This is a basic air-cooled gaming machine.
I chose the Corsair tower because I wanted lots of room, and lots of airflow. I swapped out the stock front 200x200x20mm fan with a BitFenix Spectre Pro LED (blue) 200x200x25mm fan, which required a slight modification to the side of the hard drive cage. I added 4 Cougar fans to the mesh side panel for additional GPU cooling, and replaced the stock 120mm exhaust fan with a 120mm NZXT fan. The NZXT fan definitely puts out the most blue light in my system. Had I put four of those in the mesh side panel, I'm not sure I would have ever been able to sleep again.
For the processor, I went with an AMD FX-8350, as I felt it provided the most performance per dollar on the market. 4 GHz is a nice starting point, and overclocking shouldn't be out of the question later, should I want to do so. I topped it off with a Zalman 9900MAX fan (also with a blue LED). I used a 92mm Zalman in my first PC build over 4 years ago, and that fan is still going strong today. I figured it would be hard to go wrong with another Zalman fan. The Zalman doesn't install as easily on an AMD board, but once it's on, it's a solid fit.
For the motherboard, I opted for the ASUS Sabertooth, as I had heard there were a few issues with AMD/Gigabyte combos. The motherboard didn't auto-detect my Corsair memory at 1866 out of the box, but thanks to some advice from the friendly people here (see comments below), that issue is now resolved.
For the power supply, I chose a 750W 80 Gold EVGA unit, which is fully modular, and very nice. I've used EVGA parts before (especially their nVidia video cards), and they have not yet let me down. I'm hoping this PSU is no exception.
Speaking of nVidia video cards, the GTX 760 was just what I was looking for. This card is the factory overclocked version, with the extra ACX cooling fans. I don't usually like to spend over $300 on a video card, since the price will usually fall pretty fast on the most expensive cards if you are patient. This card came in just under $250 after a mail-in-rebate, plus included a free game and a free backplate, which EVGA got to me in less than a week! I'm hoping that the new AMD cards will cause the price to fall on this one, so I can order a 2nd one for around $200, or less.
I'm running Windows 7 Pro 64-bit, as I still don't yet like Windows 8. I'm booting from the SSD, and doing most of my extra storage on the 1TB WD drive, and an external 500GB (not listed). A month after building, I added a 3TB WD storage drive.
I picked up the 27" LG HD LED monitor last year at Best Buy on a Black Friday deal.
UPDATE: Over a year after building, I bought a second EVGA GTX 760 for 2-way SLI for $80 cheaper than the first one! New benchmark result photos have been added to show the gains.
|AMD FX-8350 4.0GHz 8-Core Processor|
|CPU Clock Rate||4.0GHz|
|CPU Temperature While Idle||30.0° C|
|CPU Temperature Under Load||55.0° C|