Right, so, for the last few years, I've been stuck on a laptop with integrated graphics and a Nintendo Wii U. At first I was okay with both of these devices. They served my needs pretty well. But when I found out a lot of the games I'd been looking forwards to couldn't be played with Intel HDGraphics or with the Wii, I decided to upgrade. Here's my parts list:
CPU: Intel core i7 5820K I chose this processor because of its overkill power, it's abundance of pcie lanes, and apparently good overclocking ability (4.3 without trying, as of writing this I'm not sure I need to push it any further). The haswell cores within are slightly disadvantaged compared to skylake cores, but not enough to make any truly noticeable difference if at all. And if DX12 cpu rumors are to be believed, this chip will prove even more potent than it is now in games (already ridiculous, games like beamng.drive show no lag or choppiness with complex real time soft body collisions involving multiple vehicles). And to top it all off, I got this processor for free thanks to my uncle and his connections with Intel through the partner program.
CPU Cooler: Cryorig R1 Pretty damned good cooler (even with my shoddy thermal paste application). Under full load, it helps the 5820k sustain a healthy 67-74 degrees Celsius despite my 4.3 ghz overclock with performance mode enabled in Intel XTU. It's quiet as well, unless being really pushed, and the white heatsink covers look nice wih the white accents on my mobo. The only downer is that it takes up so much space that I can't use the second side fan slot on my case, and that it literally is rubbing against the side panel of my case, but I can live with it because of dem temps. (Might've botched the install, will be upgrading ram soon so I'll be reinstalling the cooler and thermal paste)
(Note: All temps are with max fan speed on intake fans and a somewhat aggressive fan curve)
Motherboard: MSI X99A SLI Krait Edition This is a pretty good motherboard, generally speaking. Given some of the issues some had reported with the plus version, I was skeptical to try out the Krait. But so far, everything is great. Its good for overclocking, the uefi is easy to navigate, everything is easy to use, and it's good for overclocking (even includes a dedicated oc switch, pushed the 5820k to 3.8 ghz which isn't bad, but I ended up overclocking it further to 4.3 ghz. It's just there if you aren't very brave or don't want to do the old "rinse and repeat" method). It also features a fantastic audio system, usb 3.1 with fast charging, and to top it all off the white accents on the armor, pcie slots, and the dimm slots.
Ram: Corsair Vengeance LPX 4x4 16GB DDR4 2133 Nothing I can really say here. It's ram, and it runs like it's supposed to. I don't plan to push it past 2666mhz like I have it now with my CPU oc.
Storage: Sandisk Z400S 256gb M.2 I wasn't expecting much from an $80 ssd, but this unit surprised me. Boot times are incredible and so are the loading times for programs and such. I do plan to buy some 1tb drives for mass storage and maybe an evo or pro sata drive soon enough, as the 256gb is the limiting factor here, but other than the storage capacity, I like this ssd.)
GPU Zotac GeForce GTX 960 4gb AMP! Some viewing this list will think this GPU is a bit of a letdown. Hear me out though. The reason I got this GPU is because I didn't want to dump substantial amount of cash into a GPU before the release of Pascal (I plan to buy 2 GTX 1070s later down the road for 2 way sli, then keep this for Physx). Anyhow, it performs well, the cooler is beefy as hell, temps are good even with an overclock... it's got it all. Why didn't I choose amd? I'll tell you later... Also, as of August 14th 2016, this card has no issues at all
Case: Corsair Carbide 300R This case was one of my definite choices from the beginning. It's big (so big in fact that It barely fits in my desk enclosure), it has a nice window, and the fans that come installed, while not too quiet, get the job done. It also has lots of room for expansion (7 slots, 3 5.25 bays and 4 3.5 bays, and atx mobo support). And I got it cheap. I'm pretty happy with it.
PSU: EVGA 1000G2 1000G2: Quite the PSU this. It's reliable, doesn't spin up its fan until it needs to. It's great. But why did I put a 1000W PSU into a build like this? Again, I plan to expand, and I don't wanna have to try to sell a used PSU (it's difficult, especially with the cheaper ones).
Optical Drive: LG UH12NS30 B.R/DVD/CD Drive Chose this because it seemed fairly cheap and I don't have a Blu Ray player. It's also useful for some of those older games that are still disk based (such as NFS: "Pot Pursuit" 2 ... Turnin' on a speeder that just flew by me!)
OS: Windows 10 I was looking into Linux for this rig. Then I realized I was being cheap and failing to consider something vital. Linux doesn't have the same game support that Windows has (for you Linux boys out there, I have a separate folding@home laptop with mint 17.3, works like a charm, and Mac has the same problem). Anyhow, it turned out that Windows 10 isn't terrible. Not the best. I still don't quite like the flat, kid friendly UI, or the spy crap, but it's not too bad.
Monitor: Acer V246HQL This was one of those diamonds in the rough. Didn't expect much from this monitor at its price point, but it's pretty nice, with vivid colors and a respectable 60hz refresh.
Keyboard: Corsair K95 RGB This keyboard is probably a bit of flim-flam, but it's quite nice. The LED keys make for quite the show, especially at night as you can probably imagine. The keys are incredibly loud by my standards, which I like, and the build is world class stuff (aluminum body, no flex, you get the idea).
Mouse: Corsair M65 RGB If you can't tell by now, I'm a bit of a Corsair fanboy. However, I didn't just choose this mouse for the logo on the front. The RGB lighting looks pretty darn cool, especially when synced with the keyboard. It also has an insanely overkill sensor (8200 dpi) and weights in the bottom that can be removed to customize the feel. There are also buttons for "sniper mode" (very low dpi) and buttons for adjusting the dpi (5 different modes). The build is also world class, something I've come to expect of Corsair.
Headphones: Shure SRH940: These weren't really part of the build up until recently. I use these on occasion for gaming or just listening to music without interrupting others. They sound good and are very neutral (maybe a slight bit short on the bass side). Very comfy as well (velour pads help).
Speakers: AmazonBasics A100 and Beats Pill 2.0: This is undoubtedly the most skimped part of the build. The pill was just sitting around doing nothing because I'd stopped using it (too much bass) and the A100s were just an afterthought. The pill I use as a sub woofer (works "meh") and the A100s work "meh" as well (they're budget as hell).
Mic: Audio Technica ATR 4650 Kind of crap, but what else do you expect for $8?
Controller and other devices: Shield Controller, Shield Portable, Shield Tablet This is why I chose an Nvidia card. The first device I got here was actually the Shield Portable, way back when I had no rig to stream from. After I got the rig up and running, I tried the streaming bit and it worked pretty well (just make sure you have a dual band router). I got the controller right afterwards for games like project CARS, as keyboard racing isn't my thing and a wheel has very limited use compared to a controller. On top of that, a wheel isn't compatible with the tablet. I use that as a streamer and everyday tablet. Some might point out that the portable and tablet aren't strictly part of the build, but again, streaming. Playing PC games on the go is pretty cool. That's why I added these devices in.
Upgrades I plan to do? Well, first off, 2 1070s by next summer. Second, the monitor. The 23.6 in unit I have now is fine, as I honestly prefer higher quality settings to higher resolutions and am not certain about the extra horsepower needed to run 1440p. However, with 2 1070s (probably even one), I could probably do that no problem. The only challenge being finding a 1440p monitor that will fit in my confined desk. Third, ram and hdds. I plan to start running VMs for projects and doing some content creation. That's why I need more ram and more storage space (2x 1tb hdds for media and basic programs and 2 480gb ssds for steam and non steam games is what I'd like to do). I'd also like to add in some more case fans. Maybe even one of those nifty little compartments that can store stuff in a 5.25 in bay. I also wanna get an LED lighting kit, as the green LEDs on the founders cards don't have any other greens to match with. I have my eyes on an NZXT Hue rgb lighting kit, not the hue+ as i wanna save my usb headers for a card reader i might buy. Finally, I want to get a good wheel. And maybe one of those dxracer chairs, though it's more of an office upgrade than a rig upgrade. That's it for now.
(Update): Added in 4 fan, 2 hdds,s and a gtx 1070 when I get back from vacation. I hope to get pictures uploaded after I get back.
(Note: All temps are with max fan speed on intake fans and a somewhat aggressive fan curve)
6 cores, 15mb of l3 cache, and great overclocking ability, and support for 3 nvidia graphics cards in sli. And it's in the same price point as the 6700k? Bargain of the century. No hick ups at all, and fantastic multi tasking. Currently have mine running at 4.3 ghz.
Keeps my 5820K from overheating, and looks sexy as hell. My temps are a tad high for this cooler but I know I botched the thermal paste. The only downer is its shear size, barely fit in my 300R.
High grade capacitors, lots of features, supports sli, and looks really cool with its white accents. It's been reliable throughout my rig's lifespan. It's also got an easy to navigate bios with plenty of options for overclocking and can overclock by itself. I love it.
Not much to say here. It's ddr4, it's ram, there's 16gb of it... The only special thing about it is the good low profile heat sinks. Currently running at 2666mhz in my rig.
Incredibly fast by my standards. It may not be a pci based m.2 ssd but it's still fast. I've had no problems with it so far.
One of the best 960s available. The cooler looks great, and performs well (overclocked to 1.4 ghz on the core, was stable and has been stable since day one). I do wish the zotac badge illuminated but it's not much to complain about and certainly nothing big enough to take a star off.
I know it's an older chassis, introduced a few years ago, but the 300R is still a special case to me. Its industrial, blue collar looks got me. It's also got a good amount of features (tooless bays, good airflow, and a windowed side panel to show off your rig). I even managed to get it cheaper than usual. Couldn't be happier.
Very overkill psu. EVGA makes some pretty damned good power supplies, and the 1000g2 doesn't disappoint. It's quiet, very reliable, and supports a lot of components. The only issue I have with this psu is the pcie power cables (red? Really?). But I'm ordering a cablemod kit soon enough so it's fine by me.
Got this drive because it was cheap for a Blu Ray drive. I bought it for driver installs, Blu Ray movies, and games based off of CDs (I own a few). It works good, and reads quick enough. It also blends well with my case.
Pretty good I guess. Windows 10 includes dx12, a start menu that's actually somewhat familiar (looking at you Windows 8), and a good array of features. It's also pretty damned snappy despite being big compared to something like Linux. Overall I like it.
Wasn't expecting much, but it actually isn't a bad panel. Good color reproduction, and it responds quickly (5ms). The only issue is the lackluster port assortment, the main reason I'm taking off a star (DVI and VGA only). It's also got a slightly wobbly stand but unless you pound your fists when you rage quit, you won't notice. It's good for the money.
Easily the best keyboard I've ever used, let alone owned. It's got lots of lighting possibilities, a nice aluminum body, cherry mx brown switches, a clever volume roller among other media controls, and a good array of programmable macros. I love it.
Bought it because my mx master didn't have rgb lighting like my k95 and didn't have matching colors. It has high sensitivity, it feels nice to hold due to its unique texture and aluminum body, it has built in weights to customize the feel of the mouse, and has a switch to quickly adjust the dpi as well as an instant dpi switch key (or the sniper button). Overall, would recommend.