My initial desire was something small, and low power that could still game on NVIDIA surround to replace my current tower that was built in 2010. I tirelessly researched the chipsets and RAM and processors and graphics. I'd say all in all I spent a solid 40+ hours researching for this build. Then came the Black Friday sales! (Really most of the items were purchased during the week leading up to Black Friday) My focus on a Bit Fenix Prodigy case waned as I spotted the Cooler Master HAF Stacker 915F with a $30 mail in rebate on NewEgg. I bought two, scheming to put a home server/ NAS into the second stacker, or even a water cooling option.
So after all of the Black Friday sales I ended up with the mini-itx mobo, the 16gb of RAM, the two HAF 915f's, the psu, the AOC monitor and the GTX 760. A friend bought me the 212 EVO for Christmas. I promised my fiance' I would wait til after the new year to finish the rest of my purchases. The longer I thought about it, the more I wanted to ditch the i5-4690k for the i7-4790k. Over kill for gaming? Probably. But future proofing the PC with the increased stability of the Devil's Canyon i7 won out. This way the PC now has hyper-threading and can handle some more intense applications like Adobe Premiere and ArcGIS. Some would probably argue why not spend the extra money on the graphics card instead, with Broadwell and Skylake on the horizon. To which I say "Eh, my 2010 Bloomfield i7 950 is still running strong- this one hopefully will too."
Building this PC has been a lot of fun. There were challenges and some real strategy to fit all 3 drives in without a drive cage. The cable management is a nightmare and in my latest iteration I ended up running as much power and accessory cables out of the bottom of the case into the extra space. Yes, the cable management leaves much to be desired. But I'm still in and out of the case pretty frequently adjusting little things- once done I'll wrap them all up.
The HAF 915 has great ventilation, pretty much every surface is open and has a dust screen, so once the fans ramp up it stays pretty cool. The only fan that doesn't get much fresh air is the 3rd fan on the graphics card, it's just tucked back into the corner, but I feel confident in the overall air flow so far. We'll see what happens on the graphs once I get through some break-in stress tests and go for an overclock.
I decided on the Silicon Power SSD for 2 reasons: a 5 year warranty, and it was like $50 for 120GB on Amazon. Hard to beat, and all the reviews had positive remarks....except for the last month there's been some concerning comments. Perhaps they switched up the internals of their drive. So far I've got no complaints about the drive. Power to desktop is ~15 seconds.
So far I am happy with the build. It is quiet and runs cool under low loads and the CPU cooler and graphics card did markedly better when running Shadows of Mordor on ultra graphics settings than in my old rig. I am quite pleased in that regard. My only complaint thus far has been the bluetooth drivers provided for the on board card. My bluetooth headset connects flawlessly to my Zbox nano, but for whatever reason the sound doesn't work through this card. It will certainly be something that will annoy me until I resolve it. Perhaps the AD2P profile isn't installing correctly. I'll update this when I find a resolution.