Description

(02May14) Story: After 8 years with a once decent but slowly dying Toshiba laptop that required to be constantly plugged-in, basically failing at the portable aspect of a laptop, I wanted to go to a desktop. I had been wanting to build my own computer for a couple years seeing often that you often get more bang for your buck, learn a bunch about what you use daily, and have a ton of fun. I paid for a lot of weekends in college with fixing smart phones cheap, but only recently came into some decent money with a great job to do a tower build. After graduating college I saved and bought a car then a few other purchases and this kept getting put off. This list has been tinkered with for about 1-2 years always wanting to do it but shy to pull the trigger. I almost completely tore my PCL in March playing rugby which has sidelined me until summer which wasn't good for playing but perfect timing as I had finally purchased the first piece (BD drive). Buying took me from about February to beginning to April looking for good deals and switching parts if I found a good buy. This community helped me out TREMENDOUSLY learning how to pick correct parts and preventing bottleneck so I took a bunch of pictures and will do my best to give explanations along the way for why I chose certain things for people who are exactly where I used to be before this whole thing. This certainly isn't perfect but I was trying to stay on a mid-upper budget and leave room for expansion if I really did catch the bug with this whole PC building business (I did). I plan on using this PC for a wide variety of things. I plan on switching from console gaming to this, I've dabbled with music mixing and video editing in the past but now my limitations are far less so I imagine I will get back into that. I am also learning programming soon and hope to make an app so this is a Jack-of-all trades machine for a CU grad. ON TO THE BUILD (links to videos I watched too) Whole build

  • CPU: I originally wanted the i7 but soon realized this was over kill for my current skill set and learning abilities (no CAD or high graphic work) so I bumped down to the i5 (I stayed Intel for the amount of options with their chips and it is obviously a more popular brand to build with). I stayed with the 4670K because I figured I would want to tinker with this once the new novelty wore off and Overclock eventually. I will update once I do but I haven't had the fully completed build for a month at the time of this post.

  • Cooler: Very popular cooler and I can see why. Don't know how this magic piping works but those wizards in there keep this cpu very cool.

  • Thermal: HINT - thermal comes with coolers, probably could've read that on the box but I was in an excited rush at Microcenter. This stuff obviously works great so I can't say anything bad. CPU and thermal

  • MOBO: Again my ambition at the beginning said Extreme 6 but I learned the features weren't much more than the 4 and really only had more SATA's. Board works great and the ASRock program is great for tweaking. As I said I haven't OC'd yet but this app has easy buttons it looks like. I have to read more on its reliability and will update on how that goes. No complaints about this board.

  • Memory: 8GB for a decent price. I tried to go with a blue theme wherever I could since the rest of my components were pretty much black. It's memory, there's not a lot to them they run well.

  • SSD: Saw mix reviews about this brand and that some are actually rebranded of a cheaper brand but mine has worked great. I use it for the OS, BF4 and a few other apps I plan on having permanently.

  • HDD: Same as the SSD read mixed reviews but I went with this cheaper than most version. Hasn't had a hiccup yet so hopefully no crashing.

  • GPU: This was probably the hardest selection for me. I had no idea where to start or what to use. I started off low balling this machine with a 1GB old version card. A friend advised me to go to 2GB at least for gaming and I ended up looking at the EVGA cards. Keeping in mind of my budget I found the 760 Superclocked version at a decent price. I saw some frame tearing with BF4 but that turned out to be my fault running my case too hot (I'll explain at the case), cranked up the fans and haven't had an issue since. Great line of cards with my set-up at least.

  • Case: This was an impulse buy. I went to MicroCenter to take a look around and get some ideas but this case was on sale with a rebate and it was exactly what I was looking for with 3.0 and 2.0 ports in the front and fan control. I could not rave about this case enough for the price. If you have more than one SSD you may run into an issue as there is not holders in the main compartment but I only have the one in the back so I'm ok for now. The HDD has dampners that clicked right in. Install for components wasn't too hard. Once you remove a grill in the back that's it - good thing in the back though is they have extra grills to cover up any mistakes or changes with those and a screw and you can reuse the front covers, the covers underneath the front are reusable with a screw (not really necessary as you don't see those). It is a little tight in the back and I'm sure if I wasn't too lazy to run out for more small zip ties I could do a better job but I just wanted to turn it on and dive in. I made the mistake since all my case fans are connected to the switch on top

  • BD Drive - This was my first purchase as it was on sale but If you aren't willing to work on reading a whole bunch into running a bunch of codecs or live scripts or don't invest in a HUGE harddrive don't bother. Blu-rays don't play natively on anything by a liscensed whole functioning bluray player (AKA NO BLURAY ON PC EASILY) I finally got a program Arcsoft Total Media and it plays beautifully off the disc. Also MakeMKV to rip, but the files are massive (17GB for Pulp Fiction) At least this drive didn't come with a program so I was a little upset but that was my fault for not investigating before purchase.

  • OS: If you haven't heard by now there are a lot of gripes with this OS. I can easily see everyone's point as it is a cumbersome and a little backwards. Additionally if you want something like what you buy off the shelf you need pro, home doesn't come with a lot of the Windows and Microsoft applications you might have come to take for granted as always being there.... ex: WMP, all of Microsoft Office, etc. I'm doing my best to learn some features which are cool, but it is a steeper curve.

  • Monitor: Got this on sale with a rebate and looks phenomenal. I used my TV for the boot and original OS install as I hadn't grabbed my old monitor out of storage yet . The second monitor is an old 19" Dynex monitor/tv that somehow was still able to max out at just above 760. I run dual because that's what I have at work and it makes all daily functions oh so easy if you're needing to look at two windows or apps simultaneously. It also doesn't hurt with BF4 for the map display.

  • Keyboard - looked cool with a blue backlight and was cheap. If you find yoursefl typing constantly I probably wouldn't recommend this board as it took a little while to type all this and I type all day everyday pretty quickly at my job. Could be getting used to it, but I'll definitely state it's not the best for typing. Good enough for games and the media keys are nice.

Not Listed

  • Mouse - I have a UltechSmart mouse No problems yet and is a very accurate sturdy mouse. DPI (how fast it goes) toggle is great for switching between everyday slower speeds and game speeds which I like a little higher.

  • PSU - This was another impulse buy. Inland 600W Gold rated PSU . You can see the specs in the picture ($39) Saw it had mostly good reviews so I went for it praying that it didn't fry my board. So far it has run solidly (after my noob mistake of the power switch). I have a backup EVGA 500W on the ready if this one goes.

  • Small HDD - That's a reformatted old 60GB PS3 drive. I use that for image backups and for other backups. Haven't decided what to do with it really at this point as I don't have a lot of faith in it but it still works like a charm so far.

  • OVERALL -- Loved this experience and am already looking for parts to build my parents a cheaper computer my younger brother can one day upgrade himself. Again I will update with overclocking results when I get to it. Hope the read wasn't too long but I tried to share my experience for those looking for it. Did my best with pictures of my cable management, pretty sure I did a good enough job for you guys. Sidenote - never again with the rebates....

Comments

  • 68 months ago
  • 1 point

if i was being picky i would say the samsung SSD would have been better for a little more but that is realy picky its a solid build +1

  • 68 months ago
  • 1 point

That was my thought in hindsight. I've had good luck with Kingston so far.

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

how's the case working so far? How easy was it to build in? +1 for the airplane.

  • 66 months ago
  • 1 point

Case still works great. I actually added another fan, moved the front fan to the top with the top two and back one running on the case switch and the front running off the mobo (kind of regret this as the fan is noisy compared to the very quiet stock fans that came with the case). Being first build this case was very easy to build in and decent amount of space to run wires. I could probably do a phenomenal job and not have to squish the back as much but it all fits with just a tad elbow grease. Sorry work has gotten busy so I haven't been on here a lot lately. 10/10 would buy again and recommend.

  • 66 months ago
  • 1 point

Cool, I was just looking at things I could do to help cable management behind the motherboard tray and was thinking if it could be possible to remove some hdd bays and stuff some cables in that area.

  • 66 months ago
  • 1 point

There is a lot of space as there are no bays. It provides screws that add rubber prongs on the hdd's to slide into the slots; not a quick swap but it works very well. I would somewhat advise against that though as that would block airflow from the only intake fan the case has in the front...unless of course you completely water cool then go for it.

  • 66 months ago
  • 1 point

ya I was thinking that, i just didn't know how much the wires would block, cause if i did do this i was going to shove them all to the top or bottom of the cage and support them with a bay. And how many fans does it come with because on the zalman website it says it come with 3 fans but in the pictures here and other websites it looks like only 2. And a last question which is what kind of connections do those fans have (I don't think I will be connecting them to the controller if that makes any difference).

  • 66 months ago
  • 1 point

There is a fan on the front bottom and top back that are LED. There is also one in the back panel near the top. I believe there are 2 three pins (LEDs) and one four (back fan)....don't quote me though as I have forgotten already. I could have connected all of them to my board, but I liked having the ability to control them with the switch on top for under load prep. You could shove a decent amount of excess in the top bay as you only really could use a 3.5 up top due to the usb ports coming directly into that bay but you probably don't have that much wiring. It is possible to manage well in the back. I got close enough and it closed, even with the ssd back there.

If you are connecting them to the board you should have no problem, but since I was connecting them to the controller I forgot to route the back fan's cable through the itty bitty hole that the mobo covers up so I had to take everything back out to push it through. Just something to think about.