I'm a first time builder, but have been researching parts for about two years now. I finally saved up enough money to buy the parts and built it myself. I've been subscribed to tech channels that show you how to build a computer, so it was fairly straightforward building one. I wanted a system that could run any game at high settings or even maxed out, but at the same time, provide snappy performance doing school related stuff a as well.
CPU: I didn't need an i7 because I wasn't planning to make YouTube videos, nor did I use programs like Photoshop. An i5 would suffice for my needs. The i5-6600K is very popular among the community currently at this moment in time, so I decided to go with that. In the beginning I thought of choosing the i5 6500, but having the potential to overclock was what lured me to the K variant. I don't plan on overclocking anytime soon because it's already fast enough, but in the future I certainly will.
CPU Cooler: At first I thought installing the cooler would be hard, but Noctua included clear instructions and all the mounting hardware for the motherboard. They even included a screwdriver to help you! There's also thermal paste as well, so you don't need to buy any if you don't want to. I didn't have any issues installing it.
The aesthetics of Noctua can be a love and hate relationship, but I'm honestly fine with it. Most of the community can tell if it's Noctua by looking at the fan. I guess it's their 'branding'. The cooler works very well and keeps the CPU temperature around 20 degrees when idle. I haven't checked the temperatures when it's on load though. As of right now, it is very quiet.
Motherboard: I decided to go the the Asus Z170 AR motherboard because I liked the aesthetics of it. Another reason why I found it favorable was because it included a M.2 SSD socket and USB 3.1 (Type A and Type C). I like all of the features of this board except the I/O shield they provided. It was very flimsy and gave me a hard time while installing it into the case.
Memory: RAM is RAM. That's all I can say really. These sticks have a minimalist aesthetic which I adore. I would have gone with the 2133 MHz, but with the price of the build already this high, why not?
Storage: I am very happy with the M.2 SSD because it boots my computer in a matter of seconds. There's also no cables and doesn't produce any sound whatsoever. There's enough room to place a few games in there as well if I choose to do so.
The WD HDD does the job of storing my games. I believe this is the loudest component in my pc because you can hear a hum coming from it.
Video Card: At first I had my eyes set on the Asus Strix GTX 970 4gb card, but it's already old architecture. Sure it can run games pretty well, but considering I waited for two years to pull the plug, I decided to go with a 1070 instead. It was a choice between the MSI Gaming X 1070 and the Gigabyte G1 Gaming 1070. The Gigabyte card was available to purchase when I was buying my parts, so I bought it instead. I did however have concerns of the Gigabyte card with owners having coil whine, but none thus far. Sometimes the card reaches 60 degrees and the fans kicks in, but when the card goes below it, then it stops. I noticed that it kept turning on and off which produced a weird flicking sound, so just be weary of that. Gaming on 1080p will destroy games, so I think 1440p would be a better resolution to play at to get the most out of the graphics card.
Case: When I first looked at the case, it was pretty damn big for a mid tower. Everything fitted inside it with ease and there was ample amount of space for cable management. They also included two 140mm fans which are quiet as the Noctua fan on the CPU Cooler. Half way through the standoff installation, I saw that they included a tool to help you screw in the standoffs without pliers. This saved my poor hands as I was doing it by hand.
Power Supply: The power supply is small and is fully modular. I can hardly hear the fan at all. I think it's off when it's not under load. The black cables were a nice addition, but the clips on them are horrible. I found it hard making the cables click into the power supply and pushed them with the most amount of force I could apply. That's the only problem with the power supply in my opinion.
Other thoughts: My computer wasn't posting so I had to figure out why it wasn't. I connected the cables again and swapped the RAM sticks into different positions. I think it was one of the slots which made the computer not post. Might try changing them back to the positions I originally had them. The mother board includes a pin connector to help you plug in the front panel stuff. This includes the power switch etc.
Installing the shield into the case was a piece of cake, however the installation of the motherboard into the case was the most difficult part. There's a lot of flex from the shield and it kept bouncing the motherboard back. After a couples of tries and some lunch, I finally fit the motherboards into the positions of the standoffs. I think I bent some of the pins at the back of the motherboard. All is working fine though...
The motherboard's M.2 Socket shares the same bandwidth with SATA Express, so if you use one or the other, it will disable one of them. I.e. Using M.2 Socket, SATA Express is disabled. I had to go into the bios and find the M.2 option for the computer to recognise the M.2 socket. It's automatically set as SATA Express fyi.
Noctua included clear instructions and all the mounting hardware for the motherboard. They even included a screwdriver to help you! There's also thermal paste as well, so you don't need to buy any if you don't want to. I didn't have any issues installing it. Cooling performance is great.
No issues with these RAM sticks thus far. They're also low profile and are stealthy which is a plus. Fits in any neutral theme build.
I've had this card for over a month now and it's an absolute beast. It runs very quiet and when the fans spin, you can't even hear it. The aesthetics are on point with orange accents on the face of the card which you can't see when you install it. The addition of a back plate and RGB lights is also a plus. Sometimes the gpu gets hot enough, the fans will kick in and then stops. Doing this creates a choppy sound which is a bit irritating. I'd suggest turning on the fans to 20% to stop this. Overall, I'm happy with my first GPU. Only gripe is that I bought it when it first came out. It's $60 cheaper now :(