1. Concerning the build :
First of all, the name of the build is inspired by the designer Philippe Starck and not Games of Thrones nor Iron Man ;). I decided to name my builds after designers I like. You just guessed my work ? Right ? To make a long story short, I work as a webdesigner and as tech (computers, smartphones, tablets, etc.) and I had never build any computer yet.. I owned a Gateway 6801, a 3 years old setup which was performing well but I was tired of the awful case, the lack of filters and the lack of airflow in general, the specs were : i7 920, GTX 285, 12GB DDR3 and 1TB of storage. I thought about it, as the idea of building a computer was tickling me for a while. I then decided to build one and to use my old setup to make a nice gaming rig for my girlfriend which would have some upgrades as well.
Didn't have a single problem, no parts to RMA, I builded a bit fast and therefore missed some things but learned well overall, just a thing though, when you start building the computer, start by putting the PSU first, I did that last and it was a pain to route some of the cables.. Windows installation went extremely smoothly, I have multiple editions of both Windows 8 and 7 but decided to stick with 7 for now as 8.1 is not yet released and I do not truly with Microsoft's new politics and choice of interface.
So I went on to the search of the perfect parts, deals and more. And for that dear friends, I had a greaaaaat help - and I will never be able to thank them enough - at overclock.net, the thread is HERE by the way. And dear god wasn't I helped ! Without all these fellows ready to give a hand it would've taken way longer to actually build the thing ;).
2. Concerning the parts :
CPU wise, all started with a deal I could have through my work via Intel Retail, a i7 3770K at 85$ (gotta love these summer deals) ! I thought, wow, that's quite a nice deal ! Then the shipping was added and finally customs, the price of the CPU itself was around 145$, still less than half than it's retail price at the time (the 4770K wasn't out yet), the build was then built around this CPU which was the first purchase. I wasn't satisfied with the stock cooler, I didn't like the massive heatsinks of air coolers so I went for an AIO kit, also because I'm planning on swapping parts around quite often as I will later receive products to test quite often so that seemed like a good choice rather than a full loop (I didn't have the money for it, I did not want this build to exceed 1600$ and then 1500 due to an unexpected expense).
Then I waited for the 7xx to be released and as I am playing on a single monitor went for a 770 (and no, not a 780, sorry guys, kinda out of my budget), the greatest I could find for a good price still, especially considering that the 680 and the 670 were still selling around that price at the time. I heard only good things about EVGA and that ACX cooler seemed to have a good reputation so I went for it !
Then was the turn of the motherboard, that was the hardest choice of them all, but as I wanted a black & white scheme all along the MSI MPOWER seemed like the right choice, top of the line, great features, good build quality, tested for a while before going into your hands, this motherboard was begging to take her and happily.. I was weak :). And I do not regret my choice, the BIOS is extremely well made, overclocking is so easy a child could do it also I have not yet decided to overclock for reasons that are still obscure to me, anybody want to push me over the edge ?
The RAM was the obvious part, I needed white RAM as I did not want to start painting heatshrinks.. So I went for this nice set of Corsair RAM and I'm quite satisfied with it, I used the XMP profile for now, haven't tried to push them to their limit yet, I'm still trying to enjoy a bit the build before tweaking around also I've tweaked my windows badly already.
The SSD was a tough choice but since I needed to buy two (one for me and one for my gf's upcoming build) I went for a reliable and good product and yet not too expensive, ordered from the US just like the RAM, the LEDs & the thermal paste (among other things, went for a 500$ order and only 275 or so were dedicated to the build). The PRO would have been a better value and the Plextor M5P Extreme was just in between these but that was still 30$ saved and it's enough right now, I might purchase the Evo or Pro later on and use this one for my games.
The case was the second item I purchased, I first fell in love with the H630 from NZXT as I love simple yet elegant case full of features and nicely made, but this one was taking too long to be released and after some thought I did not need a full tower especially considering the fact that I move around with my case at times. I literally fell in love with the R4 as soon as I saw it, and even more when I opened the box, it's a great case and will last me a while, it has tons of possibilities !
The PSU was a great, I was greatly advised by Shilka on the matter at overclock.net (if ever you're here Shilka, yes I will post some pictures of my hale90 !). And the choice of white PSU is quite limited and this was IMO the best out of the bunch available, especially considering the fact that I snatched it at a good price. You're probably wondering why did I went with 750W as I do not need more than 600W or even 550 to power this system, so yes, I'll probably go down the SLI route later on, satisfied ? ;)
Finally, ordered some extras, the thermal paste (not for me but my gf, decided to include it in the build here still as it is a nice paste), the fans (corsair, not the best but I couldn't resist their design and good capacities overall), a basic DVD Drive as I still burn some CDs time to time and run some backups on DVDs for safety purposes. I added a bunch of white sleeved cables from NZXT which are of a great quality for a price relatively low, especially considering the price of sleeving in general as you have to pay for the cables but the tools also if you do not have any, a few basic one at least. I wasn't ready yet, probably for my next build !
I had a lot that went on shipping, I do not know if the price of my custom parts will be showing, but this was a pain to see so much money gone into taxes and shipping since in France (my homecountry) shipping is 90% of the time free, just like in the US. And in France, the taxes are included in the price, and oh god that's great, still not used to that here in Canada. Anyway, I'm drifting ;).
3. The Installation
The installation went very smoothly, the AF120 and SP120 are quite hard to screw in place and the H100i was a tight fit (warning people who might consider the same parts !) but overall, except the mistake I did (putting the PSU last in the case once everything was installed) and regret as my cable management could have been way better than this, I'll redo it later on anyway. Installing windows took just a couple of minutes, and thanks to ninite & maconfig I had my system up and running in almost no time, tweaked my theme, my explorerframe.dll, my personal rainmeter skin and soon everything was the way it was before. By the way, followed a great guide to optimize my installation on a SSD for a first time, it's available HERE, it's extremely well written and you'll save spaces, reads and writes, it's worth it, trust me ! Especially if you know most of these, it's quite short to do, especially since rebooting is so quick with a SSD (yes, as you can see it is still a discovery for me also I had already one on my MBPr).
The things I have left to do : remove the stickers on my MPOWER so it's absolutely black, find some white tubing for the tubes of the H100i, it'll look gorgeous, install my LEDs better as they're not giving their best (installed them quite quickly I must say), verify and check my airflow, update or change the fan orientation if necessary and finally : overclock and have a lot of fun !
So, if you have any critics, ideas to make this build better or look better, or if you think that I should have done something differently or that a part would have been more adequate, feel free to participate !
Update (08/06/2013) :
- PSU went from Fanup to Fandown
- Improved cable management for a neater look
- Rear fan went from Intake to Exhaust
- System overclocked
- Just ordered my 2713HM !
Update (08/08/2013) :
- Changed fan configuration. It is now : 3x Intake (1 Bottom, 2 Front) & my H100i as exhaust, leaving the rear spot empty as a passive exhaust. Also removed my PCI slot covers for better airflow. Front running at 5V at idle and bottom at 50%. 12V under load and 75%.
- Changed H100i to default configuration rather than fixed RPMs.
Update (08/12/2013) :
- Overclocked the monitor to 100Hz @ 1920x1080 for games such as CS:GO