Description

Background Hey everyone, I've been kicking around the idea of finally building a custom PC for a few years now but I've never really had much need or desire to upgrade my Mid 2014 MacBook (Link 2.8ghz Quad Core i7, 512GB PCIe, GT 750M) considering I wasn't doing much other than playing games from the late 2000s, recording some Youtube videos, and simple CAD design.

But that mindset began to change around the time I started college. Between the more demanding software for architectural/digital design as well as beginning to play and stream newer games, I've come to realize that my faithful MacBook was starting to age.

And after helping my friend upgrade his system I feel like I have a decent grasp on the process of building a PC now.

So I've spent a little while searching around for solutions to my problem and came up with this. The purpose of this build was that I wanted a system that would be highly portable considering I go to school far away from my home, I wanted M.2 for quick boot times, and above all else, I needed to stay under or really close to $1000.

Purchasing Considering most of my components are put in as custom prices I assume I should explain the reasoning behind this. I was able to find all the parts on sale either on Ebay during their 20% off sitewide sale, at Microcenter/Target for sale, or on Amazon and paying with gift cards accumulated through the Microsoft rewards program.

Build Seeing as I would be using this build for live streaming I thought it reasonable to live stream the build on my twitch channel. If you are interested in some comedic failure as a first time builder feel free to watch Part 1 and Part 2.

Results Overall I am extremely happy with the entire build as a whole. It is incredibly quiet for the most part which makes any recorded audio that much better. I've brought the case to and from school twice now and it was both simple and convenient each time with no internal issues during travel. The only quarrels that I have with it is that just 2 or 3 months after the build came together, Nvidia was able to increase production on it's graphics cards. This dropped the price of my GPU about $40 and with that extra bit of cash I could have gone for a 1060 6GB over the 1050Ti 4GB from Zotac, but it was bound to happen eventually and my card is still very nice.

The Future The most important things I know I need are another stick of 8GB ram or to upgrade to a 16Gb stick with at least 3000mhz. I am also planning on incorporating several large HDD's in the extra space between the front IO and the graphics card for long term storage but the M.2 is more than enough space for now. I also hope to add some LED light strips around my desk to vary up ambience of the whole setup. And to also future proof my gaming/streaming capabilities, I will be getting a capture card to use my MacBook as a streaming computer while gaming will be entirely on the new build.

Thanks for reading everyone and I hope you like it!

Part Reviews

CPU

Great performance for its price point, which brings it pretty close to close to AMD's price/performance level. Adding 2 more cores over the last i5 is also a welcomed improvement.

CPU Cooler

Fantastic fan for small builds due to its low height. Its insanely quiet to the point I never hear it even at max load. It was easy to install and came with its own thermal paste, minimizing the amount of separate products I had to order.

Motherboard

I appreciate the amount of SATA ports and the inclusion of M.2. Great amount of USB 3 on board ports. Depending on what RAM and CPU Cooler you use, you could run into some overlap making you unable to install a stick in one of the two slots which is the only reason I'm docking it a star.

Memory

I don't really have any preference on RAM due to my own inexperience and its my own fault for selecting something that isn't as fast or as large that I really need. But the heat sink on this one is fairly large, protruding out the sides and top significantly making installing it directly next to my SPU Cooler impossible.

Storage

Not much to say about this other than it does its job and does it well. I am able to boot windows off of it in almost the exact same amount of time it takes my monitor to turn on.

Video Card

Fantastic performance for the price and seems to be unaffected by the GPU mining crisis. Incredibly small and does not need another cable to power it making it great for tight builds like this one where cable management is a pain.

Case

Love the form factor and simplistic design. Despite the size, there is more than enough room to fit whatever you'd like inside.

The removable dust filters are a great inclusion and I haven't had any issues with over heating because of all the ventilation.

Power Supply

Fully modular is a must if you're doing a small or compact build, not having extra wires flopping around the place is so convenient for cable management. I've had no issues with power draw or shortages yet so we'll see.

Operating System

It's Windows, I'm a OSX user. I do appreciate it's customization and mass market support for programs as well as its reliability though.

My only issue so far with it is that it is incredibly picky about booting from an M.2 and while that may be in part to my lack of knowledge, I have found many others with similar issues.

Keyboard

Fantastic build quality and incredibly stylish make this one of my al time favorite keyboards. Its low travel and flat smooth keycaps enable fast travel between keys and make it perfect for racing games given that you can feather several keys with one finger.

The only quarrels I have with it is its very limited key roll over (which almost seems random or prioritized at times) and that it still runs on USB 2.0, making the two pass through ports unable to charge my phone or utilize 3.0+ speeds.

Mouse

My favorite mouse and perfect for me when I picked it up at launch after almost buying what I consider it's predecessor (G602). I love the ability to turn not only the weight but also its location and the button layout is super user friendly.

Excessive use has worn down the thumb rest significantly and the bottom feet have a tendency to unstick sometimes so unfortunately I'll drop it one star for that but I've heard that both of these issues have been fixed with the G502 Proteus Spectrum and the brand new G502 Hero so I myself may be picking one up soon.

Custom

Fantastic video quality and a great array of customization options including white balance and autofocus in Logitech's software for fine tuning make this great for what I use it for (primarily motion tracking).

But the built in microphone is lackluster and only records in mono so its versatility relies on having a better microphone.

Custom

Very comfortable and durable with a solid adjustable head strap while keeping to the Astro look. Many different settings through the software and hardware. Large ear cups provide more than enough room for my large-ish ears making wearing these for hours a breeze.

Unfortunately, the microphone is slightly lacking in overall recording quality compared to a couple other headphones at this price point.

Custom

The bezel is very thin with I apreciate. It is quite bright and easy to view from all angles. The back includes 2 screw mounting points and a variety of input/output channels.

The build quality is more like a B+ compared to big name brands, but the 1mm gaps between body panels are barely noticable and do not impact the display itself.

(Side Note: I don't really understand how Sceptre makes money... each of their monitors that I have looked into have been a full 10-20% cheaper than larger companies like Samsung and Dell, yet this monitor has all, if not more, features and adequate build quality unlike other cheap brands.)

Comments

  • 11 months ago
  • 2 points

This is an awesome and clean setup! This is a weird side question but what is the name of that digital clock on the right of your desk?

  • 11 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! The clean setup is actually a change of pace for me :P And ya a lot of my friends have commented on the clock. They are out of stock now but here is the link to that product: https://www.lacrossetechnology.com/w88723/

  • 9 months ago
  • 2 points

like the pc but a really weird combo of parts. The 8600k was a bit overkill in my opinion but it's not my computer.

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

Streaming is very CPU intensive and I use facial recognition at the same time which draws out almost 100% of the CPU so I don't think it was really overkill.

  • 9 months ago
  • 2 points

Oh well, I didn't know you did. carry on