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My first gaming PC build and case mod!
by BlackRoseImmortal
Permalink:   (40 comments)
Description

After countless hours of watching PC building tutorials on YouTube (thank you Carey Holzman!) and browsing the Tom's Hardware forums, I decided to go all out on a new gaming PC to replace my 5 year old Acer laptop that would literally get hot enough to heat up a small room whenever I tried to game on it. After much hesitation, I pulled the trigger and purchased a bunch of brand new shiny computer parts. I was worried about how difficult it would be to install a few of the parts, namely the water cooler and the case wiring, considering I'd had no previous experience aside from putting a graphics card in an old Compaq PC many years ago.

Reasoning behind my part selection and installation horror stories (in order of installation):

CPU: i7 4770k - I had originally planned to go with the i5 4670k, but wound up with the i7 4770k in the end. While the 4770k might be overkill for my uses, I couldn't pass up Staples' price match guarantee. After a 10 minute phone call, I was able to get them to match Microcenter's price of $249.99 and they even gave me free 2-day shipping! At that price, I figured $30 more for the 4770k was well worth it.

Installation: Right off the bat I was worried about installing this due to the sheer amount of pressure that was required to lock it in place. I had to put A LOT of pressure on the little metal lever to lock the CPU down to the motherboard! I was actually convinced that I had ruined something and was nervous about it right up until the first test boot.

Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws X - Once again, 16 GB is probably overkill for my uses but I couldn't pass up the deal Newegg was having. The RAM was also red, and since I was going for a red and black theme, I couldn't pass it up. It looks great in person and matches the MSI motherboard perfectly.

Installation: Easy-Peasy

Next, I installed the Motherboard into the case. This was fairly simple and I had no problems. The LG Blu-Ray player also went in without a hitch.

PSU: Seasonic G-750 PSU - I heard that SeaSonic was a good brand of PSU so I went with it. It was also on sale.

Installation: I don't know if it was an issue with the case or the PSU, but the mounting holes on the PSU and case did not align. They were just a hair off. I got the drill out and modified the holes on the case and installed the PSU. The 8-pin power connecter could have been longer. The PCI-E cables were extremely stiff and it ended up being a pain to plug them into the graphics card. This item was on an extremely good sale.

Graphics Card: ASUS GTX 780 Direct CU II 3GB - This was the single item that I wanted to splurge on more than anything else. Not a single complaint in this department. It handles anything I throw at it with room to spare, it is whisper quiet, runs cool, looks great... I could go on and on. Came with a free copy of Assassin's Creed Black Flag.

Installation: I was scared to death handling it but it was very easy to install.

H100i Water Cooler: I thought it looked cool. Simple as that. Well, the idea of having liquid to cool the CPU also intrigued me. This item was also on a small sale when I purchased it.

Installation: Oh man. Installing this thing was an absolute nightmare and the stress caused by it probably took a few years off my life. I don't know why I had so much trouble to be honest, but I just did. I wont even go into explaining what happened here because I'd just like to forget it.

Hard Drives: Samsung Evo 120GB SSD boot drive, WD Blue HDD - Not much to say here. I wanted the OS to load off the SSD and the WD for game and music storage. The Samsung SSD did not disappoint - the computer boots incredibly fast. The WD drive is also great and loads applications pretty fast too.

Installation: Quite simple, no complaints.

Now, I wired the front panel (which wasn't nearly as difficult as I thought it would be), did some cable management, and got ready to test boot. I plugged the computer in and pressed the power button. Nada. My heart sank and I just knew I had messed something up. Turns out, in my haste to get things going, I had forgotten to flip the actual power switch on the PSU to the on position. I couldn't believe it. After flipping the switch and pressing the power button the beast came to life and it felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders. Immediately I noticed how quiet the system was... I could just barely hear the case fans. The OS installation and driver installation went smoothly.

A few days later, I noticed an awful sound coming from one of the fans. It turns out, one of the H100i fans was faulty. I did some research and ended up going with 2 Corsair SP-120 "Quiet Edition" fans to replace the stock H100i ones. I had to do some research to figure out what the difference was between SP and AF fans before making a purchase.

THE CASE MOD:

While waiting for the new fans to arrive, I stumbled across a thread were someone had installed a clear acrylic panel in place of the mesh panel that comes with the case by default. It looked great and he had said that getting rid of the mesh side panel and attached fan greatly cut down on dust intake. Made sense to me since I had already noticed a thin layer of dust inside the case after only a few days of use. I figured I would give it a try (only after checking to see if a replacement side panel was available from Corsair in case things went terribly wrong) and promptly ordered some rubber u-channel from BESTBYTE. I then made a run up to Lowes to get an acrylic panel and double sided tape. Once the U-Channel arrived, I borrowed a neighbors Dremel and got to work cutting the case and causing a shower of sparks. I then cut U-Channel to length, installed it around the opening, cut the acrylic to size (10x13" in case anyone's interested), and finally installed it onto the interior of the side panel with double sided tape. All things said and done, it's hard to tell that is not stock. Dust intake has been significantly decreased as expected, and the computer is pretty much silent without the side case fan. The idle temps have risen 2C on both the CPU and GPU now that the side fan is gone, but I feel that the massive reduction in dust is worth it. I also purchased an NZXT HUE LED system to light everything up inside the case. No complaints at all, except for perhaps the sticky backing on the LED strip, which is starting to come loose. Nothing double sided tape can't fix.

Final Thoughts: I can't thank the people of Tom's Hardware enough for all the help as well as Carey Holzman on YouTube. I haven't had this much fun gaming in years and I love being able to play any game I want. Sorry for the "Wall of text" but I wanted to describe my experiences from a beginners perspective.

Btw, I took most of the pictures outside because it was the only place with decent lighting.

Thanks for looking.

Part List
Details
Date PublishedApril 25, 2014
Intel Core i7-4770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor
CPU Clock Rate3.5GHz
CPU Temperature While Idle30.0° C
CPU Temperature Under Load-
Asus GeForce GTX 780 3GB DirectCU II Video Card
GPU Core Clock Rate889MHz
GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate6.01Ghz
GPU Temperature While Idle28.0° C
GPU Temperature Under Load-
Comments
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Sorted by:
 
 
RazerZ 2 points 3 months ago

Not bad at all for a first build. +1

 
 
BlackRoseImmortal [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 3 months ago

Thank you :)

 
 
Trinity596 [3 Builds] 1 point 3 months ago

did you have any issues with 2 sets of that ram? i have just one and i want a second set. any timing errors or anything worth noting?

nice build! fantastic parts too ;)

 
 
JLMCS2012 [2 Builds] 1 point 3 months ago

You shouldn't have any issues. Just kit another dual channel kit to match the one you have.

 
 
BlackRoseImmortal [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 3 months ago

I haven't had any issues at all with the ram. Worked like it should out of the box. Thanks for the reply! :)

 
 
Painwithin [1 Build] 1 point 3 months ago

aslong as the ram kit you get matches what you have, you will be fine.

 
 
Catalyzer [1 Build] 1 point 3 months ago

Pretty much a decent PC for the price , also great to see you got very good deals on them to reduce your cost.

 
 
peterb [1 Build] 1 point 3 months ago

Score of 8.1 on Windows 8.1 ;)

 
 
JLMCS2012 [2 Builds] 1 point 3 months ago

Nice build.

 
 
Howtodudes [1 Build] 1 point 3 months ago

Can I have that PC? Great job, sounds like you know your stuff!

 
 
IronBoot27 1 point 3 months ago

Nice Job with the CPU I didn't think anyone used that service. But great first build!

 
 
GreenLightning 1 point 3 months ago

Great build! +1 Just curious what games u play, mind telling me?

 
 
BlackRoseImmortal [Submitter] [1 Build] 2 points 3 months ago

Thanks for the comment! I mostly Battlefield 4 and Minecraft. I also play Planetside 2, Team Fortress 2, Counter Strike, Skyrim, and a whole bunch of other Steam Games (usually whatever is on sale and looks interesting).

 
 
ImPrettyIrish 1 point 3 months ago

Man I really love this build. It looks so nice and clean.

 
 
8BitPhoenix [2 Builds] 1 point 3 months ago

Wow! Great build, and pretty clean cables too! May I ask what camera you use, it's really great!

 
 
BlackRoseImmortal [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 3 months ago

Thank you for the nice words! The camera I used is a Pentax K-x with the stock kit lens. It's nothing too fancy by today's standards, but it gets the job done!

 
 
fsma92 [2 Builds] 1 point 3 months ago

outstanding build, personally I would switch the bluray and then nzxt hue, most people that have fan controllers put them on top. looks better imo xD

 
 
BlackRoseImmortal [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 3 months ago

You're right - that would probably look better. I might switch them out later. Thanks for the comment! :)

 
 
fsma92 [2 Builds] 1 point 3 months ago

my pleasure friend. you have a really beautiful build

 
 
kozarman [2 Builds] 1 point 3 months ago

Nice build! And its your first, kudos! And I must add very nice pics.. with scenic backgrounds to top it off.

 
 
atomicruns [2 Builds] 1 point 3 months ago

Great mod - impressive! +1

 
 
18hockey [1 Build] 1 point 3 months ago

finally someone who cares about good pictures.

great parts choice either way +1

 
 
BlackRoseImmortal [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 3 months ago

Thanks! :)

 
 
thunderdan602 [1 Build] 1 point 3 months ago

Very nice build and case mod. I am not a fan of those mesh side cases. Well done.

 
 
weredawg [1 Build] 1 point 3 months ago

Clean and excellent build. Great pictures too. I like that dragon statue thing on your desk.

 
 
fatninjamke [2 Builds] 1 point 3 months ago

Nice build! Very clean and great photography, you have my plus one!

 
 
YodelingTerror 1 point 3 months ago

Very nice, I'm impressed with how clean the mod looks. The window looks just like it came stock with the case, nice job. :D

 
 
BlackRoseImmortal [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 3 months ago

Thank you! :) It was quite an easy mod... I'm surprised Corsair doesn't offer this model with a windowed side panel.

 
 
YodelingTerror 1 point 3 months ago

I love the look of the 500r, I've just never wanted it because it doesn't have a window. But cheers on the good build!

[comment deleted]
 
 
BlackRoseImmortal [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 3 months ago

The NZXT HUE is just an LED controller. The knobs pictured on the front of the case change the colors of the LED's inside the case. As far as the fan connectors go, the front two stock case fans with the white LED's use proprietary 3-pin connectors while the rear exhaust fan uses a standard 3-pin connector (which I have plugged directly into the motherboard). Thanks for the comment! :)

 
 
ftahir192 [1 Build] 1 point 3 months ago

Ah I see. So you aren't controlling the 2 extra fans you bought, or the rear fan manually? How would you rate those fans? Take it you're using it for the 2 top slots?

 
 
redstar [1 Build] 1 point 3 months ago

"...pressing the power button the beast came to life and it felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders" I know that feeling!!!

awesome build :)

 
 
BASSIC_RZ [1 Build] 1 point 3 months ago

what camera do you use ?

 
 
BlackRoseImmortal [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 3 months ago

Pentax K-x with the stock kit lens. Thanks for the comment. :)

 
 
MAXXHEW [2 Builds] 1 point 3 months ago

You suggested BESTBYTE as the source for that stuff called U-Channel... I visited that site, but was unable to find it there. I like that idea for custom window seal. Does anyone know a place that has a good deal for that stuff? I would like to add a window to my sons pc: http://pcpartpicker.com/b/OsV

 
 
BlackRoseImmortal [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 3 months ago

Hello, and thanks for the comment! Hopefully I'm not too late in responding but the rubber u-channel I used can still be found at BESTBYTE. Here is the link:

http://bestbyte.net/merchant/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=CACM01CSM&Category_Code=CACM&Store_Code=BB

 
 
MAXXHEW [2 Builds] 1 point 3 months ago

Thanks.

 
 
Alonminatti [1 Build] 1 point 3 months ago

sick mod bro, my Iron Man (mk.43) build suffers from excessive meshing as well

 
 
xolot1 [1 Build] 1 point 2 months ago

Superb pictures! Awesome job with all the parts. +1

 
 
Zedzer 1 point 3 days ago

This is a great first-timer build! Props!