The Storm Trooper, aptly named after the look of the case, was primarily built for gaming. It has been excellent so far, maxing out every game its been in contact with including GTA V and The Witcher 3. The computer is lighting fast, performing every task within a blink of an eye, 15s startup, instant application opens, 5s loading screens in games. I will go through every part and comment on why I got it and what my review of it is.
I will add a lot more photos later.
*All custom prices are in Canadian $.
CPU: Intel i7-4790K Id like to start by stating that I understand this is overkill :) I work at Intel and I get a great employee discount on the processor so I thought, why not get a bad *** one? It does all my tasks and barely breaks a sweat, Intensive games only get it up to 30 - 40% usage. No need to overclock right now as nothing pushes it but I like to have the option so a few years down the road when it starts to fall behind I can give it a little kick.
CPU Cooler: 212 Evo The cooler everyone gets. I had never installed the stock cooler, went straight to this one, so I dont really have a baseline, but here is my experience. idle temps around 30 and load temps around 50. These numbers dont exactly blow me away, for an aftermarket cooler with such rave reviews I expected something more impressive, but its very satisfactory for the price. Quiet fan. A cumbersome install, I would recommend recruiting a friend to help you out. Quite large but fit in my case with ease and should fit in most cases. Not too important but it looks kinda bad, a kind of intruding, brute force aesthetic, I'm more interested in elegance.
Motherboard: Asus Z97-E A truly lovely board. This board looks fantastic, It has a very subtle but powerful look to it. Has every connection I would ever need. High quality. From a revered company. I was originally looking at some cheaper boards but many of them had reviews describing problems they had, I saved myself the trouble and shelled out a few extra bucks for a reliable one, I'm glad I did.
RAM: G.Skill 8GB 1600 + something 4GB 1333 + Kingston 4GB 1333 Yea there's 3 types in there... I had bought the 8GB RAM and later found out I had another 8GB in a dying computer, so I thought why not. This is again overkill, video games rarely use more than 5GB of RAM, the highest Ive got to is 12GB usage and thats when I installed like 200 Windows updates all at once. Regarding mixing RAM, I have had no issues at all with it, I even ran memtest for a few hours with no problems. There are a lot of people crying on the internet that mixing ram is the work of Satan, but really from what I've seen and heard, in practice this rarely causes problems, they all just run at the lowest clocked RAM, in this case 1333. Regarding RAM speed, I was originally looking at some higher clocked RAM but after doing some research, the expert consensus is that RAM clock speed performance increase is negligible, like <1% negligible. So I went with a standard 1600, mixing it with 1333 really makes no difference either. *RAM speed does have some effect if you are using an APU, (graphics in your CPU).
Storage: Samsung 850 EVO The king of SSDs I really cant recommend enough to get an SSD, they are fantastic. Super fast and silent. It turns loading screens to dust. Samsung makes great consumer SSD's in terms of speed, price and reliability. Of course I have to recommend Intel SSDs :P they are truly the top of the line, especially they're newest offering the 750 PCIe SSD, WOW. But I wouldnt blame you if they are too expensive, in that case Samsung is the next best thing. I wish there was someway to proudly display my SSD, but unfortunately the case I got just has some hideaway slot for it, oh well.
Storage: 750GB Hard drive Plug and play. This was pulled from a dying pc I had, I didnt even format it, I just use it to store various media files, music, videos, most of my games. Speed is actually not too bad, the load times are quite a bit better than my xbox 360 HDD, but that may be just my other hardware helping out.
Video Card: EVGA GTX 970 ACX 2.0+ The tank engine I was pretty set on a 970 early on, it was right around what I wanted in gaming performance and it is close to the same level of my CPU. I specifically chose this one because it had a ACX 2.0+ cooling solution, it is EVGAs best cooling offering. It was only like $10 more than the normal ACX and I think it is worth it. The base clock is much higher and it has more room for overclocking. Like the processor, no need to overclock for now, but if it starts to fall behind I like the option to push it a bit. The card is huge, Its longer than the ATX board width, It does seem to sag a bit at the end but I assume its fine. It takes up 2 back panels and is screwed into both so it has a lot of support, should be ok. I would assume EVGA tested the card thoroughly and the sag is expected. Does seem to get quite hot, up to 80 when playing intensive games. But right now I only have one case fan, ive ordered a couple more and that should alleviate that.
Power Supply: Cooler Master 750W The internet takes credit for this one This was the part I debated and went back and forth a lot. To save everyone time ill just summarize my final thoughts and what the internet recommends. Power supplies are a really bad thing to go bad, it literally has the life of all your components in its control. You dont want a power supply that meets the minumum requirement, because A) you may want to add more components over time and B) over time power supplies diminish and loose wattage, so if your over to begin with, your ok. Spend the extra bucks for peace of mind. I also recommend getting a semi modular power supply, it worked great for me, there was only one cable attached that I wasnt using, but otherwise its perfect.
OS: Win 7 Its Alive! I reused windows 7 from the dying pc I had, I had the installation disc and activation code. I had to call Windows to activate it because it wouldn't originally activate on the new hardware, but after I explained my situation they happily activated it for me. I'm looking forward to get that free windows 10 upgrade in July :)
Case: Raijintek Arcadia White Storm Trooper I really love this case, inside its got all the gaming computer-esque features, multiple fan slots, slot for a radiator, plenty of room for all hardware, both panels removable. cable slots to wire cables behind the motherboard, it looks great and has a high build quality. Its white with a black grill on the front, It looks very sincere and minimalistic but still indicates that there is a kick *** gaming pc inside it. It went on sale for $25 which made me look into it, the sale ended and it went back to $40 but I liked it so much I bought it anyway. I would absolutely recommend this, it has the look and features of a much more expensive case. It makes all those $80+ cases look like total rip offs.
Moniter: 46" Samsung HDTV No, I dont put it on my desk. This PC is a direct replacement to my Xbox 360, as I wasnt too impressed with the performance of the new gen consoles but wanted to experience next gen gaming, I opted for a gaming PC. And boy am I glad I did. Ive had this TV for over 5 years and have never actually seen 1080p on it. TV and Xbox 360 only run at 720p. I finally get to see what this TV can do, and it looks fantastic. I had some issues with text size in Windows, but I changed the display size setting to max, Its still a little small but acceptable.
Overall I am very happy with my PC, I dont think there was anything I would change in my choices. The sight of a maxed out game like GTA V or the Witcher on a 1080p screen at 60fps is an awe inspiring sight. If you havent experienced it first hand I highly recommend it.
Issues: First time I really played a game with the PC, GTA V on max blue screened after 2 hours of play. It seems it overheated and shut down. I have never seen this issue again and temps stay very tame now. I assume the PC just needed a couple good runs for all the thermal paste in the components to settle. Its good now. OS failed to install on SSD first time because i had it in RAID mode, make sure its in AHCI. Not an issue, but a tip, you really need to bite down on the CPU swing on these z97 boards, I was surprised how hard I had to press to get it locked down.
If I had a lot more money: a second gtx 970 An intel 750 PCIe ssd :) a motherboard with 3 PCIe slots (do they even make those?) Liquid cooling 4k TV