Description

This was my first build. After much hesitation I finally decided to replace my failing laptop not with another mid-range gaming laptop, but, for around the same price, a somewhat higher range PC. I wanted to be able to play current games at high (or ultra) settings, and get in a few hardware advantages for Photoshop use as well.

So far, it's running great. I haven't properly stress-tested yet, but finally being able to actually RUN The Witcher 2 feels like a triumph. Startup is so fast I repeatedly missed getting into the BIOS at first. It's not very special looking but for the price I feel like it's certainly a capable little machine. (Well, not so little, actually. Next time around I'll try to go for mATX.)

Needless to say, as a first-time builder I ran into a few problems along the way, but thankfully no DOA nightmares or fried components...

... Didn't notice the thermal paste on the heatsink until it was too late and I'd smudged it a little. Temperatures look fine so far though.

... I needed to fiddle with the fan wires on the Intel stock cooler as they were too close to the fan blades.

... Forgot to put in the RAM before mounting the motherboard. Not much of an issue, but it would've been easier to do outside of the case.

... Those cables! Aaargh. The cables that came with the RM650 are very stiff and the "leftover" heads on the peripheral power cables take up space behind the mobo tray. I also had trouble getting some of the power cables into the PSU itself - it took two people taking it in turns to get the motherboard power cable into the PSU, bit by bit (the 24pin end on the motherboard itself was much easier by comparison).

... Not entirely happy with the cable management (that back looks messy...) and the way the GPU is a bit droopy, but after 3 or so hours I couldn't be bothered anymore. If anyone has any ideas what I could improve, please let me know in the comments!

... After making sure that everything was set up correctly in BIOS, I installed Windows - and noticed that while the system recognised 16GB memory, only 3.32GB or so were "usable". Took me an embarrassing 30 minutes to realise that the install disk I had used was, of course, the 32bit version. Installed 64bit and everything was fine.

EDIT: The main talking point here seems to be the Xeon. I'd like to point out that that was not my idea, but was suggested originally by MikeYFItalian over here. Cheers!

EDIT 2: Turned the PSU around (fan was facing in the wrong direction). And: Cable Management v2 is here! I cable-tied those stubborn things into submission. Things look a bit less messy behind the motherboard tray now. Also stopped the GPU from drooping by routing its power cable over rather than under the card, then suspending the whole thing with the help of two combined cable ties (a single one wasn't long enough). New pictures added.

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Comments

  • 73 months ago
  • 4 points

Nice to see that you went with the e3-1230 V3 instead of a 4770 or 4771!

I have no idea why those two exist given what the 1230 V3 is and what it costs... I guess big-box OEM's have to cater to the general public who have probably never even heard of the word "Xeon".

Nice build!

  • 73 months ago
  • 2 points

Those xeon PROCs are pretty impressive given their price point. Dollar for dollar outperforms i5s, and comes incredibly close to i7s.

You wanted games on high settings? Shoulda went with a 660 :D That 770 will MAX most games, even BF4 on a single 1080p monitor.

BTW, Photoshop is gonna ZOOOOOOM! SSD+Xeon+16GBRAMxGPU= VROOOOOOOOM!

+1 for going out of the norm :D

Oh, and as for your wiring, do not worry, just ensure your CPU and GPU fans aren't obstructed and that's it :D

  • 73 months ago
  • 8 points

Yeah well, I could afford that 770, so... VROOOOOOOOOM. :D

  • 73 months ago
  • 2 points

ZOOOOOOOOM!

  • 73 months ago
  • 3 points

+1 for the xeon build, enjoy

  • 73 months ago
  • 3 points

Nice build, +1 for the xeon.

I would've flipped the PSU but other than that nice build

  • 73 months ago
  • 1 point

Good point, I'll look into that when I go back in to exchange the thermal paste.

  • 73 months ago
  • 2 points

I can't believe people are still sleeping on the Xeon E3 processors, it is practically an i7 without integrated graphics.

  • 73 months ago
  • 1 point

And overclocking ability.

  • 73 months ago
  • 1 point

You don't compare them to K series CPUs though. You compare them to standard i7 variants. ie, i7-4770/4771.

  • 73 months ago
  • 1 point

Correct me if I'm wrong but aren't Xeons workstation cpus? They game good?

  • 73 months ago
  • 7 points

Depends on the Xeon. Some Xeons are definitely only for server or workstation use (tons of cores but at low clock speeds), but those are generally in the e5 family. The e3 series has always been comparable to standard mainstream i-series CPUs in the same generation (exclude S and K CPU variants and i7-E).

If you look up the specs of the e3-1230 V3 and compare them to the i7-4770, you'll see the exact same amount of cache and cores and hyperthreading support. The differences are that the 1230 V3 doesn't have an iGPU and has slightly lower base and boost clocks. There's also support for ECC memory and some server features most of us won't use. It also costs $50 less even though it has those features and the normal 4770 does not.

Which basically means that if you've got a GPU, you need an Intel CPU with 4 cores and hyperthreading, and you don't want to overclock, the 1230 V3 is pretty much always a better choice than the i7-4770.

If you want to match the 4770's clock speeds, the 1240 V3 does exactly that, and it still costs $30 less.

  • 73 months ago
  • 1 point

Ahh, thank you for that explanation. Now I see.

  • 73 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah I was going to get the 1240 v3, but annoyingly it was out of stock everywhere. The 1245 was only minimally cheaper than the 4770, so I decided to go for the 0,1Ghz slower, but substantially cheaper 1230.

  • 71 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice build, looks a lot like mine; Same case and both xeon :)

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