My original plan was to build a $1,000 gaming machine. I was a complete n00b to pc building, but I got some help from google, reddit, and friends. After much research, I had to face the facts-I wasn't going to get the build that I so desired for only $1,000. Thankfully I gained some money from christmas and odd jobs, so I upped my budget to ~$1,500. You might notice the parts list is way higher than 1500, but I got some rebates and really sweet deals on many of the parts. The total did come out to around 1500, but I don't have all the prices so I can't say for sure. So this is my journey to a new, first desktop, built by me! XD
[edit: UPDATE: Since building, I've added speakers (M-Audio AV40s) and a Thunderbolt card that can daisy chain up to 6 TB1 or TB2 devices! Although I haven't got the card to run yet for some unknown frustrating reason, it is actually made specifically for ASRock line motherboards, if you search ASRock Thunderbolt PCIe you can see which motherboards are compatible on the online manual! Why do I need thunderbolt? Why I plan to run a thunderbolt external audio interface to make music of course!]
Buying the parts:
So the build itself-originally I was going to get an NZXT phantom case, but I found that those just weren't big enough for todays gaming graphics cards. I happened across the thermaltake lvl 10 gt snow, and pretty much loved it. Built in fans, blue leds, hot swappable hard drives, unique design, what can I say? I couldn't resist. It was on sale for like 160 too.
I then struggled to decide on a cpu, but I knew that I wanted one that could handle the dynamic duo of gaming and editing/rendering. I was set on a skylake for awhile, but after some deliberation, I decided I didn't neeeed the latest newest cpu and chipset. This opened up the possibilities, and I found that the haswell i7 chips are still really great chips. After some more research, I decided on intel for its hyperthreads, and the 5820k because of its good balance of 6 cores and 3.3ghz. Not the fastest, but not the average 4 cores. It seems to me like the optimal choice (for my price range) for a gamer and movie/music editor.
Then I found a mobo that fit the chip, a nice blue and black one, and a monitor that seemed perfect. In retrospect, I should've waited to buy a monitor until I knew more. I hastily thought all that mattered for me was the 1ms response time, but I wish I had saved up for a 144hz BenQ one. I play SSB Melee and SFV competitively, and response times are incredibly important, for any lag can mean a missed input. Unfortunately the leeway of a 144hz monitor would've allowed for the optimal fps that the games and my gpu can offer.
And speaking of graphics, I had my eyes set on the 970 once I saw its price and ability. It seems like a close second to the 980, and for less than half the price. The twin frozr cooler seemed like the way to go too. I was a bit sad it only came in red, but I might spraypaint the plastic pieces in the future.
If I'm making movies, I need space on my drives and an optical drive that is up to snuff for burning blu-rays. I originally planned on buying a Western Digital 3tb hdd, but I was curious as to why it was priced so cheap. On further inspection, data showed that their 3tb drives had an insanely high failure rate. So I decided to look for the most reliable hard drives out there for about the same price, and found that Hitachi is known for making quality drives. Bought a 2tb and was on my way. Around black friday I found a sale for samsung's ssd's, and the 500gb came with a copy of Assasin's Creed syndacite (with a female protaganist, yes!), so I couldn't refuse. The optical drive was chosen because of its BDXL capabilities, as well as being known for having a quieter noise level.
Then I just had to look for the amount of watts that I needed (thank god pcpartpicker has an estimated wattage, to which i was recommended that I add 100w to for a safe reliable power source-a good PSU is vital, don't skimp on this part just cuz its less flashy than everything else!) and future proofed it by going for a bit higher than what my current cpu needed.
Putting it together:
I was scared shitless of this. "I'm gonna break it, I'm gonna break it, I'm gonna **** up, I just know it" was pretty much my internal dialogue. The kind folks at r/buildapc helped ease my qualms, and eventually I was on my way. Before building, I did buy a static wristband. I figured for a tiny investment of about 5 bucks, it was worth saving myself from accidentally shocking expensive pc parts to death.
Putting the cpu in felt like the scariest and most delicate part, so I researched this the most. I found some great videos showing how to put in the cpu for my brand of motherboard, and these were immensely helpful. I did it successfully after watching them, and I didn't even need the instruction guide!
Learning how to mount the mobo was confusing, what with the standoff pins to prevent grounding out the motherboard (that's a scary thought), but thankfully the case came with standoffs already installed (as most cases probably do), so all I had to do was make sure I only had the standoffs on the case that lined up with the holes on the motherboard (thanks to a smart youtuber, he grounded his because he forgot to take the ones out that didn't line up with the holes and warned me).
Videos on proper thermal paste application helped for the cpu cooler, and cryorig's great manual made installing the cooler a breeze (fyi I beleive the best way to apply thermal paste is the pea sized dot in the center) . I was worried that the weight of the cooler would be stressful on the mobo, but after installation of mobo in case, I was much less worried. Computer parts are impressively rigid and sturdy, I must say.
Mobo in the case, I then installed the gpu, which was a hassle, but again, youtube videos are so helpful. I then had to find RAM for the mobo, and originally was gonna get some cool 2x8 blue led ones, but eventually I decided to go big or go home and buy 4x8 because quad channel memory seemed like the right choice for this mobo (and to be honest i still am not sure if dual channel actually performs worse on a quad channel mobo or not) XP.
With all that finally installed, I figured out how to mount the hdd and ssd into the case slots, along with inserting the optical drive, wired everything up, and powered on! Well no, actually I forgot to put the hdd in at first. But when I powered on, success! It booted to bios, everything was installed correctly, so I installed windows and was on my way for real! Except I forgot to put in the hard drive. So I powered down, installed it, then powered on for real! Then I fiddled with cable management forever to get the back of the case on, peeled off all the protective plasticky wrap from the case and monitor, and was finished!
So there's my exhaustive description of my build!
I love this case, love the parts, and enjoy the fruits of my labor! The only trouble I have is that the audio jack for the case makes a horrible static sound. Its probably due to cables touching and messing with frequency or something, because it didn't make that sound before I had to fiddle to get the back of the case on. But I'll have to buy speakers soon anyway for music editing, so I'll just use the audio jack on those.
Oh and the strip on top of the case seems to have leds in it, but I can't tell for sure because it hasn't lit up.
Other than that, a success! Fans work great, cpu is nice and cool, color scheme turned out great because the gpu can't really be seen in the case window (kinda odd window spot but meh)
So thanks for reading!!!!