I would never have built this computer but for this website, which is terrific, as well as all the excellent guidance and feedback in the forums. The initial motivation for the desktop was for photo editing purposes as an upgrade from an aging and very low-spec laptop. After browsing this website and comparing parts and researching reviews and feedback, I had to indulge my gaming side a little and get a upper tier CPU and GPU. I am extremely happy with the end result of the build, as is my wife (the photographer), but in retrospect I probably would have put a little more money in the MOBO and PSU, and perhaps would have paid an extra $9 and gotten the hd 7870 XT instead of the GHZ edition. Nevertheless, except for trying to achieve higher benchmarks, it definitely serves its purpose flawlessly. I am playing Tomb Raider (thanks to the AMD Radeon never settle promo) and Battlefield 3 at 50-60 FPS at ultra settings, which puts my console (xbox 360) graphics to shame.
I have dabbled in overclocking a little bit so far, but think I may be limited most by my PSU in that regard, although I have achieved a 4.7 GHz overclock on the CPU and a 1150 MHz on the GPU. I usually clock it back down quickly out of fear of doing something wrong, but my temps have been real low (around 30 degrees C) so I have not worried too much.
I made an effort to keep the cable management under control and was fairly pleased with the end result in that regard. I am extremely pleased with the case, except for the fact that the USB3 is a passthrough, and does not connect directly to the motherboard, as others have noted (and which I was aware of before I bought it). But at the price point, I think it is an excellent case. I like the touch of the blue LED's which are not too bright (and which can be controlled via the fan controller on the front of the case.
The build went off without a hitch except for the fact that the gigabyte "ultra durable" motherboard arrived with a heatsink pin broken off which I replaced with two zip ties. I am extremely happy with the build and would love to know what you guys think about it. I can also answer any questions about performance or temps or the like. Thanks.
|CPU||AMD FX-8350 4.0GHz 8-Core||$179.99||Amazon|
|CPU Cooler||Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing||$29.99||NCIX US|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte GA-970A-UD3 ATX AM3+||$99.98||SuperBiiz|
|Memory||Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600||$84.99||Newegg|
|Storage||Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM||$57.99||NCIX US|
|Video Card||MSI Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB|
|Case||Zalman ZM-Z9 U3 (Black) ATX Mid Tower||$79.99||TigerDirect|
|Power Supply||Corsair 500W ATX12V||$44.99||Micro Center|
|Optical Drive||Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer||$24.50||Amazon|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit)||$84.98||OutletPC|
|Monitor||Asus VS239H-P 23.0"||$165.93||SuperBiiz|
|Keyboard||Gigabyte GK-KM5200 w/Optical Mouse|
|CPU Clock Rate||4.0GHz|
|CPU Temperature While Idle||-|
|CPU Temperature Under Load||-|
|GPU Core Clock Rate||1150MHz|
|GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate||1450MHz|
|GPU Temperature While Idle||-|
|GPU Temperature Under Load||-|
|Performance Preset Score||P7846|