I always wanted to build my own gaming PC for a while but didn't have the funds. I have been gaming on and off for the last 15 years on budget builds based of old office pc's and consoles. For this particular build I wanted to build something pretty powerful that will last me a while. I wanted to build something that will allow me to game without any reservations and allow me to run software for my IT degree(Vmware, SQLDB, etc.). This was not a budget build so I do realize I probably overspent on some parts. I was going for the classy, clean look - not the Christmas tree look. Parts breakdown: CPU - It was a toss-up between the i5-4690 or i5-4690k. it was about 20 dollars difference and figured i might end up over-clocking later(glad I did after the DLNA server software transcoded the first 1080 movie in my collection)
CPU Cooler - I went with a custom water-cooling loop that included 2 alphacool 120.2 radiators, a XT45 and a UT60, a EK supremacy CPU block, a EK GTX970 full cover block and South-bridge water-block(to get the system temp to be the same as the loop temp), a Phyoba balancer Res and a Phobya DC12-220 pump. Which was all connected using 3/8id UV reactive blue tubing.
Motherboard - I wanted something sturdy with OC capabilities, the ability to connect a serial cable(via a header on the MB) and I like the look. It was pretty easy to work with. I was looking at an ASrock but i found some better features on the Gigabyte.
Memory - I'm Running some standard 1600mhz 2 8GB sticks for the moment but im finding im running low on ram to often and I'll be upgrading to a total of 32GB soon. other then some ebay heat-sinks that follow the colour them of my water loop its pretty standard.
Storage - I took out the front HDD cage to fit the 240 UT60 but im running the 4 WD greens in a 12TB parity windows storage space which means I have the ability to add 2 more drives if I run low on space in the future with no hassle. With the storage spaces read speeds I've ended up installing most programs that aren't latency or write-speed dependent on the HDD and leaving the SSD for the OS and new games.
Video Card - This might be a bit overkill for what I'm currently running(a 42" 720p tv and 2 1280*1024 6hz displays). but i figured when I spring for a new screen ill have enough fire-power for it but for now running everything ultra plus 8XAA.
Case - I like the size and look. I like that it's short. I like that it's metal. I like that in the current config I can up to 6X3.5" hdd's plus still have a place for 2X2.5" ssd's The case has a bucket load of thumb screws. 6 for panels another 5 for pci slots and 4 for hdd cages. but it still a solid case when everything is together. it Has good airflow and sound qualities(makes less noise then the Cisco 2950 switch in the cupboard) It Is however hard to get good cable management in the HDD/PSU side of the case.
Power Supply - A bit of a pain to work with as it is semi-modular. it does have a lack of molex plugs on the molex cable(only two which got eaten up immediately without splitter. Only real complaint is the cable for the motherboard connector looks out of place in when it gets into the main compartment. it a shame its not a flat cable or even all black would have been a nice finish to it.
Operating System - Running window 8.1 pro, I have to say its has grown on me only gripe is the lack of the old school start menu but that al I can really say about it.
Water Loop - Building the Water loop was an interesting experience. the initial looping didn't have the gpu in it because the water-block wasn't available yet and didn't leak a drop. I did however have to cut the tab corner of the front of the fan mount to fit the radiator into the case because it interfered with the plug for the port.. after installing the gpu I had 4 leaks show up which was fun trying to stop :/. But I got it all working and it now keeps the poorly over clocking cpu from roasting with all the voltage i have had to throw at it.
Over-clocking - Turns out I got a chip that is a poor overclocker. to get to 4.6 ghz core ,4.0 cache i ended up 1.4 volts which was to much for my tastes, so I've stuck with 4.5 @1.33V the cache would get unstable after 4.2 GHZ and I wanted good stability. I might try at a later date after doing a delid but Its fast enough for the moment.
Overall the build experience was fun. Most of the frustration stemmed from me being a first time water cooler. I would most likely do it again. Thanks for reading!