Description

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).

Part Reviews

CPU

This is an adequate second place for the upcoming Broadwells.

CPU Cooler

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.

Storage

My bootup speed is faster than Barry Allen on meth. 5 stars.

Video Card

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.

Case

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.

Power Supply

What can I say? The fan doesn’t kick in below a certain wattage, and it’s super efficient. I’m happy with that.

Case Fan

This things are crazy quiet, which i guess makes their names accurate. The nifty little swappable rings are a nice touch.

Monitor

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.

Comments

  • 56 months ago
  • 2 points

good build

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! Heaven knows I spent enough time agonizing over things being perfect.

  • 50 months ago
  • 1 point

Looking at the FTW 970 for my 1st build, how's it working for you?

  • 50 months ago
  • 1 point

It's really working great, both of them. I would try to go for the FTW+ though, since it seems to be an improvement in every way and has a backplate included.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

honestly (im not trying to criticize) you couldve gone for a 1060, 1070, or 1080 graphics card and skip the crossfire. comparing a 1060 and 970 is close if you configure them to a point. but one of those cards couldve been a better choice for the price you would pay.

Great build tho, i love the case and your cables from cable mod you installed

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

but hey, this was almost 2 years ago so you probs already upgraded it

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, don't really get how mentioning the 1000-series is relevant to what went on during a 2 year old build. Thanks for the modding love, though.

I've only added in another SSD and 8 gigs of RAM since building. Everything else has held up extremely well. My next upgrade if I do decide to stick with this build will probably a 1080 Ti. That is one insane piece of tech.

  • 56 months ago
  • -2 points

I know you're a first time builder so I won't bash but... Generally when buying a graphics card you want to buy the most expensive card possible and SLI/Crossfire later. In this case you would be better of buying a single 980 and not dealing with SLI.

  • 56 months ago
  • 4 points

I feel that 970s are a special case for that rule. Honestly the amount of money you pay for a 980 is too much compared to the increase in performance compared to a 970. He also bought a 1080p 144Hz monitor which dual 970s will run very well compared to a single 980.

  • 56 months ago
  • 3 points

2 970s =~ +50% performance for +20% price from a 980. All research pointed towards 970s in SLI being the most efficient for 1080p gaming, and let’s be honest the 980 has awful price/performance.

  • 56 months ago
  • 2 points

He did say that it was for a special milestone in his life, so that might be why he decided to go all out on that part xD ( I did the same thing for mine, no regrets ~.~)

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

lol

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  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the praise. I really don't deserve it after I unfairly criticized your build, but I appreciate the kindness. Here's a sneak peek of what's to come: http://imgur.com/a/9ejPu

Regarding the plane model, I dunno. It belonged to my grandfather, and he had a half dozen grandkids besides me, hence the engines being MIA. Fortunately, you don't need engines when imaginaaaaaaaation is involved!

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