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51
Red and Black Bespoke
by Buttery
Permalink:   (42 comments)
Description

This was my first time build, having never done much PC stuff other than reassembling an old Pentium 4 machine back in Grade 9. I have used a laptop my whole life, and after having a summer job for the first time this year, I decided to do a custom build and finally get good performance for the first time in my life. The purpose of this build, outside of gaming, is programming for school and occasional video rendering for projects.

CPU: i5 4670k, the standard CPU for this price range. I was considering the AMD 8350, however greater gaming performance won me over in the end over better multi-tasking. This chip is running decently so far, I managed to get it up to 4.6Ghz on the stock cooler without touching voltages. Once I got to 4.7, the system would fail to POST half the time and was extremely unstable so I managed to get OC Genie turned on which brought it back down to 4.0Ghz.

CPU Cooler: The Hyper Evo 212 is to the extent of my knowledge, the king of budget cooling, however it is temporary. Next year I intend to do a custom watercooling loop for my CPU so the Evo is more of a temporary measure and the reason I didn't get a Noctua or a Phanteks. I'm watercooling next year due to lack of funds this year.

Motherboard: I could have gone with an Asus board, however I got the MSI-G45 for three reasons: 1. I got it bundled with my CPU, saving me ~$30 2. It matches the red and black colour scheme I was aiming for 3. I think the features of the G45 (Sound Blaster Audio) outweigh the features of the Z87-A or the UD3H I'm very happy with the G45, it was easy to install, the UEFI feels very nice, and it looks amazing in my case.

RAM: 8GB is more or less standard for gaming PCs these days, and I went with the Ripjaws X because it matches my colour scheme and I got it dirt cheap on Black Friday. There isn't much else to say here.

SSD: The 840 Evo was on sale on Black Friday as well, so that was the main reason I got it over other SSDs, as well as supposed performance increases over other SSDs like the V300 series from Kingston or Intel's SSDs.

HDD: 1TB storage is all I need, and the WD Blue series is supposed to be reliable and relatively speedy. I don't download too many movies and my Steam library isn't too huge so 1TB should last me a long time. I went with this over the Seagate Barracuda because a friend of mine (who helped me build) had a 3TB which failed on him after ~1.5 years of use.

GPU: I was debating between the 770 and the 280x first, and the 770 won because it was the same price on Black Friday as the 280x and came with better extras (in my opinion). Even if Mantle takes off I don't believe it is going to be ground breaking, and since the 770 will most likely get upgraded in 3-4 years if Mantle takes off it will be easy to switch to an AMD card. I got the Gigabyte over the EVGA, MSI, and Asus 770s due to it being the same price as the others (and $20 cheaper than the Asus) but being the highest clocked and best looking (in my opinion).

Wi-Fi Adapter: I got a relatively high-end Wi-FI adapter (as relatively high-end as Wi-FI adapters get) due to being sick and fed up with lag in League of Legends, which I play. Ethernet was an impossibility due to my physical set up, so it was either Wi-Fi or powerline, and Wi-Fi won out due to my familiarity with it and the ability to use it anywhere. Hopefully I won't get any lag in League unlike on some computers coughmylaptopcough.

Case: It was a debate between this, the Corsair 750d, Cooler Master Storm Stryker, and NZXT Source 530 for a long time. This case won out due to aesthetics, best air cooling out of the four (correct me if I'm wrong) while still having good water cooling support. The Phantom 530 can take a 360mm in the top, 240mm in the front, and a 240mm in the bottom, thought the bottom mount looks like it would be a pain. However with the HDD cages removed it can take an obscenely thick 240mm in the front so that had appeal.

Power Supply: I was originally intending to go with the EVGA SuperNova 750G, but as I was ordering NZXT offered to combo this PSU with my GPU. I took it, which in my opinion was a mistake, as it is not fully modular, and the sleeving could be better. However the SeaSonic is an EXTREMELY good PSU nonetheless. The sleeving is nice once you get used to it, even if it is rough. The PSU itself is very quiet, and feels very solidly built, so I have no concerns whatsoever with it (other than the lack of full modularity and the weird PCI-E cable)

Case Fans: Super cheap, thats the main reason I ordered them. $16 for TWO Corsair AF120 fans is pretty darn amazing. I'm going to mount two on the Evo 212 in push/pull for better temps (hopefully) than the stock fan on it, and the other two in the bottom and top.

OS: I went with the multi computer official licence from Microsoft over a $30 key from /r/softwareswap due to there being several computers in my household which may need upgrading over the course of the (near) future. Every person with one of these computers pitched in for the OS, so my portion ended up being around $30 anyways.

LED Strip: Because it looks awesome. 'nuff said.

Speakers and monitors were both gifts. The 27" LG monitor is not present in photos due to it being at my dad's house at the moment. The mouse is really crappy after many years of use, scrolling doesn't work and it won't open drop down menus. I probably will get a new one on Boxing Day, hopefully for cheap. The keyboard is an original Model M, made by IBM, manufactured in 1984 according to the label on the back. The headphones were a Christmas gift last year, and are still in use today (they and the speakers sound amazing).

The Wi-Fi card, HDD, Corsair fans, Evo 212, and OS are all not in the photos due to DirectCanada not shipping my stuff quickly (it's been a week, NewEgg and NCIX shipped in two and three days respectively). Once they arrive and I install them I will post more pictures as well as more benchmarks.

2013/12/21 Edit: So the rest of the parts arrived from DirectCanada and I finally got around to installing them. The wi-fi card is amazing, runs faster than any of the other laptop cards in the house and is rock solid stable. Finally League runs at a steady 85 ping. The HDD is fast and quiet, it generates the most vibrations, however it is non-audible, so I don't mind. The fans are sexy as hell and push a lot of air, no complaints there. The OS I'm happy with, I liked Win8 from day 1 so Win8.1 is an improvement to me. Only issue is keyboard doesn't have a Windows key so I had to use AutoHotKey to bind Alt + W to press the Windows key.

CPU Cooler: Runs much cooler than the stock fan, however MUCH louder at load. At idle it's quieter than the stock, but at load it is actually noticeable from the rest of the noises coming from the case. However it cools extremely well considering the price. Load temps (hottest core after 12hr Prime95 blend test) are 74 degrees. only a few hotter than the stock cooler. It did hit 92 degrees over night, but highest I've seen while gaming is 55 degrees so I'm not particularly worried. Can't wait until I have money to watercool next summer :D

GPU temps were taken after one pass of Unigine Valley 1.0 @ Ultra graphics and 8x Anti-Aliasing.

Part List
Details
Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor
CPU Clock Rate4.3GHz
CPU Temperature While Idle30.0° C
CPU Temperature Under Load74.0° C
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 770 2GB WINDFORCE Video Card
GPU Core Clock Rate1.14Ghz
GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate7.0GHz
GPU Temperature While Idle32.0° C
GPU Temperature Under Load65.0° C
Comments
When commenting on a completed build please keep your feedback polite and constructive, particularly if commenting on part choices and possible alternatives.
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Sorted by:
 
 
kev20061 3 points 4 months ago

Quick question, why did you choose the Bitfenix Alchemy LED strip insted of the NZXT Hue (full RGB)? As I know, they're about the same price, but the NZXT Hue offers more options as to which color/brightness/mode you can have. But that appart, you have made great build (+1). My build plan has about the same parts.

 
 
andrewu 2 points 4 months ago

Oh shoot you're right. I thought the Hue was just and LED controller and no strip, so I ended up going for the alchemy. I guess I'll use the Hue in my next build. The Hue actually would've been cheaper. As far as the parts, I recommend all of them.

 
 
appleroxinhouston 1 point 4 months ago

The BitFenix Alchemy has the best LEDs, in my opinion. I've never gotten to actually use them, but all of the reviewers say it's the best EVER

 
 
Buttery [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 4 months ago

The LEDs actually are really bright on the Alchemy. I'm happy with it, the only issue is that the adhesive is meh at best.

 
 
KevinP 3 points 4 months ago

+1 for that keyboard

 
 
canders [6 Builds] 1 point 4 months ago

Agreed. Awesome keyboard!

 
 
Vainslay [1 Build] 2 points 4 months ago

looks sexy. nuff said

eugh that keyboard though :P

 
 
Buttery [Submitter] [1 Build] 3 points 4 months ago

thanks, and I know the keyboard is ugly, but it feels amazing to type on, coming from my laptop keyboard. plus dropping another $100 on a good mechanical was out of the question :(

 
 
Vainslay [1 Build] 3 points 4 months ago

I know that feeling too,coming from a laptop, I'll be reusing my old keyboard as well, but at least it's matte black.

 
 
andrewu 1 point 4 months ago

I may pick up a Corsair K95 or K70 next year...

 
 
Eventful [3 Builds] 2 points 4 months ago

Model M keyboard are still very highly sought after. They sell for around $100. I would hold on to that thing if I were you.

 
 
appleroxinhouston 1 point 4 months ago

They're sold by Unicomp Inc. for abbout $80

 
 
dkolln 1 point 4 months ago

I'm with you that keyboard is amazing to type on. I miss my old one, but with my wrists they way they are I had to switch to the ergonomic split keyboards.

 
 
NoteToYou 1 point 4 months ago

Can't go wrong with a Model M. Buckling Springs feel amazing!

 
 
j9506 [1 Build] 2 points 4 months ago

My build is very similar to yours +1

 
 
andrewu 1 point 4 months ago

Your build looks good too +1

 
 
j9506 [1 Build] 1 point 4 months ago

Thanks

 
 
yourmother117 [1 Build] 2 points 4 months ago

dat keyboard must be beast

 
 
andrewu 1 point 4 months ago

Yeah, though there seems to be a compatibility issue that the system isn't understanding the input from the keyboard. Its registering the keypresses but doesn't understand what they are. Hopefully once I get Windows on here I'll be able to fix it.

 
 
Ope_Lee [1 Build] 2 points 4 months ago

Oooh a fellow phantom :). Nice build none the less!

 
 
Buttery [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 4 months ago

Thanks, the Phantom really is an amazing case.

 
 
PickItApart 2 points 4 months ago

Nice build. You could get this CPU to 4.2/4.3GHz with the setup. Any higher and I'd expect temps to go crazy and your system to fail.

 
 
Buttery [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 4 months ago

Well I am running the stock cooler ATM. Hopefully once the Evo arrives Ill be able to get it up to 4.2 at comfortable temps.

 
 
TJ_Hack3r 2 points 4 months ago

That Keyboard is the sexiest about this build. It make the computer... +1

 
 
Jared364 2 points 4 months ago

Sexy build! +1 Very similar to the Cooler Master Elite 130 mITX build and my NXZT Phantom 410 builds I got as saved part plans (Love the aesthetics on the Phantom, but got me a soft spot for small form factors)! And how do you like the sennheiser headphones? I got some 333Ds on my list, reading around and got raving reviews.

 
 
Jared364 1 point 4 months ago

Also forgot to mention your choice in GPU, granted its a descent choice and there is no SUPER wrong decision among those cards, but I would have kind of strayed away from Gigabyte. Yes, quality parts, and slightly higher clock speeds, but in my months of research I have seen a few issues in the heating factors. MSI and EVGA have amazing cooling systems and great clocks speeds, but are just as easily overclockable for that little more "oomph" you think you get from that Gigabyte version. Little soapbox moment, but just throwing my opinion and two cents out there. Gigabyte is a great company and has quality parts, just not my fan favorite in the GPU aftermarket.

[comment deleted]
 
 
Buttery [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 4 months ago

I love the Sennheisers, they have good amounts of bass and clear treble. The cloth padding is comfortable IMO and they are nice and light. My only complaints is they are meh for public transport as there is very little noise isolation and the bus engine seems to occupy the same frequency as the bass. They could also be a bit tighter on my head. Other than that, love them sine the day I got them.

 
 
RightGuy 1 point 4 months ago

Beautiful, especially dat keyboard.

Not too sure about Windows 8 though

glhf

 
 
Buttery [Submitter] [1 Build] 2 points 4 months ago

Windows 8 is fine, I'm running it on my laptop. Honestly it does feel faster and sharper than 7, and once you disable the Metro UI and plop a few shortcuts on your desktop it's actually quite nice.

 
 
Apach3 [1 Build] 1 point 4 months ago

not bad on a 4.6 overclock without touching voltages. hopefully, with a Hyper 212 EVO, you should see at least a good 4.4GHz overclock.

good point on your choice of GPU, although with many big-name developers stating support i think there's a good chance that Mantle will be here to stay. still, i respect your decision, as CUDA and PhysX are definitely good reasons to buy Nvidia.

 
 
Buttery [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 4 months ago

The whole Mantle/PhysX & CUDA debate won in nVidia's favour mainly because I'll probably be upgrading the GPU in three years anyways so it'll be easy to switch then if Mantle takes off.

 
 
Apach3 [1 Build] 1 point 4 months ago

that's why i said it was a good point. bear in mind, also, that AMD has stated they were looking at eventually making Mantle open to all platforms - not just AMD hardware.

 
 
Mincading [9 Builds] 1 point 4 months ago

direct canada tends to take a bit longer to ship (since they are all the way in vancouver). i tend to order from them earlier since it takes time. Nice build!

 
 
Buttery [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 4 months ago

Ooh, a fellow Canadian. Yeah, I learned my lesson, but I probably won't be ordering from them again in the future. The only reason I ordered there this time around was the price on the Corsair fans.

 
 
Mincading [9 Builds] 1 point 4 months ago

yes mate xD i only order from them when im not in a rush :P free shipping!

 
 
Spicyburrito 1 point 4 months ago

Reading through your description I noticed that you plan on using the AF120 fans on your 212.

$16 for TWO Corsair AF120 fans is pretty darn amazing. I'm going to mount two on the Evo 212 in push/pull...

You may want to consider using the SF120's instead, as they are supposedly higher static pressure/ not as turbulent, and therefore better at pushing air through rads.

 
 
Buttery [Submitter] [1 Build] 0 points 4 months ago

I know the SF120's are better for pushing air through rads, but let's face it, two AF120's are going too beat whatever fan Cooler Master have on the 212 Evo, and at any rate the SF120's are a lot more expensive than the AF120's I ordered.

 
 
the13yearoldgenius 1 point 4 months ago

Nice Modle M :D (the first ACTUAL mechanical keyboard)

 
 
Buttery [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 4 months ago

Thanks :D

 
 
notacar 1 point 2 months ago

League of Legends! I love that game. +1 Just for that (and the good build)!

 
 
samBme 1 point 1 month ago

why that monitor? it seem terrible for 320 dollars, i mean like 60hz and 5ms response time??

 
 
Littlepeoplepopper 1 point 29 days ago

Nice Build! I am finishing a build similar to yours but not as geared up: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/3fWbj I need to get a GPU. How is that 650W Corsair working for you? Any recommendations?