This is my first ever build! I've been using laptops ever since I learned to use a computer, so this is a breath of fresh air for me. Apologies for the crap pictures. I'll add more later, promise. (Scroll down for some thoughts on my build.)
I'll be using this build for gaming, video editing and Photoshop. I'm craving ultra/high presets after many years of not being able to play AAA games on anything higher than low. I planned on waiting for the R9 290X, but since I'm only running one 1080P monitor it would've been a tremendous waste of money. So I went for a R9 280X instead, and the rest of the money will go towards new headphones, an internal card reader and more case fans. (Originally I was thinking of a GTX 770 4GB, but it's a full $160 more expensive around here and that would've gone over my budget.)
Putting the tower together was a heap of fun. Unluckily for me, thermal compound got everywhere and cable management is virtually nonexistent. I'm planning to spend a day just cleaning up the cables once uni exams are over. Had some issues with the power cables for the sound card but nothing a bit of fiddling couldn't fix. I actually went for about a week without a video card, but it's probably better that way - when I first built the thing, the CPU cooler was mounted incorrectly and was pushing air downward onto the sound card. Getting the 280X forced me to go in there and actually fix the thing (as well as get my hands covered in thermal compound again...).
I have nothing but praise for the case. It's roomy, it's got dust filters (my room is dusty) and its understated design is very appealing. The removable HDD cages are pretty nifty - I have 7TB in external storage so I don't need 6 HDDs in my computer yet. The tooless installation saved me innumerable headaches. In the hands of a master it would handle cables no problem. It's a joy to work with and as a complete amateur, I recommend this case to anyone doing their first build and have the cash for it.
The motherboard probably saved me a lot of time too. The BIOS is extensive and quite intuitive. It's hard to describe, but spending 5 minutes with it will show you exactly what I mean. Onboard Bluetooth is convenient, as I don't use Bluetooth often (but do still use it) so I don't need to spend extra money on a Bluetooth adapter.
Having an SSD as the boot drive has changed my life. I'm in love.
There's not much I can fault about my components, but that being said I have two gripes:
TL-WDN4800 - connection drops out all the time! I'm pretty sure it's because of the case's interference, and the fact that the antennas are pushed up against the wall, but as a former laptop user I've gotten used to perfect wifi signals 24/7. It hasn't dropped out on me during gaming yet, but time will tell if it stays that way... I plan to get some decent antennas for it somewhere down the track, hopefully that will remedy it. I also discovered that the WiFi GO! adapter that comes with my motherboard can act as an antenna (I feel stupid now). It's a flimsy little thing though.
Corsair 750W ATX12V / EPS12V - I wish I went with a fully modular PSU, because cable management with this thing is impossible. It took me almost an hour to get all the hard drives plugged in properly. Other than that, nothing major. It hasn't exploded.
So what to learn from my experience as a first-time builder? Make sure everything is mounted correctly. Thermal compound is a bit like glitter. Get a modular PSU. Spend some time tidying up the cable wonderland. Have fun.
|ASUS R9 280X DCUII TOP 3GB||Glorious factory overclocks! It's whisper quiet when I'm gaming and the temps never go above 75 degrees Celsius (167 F for you Americans). The GPU Tweak software that comes with it is solid.|
|Corsair 750D case||I initially assumed that the PSU would be a bottom mount. The case has a vent underneath the PSU area for the PSU's exhaust too. Strangely, when I oriented the PSU so that the fan would point toward the bottom, the mounting holes on the case didn't match the ones on the PSU. So now I have the fan pointing up and blowing hot air onto my sound card. :S|
|Metro Last Light||1920 x 1080; DirectX 11; Very High; AF 16X; Very High; Motion Blur: Normal; SSAA: ON (GPU clock to 1120MHz)||Avg 30.76fps, min 13.07, max 70.93|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-4770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core||$389.00 AUD|
|CPU Cooler||Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM||$89.00 AUD|
|Motherboard||Asus Z87-PRO ATX LGA1150||$279.00 AUD|
|Memory||G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600||$179.00 AUD|
|Storage||Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5" SSD||$199.00 AUD|
|Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM||$72.00 AUD|
|Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM||$105.00 AUD|
|Video Card||Asus Radeon R9 280X 3GB||$409.00 AUD|
|Sound Card||Asus Xonar Essence STX||$179.00 AUD|
|Wireless Network Adapter||TP-Link TL-WDN4800 802.11a/b/g/n PCI-Express x1||$45.99 AUD|
|Case||Corsair 750D ATX Full Tower||$209.00 AUD|
|Power Supply||Corsair 750W ATX12V / EPS12V||$165.00 AUD|
|Optical Drive||Pioneer BDC-207DBK Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer||$60.00 AUD|
|Total (Australia):||$2379.99 AUD|
|CPU Clock Rate||3.5GHz|
|CPU Temperature While Idle||33.0° C|
|CPU Temperature Under Load||48.0° C|
|GPU Core Clock Rate||1070MHz|
|GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate||6400MHz|
|GPU Temperature While Idle||40.0° C|
|GPU Temperature Under Load||70.0° C|
|Performance Preset Score||P7120|