It's an all-purpose machine. Gaming, browsing, video recording/rendering, audio recording/rendering, work. Everything a computer was ever designed to do.
Ignore all pricing provided by PC Part Picker as almost all of the components were bought at different prices, different places, and at different times. As a result, placing a budget on the build would make no sense with the components that it is comprised of.
Added on March 19th, 2013
At the end of October 2011, I decided that I absolutely needed a new desktop to play Battlefield 3 as my old Pentium 4 630 was no longer enough to play the games I wanted to play. That was painfully apparent when it came to Bad Company 2's multiplayer. My goal was to get the most bang-for-your-buck components that I could find without completely replacing everything I already had, so just CPU, motherboard, and RAM would be replaced.
I had all the other hardware years before I even contemplated building a new system. The only things I added after the initial rebuild were the Seagate HDD, SteelSeries Mouse, and Antec case. So, at the beginning of November 2011, I bought the CPU, mobo, and the RAM and just plopped them into my existing case. I threw in the Kingston SSD on Boxing Day 2011 because it was pretty cheap at around $80 and it is one of the best purchases I've ever made. BF3 load times went from 3-5 minutes to 15 seconds :D
The Windows 7 Ultimate I got free from my school since we have access to DreamSpark from Microsoft, so I get a free license to every major Microsoft product released since 2006.
The CPU power cable isn't long enough to go behind the motherboard, come back out at the top right cut out, and then reach across the top to the CPU power connector. So, I just deicded to run the cable under the gap at the front of the GPU. Ugly, but it works. I'll get around to getting an extender...one day. I'm more likely to replace the entire PSU, though.
The system ran good during the winter months because ambient temps kept my room cool and as a result, component temps were cool, too. However, once Spring hit and room temperature rose, I quickly realized that the only thing that kept my CPU from overheating in the winter was the cool temperatures.
This made me aware of a few things:
- My PC case had **** for ventilation (not enough room for good airflow/proper cable management.
- Ramping up fan speeds barely helped reduce temps while creating a lot more audible noise.
- My video rendering performance was suffering big time. CPU Temps were reaching almost 70 Celsius at load.
In late May 2012, I jumped on a sale at the local Canada Computers to grab the Antec One Gaming case for $45 and the Corsair H60 Liquid CPU cooler. I originally planned to put the H60 in my old case, but I realized the radiator wouldn't fit, so I decided to grab the Antec One I had been eyeing for a couple months as well. I transferred everything from the old case into the new one, tested it to make sure it worked, then replaced the stock AMD CPU cooler with the H60. Instantly my CPU idle temps dropped 20 degrees from 60 to 40 Celsius. And since there was less heat in the case, the case fans did not need to run as fast as they did before, so there was a drastic decrease in audible noise. It's not super quiet, but it's not loud either. The sound is constant, I guess. Even at load in BF3, the decibel output seems to remain the same as at idle. That is one of the best features of switching from large HSFs to Liquid cooling.
EDIT (12/7/2013): In October 2013 I discovered that using Speedfan, I could lower my GPU fan speed to 1095 RPM to drastically reduce audible noise while keeping the same low idle temperature of 31°C. I'd say that my actual idle noise has dropped at least 3 decibels by using this method! So, the final dB rating is somewhere between the 20-30dB range.
There was a slight issue of fitting the Corsair Hydro H60's radiator into the Antec One chassis. Due to the shape of the outer bezel of the radiator, it does not fit snugly into the case (part of the bezel prevents the radiator from sitting properly). I worked around this issue by just simply pushing the radiator's conflicting bezel under the piece of the chassis that was blocking it. There's quite a bit of tension there, but the rear mount fan screws keep it well-secured. Unfortunately, when putting the side panel back on, the bulge of the cooler prevents the upper thumbscrew hole from sitting in the correct position to screw it in. This isn't really an issue because the panel still slides all the way in and the bottom thumbscrew hole is unaffected, so that one still keeps the side panel secured to the rest of the chassis.
Added on March 19th, 2013
I added the 2TB Seagate Drive on Black Friday 2012 and the SteelSeries Sensei RAW In Jan. 2013 when the cable on a regular old Dell Premium USB mouse I was using crapped out. I bought the Corsair F60 off a friend in early January 2013 for $30 since he had it lying around unopened.
- Corsair H60 Radiator exhaust fan at rear
- Antec intake fan on top
- Antec intake fan at front
- CoolerMaster Silent intake fan on bottom (not currently active)
Added on June 9th, 2013
There was a great deal at Canada Computers this weekend on an XFX Radeon HD 7850 1GB, so I picked that up for $160 + $20 mail-in-rebate to bring the price down to $140.
Added on December 7th, 2013
There was a great deal at Canada Computers on Black Friday for the ASUS VE247H 23.6" monitor, so I picked that up for $150 + $20 mail-in-rebate to bring the price down to $130. Pretty damn good considering the original price was $190.
Added on February 8th, 2014
I finally got off my lazy *** and took a crappy photo of the inside of my case after 8 months. I was so lazy that I didn't even use my proper camera to take it. ****** iPhone 4s picture, deal with it.
Added on June 15th, 2016
Well, it's well past due for an upgrade. Almost all games still run fine with the Phenom II X4 955, but it's very clear that the HD 7850 has come to the end of its usefulness for me. However, I can upgrade my GPU at any time. The real issue is that Arma 3, a game I play regularly, does not run well at all on AMD CPUs. I've known this for years, but had to put up with it. After all, I already knew my CPU was on the edge of obsolesence at the time that I had purchased it. Upgrading to an Intel CPU meant needing to shell out cash on a new motherboard, too, which I was simply not willing to do. Now, almost five years after I made the initial build, an opportunity has presented itself to me to solve my issues for good. A friend of mine is upgrading to Skylake hardware and is selling his Ivy Bridge-era hardware to me in two months. It's just the CPU, motherboard, and RAM, but that's all I need. This consists of the Intel i5-3570K, ASUS P8 Z77 LK V, and 16GB of unknown 1600Mhz RAM. I'll find out what the RAM is exactly before I get it, but it shouldn't be a problem. From what I've read from other players, I can expect a massive jump in FPS with the 3570K at stock speeds. The only lasting concern is that I'll need a new GPU for games like GTA V and Star Citizen, but I'm eagerly awaiting benchmarks on the RX 470 and 480 cards from AMD.