My wife and I were sick of the kids constantly bugging us to get on our computers. I built one for myself, took my old Dell 540 Slim and put it into a nice case for my daughter, and built one for my son. This is one is mine and I LOVE it! Been up and running almost two weeks now and I still can't get over how crazy fast it is. Really glad I went with the OCZ Vector 150 SSD HDD.
She boots from post to logged in under 10 seconds. Planetside 2 used to take 3 to 5 minutes to load and now never takes more than 15 seconds; that's including character selection time! CoD: Modern Warefare runs smooth as glass on all the highest settings and loads pretty quick; I'm usually one of the first ones in a match waiting for others.
I did some baseline benchmarks listed below. This is without tweaking anything. I did a lot of research on the SSDs and really glad I went with the OCZ Vector 150. In my research it was a hidden gem amongst all the names everyone typically throws out. The benchmarks prove it out; blew everything but the highest caliber drives out of the water and it was a STEAL on Black Friday!
Black Friday Saved me almost $300 on my build alone; really glad I waited. I'd been planing these builds for a couple months.
The photos are chronological as I built it. This is my finest cable management =) I usually don't care too much; just as long as cables weren't obstructing anything or going to touch something they may melt on I was fine. This was my first modular PSU so I figured I'd do it justice. Really happy with how it turned out. It's a mess behind the MB chassis but that's fine; nobody sees that =)
The case isn't impressive but very nice... it's honestly what a case SHOULD be for this price point. Nothing more... nothing less. I went with the white because it's white inside which reflects more light making it easier to see inside and work. My vision isn't the best and light helps tremendously. That and all the venting was what I liked most about it. Cables were logical and easy to manage; appreciated that.
The Noctua was a PITA to install. I had to re-do the thermal paste once because I had such a hard time getting it on. After all the mounting brackets are in place and the CPU is installed you put on the main cooler and it screws on with two screws. I could only manage to get one side started; swore more than a few times with that. Was a little scary how hard I had to push down to get it on. Temps seem stellar though so I guess I did it correctly. Very solid; I could probably lift the whole case by grabbing the heatsink =P It's defiantly a quality engineered and manufactured piece of equipment. After installing that and then my son's cheesy OEM cooler for his FX 8320... the contrast in quality and ease of install is striking.
GA Z97X is pretty impressive; I love it. Below is a link to a quality, in-depth, review. I actually watched this after I had bought it and was even more impressed. Really glad I went with it. The new BIOS UI is amazing and I'm really surprised by the trouble Gigabyte went through to deliver a high quality audio system. They actually separated the Left and Right channels on different layers of board so there's no mixing or interference along with other things you don't typically see on a board at this price point. It truly does sound amazing in games. I actually did notice the improvement between my old system and this one and my old one wasn't bad at all; this one is just so much better.
3DMark Fire Strike:
- 3DMark Score 6234
- Graphics Score 7150
- Physics Score 7387
- Combined Score 2842
- 3DMark Score 150129
- Graphics Score 287882
- Physics Score 56128
- Graphics Test 1 1318.27 fps
- Graphics Test 2 1191.46 fps
- Physics Test 178.19 fps
- 3DMark Score 17558
- Graphics Score 23051
- Physics Score 7958
- Combined Score 17965
- Graphics Test 1 97.12 fps
- Graphics Test 2 114.89 fps 8 threads 160.24 fps 24 threads 87.22 fps 48 threads 48.58 fps 96 threads 26.74 fps
- Combined Test 73.93 fps
- 3DMark Score 17057
- Graphics Score 48012
- Physics Score 5238
- OCZ-VECT OR150 in the top 40 for SSDs. Should have took a screenshot; on the quick review it showed 5 comparable drives and it blew them all out of the water.
Resident Evil Benchmark Score: 11677
- Rank: B
- Settings: 1600x900 - Everything on HIGH