This was my first client build and marks the start of my custom PC building business. It worked great! It's playing games like Borderlands 2, CSGO (which we all know is the most intensive game ever), Portal 2, and DotA 2 all on maxed out settings at 100+FPS.
After testing out the 144Hz monitor, I was actually a bit scared to go back to my 60Hz Mac at home-and rightfully so. It's downright ******. Well, at least I'll be upgrading to a real gaming PC soon.
Pretty much the only notable thing about this build was that it was all purchased from Microcenter-overnight rush build. Client could not wait for his vidya gamez.
Some issues while building:
RAM didn't go in all the way, had a lot of troubleshooting. For a while I was just running on a single 8GB stick.
RAM was only clocked at 1333MHz until I figured out how to enable XMP.
HDD wasn't recognized until I installed some obscure Seagate software.
Mobo LAN didn't work until the second install of Windows around-driver issue.
Cooler x-bracket had some trouble mounting (think we might've just gotten a ****** one).
Had some trouble setting up the front panel fan control button-didn't realize that there was a cable from the front with SATA power and fan connectors.
So yeah, we had a lot of problems, but overall it went great.
(Sorry for potato quality pics, stuck on flip phone with 0.5MP camera)
This is just an amazing CPU for gaming. I've tested it up and down, and it handles pretty much any game I throw at it on any settings. It also blazes right through benchmarks-using an i5-3330S as my daily driver, I'm floored by the speed.
Looking back I could've gotten an i5 instead, but my client does do some fairly CPU intensive things besides gaming. Plus, futureproof!
Despite all the reviews of this that you see as a "budget" cooler (rigs <$800), this couldn't be farther from the truth. I've fitted it comfortably and am getting temps <55o C, with nearly noiseless operation. Just a flat out great air cooler, I don't think you could find a better one for the money.
Actual operation is 5/5. However, installation was a big-time PITA, and the instructions could have been written in Greek for how interpretable they were. Hey, CM, next time you make a manual, maybe throw in some words!
With the help of Google, I did manage to get it working eventually, but do NOT expect a breezy installation like CM advertises.
My first thing to say about this is, it looks badass. GB did a very nice job making sure all the ports were visible and accessible, installation of the IO shield was a breeze, and connecting the front panel IO could not have been easier. This is super easy to work with, comes loaded with features, and looks awesome.
The BIOS is also great! It supports Intel XMP and is easy to navigate, but also offers an "expert" mode if you get tired of the BIOS for 5yos.
I've docked a star because on a gaming mobo of this price, I would have expected to see support for 4-way both CF and SLI. Nope! Only supports 2-way SLI and 3-way CF. Oh well, guess upgrade potential's just a tad limited...but in all fairness, >3 SLI or CF configs are downright unreasonable for the scaling you get.
You know what, RAM is RAM is RAM. This operates at the advertised clock speed (after enabling XMP), works great in dual channel mode, and looks good. It is what you'd expect to find in a stick of RAM.
The hype is real. I had a hard time believing that Samsung could really perform that much better or be that much more reliable than competitors (especially Crucial, who I have always been a loyal customer of) but now that I've actually used one...I'm blown away. If you can afford the extra 10 bucks over another SSD, get this!
Now, I'm a bit squirrelly around this because reviews abound of the drive failing or being DOA. I hope that the warranty stands up if ever that does happen, but I might switch to WD if it turns out that this drive is as unreliable as people say.
This is an amazing card. The difference between it and the GTX 970 is amazing-still not quite worth the extra $150, but still. It supports DX12, can crank out 100+FPS on most games @ 1080p max, and runs amazingly quiet unless I intentionally jack up the fans with a program like MSI Afterburner. It also overclocks quite well, it seems!
In addition, it offers lots of upgrade potential because I can SLI it with a second 980 later on, or use EVGA's step up program to upgrade to 980Ti for a discounted price.
This case looks quite cool. However, I think it's geared more towards modders and people who want cool extraneous functions, rather than the person who just wants it to work outside of the box. An example would be the fan controller button on the front IO panel, which is not referenced at all in the manual and causes a bunch of cables among front IO that look very odd.
Other than that, it is very easy to work in and offers lots of space. The window is very nice, and it is overall a good case.
Looking back this PSU was probably overkill, but we might SLI a second 980 later or upgrade to 980Ti, so I think it's worth it. It runs (relatively) cool, is quite quiet, and the Corsair Link digital interface is very easy to use and control.
One complaint I have is that none of the cables are fully sleeved. On a PSU of this price and rating, I would have expected fully sleeved cables as a bare minimum.
Quality ODD that gets the job done. It's a tad slow, but the only reason to have an ODD in the first place was for Windows install media, so I don't mind.
It is Windows. When we installed it the first time around, it barfed a bit and wouldn't give us LAN drivers, and the UI is highly confusing. Nevertheless, it offers a high amount of functionality, and is quite easy to work with once you know what you're doing.
I still maintain that ASUS monitors are overpriced and not worth the premium. We were also sold on this one with the promise that it supports G-SYNC-it does not! Well, at least we get 3DVision, and it does deliver quite a good response time with the promised refresh rate.
TN panels are as bad as I remember them.
This is an excellent keyboard. Ducky's implementation of the MX Blue switches is top notch, and I really like how the lighting does not require software configuration and can be configured using the keyboard itself. It also has very distinct lighting zones, and the Caps LK etc. keys light up when they're in use. It also has very good NKRO and the Win lock is handy.
My one complaint is that the keycap font is very plain, but I've still given it 5 stars because you can get cooler keycaps for just $20 or so, and it's largely a matter of preference to begin with.
This was actually not my choice. My client has had his G602 for a while now, and refused to upgrade to a better wired mouse. The DPI is too low to be called a "gaming" mouse in my opinion, and the G-keys are just extraneous. If you are going to get a wireless mouse at all (which I do not recommend for gaming) I highly prefer ones such as the Razer Naga Epic that can switch between wired and wireless mode and are designed to charge every night.
Logitech sacrificed too much performance on this one for battery life.
Believe it or not, it is possible to get an amazing headset for this money. The sound quality is flat out amazing, they go quite loud if you want them to, and the wireless capability is amazing. The range is very far, the battery life is good, and you also get remote control over volume. G-keys too!
You're not going to find a better headset for the money.
We haven't unboxed or tested these yet. Will update with review when we do.