhere else?

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

Its an online store.

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

ik that but like is an online north american store?

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

Cool name how did you think of it

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

Well I wanted some cold based name, since it was a white build and I figured I could get temps reasonably low.

When I was originally planning the build the SLI Krait hadn't even come out yet. But when it did and I saw that snake it just kinda hit me.

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

what a happy build. try to hide more cable and than it will be great looking

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

It looks amazing!

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

Very nice, and the detailed write-up is awesome! Since it was your first build, about how long did it take you, and what was the trickiest hurdle?

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

Well I payed for this build with side work. Mainly I host some sites for people and update their Wordpress websites. That payed for this. So it took a couple months of planning and saving to buy all the parts.

I started watching parts in January, and buying in Feb. By may I had everything.

The build itself took one night. The biggest hurdle, I think, was mounting push pull rads. It's kinda different and I wasn't used to it. Also working with a 3 year old took some patience haha.

Since I had months to plan, and since that case is so large, it was a very smooth first build. But definitely the rad was a little bit tricky. I wanted to top-mount it but the ends of the radiator bumped into the 140mm fan at the top. So I back-mounted it.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Very nice

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

Looks amazing!

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah the plasti-dip didn't go evenly around the curves of target. I tried my best to make it work but it still didn't hit evenly. Oh well. I couldn't notice it once it was IN the case. But on closeup you can see the flaws.

My son did a LOT more than just hold the GPU. He installed the CPU with me. And boot tested. He set the MOBO with me. We build it together so he was very hands on. It was good for him! At 3 years old I was impressed with how well he did.