Edit: Pics are all over the damn place. Not in order FYI...
Got some better parts in, and now I'm updating the "Mini Tower of Power" Gaming rig. Swapped that 4430 for an unlocked 4670K, to finally make proper use of my Z87 board. OC is bugging me, can't get a stable 4.3Ghz in stress testing, so 4.2Ghz will have to do. Dropped another 8GB of RAM (overkill :P ), but at least I got dual channel now, and should see some improvements in my AAA titles. Buddy of mine sent me EVGA's mITX cooler, so I slapped that in there as well.
CPU-i5 4670K: Originally had a 4430 in there, (budget ran thin at the time) but was replaced with this within a month. Some games saw a boost in performance, even more so with the 4.2Ghz overclock. I COULD push it farther, but thermals started to be an issue. Overall, Happy with the unlocked part.
MOBO-MSI Z87I GAMING: Has everything I was looking for. Built in wifi (up to ac speeds), great new BIOS (holy hell it's not all blue!) and matched perfectly with the red "MSI" theme I wanted.
HDD/SSD-Seagate Barracude 1TB 7200/Crucial M500 480GB: Yeah, yeah, the hard drive works as intended. :P The SSD I was initially gonna go for was a 240GB Samsung Evo, but got an email from Tiger Direct that morning with this SSD at around 30% off. A little reading showed that I wouldn't take any sort of performance hit, in terms of gaming (BF3/4 and a few other games are on the SSD), so I picked this up. I move over many of my documents on a regular basis to keep it from filling up too much. From power on to opening up a web browser takes a whole 13 seconds (quick boot enabled, no password, one account).
GPU-GTX 770 MSI 2GB: I just really like MSI components, alright :D . Card works great, and is the quietest part of my computer (more on that later). I was thinking of opting for the 4GB version, but decided against it, thinking that if I need more vRAM on a single 1080p monitor, I'm doing something wrong :P. Will upgrade once I find the room for a multi-monitor setup, to something like a 780Ti or 290X.
Vase-EVGA Hadron Mini ITX Tower: A price to pay for such a case, even on sale (20% off) the case itself is pretty pricey, but what you get is a 500W Seasonic Gold rated PSU that can run pretty much any single card (minus any of those dual GPU cards). Can't fit much in there, but it holds what I need. I love the look, very sleek and black, with the front cover being glossy as hell. The rest is powder-coated black. They missed a few spots inside, but nothing you can see with the covers on. A few complaints: 1) negative pressure designed case: To be fair, I dust my computer every month, but I do notice a difference in how much dust gets in. The stock fans are pretty loud, but they never rev up (plug the case fans into the case port... NOT the PSU, they whine under full load) Optical drive also adds to cost of this case, as this is the only one that will fit.
RAM-Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB 1600 x 2: Originally only bought one stick in single channel. A fair price too, all things considering. Bought a second about a month later to fill the slots and get dual-channel running. 16GB is overkill for my uses, but I do run a few servers (Minecraft, WC3, so forth) from time to time while still using my computer as normal. No complaints.
As for the other parts, they work too (CPU cooler made navigating the insides of the case rather tricky, once installed). Opted for Windows 7 over 8/8.1, as it's what I'm used to. The Naga needed an RMA only after 11 months of use. New one working just fine (hopefully for longer than the previous). The Sidewinder is an OK keyboard, and is comfortable once you consider the narrow keys, as they curve in a bit towards the top. For gaming, it works good, and is probably my best recommendation for a low-budget gaming keyboard (complete with anti-ghosting, adjustable back lighting, macro recorder & profiles, and even a button that opens up calculator)
All and all, some mistakes were made (the 4430 specifically) and rectified, and I am overall pleased with how this turned out.
|Date Published||March 24, 2014|
|Date Built||Feb. 7, 2014|