This is my first build. And the hamster in the picture is... Murphy. I didn't have a hard-fast budget, but quality for the money was a must. Up until now, the computer I gamed on was a laptop with an i7-3630qm and an NVidia GT635m, so any build I did would have been a step up. I started this when I consulted a friend of mine on when to build a computer, and what should go in it. I was concerned about new GPU's from both NVidia and AMD, and it just seemed like a bad time. He said that he used the Intel Retail Edge program to get a good deal on an i7-5930k (he works in Geek Squad), and that since I also worked for Best Buy, that I should just use the Intel Retail Edge program to get a good deal on an i7-4790k. I did ~2 hours of indoctrination... er, I mean online trainings in Intel's Retail Edge site, and was able to pick up an i7-4790k for $114 (plus shipping and taxes). Once I had that ordered, I thought, "What the heck, might as well get everything else." I was able to find good deals on a lot of stuff, and my employee discount certainly helped with the mouse (Black Friday helped with the other peripherals). Everything else was on sale, had a good rebate, or both. I've been able to run some lighter games through it (Far Cry 2, anyone?), and I got a copy of Fallout 4 recently, so this computer should do what I need. As for the GPU, my friend said to just get a 750ti. The idea was simple: would I rather pay $300 for a 970 I would replace in a year, or $120 for a 750ti I would replace in a year? When I found a good deal on a 950, I jumped on it. This computer took a little to put together (and a lot of force, which I wasn't expecting), and getting all of the drivers sorted out was frustrating, but I can't say I regret any of it. The most GPU-intensive thing I've done with it is 3DMark Firestrike, and the most CPU-intensive thing I've done with it is Handbrake, and it did both quite well. During games, including MOH WF (close to BF3), temps didn't go too high, but benchmarks and Handbrake made things a bit warmer than one would see in normal use. While nothing is future-proof, there is such a thing as future-resistant, and right now the only thing I can see a need to upgrade later is the GPU; if Pascal or Polaris are something close to reasonably priced, I'll sell my 950 without a second thought. If you want to see what all of the parts cost me, the parts list is http://pcpartpicker.com/p/LDn2hM (no taxes or shipping costs, though). I wish I had done more research into my parts selection (or at least paid attention to the results my research produced), but this computer works fine, and I love it!
Edit: Got the 480, works great! Can't bring myself to sell the 950 though, maybe I'll keep it as backup or a gift to a family member or something.
Edit 2 (8/2/2017): Sold the RX 480, back on the 950, waiting to see if Vega is any good (or at least will cause GTX 1070 price to go down). I also got a Scythe Fuma.
This is more processor than almost anyone would ever need. Then again, I've never heard of anyone complaining that their processor was too good! This thing rocks out of the box! The silicon lottery determines how well it'll overclock, but it's stock clocks should be good enough for any program. If you can get a good deal on it, get it!
A lot of review sites give this cooler a lot of praise, especially when it comes to the value department. I totally agree, this can be one of the best bang-for-your-buck CPU coolers available. The only aspect of this cooler that isn't a mixed blessing is the price. That is 100% a huge plus for the Fuma. Everything else has its upside and downside. The height is good, because it means the Fuma can fit in skinnier cases than even the 212 Evo. However, it has terrible RAM clearance (my Ripjaws X was too tall, so now both fans are in a "pull" configuration). You can really tighten the cooler down until it reaches NH-D15S levels of cooling. You can also break your i7-7700K in the process. The included fans are fairly quiet. They are also not very good for moving air through a lot of tightly-packed fins. Interestingly enough, the cooler can absorb heat fairly well, but the fans aren't great at removing it. Despite all of the cons and nitpicking, this cooler seriously dropped my temps by anywhere from 8-12 degrees Ceslius compared to my 212 Evo, and it did so while being quieter. My i7 with an undervolt and the 212 Evo ran about as hot as it now does with an overclock and the Fuma. I can confidently recommend this cooler, with a few caveats: no tall RAM; no tightening with power tools; no wishing for a better cooler ;). Since this is a symmetrical cooler, the RAM issue is doubly as bad on X99/299. Also, some reviews make it seem like it doesn't include the AM4 bracket, but mine did.
TL;DR: It's good, but watch out for RAM clearance and overtightening.
Edit 9/17/17: There is now a Scythe Fuma Rev. B SCFM-1100. It looks like it has the same mounting system as the Scythe Mugen 5. If that is the case, then the Fuma Rev. B solves the issue of overtightening and uneven tightening by using springs on the screws. There are no reviews out yet, but I can't imagine the springs would have made the cooler worse.
According to Newegg and Amazon reviews, I'm lucky I got a working one. Then again, that could be said of the Asus Z97-A, which I also looked at. However, if you didn't glean this from any other review, IT IS SKINNIER THAN STANDARD ATX SIZE, AND WILL NOT REACH ALL OF THE STAND-OFFS IN YOUR CASE. Aside from that, no real complaints. The fan control in the BIOS isn't very intuitive. I think the case fan speeds are based off of the red eye logo thing, since my case fans stay loud after gaming, and the only thing that stays hot is the red eye heatsink thing under my graphics card. The smart tweak BIOS is easy enough for overclocking, and even has descriptions for most of the settings. Before Xbit Labs (a review site at least as good as Anandtech) shut down, they said this motherboard had high power consumption and wouldn't let their i7-4790k get past 4.7 GHz.
It works. Haven't had any issues. Don't expect any issues moving forward. I was able to overclock it to 2400 MHz 10-12-12-30-1T @ 1.64 V, YMMV. When I bought it, it wasn't a great value and the only saving grace is the overclock.
Where has this been all my life? It's amazing! Boots in 15 seconds in my computer! Whenever my antivirus decides to do a scan, it'll get it done in record time!
This thing works very well, and I probably could have just used this by itself instead of pairing it with an SSD.
Twin Frozr it ain't. Good news is, it stays cool and quiet anyways. This thing makes 2GB GTX 960's and 2GB R9 380's seem like a complete rip-off. I got it on sale, which put its price firmly into GTX 750 Ti territory. For 1080p, this card is a good value. Just don't expect ultra settings on every game though (just most of them). As a side note, when I decided to see what all of the 3DMark tests were, I tried Ice Storm for the fun of it, and this GPU put out some intense coil whine (like, R9 Nano amounts of coil whine). That is the only time it has ever done that, and the circumstances were... unique, but there is the possibility that coil whine might happen at other times.
This case is easy to work in, and fit everything nice and neat. The space behind the motherboard tray was large enough to hide all of my cable "management", and the cutouts and tool-less drive bays made everything easy. Just watch your hard drive temperatures, because no air flows over them. Oh, and unless you plan on getting air filters, be very diligent with cleaning the dust out. At least the front intake and PSU intake got filters. Great bang for the buck!
Had I done more research, I might have gone with the 550 G2. Nevertheless, it's a good power supply. It's very quiet, and powers all of my components just fine. It should last me for a while, but it'll keep me from ever using an R9 390.
It works fine. It comes with NOTHING, no software, no screws, no cables, nothing. Also, annoyingly, mine came with some region other than North America. It gets loud when it goes full-bore, but just playing a movie it's fairly quiet.
I wouldn't say Windows 10 is quite, well, finished, but what I got has worked well so far. If you're building from scratch, I'd have no problem recommending this. Just watch the privacy settings, and get Classic Shell. Oh, and VLC, since it doesn't natively support playing DVD's.
Wireless Network Adapter
This thing works just fine. It supports over 500 Mbps AC wifi, and I can connect an XBox One or PS4 controller to my PC. It's reception is pretty good, since I'm on the other side of the house from the router and still get a full signal. Just be careful, it'll be hard to put in if you have a large air cooler. Also, for Bluetooth you have to plug in a cable from the wifi card into an open USB 2.0 header on the motherboard.
I got mine on sale, and the first one was defective. The second one works fine. The stand is wobbly, and the speakers are outdone by most earbuds, but the picture is just right. Probably has better bang-for-the-buck than most other 1080p, LED, IPS monitors out there. They're on sale so often, you can get 2! Also, this monitor is VESA compatible.
I've never had a mechanical, back-lit keyboard before, but this one suits me just fine. The spacing for the keys are a little weird, but that hasn't affected my typing accuracy (or lack thereof) at all. Also, it's not the prettiest out there, but it's nothing if not functional.
It fits my hand very well, and everything about it just feels natural (except for trying to press the scroll wheel down; it's stiffer than everything else). The extra buttons are nice, and the sensor is super-accurate. However, if you want to watch a movie in a dark room, the light-up "G" is really bright.
I know it only has virtual surround sound, but that hasn't stopped me from hearing the direction enemies in games are coming from. Plus, it is comfortable for me (I have a larger-than-average head and wear glasses). The sound is pretty good, and the mic works well. Having the buttons on the left earcup is nice, too.