Initially I just really wanted something more powerful than my laptop because I work with a lot of different programs, but as I started canvasing for parts it became somewhat of an addiction! This is my first build, but I have a feeling it won't be my last! With that in mind I did a lot of unconventional/unnecessary things on this build that made it much more expensive than it had to be, but honestly I don't mind. I had a blast researching, shopping and tinkering.
The first piece I bought was the case. The Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV µATX Mini Tower is an absolute beauty. Working in it was pretty nice. I was a little dissapointed that only 1 ssd bracket was included, that the window is a little small, and that the I/Os were poorly positions/incorporated; however, the latter qualm is likely a matter of personal preference. The list of pros I had for this case is highlighted by the absolutely stunning design, build quality, hinged doors and additional features you can opt to use or remove.
From there I went with an older generation i5. I thought I could save a few bucks on the CPU, motherboard and RAM if I went with an older generation i5. I think I did, but in hindsight, I wish I got a 6th generation instead. Oh well. Te i5-4690K is already overkill for my applications. I've overclocked it to 4.5 gHz at 1.25 V. I think I can push it harder, but I honestly want this build to last the rest of my Ph.D!
Eventually, I decided to get a GTX 970 so I could play on some decent settings at 1440P. I currently have the core and memory overclocked +110 MHz and 450 MHz, respectively using EVGA precision. I can play Witcher 3 at 40 or 50 FPS. (Haven't really had a chance to play > an hour, but it felt pretty smooth) I really liked the appearance of the Kraken G10 bracket, so I decided to hook up the Kraken x61 on my GPU instead of my CPU. Taking that piece apart was pretty interesting! Research I did suggested that the Kraken G10 fan wouldn't cool the VRM well, so I purchased this side bracket thing from Ebay so I could direct a 60 mm fan directly at the heatsinks I added. The GPU never tops 50 °C based on stress testing/Witcher 3.
I really loved the look and feel of having the G10 Bracket on so I decided just to keep the massive air cooler on my CPU. It gets the job done.
Aside from that I tried out some LED lights, antikink coils. sleeved extensive cables. For my next build (a home desktop) I'm going to try to do my own sleeving and possibly a legit custom loop. Maybe in a couple months or next year. Grad school salary anin't much! I'm eyeing (more like drooling at) the Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX Tempered Glass case.
Added some pictures that I neglected to add because I got caught up with work. I added a few minor things like cable combs, a white extension cable for my front USB cableand some white SATA 3 cables. Don't think it added much, but overall, I'm pleased with it.
I do have the following complaints:
- I wish the window was a little bigger so I can show off more of the inside.
- The Phanteks LEDs are not a clean white color, sort of blueish.
- It's so full that having to mess around with anything on the inside is quite the endeavor...