PCPartPicker

  • Log In
  • Register

Build

All purpose PC

by Monsimeph

8
11 Comments

Details

Date Published

Oct. 31, 2015

CPU Clock Rate

4.3 GHz

CPU Temperature While Idle

33.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

45.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate

1.504 GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

8.007 GHz

GPU Temperature While Idle

29.0° C

GPU Temperature Under Load

67.0° C

Description

This is my first build in many years. I've been working with laptops and finally decided to get a proper desktop machine to supplement them. The PC will be used for work and light gaming. The budget was tight so I had to cut some corners.

The obvious elephant in the room is the lack of SSD. It was a conscious choice. I was running out of budget and the alternatives were either buying a smaller and lesser in every sense monitor and 120GB now or getting a better monitor and saving up for 250GB. Maybe even m.2 if the prices become sane'ish. I went with the latter and don't regret it.

The combo of mATX motherboard, relatively large cooler and this particular case made the building process somewhat tedious. Sweat has been poured and skin has been lost. :D But now when it's finished I am really happy with how it turned out and would recommend every part. Even though some might raise questions. I only wish I had a modular PSU to make these last coupe of molexes 'disappear'.

Sorry for uber lazy camera work. I was in a rush and really wanted to close this bloody (literally) case asap. And frankly there's not much to see. The looks was never a concern for me, all I needed was a machine that will get the job done.

Part Reviews

CPU

Great CPU. OC'ed easily to 4.3Ghz with minimal voltage (1.13). Was able to push it to 4.5 on v1.25 (and probably could have gone all the way up to 4.7 ) but my feet don't appreciate the extra heat, so I'll wait for cold winter to do that.

CPU Cooler

I couldn't get the famous 212 EVO and it took me a while to settle on alternative. So far I am impressed. While Scythe Mugen 4 won't break any records in idle temps (low-mid 30s, but ambient is pretty high here), under load it performs great. The CPU never passed 60C while running prime95 and in its 40s under normal every day load including gaming.

Motherboard

Overall good board and very good for its price. Given it's the cheapest Z97 board I could find, it has a lot of features. I am not particularly digging fan headers locations. Also the top right screw is pretty much out of reach unless you have rubber fingers 1/4" wide and/or weirdly angled screwdriver. I had to give up on it and left with 5 mounting points. Not a biggie, but you do need to be a bit more cautious with the cables. There's basically no mounting on the upper right side at all.

Memory

Low profile RAM that fits under large heatsink. All you can ask for.

Storage

I don't currently have SSD in my main build, so this is the primary drive. I almost forgot how noisy they get. Had to remove it and push foam washers wherever possible. That did the trick. I can still hear it spinning but at least the vibration is gone.

Video Card

Great card for its price. Overclocks easily and stays very cool under the heaviest benchmarks. 67C was the highest temp recorded. Three fans vs 2 on other 960 cards were well worth it.

Case

Very interesting (as expected) case, I am not sure how to rank it.

It received a lot of heat for its cheap materials, which, I think, is fair. I got it almost for free in a bundle with Antec PSU, so it would've been foolish of me not to try. The combo of this case, relatively large tower and mATX motherboard made the building process somewhat tedious. For a similar setup I'd strongly recommend figuring out and connecting all the fans before you mount the motherboard, because good luck with reaching these headers otherwise. I had to remove top fans at least 3 times in order to reconfigure them and it wasn't fun, since the top panel is indeed made out of very thin rubbish metal with holes in it. It'd be nice for Antec to mention what screws are meant for what in the manual - due to low quality threading different screws can semi-fit where they don't belong and it's very easy to get confused. Also, modular PSU is strongly advised. But all of the above is expected with the case this cheap and that's all the negative I have to say about it. Ah, the rubber grommets on the back popped out all the time. Not that anybody should care nor is going to use them ever.

To the positives: it's packed with features. First, it comes with two top fans which I plugged on the front as intakes, another one on the rear and an option for three more. Not the best quality I've seen, not the worst either. Plenty of holes for cable management, too bad there's not enough space behind the mobo for that. Front fan controls, removable dust filters on the front and on the bottom, great airflow and overall the build quality of the case (except for the top panel) is not horrible. So I'd categorize it as a hardware friendly rather than user friendly case. Once you finish your build, your new shiny parts will stay cool, clean and happy. I'd not recommend it for a first time builder, but if you don't mind to invest a bit of sweat in the process of building, it will be a good home for your computer eventually. I was planning to give it away to relatives in a few months and upgrade to something better, but now when I'm done, I might as well keep it. I do like it.

Power Supply

Good quality power supply. Not much to add. There's also a modular version which is preferable, but unfortunately I was not able to get it.

Monitor

This monitor is a pleasure. The pros - very bright and sharp. The cons - quite wobbly and the colors could be a bit warmer. The latter is a matter of personal preference though. I still need to find the time to calibrate it properly. Factory calibration isn't that great, in my humble opinion. And I noticed some bleeding in the bottom right corner. Nothing to be worried about unless your main use of the monitor will be staring at a solid black background from odd angles. 4.5 stars from me.

Keyboard

Very decent keyboard for a regular everyday use. It feels much better than basic Logitec/Microsoft keyboards I've been using for years and was worth extra bucks. I only needed the keyboard, not the mouse (it's m310) and was disappointed at the beginning, because my choices were limited by the very basic or unreasonably expensive gaming keyboards, which I have no use for. This was the only option in between and I am not sorry I chose it. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of both, the keyboard and the mouse. I don't have the biggest hands and the mouse does feel ergonomic and fits my palm perfectly. I ended up using it since unboxing and might as well give up on my basic Roccat, since their gaming performance is comparable. I love the rounded keys - typing is a joy. Gaming-wise I wish the left shift key would be bigger, but it's a minor issue and easy to get used to. The only downside is receiver range. Mouse was acting up with the dongle connected on the back and I had to use one of the front USB 3.0 ports. Thankfully it's tiny and if you have multiple USB front ports, you should be fine. I also read that Logitech range extender helps. Another 4.5 stars product.

Mouse

I have Roccat Lua mouse for two years. Since I don't play fps or any sort of games that require lightning fast response, it's perfect for me. But this is not a gaming mouse by any means. DPI control is nice, but tri-button mouse cannot be considered a gaming mouse in 2015. However, if you're looking for very durable and solid mouse for your everyday work, definitely consider this model.

Comments Sorted by:

jackly1001 1 Build 1 point 42 months ago

Put that thing on the floor lol.

Monsimeph submitter 1 Build 1 point 42 months ago

I did. :)

[comment deleted]
jackly1001 1 Build 1 point 42 months ago

or not being able to move the mouse at all.

tamtran 1 Build 1 point 42 months ago

You don't have much room for mouse movement do you. Great built but that moment when you realize your monitor is more expensive than the GPU itself. Maybe it would be better if you spend more on the GPU but it depends entirely on you. Have fun with your new PC :)

Monsimeph submitter 1 Build 1 point 42 months ago

Thanks. It's not where it stands now. That was just assembling/testing surface. Now the computer is indeed on the floor which is safer for it than the desk, where it would be directly below the window with all the dust coming in. And there's plenty of room for the mouse, my QCK pad fits fine. As for monitor, actually it didn't cost more than the GPU, it was the same price as the CPU and both a bit cheaper than the 960. I was considering 970 for a moment, but 50% increase in the cost was not justified as I am only light gamer. Minecraft is probably the most graphics demanding game that will ever be loaded on this computer on a semi regular basis. :)

MARCOzid 1 point 30 months ago

what do u think of this monitor input lag? i mean while playing BF or COD when u move the mouse DOES the screen move at the same time?

Pigtastic 1 Build 0 points 42 months ago

380, I choose you! (And it's what you should've gotten too XD)

Monsimeph submitter 1 Build 2 points 42 months ago

:D I know, I know... But I am not a heavy gamer and most of the games I play are rather CPU intensive than GPU intensive. Even 960 is an overkill for my needs. So I am more concerned with electricity bills than with few extra fps. Did consider it though...

[comment deleted]
Monsimeph submitter 1 Build 1 point 42 months ago

CIV games, city builders, Invisible Inc and alike and even bloody Minecraft. All require CPU juice more than GPU juice. Or should I say fps is not the priority in these with Minecraft being the only exception. But 960 is more than sufficient to provide stable 60fps on the highest settings.

[comment deleted by staff]
Monsimeph submitter 1 Build 1 point 42 months ago

It does. I used low profile (technically) memory and obviously installed it before the heatsink, so it all worked out just fine. I'll have to dismount the cooler if I want to add extra RAM, but when that time comes I'll probably need to change thermal paste anyways.

Again, sorry for rushed photos. I'll open the case again to push more washers under side panel fan and take better pictures hopefully.

[comment deleted]
Monsimeph submitter 1 Build 1 point 42 months ago

Thanks! As I replied to one of the previous comments, the case is now under the desk (this is not it in the pictures). This was just for testing purposes. I know better than that. I have QCK standard pad which is 32cm wide, would be a waste not to use it. :)

[comment deleted]