What an experience I had as a first-time builder!
Background: This machine is a long time in the making. I’ve been planning this as a celebratory occasion for when I graduate in a few weeks, a light at the end of the tunnel if you will, for a little more than 9 months. 9 months of penny-pinching, bargain and sale-hunting, and tortuous waiting has culminated in this, a machine that is both functional and elegant. By all accounts, it’s paid off big time; I saved several hundred dollars on parts by just staying patient and waiting for the right sale. I would call this “The Black Friday Bomber” if I was feeling a bit more whimsical, but silliness can come later when the price tag is hilariously high on my next build.
Big shout out to the guys at PCPartPicker, because without all the utilities and resources they make available, I wouldn’t have saved so many dollars so easily.
Build Process: Between the moments of nail-biting terror that are common among beginners, it was genuinely a fun time. I had a buddy of mine with a bit more experience help me out, and he was a welcome bit of assistance (though he mostly spent time saying things like “Dan, seriously, you need to chill out. All the parts are not dead. The RAM’s just not seated properly”). That aforementioned snag was the biggest problem actually, aside from finding the right cable to power the CPU. Cable management was surprisingly easy. The only real effort went into making sure the stuff behind the back panel was tidy. The front was just a matter of pulling a little tightly so there was no extra sticking out. A small but nifty part of the build I pride myself on coming up with is the placement of the SSD. Rather than block airflow by putting it in one of the front hard drive cages, I zip tied it to the behind section. Featured in picture 7.
Performance: Man oh man, this thing is an absolute beast. I’ve hooked it up to my TV for some communal gaming, and everything is done on max settings in buttery smooth 60 fps. I can’t wait to try it on some games that used to strangle my old machine.
The best part is, it’s still unfinished. I’ve got some custom items coming in, some plastic dyeing to do, and I’ve reserved some time with the laser engraver in my college’s machine shop. Get ready, dear reader, because the Device will soon be modified. (That was a hint).
This is an adequate second place for the upcoming Broadwells.
When I first hooked this up, I thought it was broken. It appeared to be running, but there was ZERO noise! I could hardly believe it! For that and the low temperatures it provides, Noctua has more than earned its sterling reputation.
My bootup speed is faster than Barry Allen on meth. 5 stars.
These things are beasts. Furious beasts that have been tamed for my usage. One is stellar, two is ridiculous. Batman: Arkham City max settings and full PhysX at 60fps ridiculous. I couldn’t be happier.
This case is an absolute dream. From the space for fans, hard drives, and other extras, to the included toolbox and illuminated front fans, it will accommodate and keep cool whatever parts you place within. It is also durable, elegant, and simple to modify.
What can I say? The fan doesn’t kick in below a certain wattage, and it’s super efficient. I’m happy with that.
This things are crazy quiet, which i guess makes their names accurate. The nifty little swappable rings are a nice touch.
This is the crowning bargain. 100 dollars off thanks to a little bit of craigslist shopping. Practically new, still had all the plastic on it. Anyway, it’s a fantastic monitor. 144 Hz of 1080p goodness. I spent like 5 minutes just moving the mouse around while noticing how smooth it was. I don’t know why people crap all over TN panels, the colors are fine and I’m not going to be using it at a 45 degree viewing angle.