Description

My first build in a LONG time :) Using this for some pc gaming and as a productivity workstation. Okay so I actually ordered all the parts for this except the mobo on amazon and got a $70 cash reward for signing up for one of their rewards credit cards, so that's how I'm justifying the under $1000 thing.

This is the result of about a week's worth of research on other peoples builds, monitoring prices and finding the best components to stay on my budget. After some thinking, I decided not to do any overclocking or custom cooling to keep the cost low. Originally, I had budgeted $1100 so I was happy that I was able to get all of the features I wanted and stay under budget. Loving everything about this machine so far and have my friends wanting to do copy cats builds :D

Potential upgrades: faster, unlocked intel processor like 6600k, however, this would require a new mobo too. could be a fun project. a bigger, better fan could be added instead of the intel stock fan, even if you don't overclock to keep temps even cooler. some custom cabling would be cool too.

Peripherals: I've had a Dell monitor for years that I love (model SPW2000 or something like that). Razer Mamba mouse. Keyboard is by DasKeyboard (mechanical blue switches).

Part Reviews

CPU

What more is there to say? Intel is the best. Opted not to go for an unlocked processor because no overclocking was planned in the build. Will be a future upgrade some day maybe. This speed works great for gaming and most other operations.

Motherboard

I was hesitant about this one because of the B150 chipset which will not allow overclocking and was actually created as a 'business' chipset, whatever that means. Since I decided not to overclock, it has more than enough functionality for my purposes. The BIOS is really nice with a cool GUI and does include options in the BIOS for overclocking the GPU / CPU. I haven't messed with these because the chipset, but I'm sure MSI drops the same 'gaming bios' onto all their Gaming Motherboards. Anyway, no complaints about it so far. Some folks had complained about the location of the audio header on the board, but I found that it fit nicely under the graphics card. Only thing I would say is maybe wait to put the RAM in until after connecting your front panel connectors because it made for a tight squeeze with my fingers. WIFI was a breeze, although I had to plug directly into the ethernet at first to download all the MSI drivers since I have no optical drive. Finally, there is no RAID functionality on this board, which I didn't realize at first, but no biggie.

Memory

Okay, so went a little overboard here since the mobo only supports up to 2133 RAM. However, these things look super cool and went along with my black and red theme. At the same time, the 3200 speed means they run exceptionally stable at 2133, which never hurts.

Storage

My cousin said, "Not all hard drives are created equal", and he was right. Man this thing is fast. Definitely worth throwing a little extra for a fast SSD. Installed windows and upgraded to 10 in roughly 15-20 mins. Boot time of about 3 seconds. I have been missing out. Will probably drop another one in once I need more storage since I really like how the hard drive slots look in the manta case. The SSDs install with the logo facing upside-down in the Manta case, but they included a cool NZXT logo sticker in the case box so I slapped that on top of the upside-down Samsung logo and it looks awesome! It's like NZXT new about this or something... ;)

Video Card

This thing looks cool as hell the heat tubing gives the whole machine a turbo-charged look. I agonized for quite awhile about the graphics cards. Initially, I was all set to go with the EVGA version as it was a bit cheaper by $80. Not realizing how volatile the market is for graphics cards these days, I waited too long to buy and the price on the EVGA model went up by $60 in a matter of hours so I just decided to go MSI all the way and keep the red and black thing going :) Been running Overwatch on Ultra High settings and maintaining 70-80 fps. Pretty happy about it. Bonus points for the LED msi logo that matches the led on my nzxt logo.

Case

I am absolutely thrilled with this case. 100% worth the higher price. This thing was so easy to build with. I love NZXT's attention to detail. All the front panel connectors and extensions were LABELED. Amazing. The NZXT sticker to cover the upside down logo. A built in fan-hub, cool led's, the curved side panels were easy to remove (although I did have a tiny bit of trouble putting them back on and getting the thumb screws to thread) and offer bountiful cable management space. There's room for 2 ssd's and 3 more hdd's if you want to go crazy with it. I could go on and on about this case, hard to imagine building with anything else at this point to be honest. Only downside is that it ONLY fits micro ITX mobos so no room for expansion or SLI but you knew that already if you were getting this case. I'll probably upgrate to a better graphics card down the line but that'll be easy enough.

Power Supply

Not sure on what criteria to rate on but things thing was easy to install and came with some nice sleeved cabling for the mobo. I did find myself with some extra power cables dangling because not all of the pins were needed, but they were easy enough to tuck away. Works as advertised.

Comments

  • 42 months ago
  • 2 points

Awesome build! Some LED's would really make this build pop :D

  • 42 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks! Great idea, I should definitely pop some in! I've never installed LEDs but will look into it :)

  • 42 months ago
  • 2 points

It's SUPER easy to do. Look for Magnetic LED's by Cablemod. All you do is plug them into a Sata connector for power and set the LED strip against the metal and your set! I bought the RGB set for my build, it was only $30 at Micro Center.

  • 42 months ago
  • 2 points

Cool - thanks for the tip! I'll post a new photo once I install in a few weeks.

  • 42 months ago
  • 2 points

Okay, awesome!

  • 42 months ago
  • 2 points

How are you liking the 970? I just bought an EVGA GTX 970 SSC (Overclocked to 1.5 Ghz) for my new build. It's a beast of a card for 1080p.

  • 42 months ago
  • 2 points

Really like the 970 so far, I was really close to getting the EVGA model but decided to just go full MSI because the price diff was only about $30 more. Haven't tried overclocking it yet but it runs Overwatch on ultra settings at 70 fps so im happy.

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

That's good, I've maxed out all of my games including the witcher 3 without hair works at 60 fps and Doom maxed out at 100 fps.

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice - I checked out your build too, looks great! I see what you mean about the LEDs _^

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! I just noticed we have the same RAM haha:D

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

they look awesome right?!

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

How is the stock cooler ? Does it get loud and annoying under load or is it alright ? Also was wondering I want this exact case , could u tell me where u put the pwm cable for the fan controller ?

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

stock cooler is whisper quiet. in fact, when i first turned it on I thought something was wrong because I could barely tell it was spinning! I believe the pwm cable was connected to power with a molex cable and then routed to cpu_fan per instructions in the booklet that came with the case. the booklet has a very clear diagram on how to connect the controller.

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Does the motherboard have a sub 3.0 header or just a 3.1?