Finally got back on my feet enough to build a proper gaming computer. The last one I built was in preparation for the Age of Conan launch back in 2007/8. As usual, I support the underdog AMD. I would consider this a solid mid tier build, on the high side of mid. Just like I have always liked it, the sweet spot where price and performance meet.
CPU: Seemed like a great price point and a solid processor choice. Not overclocked yet, need to get baselines for everything first
Memory: I had to go with 1866 as it is the native speed for the AMD memory controller. G.Skill seemed to be a reputable brand, so I picked up the CAS 8 that they have. This was one of my less researched choices, but I didn't really seem to find much bad about the memory out there. Go memory manufacturers!! 8 Gb for now, may upgrade with two sticks of 8 later. Turned out that they were blue, too, so hey!
Video Card: Based on research, Sapphire is a great brand for radeon, then I had to narrow down between a 290x vs. 290. There did not seem to be enough of a performance increase to justify spending $70 more for the x, so I went with this. It also seemed to be a very hefty card, which should take me well into the future. Plus, I can always add another (4 technically) on this MB.
Motherboard: Everything works great so far. My main gripe with this would be that I can't register it using the serial number provided in the software. Additionally, the sticker on the board that had similar numbers didn't work either. It probably wouldn't have been an issue if I would have had everything to power up BEFORE I sent the s/n tag away for my rebate. I have a ticket in to them to help me, but so far it's been two days and no response. I have a feeling I will enjoy tweaking it, though, there are a lot of controls and features with this motherboard. The rest is really just an annoyance, as long as it works well.
CPU Cooler: Big! On this motherboard, with this memory, my first slot is totally covered, so no four stick configurations for this setup. As far as cooling, I'll stress the CPU and see. This thing is absolutely silent!
Storage: I went with the popular SSD/Traditional combo, but the traditional is a hybrid. Not sure how much benefit I will get from the hybrid, but it just makes me feel better that it SHOULD be a little faster. The SSD had somewhat mixed reviews compared to other more popular drives, but the size vs. price made my mind up for me. Plus going from pure traditional, the difference has been great.
Power Supply: This thing seemed to come out of nowhere, and I had no reviews to go on. Based on considerable research, though, it is re-branded/re-designed based on a reputable company. 750W 80Plus gold for around $80 after the rebate seemed quite reasonable, and not too skimpy for this important part.
Case: I like this case! Plenty of room behind the MB for routing cables. It's got a window, two stock fans (one with the LED), and has additional mounting for 1 or two fans on top, and one more on the bottom.
OS: This is not an OEM, it is a full retail 32/64bit version, fully legit. I purchased it through a website not listed on this site, which is www.advantageittech.com. They have a bunch of other software there, too, which may let me finally get my hands on some of the CADs. Their support was prompt and helpful, and reviews revealed that they will defend themselves from trolls, so I rolled the dice and got lucky. I got one copy with two licenses and split it with a friend to get to this price.
Optical Drive: It seemed silly not to pick up a BDR at less than $60! I haven't done anything with it yet, but the future is bright.
When I finally put everything together and powered it up, it ALL WORKED!! I installed the OS 5 days before I got the last piece (video card), so windows is all in order to put this thing through it's paces. I'll update as I have more.
SiSoft Sandra: Overall Score Aggregated Score : 10.45kPT