Decided to make the switch over to slightly more serious PC gaming. I've been a long time PS3 player and wanted to play the same types of games that I was playing on my console. This PC will also be replacing my ageing laptop and will partially replace me partners laptop as our main home computer. As such it will need to be up to light photo and video editing as well as word processing, spreadsheet creation as well as photo and media storage.
For the CPU I went for the AMD AM3+ FX-8320 8 Core, which may not be as powerful per core or energy efficient as the comparable Intel Core i5 but this offered very good power for the price. This is teamed with the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO to keep things running cool.
The motherboard is a Gigabyte GA-970A-UD3P which features 2 PCI-E sockets (16x and 4X) internal USB 3.0 connector, 8x rear USB 2.0 connectors and 2x rear USB 3.0 connectors. As is also common on motherboards of this spec it features surround sound audio output. This has been teamed with 2 sticks of 4GB DDR3-1866 Corsair Vengeance LP RAM running in Dual Channel Mode. Low Profile RAM was chosen so that the heat exchanger can be mounted in any orientation and not clash with the heat spreaders. The blue anodised finish doesn't particularly match with anything else in the system but I really like it.
The GPU I chose is the Sapphire AMD Radeon R9 280. I did extensive research into GPUs and could have just as easily gone for a GTX650/660 and it eventually came down to a good deal that was available when I was ready to buy.
Storage is handled by a combination of 256GB SSD and 1TB HDD. The SSD is more than big enough for the OS install as well as lots of commonly used applications. The case, the Corsair Carbide 500R is roomy enough for all of the components and decent height CPU cooler. It also features 6x removable 3.5"/2.5" drive bays and 4x 5.25" drive bays so there is more than enough room for expansion in the future.
The PSU, the EVGA 850W G2 80 Gold Plus, may seem a little over kill for this system at the moment and you'd be right. In it current configuration this system could probably get by with a 550W or 600W unit and would be an easy way to trim down the cost. The PSU was chosen as it allows another GPU to be added when funds allow and plenty of capacity for over clocking all of the components.
15-Apr-2015: Stress Test Conducted for 15 minutes. CPU and GPU both at 1005 load using FurMark and Prime95. The PC handled this with relative ease with the GPU only reaching a max of 66 Degrees C at max. There is lots of room to overclock this system.
There is not a lot more that I can say about the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO that hasn't already been said. Excellent heat dissipation and a very reasonable price. I've recorded temperatures of 9 Degrees C in a 18-20 Degree C room at idle.
It was a little fiddly to fit the cooler as the thermal paste meant the unit kept sliding about while I was trying to line up the screws. That was more user inexperience that a design problem though. It is also worth noting that you may want to used low profile ram if your DDR3 slots are close to your CPU socket, I have and it is clear but I don't have a lot of room and taller unit would cause a clash.
I chose 2 sticks of 4GB DDR3-1866 Corsair Vengeance LP RAM for my build. I went with Low Profile RAM was chosen so that the CPU heat exchanger can be mounted in any orientation and not clash with the heat spreaders on the RAM. I like the blue anodised finish on the heat spreaders even though it doesn't particularly match with anything else in the system.
8GB is about the standard for gaming these days and with these 2 units in place I doubt that I will need to add additional memory to my system. The only case that I can see for more memory in this PC is if I get into more serious photo and video editing.
Excellent SSD and at a better price than the equivalent Samsung unit. Windows now boots before my monitor fires up if I press the tower power button first. A very happy customer.
Seriously impressed with this mid tower case. The looks are spot on for what I wanted, sleek but not boring and doesn't look too over the top which some cases can do.
The included 200mm side intake fan is an excellent starting point for case ventilation, I may swap for dual 140mm unit when I get into overclocking this system but just the default fan configuration, dual fron 120mm and 120mm rear exhaust, coupled with my CPU Cooler keeps my temps really low.
6x 3.5"/2.5" bays and 4x 5.25" bays give pleany of room for storage and the bulge in the rear cover coupled with the excellent cable management holes and gromets make working in this case nice and easy.
My only criticism would be that the first case I recieved one of the side panel thumb screws was broken in an unopened manufacturers box, I quickly returned and got a new unit. Also it could be debated that this case is a little expensive compared to other mid tower cases.
Overall a very happy user.
This power supply is built like a Rolls Royce! The packaging, while non essential is beautiful! The unit comes in a well finished box packed inside a little EVGA bag and protected in a foam compartment. It is a similar case for the fully modular cables, they are in their own bag and individually twist tied.
The powder coating (I think) on the outside of the reassuringly heavy unit has an excellent premium textured look that scatters the light to give a soft finish. It also features an eco switch on the rear of the unit which I am led to believe causes the fan to not even run until the unit reaches a certain temperature. What will appeal to the premium customer is the 80+ Gold efficiency, 10 Year Warranty and all Japanese capacitors.
The cables are all braided in black webbing which can be a little stiff, this would be my only criticism. My Motherboard main connector was too close to the nearest cable routing hole in the back plate of my case to fit the bend in. This meant that I had to route the 24 pin connector through the next hole down. It wasn't a big issue at all as I had lots of room but in tighter cases it could cuase more issues.
Very cheap! This is both the Lite-On's biggest selling point and annoyance. I will no doubt only use this drive during inital setup and windows install. Beyond that I think I will have little use for it. That said it is useful to have the drive just in case. It is a little noisy during operation.