* Mail-In Rebates:
Of course I must also give a huge thanks to MSI, philip, and PCPartPicker. I was, and still am truly blessed to have won. Thanks everyone that put it all together and thanks everyone that gave me a +1 during the contest.
Way back... oh... say... 1998. There was a boy, an overpriced Gateway pre-built (thanks mom), and a dream. That little eighty pound 13 year-old tried his best to upgrade the family computer for better gaming performance. He doubled the RAM from 512MB to a whole GB... added an extra fan... and even swapped out the GPU for some VooDoo card with a lot more of... ahh... something... dunno... it just sounded good to him. It didn't matter, it was better than before and he was living the dream as he knew it. He gamed hard on the MSN Gaming Zone (Midtown Madness 1 & 2 usually) via his spare phone line and premium 56k dial-up modem. It was glorious.
Fast-forward almost 20 years later and things had changed. That boy became
a man older and dreams were put on hold. Priorities were realigned, a family was started, reality set in, and life slapped him hard in the face. A lowly Dell Pentium 4 became his sole connection to what would soon be the gateway (Mooo! =P) to an undiscovered country... a land of gods... a whole new race... the Glorious PC Master Race! Flashes of greatness began to slowly emerge from the depths of PC despair. More RAM and an SSD revived life into a nearly decade old PC and Intel chip. But sadly, with RAM for the 32bit XP OS maxed at 3.5GB, (well 4GB, but only 3.5 usable... man that sounds familiar) a wall of dissatisfaction was hit.
Thanks in part to a constant barrage of Newegg emails he stumbled upon a previously unknown website... a site where dreams come true... a community of wonderful, helpful, knowledgeable people... where the sky is the limit (well bank account actually =P)... PCPARTPICKER.COM! Go forward another year and an AMD budget build was erected, an online presence established, and hours upon hours were
wasted spent trolling enjoying a fantastic community in seek of super cool useless bonus points.
Little did he know, but that
young mans dreams were about to become a reality... a dragon (MSI)... a contest... a website... a Jipster... 500+ legitimate users....they all combined like some super cheesy mighty morphing mega-zoid to create something great. The battle for his dreams was not an easy one... cheaters... whiners... losers... there were plenty... but he emerged victorious and with all, most some of his dignity intact. The rest they say... is PCPP history.
Yes, I used the NZXT Manta for my my build and not the Phanteks Enthio EVOLV Mini ITX case in my guide. Two reasons... it was a brand new case and GPU airflow. The Phanteks case, while beautiful and still probably preferred IMO over the Manta, has "OK to poor" air flow to the GPU. It's just a product of that form factor and not really a design flaw. I wanted to see how the steps taken in the design of the larger Manta ITX case improved overall airflow. Hey, I like to keep things cool... good airflow turns me on.
NZXT used the Ferrari 458 as inspiration when designing the Manta case (see also INSPIRATIONAL BUILD ALBUM). I decided to play off that theme for the build. I originally designed numerous logos and window "ghost dragon" decals, some big, some small. In the end, my true style won out and I kept I things minimalistic and clean.
I just threw in some photo-shopped pics at the end... messing around with an app on my phone. Some simulated RGB lighting in there that looks neat...